Facebook can work

Mention Facebook around SL, and people – including me – invariably growl, get annoyed, jump up and down and / or generally blow a blue one.

However, as I’ve also pointed out in difference to others, FB can actually have a place in life where SL is concerned, and (despite the negative feedback he’s received) Hamlet over on NWN has made this somewhat clear (albeit via LL’s own statistics numbers).

It would appear that many SL users do in fact user FB to promote the places they like / spend time in within SL. Given the nature of some of the sims in this “top seven” list, it is hard to imagine the likes have been generated by non-SL users, because several of them are character-driven roleplay sims (including the no 1 spot occupying City of Lost Angels) – so it is far more likely that SL users with FB accounts are showing their approval.

The FB Likes also appear to be driving up traffic to the sims as well – although some of this could easily be anecdotal / coincidental. However, what would appear to be clear is that FB does provide a means for SL users to link-up and many SL users have no issue with using the service.

Which is why I have no major issues – despite concerns expressed by others – other FB buttons appearing in the web Profiles; as long as people are aware of the issues, why not? It gives a means of sharing – and not everyone (as I’ve repeatedly said, clacking on like a train over points) there are those who don’t mind the links between SL and RL being made.

Of course, none of this points to FB users actually crossing the bridge into SL, as perhaps LL would like to make out / hope for / have – but this is really besides the point inasmuch as what we’re seeing is FB being a useful means of communication for and between SL users.

FB also offers an exceptionally flexible way of reaching a broad audience when it comes to events. How much easier it is to post a notice in FB than it is to get the word out in SL. Of course, this doesn’t mean that people should be made to use FB to get the word out more effectively. Rather, LL should be looking to provide us with such tools as to do the same within Second Life.

Another interesting point Hamlet makes is about the misconception that FB are going around deleting avatar accounts (and by extension, “forcing” people to use RL information). As Hamlet states:

Facebook doesn’t have a policy of deleting avatar accounts. It has a policy of deleting fake accounts reported by other users, and filtering obviously fake accounts. Very big distinction.

So….I’m not a Facebook fan. I won’t use it. I don’t like LL blatantly pushing us into using it for their own ends, as I’ve stated. But, on the flipside, I still have no issue in allowing people to use FB to promote their second lives and activities within SL if they choose to do so.

Firestorm: take two

So, I’ve been working with Firestorm for a few days now, and I have to say, I’m still enjoying it. I’ve not had any significant issues, although there have been a few things that had caused passing annoyance:

  • The CONTACTS list seems a bit ropey at times: on logging in, name frequently appear either in reverse alphabetical order or completely jumbled, and require the window to be closed and re-opened to correct
  • I still cannot figure out how to enable Map for friends, should I wish (or indeed, disable it)
  • Some Preferences seem to fail on persistence occasionally – although this could simply be the age of my graphics card

But…these aside, I’ve have no crashes or other major upsets attributable to the Viewer itself. True, I’d like a more powerful graphics card to run all the nice things, but sadly, due to power supply limitations, that’s not going to happen on my current PC.

I really do like seeing shadows rendered, tho. After tweaking and playing, I’ve managed to up my frame rate to an average of 12-13fps – with peaks around 15-16 and troughs around 10fps. not perfect, but workable with only one or two other avatars near me. Any more than that, and things crawl to a near standstill.

Anyway, a couple of shots to demonstrate why I’m coming to love shadows – nothing new or radical for those who are already familiar with them.

Me – without shadows

This is probably the way most of us see one another in SL, so no big surprises. However, turn shadowing on, and not only does the house and the trees cast nice shadows, but…

Me…with shadows active

…I get much better facial definition, and shadows cast across my feature from my hair – shadows with move in time to any hair movement.

One thing I have found is that shadows, like Windlight, demonstrate the need for subtle face lighting: illumination points really need to be considered carefully, and face lights are best “turned down low”, rather than being left full-on. I’d especially avoid lights that are very face-on: a couple of friends have these, and under Windlight it’s like having a car headlight shining during the dusk / night / dawn. With shadows and lighting combined, it’s like having a set of mobile spotlight illuminating anything within a 10-15 metre range, to say nothing of washing-out facial detail.

Now if only I could take courage and upgrade my power supply and then get a higher specification graphics card….