Distractions

Image Source: www.pinterest.com
Image Source: http://www.pinterest.com

The last several days I’ve taken a step back to reflect and decide where I want to go on several fronts.

I’m still not exactly sure where I’m going, but I’m getting there. 🙂

To distract myself, I’ve been doing some behind the scenes work with my blog as well as spending some time exploring around SL.

There’s always something to do – pictures to take, events to visit, etc.

I’ve been to several events over the last several days, including Collabor88.

I didn’t think I’d find much to interest me, as I’m not really into ‘punk’ as a style.

Surprisingly, I found several items I absolutely loved.

The darling outfit from r2 I showed in a LOTD post and there are some other items coming soon. 🙂

The Pose Fair is going on right now, and I’ve been wandering around for the last couple of days, discovering some new/new to me pose makers.

I’m not sure I even made it around to all the vendors, but after two days I had to call it quits.

Mostly because I was broke, lol. 😛

I can’t wait to open all the boxes and start using all the new poses!

Lag Help!

Image Source:  sla2z.wordpress.com
Image Source: sla2z.wordpress.com

I saw this tip in the SL Blogger group, tried it, and it worked like a charm!

So, I thought I’d share it with you. 🙂

When you go someplace laggy (like Collabor88 or the Arcade, etc), hit ctrl+alt+shift+4.

It will derender all the avatars, including you.  (I am using the FS viewer, FYI.)

So you avoid laggy people, and it renders all the stuff you actually want to see first. 😀

You have to cam shop (which I do anyway), you can’t move, but it was soo much faster!

Just hit the same keys again to bring everyone (and yourself) back.

Happy Shopping!

I’m Late, I’m Late!

Image Source:  www.tumblr.com
Image Source: http://www.tumblr.com

I feel like the white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland.

I have too many things to do and not enough time to get them all done.

Ack!

I’ve been so busy already this morning that I almost forgot to post something here.

There are tons of events going on right now, and I haven’t made it to as many as I would like.

I did go look around at Uber and found a darling outfit I hope to use in a number at some point.

I still haven’t made it into Collabor88, which is killing me, because their theme this round is

UNICORNS!!!!!

I try to tp in, but keep getting that darn ‘sim is full’ message.

I’ll keep trying though, because – unicorns!!!

I think We ❤ Roleplay is open now, although I haven’t made it there either.

I really should look and see if there is a list or calendar somewhere with all the events and their dates on it.

If there isn’t, someone should totally make one.  😛

I still have a few fires to put out, but once they are extinguished, I will have more time to write.

Wish me luck!

Breakthrough!

Image Source: lornawellness.com
Image Source: lornawellness.com

On Day 17 of my adventures with the Artiste HUD (17 has always been a lucky number for me), I had a breakthrough.

I had been fussing and futzing and fighting with the stupid curtain fade.

I wanted the curtain to fade, then my other object, and then my other events to start happening.  I couldn’t seem to get the curtain to fade fast enough.  I would have just changed the fade script to make it fade faster, but the curtain was no-mod.  So, what to do?

I began playing with the timings of event 0, trying to make it last longer, so the curtain would fade out completely before the next event happened.

I made it bigger.  I made it smaller.

Nothing worked.

And then, I remembered something from the manuals.

When you use an event 0, it causes an anomaly with the timing.  Whatever the time of your event 0 is (say 2 secs) then 2 times your event duration (2 secs) is the amount (which would be 4 secs here) your timings will be off for the rest of your events.

AHA!

So because I was using an event 0, and my next event (#1) was only 2 secs long, I was confusing the poor HUD.  Because my event 0 lasted for 2 secs, my timings would be off by 4 secs for the rest of the events.  With event 1 only being 2 secs long, no wonder things weren’t happening in the order I wanted them to!

I felt like I was on the verge of finally understanding how all these different pieces fit together.  Ever cautious, I sent a message to Yummy to clarify that I understood how events fired.  So that would mean with an event #1 of 2 secs, and an event #2 of 3 secs, I press play, 2 secs later event #1 fires, and 3 secs after that (5 secs after pressing play), my event #2 would fire.

She verified that my understanding was correct.

Eureka!

So, with my new-found understanding, I deleted my pesky event #0.  I realized that I had been constrained because of the way all other systems work in SL.

Normally, when you design a routine, you base everything off your audio cue – the start of the music.  You press play when the music starts, and everything needs to fall into place from there.

However, because I can choose when to start the music by playing it through the Director, I didn’t have that constraint anymore.

With no need for an event #0, I reworked my events timeline.  The curtain fade would be the first event, then my second fade, then my other actions would follow.

After making all the changes, I reset my palettes and my HUD.

With baited breath, I pressed play and waited to see what would happen.

IT WORKED!!!!!

Everything happened in the order I wanted it to, and the pesky curtain faded out completely prior to everything else.

I was so elated! I felt as though I had had a major breakthrough, and certain that I now had a firm grasp of how everything worked, I immediately began working on the rest of the routine.

The failure and the frustrations of Day 16 melted away and I was energized and excited to not only finish this routine, but to start working on more!

Day 6 with the Artiste HUD

Image Source:  the24daychallengeexperiment.wordpress.com
Image Source: the24daychallengeexperiment.wordpress.com

Continuing the trend for day 5, I had to work on several other projects and did not have the time to spend with the Artiste until pretty late in the evening.

However, I wanted to try a few more things, so I sat down to work.  I started looking over my notes from the previous days.

I need to remember that there is an option to trigger the palette as a mover directly from the sequence nc, so that both the dance sequence and the mover start immediately, rather than having that initial 2 second delay because of events.

I also made a note to go back at some point and test whether I can change the names of the moves in the palette nc.  I can’t remember if Yummy said you can or not, or if it’s better just to use the names the palette generates when you use DumpMoves.

Yummy also notified the group that she will be adding some pieces of the Director series of products into the Performer’s series, so I should be getting a few new pieces, the message board and Dance Diva.  Yay!  More stuff to learn and play with!

It’s VERY IMPORTANT to remember to RESET the HUD any time you make a change to the *config nc.  I’ve neglected to do that a few times, and it causes no end of problems.

With the little time I had, I decided to go back and refresh myself about events.

There are two methods for events – duration and elapsed.  Duration is like the HUDDLES and Barre – you say how long you want each event to last.  Elapsed is like the ‘timeline’ of SpotOn – you start at zero and end at however long your routine is.  You specify which method you want to use on the *events nc.  I think I will stick with elapsed, since I am used to that one.

The only thing that happens exactly ON the event is an auto-strip or auto-adorn, according to the manuals.  So does that mean the other stuff uses the lead-times?  (I know lead-times are going to confuse me.)  You can also add multiple things to happen on each autofx line (and autorez), within the 255-character limit.  So you can make multiple things happen at once, something I definitely need to be able to do!

I think strip-rounds (adorns/removes) go on the *orders01 nc.  There are 20 rounds listed there as default, so that should be plenty.

In addition to the two methods for events (duration and elapsed), you can also specify a method for calculating your events.  The three methods to calculate are calculated, specific, and custom.  (You can set this from the HUD menu – [EXTRAS]>[EVENTS].)

Calculated events are for when you know the length of your routine/song and you want to experiment with the number of events (called the Event Count).  It’s called calculated because the HUD will divide the show length by the number of events (both of which you set) and come up with a calculated interval/duration for each event.

Show length and event count can be found on the *config nc.  You can also specify the event count through the HUD menu (but not show length).  It is ok to leave ‘calculated events’ on, even if you are not using that method.  The ‘event count’ only matters if you are using calculated.  (Remember that MaxGroups determines the number of strip-rounds, not event count – so it probably makes sense to make your event count equal your MaxGroups.)

The specific method is really the most useful for testing moves.  Set each event to a specific interval (like 5 secs) and then run through your routine quickly.  Specific is just evenly spaced events as a duration you specify – 5 secs, 7 secs, 10 secs, etc.  You can specify the interval using the HUD menu or on the *config nc.

Custom events lets you set a different duration for each event (if that is what you want).  You can specify custom events using either the duration or elapsed methods.  Custom events are created using the *events nc.  Some examples:

TRACE, off                                                                         TRACE, off
ELAPSED                                                                           DURATION
1,intro, 21                                                                          1,intro, 21
2,exterior,43                                                                     2,exterior,22
3,striphigh,66                                                                   3,striphigh,23
4,verse,90                                                                         4,verse,24
5,chorusp,115                                                                  5,chorusp,25

Both of these methods will have events happen at the same time in the routine.  The difference is how you set your timings using elapsed versus duration.

You can use the HUD menus to change some event-based parameters – name, duration, and event count.  You can change custom durations on the *events nc or through the HUD.  There is an anomaly is you try to use an event #0 (for things like opening the curtain and logging into the tip jar, for example).  It will cause the timings to be off.  So, I may try to avoid using an event #0 to avoid the issue.

At this point I feel like I have a good handle on events, so I’m moving on to emotes.

My next step is to follow the manuals and create some adhoc emotes.  I read a bit about emoting on Day 4, but didn’t really have time to test through any of it.

You create adhoc emotes from the HUD menu ([EXTRAS]>[RELOAD]>EmoteDetails.  This will bring up a dialog box where you can enter the text of your emotes. Press AddEmote, get the pop-up box, click inside the white area, and type your emote.

Use the Next> button to see the adhoc emotes.  Use the ListEmotes button to send your emotes to local chat.  I created 3 short emotes and tested them out.  Success!

You can also create a nc with your emotes and load it into the HUD.  For example, I created a nc titled *emLament to write out all my emotes (this is also called an emote-detail set).

An emote-detail set can have up to 10 emote lines, one for each strip-round.  You can create 11 emote-detail sets.  (Handy if you are performing more than 1 act during a show.)

Make sure that the title of your emote nc is listed on the *emotetitles nc in the HUD.  You specify which emote detail-set you want to use via the HUD menu – {EXTRAS]>RELOAD>EmoteDetails.  Then click on the desired emotedetail set button.

The number of MaxGroups should equal the number of emotes you have.  You can set this using the HUD – [EXTRAS]>[AutoTiming].  Press MaxGroups0 and then increase/decrease until it equals the number of your emotes.

There are three orders nc’s in the HUD – you select which one of them you want to be the active order.  *orders00 is used to create a new order using the HUD.  *orders01 and *orders02 are the other nc.

AutoEmoting can send lines of text up to 253-characters long, one line per strip-round (event) to open chat (which is always shouted?), to your IM box, or both.  You can enter emotes via nc’s or the HUD.  Each emote line must begin with the event (group) # then a comma.  You can omit events that have no emotes.  The max line length is 255, but if you go over, you will NOT get an error.  So be sure to check your emotes carefully to make sure they aren’t getting cut off.

Whew!  That’s a lot of stuff to remember.  However, I ended the day feeling pretty good about my success with the emoting.

On to the next challenge!

Gacha or Gotcha?

Image Source:  marketplace.secondlife.com
Image Source: marketplace.secondlife.com

Hello, my name is Kat, and I’m a gacha addict.

Ok, not really, but I could be. 😀

It’s December, which means it’s time again for the latest round of The Arcade gacha.  Now, everyone knows (or I thought they did) that this event is ALWAYS full for at least a couple of days, with everyone trying to be the first ones to get in.  The Arcade even had ‘preview passes’ for some lucky few to this round.

I tried a couple of times to get in.  It was full.  So, I wait.  I don’t even really play that many machines, I just like to look at all the cool new stuff people made for it.  Yesterday (while sorting through my inventory and trying to get rid of previous gacha items), someone began complaining about The Arcade in a group chat.  (Not The Arcade group chat, mind you.)  This person basically thought it should be open for them to get in whenever they wanted.  When it was pointed out that they would simply have to wait, their response (after first calling everyone else ignorant) was to call for support for a boycott of The Arcade.

People are crazy.

It got me thinking though – what is it about the gacha machines that make everyone so nuts?  I get that there’s a thrill in collecting stuff – I collect a few things in RL myself.  But after playing several gachas at various locations around the grid, I’m rethinking them.  Most gacha machines sell items for less than creators would normally price them – that’s part of the attraction.  Who doesn’t want to save a few L$?  And when I first started playing paying them, it was usually a set of the same items, with rares in different colors.

These days, the machines are set up with ‘pieces’ to a set, and you must pay multiple times to have any hope of getting a ‘complete’ set or outfit.  I can see why the creators like this set up – it virtually guarantees multiple plays.  For instance, at one of the last gacha ‘events’ I went to, the gacha was for an outfit (which I thought was adorable).  However, you needed to get the wings, the sleeves, the shoes, the belt, and the dress itself.  After 10 pays, I had 3 wings, 5 sleeves, a belt, and shoes.  None of them in matching colors, of course.  And no dress, so the rest was really useless.  It’s very easy to get caught up in the thrill and lose track of what you’re spending.  I would happily have paid $500-$600 for the outfit.  Once I hit that limit on plays, I quit.

It’s disappointing.  It was a REALLY cute outfit.  I’m still out the L$, but have no outfit to show for it.  Oh sure, I can try to recoup some of my L$ at a yard sale or something, but it just left a bad taste in my mouth.  I won’t be playing gachas from that creator again.  And the list of ‘won’t play again’ is sadly growing.

Now, do I blame the creator?  No.  It was my decision to pay the machine, and I knew it was a random chance payout.  I have had machines where I got a rare (or the new ‘ultra-rare’) item on the first pay.  But sometimes you wonder if everything is on the up-and-up.  How do you KNOW that the seller set up the machine to actually have a decent shot at a rare or ultra-rare?  Who decides what a ‘decent shot’ means?  You can’t say you got cheated, because you always get AN item.  It’s just usually not the one you want. 🙂

So, for me, it’s become more ‘gotcha’ than gacha.  I’ll still visit The Arcade, and other gacha events, but I will be a looky-loo rather than a serious shopper.

How about you?

Sunday Morning Quickie

Image Source:  www.womensadvancementcompact.com
Image Source: http://www.womensadvancement compact.com

Not that kind of quickie!  Today is a busy day for me, but I had a few tidbits I wanted to pass along.

I haven’t even had time to do today’s clue for the Blood Letters hunt – I’d better get moving!

I’m always in search of good items to use in sets.  I came across a hunt called November Nights.  It’s a hunt for full perm items!  Yay full perm!  Each item you find is only $10L – and I’ve found some amazing ‘new-to-me’ stores that I will definitely be returning to.  See here for the information and list of participating creators.  It runs from now until Nov. 30, so you have plenty of time to find some great items!

If you haven’t stopped by yet, the new round of Collabor88 opened yesterday.  I haven’t made in it yet, but I’m looking forward to it.  I also stopped by the Fantasy Gacha Faire yesterday and picked a couple of cool items.  I was lucky enough to get 2 rare items!! Woot!

I also spent some time exploring the Cirque de Seraphim event yesterday.  It takes up two sims and is a circus-themed event with part of the proceeds going to the ASCPA.  So I got lots of cool circus-y stuff and I got to help out needy animals – win win!

Enjoy your Sunday!

Busy, Busy, Busy

Image Source:  www.brandcrowd.com
Image Source: http://www.brandcrowd.com

There seem to be a ton of events going on in SL right now.  Or maybe it’s just that I’m paying attention! 😛

Of course, Collabor88 is open – October’s theme is ‘Motel Spoopy.’ (I have no idea what that means, but there’s always cool stuff there – go check it out!)  Next month’s theme is ‘Modern Alchemist,’ so I’ll definitely be stopping by then.

The Mystic Realms Faire is going on.  I only made it onto the sim once, so I did a bunch of shopping while I was there.  I found the most amazing avatar costume – perfect for a number I was working on.  I swear, it’s like the creator read my mind!  It also didn’t hurt that I love her work, so her spot at the Faire was one I made sure to find.  If you love amazing costumes, be sure to check out !dM – deviousMind.

The Vintage and Cool Fair is open – I love vintage, so I stopped by and picked up a few new items.  Give yourself plenty of time to explore – there are lots of things to see!

The Tag! Gacha runs through October 31st.  If you’re a gacha fan (or fanatic), this is one you shouldn’t miss.  There are 50 stores and a cute storyline to follow as you travel from place to place.  I wasn’t lucky enough to get a mystery coupon :-(, but I had a lot of fun.

Of course, Builder’s Brewery is holding their annual ‘Halloween Hunt’ with lots of cool free gifts (the group is free to join).

An event that showed up on my radar is The Body Modification Expo.  I’m not really into tattoos and piercing, but there were a couple of items that piqued my curiosity, so I’ll be checking this one out too.

Yesterday I checked out The Fantasy Collective.  Lots of pretties to look at here!

I’m sure there are tons more events, but these are the ones that have kept me busy for the past few weeks.

Now, if I could just figure out what happened to all my Lindens . . . . . .  😀

 

Second Life, Facebook, and Search

Photo source: joeseeber.com
Photo source: joeseeber.com

In my quest to explore Second Life, I’ve been using the Search function to try and find new places to go.  However, I wasn’t really having much luck finding anyplace to which I wanted to return.  I began asking around and trying to figure if search was broken and/or not really worth using (like the events listing).  It led to conversations about traffic, how traffic is figured, and what ‘search’ uses to rank places.

I use the Firestorm viewer and I know there are differences between different viewers.  However, even though I have attended many classes to figure out how to best use the viewer, there are still things I’m discovering.  For instance, FS has a little button on the left side of the screen that brings up the Destination Guide.  I’ve used it several times for exploring.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered that if you access the Destination Guide from that button, it does not display all of the listings that are actually in the Destination Guide.  To discover more destinations, you access the Guide from within the ‘search’ window of the viewer.

How did I discover this? Serendipity.  While I was having a conversation about traffic, how it’s figured, and how search works (or if it does work), I got a notice about an impromptu class on Search Ranking from one of my groups.  Hurrah!  Perfect timing!  I quickly tp’d to the class and started taking notes.  I wanted to know what things can affect your search ranking – good or bad.

I learned a few surprising things.  Now, for those of you who have been around for some time, this may be all old news to you.  However, much of it was new to me.  I have been in SL off and on since 2009 and I remember things that have come and gone – vote boxes and campers, just to name a few.  Vote boxes and campers were around to help businesses improve traffic (and thusly, search rankings).  So, of course, LL changed the way search was figured and vote boxes and camping disappeared.

Traffic, while still used in figuring search rankings, is apparently not as important as it used to be.  Other things that can affect your search rankings (according to the class I took):

  • Classified ads – paying for a classified ad can help boost your rank in search. (I don’t think anyone would be surprised that paying money could improve search rankings.)
  • Text from your profile and picks – text from your profile and picks can show up in search (if you choose that option).  So if you have a business and you put information about that business in your profile and/or picks, it may help your search rankings.  Just be sure not to use any crazy ASCII text, because someone searching for ‘dance’ might find you, but they won’t find you if you use ‘ðαηçε.’
  • Picks – having people add your business/venue to their picks will help boost your search rank. (I’ve had people/businesses ask that, but it never occurred to me it was to help with search rank – I figured it was more like ‘word-of-mouth’ free advertising.  I guess it’s both!)
  • Parcel name – parcel names can be quite long, because keywords that are in your parcel name can help boost your search rank as well.  Just don’t go crazy, because too many keywords can negatively affect your rank.  (How many is too many?  No one really seems to know.)
  • Objects – it used to be (in the era of vote boxes and camping), that objects on your parcel which contained keywords in the name and/or description would affect your search ranking. (So, for example, you might have objects on your parcel with words like dance, burlesque, etc., in the name.)  People began to abuse this (doing things like burying objects laced with keywords underground on their parcels), so LL changed the search algorithm again.  You can still do this, but again, no one seems to know how many objects like this is too many.
  • This last one is the one I don’t understand.  Apparently Facebook ‘likes’ can affect your ranking in search as well.  Given Facebook’s record of deleting avatar accounts as ‘not real’ and the growing upswing in people looking for alternatives to Facebook, ‘likes’ affecting your ranking seems odd.  Facebook Pages (which many businesses have) are (presumably) safe from deletion, so perhaps it’s not that odd.  But I wonder then if other social networks are included as well (and if not, why not?).  What about Twitter? Plurk? Google+?

It leaves me with the feeling that all of this (searching for events, searching for places) is made much more difficult than it needs to be.  But, now that I am better informed, perhaps my searching will produce better results. 🙂

If you’re interested in learning more, check out the following links:

Guidelines for creating search listings

Search FAQ – Second Life

In the meantime, I’ll be experimenting and exploring.  Wish me luck!

Second Life events happening during October 2014

Check out this listing of October events on Daniel Voyager’s blog.

Daniel Voyager

October 2014 Events Upcoming

Grid Wide Hunts Happening In October 2014

Keep Track of Second Life Events

Do you know of any other events happening in Second Life during October 2014 ? Please comment below and spread the word!

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