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Pussycat Catnap
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"We're back to the days where it's not uncommon to see only 28k people in SL at any given time." ----- I've got an item that records the login numbers and keeps track of the highest ever and lowest ever. The lowest it ever got was the mid 5000s, and that was 7 or so years ago. Highest in 8 years was around 78,000. These days it is usually in the 50,000s. A few years back it was usually in the 40,000s. Keep in mind that the highest an MMO video game ever got for 'concurrent logins' was Guild Wars 2's launch event - at around 330,000. Which was supposedly 3-4 times HIGHER than World or Warcraft has ever seen - not WoW's norm, but WoW's highest point ever - was maybe just over that 78,000 I saw for Second Life. Guild Wars 2 quickly sank back to more normal numbers. In other words... the Concurrency of Second Life is similar to that of World of Warcraft. Which means it is quite healthy...
"It’s my hope that this piece can ultimately explore not only what these spaces signified in a utopian sense, but also what they can tell us about contemporary digital networks." Homies still out there looking for 'utopias'? No wonder we live in a dystopia... SL signifies a lot of things. But utopia ain't one of them.
Wait... this homeboy thinks SL is dead because the HQ of a political campaign that ended in 2007 is gone? /fail
With the recent doubling of base tier and lowering of Premium cost, many people are realizing mainland is not a bad place to go. I see quality lots filling up. Poor quality spots - next to ugly builds or lacking interesting features - those remain empty. But people are taking up the things like double-prim, water, road, and cliff land. They always have, but these are becoming more in demand now. There are basically 2 reasons to have land in SL: 1. Showcase your brand for a store. 2. Play around and have a personal home for self and friends. Neither or these requires a sim or an estate. There is a third reason, to have a large entertainment venue like a roleplay sim or specialty form of entertainment (something needing a lot of private space like perhaps a nude-sailing club - as so much of Blake sea is G-rated). - But these are few and far between. Most social venues can also do well on mainland. What we're cutting out here in a lot of cases is the middle-man. Some of those were predatory, some wee good - both are moving out. They're just not needed anymore.
@chic: "There was a time, long long ago (yes, I know I am ancient although Sasy beats me) there WERE no blogger groups or blogger copies. Those that wanted to write, show and tell did their own leg work. They bought items or won items or found gifts --- OR even blogged DEMOS after they came on the scene. Somehow we survived and honestly we had much more enthusiastic audiences that most bloggers have now." There were also a lot less bloggers at a lot less frequency. It takes time and money after all. But the honesty is / was better... I think over the years I have only had 2 or maybe 3 offers to get stuff for free. One of them recently - which I turned down - from someone who's cheapest product of interest to me is several thousand lindens... I don't blog often, and have never been a fashion blogger. So of course I don't get these offers. But I can imagine the pressure if one did. I actually get offended when I enter a shop and I get or see a note somewhere for blogger applications. To be that is like a politician hiring people to rig elections for them. Just imagine if your local mayor had a sign at city hall setting rates of pay for voting for his favorite council members... That's the state of the SL review community... So corrupt it makes politics look honest.
@Sasy's first comment: We actually have a proper review site. The MP reviews system. No go find a popular merchant and pick a bad product from there and give it a 1-star review. Or better... give it a 4-star review. Watch the drama that ensues... @Chic for "I for one am not going to point out bad LODs on my blog. I have been running at LOD 2 for well over two years now": But I and others don't know who those folks are. If all the reviews I see are just positive, I have lost my ability to trust that reviewer - even if behind the scenes there is a more complex picture. I need to know not just what you like... I need to know what to avoid - especially if my tastes are not the same as yours. I happen to be more informed than most SLers. I not only know how to check this stuff myself... I also have the extremely rare bit of knowledge of even knowing about this stuff in the first place... If I were not me... if I were one of your regular readers or another blogger's regular reader... and I was not a technical person... I might lack all of that ability to 'protect myself' from bad product... So I go to a blog to learn what's cool... and then I go buy stuff... and when at the event, I see that 'really nice handbag over to the left' and pick it up as well... - and then I'm in my groups talking about laggy SL is... or in my favorite club complaining about the lag... when the entire problem is my brand new handbag... that I didn't know was from a bad designer, and I didn't know how to spot that on my own... Sadly... not enough people read my blog, when I post to it, about this kind of stuff... and the people who's blogs do get read... they don't post this info... so I keep going to venues and seeing people complain about SL being laggy... and trying to tell them they're causing the lag with the stuff they have on... and seeing them react in rage at me... because their favorite blogger is the one who said that stuff they have was cool... and because I tend to be a bit more blunt than they would like... :)
What you have here is personal drama between me and one single other SL user that I posted on my own flickr, and shared to a moderated group. That's personal drama, not news. I've removed myself and all my content from that group now. How the drama between myself and another single SL eventually resolves itself is not a public matter. I will consider it my mistake to have ever joined that fickr group and secondly to have posted my mess to it...
Had I posted that content in a public shoutout, that would be one thing. But I didn't, unless I am radically wrong about just why that group is moderated...
I've gone as far as deleting these images from my flickr and blocking Hamlet - but the image content remains here somehow, even though flickr tells me he should be blocked from blogging my content. My understanding of the moderated group that I am in over in flickr is that it is not the 'plucking grounds' for bloggers to bring drama upon people for what they share between each other in internal communities, but if I am wrong in that, I'll remove myself from that group as well.
@weekend: "You can actually upload 2K res textures to SL. I know those worried about lag will be shrieking at the very thought but you can have finely detailed materials layered textured objects in world. " The problem is not one or two or even 3 2k texture items... It's when my land gets full of a few hundred objects like that... and then you start getting texture trashing (where a texture that was rendered suddenly blurs as it is 'removed from memory' to make way for another... I often go through things and retexture them... Basically I went to some very high quality texture makers with 'pro materials builder kits'... and bought some of those for common things like, wood, metal, stone, tile... I then selected from them some neutral ones that responded well to me changing their color in the build tool (ie: still looks good when I take that given wood texture and add in green or a darker brown)... Once I had a set of about 8 textures... I went all over my land replacing textures in things with those. ... High quality textures are OK if in exchange, you are seriously limiting how many textures you will be exposed to at the same time... Otherwise the result of high resolution textures, texture thrashing, is even worse than the look of low resolution textures.
@Myndy: Yeah. Bloggers get free stuff and that stays as long as they post all positive reviews. Shops have gotten a bit entitled to thinking that any review other than 5-stars on MP is a griefer... and the whole thing is basically rigged... I'm looking for the fashion blogger that can PROVE they bought everything and didn't get any free gifts. Someone who I know I can trust because even with products they love, they will point out what went wrong. But that's a rare creature in SL. I'm NOT looking for the blogger that slams product just to appear "real"...
@Stordon: You don't need friends only. Unless you're at an anti-social event like a shopping event. Just set your complexity allowed to a very low score and then right click anyone you want to make an exception for and choose to allow them to be rendered even if they're a lag beast. Or... as I do... let them stay a blob. If my friends would rather I NOT see them... that's fine for them... but I do want to see everyone around me, so I don't use the friends only setting. If you use that, it gets harder to meet new people or see nice new fashion.
To those reading this... I put up my 4 signs there, they cycle a few of my points. I then de-rendered the neighbors signs - and we haven't spoken further on this. I put my images only in a flickr group of people who I expect are of like mind to me... I kept my drama, as it is... mostly private to the 'of the same mindset' crowd this time... So I'm not happy it's being blogged out to everybody out of the blue... If I hadn't checked my flickr this morning and noticed an odd spike of notices on some not new images... I might have missed the chance to comment on this before it gets out of control...
But you know... more and more end shoppers are buying for optimization COMBINED with looks. Some of these 'unoptimized' items, as noted by weekend above me... are not well made. They will look good in those photo shoots from only one camera angle or only one windlight setting. Shopper try on the demo, and reject it. If you disagree with me... go to some shops like Addams or Blueberry and notice the crowds... - why have those shops remained nearly full sims for almost 3 years now? They deliver. Good product gets return buyers. A fancy blog just gets you a few 'sales to carelessness' and then shoppers reject that brand and move on. Addams and Blueberry look just as good if not better than these fancy blogged up products, but they ALSO come as low lag and very well optimized... so their sims and their events get packed with shoppers knowing they can not only get very nice looking stuff, but stuff they can use at '60 fps'... And there's a lot more shops like them... just I don't recall many fashion brands these days as I don't wear much. But I do notice that other people wearing fitmesh, more and more of them are becoming brand conscious and aware of optimization. Not everyone. I in fac know a few people who purposefully brag about being in the multi-hundreds score on Avatar Complexity... they talk to me about how amazing they look but all I see is a green blob... and I'm also busy oggling the low lag amazing looking person next to them... :) (and if you read this and you know me and we talk often... you should know who you are... we've had this argument before, it's been 3 years, and you're still a blob on my screen... and I'm not alone in it... I'm just the only person willing to say it to you to your face because I'm a bit too willing to fight... then again I suspect you don't read this blog... so we'll just keep things as they are for maybe another 3 years...)
Seriously... this is probably NOT the best place to be sharing up my drama...
Yeah... This one I am going to have to try out. From the description it sounds like I can use my ownvehicles - which would be great as I have stacks of them in SL.
@jane: Everytime I visit RP communities in SL all I find is 3 people in the 'local version of' a tavern / inn / cafe that are IMing each other so it seems like they're AFK to me. I did do some RP years ago when the Avatar Movie was the big thing in SL, but it seems like RP in general is a lot less active now. Not even sure that's a sim cost issue. In fact higher priced sims might help this by consolidating down competition... Like... you can find hundreds of empty RP sims... if there were just 3, those 3 would be full (but probably none of them would cater to my interests... still it would be active for SOMEBODY).
The thing about using Minecraft as a counter point is that it actually has BETTER proportions / anatomy to it's figures than the ones in the sample video. Not everyone is an expert in telling you the proper proportions for representing a human figure - but nearly anyone can spot it when it's wrong. Unless you've conditioned yourself to ignore it. SL users have an amazingly bad grasp of anatomy. Flaws players of any other online game would notice immediately and vocally rage about - SL users adjust their avatars to replicate... short limbs, tiny hands, tiny feet, tiny heads, bad 'saddlybags', unnatural thigh gap (not just that it's there - which occurs in RL, but the angles it presents when people do it in SL), misshapen bosom (jutting out at an angle when it's not shaped in a way that would allow such), near-Neanderthal brows (particularly common on female avatars that use the system head), and so many more issues... The figures in that video have small hands and short limbs. The eyes, as noted, are "lifeless" - but this is actually "gaze" - what they are looking at doesn't match the action or show emotion. Seeing human gaze is something every human being and dog understands by the toddler stage. Watch babies... notice how much they study the faces and expressions of others. Dogs do this too (no other animal can follow human gaze and expression - it's why your cat might often seem to ignore you. It actually just doesn't know your gaze). All of these issues repeat quite often in SL screenshots as well. Not just a machinima thing. People untrained in the reasons for why SL looks "off" will just say 'bad graphics' but it's much more specific than that. And the video we've been referring to, far from showing off SL, presents many of it's flaws.
The video itself makes my point from another angle. It is so extremely lacking in diversity - as I noted earlier. It's just blond colonizers as they were mostly 'male gazed' in the 70s and 80s. The fantasy of Baby Boomers of a single ethnicity. I'll repeat... if something like that came out of Hollywood today... we'd all be looking at hashtags to boycott it. If there is anything recent it reminds me of, it'd be Scarlet Johanson in Yellowface in the recent Ghost in the Shell movie - red head and not blond, dyed black for the movie. But otherwise... remember how well that went over... though SLs users are so singular in their ethnic profile they might not even have been aware of that controversy... Any content problems of the video... are just reflective of the actual nature of SL.
******** You obviously know one of the most used quotes you see in peoples profiles when referring to SL is the words of the Cheshire Cat from Alice “But I don’t want to go among mad people," Alice remarked. "Oh, you can’t help that," said the Cat: "we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad." "How do you know I’m mad?" said Alice. "You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn’t have come here.” To say SL has an extreme lack of diversity is like looking at an asylum and saying “oh they are all the same in there, they are all mad” ******** This kind of makes my point. I "obviously know" a culture reference for white Americans who grew up most likely in the 50s and 60s? That's the first time I've ever seen that quote actually. And a whole bunch of colonizers in furries, aliens, and assorted creatures does NOT diversity make. The 'device' between the keyboard and chair is still almost always a colonizer above the age of 40, more often above 50, and commonly above 60.
Every review I've seen has described it as a plotless nod to 1980s nostalgia as seen through the eyes of a Male Gen-Xer Colonizer. So I've not bothered to see it. I think it will have very little impact on anything. The 80s was 28-38 years ago... This is basically like when our parents were putting out movies about Woodstock or Forest Gump running across the USA while listening to 60s music as they got older... It's a nod to getting old. That's all.
Let's not kid ourselves over what SL is. This video is basically spot on: Aging colonizers looking to date or virtually screw each other. The video seems to cater exactly to that userbase - which is basically the vast majority of SLers. blond colonizers, cavorting about as erotic barbie dolls. Go shopping and touring around in SL. This video is tamer than most of the place. Granted over the last 2 years I have transitioned out of my 'G rated' SL over to a more adult side, so I see this stuff more than most now... but it was pretty seriously hard to avoid beforehand too... SL has been quite successful in appealing to a set of people that spend a LOT of cash in it and keep it quite healthy. I'm sorry it never became the sandbox some still want it to be. It is instead a 'shopping and screwing' game. Then again... that's basically an accurate description of the entire internet as well... The only difference for SL is that it seems to be over 90% colonizers - extreme lack of diversity. And that's really what I noticed most in this video... If this came out of Hollywood we'd all be wondering if we needed a hashtag to boycott it... But in SL, that it's all Hefner/Trump-preferred blonds is basically the norm. The reason SL doesn't grow much more than it already is isn't the sex... it's that it seems to be overwhelmed by people that grew up when the USA was all Colonizers, and they wish it was still that way. But even their own descendants look at that demographic and balk.
I think a lot of this has to do with convincing people to move off of linden homes. It is also great for helping fill out mainland again. I'm seeing any reasonably parcel around me where I have land in SL get snatched up. Several plots around me have sold. One to a land baron that doubled it's price... but the rest, and that doubled plot, have all since sold to people that have moved in. There's much less reason to own mainland now for a shop - MP does the job. I am of the opinion that a small 512m shop is a good idea - but only if you have the skills to design a unique branding experience there. You don't even need to have working vendors in it... you can just put in demo vendors and a redelivery terminal that can redeliver things that were bought on Marketplace (casper can do this). - In fact it's a better experience if your 512m shop specifically CAN'T be used to buy... It's just there to showcase and brand. But that means that all this remaining land... what purpose? And I think this is what they're looking at. Get people to put up residential builds. All the plots I've seen sell recently were spots people put up houses or house like builds. The other purpose would be social venues. But today's SL is not the sandbox of yesteryear... We're gone from being residents to being shoppers. Today is all about going to the 'event' and getting the it-things this month... then going somewhere to show off and hang out. - In that dynamic though, many people still want a private home. Others want to be the place people go to to show off... And this move seems tailored towards that, to me. Then again that is how I use my SL land... so I am perhaps selectively seeing my own interests being addressed more than seeing anything else.
As some of you know... I'm connected to 'militant black politics'. That's not relevant here... but it DOES explain why a few months back I was reading a curious rant about "all these white people moving into our neighborhoods that leave their window blinds open so all their business is right in our faces... but the don't do it in their own neighborhoods." (The article I read used even less flattering wording, but as I read it I realized it's point was actually universal rather than demographic-specific). But that article could just as easily been written by anyone from any demographic about people who 'come in and act like colonizers'. And I think that's how Zuckerberg has acted in relation to the world's previous expectations of an online world. He's 'colonized' it. The thrust of that article is not relevant here except, in my opinion... explaining how Zuckerberg got himself into this mess. He is, to the world, that 'Gentrifier' that comes into the neighborhood and leaves his window blinds open so that at 6pm your kids are watching him be intimate with the maid in his living room... and he's got NO CLUE why this is a problem... He has a fundamental failure to understand the concept of privacy. Let alone the need for it for other people. He just assumes your business and his business should be right out there in the street. And he's up till now never heard all the people saying "shut your dang blinds, and LET ME shut mine!" It's a cultural phenomena that seems to occur throughout human experience and history... someone with so much power and privilege that they can live far above those around them... starts to see everyone else's private business as no more private than that of the "family dog"... and is also unthinking of doing their own private business in front of "lessers". Basically it's the story of 'Downton Abbey'. A class of people are running 'social media' that have no concept of keeping private conduct private. And as long as he's "colonizing" the rest of us... this isn't going to change.
I think all they had before was an 'accidental captcha system'. They were losing signups, likely because the system was stopping automated bots - which were a lot less sophisticated a few years ago.