February 9, 2021

Second Life group chat will continue to be borked

 By now, pretty much everyone who belongs to a group in Second Life has experienced chat frustrations. Whether it's one way chat (you send text to the group and never see replies or your own text), massive lag or group chats simply stopping altogether, it's gotten ridiculous. Of course there are several JIRAs filed on the issues and people like myself continue to open support tickets to keep this issue at the forefront for  a solution. After all, communication with others is pretty much one of the main reasons we are in Second Life. (Naughties and buying shooz aside ahem.)

So imagine my surprise when I got a response to my latest support ticket where a Linden actually says: "The solution we currently have in place will result in this issue returning intermittently." I mean wow, just wow.

Here is the complete response:
Hello Snickers Snook,

Thank you for contacting Second Life support, and for your patience. I am sorry to hear that you have been having issues with your group chats! I understand how frustrating this has been. The solution we currently have in place will result in this issue returning intermittently, and we encourage you to continue to reach out to us whenever group chats begin to misbehave again!

In the meantime, we were able to initiate some updates to our chat servers which should remedy these issues and errors. Thank you for your patience while we work to find a more permanent fix for this issue.

Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns!

Best Wishes,
xxxxxxx Linden

Talk about mixed messages. What astounds me is that a tech company that can deliver complex graphic renderings and stuffs can't get something as seemingly simple as group IMs right. 

So yeah, group chat will continue to be borked. Deal with it foo.

February 6, 2021

Running alts in Second Life for Tiny Empires and TE3000 using Radegast and other viewers

If you've played either Tiny Empires or TE3000 for any length of time, you have probably created an alt or two (or more) that you also use to play the games. And while most viewers can be successfully used to run two or three avatars at once, going beyond this number can be challenging. Here's my personal experience that may help optimize your setups.

Using Firestorm or the Second Life Viewer (and others) to login more than one avatar at a time:

Firestorm (the most popular third-party viewer) AND the Linden Lab official Second Life viewer both default to only allowing ONE instance of the viewer at a time. To run more than one (and be able to log in a second or third avatar), you have to change your settings in Preferences.

In Firestorm, this setting is located under Preferences / Advanced / Allow Multiple Viewers (may reduce stability and performance). Note the warning "May reduce stability and performance". YES IT WILL. Firestorm is system intensive. Running two instances is even more system intensive.

In the Second Life Viewer, this setting is located under Me / Preferences / Advanced / Allow Multiple Viewers. Although the viewer doesn't say so, running two or more SL viewers will also reduce stability and performance.

In both cases you will need to restart the viewer so the changes stick. The next time you open the viewer, you can click on the icon again and a second instance will open.

Even though I have a fast computer, lots of RAM and a good graphics card, running two instances of either of these viewers will tax my system. I can hear it in the constant changes in speed of the computer fans. Running 3 at once will bring it to a crawl.

Use a less system intensive (but still full-featured) viewer:

Due to their high levels of functionality and configurability, Firestorm and the SL Viewer are both piggies when it comes to disk usage and system resources. There are several alternative viewers that are not nearly as greedy and in fact, may actually improve your Second Life experience, especially on lower performance computers. The two in particular I have used are Singularity and Cool VL Viewer. Both use earlier forks of the official viewer and have user interfaces that mimic older Second Life viewers such as Snowglobe, Phoenix, SL 1.23, etc.

I am a particular fan of Cool VL Viewer because the single developer, Henri Beauchamp, is constantly updating both the features and bug fixes. In fact, many of Henri's bug fixes find their ways into the official viewer, Firestorm and others. However, Cool VL Viewer is NOT on the Linden Lab Third Party Directory because Henri has a famous, long-running dispute with the Lab over the personal disclosures required which he believes violate EU law (he is based in France). Regardless, his viewer is highly trusted and he insists that it complies with ALL Linden Lab policy requirements. Those in the SL development community are generally very supportive of his stance. 

Singularity is the other less system intensive viewer that I have personally used. It is similar to Cool VL Viewer and is listed on the Third Party Viewer Directory. However, it is considerably behind Cool VL Viewer in its support for the latest Second Life features. 

Another full-featured viewer I would consider is active is Alchemy. The developer is active and it is listed on the TPVD in case you care about that.

Just to give you an idea of the performance differences, with Cool VL Viewer I typically get inworld frame rates of 60+ FPS. With Firestorm, a more typical rate is 35 - 40 FPS. 

Here are the download links for the above mentioned viewers. Again, as with FS and SLV, you will need to set their preferences to all multiple viewer instances.

Cool VL Viewer - Cool VL Viewer (free.fr) (scroll down to find the latest release for Windows or Linux)

Singularity - Downloads - Singularity Viewer (versions available for Windows 32/64, Linux and MacOS

Alchemy - Alchemy Viewer (Windows 32/64 versions only)

Move those caches and keep them separate!!

Texture and inventory caches generate a LOT of disk writing activity. By default, most viewers put their cache folders on your system drive (or wherever you installed the viewer). For Windows this is generally in Users/<you>/Appdata/Roaming/<viewername>. First off, if you have a Solid State Drive (SSD) as your system drive, the constant writing can be hard on it. SSDs have a limited life and while most of us won't reach it, heavy game play with caches on the SSD can shorten it dramatically. Second, in my experience, I get better overall performance when the cache is on a different drive from the program itself even if that cache is a hard drive.

Moving your cache is simple and similar for most viewers.

In Firestorm, choose: Preferences / Network & Files/ Directories

In Second Life Viewer it's: Me / Preferences / Advanced / Cache Location

So pick a spot on a different drive and relocate the cache there. I use D:\SLCache\Firestorm which is on a nice fast hard drive while my system SSD just has the program.

Note that if you run different viewers, keep the cache locations separate. For example if you run Firestorm, Cool VL Viewer and the SL Viewer, each should have its own cache folder. As above, mine are D:\SLCache\CoolVL  and D:\SLCache\SLViewer. You do not need to setup different folders for different accounts nor should you try. Also, size of cache may help. Bigger is better (within the limits of the viewer) if you have the space.

Use an ultralight viewer such as Radegast

For those that don't know, Radegast is an ultra-light-weight Second Life viewer. By lightweight we mean it doesn't use a lot of system resources such as graphics, CPU, RAM, etc. It is not at all full-featured, but it can be used to play Tiny Empires and TE3000. Plus it has some very useful command line options that you can script or put in a batch file.

The current version is 2.33 and you can download it here: Radegast – A lightweight virtual word client for Second Life and OpenSimulator

With Radegast, I've had as many as 8 accounts logged in at once including one instance of Firestorm. Yes it's a bit slow with that many log-ins but for gathering gold and interacting with the HUD now & then, Radegast works fine. I've heard of some players logging in as many 20 alts on Radegast.

By default, Radegast is setup to allow multiple instances so nothing to do there. A few things to note however:

  1. For many, the "clock" in the TE HUD won't display correctly. This seems to be graphics card related.
  2. Displaying the HUD is NOT intuitive. You have to click on CHAT, RIGHT-CLICK your avatar name in the right hand column and then select Attachments. Now find the HUD in the list and select VIEW. Uggh.
  3. Sometimes the HUD will look like it hasn't accepted your answer. This especially happens with check boxes. Generally, closing the HUD window and re-opening as above will clear this (and almost always you'll find that the HUD has accepted your answer).
  4. Sometimes the HUD will seem unresponsive. Again, close the window and redisplay it. If that doesn't fix it, you can either detach the HUD and reattach it OR simply log out and back on.
  5. When using Radegast it's best to use the full size TE or TE3000 huds. Not the compact version. Radegast does not display the compact version very well.
  6. Be careful with the arrows. Make sure that HUD has displayed the new page or alternate selection. It can be slow to respond when running multiple avatars. The last thing you want to do is accidentally accept a bribe offer when you meant to "politely decline". :)
  7. DO NOT OPEN A 3D WINDOW AND TRY TO USE A HUD. It won't work. Close the 3D window and then you can access the TE HUD again.
  8. DO NOT TELEPORT WITH THE HUD VIEW OPEN. Close it then TP. In fact, even if you close the HUD view, you may STILL have to detach and reattach the HUD when you get to your destination.

Launch all Radegast boats at once

A cool thing about Radegast is that you can create command files to launch and login all your avatars at once.

START "AVATAR1" "C:\Program Files (x86)\Radegast\Radegast.exe" -a -u "AVATAR1 Resident" -p "<open text password>"
START "AVATAR2" "C:\Program Files (x86)\Radegast\Radegast.exe" -a -u "AVATAR2 Resident" -p "<open text password>"

The above commands would be placed in a batch (.BAT) file for Windows. Note that the START "AVATAR1" is required and gives the START command window a title. It does NOT have to match the AVATAR login name but for ease of identifying the Radegast windows, it's very helpful.

If you DON'T want to have your passwords sitting in a batch file in clear text, then you can leave it off but you may be prompted on each login.

Here is the complete list of Radegast command line switches: Command Line Options – Radegast 

Other tips and tricks

Optimize viewer for performance, not appearance

In general, if you're going to try to run multiple avatars at a single time, you should optimize your full featured viewer for performance instead of appearance. This means lowering draw distances, keeping graphics to LOW and ensuring you have drivers and system things up to date. Here's a link to tips provided by Linden Lab on optimizing SL performance:

How to improve Viewer performance - English - Second Life Community

Keep in mind that with server-side rendering, your avatar will look the same to everyone else even if you don't look so hot to yourself. However since things you are wearing can induce lag so minimize your scripted items, mesh stuff and other complexities. The most lag free avatar is Ruth. :)

Hang-out some place quiet

You will have far better performance if all your alts are lurking some place quiet like an empty SIM, or better yet, an empty SIM 1000 meters above the ground. 

September 29, 2020

FurtaCor fashion group goes rogue

 I've been a member of the FurtaCor VIP group for a few years now but today I just left it. Why? Because the owner has turned it into a vendor free-for-all. Instead of just being focused on her products, Marinahh Mayako has opened the group up to god knows how many vendors. Instead of being focused on her products, I'm now getting group notices from what seems like dozens of different vendors.

Designers, if you want to be a multi-brand outlet, don't mess with your core group.

I'm done with FurtaCor. And they actually made cool stuff for reasonable prices. :(


UPDATE: The owner contacted me and said the FurtaCor VIP group is for spam and she has a group just for her shop. I know. I was in both. The shop group ( :::FurtaCor:::Gifts and Discounts) is not worth joining either.

September 14, 2020

Hilly Haalan - Great fashion, great prices, excellent customer service

I admit it. I'm a value shopper when it comes to Second Life clothing & fashion. My attitude towards prices probably comes from my own experience making and selling my own line of clothing several years ago. If you make an item, price it reasonably, you'll get more than $L in return. You win the loyalty of your customers AND you feel like you've given this crazy virtual world something in return.

I rarely priced anything over $99L and when I did, it was usually something completely and unique and unobtanium elsewhere. Fast forward to 2020 where everything is mesh, has to be modded for 10 different body shapes and requires even more attention to the details. Uggh. I'm glad I'm mostly just a shopper now and only occasionally try to make things.

HUDs make everything funner

In spite of the increased effort that goes into making just one outfit, there are still designers who produce amazing things at reasonable prices. For shoes, nothing beats KC Couture. Usually, when Klari55a (yes that's KC's owner and designer's name) brings out something new, she sells it for $99L for one week via VIP member announcement. Then the price goes up to $149L or $199L. Still a bargain because ALL of KC's shoes are HUD driven meaning you can color customize everything from the soles and insoles to the uppers and laces and buckles. If you like that cute pair of strappy stiletto sandals, you actually get 1000s of variations via the HUD. Literally. I can't tell you the number of times I've bought an outfit that needs a special color of shoe to make it "perfect" and wind up slapping on KC Boston or Suami heels. A few clicks of the HUD later and I've got the perfect match with say blue & white straps or yellow & black straps.

Another one of these great designers is Hilly Haalan (HH). Many of her items, like KC's, are HUD driven so with one purchase you often get 20 or more variations. Often she'll make half the variations in some sort of texture pattern with the other half different solid colors. Or for some of the more risque outfits, you might get both transparent and opaque variations. I can just imagine the work that goes into making versions for Freya, Hourglass, ISIS, Maitreya,Venus and Physique AND having the HUD change out the parts. And just like KC, they are very reasonably priced. HH also does frequent sales.

HH Skyla

So I have a LOT of KC shoes and HH clothing. :-)

Customer service

Which brings me to customer service. I have found HH outfits always fit correctly for my Maitreya Lara body. So a few days ago, I bought a new outfit (Skyla only $99L on SL Marketplace) without demo-ing. (Note that demos are ONLY available at her in world store.) Well for the first time ever, I had a mild complaint. Because the skirt was asymetrical, it couldn't really be alpha'd with the Maitreya Lara HUD. And with any leg movement, my inner thigh would show.

Anyway, I thought it was worth mentioning to Hilly so I did and suggested it probably should be rigged. She explained, not unexpectedly that rigging caused too much texture stretching and for this outfit, the best solution was to alpha part and restrict leg movement using an AO.

She also offered me my choice of a different outfit which I never asked for. I mean for $99L, I'm really not that picky lol. But a very nice gesture none the same. Plus the jacket and semi-bandeau top both work well by themselves as do the crazy high heels.

So what did I pick? A very cool retro look outfit (Tiffany) with bell bottoms, purse, platform heels (which fittingly, barely show from under the jeans) and a delicious cotton gauze looking top. Also $99. See below.

HH Tiffany

Oh and I wouldn't change a thing about it.

SLURL to Hilly Haalan Main Store 

LINK to Hilly Haalan on SLM 

Demos are at Main in-world store only.

May 3, 2020

New skins from Stix for Fantasy Faire 2020

My friend Pixy Snook has a VERY unique design style when it comes to skins, makeup and other goodies. She has outdone herself on the creative scale with Cosmos skins in 8 different colors for BOM and Omega. Each tone is only $100L exclusively at the Fantasy Faire location!!

SLURL for her store at FF: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Auxentios%20Pass/189/171/49

Cosmos by Stix - PINK


Cosmos by Stix - Red1

December 16, 2019

Second Life name contest!

Since Linden Lab will be allowing name changes for premium accounts in early 2020, they've decided to hold a contest to solicit new, creative last names.

You get to submit three ideas and the winners, regardless of premium status or not, will get to change their names for free (saving a $40L charge).

They won't be reusing any old last names so here's the "banned" list: http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Linden_Lab_Official:Current_Last_Names

Want to enter? Just click below to read the instructions and follow the bouncing links.


Now's your chance to have that last name you always wanted. Personally, I'm going for Snickers Trump, Snickers Schiff or Snickers Pelosi.

October 24, 2019

Halloween Sexii Succubus Snick

Since it's Halloween time, what's better than dragging out your favorite sexy devil costume? Here's mine. It's from Bare@Rose (Belior Lady C2) and works well with my Maitreya Lara body and Lumae Eirtae skin. Hair is Rezology Epicure.