Monday, January 17, 2011

The Second Childhood Network 2.1 #SL

SECOND CHILDHOOD NETWORK 2.1
For those who have never heard of it, the second Childhood Network was a project i started back in April 2009. It was a destination guide centred around my home community of Child Avatars with the aim to connect them all.

The Original worked well but was limited in its expansion and hard to update plus it would sometimes freeze and not work. The new version is much easier to maintain, and update, is more intuitive with more options and also does not stop working needing a script reset.

At the moment Viewer2's built in web browser still will not open SLURL's with 2 words to the SIMs name, but i have seen that this has been fixed in new Betas. In the meantime you can still access the network by clicking a small button to open the network in an external browser.

Anyways here are some examples of how the new 2.1 Kiosk works as well as details for people to submit their locations. You do not need to be a child avatar only location to be on the Second Childhood Network Kiosk, just Child avatar friendly.

USING THE SECOND CHILDHOOD NETWORK




SUBMITTING YOUR PLACE
I am currently taking submissions for Kid friendly places to be added to the Second Childhood Network.

Each participant of the SCN are expected to have an SCN Kiosk placed at their location. The Kiosk will use Shared media on a 6 Prim object with a button for Viewer1 users to click out to an external browser

To request being added you must supply these details in an email to loki@demonkid.co.uk.

1. Subject heading must be 'SCN SUBMISSION'
2. Your Second Life name
3. A brief description of your place
4. Which category you want your place listed. Adventure&exploration, Shopping, Clubs, Family Fun, Adoption or Roleplaying
5. An SLURL of the exact place you plan to place your network Kiosk.
6. A screen shot of your Place.
7. The Times your Place is most busy *optional*
8. Your Places website *optional*

I will then send you a Kiosk and will update the database with your submission ASAP.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Third Update on the Second Childhood Network #SL

Six months ago i set about using shared media to produce in effect a 'PrimApp' to replace the old prim & script bulky Kid Avatar Destination kiosk. Those who regularly read my rants will know i came across a show stopping bug where viewer2 would not recognise an SLURL with two words to the sims name. This Bug did not just effect media on a prim, it also effected the built in viewer.

I filed jira bug report and a few friends backed me up on how important it was to fix this bug. Linden Lab however did not feel it effected that many people and so reduced it to a 'Minor' defect.
I have moved this issue down in priority. This does not affect a large number of users.
So we come to January where Linden Lab announces new browser based profiles which includes your photo, classifieds, groups, and ... Picks. Suddenly Linden Lab have a need to fix my bug as any profile Picks will not open properly, and guess what.. they have.

Suddenly the Bug they said was just a minor problem that only effects a few is a MAJOR bug now that it effects THEIR plans to innovate. Viewer2.6 Beta which is the first to include the new profiles fixes the bug that i have been asking them to fix since august last year.

So what happened? Were they waiting for what SamuelLinden said was a 'qtwebkit' issue to be updated before rolling out new web based profiles, or did they suddenly decide, 'oh crap we suddenly really need to fix that bug that does not effect many people'

Any ways it's fixed now and i can move on to making the SC Network.... well almost.
The Viewer2.6 beta has a few glitches that prevent me on my Mac from actually using what ive already built. Works fine on a PC, just not on a mac so i guess they'll give it minor priority. Filled a new Jira. But i fully expected them to release the final 2.6 with this bug.

In the mean time i will start gathering submissions to the SC Network for the PC users of SL.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

First #SL Goony Adventure of 2011 - Exploring Caisteal

So earlier than usual the Goonies met up at the Clubhouse and teleported to Caisteal which started off in a Sci Fi space station area with beautiful futuristic scenery. From there we Transported to the surface of a planet and one place led to another...

Goonies arrive at the Caisteal Space port


watching the spacecrafts zip by

Discovering an alien egg pod thingy!


Putting on my space helmet before heading to the surface

Arriving with Kit, but where are the others?

oH there they are, surveying possible Goony fort locations

Slightly worried about Richardious wearing a red shirt on this mission

We discover a machine amongst the trees


A strange device teleports us into space

Then a snowy place with an inn & open fire

The Gang takes a quick break snuggled up to.. what ever that is!

Rule 6 of the Goony code: Find small door? go through it!

Arrived at a wonderful meadow


We discover a strange blue alien, so we chase it!
An so ends another adventure, GOONIES NEVER SAY DIE!

This was a truly awesome adventure where we discovered place after place with many little hidden surprises. Anyone who loves to aimlessly explore should check out Caisteal

Thursday, January 13, 2011

is simplicity the KEY to Engaging Virtual World Experiences? #SL

Simples!

Im in the throws of writing up plans for multiple experiences for my Island in second life. I'm reflecting on what i learnt from last year with the Black Heart Mystery, Burn2's Professor Liddens Lab, Egnog the christmas troll and the struggle to make ends meet with owning a private island. I'm also considering the best experiences i've seen by other residents while on Goony adventures with my friends. 

I find though that the best most memorable experiences in SL do not use the latest in Linden Lab innovations, they do not use highly complicated scripting. They use simple but effective creative thinking. I myself have found that the simpler the scripted task the more reliable it will be because lets face it, the grid is wonky and you never know how your scripts will work from one day to the next.

With Egnog the christmas Troll i had him set up to detect people entering a cave. He would then ask if they wanted a present. Unfortunately after a while the script would stop working and people would walk away disappointed. Now i don't blame my scripters, they are very cool, very kind and awesome at what they do, i blamed my idea not being simple enough. Instead of having the troll detect people entering the cave, the troll simply should have been activated by either  collision detection or by a password. I all to often forget what im trying to achieve by being lost in the mechanism of getting there.

Shared Media was to herald a new era of easy interactive visual prims. Connecting the inworld to the infostream of the web. But for me at least i have not seen that happen. The viewer fragmentation of the stagnant SL community makes it harder work to cater for both so why bother with shared media. Most people during the black heart Mystery would click to view the video sections outside of the SL viewer, either because they were using viewer1 or simply because it was more reliable.

When working on the Black Heart i looked back to a favourite old game of mine by The Oliver Twins of Codemasters. The mechanics of the game were quite simple, collect objects, when you drop those objects next to other objects things happen. Very simple game mechanics, but when applied to the rich atmosphere of New Babbage with a good story driving it then you have a good reliable experience to build upon.

Don't get me wrong, i would love to use shared media, Mesh objects, and highly complicated scripting that can do whizzy things. I will experiment with them because i love fiddling with new things in SL. But for the big projects i will keep things simple so that they work for the entire grid not just those with super spangly computers and viewer2.

Reluctance to adopt the latest SecondLife features and keeping things simple could also lead to cross grid possibilities in future.