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Posts Tagged ‘problems’

Butterfly Beach

Butterfly Beach

Today’s jigsaw is another from Honour McMillan’s excellent blog, Honour’s Post Menopausal View (of Second Life).

In today’s post, The Serpent in the Second Life Paradise, she reflects on last night’s Designing Worlds show on griefing as she wanders the beautiful sim, Butterfly Beach.

The post will give you something to think about … and the jigsaw today is pretty tough too – so enjoy!

Click to Mix and Solve

Butterfly Beach, photographed by Honour McMillan

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Catch up with your Prim Perfect jigsaws (showing images of Second Life and other virtual worlds).

If you’d like to submit a photo of your own to feature as a jigsaw, send it to the Prim Perfect Flickr Group. It should be sized 800w x 600h, or else it will need to be re-sized.

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Arcachon Atlantique

Arcachon Atlantique

Some days you simply have to tear up the post you were writing – and write something else.

I was planning on writing a not-too-discouraged post today about the state of the grid, pointing out regions that were changing – in design, in theme, in ownership.  Even when some regions were being sold, there are still encouraging signs.

And then you land on Arcachon.

Arcachon - Closing

Arcachon – Closing

I have to admit, I’ve never been to Arcachon before.  We had it on our list of places that we really want to feature on Designing Worlds for its content, its authenticity, its wealth of learning and interactivity … but I had never been there myself.

There will, sadly, be no show now.

Arcachon

Arcachon

Based on the southwest of France, the Gironde, it once consisted of two sims.  Now it is just one, but Arcachon Atlantique has a lovely little harbour, huge beaches and an authentically French feel. On doesn’t just parler francais ici – part of its funding came a language institute developing a programme that would enable people to learn French through an immersive experience in Second Life and – in particular – in the charming region of Arcachon.

Learn French in Arcachon

Learn French in Arcachon

But that funding has run out, and Arcachon finds itself 50,000 Lindens short of the money that would see it continuing another month.

In five days it will be gone.

Arcachon farm

Arcachon farm, photo by Aisling Sinclair

So, once more, I am sharing a last chance to see. Because, unless a good angel steps in, the charming little French port with its stores, its windmill, its lighthouse, its camping sauvage and its cafe, its bandstand, its information about French and European customs, its boat rides, its bicycle tours, its fishing, its hot air balloon, its cute farm with its animals … all will be gone for good.

Arcachon at sunset, photo by Aisling Sinclair

Arcachon at sunset, photo by Aisling Sinclair

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Rosemist, photograph by Honour Macmillan

Rosemist Isle

Today’s jigsaw comes from an brilliant post written by Honour Macmillan yesterday on her blog – Honour’s Post Menopausal View (of Second Life). Yesterday she wrote about the griefing problem (There is no Second Amendment in Second Life; Crimes & the Lack of Punishment) that I talked about in my post too.

Yordie Sands and Inara Pey have also written about this too – I do recommend checking them all out.

And as a matter of urgency, contact Linden Lab and ask them to add Terms of Service Violation as a flag on the Marketplace, so that if you find tools designed to crash sims openly on sale on the Marketplace, you can report them. Currently you can only flag for listing violations and infringement of intellectual property rights (or standard sales things such as ‘not as advertised’).

But before you do that, let’s do a jigsaw, a photograph taken in the stunning sim of Rosemist Isle.

Click to Mix and Solve

Rosemist Isle, photograph by Honour Macmillan

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Catch up with your Prim Perfect jigsaws (showing images of Second Life and other virtual worlds).

If you’d like to submit a photo of your own to feature as a jigsaw, send it to the Prim Perfect Flickr Group. It should be sized 800w x 600h, or else it will need to be re-sized.

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I started a survey on people’s land occupancy in Second Life December 10th, and have been very pleased by the response.  I’ll be closing it at midnight tomorrow, 22nd December, and the results will be published over the Christmas break. So … if you haven’t shared your views, now is your last chance!

Please add your thoughts in the comments too!

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Greater Ireland: Limerick - now gone

Greater Ireland: Limerick – now gone

Daniel Voyager has reported today that the total net loss in private estates in Second Life since January 1st this year is now 2689, a decline of 11.3%. The total number of Main Second Life Grid regions is now 28254 ( 21168 private estates & 7086 Linden owned). The figures come from Tyche Shepherd who posts a weekly update about regions counts in Second Life during the past week on SLUniverse Forums.  Tyche adds that “it’s lower than the bottom of the post openspace repricing decline where we saw a bottom figure of 21195 private estates on 5th April 2009.”  It is, in fact, the lowest figure since July 2008. And it shows no sign of reversing – it’s a steady decline.

But what does this mean for you, and how does it affect your Second Life? What are your perceptions and experience? Please complete this survey – results are anonymous. But if you think there are important questions we are not asking, let us know!

Please add your thoughts in the comments too!

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The campaign to bring back Second Names for Second Lives grinds on – even though Linden Lab have apparently wandered away, disinterested.

Second Names for Second Lives!

Second Names for Second Lives!

But I still continue to watch the Jira (as do many, many other people.  It IS still important, you see – for a whole variety of people (not least of which is giving people a sense of belonging, that this is something beyond a game that they can switch to and from in mid-Steam).

Moreover, the legacy of Once There Were Real Names can be crippling, because the implications are still (Still! After all this time!) undigested by the Lab.

There’s a Jira currently out there which highlights one quite jaw-dropping problem you’d encounter. I had a notecard from Toady Nakamura of Grendel’s about it yesterday.

The situation relates to losing your password – a common enough problem.  If you go to the Second Life website to request a new one, you have to confirm your hint – pretty standard, and so far so good.  Then you are asked:

Three last names of your friends are listed below, what first names belong to them?

Well, let’s leave aside people like me with huge friends lists – so if presented with Last Name = Hax, I would be all at sea as to whether I should fill in Emmanuele, Ulyth or Robustus. I’m a power user and (hopefully) less likely to forget my password.

Instead imagine that you are someone who has been around for the last couple of years and has a regular friends list of … fifty? seventy?  Including people of your own generation, of course.  And you are presented with this:

Answer A: ___________ Resident
Answer B: ___________ Resident
Answer C: ___________ Resident

Second Names for Second Lives! Image designed by Toady Nakamura

Second Names for Second Lives! Image designed by Toady Nakamura

Ah, we are back in the Kafkaesque territory of second guessing the Lab.  Because, you see, the fiendish cunning of this ploy is not that you need to give the name of any three residents – “Oh, there’s Bob Resident, Lucy Resident and Tom Resident – I’ll put them.”  No – you have to identify … the exact three Residents that the Lab have in mind … and put them in the correct order*.

I’m unsure how many goes the Lab allow you.  Someone can calculate the mathematical probabilities of getting it right if you have, say, 10 avatars surnamed Resident on your list.  I should imagine you’re going to be getting into some serious number crunching in order to select the right three AND arrange them in the right order.

And let’s not even go into the fact that many, many Residents prefer to be known by display names and prefer to be known as, say, Bob Austen, to hide the fact that they originally signed up as WhatTheHellShallIPut.

I’m watching the Jira, and I would recommend that you do too, since we are told that voting no longer counts and only watchers will convince the Lab that action needs to be taken (although, to be honest, I’m not even convinced of that).

But when the Lab are looking for ways in which to retain users, perhaps lowering the barrier on retrieving a lost password might be among them.

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*Update – whether you need to list specific Residents in the correct order is currently being debated on the Last Name Jira. If you feel brave enough to experiment, please let me know!

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Today (Wednesday 11th July) there is going to be major roll out across the Second Life grid.  Those ominous words are enough to make long term Second Life residents brace as though facing a Force 9 gale, and then prepare to pick up the debris and assess the cost in its wake.

Only this time, we have warning of one cost of the storm in advance.

Mesh objects (such as vehicles) cannot physically cross from a pathfinding region into a non-pathfinding region, due to the upgrade to a newer version of the Havok physics engine.

Example of a mesh vehicle - the yacht provided to premium members in November 2011

Example of a mesh vehicle – the yacht provided to premium members in December 2011

Let’s look at that again.

Mesh objects (such as vehicles) cannot physically cross from a pathfinding region into a non-pathfinding region, due to the upgrade to a newer version of the Havok physics engine.

This, you see, is the big roll-out of the Pathfinder regions and, it seems, to accomplish this, the Lab are going to break a significant aspect of the grid. (See Known Issues on the Release Notes)

Magnum channels will be moving to the updated version. Main channel, Le Tigre and Blue Steel sims will stay on the old version … and while you can safely move from old to new, you won’t be able to move from new to old – as I understand the release notes.  So it seems that suddenly vehicles will break down at sim crossings and refuse to move through. And because the average Second Life user doesn’t read Jiras, Release Notes (like the one explaining all this) or accounts of office hours, they are not going to know why their mesh objects will stall and fail.

Followmeimthe Piedpiper's lovely Brough motorcycle - a mesh vehicle

Followmeimthe Piedpiper’s lovely Brough motorcycle – a mesh vehicle

The point is – as Oskar Linden has said, this is not a bug. It’s a known incompatibility and, to get promised jam tomorrow, we’re going to have to munch on mouldy bread today.

In Oskar Linden’s words:

 “It’s not a bug. It is an incompatibility between Havok versions. Havok is what models physics on the simulator side. Mesh objects (vehicles made of mesh or maybe like mesh bullets) will give that error when going ‘backwards in versions’. So if a mesh object goes from a Pathfinding region to a non Pathfinding region the older version of Havok cannot handle it. This issue will be resolved once the Pathfinding code is live everywhere. Until then it will be an awkward experience and we apologize for that.”

So we are left to hope that the whole Pathfinder roll-out will be found smooth, simple and bug free so that it can be rolled out swiftly to the entire grid.  The likelihood of that happening? I guess we’re rolling dice here.

Nalates has been analysing this with her customary flair (and really, for technical knowledge read her, not me).

I’ve been asking around to see what exactly is meant by “mesh objects”.  Does it, for example, affect mesh hair, or mesh clothes that move with the wearer?  The consensus appears to be that those will not be affected by the Havok versions.  But, you know, I’ll wait and see what happens when meshed-up fashionistas, petities and other mesh avatars attempt to make the sim crossings.

Vehicle designers – at least the canny ones who keep their ears to the ground (or rather to Linden Lab office hours) are stalling releasing new products until the issue is resolved – they don’t want to sell products that are obviously going to appear to be broken.

One solution would have been to rollout the release by continent but, apparently, Linden Lab don’t have the capacity to handle a continent-wide rollout at this time.

“We knew it would affect mesh,” Oskar Linden said, “but mesh vehicles aren’t so popular grid wide yet.”

A rather surprising comment when you consider that Linden Lab’s last two special gifts to Premium  Members (as a reward for their loyalty and loot) have been …

A mesh yacht and a mesh railcar.

Another example of a mesh vehicle - the railcar provided to premium members in May 2012

Another example of a mesh vehicle – the railcar provided to premium members in May 2012

But the Lab do face an unenviable dilemma.  At Nalates says:

The Lindens are considering ways to minimize the impact of Havok upgrades while in testing on the main grid’s release channels. The problem is Second Life needs to advance with technology and the Havok updates are problematic because of what the Havok people do. The Lab has a no-win decision to make: advance the SL tech and have problems or stop upgrades and fall further behind technologically.

The Havok update problem highlights one of the community problems too. A number of peeps in the community want to avoid change. Another number of peeps want the latest and greatest. It is a dilemma of sorts.

It is indeed.

All in all, as so often with Second Life, one is reminded of the tale of the Irish farmer who was asked for directions by a couple of lost but hopeful tourists.

He gazed at them for a long moment, frowned a little and then slowly said, “Well … if I were you … I wouldn’t start from here.”

Photos by Da5id Abbot

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