Saturday, 13 April 2013

My SL Pet Peeves

Rudh alerted me to this meme started by Strawberry Singh and I thought it offered the perfect opportunity to rant about things (well, one thing in particular) and get them off my chest so I can stop alluding to them every time I post! I can instead link key words back to this post with a *cue rant postscript :D

Pet peeves... we all have them, whether we acknowledge them publicly or gripe privately to our friends or just grit our teeth, sigh, roll our eyes and forge on despite the apparent will of the world to spite us. I know that people ranting on blogs is probably a pet peeve of many, so I try not to do it - this being an officially sanctioned post FOR ranting, if you don't want to read you are advised and welcome to back away now! Because when I get started, as my best friends will attest, boy can I rant. I put it down to the dragon in me. People should be glad I can only rant and not really toast them with fiery wrath }B=8)

So, to the list - five peeves, to keep things rolling, though to be honest I would find it hard to up the list to ten - I'm mostly a pretty laid back person. And you can stop sniggering :P Also, I decided to keep to peeves people could actually do something about, rather than those system bugs we all hate but are stuck with at the mercy of coding and computer power.


- Those little gumball slot machines where you pay a low price to get a random prize, objectively worth much more than you paid, but only if you like the item. Or don't have to make repeated attempts to complete a collectable set >.<

I'm sorry Allegory, I <3 you but you are killing me here D:
There's a reason your gatchas are skulls, right?

Short version: Gatchas. Are. Evil.

Long version:

I hate, loathe and despise gatchas because they are a form of gambling in disguise, invented to get people to spend more money - by trying either to complete a collectable set, or to get that one colour which matches their wardrobe/decor. RL gumball machines contain cheap toys and sweets where it really doesn't much matter what you get, but gatchas in SL often contain very select items. If you really don't care what pops out, and are content to walk away with one or two random shinies, then gatchas are a cute, fun novelty that save money. 

But do you really think designers want to sell their work at such low prices out of altruism? Gatchas are actually more profitable than the standard vendors; attracted by the idea of a bargain, people tend to keep paying and paying, until they have put in more than they would have considered outright. I'm not making this up; the psychological research is overwhelming, and just sit back and consider your own - or your friends' - use of gatchas if you still don't believe me.

LL allows the use of gatchas because if you win a prize every time, it isn't technically gambling. But technically, if you don't like the prize then you may as well have lost your money. As for swapping with friends, you'd have to have a friendslist devoted to playing the gatchas for that to work out. Maybe there are groups; I know there are many gatcha yard sales which pop up around each event. Just goes to show how many people don't want the items they've just purchased, doesn't it!

So just don't use gatchas, you might say. Well, my problem is when my favourite designers  make something that I absolutely must have, and put it in a gatcha. Worse, a *collectable set* gatcha. And then instead of paying full retail price to get what I want, which I would be very happy to do, I am forced to go through this frustrating and pocket draining process that taints the enjoyment of the item by the time I manage to acquire it. (Rudh spent well over L$1000 on the pictured gatcha, and never even won a rare, though I did pay her for one set of duplicates as I loved them so much.)

I must add, in fairness, that every designer I have asked has been very gracious to me, either in personally swapping an unwanted item or in allowing me to pay full price and skip the gamble. But I don't like to make a habit of doing that; it feels a bit as though I'm bucking the system. They made a gatcha, they want people to use it, and if I continually pester designers for special treatment they are going to become annoyed. That line is especially not going to fly with a collectable set, which is designed specifically for the gatcha system.

Sometimes I feel like I'm the only person in SL who feels this way. It would be lovely to find out I'm not - we should form an anti-gatcha group and stand around at the Arcade in a picket line :)

Well, there. I tried to keep this as short as possible, but as my close friends know, it's best just not to get me started on the subject... I won't write nearly so much on the rest of the list, I promise!

2. Hunt locations which don't seem to get the spirit of hunting.

A topical hunt. I haven't done this one,
but at least one designer in EVERY hunt will offend.
Don't get me wrong, I love hunts; especially the ones with really clever clues that keep me wracking my brains for an hour, but when I finally find the thing, my admiration for the genius of the hiding spot makes it all worthwhile. I have been in stores where you wouldn't think they could hide a postage stamp, but still manage *multiple* clued hiding places.

Then you get those mammoth stores that cover almost an entire sim, and the clue is simply a product name. There is no cleverness in this; you have to walk around the whole store looking at every single vendor* to find the one which holds the prize. As a form of advertising, it beats even the forced ads at the side of websites. A store which can't be bothered thinking of a decent clue, but wants to make me browse through its entire stock, just puts me off both doing the hunt and ever visiting again. Even worse are the ones which don't give you a clue at all and hide the thing in some remote corner, so that you are forced to examine every pixel of the store. Do you really think that making me spend hours of my time in a frustrating search will encourage me to buy your products?? The stores I remember and return to are the ones which take the time, not only to make a decent prize, but to hide it somewhere interesting with a good clue to work out. Even if it is hard. Hunts should be fun, not boring.

*Yes, you can use area search, but in most hunts that is considered cheating. It also doesn't work if the vendor isn't named for the item, and the only place the name occurs is in the ad texture.

3. Skirts with no demos.

Beautiful in stasis. My AO would make it look like a church bell,
ringing as I walked.

For some reason, I keep coming across designers who supply a demo for a mesh outfit, but only for the top. Everyone always used to supply demos for prim skirts; why has that gone out the window with mesh? Just because you can hide your legs and hips with an alpha and don't have to worry about fit doesn't mean there aren't other considerations. For me, there are in fact more factors in choosing a skirt than a top. I want to know how it looks in ratio to my height, whether my shoes will show under the hem as I walk; and above all, how it moves. I don't buy sculpted skirts, because I don't get clothes for modelling, I get them to move around in. I walk, dance, jump and sit in a variety of poses all over the place. Ever since LL introduced flexiprims, making a solid block that waggles on your hips as though you'd stepped into a bell seems to be severely retrograde. Mesh, admittedly, moves a little better than that - it at least follows your body rather than the attachment point. But it can still do odd things at the hemline or when stretched, and I want my clothes to stand up to me doing the can-can! The other day, I saw this beautiful dress, fairly costly at over L$600, with the label 'contains mesh' and a demo which only featured the top. There was no indication what the skirt was made of and when I asked the designer, she admitted it was part sculpted, but didn't even offer a store model to show me. I decided not to risk my money.

4. Blots on the landscape.

My tree-house in 2012, before the castle.
Is next door planning a garage sale?

I can't resist a song link here.

"Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky-tacky,
Little boxes, little boxes,
Little boxes, all the same."

- Little Boxes, by Malvina Reynolds

Malvina might have preferred suburban development to my peeve. SL is pretty 'down' with diversity, and during my first two years of residence my mainland neighbour ran a down-and-out styled ghetto complete with trashed trailers, graffiti, discarded junk and burning trash cans. I didn't mind; it was well built and interesting, and showed creative style. I can live next to pretty much anything, from the mundane to the exotic; what I *don't* like is hulking great plain boxes with no contextual surroundings. They ruin the view, and have only slightly higher status than a flashing, spinning ad board.

Even worse than these fugly boxes are skyboxes, of almost any description, even the pretty ones, below 250m. They ruin the view even more, because you can at least look over a box on the ground, but a skybox sited directly between you and the beauty of the coastal sunset is real estate 'game over'. They also throw enormous shadows, if you are using this graphics feature, totally blotting out shadow detail on your own parcel at specific times of day. I moved from the pictured sim in the end because they asked me to take down a turret on my castle but did nothing about infringing skyboxes or other litter in the surrounding airspace, even after I had pointed it out. Twice.

Not quite as bad as the above, but still pretty wince-inducing, are those cardboard cut-out flat texture walls that people throw up in some vain illusion of privacy. HELLO people, this is SL, if I wanted to look into your parcel I only have to zoom the camera past your walls; and if you want to block the view of my property and throw up a fake mountain vista around your house, at least have the decency to texture it transparent on my side so I'm not looking at what is, when it comes down to it, another box. I have been known, when neighbours make use of these things, to throw up a similar wall around my own parcel. Textured bright dayglo pink, with high glow. See how they like it.

5. Full-bright on no-mod items.

Spot the item with in-built spotlight...
I love my log and it was free but the creator made a texturing oops!

I have never been a fan of full-bright, even before the amazing lighting the atmospheric shaders give us nowadays. When ambient lighting was limited, it could be helpful to have full-bright on very small items, such as jewellery, or on pictures, to ensure they could always be seen. It was still annoying to have no choice, if the item was no-mod. Now we have a wonderful array of lighting presets, with glowing sunsets in a rainbow of colours, day shading to night as gracefully as on a tropical island, and shadows to add to the atmosphere. Full-bright on objects in this kind of setting is as harsh and unnatural as a face-light; it looks as though the item is glowing, lit from within like a lamp though it doesn't actually give out light. If you want to see something clearly, set your time to midday; otherwise, graduated lighting creates some very pleasant and realistic effects. Jewellery at one particular point of sunset is particularly gorgeous I have found, jewel textures and shine flashing like fire for a few moments before the creeping darkness claims their detail, as it should. Full-bright robs the viewer of this phenomenon.

I can add prim shadows to this category too, I think. Prim shadows were great before real environmental shadows came in, and probably still good for those whose computers can't handle system shadow. Unfortunately, when yours can, and you enjoy using them, a fake prim silhouette which you can't even mod off just gets in the way; as well as adding to the prim count on your parcel! No blame to designers who created items before the in-world lighting system came into play; but I have seen things created this way afterwards, which is unnecessary and annoying.

So there is my list of top 5 peeves in SL! All but one of them are to do with designers, hehe. I just realised that this entire meme reminds me of a TV programme here in the UK, called Room 101, in which celebrity contestants are invited to air their own grievances with life and have them symbolically consigned to oblivion. If only the solution were so simple!


  1. Gosh I remember that show, I loved that... Hosted by Paul Merton right? Your list of peeves seem very justified and I think I agree with you on most of them. I am a gacha addict though I have set myself the rule that I will ONLY play on one if I don't mind what I get - the teaset was I hope a one off for me... I cannot afford to spend that amount of money every time the Arcade opens! Full Bright on things sucks, I am in total agreement on that! The no demo thing on any mesh outfit bugs me because I cannot change my shape to fit something so I need to try it on, especially the tops, but I know what you mean about skirts looking funny and needing to know how they move! I do kinda agree on the hunts thing with the huge stores and bad clues, but sometimes when designers make it too hard and have cryptic clues that too puts me off, so I guess with me there is no real win-win situation on that. As for the blots on the landscape, I hate that when it comes to taking photos more than just regular day to day stuff - guess that comes from having the space we do and not having any real neighbours - but I do tend to derender any big eyesores like that then the problem just goes away LOL!

  2. I'm definitely with you on #3, I wish and absolutely believe that all mesh items, including whatever attachments they may come with should have demos. You need to know how it all looks together before you buy!