Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The TARDIS Upgraded

I spent money like a pig this past weekend.  I really did.

I suppose for most of its users DCL's upgrade was a good thing.  I suppose the new HUD for the sonic was what they'd prefer: custom graphics over blue dropdown menus.  And maybe with today's hearing-impaired society the selection beeps on the HUD were at a comfortable volume. Personally I don't plan to go deaf from a HUD.

I wasn't overly thrilled with the fact that landing now meant forming the box around me instead of sending it ahead.  I didn't need a travel system for something an emdash HUD could do just as well.

I liked running around the console, pulling this lever here and pressing that button there, seeing the destination on the display...

When asking around last month, a rep from  New London Systems gave me a rundown of their TARDIS line and answered many questions.  I could certainly see the benefit of switching from an external database server to an inworld notecard system; it's something New London has touted as being less laggy. Also it's a wise method if a system owner or their server host decide to shut down.  With the lack of support presence and bugfixes throughout the year it seemed to me that this could happen with DCL; as many of you know I had that concern when I started shopping around.

At any rate, he was very objective about what he felt would better suit my needs and suggested Hands of Omega (aka HoO). 

A Hands of Omega user plus (I think either) one of their developers or QA testers were both very helpful.  They explained its compatibility with Horizons' systems, which most of you may recognize as a form of holotechnology. This would enable me to switch between TARDIS designs in seconds while maintain configuration & position (I still plan to make a den or trophy room, which should always line up with some doorway).  It used a self-contained travel system while they maintained a network server. With reputable support, HoO wouldn't just disappear and leave users in the lurch.  Seemed like the best of both worlds.

Last but not least of the big systems was Novatech, which it seemed required the use of a sandbox to do anything substantial with it. 

I was content to wait until May and following an RL crisis to make the change, but last week's upgrade made the move easier at this time.

Happy with this arrangement I think, except I spent money unnecessarily on a TARDIS for the classic sounds, which were in the style I settled on in the end for my default.  I took Seven to a demo platform and showed her some styles I liked (she remarked that the Eccleston/Tennant one was "alien."  It was something I mused about since I almost regarded it to be distinctly alien; the new TV version is the opposite: very human, with its cranks, levers and spigots).  She relayed some feedback and we settled on a wooden version of Tom Baker's console room. VERY classy, with rollback shutters to conceal unused controls and displays.

I can't say I fancy some of the exteriors available which I've selected during my travels.  For those unfamiliar with the Doctor Who mythos, a program called a Chameleon Circuit automatically camouflages the TARDIS into something ordinary upon materialization so as not to attract the attention of local inhabitants. Except in the show it's broken (or the TARDIS just likes police boxes), so it looks the same everywhere.  In Second Life, depending on your system, you can choose from any number of objects to land in (HoO and Novatech each offer dozens to choose from).  I don't think bumping into a small cabinet should count though. Or an office chair.  I feel one should stil emerge or enter.  I'll need to see how big the juke box is and whether it opens up before I consider it...

Added a room finally, but man those trophies gobble up the primcount (except for Razzap's blakslee trophies, a mere 3 apiece, with Bacchus Beach about the same).  Will be scaling those back to maybe the best snail race one, the best Cheep Cheep one, etc.  Alas as grand as the Blakslee solar system trophy may be, that will have to wait a bit longer to be flaunted.

Guess I'll have to look into a sofa, add a video screen... And if I decide I want another style TARDIS, the doorway should line up perfectly.

Yes, that nice wood finish has made the transition from Smith's much easier.  I'm sure we'll meet again but for now I'm good. Click to see it larger.

I have to say the folks of HoO were very good about helping me through setting up the Horizons system and answering all questions (it's not that I'm that dense; I just use my brain for other things).  There were also two helpful videos on YouTube from Victor1st Mornington to get new users started.  Consistently positive customer service is not something I'm used to in SecondLife from a group.  Anyway they've definitely made me a satisfied customer, and with their larger contingent of users there's a much larger public network to choose from. And gosh I love it: I can land in Livingtree or anywhere else rezzable via coordinates.

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