February 13, 2012

In remembrence of Lego

Posted in Metaverse, User Experience tagged , , , , at 6:36 pm by SarahAndrea Royce

No the company is not dead, but what it once was (no its not me in the photo, but its similar to the peaces I had as a child).

Imagine Linden Lab would make two Grids.First they woudl gradually make SL more of a typcical MMORPG. Every Avatar comes with some basic weapons from the start and there is a lot to shoot, depending on the current lizenced movie franchise you have to fight Dark Wizards, Evil Pirates, Lucnans or whatever. You still can built everything but better make it fortresses and weapons, because conflict is everywhere. Their am only view female Avatars to select from, all highly sexualized, and most females you see in the (now really a) game are Bots who act as plotdevice, like being a hostage to be freed.

While certainly there are people who would like that, a lot of people would wander away, don’t you think?

Thats when Lindenlab decides they need a second grid for those people, who obviously have different needs. The second grid brings a lot back, like the ability to built clothes that are not armour and houses that are not fortresses. But again they don’t allow the freedom that once was. Marketing has said that those others love pastellcolors, so buldingcomponents are more broad and themed. No Prims anymore, only detailed meshes, so the basic “sweet” theme stays constant.

Do you think, that would be a good idea? Well, Lego did:

What once was a real life Version of what Second Life is for Kids, Build everything, be immersed in it (I think thats a difference between the age groups), and was a toy boys and girls could enjoy, and Alberto Knox once asked young philosophie apprentice Sophie:
“Why is Lego the most ingenious toy in the world?”

Well children who read Sophies world today might not understand the question and its implication, especially if they are, like Sophie, girls who nowadays get to see only a Barbie knockoff with a Lego label.

Why do people think its neccesary to have _only_ genderdivided toys? What happened here was that Lego started a marketing for only those people they thought of the biggest group of customers they assumed they had, which than came a selffulfilling prophecy until they asked how they could regain the other group, and thought, with even more specialiced stuff.

The sets are not even marketed as a group of peaces anymore, and as I read in a comment to a similar article, a father can’t get his son to built anything other than whats pictured on the box, its what he wished, not the parts.

In other words, there is nothing left that once made Lego the most ingenious toy in the world, I’m sorry, Alberto Knox. And Sophies World is a lot a shorter read this days, when in it ends with Sophia giving Alberto blank stares.

Let a real expert make the last words:

February 11, 2012

The customer, your enemy?

Posted in Second Life at 2:32 am by SarahAndrea Royce

When I buy something on the marketplace, I often write reviews with my honest opinion, because I think, that is what reviews are for.

Understandably, if a review is bad, the sellers am usually not happy about it. But for some, there is never anything they did wrong. Its their product, you, customer, have to be happy that the product is sold as it is at all!

I had one person who actually said she would write an (abuse, I think) report. OK, that was after I was calling her dim for the way she acted. In that particular case, it was a very cheap product (5 L$) which still was useless to me because it looked not anywhere near what the product description (and photo) promised, was set to full bright and concluded with the remark that, because its nomod, its completly useless for me. Well, she wrote in the product description that she does not want bad reviews because of the permissions. Yet the product was a texture on a typical 12 (actually 6) faces sculpt, often used for plants, and I think I have seen a fullperm version of this sculpt for free, so the no mod was completly unneccasary, there was simply no added value for it.

This is how it is marketed, and this is how it looks rezzed:

Bad roses

Click on it and set it to the highest resolution to see how badly the texture was cut and espacially how the “vase” is a bad joke. The marketplace picture is not the actual product, its just the texture, and the color of the background hides the ugly steps the borders make when shown against any other background.

The cheap price was no excuse for me, simply because you can get a lot of high quality flowers for that price, often intended as teaser for the higher priced products (and that worked often enough with me 😉  ) and, because of the price, I did not give her the worst possible notes.

Not even that, and she wants authorities to hunt me.

The other, very, very bad clash I had a while ago with the seller (he is not really the creator) of the F/O WINDY 2011

If you click on the link, you can see that the car has no reviews. That is simply because he made a new entry for it. The point is, the car is not bad for the 1000 L$ it is seen here. But it was marketed as a promo price and that the car later on will cost 4999L$. Inworld it had exactly that pricetag. And that puts it into premium range. Yet the car is not premium at all and even caused fatal scripting errors, when using the passenger seat.
passenger seat with animations doesn't work
Than there are JPEG compression fragments in the texture, on a level that would suggest an inexperienced builder.
JPEG Compression fragments
The script did not let me adjust the driving position (via menu) and the animations where not well made.
No chance of setting drivers seat position
And finally the camera position while driving was not really fixed and because I had custom cameraangles it was not driveable like that.
I wrote all that in my review, even missing something very relevant. The car is said to have 51 prims in the ad, yet it is a mesh car, and it has a serverweigh of 436(!) prims.

Pretty soon after it he contacted me. After a very violent opening he said that he would solve my problems, if I would delete the bad review (blackmailing? Nice, isn’t it?) I played along. So he gave me the newest version without the passenger seat problem, which he said was a bug of Second Life. I’m a software developer, if a software missbehaves because a 3rd party framework has a problem, no one will take that as an excuse, you have to make a workaround, which was obviously possible, as the newer version did not have this problem. Then we discussed the seating  problem, and he advised me how I can manually set the coordinates in the script, acting as if that was a feature I have overlooked. And quite naturally, the rest of my problems with the car he couldn’t fix. I pretty much learned that everything was done by someone else, the script was originally for drag-racers and if a I have a problem with the texture I should go and confront the designer. Nothing was his fault. And while he complained that he paid 50000 L$ for the script, he also said that he had sold 300 copies of the car (and noone ever complained!) so thats 300000 L$ already.

He finally muted me, because he didn’t like the fact that I tried to tell him how he could avoid those problems in the future. I didn’t delete the review, but made an comment on the review, telling what happened, he made a comment where he said that he just gave me an hour of personal support and how ungreatfull I am. Sell an appropriate peace of work, and you will not have to give support. If it is true, and no one ever complained, how many users never got their scripts fixed?

As the car, months later, is still sold at 1000l$ so the “later 4999L$, get one now” was a lie, too. The extremly high landimpact suggests its a little edited import of a “free” model from the internet.

Still, this guy feels perfectly entitled to virtually yell at unsatisfied customers.

No, I will not stop to write honest reviews, and when sellers react like this, I know which shops to avoid.

February 9, 2012

Late to the party

Posted in Second Life tagged , , , , , at 2:42 pm by SarahAndrea Royce

I finally got addicted to Meeroos.

In a german forum I regularly visit, Durandir Darvin gifted me a pair and I thought some pets might be a good addition to my home.

These are the two, Akira and Fluffy:

I was gifted a pair of meeroos

Then they had their first nest and I thought I could not let newhatched Akascha stay without a partner of her own, and bought a matching nest from another player, and now? Look at me:

My Meeroo garden on the roof
About two month in and I’ve got 12 living Meeroos and sell nests. And I know pretty well that will be not the highest number I will ever own.

Its my first contact with breedables, I never really liked other ones, most of them are pretty boring and produce a lot of lag, and I renember a hunt where I saw a lot of horsebreeders stalls, all with very sick and green horses, obviously because the hobby was abandoned. The Meeroos are different. They do not produce that much lag, they interact with you, and sparkle when yo pet them. There is only one downside. I started the Meeroos at the time, when the hype was over, and the secondary marketprices, that will eventually come down as each type of breadable has an exponential growth are down, and it even gets hard if you just want to gift certain nests, as you won’t find someone who will want or even need them. For many, the kick of making a hit with a Meeroonest selling for more than a 100’000 L$ was part of the fun, even if those might have been rare cases fo luck anyway.

The companie that makes the Meeroos has announced that there will be a fresh start with Nocturnals which might revive the hype, but they are about 4 Month over their initial timeline for it and many breeders didn’t want to wait any longer and abandondend the Meeroos alltogether.

By the way, even when you’re not into Meeroos, you can come over and pet mine, all you need is a hud and there is a giver for it. So if you like to pet them or want to see if I have Nests that you can trade or buy, come over to my place at Algira.