During my spare moments, I’ve been working on a project that I thought would be quite handy: networked vendors. It began with the need to create a vendor that supported commissions and soon feature creep took over. I added a communications protocol with defined data packets. I had functions to packetize the data, to encrypt the packets and then to reverse at the other end. There was token passing and there was . . . . Well, you get the picture.
Above all, it was fun to program something that I thought was worthwhile and it was even more enjoyable to have the challenge of the limited memory space and constraints imposed by LSL. Those constraints, though, often caused me to do myself bodily harm, yet when I could work around an issue, I would become quite elated. With all that, the joy of learning a new language was wonderful. Something I haven’t done for a while.
But time was getting on and I needed to get my shops up and running. I had made promises to people to have the shops ready and, although physically done, much needed to be completed to allow my business partners to go live. I had to finish.
The other day, I overheard Ms. Ordinal Malaprop discuss the virtues of onrez, an online shopping site for Second Life vendors. I do greatly trust the word of Ms Malaprop, yet I’ve become quite cynical in my old age, so I didn’t expect too much. Never the less, I decided to throw caution into the wind and try out their system. And what a system!
Once you create an account, you are off to the races. There are a number of steps to be performed, but they are simply documented and they work well. Cudos to ESC for their work.
First things first. You must “buy” a freebie drop box via the onrez site. When it is delivered, drop it on land to which you have such rights and for which autoreturn will not affect your objects. The drop box is key to the process as it holds the object and texture for your vendors to sell. It also transmits information about your object back to onrez once loaded and clicked upon.
The next step is to edit the details for the object. You can select pictures for the web and for inworld vendors. You can edit the description. Give it a price, etc. . . . Remember to make the item listed or it will not be available for sale.
You then create “vendor packs.” These are collections of items for sale that you can assign to different vendors. For example, I have a line of easels, so I’ve grouped them into their own vendor pack. I’ve a small selection of workbenches, so I’ve created a vendor pack for my shop tools and equipment.
Then come the vendors. . .
For me, the key to any networked system is to allow me to use my own vendor design. I don’t consider myself a terrific designer, but I do have a certain aesthetic and I cannot tolerate excessive modernness in a Victorian Steampunk world. At least not from my own devices. Heck, I did away with teleporters and built a steam-powered lift for my shop in SteamSkyCity. An even better example is the rather long and tedious staircase and walkway to get to the second floor of my monastery in Stormhold.
One of the key points that Ms Malaprop had mentioned in the Caledon IM group is that you can modify the onrez vendors. Huzzah! It is true. You can modify them and they give instructions to do just that. To try it out, I took the design for my steampunk vendor and applied it to the standard vendor. So far so good. I took the vendor into inventory and rezzed it to try it out. Presto! It asked me which vendor pack to assign, so I selected WSW Easels. A few seconds later, my easels appeared on the display!
Last night, I completed the vendor packs for easels and for my SteamPunkWear, a line of err, uh, steampunk wear that currently consists of a simple pair of steampunk goggles. I rezzed two vendors in SteamSkyCity and went to bed.
In the morning, I was quite surprised to find that I had already sold one easel from my new vendors. Hooo! (not quite the same without the animation and sound) I decided to convert all of my vendors and by noon today, less than twelve hours after putting out the first two vendors, I had already sold 3 items. Ok, this probably does not sound sensational to you, but it ordinarily takes about a month to get that many sales! Yes, I live a sad virtual life.
Ultimately, the onrez system has caused me to say “I quit” to my networked vendor project! I have better things to do, such as build boats that don’t float. But most importantly, I can manage all my vendors from a single website. Very slick.