Thoughts on Ponyball Seasons 6 and 7

The Ponyball League has survived 6 seasons now. We have come a long way from the humble beginnings with 6 teams in 2013. With 15 teams, season 6 was the second most popular among ponies and measured by the total attendees per event it was by far the most successful so far.

Pony Polo awards FFF

Over the past seasons, we made some adjustments to the rules and structure as we gained more experience and, over all, the whole season went pretty smoothly. Unfortunately with age and success, there also comes raised expectations and a feeling of entitlement. We are not perfect, the referees are not perfect and the hosting stables are not perfect, but we all spend time, energy and money to provide the ponyball events as a service to the community. There have been occasions this season where the organisers and I felt that this was not properly acknowledged. We already have pretty clear rules about the behavior expected by both ponies and spectators toward the referees, but from now on we will start to enforce them actively. And we will probably adjust the rules to also require respectful behaviour towards opposing teams and the hosting stables.

The most common complaint this season was about, unsurprisingly, lag. We received a couple of suggestions as to how we could probably reduce the lag. These included allowing only the best performing sims to host events and to not allow spectators and provide only the live stream. These are great ideas IF you only look at the ponyball league as a competitive sport and lag was the sole concern, but that is not the case. The events are also social, community events. At no other time and place do so many people interested in ponyplay gather together. Some of them are not even interested in competitive ponyball. League TrophyIf we excluded stables from hosting or spectators from attending, we would also limit our potential to interest new ponies to play in future seasons. While we are determined to continue to provide live streams for those that cannot attend, we will still allow and encourage everybody to come to the events. We will also continue to let all stables host events that fulfill the minimum requirements. We might introduce limits to Draw Weight and scripts for both participants and spectators to help mitigate lag issues, but there are still some details to iron out first.

This season we went with fewer but longer events. While this experiment did not lead to any actual complaints, it also did not bring back those who stated that the long seasons were their main reason for being unable to continue to participate in the league. As some active players have voiced their preference for a longer season, we will return to our old ways where events (with the notable exception of the midseason tournament) are limited to a 2 hour duration and the length of the season will be determined by that fact.

Other rule changes to be introduced in season 7 is the introduction of a cap to the goal 2015.03.29 Post polo rubber ponies (3 teams)difference. When it is reached, the team that is behind has the option to concede or to continue playing. For the purpose of the league, the score will be frozen at that point either way. This will also form the basis of the scoreline for forfeiting a match.

Thank you fall for your continued support, we look forward to seeing you at the events of the upcoming season.

whinnies
Katinka

Back and Bitching

I’ve been away from SL for about 2 months, I never planned to do something like this, but sometimes life plays nasty tricks on you.

I’m back since a week and things didn’t look too bad. Most of my old friends are still around and welcomed me back with open arms. I made up with some old friends I broke up with before I left (my bad and my sincere apologies here again).

Then the hammer hit me yesterday. Big hammer. Straight to the head. Now again I’m not without fault. I was not in a good mood to start with. And things went wrong. Tiny things. Nothing I would loose a single breath about under normal circumstances. But I was already in a gloomy mood. And they happened one after another, like a machine gun staccato. I lost my cool. Shit, happened. A friend tried to cover my ass. She lied to those around about me. She told me, so I could stick to her story. I called her a liar. She dissolved our friendship. Just like that. Really hurts.

I know she had the best intentions. She tried to cover me and smooth the waters. But I’m not a believer in “The end justifies the means.” You could justify about everything with that phrase. On the other hand we all lie, sometimes. Big lies or small.

So in my head it boils down to the question, should you be allowed to tell a long time friend that she’s lying when she does? I know I could have put it more diplomatic. But when you lie and a friend calls you a liar, would you dissolve the friendship?

What are your thoughts?

 

Cross Country Carting Crashing Champion

Cross Country Carting Crashing Champion, that was me for a long, long time.

What happened was that I would crash when I crossed sim borders. About every fourth or fifth crossing on average, when I got lucky I could get over 8 or 9 sims without crashing. When I told people I always crash at cross sim carting, the usual answer was “We all do.”  Yes, I know, but I crash more often than you, way more often. But nobody would believe me, until they saw it happen. Usually they didn’t want to go carting with me after that 😦

So I did all the usual stuff, I waited until the next sim was fully rezzed, crossed slowly, I reduced my graphic details, increased and decreased the draw distance and network bandwidth, I got rid of almost all of my attached prims and scripts. All this made no difference at all.

Then I figured that disabling FBOs and VBOs would prevent a semi-reproducable freeze I got with my viewer. (I’m still not sure which of the two is responsible, but I’m determined to find out soon.) So I tried to disable them while crossing sims and… I still crashed. Multiple Threads were the next thing I disabled and I still crashed. Then I turned off HTTP Get Textures and, surprise, I did not crash. I did a full turn of the route 9 without crashing. A final test with FBO, VBO and MT enabled again today showed that I really had found the solution here.

So, if anybody else out there is using an older ATI GPU and crashes more often than reasonable, check if you have HTTP Get Texture enabled.

Since I’m using Phoenix I’m pretty sure this will not get fixed and I’m not even sure if it is possible to fix it in software with a justifiable amount of work. So I seem to be stuck with this workaround every time I want to cross sim borders. Singularity has less than half the fps of Phoenix on my computer and Firestorm, while certainly an improvement to the LL Viewer 2 still makes me instinctively look for the Off-button.

Mouselook Survival Guide (Phoenix Edition) – Part 1

Once upon a time there was a website called the “Mouselook Survival Guide” or at least that’s how I remember it. I deleted the bookmark after it went stale and Google doesn’t show anything either, so I fear that awesome piece of information is lost forever. I don’t remember who put all that information together and he or she probably has left SecondLife since then, but this is my tribute to that unsung hero. My feeble attempt to get a comprehensive guide together to address all those “I cannot IM in ML” issues and whatnot.

First of all there are a couple of reasons to use mouselook in SL:

  • Immersion
  • Fine control while moving
  • Weapons or or other scripted objects that require ML to use properly
  • Restriction in transformation, BDSM etc.
Before we look at the things you can, or can not, do in ML in the second part, let’s look at some helpful viewer settings. Some of those settings require access to the Advanced menu. If you don’t have it, the option to enable it is in the Phoenix menu.

First is the option to see yourself in mouselook. This is part of the normal preferences. In the Input & Camera you can tick the box to Show Avatar in Mouselook. While I find it extremely useful I know that not everybody likes it. If you haven’t done already I strongly recommend to try it and decide for yourself.

The next thing are the mouselook crosshairs, they are enabled by default, but if for some reason you don’t have them, the option to turn them on again is in the Advanced menu and unsurprisingly is called Show Mouselook Crosshairs. There are no conflicting opinions about the crosshairs, they are vital. I don’t understand why there even is an option to disable them.

The second group of  settings is hidden deep in the Debug Settings under the Advanced menu.

The first one is vital for everybody using mouselook: PhoenixEnablePieMenuInMouselook.  That’s right, the default behaviour of Phoenix when you right-click (ALT-right-click to be precise) is: to do nothing. This is different from the original Viewer and every other viewer I ever tried. I have no idea where the benefit is in crippling mouselook this way, but somebody must have found it useful at some stage.

The last option is mostly of interest for people who spend a large amount of their time in ML. Another debug setting called PhoenixLeaveMouselookOnFocus. This is the default behaviour. If you switch to a different application and then back to SL you will automatically leave mouselook. Again, I don’t understand why anybody would want this. If I want to leave ML I hit ESC or M and that’s it. If I ALT-TAB to my browser and back to SL I would expect to find the viewer in the same state that I left it. And disabling this setting will do exactly that… well… kinda… it doesn’t work if you minimise the viewer and enlarge it again, but still better than nothing.

(to be continued)

Firestorm poll

The Phoenix crew did a poll about some of the cheats features that are part of Firestorm and that are actually a legacy of the infamous Emerald viewer. I have to admit that I missed that poll. The in-world support group is so full of clutter that it real isn’t worth following in my opinion. Even if you discard all the “Hi”s, “Hello”s and Avatar-that-posts-in-the-group-every-day is sooooo happy to see Other-avatar-that-also-posts-daily, even then over half of the traffic in the group seem to be about sim lag, the telly program or Windows issues. At least it was like this every time I checked. And the updates on the webpage are too infrequent to check regularly – and if a new viewer comes out somebody will tell you for sure. So I missed out on the survey. I subscribed to the RSS feed now, so I won’t miss out any important things in the future.

Anyway, the survey was about some cheats and other controversial features. Among the 5 features in question there are two about which I have a strong opinion. The encrypted IMs are feature that I’d like to keep. The ability to always fly however is something that should go away. The sim owners pay money for their sims and put time and effort and most likely more money into them to build great stuff and create a fitting atmosphere. If they think flying does not fit the style of their sim that is something that every visitor should respect. Otherwise they should just stay away and visit other sims and parcels.

The other stuff I don’t feel so strongly about and while I think that some people’s wish for privacy should be respected there are other ways around to see somebody’s online status even if they don’t want it to show that should be fixed by LL first. And a fix there would most likely break the viewer’s features anyway.

There is one feature completely missing from the survey however that really needs to be removed from the viewer. Even more than the always fly thingy and that’s the PhoenixIgnoreFinishAnimations debug setting. The only reason that this exists is to cheat in sports and combat sims. At least I cannot think of a single legitimate use for this ‘feature’. But maybe can enlighten me.

Scripting: simple Speedometer

When I write code, I usually end up adding more and more. An error message if the input is not recognised etc. Here I stripped down the speed measuring script I use to the absolute minimum.

It only tells you your own speed. No averages or statistics, no movement speed in the 3rd dimension. No detecting running or flying. No measuring anybody else’s speed. Use with common sense.

“/12 start” to start and “/12 stop” to stop

// Simple Script that tells you your own movement speed.
// By Katinka Teardrop

vector Speed;

default{

    state_entry(){
        llListen(12, "", llGetOwner(), "");
    }

    listen(integer channel, string name, key id, string message){
        if (message == "stop"){
            llSetTimerEvent(0.0);
        }
        if (message == "start"){
            llSetTimerEvent(0.5);
        }
    }

    timer(){
        Speed = llList2Vector(llGetObjectDetails(llGetOwner(), [OBJECT_VELOCITY]), 0);
        llOwnerSay("Current speed is " + (string)llSqrt(Speed.x*Speed.x+Speed.y*Speed.y) + "m/s.");
    }
}

updated 2011-07-15 added missing brackets in script

I’m walking!

Welcome to the rants of a bitching pony. After you read this, you should delete your Second Life inventory and transfer your L$ balance to me. Or simply laugh at the lazy pony that was too unimaginative for an original intro and just modified the Hello World! from Word Press.

Have you ever wondered at what speed an avatar in Second Life walks? Well, I did. Wonder. And finally got my lazy hooves to write a simple script that measures an avatar’s speed. And then verified the results by using a simple set of a start and finish lines.

The walking speed on flat ground is 3.2 m/s. Unsurprisingly it’s slightly faster downhill and slower uphill. I still have to figure out the exact formula. A bit surprising, but very realistic when it comes to walking, is the fact that going downhill does not speed you up by the same amount that going uphill slows you down.

And in SL we all walk more than twice as fast as the average walking speed in RL.