Pet Peeves in Second Life

I find myself blogging a lot more about Second Life lately than I anticipated. It wasn’t planned, it just sort of happened! As I have already said, there are at least a thousand bloggers out there who cover SL in detail, and do a much, much better job than I ever could! But there have been a few announcements from Linden Lab lately that I wanted to highlight, plus a few avatar fashion looks I wanted to share.

So, I wanted to ask: what are your pet peeves about Second Life? I have one in particular that absolutely irks me. It’s the wacky way that avatar ankles bend backwards when using certain animations, poses, and shoes. I see other avatars’ deformed ankles all the time in SL photos and it just makes me crazy! Dear God, people, it’s called ANKLE LOCK. Use it! There are a bunch of fixes on the SL Marketplace (Strawberry Singh sells a good one for L$1), or you can pick up one for FREE from the reception desk at Baby Monkey:

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Buy the blue bag at the front of the group of five on the desk (it’s called “BM Ankle Lock”) and then simply wear the attachment. Easy fix!

What are some of my other pet peeves about Second Life? Well, I’m so glad you asked! (I am feeling rather bitchy today, so be forewarned…)

  • Avatars who are still wearing old system shoes that used to use invisiprims, which are now broken, WITHOUT adding a proper shoe alpha to cover up the foot deformation. I still have many older, still-fashionable, invisiprim-based shoes (like the classic pumps from Shiny Things, remember that store?) that I can wear with the proper shoe alpha. There’s a free set of shoe alphas on the SL Marketplace (I haven’t tried them, so I don’t know how well they work). Or better yet, buy some new shoes! You don’t need to upgrade to Slink feet to get nice shoes. Lindy still has lots of fashionable styles which fit SL system avatar feet (in-world store, SL Marketplace).
  • Avatars with too-short arms. I see this a lot. Strawberry Singh recently blogged about proper avatar proportions in Second Life. Go over there and read it.
  • Bling. Dear God, whoever invented bling on jewelry and shoes needs to be shot, drawn and quartered, and then shot again. If you have a favourite piece of jewelry that you can’t bear to part with that is afflicted with bling, use Handy’s free Prim Scrubber.
  • Pregnant stomach talkers. Thank God that this is a fad that has died down. I don’t give a rat’s ass how your virtual fetus feels. Instant mute!
  • Horrible, horrible freebie stores that are unloading floor after floor of ancient system layer clothing. Freebie Galaxy is a 15-story crime against humanity and should be burned to the ground! The two best freebie stores on the grid are The Free Dove and the one at Ajuda SL Brasil. They update their selections regularly, and almost all the stuff you can get there looks great on your avatar. And I firmly support those vendors who do provide high-quality freebies to these places, by shopping at their stores and buying their products.
  • Related to this last point: stores that give out poor-quality versions of their merchandise as freebies/gifts.
  • “Gifts” (especially those at shopping events) that cost more than L$1. It’s a gift, people. Gifts aren’t supposed to cost L$5, or L$10, or even more. Every so often, still, I accidentally buy something in a gift box that I thought was free. Drives me crazy.
  • Stores that constantly spam you with landmarks and requests to join their group. Once when I arrive is fine. More than that is just annoying.
  • Being limited to 60 groups if you’re Premium (and 42 if you’re not). That’s not nearly enough for any SL fashionista! I am constantly leaving and rejoining groups to take advantage of offers and promotions. I say, bump it up to at least a hundred!

Well, I’m so glad I got that off my chest! I feel so much better!! What are your pet peeves with Second Life? What drives you crazy? Leave me a comment on this blogpost, thanks!

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UPDATED: More Details on the Upcoming Ability to Change Your User Name in Second Life

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Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Patch Linden added a bit more information to the recent announcement that Linden Lab was going to allow Second Life users to change their last names. He said, in a thread on the official Second Life user forums, that you would be able to change both first and last names:

It will be complete and total name changes, both first and surname.  Just to set expectations on this, it is a later this year item.

When asked if the change would be available to everyone, or just those with the Resident last name, he added:

It will be available to everyone.  ;)

And, in answer to yet another question about whether or not you could hide your name:

No hiding of names.  First name and surname combos will have to be unique like they are today.  A couple of other questions that came up – no re-use of retired names, once a name has been used, it belongs to that account forever.  We keep a transnational name change history.  Only standard English characters will be permitted.

Just to make it clear, this is an upcoming ability to change to the actual avatar name, not the display name. When asked about how this change will affect the display names of avatars (which can be updated once a week):

This has no affect on display names and largely I do not anticipate we will change how display names work.  If anything, it somewhat sunsets the need for them.

So, that makes everything a little clearer! Thanks, Patch! I predict that there will be a land rush on names once this feature is turned on for users. Being able to change both your first AND your last name (as long as somebody else doesn’t already have that combination) is a very nice feature to have!

UPDATE March 23rd: Inara Pey has a very detailed blogpost on this announcement by Linden Lab, with even more details:

The plan is to allow people to change their first and last name whenever they wish.

  • As with the “old” system, users will be able to choose whatever first name they like, then select their last name from a pre-set list of available names.
  • Once a name combination has been created, it is forever tied to that avatar, it cannot be used by anyone else, even if the “owner” later changes their name, or their account is deactivated.
  • Previous names will be retained by the system, so if you can remember someone’s previous name, you can search on that and get their current name.
  • As with the “old” system, this list of last names will be routinely changed with different names appearing on it.
  • To help keep the available names relatively fresh, the Lab is considering accepting suggestions from users.
  • It has not been determined if someone will be able to switch back to using a name they’ve previously used.
  • Unicode will not be supported when entering a first name.

Thanks, Inara!

SECOND UPDATE April 2nd: Inara Pey has posted more details on the upcoming ability to change your avatar name in her report on the Second Life Web User Group meeting of March 28th:

  • “Original / legacy” last names will not be re-opened for use.
  • New users joining Second Life will still be given the automatic “last name” of “Resident”, but have the option of changing if they wish.
  • The fee for name changes has not been announced, however, at this point the indication is that the fee will be in fiat currency (i.e. US dollars) not Linden Dollars.
  • One of the reasons the return of last names will take time to be implemented is that all of the SL web properties – like the Marketplace – have to be updated to recognise users as they change their names (something which applies across almost all of the SL services when you think about it).

THIRD UPDATE Aug. 14th: Dakota Linden weighed in on the whole last names issue in a post on the official Second Life user forums:

It is wise not to speculate about what “might” happen at some time in the future regarding anything related to Second Life, or life in general for that matter.

1. ALL new accounts will be created with the Resident last name. Whether your personal choice in viewers allows that name to be hidden or not, ALL new accounts will have the last name of Resident.

2. IF a user chooses to become a Premium Member, they will have an option to purchase a different last name. The available last names will be from a Pre-Approved, rotating, list. If you do not want to purchase the option for a different last name, then don’t. No one is being FORCED to choose a last name other than Resident.

3. Will having the option to choose a last name change the gobbledy-gook first names? No. Why? Because some people will still choose to have weird or goofy first names that have no meaning at all, regardless of whether or not last names are available.

4. Will using your preferred, chosen, first name be easier when last names are available? YES!  Why? Because you pick your own first name, then have an option from a pre-approved list of last names, to pick from.  This means you will ALWAYS be able to have your preferred, chosen, first name, even if someone else is also using that name. Provided you are a Premium Account member AND you have paid for the option to have a different last name.

What is new about this information is that you have to have a Premium account in order to purchase a last name for your avatar. (Thanks to LittleMe Jewell for pointing out Dakota’s update!)

UPDATE Nov. 15th: This evening, I watched the recorded livestream of today’s Second Life Town Hall with Grumpity, Oz, and Patch Linden, and I wanted to add an update to this blogpost about the eagerly-anticipated ability to change your SL user name.

Grumpity reports that the team at Linden Lab is still working on it, but this project has been more complicated than anticipated. She now estimates that this will be released within the second quarter of next year (2019), rather than this year, which is definitely a major disappointment.

As for the cost of this new service, Grumpity estimates that it will be “on the order of a few months of Premium membership” (which is currently US$9.50 monthly, or US$22.50 quarterly, or US$72.00 annually). So expect this to cost about 20 to 25 dollars, which is about what I expected.

Grumpity stressed that these name changes are not meant to be (or replace) display names. She added that it should be possible for you to go back to a name you had before (for a fee).

Linden Lab will also be accepting suggestions from SL users for possible new last names, so watch for that announcement sometime in the future!

Updating My Victorian/Steampunk Avatar in Second Life

I decided to treat my longstanding Victorian/steampunk roleplay avatar in Second Life, who has traditionally been an old woman, to a new LAQ Vivien Bento mesh head (designed for an older woman) and a Maitreya Lara mesh body. This is my first LAQ head and I’m impressed by all the options that come with it, including very lifelike mocap animations for the face. I’m very pleased with the look I was able to get. The wrinkles you see can be turned on and off using the included HUD. (Don’t you wish you could do that in real life?)

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So I’ve taken my newly updated avatar out for a stroll around the steampunk city of New Babbage, which has all kinds of nooks and crannies to explore:

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My avatar is wearing:

  • Isabella hair in silver by ChiChickie (in the top two pictures; no longer available)
  • Shirley-Anne hair in white by Alli & Ali (in the bottom two pictures)
  • Flat Isabel outfit in black by Bare Rose (in the topmost picture; includes hat)
  • Gwendolin outfit in ivory by Cog & Fleur (in the bottom three pictures; the outfit includes boots, earrings, and hat)
  • Vivien Bento mesh head by LAQ (included skin)
  • Maitreya Lara mesh body
  • Southern Belle & Woman in Ballgown Bento AO by Tuty

Second Life 15th Anniversary Announcements

Second Life 15th AnniversaryToday a special announcement was posted to the official Second Life community forums, which included a list of 15 new features and improvements to SL. A few of these caught my eye, and I wanted to share them with you.

First, and as Jo Yardley already reported, last names are finally coming back after a seven-year absence! The actual text of the announcement says:

You’ve asked for it (a lot!), so we will provide a way to customize your last name in Second Life! More details will be available later this year.

How this will work is anybody’s guess. But people have been asking for Linden Lab to bring back avatar last names for years, and it looks like they are finally going to listen. So if you’re tired of having the last name Resident, it looks like you’ll be able to change it sometime this year. Good news!

Second, it looks as though Linden Lab wants to make some adjustments to the way they collect money, depending less on the cost of virtual land and more on other fees:

Currently, Land costs can be quite high, and make up a lopsided portion of our Second Life revenues. To improve this imbalance, we plan to increase revenues in other ways so that we can lower land costs further. In order to avoid shocks to the in-world economy and to take care that we keep the business healthy, we plan to make these changes in a measured way, taking time to assess the impacts of each change as we go.

Last week, we announced that we have lowered the cost of Mainland by over 10 percent and doubled the Mainland tier allocation for Premium members. In the coming months some other fees may increase, including Marketplace commissions, Linden Dollar exchange fees, and cashout fees.

I’d better go buy a whack of Linden dollars before they raise the exchange fees! And I’m sure that some vendors will not be pleased with the news of increased commissions.

Finally, they said that they were considering having various premium subscription levels, instead of just one level like they currently do:

In addition, we will soon announce new tiered Premium membership offerings that allow Residents to choose the membership level that provides the benefits most important to them.

This sounds interesting, and similar to what Linden Lab is already offering with the various Sansar creator subscription levels.

I’m looking forward to the 15th anniversary celebrations that will happen this year, and to all the new developments that are taking place in Second Life!