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Improving inventory search


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Only a couple weeks old in SL terms, but already discovering how difficult it can be to put together an outfit once you have more than a few necessities in the closet.  Incoming packages sometimes include just a top or pants; sometimes several articles of the same type (e.g. stockings, nails, lingerie, ...); other times a complete outfit that might include redundant but equivalent elements like short & long pants and/or short & long skirts; sometimes several outfits get bundled together - usually related but not always.

If it's a complete outfit, you're still probably going to be adding one or more items in a folder to a baseline 'naked avi' outfi't including body shape, skin, eyes, jewelry, AOs, HUDs, hair, etc.  If you like it, save it as an outfit; if not, take off what you don't, save that, and look for pieces to replace them.  Say you like a top but not the torn jeans that came as an outfit, now you're searching for jeans that will texture and color coordinate with the top, and shoes that coordinate with both. Sounds simple but it's actually a nightmare because the only metadata you have access to about jeans and shoes are the names of the files they’re stored in (object class is captured but not available as a search criterion) and it’s quite common to see torn mid-rise flare-leg faded blue jeans named ‘jeans’ or knee high black suede stiletto boot with chrome heel and silver buckles as ‘boot’.  Full-length black leather pants might be stored as leather pants or long pants or just pants.

If you invested the massive effort it would take to edit the name of every file in every folder, adding descriptors that you might find useful in subsequent searches, you still wouldn’t be able to search for exactly what you want because inventory search is a simple string match without wildcards or grep-like capabilities, and even if you had full grep you would still have to develop & adopt standard names for color, texture, ideal venue (i.e. beach, casual, business casual, professional, formal, etc.) AND a standard order for arranging the adjectives (e.g. the lead adjective being one of { shoes, underwear, pants, skirts, tops, jackets, etc.} preceded by the next most useful descriptors.  Just choosing the next most useful key is already a tough call since color, fit, fabric, formality, etc. are often near equally important when putting coordinated separates together.

Inventory search could be made significantly more effective by adding grep capabilities, but it wouldn’t solve the problem because what you really want is a combination of conditions that doesn’t depend on their order of appearance, e.g. pants AND long AND denim AND faded AND (NOT torn) AND (dark blue OR mid blue), perhaps in the too distant future the ability to replace the last clause with an SQLism like LOOKS NICE WITH <this top> where LOOKS NICE WITH translates to a radius in a normalized n-dimensional space in which red, green, and blue (normalized by human visual sensitivity in each receptor) are three key dimensions, possibly augmented by saturation, brightness, texture, formality, etc..

Any way you slice it, getting to that point requires having the metadata in the first place and that probably means extending the classes that objects (not just apparel) derive from, so we'll have a place to keep the metadata.  Once you have someplace to store it, you’re still going to need a standard taxonomy, which imputes a community project to develop that.  It’s no wonder that we don’t have that capability already, but that conundrum doesn’t keep me from pining for it.

A cheaper (in terms of engineering effort) short term improvement would be the inclusion of pictures of each item and the ability to scan through images of apparel you remember seeing and/or previously unopened freebies that might coordinate with the item of interest, thereby leveraging the visual cortex’ massive capabilities, but you really still need limiting filters so you're not scanning through corsets, bustiers, and camisoles when you want leggings or jeans.

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While it would be nice to have improved searches, it's also just as easy (at least if you keep up with it) to organize your inventory in a system that makes sense to you that will eliminate the need to search for anything. 

 

For me, I just use the subfolder within subfolder method.

IE, in my clothing folder, I have some of the following:

Tops

- Short Sleeves

a. blouses

b. tshirts

c. undershirts/tanktops

- Long Sleeve 

a. jackets

b. button ups

c. dress shirts

- Underwear

a. casual

b. pretty

c. swimwear

Bottoms

- Pants

a. shorts

b. capris

c. jeans

d. leggings

- Skirts

a. long

b. short

Shoes

- heels

- boots

- sneakers

- sandals

Accessories 

- hair

- jewelry

- various attachments

 

----

 

Basically this system lets me find things based on the search terms that you seem to like. I have some things like 'tshirts' organized by collar style and color! It takes a while to set up but if you keep up with it, it saves so much time when you find yourself looking for something. 

Also I have multiple avis with many genders and species, so I do this for each 'style' of avi I have. xD

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Yeah, keep dreaming. :smileytongue:  Inventory is not an intelligent system.  We need a true relational database system that lets us do all the wonderful things that a decent filing system in RL does.  SL residents have complained about it since Day One.  Wait until you have nearly 30,000 items in your inventory like I do (or three or four times that many, like many of my friends). 

The best you can do is develop your own semi-rational system of folders and subfolders.  For clothing, make use of the Outfit capability that was introduced in all viewers about 3 years ago.  Each outfit consists of links to the individual component parts that are elsewhere in Inventory, so you can mix and match without having to make a zillion copies of each blouse and pair of jeans.  Make yourself (or buy) a good texture sorter so that you can view thumbnails of the textures that will start to accumulate like guinea pigs in your Textures folder before long.  Do the same with sounds and animations.

Given the primitive system we have, your best defense is a regular regimen of housecleaning.  Tell yourself how important it is to refile, get rid of duplicates and unwanted items (old hunt finds, forgotten notecards, and failed scripts), and empty the trash.  Box up things you don't use often and save them in some out of the way corner of your inventory.  Or, if the items are transferable, give them to your alt so she can store them.  I work like mad to keep my inventory under 30,000.  It's not easy, but it's the only way I know where anything is.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have 100k inventory and it's impossible to sort everything. I have most of my "good stuff" sorted into folders like "accessories" "skins" "mesh stuff" "vehicles" "furniture" "for creation" etc. The rest 80% of my inventory is unsorted. My friend only has a 15k inventory and she still complains it's difficult to sort. You get a headache after going through endless text lists.

Virtual closet would be nice but it'll never happen. Imagine how long it'll take to load if your inventory is even 10k. It'll need to load 10k images. Now add rotation functions and it'll need to be a 3D model, similar to creating a character in a MMORPG. That will definitely take a few days to load lol.

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I sort my inventory myself. My cothing folder contains subfolders for bottoms, tops, outerwear, lingerie, swimwear, footwear, and accessories. In each of those subfolders are additional subfolders - my "tops" subfolder contains "camis," "T-Shirts," and "Sweaters." Each of THOSE subfolders contains additional subfolders if necessary - "camis" contains "Basics," "Embellishes," and "Cropped/Halter." Then I created a folder in my pictures library on my computer, named it "Clothing," and created matching subfolders. Each item then has it's OWN subfolder, containing all layers of the item along with any prmis and HUD's for the item. I took pictures of each item, and saved them in the appropriate folders, names matching the items inworld. If I wanted to, I could add additional subfolders, by color or type (mesh, prim, system), etc.

It's time consuming, yes. Since I just started this process, and my inventory is over 30,000 - a good bit of that clothing and accessories - I'm not even close to done, but it's actually kind of relaxing. If you start earlier than I did, and keep up with it as you buy more items, it shouldn't take much time at all to update. (If you wait until you have tons of items, like I did, then it'll be pretty darn time intensive. I'm trying to do a little every day, and I've still only finished tops, swimwear, and I'm working on shoes. That's not counting new stuff that I haven't put in.)

It's not an ideal solution, by any means. Having a better inventory search would be great, but it sounds like a pretty intensive change, and I think it would take much, much longer to load.

There are some items inworld that serve this purpose. I have a "wardrobe" HUD that works wonderfully - you take pictures of the items, save the to an email that the wardrobe automatically creates specifically for this purpose, tag the items with whatever key words you want, and save. You can even wear the items directly from the wardrobe, if you have RLV and have the items in the correct folders in inventory. (The only reason I don't still use it is that changing things around has to be done one at a time, and it's too cumbersome for me.)


I don't think the inventory system is going to be changed any time soon, so your best bet is probably to adjust to what's available and figure out personal system that works for you.

 

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