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Tag Archives: Second Life Blog

I’ll have to start cutting myself…

UPDATE: I am no longer active in Second Life. If you meet anyone in SL who claims to be me, please ignore them!

July 16 2011 Ill have to start cutting myself...

Hello friendly friends icon biggrin Ill have to start cutting myself... Unfortunately there will be no Virtual Fashion Look of the Week for this week but I thought that I would at least snap and share a picture of what I am wearing although I won’t be going into detail about it. I’ve been too busy working on other things to even think about shopping for new goodies or taking the time to fashion a fabulous new look. Yes I know it’s terrible, please don’t rub it in otherwise I’ll have to start cutting myself… Just Kidding.

In other news. I’m really loving my new job at Lionheart Virtual Estate. In addition to assisting with pre-sale support I will also be handing events. It is really awesome to be working with such a great community and I am really excited about where things will go from here. Many thanks to Dirk and Xavion for giving me this opportunity!

P.S. If you want a tasty snack, grab a Meeroo burger from Jolly Farm. I hear they’re totally delicious ^.^

Reporting, Rambling and Ranting

UPDATE: I am no longer active in Second Life. If you meet anyone in SL who claims to be me, please ignore them!

I’m sitting here on my bed, half asleep and waiting for the boiler to heat up so that I can take a bath before I go so sleep. To conserve energy and play or part in helping the environment we’ve put our heating on a digital timer which automatically switches on and off at certain times. This however is not one of those times so I had to manually over-ride it. There is no way I’m going to bed smelling like an ox so I’ll wait up until the water is at a decent temperature.

In other news: I’ve taken on the role of events manager at Lionheart Virtual Estate and I am really excited about it. As for the [DV] Store; it has recently been torn down to make space for a new “life size” virtual office which will be the new DAVIDVENTER.NET headquarters in SL. There will also be a new photo studio and a complete information center on all the services that I offer in both the real and the virtual world. Watch this space for more information about that coming soon.

The Miss Virtual World website update is long over-due. I’ll be working on that in the coming days so that the updates go live before the main event. I still haven’t received any word from BlackBarbie or Frolic about any sponsorships so I’ve been postponing the updates since I’m not earning anything from it anyway. I was also quite sad to not see my name as part of the web team in the BOSL magazine. Here’s hoping that the situation will improve soon.

I’m stressing about my Virtual Fashion Look of the Week since I haven’t had the time (or the money) to fashion a new look for this week yet. I might discontinue the Virtual Fashion Look of the Week and turn it into a Look of the Month instead, unless of course other content creators start flooding my inventory with stuff to blog.

That’s all the reporting, rambling and ranting you’ll get from me today since I’m writing this post on my mobile and don’t feel like typing lengthy essays on this tiny keyboard. Time for bath, Jira and bed. Till next time…

~ Much Love. xxx

Official DAVIDVENTER.NET Second Life™ Group

UPDATE: This group is no longer active because I am no longer in Second Life. If you meet anyone in the virtual world who claims to be me, please ignore them; they are imposters.

If you’re living the virtual lifestyle and would like to stay in the loop about everything related to me, myself and I, you’re welcome to join the official DAVIDVENTER.NET Second Life™ Group. Simply search for ‘DAVIDVENTER.NET’ in-world or click here to view the group web profile.

I’ve disabled group chat to keep spam to a minimum and I will only send out a maximum of two notices per week, unless of course something really important and noteworthy takes place. Join now to stay up to date with the awesomeness.

See you in Second Life icon smile Official DAVIDVENTER.NET Second Life™ Group

Getting Better Camera Placement In the SL Viewer

UPDATE: I am no longer active in Second Life. If you meet anyone in SL who claims to be me, please ignore them!

Following up on Penny’s recent article on how scale affects content creation and land ownership in Second Life, I recommend another useful article from Penny on how to get better camera placement in the SL Viewer. Just in case you’ve missed the link in the previous article, here is the full follow-up by Penny Patton:

Camera placement is important. In the video game industry this is common wisdom. Game developers spent decades experimenting, improving and pretty much perfecting the art of camera placement in 3D video games.

Unfortunately, the SL camera does not take advantage of any of that experience. As a result, the camera sits way over your avatar’s head, angled down. Not very immersive or engaging. More like you’re watching a character from afar rather than interacting with the world through them.

This has also affected how we build. It’s common knowledge that avatars are generally oversized, often close to 7 or 8′ tall, some pushing almost 9′. And yet, the environments we build and explore are larger still, often fully double scale compared to real life. 5m high ceilings instead of the more typical 2.59, 20x20m rooms instead of 10x10m or 5x5m rooms. We need to build so much larger to compensate for SL’s camera.

Some will point out that you need to compensate for any third person view. This is correct, however with a proper 3rd person view you’d only really be affected by a room as small as about 2x3m, like a bathroom or walk in closet. You’d easily be able to navigate a 5x5m apartment with a typical 2.59m high ceiling.

The irony of all this up-scaling is that it makes SL smaller. We can’t re-size our land to match, afterall, so we either need to buy more or settle for a “smaller” build.

These up-scaled builds also eat more of our allotted prims. A 20x20m room might take 16 prims where the same room done to 10x10m scale takes up only 1/4th the land area and can be done in a mere 6 prims (or even 3 prims if you build as efficiently as possible) because you don’t bump heads with that 10x10x10m prim size limit.

So here you are. Alternate camera settings you can easily enter into the viewer’s debug panel to get a better look at Second Life.

———————————————————-

CameraOffsetDefault (In Viewer 1 based viewers, including TPVs like Ascent/Phoenix/Imprudence)

CameraOffsetRearView (In Viewer 2 including TPVs such as Kirstens, Starlight and Catznip)
X: -2.000
Y: -0.400 (Make positive for a left shoulder view or keep 0.000 for a centred view.)
Z: -0.200

FocusOffsetDefault (In Viewer 1 based viewers, including TPVs like Ascent/Phoenix/Imprudence)

FocusOffsetRearView (In Viewer 2 including TPVs such as Kirstens, Starlight and Catznip)
X: 0.900
Y: -0.700 (Make positive for a left shoulder view or keep 0.000 for a centred view.)
Z: 0.200


In addition, Viewer 2.1 on up supports multiple camera presets in the form of “Rear View”, “Front View” and “Side View”. The settings I name above are to overwrite your rear view, which is the default setting SL will always revert to. You can also overwrite the Front and Side views with whatever camera settings you find useful.

To find the other debug settings replace the “RearView” portion of the name with “FrontView” or “GroupView” to alter the front and side view camera presets. In your View window in the SL viewer you can switch between these views with the press of a button.

[View the article on the Second Life Community Forums]

Happy Birthday to ME!

UPDATE: I am no longer active in Second Life. If you meet anyone in SL who claims to be me, please ignore them!

As many of you already know, yesterday (July 1st) was my 24th birthday. I didn’t make any plans to celebrate the occasion so the day turned out to be quite dull. My mother took me out to get my hair done and bought me some birthday cake. When we reached the counter, the cashier asked if we’re celebrating a birthday. My mother said that it was my birthday and asked the cashier to guess my age. She thought I was 18. That really made my day because I’ve felt so old and stale lately.

birthdaybitch 495x381 Happy Birthday to ME!

I have this theory that we look as old as we act and feel. If you live a more youthful life you will look younger for longer and what goes on inside your head plays a large role on how your body functions and ages. I’m glad that I still look like a teenager. On the contrary this very fact have caused me to lose out on many business opportunities because large firms gave me one look thinking “who is this little boy trying to do business with us.” Instead of giving me a chance to offer a service better than most of the older-looking guys could.

After getting home I spent some time with my virtual family in Second Life and then watched some reality TV while drinking a bottle of wine, eventually falling asleep. I was rather upset that my birthday was so uneventful and that my boyfriend didn’t even show up to spend the day with me. He promised to make it up to me though, so I hope that he will live up to that promise soon!

Thanks a lot to everyone who sent me birthday wishes on Facebook and Twitter, you guys are awesome!

A Matter of Scale – How scale affects content creation and land ownership in Second Life.

UPDATE: I am no longer active in Second Life. If you meet anyone in SL who claims to be me, please ignore them!

[Guest post by Penny Patton ]

This article is intended as an informative post about the practical and aesthetic implications of scale for content creators in SL. It is not a judgement against large avatars, only an objective assessment of the affects of scale on SL and how both content creators and Linden Lab would benefit from encouraging the trend towards properly scaled avatars.

If you’re new to SL you may not have realized it yet, but scale is really, incredibly “off” in SL.

If you’re an experienced builder you probably realize it but aren’t aware of all the ways in which it affects you.

How is Scale Broken in SL?

New users coming in to SL may notice that the Appearance Editor displays your avatar’s height when you go to edit your shape. If so then you’ve seen that the starter avatars are shown to be around 6’3″ for the women, and up to about 6’6″-6’7″ (About 2m tall!) for the men.

Those are some exceptionally tall avatars!

But it’s worse than that. The height displayed in the appearance editor is broken. It’s actually giving you a height about six inches (0.15m) shorter than you actually are. So when it says you’re 6’7″, you are actually 7’1″ (2.16m) tall!

To put that in perspective, the average man in North America is a mere 5’10″/ 1.78m and the average NBA basketball player is a miniscule 6’6″/1.98m.

Case in point, here’s my avatar next to the “average guy” in SL. My avatar is 5’7″/1.70m, which is tall for a North American woman.

 A Matter of Scale   How scale affects content creation and land ownership in Second Life.

That’s just the difference of a couple of feet. The male mesh can get as tell as 8’10″/2.69m.

So how does this affect you?

I. The Practical Issues: Land

1. Land in SL is finite. - Yes, yes. Anything is possible in SL, but only if you can fit it on your land. Since land is a set size, when you make content and avatars larger you are effectively making land smaller. When you double the size of something you are increasing the amount of area it requires four times. Four 10x10m rooms can fit in the space of a single 20x20m room.

2. More land costs more money. - Your double sized house won’t fit on a 512sq.m. parcel? You need to pay more money to increase your land until the house will fit. 512sq.m. is actually a lot of space. Chances are, if your house was not double sized it would fit easily into a 512sq.m. parcel and still have room for a comfortably spacious yard. You are effectively paying more money for less land when you up-scale.

3. Larger environments spread people out more. - People often complain SL feels like a ghost town, with many sims going empty a majority of the time. Reducing how spread out people are due to rampant over-scaling would reduce this issue by condensing, on average, four sims’ worth of content to a single sim.

II. The Practical Issues: Building

1. Larger builds require more prims - This, of course ,does not apply to small items like chairs, cars, hats, etcetera but you better believe it applies to environments and other large-scale creations.  If whatever you’re building goes larger than 10m at any point up-scaling begins to waste prims. A 10x10m room that requires 6 prims jumps up to 16 prims if you scale it up to 20mx20m. When you’re talking a whole house you are likely at least doubling the prim count.

2. Larger builds mean less detailed environments. - As you probably gathered from the above, since a larger build requires more prims this leaves you with fewer prims to work with in creating detail for your environment. Because of this you do not expierience the imaginary issue of “unused space” when working to scale, because you wind up having the prims free to fill that space with additional content and detail. Scale a house down to 1=1 scale and the prims you free up allow you to landscape a yard and add more furniture inside the house. If anything, scaling up leads to unused space as you don’t have the prims available to flesh out the environment.

3. The default camera adds an additional metre or two that you need to compensate for in environments. - 8′ tall avatars already require a lot of upscaling of the environment to compensate for, but SL has abysmally poor camera placement. The camera floats at least a metre over your head, looking at a downward angle on your avatar. That’s extra height you need to compensate for when setting ceiling heights in a build. As a resident, this limits where you can go in SL without experience camera clipping issues that prevent you from being able to see inside a build without going into mouselook.

Existing sims such as 1920’s BerlinDoomed Ship and others already recognize these scale issues and have made a point of working to a smaller scale. In doing so they have been able to create environments that would require, both in size and detail, 3-4 sims if created with SL’s usual scale problems.

To illustrate the above points on a smaller scale, I was able to take Pre’Fabulous’ “The Old Barn” and cut the prim count by abouthalf when I shrunk it down to half size. I was able to do the same for my own shop’s building in The Wastelands. This also helped me change my shop’s build from a single building taking up the entire parcel, to a much more detailed landscape including two bombed out structures, an off-sim landscape, and allowed me to create and detail two additional rooms to my shop’s scaled down building.

 A Matter of Scale   How scale affects content creation and land ownership in Second Life.

 A Matter of Scale   How scale affects content creation and land ownership in Second Life.

 A Matter of Scale   How scale affects content creation and land ownership in Second Life.

 A Matter of Scale   How scale affects content creation and land ownership in Second Life.

The above four pictures are all of a 2048qs.m. parcel, the build is a total of 463 prims. That’s only twice the size of a 512sq.m. parcel! (Remember, twice the size is four times the area.) The shop area (the last three pictures) make up only a small portion of the build. The landscape around the shop is fully fleshed out with burnt tree husks, bombed out structures, a water tower, a military tank, etcetera.

Here’s a top down view of said 2048sq.m. parcel. My avatar is the black dot in the middle of the red circle. The orange area is the off sim landscape. The blue rectangle marks the parcel area, the smaller green rectangle is a 512sq.m. area overlayed across the shop building, illustrating how the shop itself can fit easily inside that amount of land.

 A Matter of Scale   How scale affects content creation and land ownership in Second Life.

III. The Practical Issues: Avatars

1. Larger avatars have more issues with proportions. - The appearance editor sliders are not made with thought given to how large avatars can be in SL. Because of this, some of the sliders cannot keep body proportions in check on oversized avatars. The arm length slider on women is the primarily culprit. Arms are skewed much, much shorter for the female avatar mesh than the male mesh. A properly sized male avatar can achieve a correct “wingspan” with the Arm Length slider set at around 60. A properly sized female avatar requires the slider to be set between 90-100 o the slider. Several sliders increase avatar height, arm length is not affected by any of them. So when you increase the size of a female avatar who already required an arm length of 100 to be proportional, it becomes entirely impossible for her arm length to be proportionate to her height.

 A Matter of Scale   How scale affects content creation and land ownership in Second Life.

 A Matter of Scale   How scale affects content creation and land ownership in Second Life.

2. Building attachments around large avatars limits who can use your attachments. - Most content creators build attachments to sell around their own personal avatar size. This is a bad habit. This limits your customer base, at least your satisfied customers, to avatars at least as large as your own. It is easy to scale an attachment up, but can be difficult, or impossible to scale an attachment down.  Create an “attachment building” shape that is around 4’5″-5′ tall, as small as you can get it while retaining adult proportions. Build attachments around this shape, then scale them up to fit your own avatar when you box them up for sale. This will ensure that all avatars of at least the size of your “attachment building” shape are able to wear your attachments with ease.

IV. The Aesthetic Issues

1. Coherent scale allows for better looking environments. - Scale is a part of design and composition. Good design means better looking environments. Currently SL has no coherent scale. Things are not even consistently up-scaled. Avatars are scaled up to about 1 and 1/3 larger than realistic. Furniture is often created around individual avatars, meaning it can be made for avatars anywhere between 6′ tall and 9′ tall. Environments are often done to fully double scale. Vehicles tend to be a mess of scale, either too larger or too small for any given avatar or their surrounding environment. All of this contributes to SL just looking like a mess. Even the best of SL environments often suffer these flaws.

2. Cohesive scale makes more immersive/engaging environments. - With the mess of scale described above any sense of immersion is shattered, or at least greatly reduced. A small minority of RP sims recognize this issue and build accordingly, with amazing results. When everything (environment, vehicles, furniture, avatars) are all in scale together, consistently, it creates a much stronger sense of immersion, of “being there”. This is one reason why videogames and other virtual worlds place far more restrictions on character size, or remove the ability to change size altogether.

3. Coherent scale allows you to use scale for deliberate effect. - “If everybody is tall, then nobody is tall.” Height is relative. But when there’s limits to size and everyone crowds one end of the scale, you wind up limiting options. In SL, most people tend to crowd the extreme tall end of the spectrum, 7′ to 9′ tall. This means it’s impossible to create a giant avatar that towers over the average person without resorting to crude hacks.

Let’s take a look at how this affects SL in the setting of a role-play environment by showing two characters from the sci-fi/horror sim “Doomed Ship”. A gigantic demon beast and a human engineer. Here’s how it looks if the “human” is the size of your average SL man.

 A Matter of Scale   How scale affects content creation and land ownership in Second Life.

That gigantic demon winds up being only about a head taller than our measly 7’5″ human. Sure, the demon is bigger, but not by much. And that’s not even a human with maxed out height.

Let’s take a look at this same pair if the human engineer is only about 6′ tall.

 A Matter of Scale   How scale affects content creation and land ownership in Second Life.

Now there’s a huge difference! Without any hacks or cheats, we have a tremendously intimidating demon beast that literally towers over our hapless human engineer.

 

Avatars can be anywhere from about 4’5″ to nearly 9′ tall while retaining adult proportions. You can go as short as about 3′ tall with dwarf/child proportions. Moving the size of the adult average avatar more to the middle of that scale, as opposed to the extremes, allows for a wider variety in sizes. A more creative and diverse population of avatars.

But isn’t it too late? Won’t scaling down now break all kinds of content?

No. Content is already broken due to scale, as illustrated above. An 8′ tall avatar is not in scale to a double sized house, or to furniture created by a 6’5″ builder. Most moddable items in SL can be scaled down with only a modest amount of effort. No-mod items are generally a bad idea in any case and should certainly not be an excuse against much needed improvement. Anyone who has been in SL over the years should realize that new, better content tends to lead to older content being phased out over time anyways.

Sure, old content may get phased out over time, but wouldn’t we be stuck with content even more oversized if we all scaled down right now?

Anyone who has already scaled their avatar down can tell you it is not nearly as big an issue as people tend to think. Also, there is no way to scale down all SL avatars in mass anyways. Anything done, by the residents or by LL themselves, will only speed up a trend. Time will take care of the rest.

What could LL do to fix this problem?

LL can do a few key things that will, again, give the existing trend towards smaller avatars a much needed boost.

1) They can improve the camera placement. All it takes to vastly improve the SL camera placement is changing a few numbers in the debug menu. Anyone can do this easily, but only a very small minority tend to change defaults so it would be ideal if LL changed the defaults themselves. Instructions on how to do so are here.

2) LL can provide properly scaled avatars to new residents. Seriously, the starter avatars need to be replaced anyways. LL needs to give new residents good looking, properly proportioned avatars if they want to shake SL’s reputation for poor graphics, addressing the scale issue head on with new accounts would be a large step in that direction as well.

3) They can make better use of scale and proportion in their public works projects. This does not mean making buildings and welcome areas too small for existing over-sized avatars. A theater or an auditorium isn’t going to have 3m high ceilings and most Welcome Areas/Infohubs tend to be primarily open air environments at any rate.

4) They can fix AgentHeight so the appearance editor displays correct avatar height. – Jira Entry.

 

But why would LL want to address this problem? Wouldn’t it reduce the amount of land people want to own?

Not in the slightest.You need to consider how value and cost impact demand.

Have you ever actually heard of a resident saying, “Gee, I wish I had less land!”? Probably not. If anything, people always wish they could get more for the amount of land they do own. They are already paying what they are willing to pay based on both their ability to pay and the value they attribute to land.

They would not tier down if they realized they could do more by reducing the scale of their avatar and build, they would continue to fill out the space they own, just with more content. That is how demand works. People are willing to pay X amount for a minimum amount of perceived value. What they’re willing to pay does not go down as perceived value rises. If anything, it will rise to meet their ability to pay.

In addition, as the value of land skyrocket so does demand. People who previously wrote off smaller parcels of land because they believed they could not use it for anything worthwhile would be flocking to the land store once they were shown the possibilities.

Encouraging better use of scale is win/win for everybody.

Residents win with a larger, better looking SL with greater diversity and creativity possible with avatars.

Content creators win with greater freedom and flexibility in creating content for SL, and a better understanding of scale helps them to create content that can be used by all avatars regardless of size.

Linden Lab wins most of all in greater demand for land of all tier levels, and a greater influx/retention of new customers drawn in by a better looking and more engaging Second Life experience.

[ View the article on the Second Life Community Forums ]

Virtual fashion obsession revisited

UPDATE: I am no longer active in Second Life. If you meet anyone in SL who claims to be me, please ignore them!

Dressing up and regularly changing outfits in Second Life have become as common and generally practiced as in the real world. Most virtual fashionistas would change their avatar’s clothing at least once a day or more. Some have even gone to the extreme of never wearing the same thing twice. In a virtual world where a complete outfit including shoes and accessories will generally cost you no more than $2 to $5 USD it has become very easy and cheap for the fashion obsessed to indulge their addiction with the latest fashions all the time.

I first joined Second Life back in 2007 but due to the terrible new user experience I didn’t stay for very long. General interest in the creative aspects of the 3D virtual world made me return again in late 2008 with a second avatar. The second time around I met really great friends who I’ve remained very close to till this very day. Those friends have helped me get past the new user learning curve and I quickly got drawn into the world of virtual fashion. It wasn’t long before I became one of those fashion obsessed users.

A couple of years down the line I found myself with my fifth main avatar and maintaining this virtual fashion obsession on so many avatars was no longer much fun, instead it became tiring and expensive. I lost the interest in owning multiple avatars and decided to create a new account to be used as my only and thus David Venter was rezzed on November 18, 2010. Yes, I’ve decided to use my real name in Second Life. As much as I still love and obsess over the virtual fashion industry I find it to be very time-consuming, especially when trying to balance various other interests and projects on the side. The great thing about Second Life is that avatars don’t get dirty and clothes never crease, this together with my time constraints made me decide to stop obsessing over changing my virtual outfit daily. Instead, I’ve ended up wearing the same outfit for weeks or even months on end.

Wearing the same outfit for such a long time made it feel like I was neglecting my avatar and fashion obsession. Now, to compensate I’ve decided to change my virtual outfit at least once a week and to stop myself from neglecting this decision I’ve also decided to start publishing a virtual fashion look of the week, every week for as long as I possibly can. This should make me feel good about my avatar again as well as providing a sufficient fix for my virtual fashion addiction whilst still leaving me with enough time and money to pay attention to all my other projects and interests.

Just in case something else pops up, I’m not going to bind myself down by promising an update on a specific day of the week. I will, however be publishing my virtual fashion look of the week somewhere during Mondays through Fridays. Weekends are reserved for “me time” which means that I generally don’t publish anything at all over the weekends unless the articles have been pre-written on the Thursday or Friday and scheduled to go live during the weekend.

Now that I’ve given a tiny glimpse of you can expect from DAVIDVENTER.NET moving forward I hope that you’ll stay tuned to see what outfits I can cook up on a weekly basis. I will most probably end up using some clothing and accessory items in various outfits but each outfit will have its own unique style. This will be done to show that one item of clothing can be a part of many themes and that you don’t always need to cough up money for an entirely new outfit when you can instead just mix and match what you’ve got to create a brand new look. To kick things off I’ve put together a very special outfit which can only be re-produced in very rare cases. Watch this space.

 

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