On RLV restrictions

Two things have happened today that have got me thinking about RLV restrictions, what makes sense, what level of control makes sense and so on. I'll caution anyone reading this right now: this might be more of a ramble than something with direction and purpose.

The first thing that happened was, earlier today, I was reading through some of the SL blogs I follow (some kink-related, some general SL) and I stumbled on a review of an RLV product. The product itself was some sort of isolation suit, a rubber drone sort of thing -- the kind of thing that's not a million miles away from a bane suit and, if it had a male version, likely the sort of thing Miss Vila would approve of and add to the list of things she likes to lock on me (she does rather enjoy things that cover me and isolate me). The reviewer seemed to be rather bothered about the fact that, by default, when first locked, the product denied IMs.

That struck me as really rather odd. The review stated that this was an option and the restriction could be turned off but they seemed to think that it should be off by default. Given the nature of the product I'd be surprised if it was any other way than the way this product did it. Something that is about isolation and which, in RL, would heavily restrict your ability to communicate, really does suggest to me that the default restrictions are such that communication is made as difficult as possible.

This was my thinking when I made the Z&A Isolation Helmet, for example. The main reason someone would buy this, or a similar product, would be for the heavy RLV restrictions that are implied by heavy isolation and so, by my reasoning, denial of outgoing IMs, at the very least, is a sensible default.

Of course, it makes sense that as much as possible these things are optional, can be toggled and changed. For any given build there's very few restrictions that make sense as hard-wired. Examples I can think of are detach (for anything), local chat for gags, seeing emotes for a blindfold, etc... Those sorts of things aside, a lack of the ability to tune restrictions can be frustrating (and I say that as someone whose early builds made the mistake of being all-or-nothing and who's made a point of improving on that error of judgement ever since).

Now, sure, I guess I can appreciate personal preference but that's where getting to know the product you've purchased comes in. Personally though I find being locked in something and finding it's not as restrictive as the RL equivalent would imply to be more frustrating and jarring than finding out the opposite. I'd appreciate and respect "harsher but appropriate" defaults over "might as well not be scripted" defaults every single time.

Which sort of brings me to the second thing that happened. As mentioned in my previous blog post, I'm currently locked in a spreader bar that makes walking around a reasonably frustrating experience. To walk I can't use the normal forward and backward keys. With this I have to press shift-left and then shift-right, over and over again, to (in effect) shuffle each foot. It's a very old build (dates back to 2010 from what I can see, although one script inside it has a creation date in 2008) but rather well done (if "rather frustrating, just like I imagine being RL hobbled by such a thing would be" is the measure we're using).

Except... one thing lets it down. It doesn't deny sittp. This means that I can cam anywhere on the region, find something I can sit on, sit on it and get there in an instant. While I'm doing my very best to not do this, knowing that I can do it sort of spoils the full effect.

This is a thing that I look for in the RLV toys I buy (and I do love buying RLV toys): appropriate restrictions. I like gags that control chat and instant messages. I wouldn't like a gag that didn't and neither would I like a gag that also controlled teleporting. I like leg restraints that control far-sitting and arm restraints that control far-touch, I'd like them a lot less if they didn't do that or tried to deny my maps. I like (and try and make) devices and restraints where the restrictions make sense.

So, if there's a conclusion to this ramble, it's this: if you're making an RLV product I'd applaud and encourage the harshest restrictions that make sense as being on by default. Just please make sure that a) there's good documentation available and b) that all the restrictions that make sense as being toggles are toggles. On top of that, I'd applaud and encourage restrictions that go as far as possible and still make sense, but no more.

After all, if Miss Vila wanted me to always walk up to objects before sitting on them, without the use of RLV, she'd tell me to do it rather than lock me up in fun things that use RLV. ;)

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