Or… “You’ve all got it wrong, god damn it”
There has been a debate regarding height and scale in SL (Second Life) for as long as I have been a resident – which is going on four and a half years now. On the scale side there are several issues. Some people simply cannot build and so create items (houses, accessories, furniture, etc.) that are simply not to scale with anything. The follow-cam method of viewing the world requires that buildings be upscaled so that when standing in a relatively small room your camera view is not outside the wall behind your avatar – this makes properly scaled furniture look truly bizarre and toy-sized when placed in such rooms. Worst of all, the matter of ego – avatars are grossly overscaled (as much as eight feet tall) simply to satisfy the desire to be tall and impressive (with the obvious side effect that others upscale their OWN avatar to ‘fit in’ to the seeming average and to seem appropriately sized, even if they’re not trying to be large and impressive).
Scale, however, is a decidedly tricky business, because – in a nutshell – everyone has it WRONG.
Take a close look at the image above – this shows my avatar scaled to my exact real life height, matched to the inworld prim measuring system (as in – create a prim, make it the correct height, and scale the avatar to match) – which is 6’3″ (1.905m). This was no mean feat, and took a great deal of tinkering with the shape editing system.
Now we get to the problems.
First of all, according to the shape editing system itself, I am ridiculously short – on the extreme low side of what is presented as average. Why do I say this? Because of the ‘height’ slider in the shape editing. According to that slider – my height is a 20 on a scale of a possible 100, where the preset average is 50. In real life I am still considered somewhat tall (although the average height in North America is catching up to me, and I’m not as tall-seeming as I was twenty years ago). But still – 20?? Let’s have a look at a comparison, shall we?
According to the height adjustment slider, the shortest I can be with all other settings intact is 1.87m (6’1.5″), while the average I would be is 2.05m (6’8″ ffs!!). Never mind the maximum. Obviously this is completely ridiculous and creates a completely false sense of scale in newcomers editing their avatars for the first time.
Be that as it may, it’s still not really the worst problem. Far worse is the complete inaccuracy of every available measuring system (save the aforementioned create a prim and go by straight visual comparison method).
Look again at the first image – note the three prims, their corresponding heights, and the key at the bottom.
There are two basic methods of determining your avatar’s height inworld – one is to use a scripted height finder of some sort (the red prim corresponds to this method), the second is to go by what the viewer itself ‘oh so helpfully’ tells you (the blue prim corresponds to this).
As you can plainly see – they’re both completely wrong.
According to the scripted height-finder, I am 5’10″ tall – a full 5″ (nearly half a foot, or 7%) too short.
But according to the viewer, I’m 6’6″ – 3″ (4%) too tall.
Hell, even by averaging the two it still comes out wrong – 6’2″ – but at least that’s closer.
In short, unless you have a specific height in mind and are willing to create a prim, scale it properly, and tinker with your avatar until it’s perfect – there’s really no way to accurately know your actual avatar’s height, or easily set it to something comfortable or realistic.
So to quote Lewis Black (and you’ll have to imagine the frenzied outrage here), I say to both Linden Lab and all third-party viewers teams – “FIX IT!!!”
Here is a simple but graphic illustration of the further scale problems in SL.
The red prim in the picture below is a standard 10x10m square. For most house builders, this is a modest-sized (if not small) room. Yes, a single room – 10m square – slightly more than 30 feet to a side. Beneath it is a perfectly accurately scaled floorplan of what is considered a small but reasonably-sized two-bedroom apartment in real life. Note that I do not seem out of proportion to this – and yet due to the factors I mentioned above, actually building such a floorplan to correct scale would make the result seem incredibly tiny and cramped. The follow-cam would make even walking around this perfectly reasonably sized dwelling utterly impossible.
- Contest entry registration: October 1st to 15th
- Contest voting: October 16th to 30th
- The Prize: L$2500 cash plus a L$1000 gift card from Dare Designs to the person with the most votes after the two week voting period., Each entry after 25 will add L$25 to the winner’s purse (so hitting fifty entrants would bring up the cash total to L$3750, for example).
1: Entrants must wear DD (Dare Designs) as their main outfit – they can dress it up or down, wear parts, mix and match, accessorize at will, whatever they want to show off their own style and fashion sense. – as long as the result is still recognizable Dare Designs.
2: Snapshots must be taken somewhere on Dark Eternity or Event Horizon (the two adjacent sims where DD lives). Inside, outside, in the parks, or underground – anywhere is fine as long as it is somewhere on these two sims.
3: Entrants submit a single snapshot of their best look along with a ‘style description’ – a description of exactly what they’re wearing – clothing, shoes, accessories, skin, etc. – to ‘DareDesignsSL@gmail.com’. Entry emails must include one picture in .jpg format, square (512×512, 768×768, 1024×1024, no smaller than 512 pixels), the style description, and the entrant’s name.
Please entitle your email ‘Daring fashion Contest’ – and make sure your picture is named with your full avatar name and nothing more – ‘janedoe.jpg’ for example.
3a: We prefer post-processing be kept to a minimum, since this is intended to be a fashion contest, not an art or Photoshop skill contest. To avoid this simply being a popularity contest – no names are allowed ON the picture, no names will be displayed during the voting process either – people will vote based on the picture alone. In short – any entrants that are heavily processed or bear the name of the entrant will simply be discarded.
3b: Creativity in wearing DD fashion and choosing a shot location is preferred. The most creative shots will receive a special ‘editors’ pick’ feature to draw more attention to them.
- Entries will go up on the wall near the east entrance of Dare Designs as they come in – voting will open and entries stopped at midnight, October 15th (SLT).
- Voters will be able to vote by click for their favorite pictures, and will be able to vote on more than one picture if they choose, but votes will be limited to one vote per avatar per picture.
- We encourage entrants to show off their entry via flickr, blogs, SLUniverse, whatever they choose. We can’t even imagine how to stop vote solicitation, so we’re not going to try – spread the word, show off, invite your friends – we don’t care.
Let’s have some fun with this, darklings!
- Dare Munro, Axi Kurmin
Thirty days of hunting madness comes to an end with teh official wrap-up party for the First Annual Gothmas by Gaslight Hunt.
It’s been a great month and we have enjoyed working with all the vendors who joined us for this hunt – the people were great and the prizes were wonderful – and now we have a wrap-up event to cap it all off in style. Damned Good Design and Dare Designs are sponsoring DJ Lokii Violet for two hours of gothic goodness, with a ‘Best in Winter Goth’ contest (1000L on each contest board, which goes up as more people join in), an all new random prize raffle, a beautiful limited edition dress from Dare Designs, hot Gothika dancers, and more.
See you there. – DM
This is going to be an incredibly short post, since I’m going to let the pictures speak for themselves. I’ve just done a massive update of flickr, with about 400+ pictures of what’s been keeping us so busy for the last few months.
Dare Designs: Full photo set
Urban Forge: Full photo set
Have fun browsing. – Dare
Yes – SIX times over, for us anyway (and I’m not even an elf, but she is…) – six stores, six prizes, we’ve been working our pointy little ears off over here in the workshop… yeah, okay, enough with the holiday imagery already… on to the prizes…
That’s the whole array, six stores, six prizes, all new and out there somewhere hiding in those pesky little bells. (…the bells, the BELLS!! …)
Happy hunting – DM
I am really tired of being nice, or being expected to be nice, to people who cannot read and follow the simplest of instructions.
Here’s what I mean…
Every week, we send out a news and new release notice via subscribomatic – this goes out to well over five thousand accounts inworld. Every week the format is the same – something like this below appears in every subscriber’s local chat:
‘Dare Designs Signature Members Group owned by Dare Munro gave you ‘Special News from the Loft 10.10.17′ ( http://slurl.com/secondlife/Event%20Horizon/120/124/503 ).‘
Along with this comes a notecard, and the following message (or one very much like it):
‘News and new releases galore, darklings – see the notecard for all the details and landmarks – DM & AK‘
The first part is the required notification that informs the person what is sending them a thing, required by the SL ToS to avoid anonymous spamming. The message, and notecard, are the true content. The message clearly states ‘see the notecard for details and landmarks‘.
Inside the notecard, of course, are always included the details of the release, and landmarks to the relevant store locations, sales, etc..
And yet… AND YET… every single god damn week there is at least one (if not more) idiot(s) that do nothing but click the first url in the chat message, show up in our workroom at the location of the subsribomatic, get booted by our security system for being where they do not belong – and throw a freakin’ hissy fit, often quitting the group over this.
This is not rocket science, people.
Open the god damn notecard as you’re told, and find all the relevant help and goodies we’ve provided.
One. Simple. Instruction.
In small words.
I have received irate messages of every flavor you can imagine, because people refuse to read and follow even the most basic instruction. I was even told this was my fault for keeping the subsribomatic server in a private area. My fault. When I clearly tell people how to get to where they want to be.
At one time I tried keeping the server in the store… but it is heavily scripted and does offsite database calls. This? LAG.
It would crash just trying to access the subscriber database. It would lag the sim to a standstill just running through delivery (and back then it was delivering around two thousand notices, not over five thousand). It takes it over two hours to deliver NOW. I can’t afford to have the sim operating as though drenched in cold molasses for that whole time. So I moved it offsite to our workroom. And I started adding the line in the chat text to open the notecard for the proper landmarks.
People started fucking this up right away.
Week after week we’d have avatars popping into our workroom and wandering around like they figured we’d hidden the store in there somewhere (never mind that they’ve BEEN to the store, know what sim it’s on, and should be able to tell they’re in the wrong place). Often, one or both of Axi and I are half dressed while we’re working on outfits… and yet even when told they were in the wrong place, these people would not be respectful and leave. They would often get very rude about it.
So we put in the security system and started making sure every subscribo notice very clearly stated the proper landmarks were IN the notecard it was delivering.
And yet… they still come. They still get rude and bitchy over it.
It’s really NOT rocket science – follow the one simple instruction included with every notice and everyone will be happy. I promise.
Yes, I have closed both the Dare Chair Addicts and the old DDSM groups. In their place I have created the DDSM Rewards program group.
Here’s the basic information – after this we’ll get into some clarification.
DDSM Rewards Program
The Group: The group is open enrollment and there is no fee to join.
However, in order to receive any rewards and benefits from the group, you must **register** at the time of joining.
Registration is simple: join the group and send a notecard to Dare Munro with your avatar name and the the name of the person who recommended you to the group or ‘signed you up’ – if there was one (there doesn’t need to be). **This MUST be done by the new member only. At this point you will receive a basic level group member tag.
To join the group on your own:
Search for the group name with ‘Mature’ results ON, open the group profile, click ‘Join’
Member benefits and rewards:
As before, members of this group will receive notices of new releases, special events, sales, and giveaways related principally to Dare Designs (though not solely limited to that store).
Periodically there will be special members-only giveaways, events, and sales as well.
However, that is only the tip of the iceberg.
The real benefit to membership comes in the form of the rewards program itself.
In a nutshell, Dare Designs will pay its members a reimbursement each month based on the quantity of L$ they have spent in the store that month (think of it as a discount you get back in cash once a month). The amount each member earns back depends on their membership level.
Just Looking : reward level: 0
Tempted : reward level: 5% (of purchases made each month)
Enchanted : reward level: 10% (of purchases made each month)
Ensorceled : reward level: 15% (of purchases made each month)
Cursed : reward level: 20% (of purchases made each month)
So how do you get the better membership level and reap greater rewards?
I knew you were going to ask that.
Simple – spread the word.
Remember that bit up at the beginning about new members sending in a notecard including their own name and the name of the person that recommended the store and the group?
This will be recorded, and as more people join the group based on your recommendation, your status and rewards within the group improve. These people become your registrants circle.
*Just Looking : move up to ‘Tempted’ requires : registering and maintaining 10 members in your registrants circle (if someone drops the group and the number falls below 10, you go back down)
*Tempted : move up to ‘Enchanted’ requires : registering and maintaining 25 members in your registrants circle (if someone drops the group and the number falls below 25, you go back down)
*Enchanted : move up to ‘Ensorceled’ requires : registering and maintaining 50 members in your registrants circle (if someone drops the group and the number falls below 50, you go back down)
*Ensorceled : move up to ‘Cursed’ requires : registering and maintaining 100 members in your registrants circle (if someone drops the group and the number falls below 100, you go back down)
So, the more people you bring to the store and group who stay and shop – your registrants circle – the more rewards you personally receive.
And it gets better – BUT – before you just run out and sign up anyone you can find… in order to count each month in your registrants circle, each avatar has to have made at least one full price purchase during that month. If not, they will be dropped from the group. (I realize this may occur due to RL concerns, but no avatar dropped is barred from re-registering at starting level later).
Here’s the better part:
Each avatar that creates and maintains a registrants circle, also receives a small stipend based on the purchases made by the members of their circle (and yes, members of one circle can have their OWN circles in turn).
Each month, DD will total the purchases of the members in each circle, and pay the head avatar a percentage of that total based on their membership level.
Tempted : reward level: 2% (of registrant circle purchases made each month)
Enchanted : reward level: 5% (of registrant circle purchases made each month)
Ensorceled : reward level: 10% (of registrant circle purchases made each month)
Cursed : reward level: 15% (of registrant circle purchases made each month)
So, in a nutshell – if you register 25 avatars to the group, you get the ‘Enchanted’ tag, make back 10% of everything you spend in the store each month, AND receive a cash reward of 5% of everything those registrants in your circle spend each month.
If this month you and each of them spent L$1000, at the end of the month you would get a payment from DD of L$1350. Simple, right? (that would actually make your own purchase free, plus extra).
The fine print:
NO PUBLIC OR GROUP CHAT RANTING, BITCHING, ARGUING, OR FIGHTING.
You MUST deliver this notecard, in full, to each new person you register.
Break any of these rules and you will be cut from the group and banned from the store without notice or warning.
- – - – - – - – -
So now we get into the clarification.
First of all – Emilly Orr kindly raised some obvious but necessary concerns over this program here: http://razorblade-cookies.blogspot.com/2010/10/so-real-when-youre-just-ghost-of-me.html
Her principal concern was that this was some sort of pyramid or MLM scheme at worst, or an open invitation to harassment at best. (thank you, Emilly)
She noted examples of schemes within SL that do amount to nothing more than MLM designed to make the creator tons of money for doing absolutely nothing – such as ‘The Hunger’ and ‘Bloodlines’, for example – that have not only become excuses for random and ongoing harassment by people trying to exploit the system (not all players of these games are bad, but many are, it’s just a fact) – but ALSO receive the full support and encouragement by the creators to actively harass people and ignore requests or demands or rules to stop. (the creator of The Hunger is notorious for telling players to ignore other sim owners’ rules and requests not to harass people on their land). My rule against harassment is precisely the opposite.
So first of all I will summarize my responses to Emilly’s concerns, because they address a few points everyone needs to be aware of.
Unlike these other systems, and perhaps not wholly obvious, is the fact that people can be a group member, do nothing extra, and nothing changes from before – they shop when they feel like, and all remains the same. But those that wish to get more, or be more involved, only need to do a little more – no different than picks rewards, or any number of other inworld promotional/advertising options that have come and gone or even still exist.
Yes, this is utterly and unabashedly a marketing tool.
With search broken, with picks and traffic no longer counting towards search rankings, and NO tool available to us (merchants) working any longer – leaving us no real way (except good old-fashioned word of mouth) to introduce our work to new customers as old ones leave SL in droves… it’s time to be creative, and invite loyal customers to work WITH us, and get something back for it.
It also rewards those that put just a little effort where their claims to love and support the store lay.
This program is simply rewarding shoppers out of my own pocket for any word of mouth they provide that works.
In that way it is completely different than Bloodlines or MLM (though, ironically, pretty much spot-on to HerbalLife’s early marketing strategy). Unlike any MLM or Pyramid scheme, the participants DO NOT SELL. In an MLM or Pyramid scheme, the participants sell product, then pay a commission to their upline out of THEIR pocket.
Here – the only person paying anything – is me.
In fact, if people truly like the store and what I do, they need do nothing more than they did before – tell people. But now, they get paid for it, out of my pocket. And hopefully this gives them incentive to talk more about what they like.
That was the basic first response to those concerns, and there have been some others.
The second round came from someone inworld, and was considerably less well-put (and in places outright insulting), though some of the concerns are still legitimate and deserve answering.
First of all – why did I close the previous two groups:
The DDSM store group:
The reason for closing this was in part personal and does not need to be gone into in detail here. The rest of the reason was the group just sort of sat there and didn’t do much for the store or the group members – the DDSM Rewards Program actively works for everyone concerned. It seemed a good trade.
The Dare Chair Addicts group:
First of all – I did NOT start that group, nor did I even WANT that group – I was forced to take it over when it began to spread misinformation and create a lot of confusion IN MY NAME and in the name of my store. The degree of drama and headaches in my life increased by at least a factor of ten when that group really got into full swing. I had to monitor the group chat DAILY, even HOURLY, just to prevent more damage being done under the supposed approval of my store and myself. After maintaining the group for over a year, I learned a simple fact:
MOST (not all, but most) of the people in that group had no interest in anything but collecting cheap and/or free stuff. They were not actual customers, and never would be. Furthermore, for not being actual customers, they were on average ten times the pain in my ass – drama, bitching, complaining, demanding, harassing, fighting on my time and in my domain, under my name – than the REAL customers who actually supported the store by occasionally buying things at full price.
In short, the people contributing the least were creating the MOST hassle and drama.
After a year of this experiment, I closed it – enough was enough.
Don’t kid yourself – this is not a hobby for me – this is a real business, and I am going to treat it as such. Those that respect that and me (and Axi) will receive my wholehearted support and generosity – but those that don’t, are not welcome. Period.
To address the rest of the concerns that have been raised, I will go back to portions of the original description of the program, and add a little explanation.
** In a nutshell, Dare Designs will pay its members a reimbursement each month… The amount each member earns back depends on their membership level…
Unlike any MLM or pyramid scheme, the members of this group do not have to sell anything, nor do they have to pay anything out of their own pocket beyond making occasional purchases in the store (as they most likely would have done anyway). The rewards paid out are paid BY ME alone, and are a direct answer to two things – shopping in the store, and recommending the store to friends, etc.. In this way it is much more like an air miles or shoppers’ reward program at your local grocery store.
** BUT – before you just run out and sign up anyone you can find… in order to count each month in your registrants circle, each avatar has to have made at least one full price purchase during that month. If not, they will be dropped from the group. (I realize this may occur due to RL concerns, but no avatar dropped is barred from re-registering at starting level later).
Yes, you must make one purchase a month to maintain your status within the group, and so must those you introduce to your circle in order for them to remain in and count towards your rewards.
Why? Because this prevents people from ‘gaming the system’ – signing up a bunch of people and then sitting back, doing nothing, and collecting cash from me. <— read that part twice.
I wish it did not have to be this way, but WE ALL KNOW there are many, many unscrupulous people who would and will try this very thing.
All this really means, however, is that you get dropped if you don’t make a purchase this month. You can rejoin at the basic level when you come back to it, and then just leave it alone and carry on and nothing changes. The cheaters are weeded out, and those that simply want to be in the group and stay informed can do so at their own leisure.
Besides – a single purchase at full price once a month in my store amounts to – $1-$2 US… about the same price as a bottle of soda or a commercially bought cup of coffee. ONCE A MONTH.
This is hardly extortion.
It was suggested I should employ an affiliate vendor program instead.
I will not release my product and my brand to be abused in the way I have seen others get abused by unscrupulous people taking advantage of vendor programs. Again – we all know there are plenty of bad apples out there ready to do ANYTHING to make a few Lindens, or dollars – and I refuse to enable them and let my store and my reputation suffer for it. I maintain certain standards, and I make sure my paying customers and the friends and supporters of my store are well taken care of. An affiliate vendor program would take a large part of that out of my hands, and significantly increase the amount of headaches I have to deal with.
The rest of the objections so far were made to the rules posted at the end of the original document, so let me explain.
** The fine print:
NO HARASSMENT – here’s the one that prevents this from turning into another Bloodlines or Hunger fiasco. If a member of this group harasses other avatars to join up, and I hear about it – they are EJECTED and banned. Permanently. Yes, I would like lots of people to be members of this group. I will NOT tolerate harassment or high-pressure tactics employed by people just out to get free money.
BE POLITE, BE NICE, NO PUBLIC OR GROUP CHAT RANTING, BITCHING, ARGUING, OR FIGHTING – I maintain certain standards of behavior in my groups and in my store. I will not come into YOUR house in front of your friends and family and throw a fit, bitch about you, or start a fight – it’s simply rude, and this rule only states I expect the same level of consideration for me and the rest of the people in the group. Think before you post. There is always private IM to vent your thoughts if need be. It’s not that hard. And no – I will not reconsider.
YOU MUST DELIVER THIS NOTECARD, IN FULL, TO EACH NEW PERSON YOU REGISTER – this is simply to prevent people from grabbing a bunch of registrants and not letting them in on the fun and rewards. Again, there are many people out there ready and willing to try and exploit the system for their own selfish and greedy benefit. This rule is just another (sadly necessary way) to keep everyone honest. Seriously folks, it is a tiny effort to type ‘DDSM’ into your inventory search box and then drop the notecard on whomever you are talking to – but that tiny effort is a measure that you are serious in your support. If it is too much, then I apologize, but this is not for you.
So there you have it.
- all my best, Dare
*tap tap tap* Is this thing on?
I suppose you’re all wondering why I called you here… no, wait… wrong opening…
A vampire, an elf, and a small orange cat walk into a bar…
…and the cat says “yeah, but you weren’t UNDER the Volkswagen at the time, either!”
Here we are at the inaugural post of the new joint blog ‘News From The Loft’ – about and for Second Life, co-written by Axi Kurmin (who must be mad to have agreed to this idea with so many places to write for already – I’m going to insist she post links to them all when we have an ‘about us’ section) and Dare Munro (alternately known in First Life as Avril Korman and, well… Dare Munro).
Why a new blog?
Because it seemed to me (that’s Dare) that we needed a place to talk about the things we’ve encountered and learned in this virtual wackiness… er… world… called Second Life,
a place to review the products and services we deal with nearly every day,
a place to rant or rave about the latest malarkey issuing from Linden Lab (most likely more ranting than raving),
and somewhere to announce and talk about the work we do through our many joint inworld ventures (we’ve locked a poor girl – Kostika Mistwalker aka Donna - in the basement with a keyboard to handle that part, though we’ll let her out on alternate Tuesdays to jog around the yard for an hour, feel free to send her food and gifts, but no files or explosives, please). For some idea of those joint ventures – just take a look at the Stuff. Also, Things. page.
Yes, we’re very busy.
So here it is – we’re up on the water tower with towels tied around our necks, looking grim and fierce (no, really, we look like that a lot) and preparing to safeguard Gotham City from… crap… the metaphor kind of breaks down right about there… though we intend no mercy for all the jokers we encounter along the way. I can’t speak for the penguins.
Axi says she can’t be Robin because she can’t do a cartwheel and trips over lint…
…but damn she looks good in those shorts…