Sunday, March 8, 2009

Made in the OLG upload

I hadn't planned to continue this blog, but something happened today that seemed to belong here -- and so the saga continues.

I've been gone from Openlife for awhile now. First in spirit and then in practice. Too many dramas, too much back stabbing. The fun had left the building. I am hoping it will return. But whether it does or it doesn't --- today was special for me.

Here's the skinny. Currency is "almost" a part of Openlife. The mechanics are in place, but no one can buy credits yet. As I understand it, a few folks had a few credits each by mistake or who knows why. They pooled their Credits here and there to make up the 20 needed to upload. And my Made in the OLG logo "appears" to be the first paid for texture on the grid. Thanks to Digi who uploaded and Mac who let me know.

It really is very important to me. I've always believed in making it new, making it different. I've taken a lot of abuse for that. So, it's good to see that someone sometime may actually use the logo I made. More importantly, they may actually believe that making goods from scratch are better than bringing in old stuff from another grid (wink).

So that's a little bit of history I thought should be accounted for.

(Photo by Digi from the forums.)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Performance Art

I've been building full time in Openlife for almost three months now and I find myself at a stopping point. I've always said that I didn't know if I was making product or props -- and I still don't know. What I do understand it that it is time to let the world catch up to me.

This isn't an unusual scenario in my life, I am almost always ahead of my time. So, I am going into storage for awhile. There is really no point in paying for a sim I won't be using. I've had a glorious time rediscovering my passion for building -- watching a new world unfold. And I have a chronicle of it all which was much of the point of being here.

Artists have a saying, "It's the process that counts". That has always been true for me. Results are good, but the journey is the important part. The trip with its twists and turns and surprises is what we learn from and what we remember.

I'll still be around from time to time, much like Samara on her 512 that checks in to see what's up in Phil's world. I haven't left the building, I've just gone off to another performance.


I wrote the post above over a week ago. Since then the smoke and mirrors show has gone into full swing, more friends are leaving, the word elitist would show up in HUGE letters in Wordpress if it was hosting the forums. Some official forum threads are open to only group members (yes the groups are "open" but that isn't going over well with some). Posts are being deleted -- either by a moderator we don't know we have or some odd fluke of the forum coding. People are in hiding as the venom is flying in the forums which is really our only way of group communication.

The world is emptier for sure -- hence stability is up. There are lots of NEW issues however such as a first time occurrence (at least in the three months I have been there) of rezzed prims disappearing from in world. Prims don't always rez - they just fizzle, more inventory loss, prims rezzing 15 meters away and 5 meters up or so from where you told that pesky wand to put it, textures not showing up in inventory or rezzed prims. The list goes on.

There are no pokes and I have sent in NUMEROUS restart requests that somehow never get answered. Sakai is in the US for over a week and the devs are on Chinese New Years holiday it seems. Still the party line is that stability reigns and there have been very few restart requests.

So, I am packing up with a much heavier heart than I would have been true a week ago. Timing is everything and mine is usually pretty good, but I was a bit late on the get go this time. I wanted to believe. Like so many others I needed to believe. The people I trusted the most have left the building or are on their way out.

It's difficult today to tell who is who in the war we seem to be having. Is the enemy of my enemy my friend? Or is it an alt that my enemy made to seduce me into friendship? The Machiavellian dramas are so entrenched in Openlife that there is almost no room for real communication.

I still have hopes that the Phoenix can rise from the ashes. I'll be watching and checking in from time to time as I have observed other "oldtimers" doing. And I'm not sorry I came. It wasn't what I planned, but I can certainly say I was there in the beginning.

The landscape is getting barren with abandoned regions that still hold the names of the departed. It is an odd epitaph -- that empty rolling landscape.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Progress, Promises and Pipe Dreams

I'm busy getting my ducks in a row for a new chapter -- some of you know that. Beginnings oftentimes come with reflections attached and so it is with this one. I've been looking back as well as ahead and then of course there is the middle.

What progress has been made in the three months I have been in Fantastic?

We can now usually log into to world -- sometimes even to the region we are aiming for -- without having to spend a lot of time in the chat room asking which regions are up. We even sometimes get shuttled to an alternate region if the one we are trying to reach is down.

After two plus months, the new forums have been introduced to the website. True, rich text editing isn't there yet and we have lost the ability -- so far -- to send personal messages to each other using the forum interface.

The world is more stable -- at least it seems so from the layman's perspective. We often walk with our feet in the correct angle and on terra firma, on a good day we can get up from our couch (if the script engine is working) and not fly into the ethers.

We have an updated viewer with less intrusiveness and more security.

All good.

A lot of "promises" haven't come to pass.

The Foundation Residents meetings which have been going on since the beginning of Openlife and will continue -- have not. Four no shows in a row by Sakai was enough for some people to leave the world. There have been hastily called "casual meetups" and a few spur of the moment (???) group meetings, but those that chose sims on the mainland especially to be a part of this long time process are still waiting for it to resume. Instead we have P.O.O.L (People of OpenLife) which DOES manage to have two meetings a week. Is it the same? No. But for some people it works.

Currency, groups and permissions -- all to be fixed "soon" are not implemented. Indeed, they seem further away than when I moved to Fantastic -- or that may just be my more realistic point of view. We were told in November that currency would be online and functional around mid December. It is now the end of January and the next scheduled roll-out is for the end of February ( See this article. )
The article states in part: Steve says that this was decided after a careful consideration: “We found the general consensus amongst users is they didn’t want the implementation of credits to affect the goodwill amongst the grid. One of the mechanisms in place to keep the balance will be the exchange of credits for real dollars only being available to region owners.”

I guess I've missed something along they way or this decision was made long before I came, but there has been a lot of discussion -- as early as November -- about the landowner only clause. I can't say I felt it was "a general consensus" by any means.

It doesn't take too long a stay in Openlife to become aware that things simply don't move as fast as planned / promised / possible. So most of us aren't expecting the currency, groups and permissions to be functional by this next announced target date.

All that is really OK. Those of us here understand it. But what about the people newly joining?

When I came during the first rush ( late October - early November), it took a few days to a few weeks to get your mainland or private cluster land. Most of us assumed the delay was because of the huge influx of people. Hence that 24 hours after set up confirmation note was not correct.
Note: I had a screenshot here, but decided it might be against the TOU to use it, so your just going to have to trust me on this one or go to THIS page.
PCs are still often taking a month to deliver (this from numerous forum posts). 24 hours in indeed a pipe dream. People ARE willing to wait patiently, but not when they are given incorrect information. I can't tell you how many times I have answered a query with the theme of "so sorry but that 24 hours still on the website is incorrect and it is taking up to a month. Please be patient. Yes, they need to change that graphic."

Some people came to Openlife because of the 3D mesh avatars that will supposedly be integrated. That keeps getting pushed back also. There are a lot of things that need to be worked on. There is only so much time in a day and so much knowledge in a mind. There are new devs in the new China office now and hopefully that will spur thing along.

Meanwhile it is good to remember that things move more slowly than "promised", so adjusting your plans with that in mind will lead to YOUR greater stability :D

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

No Guarantees

The big news on the street is that Linden Labs bought both OnRez and XStreetSL -- the two online shopping experiences for Phil's place. Samara at Phil's will have one new prim for her 512 soon as OnRez will be closing down and her OnRez box can be deleted.

So what does this have to do with Openlife? Maybe not much. Maybe a lot. People are wondering if Linden Labs might buy out Openlife to stop any future competition. Is this a possibility? Hard to say. Would it be a bad thing? For all the folks coming to Openlife to get away from "Linden control" it certainly would be.

If we spin out some possible scenarios we see that this certainly could happen. We have no TOS in Openlife -- a topic I covered with way too much text and an absence of pretty pictures some time ago. The TOS question is being revisited on the blogs and forums. So, there is no "I promise not to sell out" clause anywhere (wink). People who have purchased clusters at a fair number of dollars are the ones with the most to lose of course. And if Linden Labs decided to make Openlife just like SL(R) -- not a stretch by any means -- they could reinforce those nasty prim size limits. If they did that most all of my builds might fall apart or disappear. So content creators could at risk also.

We have no reason to believe a buyout is in the future. We also have no reason to believe it is not. Anything can happen and small companies get swallowed up by big ones every day. In some cases that was the whole point of making the small company in the first place :D

Some folks are a bit trepidacious with this news following on the heels of the 16.2 viewer mandate and the locking down of the grid from Second Inventory. Add to that the vicious personal attacks still going on in the official forums and the atmosphere is a bit grim. Some people still have faith it will all work out -- and it certainly may.

But again, there are no guarantees -- or TOS.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Working the Angles

We spend our time mostly building on the N-S-E-W axes. (Yep that's the spelling of the plural of axis. I had to look it up to make sure.) We create our prims with those defaults, we pull our prims with the arrow and eventually -- when our builds are finished we rotate that comfy lounge chair into a corner setting.

But sometimes the family of 90 degree angles won't work for us. One of those times is building inside a torus with a sphere floor and cylinder walls :D

Today I added a circular pond of water around the atrium. Yes, you could call it a moat, but that has a fairly unfriendly connotation and that is not the purpose of the water. The purpose is to be surrounded by life and flow and never ending cycles. The energy inside the biosphere is special, but with it comes some building challenges. One is alignment.

It's easy enough to make those corners match and prims meet when you are only moving in one direction at a time, but when you are building at an angle you have to adjust TWO directions in order to accomplish your task. In the photo above, I am aligning the steps to the bridge. The bridge was also built on an angle. In order to get the prims in the correct place, I needed to move the pieces with both the red and green arrows. A lot of back and forth movement and close examination with the camera controls gets the job done.

If you haven't done this and want to try, just set up a small experiment. Make a box and turn it at an angle. Then pull another box from it. Line them up using the red and green arrows a bit at a time. It's a good skill to master.

No More Second Inventory in OL

The word on the official forum is that Second Inventory no longer works in Openlife.

There were a lot of problems over the weekend including teleports from landmarks crashing sims (reportedly fixed and speedily). Add to that the many versions of viewers that can access the Openlife grid and stability issues went ballistic.

There was even word of Second Inventory crashing sims. Since this isn't a new concept, it is likely so. Perhaps all the new folks coming in this weekend -- and I met some of them on Orientation Island -- were testing the ability of SI to upload. Who knows?

So the Powers That Be have made the choice to only let the newest OL viewers access the grid. This apparently cuts out the ability to upload items using Second Inventory -- the primary way people have been decorating the Openlife landscape :D

This was ALWAYS the plan. It was mentioned in a weekend meeting in November. It is just now coming into fruition. Sakai has stated that he believes in making new goods. He has many plans to further that ideal.

It is a long road to originally designed goods for the OLG. But this was a good first step.

Monday, January 19, 2009


There are some people you don't want in your real life.

There are some people you don't want in your virtual life.

At the moment I am out of the maelstrom, but others are still in the whirlpool. Some have left the forums, some have left Openlife. None of this is good.

There are personality conflicts -- and there is overt evil. I have had brushes with both. I have done well. My fear is that others will not.

At Phil's place long ago there was a saying about people with "no payment info on file". You never knew if it was a second, seventh or seventieth persona of someone. When someone uses alts to further their ego, ranking or esteem it is sad. Sad for all of us.

I hate to admit it, but I am now in the beware of new folks without land category. I will treat them politely and answer their questions, but they will need to prove themselves to me. There are too many people in the world who are not what they seem.

Disturbingly so.

I set a few things in motion today which may help solve some of our world's current problems. May they take root. May they hold.