November SITREP

It’s been a good while since I posted on here so I think it’s time for a little SITREP (situation report).

As you’re all aware it’s been a LONG time since Union Micro has seen any sort of activity and I’m hoping to slowly change that. Where have I been? Well, I basically took a long break from Second Life. I lost interest in it for a while but lately I’ve been feeling more and more like I want to script something.

First of all, I’m still considering (strongly considering) starting on a Gen 3 elevator. Gen 2 are great elevators but as Second Life has evolved lately they’re starting to show their age. The biggest problem is that (from what I hear) Gen 2 elevators do not like anything to do with mesh. I’m assuming it’s an issue with bounding boxes and the car’s physics engine really likes a neat and tidy travel path. So with that, I’m looking to redo the physics on Gen 3 to be better. This does leave Gen 2 in an awkward spot where they’re possibly somewhat broken with mesh, but I’m not sure as I don’t have the means of testing this (so please IM me in world with any insight). Unfortunately gutting the physics engine is not feasible on the current Gen 2 as it requires a large rewrite so that’s why this will be a Gen 3 project.

If you’re a current Gen 2 owner and just got your undies in a bunch at the thought of having to buy a new elevator, there will be introductory discounts for upgrades as usual. How much of a discount remains to be seen.

IN B4 “OMG UR MAKING ME BUY ANOTHER ELEVATOR?! WTF OMG?!” I get this complaint a lot so I’m going to nip it in the bud right here. I like to use Microsoft Windows as an example when I explain this. When (theoretically) you updated from Windows XP to Windows Vista or Windows 7, did you expect to get that upgrade for free? What about from Office 2007 to Office 2010? What about if you upgrade from OS X Snow Leopard to Lion? These are all considered separate products that require you to buy the new product or a discounted upgrade.

Basically, each generation of elevator is a new product. If I was still updating generation one elevators for free I would’ve went out of business a long time ago and you’d have nothing anymore.

I’d also like to do something other than elevators and I’ve had another skunkworks project on the back burner for a long, long time that I’m hoping to continue work on. I can’t say anything about it here but anyone who’s followed Union Micro for a long time may have an idea of what it is. This is one of those projects that I consider a massive undertaking and may never see the light of day unfortunately.

Anyway, that’s all for now! Don’t expect to see anything in the immediate future as I have a lot of work to do and not a single line of code has been written on any generation 3 elevators. Also, if you have any specific feature requests make sure to get them to me as soon as possible so they can be integrated from the start.

New Web Server

Welcome to our new web server (again)! We’ve had a lot of issues lately with our old host so we’ve decided to move to a new company. Most things should work fine but you may find that your elevators may not download their tech lists right away (I haven’t setup that part of the site yet). This doesn’t mean anything to you unless you need tech support though.

Update: Elevator tech lists should work fine now… that took like 2 minutes to fix!

What next?

Lately I’ve been thinking about starting on gen 3 elevators as I have some major ideas that would require too much modding of gen 2 to get working. I’m thinking that gen 2 is now feature frozen (not including bug fixing) and I will look ahead toward gen 3 elevators.

When will gen 3 be out? Well, I haven’t written a single line of code for it yet, it’s still on the brainstorming stage! I do have some neat ideas assuming some new LSL features come to fruition, but most of the new features I will not go into detail on as within a week there will be elevators on the grid with said features.

I will be putting AuthServ on hold as I think it fits nicely in with gen 3. If I released it now, it would require people to relearn some basic things they’ve become used to with gen 2.

How much will gen 3 cost? It depends on how good it turns out and how much time I have to put into developing it. Gen 2 owners will get a discount of some sort but I’m not sure how I’ll implement this or how much the discount will be. Gen 1 elevators will likely become dirt cheap (they already are dirt cheap…) or free.

I tend to start a lot of projects and never finish them… will gen 3 be the same? Only time will tell, but I hope not! Either way, gen 3 won’t be released for quite some time.

Get Satisfaction!

I’d like to introduce you to our newest addition to customer service – Get Satisfaction! We’re always striving to increase our customer service here at Union Micro so we’ve decided to partner up with Get Satisfaction in order to ultimately provide better customer service, create an extensive knowledge base, and become more transparent to our customers.

Get Satisfaction is all about satisfying the customer! Other than asking for support you can use it to give praise to us, share your ideas, and report problems!

You’ll obviously notice that as of the time I post this there’s absolutely nothing on the support portal, but as time goes on we hope that it will grow into a vastly useful knowledge base both to our customers and to us. In the meantime you can browse our forum archive and our FAQ for some help on the basics.

We stress the point that everyone should start posting their questions to Get Satisfaction instead of messaging us in-world or using the contact form. We also realize that some problems may be urgent in which case you’ll need to contact us directly, and that’s okay!

 

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What is AuthServ?

The AuthServ is something I’m working on that will replace the elevator unlocker. It’s basically like an extension of the unlocker in the sense that it will still generate and give you your elevator serial number, but it will also act as an “authorization server.”

Why am I going this route? Well, elevators will still work with the old notecard method that the unlocker used so you don’t have to change if you don’t want to. But, the purpose of the AuthServ is to rez it in the same region as your elevators and they will talk back and forth instead of you having to manually insert your serial number into the notecard of the elevator. This means you will have to leave one (copyable) AuthServ rezzed somewhere in each region that has an elevator.

At first this probably seems like a huge pain, but I have some ideas for new products that will use this AuthServ technology which means they will be rez-and-go as far as activation is concerned. The only products that will require the use of the AuthServ will be products that have builders versions. This means if you buy a building that has many different AuthServ-enabled Union Micro products in it, you will just have to rez your AuthServ somewhere in the same region and everything will work.

Yes, you read that right – one AuthServ for many products. Buying an AuthServ is like buying a general license to use many Union Micro products. At this point in time it may seem like not much of a bargain, but if we end up with a dozen AuthServ products you’ll be happy that your single AuthServ activates every single one of them! This also means that the unlocker will likely be removed from the elevator script package (and the price dropped accordingly) and will become an entirely separate product.

The price of the AuthServ will also increase over time as it activates more and more products, so it’s in your interest to buy early! Don’t worry if you already own an unlocker, you will be able to upgrade your unlocker to an AuthServ free of charge!

The AuthServ is planned to be very low prim (probably a single prim) and will have copy and modify rights so you can modify it to fit your decor (or hide it entirely). It will also have a single basic script that won’t eat away at simulator resources.

If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions about the direction of this product, feel free to send me an instant message in-world or post in the forums. Also keep in mind that I don’t have the “business model” for the AuthServ completely thought out so some of the above may change (especially with user input).

Update: AuthServ has just evolved from an in-world object to an off-world PHP script and database. Should be a lot more versatile and more user-friendly in the long run. Considering that, progress on the project has went from 90% to 10%… booo!

Modified LSLPlus Available

I’ve been trying to use LSLPlus lately and have found myself frustrated with the lack of recent LSL functions being implemented. I thought about switching to LSLEditor but even though it had all the new functions it lacked the ability to include code modules and some other advanced features.

So, seeing as no one else has been updating the LSLPlus project much I took it upon myself to download the source code and give myself a crash course in Haskell. I was able to find the source files where LSL functions and constants were stored and added the newest LSL functions (some of which are still on the test grid).
Continue reading “Modified LSLPlus Available”

Elevator 2.6.0 Update Available

This update is mainly a sound engine update adding new places to trigger sounds and includes some new default sounds. We’ve also added glow to all of the elevator buttons and a real elevator “nudge mode” with an audible alarm. See the full release notes for more detailed information!

To get your updates, simply rez your original crates or use our redelivery terminal at our customer service desk. It’s been a while since I put out an elevator update so let me know if something seems broken!

Enjoy!

 

Updated script package to 2.6.0:

  • Added more sounds and sound options to the system.
    • Car can now play a sound when it arrives at a floor. Configured via the notecard in each call button. Defaults to a voice calling out the floor number.
    • Doors can now play an arrival sound depending on direction of travel. Defaults to a voice saying “Going Up” and “Going Down.”
    • Car can now play a sound when it enters maintenance mode. Defaults to a voice saying “Maintenance mode enabled/disabled.”
    • All sounds can now be disabled by setting their option to “off” in the notecards.
  • Added a new “nudge mode.”
    • Doors slowly close when blocked and an alarm sounds.
    • Number of times the doors have to be blocked before they’re forced closed is now configurable.
    • The warning text saying that an avatar is blocking the doors can now be hidden.
  • Buttons now use the glow feature. Amount of glow can be configured – set glow to 0.0 to disable.
  • Direction arrow on doors is now applied to the back of call buttons in order to preload it.

Updated all shells to 2.6.0:

  • Changed the on-rez text from whisper to owner-say – less spam for people around you.
  • Updated all notecards with the latest options.

Updated elevator unlocker:

  • Fixed the profile picture generator. Now correctly shows your profile picture.
  • Also updated the notecards included with it to more recent ones.

Website Revamp

The long overdo website revamp is currently under way! I’m aiming for a clean layout like the previous one, but with a bit more features and polish. For example, the old navigation menus were such a hack and were pretty ugly – the new site has some pretty flashy ones if you ask me!

Anyway, you will probably see the site evolve a lot over the coming days and it may even be completely broken from time to time.

Check out the progress below with my new progress bar widget!
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New Web Server!

I’ve just about completed the move to the new web server, so I hope this isn’t going to jinx me! I’m getting rid of the forum as it’s not really used and it’s probably very insecure and I don’t want baddies getting into the new server. There may be some intermittent times where the site is pretty screwed up, but it should be resolved fairly quickly. I’m also thinking about changing the layout/theme of this site as it’s starting to feel a little dated… I’ll have to thoroughly rub my chin on that one.

You may notice that this site isn’t updated frequently, so if you’re looking for more frequent updates be sure to follow us on Twitter – @UnionMicro.