Thursday, April 29, 2010

Why Mainland?

A lot of people look at what I'm doing with Parktown and ask, "why mainland? Shouldn't this development be a private region?"

There are several good reasons why I'm developing Parktown on the Secondlife mainland rather than on a collection of private regions.

If you look at the above map of the Secondlife grid, you'll see the main continents surrounded by hundreds of tiny dots. The dots represent the myriad private regions that inhabit Secondlife. One of the big things that struck me when I returned to Secondlife last year, was that going from the original grid map to what we have now, it's obvious that in Secondlife we've repeated the first life issue of Urban decay.

People in Secondlife abandoned the mass common ground of mainland and moved to private regions for many of the same reasons people in first life abandoned the cities and moved to the suburbs, creating many of the same problems. Like many of our first life cities, the Secondlife mainland looked abandoned. There central structure was neglected and decayed and once vibrant lots were now empty or full of junk.

Many people, with an eye for Secondlife development, would have gone with the flow and started their community on private regions like everybody else. I'm a bit more stubborn than that though and decided to make Parktown a place that takes advantage of the many beneficial aspects of communal urban life instead of making yet another isolationist suburban development.

This sort of rediscovery of the urban landscape is happening all over the world in first life, and successfully so. I decided to try and do the same thing in Secondlife. Parktown is, and will remain, a mainland development.

With the exception of certain limitations on terraforming, there's nothing you can do in a private region that can't be done on mainland. Using the many land management and group tools, I can keep my residents as safe from griefers in Parktown as any private region.

One of the great benefits of mainland urban areas is proximity. Sure, we occasionally have to put up with an unattractive build from an uncooperative neighbor, but that's life. To paraphrase Ben Franklin, we have to learn to live together or we're going to die alone. Proximity to the things other people made is one of the great benefits of your Secondlife experience. We should embrace the difference of our neighbors and enjoy their creative instincts, instead of shunning it.

For their part, the lindens have been very cooperative in this effort to redevelop the mainland. They're building roads and railroads and have always been very cooperative with me about clearing abandoned land and setting it for sale again.

If you look at the map above, the mainland continents make sense and relate to our first life experience much better than all the random dots you see surrounding them. Mainland looks more real because it is more real.

The only thing I wish the lindens would change with regards to the mainland is I'd like to see them give whoever has the most land in a region the ability to restart the region just like you can with a private region. That way, mainland owners could maintain their regions on their own rather than having to wait for the lindens to restart them. It would also lighten the workload on the lindens as they won't have to restart the regions if the residents are already doing it.

It'd also be nice if people who owned entire mainland regions could set the water level in the region so they could make rivers and streams. Of course that would be unnecessary if the lindens would allow us a water texture for prims just as they have a texture for media. I mean the real water texture too, not the pre-wind-light textures currently in our library, but the one you see in linden water areas.

Damned Anonymity!

"Mute all zero day accounts!"

That was the advice recently when Ratcloner amused himself using his toys to crash other users. It was pretty good advice too. A well-timed mute makes most griefers impotent.

It made me a bit sad though, because muting all zero day accounts means that there are innocent new users going through their first days on Secondlife with no one speaking to them, all because of some retard with script-kiddy tools on his hard-drive.

Anonymity is one of the conditions of Secondlife, so is the ability to create more than one account, and both exist for perfectly logical and legitimate reasons. After a while though, it's a bit sad that you can't meet a new avatar without wondering if it's someone you've met before.

Sometimes they'll tell you up front who they are. Once I complimented an avatar I didn't know on their cool satyr outfit and their response was, "Hey, I'm Sha Jinx." Other times, you may know an alt for a long time without knowing who their root account was. Nero once adopted an avatar as his online "bebie", only to find out later it was really an alt of his arch nemesis.

Sometimes you can tell by the way a new avatar acts that they really are new because they don't know how to do anything. Despite Secondlife's reputation for eating noobs whole, most people actually are nice and helpful to new users. I've seen even the worst griefers extend a helping hand to genuine noobs.

At the moment, Linden Labs says they will extend their policy of allowing multiple accounts into the future, and they probably will. It's a perfectly useful ability, even though some people abuse it, but people abuse every ability the Lindens give us.

As long as alt accounts are possible, we'll be stuck with the dilemma of meeting new accounts and wondering "do I know you already?"

As far as muting zero day accounts goes, it's probably still a good idea and will remove most griefers and trolls from your Secondlife, just be sure and unmute them when they hit two or three days old.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Hanja Protests Suspension of Sha Jinx

Hanja residents held a demonstration yesterday to protest the suspension of fellow Hanjite, Sha Jinx earlier that week.

I've known Sha since my return to SecondLife Last year and have never known her to do anything even remotely in violation of the terms of service. Turning in a false abuse report on a person is in itself a violation of the terms of service, so I can only assume that who ever AR'ed Sha was either mistaken, in which case they should apologize, or were malicious, in which case payback is hell.

We'll keep this protest sign up on the Hanja Hangout until Sha Jinx is free.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Beinisimo Luik At the Zoo

A dodo bird, a kitty and a toaster dance at the concert.

Thanks so much to everyone for making this event successful!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Monster Takes away Quinby

At the Innsmouth sim, a monster takes Quinby and there's nothing Polyhistor or Boyd can do to help her.

Shadows of Hanja

With graphics at extreme and shadows turned on with a nice sunset, this is what Hanja looks like on my screen.

Gurbux Dolls at the Novelty Shop

The popular Gurbux Dolls are available now at the Novelty Shop. They're a bargain at L$199.00

WARNING: Improper use of the Gurbux doll, including attaching to inappropriate and uncomfortable body locations can lead to multiple health problems including hairy palms and premature blindness.

Pandas New To the Zoo

After *several* suggestions from Sabre, we now have giant pandas at the Parktown Zoo. The three panda family was sculpted and animated by Jon Haskell.

New Clocktower

Parktown got a little big bigger last week when we acquired the corner lot between Shiot and Hangeul.

Parktown regular Glurp Gurbux suggested the town needed a clock tower and since I had just the right script for it and since that key piece of property needed an eye-catching attraction, I set to work putting together an art-deco version of Big Ben.

The East face of the tower shows GMT or UK time while the other three faces show SL time. As I adjust the scripts one of those faces will show Central time. Any suggestions for the other two faces?

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