When RL meets SL

I think I whined one time too many about how hot it is here in RL right now. One moment Miss is thinking of sitting down in front of her fire, the next...

...I'm stuck in the DoD hanging cage, on the corner of her patio, overlooking the ocean. Mention was made of a "cool sea breeze".

And as for pointing out that the patio floor texture was kind of dirty-looking...


Firestorm's RLV Restriction Window

I'm still giving Firestorm a try and am using it pretty much every day. I've found a couple of problems, the odd bug and the like, and have made a point of reporting them. There's one or two things at the moment that get in the way and require that I drop back into Phoenix but, mostly, I'm getting used to Firestorm and, in some places, prefer it.

I'm still finding the odd new touch that impresses me. For example, just now, I was checking the RLV restriction list (Advanced >> RLVa >> Restrictions... in Phoenix and Firestorm). In Phoenix this has the restrictions and exceptions all mixed in. While it doesn't make the list useless (far from it, it's been a very useful debug tool in the past) it does mean you don't always see what you need to see at first glance. Firestorm has solved that problem rather well. Restrictions and exceptions have been placed in different lists:

I can also see that "Copy to Clipboard" button being very handy at times, especially when you're helping someone else out with RLV issues. Well played Phoenix/Firestorm developers!

Miss Vila's Return

After my storming even further into the lead on the local En Garde board, Miss Vila was rather keen to take the top spot back. So we had another match today. Miss had her wish:

 A close match, it has to be said (5 to Miss, 4 to me), but a win for Miss anyway.

Oh, yes, and did I mention the RLV-enabled stripping add-on that Miss insisted on purchasing?


On Rubbish Dominants and RLV

AKA "Stop being so bloody judgemental"

The other day I was watching a discussion take place, in group IM, between a small group of subs. The subject turned to (as it often does) good and bad dominants. The group in question has a membership who are generally heavy users of RLV so, unsurprisingly, knowledge of RLV is seen by many of them as an important quality in a dominant.

Which is fine. I'm a fan of RLV myself (and have been know to defend its use on a number of occasions -- that's a future blog entry). While my use of Second Life, as a venue to explore D/s, doesn't require RLV at its core, I do find that it adds an extra dimension that I deeply enjoy. I think it's also fair to say that any Domme I would ever submit to would be the sort of person who feels the same (it's a compatibility issue really, it's about being like-minded, about seeing things in a similar way). I consider myself very lucky that Miss Vila is just that person, that she enjoys using RLV, and that she accepted my submission.

What concerned me about the discussion was the very negative terms that were used about dominants who don't know RLV very well, or at all. The general opinion, in the discussion, seemed to be one of "how can anyone not know RLV?" or "why don't dominants know how to use all of the restraints I own?"

Not direct quotes, but that was the general thrust.

The wider complaint, of course, was that it wasn't possible to find a "good" dominant and part of that definition was that all "good" dominants must know how to use RLV, must know how to use RLV well, must know how to construct a good scene with RLV and, above all, must have a deep understanding of all possible toys and all possible combinations of #RLV folder contents.

I find that thinking more than a little crazy and very self-defeating. Sure, I can imagine it's very frustrating to be in a roleplay with someone who has given the impression that they're handy with RLV but who spend all of their time just button-pushing and not RPing. But they have to ask themselves this: how is anyone supposed to learn RLV in the first place? Where are all these RLV-expert dominants coming from? How do they get to be so handy with RLV?

A related complaint, from one of the subs, was that they spend a lot of time and a lot of effort making outfits, and even whole avatars, in their #RLV folder. And, yet, almost none of the dominants that they'd met knew how to make good use of this or how to "correctly" RP the use of those creations. Which is no surprise, I imagine that is the case, but I'd suggest that it's not the dominant's fault. The problem (not that it is a problem) is that dominants are not mind readers.

Think about it: any sub or slave who cares enough to put together sets of restraints (or, in my case, build RLV toys) will have a fantasy in mind. I'd suggest that it's almost impossible to not fantasise about how those items will be used on you. I'd suggest that it's the fantasy that creates the urge to put together those outfits and those whole avatars. And there's no way that any random dominant will know what your fantasy is. They just won't. And, so, without setting out to do so, you've set them up to fail before you've even met them.

My suggestions to those subs are:
  1. Stop expecting Second Life to hand you RLV-knowledgeable dominants on a plate. Use of RLV doesn't make anyone a dominant, and the mark of a dominant isn't use of RLV. An RLV-using dominant might very well be your ideal (join the club), but surely the spark, the common ground, the ability to communicate and create a scene together is what matters first? And if that person isn't so good with RLV, why not spend some OOC time with them, do the whole button-push thing, show them your cool toys, tell them why those toys make you hot and how they push your buttons. If you do that the "supply" of RLV-knowledgeable dominants will increase.
  2. Stop expecting dominants to be mind-readers who will know your every fantasy because you have a well-stocked #RLV folder and/or because you've given some clues in your avatar name and/or in your picks. It doesn't matter that you've got a mind-control-implant-wearing banesuit-clad ponygirl avatar in your folders, that communicates nothing about the story you had running through your mind that caused you to hit the SL marketplace in the first place. If you really must play out your fantasy, don't be so passive and expect the dominant to do all the work. Get to know them, tell them about your fantasy, spend some time (perhaps days, even weeks), work on playing it out.
Of course, it could be that you're looking for a quick play, that you can't or won't spend the time that's needed. That's okay. That's understandable. But, if that's the case, stop being so bloody judgemental. Consider the idea that that dominant you met, who you wanted to play with for a couple of hours, wasn't crap just because they didn't know your particular cuffs, or didn't know about your fetish that caused you to have a custard-filled bunny suit that they could have forced on you. Consider the idea that, perhaps, just perhaps, they were willing to learn, willing to have fun along with you, were willing to help play out your fantasy, but you didn't help them.

And, consider this: I've being wearing Miss Vila's collar for 15 months now. When we met I was just learning about what RLV could do, and Miss knew even less about it. When we met, I taught her what little I knew, and from there we learnt together. At the start I was leading, teaching, suggesting, setting the pace, because I was the one who knew what could be done and how you might do it. And then, one day, it all switched. Miss was fully in charge, was comfortable and confident with RLV, and knew what she wanted from it and used it to satisfy her wishes.

Imagine if, at the start, I'd decided she was a rubbish Domme because she didn't know RLV...

Oops Again

So, after pulling ahead of Miss on the local En Garde board, she decided that we should have another match so she could get back in front.

That went well then. ;-D


Giving Firestorm a Try

This evening I got brave and downloaded the new Phoenix Firestorm beta. It's quite a while since I last looked at Linden Lab's own v2 viewer, which I really didn't like at all, so, despite all the assurances from the Phoenix team that Firestorm didn't suck like v2 does, I was fully prepared to hate it.

I prepared wrong.

As well as it being nice to finally try things like web-on-a-prim (see above), and wearing multiple items of clothing on the same layer (finally! jacket-layer shirt with a jacket-layer vest!), there's a few other things in it that I'm really enjoying.

The big surprise is the new layout for chat and IMs. That was one of the things I really hated about v2 when I first tried it, the way that chat and IMs worked made no sense, felt all wrong, was horribly untidy. But the Firestorm crew seem to have got it spot on (or v2 has moved on a lot and works the same and I don't know 'cos I've not used it since). I'm also liking the dock system (which does come from v2, of course) that lets you undock and redock -- the way that works now makes a lot of sense.

There's a lot that isn't right yet too, of course. I think it's fair to say that Firestorm is a touch builder-unfriendly right now. Some of the handy tools that we're used to in Phoenix aren't there (yet), and I'm unconvinced by the white background for the script editor. Also, the script editor seems to save too fast (no, really, I mean it -- it seems to say that the script has been saved way before it can have been uploaded and compiled). On top of that there's handy things like spell-check that are missing.

But... it's a beta. There's still work for them to do. They acknowledge that there's still work to do. I'll be keeping it on my machine and using it, on and off, as well as updating when new versions come out. We know for sure that v1.x viewers will be killed off at some point so I feel that easing myself into the world of v2.x viewers is a sensible thing to do.

Grabbing a Region Map

Following on from yesterday's post about the map thing I made, I thought someone might like to see the code for grabbing the map. It's nothing clever and, after I threw it together, I realised that the gridsurvey.com API docs had an example anyway, but I'll post it here anyway in case anyone finds it useful.

It's written such that all you need do is drop the script in a prim (ideally a cube, I guess) and it'll "just work". Note that it places the map on face 0 of the prim -- this is handy for creating a one-prim framed map of your home.

You can find the code on gist, and embedded below:


Map of Home

After playing about with some code, the other day, for getting at sim maps (using the Grid Survey API), I had an urge to make a bigger map of our half of Shackles. A bit of texture repeat and offset tweaking, along with some coloured transparent prims, later...

Black is Raven Park. Red is Z&A Productions. Green is Shackles.

No, I'm not sure what use it is. But the urge to make a thing has to be satisfied.



And, so, a new blog.

Chances are you're reading this knowing that I maintain the blog for Z&A Productions (and/or The Femdom Hunt blog, when the hunt is under way). You might, then, be wondering why I feel the need to have another blog. The reason is pretty simple: sometimes I see or notice things (in Second Life) that I want to write about but which aren't really directly Z&A things. I don't want to use Z&A as a soapbox for my own views (which Zardia might or might not share), neither do I want to dilute the purpose of the Z&A blog with any random rambling of mine.

So, what can you expect here? Well, for one thing, expect it to be infrequent. I can't imagine I'll be adding that much. I can't imagine I'll be blogging daily (even weekly might be impressive). What I will be doing is, when the urge strikes, writing about issues that I feel the need to write about, and perhaps talk about products I've purchased in SL (so, yeah, perhaps the odd mini-review). These products are very likely to be RLV, BDSM, D/s or Femdom-related.