Thursday, October 25, 2012

we had to learn how to bend without the world caving in

What, pray tell, makes this erotic art? I'll wait while you think it over, but for me personally, I think this would be a big tip-off. If this is what arouses your partner...and you aren't an eyeless broken toy? They might be considering making you one.

(And yes, even though that image, itself, is perfectly work-safe? Considering the rest of the content of that store is WILDLY NSFW, that one might also only come up if the Adult settings are permitted on Marketplace. So in case you can't see it--here's the work-safe variant.)

This is going to be a little more edited than usual, because I really want to toss this out there, but I don't want pointers directly to the...erm...creator in question.

[03:09] Kxxxx Mxxxxxxxx: I literally JUST opened my MP store with the one shirt I have for sale, since my other shirts don't work now apparently
[03:10] Dxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: What happened to the other shirts?
[03:11] Kxxxx Mxxxxxxxx: Let's just say temporary textures have poor mechanics
[03:11] Kxxxx Mxxxxxxxx: But for now all I have is this cute [edited] shirt [link removed]


All right, obviously, my first thought in grabbing this for reposting was having fun mocking people, but my friends and I started to discuss things, and we actually ended up talking about the larger issues involved.

Keep in mind the Second Life for new players now is vastly different from the SL we walked into. I walked through Orientation Island, then wandered around trying to figure things out with that basis. I walked out of the tutorial--the only way we could walk out of the tuturial at that point--after I had demonstrated basic understanding of the grid. And these really were basic things--how to walk, how to change clothes, how to unpack boxes, how to talk to people or objects (or both--the version of Orientation Island I went through had a parrot who would talk back to avatars in range), how to fly, how to interact with physical objects.
By the time I developed the shop alt, Orientation Island had changed into a four-part sim (officially, I mean; one of the quarters had an entire office-building-size parking lot I had to negotiate out of in a 'test car'), and into several little divided experiences if I'd chosen to go through one of any number of 'private' orientation displays. In talking with friends who made those journeys, the corporatized orientations were all designed with as stripped down an experience as possible, while still covering the basics: receiving objects, rezzing out objects, talking in IM and main chat.

At this point, though? Create an account on the website. Pick out an avatar on the Second Life page. Download the client, and you're on the grid.

There is no orientation anymore. Oh, there are places new avatars can go to get help--I still highly recommend Caledon's Oxbridge Village for new players, because of their emphasis on teaching and, well, orientation--but the problem is, that's all after they log into the game. There's no separate area anymore, with required tests (or even highly suggested tests) to pass before entry onto the live grid.

[03:11] Dxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: Temp textures are a 1 time use only you can see
[03:11] Kxxxx Mxxxxxxxx: See, it never says that anywhere
[03:11] Dxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: you have to upload them
[03:12] Dxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: the word temp should tell you


It should, but for some reason, it's not. The thing is, without explanation, there's no context for anyone. As this particular new maker says:

[03:12] Kxxxx Mxxxxxxxx: Yes, but I thought it meant like I could temp upload it to use on a shirt
[03:12] Kxxxx Mxxxxxxxx: And then the shirt would work and I could get rid of the texture


This sounded ridiculous when I first heard about it, but think this through. Here's a new maker who has no idea how the grid works. Obviously, they've discovered they can make things. Maybe they happened to log into a welcome area where that was under discussion. Maybe they'd been invited by a friend who creates things. In either case--in all cases--no one's likely to define what "temp texture" means to newcomers, because it's a process anyone who's used a third-party viewer already understands. It's like trying to teach someone how to make a snowman, without telling them how to make a ball of snow, because everyone knows how to make a snowball, right?

Or hey, let's transit this back to the virtual world--when I first was introduced to Minecraft, I HATED it. Why? Because I couldn't do anything. My friends said, 'no, just go punch this tree for wood', so I went over, and clicked my mouse repeatedly to punch the tree. And nothing.

My friends had told me to punch the tree, but hadn't told me that meant "walk to the tree, and hold down the left mouse button". They'd only given me part of the equation. I had no context.

This maker also had no context, because no one thought to sit them down and say, "Okay, there's this thing called temp textures; it's a great tool for creating because you can see how that texture would look on an object or avatar before actually paying the ten Lindens to bring it onto the grid. Temp textures last for that one session only, though, so don't use them on objects you plan to keep or sell without importing that texture in and paying for it."

[03:12] Dxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: yes to look at for yourself
[03:12] Dxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: if others could see it then why would people pay for uploads
[03:12] Kxxxx Mxxxxxxxx: In any case, I figured out what happened
[03:12] Kxxxx Mxxxxxxxx: so now I'm putting myself on the MP earlier than I had planned to make some L for upload costs.


Which is not the worst move, but again, this entire issue could have been avoided if this creator's friends had told them how temporary textures work. Or, y'know, had they actually gone through something like Orientation Island before appearing on the grid, newly fleshed and staggering.

[03:13] Kxxxx Mxxxxxxxx: I'm not selling the texture though, I was temp'ing the fabric texture
[03:13] Dxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: your selling them attached to an item
[03:13] Kxxxx Mxxxxxxxx: See, I didn't know that's how it worked until yesterday.


And that's another good point. This is something I've seen happen more than once. New creator makes an object. It has an internal script that pulls from something in the creator's inventory. The creator then rezzes out that object, and deletes what's in their inventory. Object then does not work.

If you know the grid, if you understand building, you get why it happened, and you fix it. But if you don't understand why the thing stopped, instead of pulling the texture or script or whatever? You'd be really, really frustrated, wouldn't you? And in asking around--if you're in the right groups--someone might give you the answer, but you'd have to know how to ask the right questions, wouldn't you?

The Ivory Tower of Prims really needs to be sent on to newcomers far more often.

[03:13] Dxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: Live and learn :)
[03:14] Kxxxx Mxxxxxxxx: Indeed =)

I second that.

Part of the conversation on Skype held after this snippet was grabbed from the grid:

[3:43:15 AM] Axxxxxxxx: I suppose it comes down to, I'm flabbergasted that people don't make a point of learning this stuff beforehand?
[3:43:28 AM] Emilly Orr: Well, remember, we used to
[3:43:33 AM] Emilly Orr: There used to be Orientation Island
[3:43:52 AM] Emilly Orr: Then there were various tutorials in various sims, some good, most indifferent, but all pretty solid on the basics, at least
[3:44:17 AM] Emilly Orr: Now? They fling 'em in by telling 'em how much fun it is and how amazing you can do and OMG HAVE FUN NAO *LAUNCH!*
[3:44:33 AM] Axxxxxxxx: *facepalm*


And that's really the basic problem, innit? If you've never heard the term before, you'll never really understand it until you've learned it on your own. It would be so much easier if we just had solid, sturdy, orientation experiences for new players before they ever hit the grid. I get that people were impatient with the process, and I understand why the Lindens changed the tutorial concept for businesses using the grid, but...eliminating it entirely? Was never a good answer.

In other news, this is the most frightening prim baby I've seen so far. Those blank, dead eyes scare me worse than the fact that it's programmed to bite Mommy with its wee little fangs.

And if your secret dream goal is to be an inflatable doll with quadruple-G breasts...there's now a mesh avatar for you. The maker wants L$3200 for it, which--considering it comes with full outfit, shape, skin, avatar, alpha layers, fingernails and boots--really isn't that bad, all in all.

I'd say they scare me too, but really, that's targeted to a specific market--hells, to a specific fetish--and I know a few folks who are now greedily saving their pennies to acquire it. More power to them--at least that one won't be all primmed out, it will actually move and flex in an....um...realistic?...way?

Is that the right word?

Finally, while I still may pop in and make adjustments to things here and there, SEVER is now fully opened, has sounds, and the next time I log in I'm going to toss up a low-cost ad for the thing. We only have six days until Samhain arrives, which is sad, because November 1st, I believe, I'll be taking the thing down. But I'm tempted to do this again next year, assuming I and the grid both make it through intact (considering the way this year has gone, at least). Maybe next year I can figure out how to properly invoke a fictional nightmare to join in on the fun...

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