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Breedables... Really?


Paul Hexem
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So, the sim I'm on with my girlfriend has officially gone over 300 MB in script memory. About the time that happened, the script subsystem failed. Most notably, HTTP functions crapped out. Long story short, a couple people had like, hundreds of these breedables rezzed out.

The breedable owners are freaking out, if the sim isn't fixed soon, the breedables are going to die because they're not eating, because they don't have HTTP communication with the breedable servers.

So I (apparently naively) suggested to just store them in inventory until the sim is sorted out and people realize they can't have so many rezzed, and I'm told that the animals still starve to death in your inventory, so as soon as you rez them, the server uses llDie() to remotely take away your pets.

So I then suggested just telling the breedable creator types about the tech issues. The reply was that since it's an issue with the sim and not the breedables, they'll offer no support.

Call me crazy, but that feels like... fraud. Remotely deleting items already paid for, due to a flaw in the system?

Maybe it's me, but I think that's the craziest thing I've heard since I got into SL.

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Ugg, it's a problem, agreed. We produce a breedable and we talk to other breedable producers. Many of us share the same problems, but they do indeed come down to problems with SL and stability.

Most breedables will last days or longer before they actually starve in inventory, but it's a big inconvenience to pick them up and place them again, because most breedables have things that you set up such as their home position, food position relative to the pet, etc. So it's not just as easy as picking them up and setting them down.

When they fail, it's generally due to an SL problem. Many of us breedable producers spend large amounts of time and effort (daily, without fail), to determine whether it's a bug of ours or an SL issue. Most of us I think also refund as much as we possibly can, with no proof or way to verify causes.

Some breedables need to keep a unique ID in their own database to keep track of pets, and so there's not a decent built-in alternative than to have to do lots of HTTP calls. It's rediculous that LL doesn't provide a way to keep unique objects unique (all merchants selling no copy items could benefit from this).

For instance, some people try to cheat the breedables system by requesting a rollback. If we don't make tons of HTTP calls to verify each and every pet as unique, it results in a rollback doubling their amount of pets. Of course they can cheat and make copies of any no copy object by doing this, but it's particularly difficult with breedables.

Breedables can push the scripting ability to the limits. Not in terms of doing crazy things scripting in LL wasn't meant for, but they depend on a stable system in order to work. Unfortunately LL is not that system. We're faced with constantly trying to find ways to work around this lack of stability with inventory, objects and rezzing.

Mentioned a couple times already that it takes a full time support staff to keep up with problems that SL causes with breedables. This costs hundreds of dollars USD a week.

It's not the other way around, that breedables are the evil here, many breedables are pretty efficient given the tools we have to work with, it's that SL falls apart the more you have to depend on the stability of the system.

Believe me, if there were anything we could do to make them more efficient, more dependable, easier to use, we would do "that". We can only do as well as SL will allow to build a stable product. We can only make them as efficient as SL allows in the hardware and resources they give us to work with.

It's as painful (and costly) for us as it is for you, believe me. We refund and replace like crazy to keep up with SL.

Pets live and die and create new life, that's the general model for breedables. That we can't possibly verify or refund every possible SL problem isn't fraud.

That SL should be able to be stable enough to handle the basic functionality it would take for breedables to work like they should is the larger issue, because it isn't only breedables that it affects.

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There are solutions, and at least one each from all 3 perspectives.

It seems like you all have something at stake as well! I mean, if the breedables people end up losing a customer they lose all the feedmoney and the evangelising/marketing/word of mouth.

Not only that, but the land lord may lose a renter or two!

On top of that, the users lose their investment and it can set them back on any plans they had to expand...so, they lose time.

But, all of these things where foreseeable....but, yeah....no one expects it to happen much. Usually someone will do something, so pass the buck. lol.

So, you could all:

1. Ask the pet maker to allow feeding while they are in inventory.
2. Find some way to rent a plot of land from another land lord or buy one from LL. Then, one after the other, these guys can go and feed thier pets until the things are done, then another can arrive and rez...of course, the previous animals are all taken up into inventory to make way for the next in line.
3. The guys with breedables really consider more eggs in the basket, maybe even through your land lord offerings (if available) and expand a little to cover it all...if possible.
4. Implement policy and checks to help keep it all working for those you can host. Maybe even team up with another land lord and take a commision for everyone you send his way and ask them to do this to help stem leaving? Or, buy more land yourself and then offer a sort of discount if they rent at both places? This way it will not be so exorbitant of an expense for them, your fees are coverd (if not extra profit) and the sim works well.

All 3 of these require the both of you to act, and the creators...well, I have a feeling they don't care. They help LL sell land, why would they sour thier ties with LL on that? So...yeah, sadly, more land is the answer!

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Poenald Palen wrote:

 

So, you could all:

 

1. Ask the pet maker to allow feeding while they are in inventory.

 

 

Would love to, however this is impossible. Scripts don't run in inventory.

Kinda-sorta possible if we kept track of food as well as the pet in an external database rather than in an SL object, however, it'd require .... you guessed it, even more HTTP calls and points of failure.

 

 

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Far be it for me to tell anyone what is enjoyable or not in SL.  However I personally don't find breedables appealing and think that people that get into them in such a big way are a little nuts. But if people enjoy it then more power to them.

I do take issue with abuse of sim resources by having hundreds of breedable animals out on a sim unless they are on  sims catering to breedables.  I would never buy or rent land on a sim that doesn't specifically ban them.

Maybe it is a limitation of SL, that is the cause of the problems but isn't this a bit like saying that if I drive a top of the line race car at 200 miles an hour on a crowded road not meant for such speed, its not my fault if I cause a big pileup?

As for the economics of it, I'm just glad that LL doesn't charge us for 'food' to keep our avi's alive.  That is just a way for the creators to have an ongoing revenue stream so they can maintain servers that control all aspects of their product and also reap ongoing profits  .  There are plenty of animals in SL that don't require that you spend more to maintain them than you did when you bought it and that the creator can not kill because you did something they don't like.

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Osprey Therian wrote:

Seems as though you should be able to activate a 'hibernate' setting.

Exactly. We've done just that to compensate. Ours go into hibernation when they reach zero hunger. They can get out of hibernation again by feeding them back up to 100%.

Not a total solution, but they don't die in inventory. Ours don't die due to starvation, they only die at the end of their lifespan.

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You know, I have to agree with you. No matter how efficient, there's a big difference between one breedable and a thousand of them. Completely understand especially landlords that don't want a huge amount on their land, or mainland parcels hogging up resources (although the latter is being worked on I believe, a parcel can't use more than its share of memory on parcels).

I "could" build in a way to limit the amount of breedables an avatar could have rezzed out, for instance, but that seems a little overkill.

Even the food model I kind of agree with. Considering getting rid of food for a better model, but like I said the costs of running the darn things are substantial, so it's "really" difficult coming up with a flat-fee model that justifies a full time support staff and external server.

 

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Dartagan Shepherd wrote:


Poenald Palen wrote:

 

So, you could all:

 

1. Ask the pet maker to allow feeding while they are in inventory.

 

 

Would love to, however this is impossible. Scripts don't run in inventory.

Kinda-sorta possible if we kept track of food as well as the pet in an external database rather than in an SL object, however, it'd require .... you guessed it, even more HTTP calls and points of failure.

 

 

Touch breedable, choose "keep feeding in inventory" option

Take breedable to inventory

Before re-rez  customer makes sure that there's sufficient food nearby.

On re-rez, make the same http requests that you were going to anyway but then just do the calculation, if sufficient food is still nearby that would have sustained it while in inventory, debit food amount and don't de-rez otherwise die, get sick or whatever.

No need to keep track of food usage in an external database, no special additional http calls either.

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Kind of what we're doing now, except that there's no check first to make sure the total is there. If they're starved when they come out of inventory, what I do is let them take a bite every 5 minutes until they're back up up to fully fed. Otherwise they nibble once every 6 hours.

That buffer is just to make sure SL doesn't glitch when they get rezzed and they gobble a large amount of food that they shouldn't have all at once.

It's more calls to the food object than your method, so yours is more efficient ... but I'm cringing at the lump sum ;)

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There are alternative plans, like a breedable that stays alive without food, but won't breed unless fed. That way in an emergency, the owner misses out on babies, but doesn't lose the pet. They can also pick them up if they don't want to breed that one right now, meaning less lag and http requests on the sim.

Food buying will be lower. But on the other side, people are more likely to try and collect one of every variety, because they don't need space to have them all rezzed at once.

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Built in a "don't breed" feature, but they do still eat. Will take your advice though and nix eating for non breeders.

I know some others have a "pet only" version for that reason, and that's perfectly fair, but we didn't want to do a couple things. First didn't want to maintain a separate version (these are "breedables" after all), and secondly we didn't want to compete with people making non breeding pets, which are every bit as nice as breedables (or better) for pets.

Sorry about jumping in this thread so much, it just held personal interest and I can't speak for the breedable dev people in general, but I do appreciate the suggestions and would be glad to pass any along to some of them.

One is already listening anyway, you know who you are ;)

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Yeah a while back I got mixed up with some idiot who was wanting me to get into that breedable animal scam.She never said that but I knew... especially cause she dissolved friendship and never another word from her.

Some of the people in that business claim to make a lot of money, and that just tells me that there are a lot of idiots out there. I mean it is bad enough to spend money in a virtual world but to buy something that requires a constant flow of cash to keep "alive" is goofy. I am guilty of buying virtual junk myself in SL but I kind of like when I buy it ONE time and it is there to use indefinately.

I don't know, I guess buying breedables that need fed is no worse than the money I spend on SL rent which is also pretty goofy :S

 

So like, are the animals at least "transfer" so you can give them to a friend to take care of if you are gonna lose your land to either lack of funds or some tech issue? I mean *I* don't need to know but I am sure some would be interested in knowing.

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MoiselleErin Teardrop wrote:

Yeah a while back I got mixed up with some idiot who was wanting me to get into that breedable animal scam.She never said that but I knew... especially cause she dissolved friendship and never another word from her.

Some of the people in that business claim to make a lot of money, and that just tells me that there are a lot of idiots out there. I mean it is bad enough to spend money in a virtual world but to buy something that requires a constant flow of cash to keep "alive" is goofy. I am guilty of buying virtual junk myself in SL but I kind of like when I buy it ONE time and it is there to use indefinately.

I don't know, I guess buying breedables that need fed is no worse than the money I spend on SL rent which is also pretty goofy
:S

 

So like, are the animals at least "transfer" so you can give them to a friend to take care of if you are gonna lose your land to either lack of funds or some tech issue? I mean *I* don't need to know but I am sure some would be interested in knowing.

SL is a community, people buy the stuff to play with while in this community and also part of whatever circle of friends they have. Obvoiusly, not every single person is into the same thing. But, in general, there are other worlds that didn't have money and the hierarchy of status other than a more or less real based one, which would be how many servers you have and how many artists you can pay to build and what callibre those artists are. For many, it is a simple heirarchy of wealth they play via making in world things, earn from services or odd schemes like the breedables.

So, to be honest, you can get better cars in other games than the ones in SL. You can't sit on the hood though, you can't animate having a bbq with your friends and then sit down and watch a movie together! OK, maybe you can do something like that in some of them. But, those games are usually post 2003, and SL was on the cutting edge as video game technology based casual play (or even gaming, which some argue has to have goals and challanges) is now a normal thing for many to do. Even the rise of Poker playing in the US, constant existance of sporting events (not major TV based ones, but ones that are mere past times for adults) are all basically showing humans like to play.

We could all take up croqeut and buy a moderate cost set, but it is more fun to also buy other things! Cards are cheap, low cost and hours of fun with many many games. Most people can play a card game and even invent new ones! But, why give up table tennis as well? Why scrap all games just because one seems like it is lower cost? It is one of those things, preferences and tastes sort of don't have a limit lol.

I do think you can get a few neat deals these days with virtual worlds getting integrated into many other games. I can't mention a few here, because they are getting so close to being competitors with SL and I think that was against TOS to do (to mention competing games/words) so...wow, they are based on regular games but seem to have now gotten influenced by the trend of socializing in a network connected environment. So, people can hang out and then also engage in the games gaming. Avatars are cropping up all over the place in games, soon it is easy enough to see how google earth might even give rise to virtual cities with models, video feeds hooked up to promote establishments and so on! And, since SL has features that allow games...well, people made breedable creatures. Combine the earning element, and you see how it fits in. But, yeah...it is not exactly a ponsi scheme BUT you do see how many are looking to breed and sell only. Sadly.

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I hear this from people outside of SL. It's a ponzi scheme because it takes a constant influx of new users creating a constant flow of new stuff in order to work, otherwise it starts falling apart.

I think one is as valid (or invalid) as the other personally.

Originally it was pretty much a feel-good venture for me in that it was symbiotic with LL. People have fun, get more land and don't have to learn to build things to make some money and participate in the economy. The enjoyment people get from them is as rewarding as any other product that people enjoy. Less competition for merchants. Sounds like a win-win, right?

These days I'm beginning to think that there's only really one winner in all of it, dollar per dollar as opposed to other means of income.

And I'm not crazy about lawsuits over functionality in breedables, which is still ongoing now. So there may be one less breedable on the market depending on how that goes. Some things just aren't worth that type of battle when there are alternatives.

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I wouldn't touch breedables with a 10 foot pole.  I can't tell you how many times I''ve been in my house on my own plot of land and here goes a horse flying through my living room!  I couldn't hardly move sometimes because of the lag they cause.  In the end, I moved away from there and now have my own homestead sim with nary a breedable in sight! 

The overuse of sim resources is what I don't like the most.  Unless you own your OWN sim...keep the breedables in inventory.

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MoiselleErin Teardrop wrote:

There is a lawsuit over breedables? Wow, I know SL has brought some lawsuits in RL over things like casinos but now breedables also?

I guess those things just are not popular with many SL'ers.

There have been a few law suits over the past two years and I have consulted on couple myself. IMHO, breedables = pyramid scheme

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It absolutely is a ponzi scheme.  the people getting rich are the people who made them and then sell food and perhaps the people at the very top of the pyramid who bought the first ones and sold them or auctioned their offspring off to other unsuspecting people.  the real money is the sale of the food, which breedable owners are forced to buy to keep their animals alive.  Sort of like addicting a large group of people to heroin and then being the only one with heroin to supply.

It’s unethical and sad.

 

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as long as people (wide-eyed, thinking if only i can get a pair to breed the rare 14-eyed, pink purple breedable, I’ll be rich) buy these things, there will be people producing and selling these things.  

It’s the law of supply and demand, Caveat emptor as LL has chosen not to police things like this.  

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Breedable pets are very popular. Why, because they're fun. I have two chat groups open when inworld - the breedables group and the merchants group - big contrast. The former are a bunch of happy people and the latter are a bunch of stressed out constant complainers.

Now I have meeroos, and there is no lag. I do my building in SL with meeroos running around my feet or falling asleep on them. But when I go to my main shop sim and some customers tp in then I can hardly move sometimes. It's people who lag up the sim. I have to tp out and back to the stable environment of my 25 meeroos.

Breedables are fun. If they weren't fun they wouldn't be so popular. It is just another thing that makes SL attractive to so many people, and might make them stay. Those same people will buy your items too. So we all gain out of it.

BTW you can convert a meeroo into a nonbreeding pet that you don't ever have to buy food for and you can keep it in inventory. It will never die.

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