Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Text Clients Clothing Layer Problem

Recently several people have reported Second Life clothing display problems when using a text client to login their avatar. Users of both METAbolt and Radegast have seen problems which do not appear when a standard viewer is used (e.g. Viewer 2, Phoenix). I've verified this myself using a jacket layer corset from a Pandorabot owner.

You can read the METAbolt Forum topic discussions here and here.

The problem appears to be in the interaction between the libopenmetaverse library and the SL server code. Further complicating matters is the fact most clothing layers display properly and only a few items have been seen to display incorrectly.

So, what does this mean to you, the Second Life Pandorabot owner ? Well, if you do not use a text client then you have nothing to worry about. If, however, you own an Actorbot or METAbolt Add-On and log an alt in with one of these clients then you may see problems. Currently there is no known workaround and any fix needs to come from either Linden Lab or the Open Metaverse Foundation. All you can do is, after logging your alt in with a text client, login with a standard viewer and check your alt's appearance. If a clothing layer is not displaying properly you will need to replace that clothing item with another.

If you see any display problems with text clients please let me know and I will pass the information along to the appropriate forums. Hopefully this will be fixed soon.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Help If You Get Stuck In Setup

It's not unusual for a first time customer to get confused or stuck when setting up their Pandorabot. This is especially true of the Actorbot and METAbolt Add-Ons as they are a little more complicated. I'll try to distill down the most common problems in setup here and in a "Help" notecard.

1. Read the Manual
The first thing I do when contacted for assistance in setting up a Pandorabot is to point out the PDF manual and make sure the user is following the step-by-step setup procedures detailed there. The manuals are included in the product as a notecard but are far easier to read in PDF format. Each Pandorabot model has its own manual but all of them include the Pandorabots Owner Manual V5. In addition to the base Pandorabot setup, if you have purchased either the Actorbot or METAbolt Add-On then there is a manual for that as well:
If you have one of the Add-On's then start with that manual and use the Pandorabot Owner Manual V5 for later configuration of your Pandorabot. If you have the Pandorabot V5 then ignore the Add-On manuals and start by reading the Pandorabots Owner Manual V5.

2. Read the Configuration Notecard
By far the most common error in Pandorabot setup is mistakenly thinking you have set a configuration in a notecard when all you really did was modify a comment. All of my configuration notecards are in the following format:

setting_1 = value_1
setting_2 = value_2
# Configuration notecard for the <whatever> script.
# Settings are specified in the format "<name> = <value>"
# DO NOT use "=" in either the <name> or <value>
# Place any uncommented configuration settings above the
# END_SETTINGS line above. Lines below END_SETTINGS
# will not be read and are here for information and help
# configuring.
# Comment describing setting_1
# setting_1 = default_value_1
# Comment describing setting_1
# setting_2 = default_value_2

You have to make your configuration settings above the END_SETTINGS line and delete the "#" character from the beginning of the line.

3. Isolate and Describe Your Problem
Know which step in the step-by-step setup process you are on. Be able to describe what you have done and what results you are seeing. How does that differ from the expected behavior ? It's hard to help when all I know is "I'm stuck!" or "It's broke!". I can provide assistance only if I know where you are, what you have done, and what you are seeing. So, take notes and follow the step-by-step setup procedure until you hit a snag. Then tell me exactly what you have done and where you are. This really helps. It's also often helpful if Actorbot or METAbolt users test their 3rd party text client first by logging the alt in with either Actorbot or METAbolt then logging themselves in with a standard viewer. Is the alt there ? Did it get successfully logged in with the text client ?

4. Send me an Instant Message or E-mail
I can see my Second Life IM's in my email even when I am not logged in to Second Life. I can also reply to IM's via email when not logged in to Second Life. You can IM me (Missy Restless) anytime. You can also send email to missyrestless@gmail.com. Because of timezone differences and scheduling conflicts I may not get to your message right away or even that day. Don't waste your time with a message like "Can you help ?" then wait a day for me to say "Yes" then another day for you to say what the problem is. Describe your problem, the steps you have taken, and the outcome you have observed in your initial request for assistance. Just assume I will help - I will. Do not hesitate to contact me if you are stuck.

5. Send me a copy of your notecard(s)
It often helps me to understand what you have done if I can review your configuration notecard(s). The Pandorabot base prim contains the Pandorabot V5 configuration notecard named "Configuration". If you have the Actorbot Add-On then there is another configuration notecard called "Actorbot_Config". If you have the METAbolt Add-On then the add-on configuration notecard is called "METAbolt_Config". The Greeter configuration notecard is called "Greeter_Config". To send me one or more of these notecards:
  • Login to Second Life as yourself using a standard viewer
  • Edit the Pandorabot prim - right click the prim and select "Edit"
  • Click on the "Contents" tab of the edit window
  • Click on the notecard you want to copy
  • Drag the notecard to your inventory
  • Open my Second Life Profile (e.g. search for Missy Restless)
  • Drag the notecard from your inventory onto my profile window
  • Send me an IM telling me what notecard(s) you sent me
I hope this helps a little. Let me know what other help tips I should add to this post and the Help notecard.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

How to Setup a Quiet Model Pandorabot

Recently I assisted a shop owner with the setup of 6 Pandorabot METAbolt Add-Ons to be used as models in her store. Basically, the Pandorabots just needed to login, stand in a pose before a product board, wear the skin/shape/clothing/attachments the shop was selling, and shut the f**k up. If you want to deploy multiple "quiet" Pandorbots, here is how to do so.

First, set NAME_ENABLED = TRUE. This means that the Pandorabot will only respond to chat that includes either her first or last name. Set the first and last names to some strings not commonly used in chat. Also, set the CHANNEL to a non-zero value - the bot will be listening on a private channel and not on local chat. Set AI_ENABLED = FALSE.

Here is an example Pandorabot Configuration notecard for a "quiet" Pandorabot:

FIRST_NAME = Something_Not_Common
LAST_NAME = Also_Not_Common

If you are deploying a Pandorabot as a model you may not want her to act as a greeter, issuing a welcome to new arrivals and delivering notecards and landmarks. To disable the greeter functionality of the Pandorabot, simply delete the Greeter script from the Pandorabot's base prim. You may want to make a copy of the Greeter script before deleting it. Delete the Greeter script in all Pandorabot model's base prims.

If you have multiple Pandorabot METAbolt Add-Ons deployed in the same general vicinity then you need to assign them unique channels. Edit the METAbolt_Config notecard and set the CHANNEL for each Pandorabot to a unique positive integer.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Using the Free EVE Avatar as a Pandorabot

You can use the really cute and well done EVE Avatar as the avatar for your Actorbot or METAbolt Pandorabot. Login to the Second Life Marketplace as the account you use as your Actorbot or METAbolt bot and search for "EVE Avatar". Click on the "EVE Avatar (Free)" link (somebody else copied the original and is selling it for L$100).

Login to Second Life as the account you use for your Actorbot or METAbolt bot, accept delivery of the EVE Avatar, rez the new object from your inventory, unpack and copy it to your inventory. After delivery and unpacking you can simply wear the new EVE folder and your bot should look like the EVE avatar. Logout of Second Life and Log back in using either Actorbot or METAbolt (I'm assuming here that you have already setup your Actorbot or METAbolt as a Pandorabot).

Caution: you cannot use sit and stand animations in the Pandorabot base prim with the EVE avatar as they cause the underlying shape to stick out of the robot attachments.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Now METAbolt Site Is Down

Today the METAbolt site http://metabolt.net went down and continues to be unavailable. Earlier this week the Sine Wave Actorbot site http://sinewaverobots.com was down for several days. Kinda makes you wonder, huh? Is somebody attacking virtual world bot websites ? Probably just coincidence. Or not.

People who access Second Life with METAbolt can still login using the METAbolt client but issuing a command (e.g. change clothing folder) and anything else that uses the website does not work.

I'll comment here, post to the Facebook page, Plurk, and Tweet when metabolt.net is back up.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sine Wave Actorbot Site Down!

The Sine Wave Actorbot site at http://www.sinewaverobots.com is down and has been down for several days. This means that all Pandorabot Actorbot Add-Ons are unable to login to Second Life. I do not know when or if the Sine Wave Actorbot site will be restored.

All owners of the Pandorabot Actorbot Add-On can exchange their purchased product for a free Pandorabot METAbolt Add-On by IM'ing Missy Restless inworld or  emailing missyrestless@gmail.com and requesting an exchange. The METAbolt Add-On can do almost everything the Actorbot Add-On can do, is lighter weight, frequently updated, and well supported. In fact, even when Sine Wave is up I recommend METAbolt over Actorbot for all uses except those requiring your bot to sit on another prim and return (e.g. sex bot).

Actorbot users who do not own the Pandorabot Actorbot Add-On may wish to switch to METAbolt. The Pandorabot METAbolt Add-On can be purchased on the Second Life Marketplace at https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/Pandorabot-METAbolt-Add-On/1793057 for L$395

Monday, September 5, 2011

METAbolt 0.9.49 Released Sep 3

A new version of the METAbolt thin client for Second Life was released September 3, 2011. This version, 0.9.49, provides support for avatar physics and contacts sets as well as several other new features and bug fixes. Owners of the Pandorabot METAbolt Add-On are encouraged to update. If you currently have a previous version of METAbolt installed then all that is necessary to upgrade is to exit METAbolt if it is running then start METAbolt. You will automatically be prompted if you wish to download and install the update.

If you do not have METAbolt currently installed then you can download the current version at http://metabolt.net/downloadbinary.aspx

The new contact sets feature (METAbolt calls it friend groups) is pretty cool. It allows you to specify groups of contacts and is a planned but as yet unreleased feature of Viewer 2 and Phoenix/Firestorm. The avatar physics feature already exists in Viewer 2 and Phoenix. This allows your avatar to "wear" a physics layer that can specify how you want your breasts and rear to bounce.

Inara Pey has a nice review of the new features in METAbolt at http://modemworld.wordpress.com/2011/09/05/metabolt-updates/

The METAbolt Forum announcement for this release describing the features and bugfixes is at http://www.metabolt.net/METAforums/yaf_postst531_METAbolt-V-0-9-49-0-is-on-release---.aspx

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Voice and Actorbot Advanced Triggers

Pandorabots can be configured to speak in either a male or female computer generated voice. The Pandorabot will display what it says in local chat and, if configured for voice, speak the chat as well. It does this passably well. To configure your Pandorabot to speak, edit the Configuration notecard and add one of the following lines to the top of the card:

    VOICE = Female
    VOICE = Male

However, if the Pandorabot is an Actorbot Add-On and you use the Actorbot advanced settings at sinewaverobots.com to program a trigger with a chat action then that chat will not be voiced. This is a known limitation of the Pandorabot Actorbot Add-On. Since the chat is generated by sinewaverobots.com and not the Pandorabot scripts it does not pass through the speech capability of the Pandorabot scripts.

It's possible I will come up with an update that will allow programmatic Pandorabot speech via Actorbot settings at sinewaverobots.com but for now speech is only supported via local chat in Second Life.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Why Am I Getting "HTTP error ..." From My Pandorabot?

Occasionally your Pandorabot might reply with the message "HTTP error ...". This happens when the request to pandorabots.com times out. If you see this error, open a browser and go to http://pandorabots.com to verify that the site is up. If the site is down then check back later, hopefully service will be restored shortly. If the site is up, verify that you can chat with the default Pandorabot there by visiting http://pandorabots.com/pandora/talk?botid=85173fb54e344b2d and entering any text in the "Tell Ana" field.

If pandorabots.com is down or otherwise unavailable then the AI chat facility will be disabled. The Pandorabot will still be able to query Wikipedia, greet new arrivals, deliver notecards & landmarks, and all other functions. It will just reply with "HTTP error ..." when attempting to access pandorabots.com.