Monday, 29 August 2011

Meeroos: The First Hundred Days

New Presidents in the United States are always evaluated after their first hundred days in office. Meeroos are at least as important as U.S. politics so I think it only fair to do the same for them. By my calculations Meeroos will have been available to the public, the avatars of Second Life, for one hundred (100) days on Monday August 29th 2011. This is, perhaps not coincidentally, the day the new messenger Meeroos are to arrive [They have been released already, one day early]. One hundred days and we are about to receive our first message, in Merunic, to decipher. That is what is next, and most likely beyond my ability anyway. For now I am looking back to see where we have been so far.
Many new Meeroo traits have been coaxed from the Meeroo genetic puzzle. As I understand it over twenty-five (25) new coats have been discovered since launch. That is over a coat every four (4) days. Not bad breeders, not bad. Of course we have had changes to both Regard and the chance for rare Meeroos from starter Trunks. The impact Regard has on breeding has been enhanced multiple times in the last hundred days and the percentage of rare traited Nests in starter Trunks has dropped from some small number to absolutely zero. Thus ending what was commonly referred to as the "Nest Lottery". A side effect of this is that we now have "Starter" and "Non-Starter" Meeroos as only some traits are possible from the Meeroos store.

Some of the first very rare Meeroos came directly from starter Trunks. If I have my information correct the first was the Koi coat Meeroo from Japan. Then there seemed to be a short lull for a week or two before the others began to appear. Now we have two (2) new types of food to feed two (2) new species of Meeroos: From Africa we have the Savanna Meeroos which eat Desert Grass and from Egypt we have the Nile Meeroos who prefer exclusively Junglevine. Catherine does keep saying these, the ones found so far, are just the beginning. I can not imagine what might be next; we will be getting a sneak peek however. Catherine writes on a recent blog post: "We are preparing to show you a few pictures of species you have not found yet. Last time we used the Kirstens viewer splash screen, this time we're going another route." I will be keeping a close eye on the WW of Meeroos blog to see what that route might be.

Team Meeroos has released a few ancillary Meeroo items since launch. The much anticipated Honey Dipper for converting Meeroos into MeePets and the Whistle of Return, used to call back Meeroos who have run off due to lack of food. We have also seen the opening of the Regard Store with its first two (2) products: the Primbie Treasure finding bird and the Seasons calendar. I particularly like the Primbie bird, he is very amusing and gets hyper excited about everything the Meeroos dig up. I think they enjoy having a cheerleader of sorts.
I have been and remain befuddled by the lack of bugs and issues with the Meeroos themselves, and the HUD. Nothing is perfect, of course, but there have been no major updates or fixes. Part of the beauty of the way the Meeroos are scripted is they can be tweaked without having to issue an update. Much of the code behind the Meeroos is on Malevay Studios servers and Tiger can manipulate it when it needs adjusting without the need to inconvenience the players: us. There have been some issues, most notably the "Baby Ready" Nests. While frustrating these problems have been transient and, in the scheme of things, not really all that bad. Most of the issues Team Meeroos have faced have been man-made; some extortionists have targeted Malevay Studios in an attempt to siphon off some of their hard earned L$. These thugs resorted to attacking the Meeroos store InWorld and, I assume, attacking the servers as well. This is the most likely cause for many of the problems players experienced. I do not think there was ever a question Team Meeroos would pay them off, I would hope not. So we had to endure the assault. At the end of the day: not such a big deal. I still have a mystery "Baby Ready" Nest. I look at is as a surprise, I will Coax it sometime I am feeling lucky. Any problems the Meeroos have experienced have been mitigated by the awesome CSRs employed by Malevay Studios. Even when response times have been longer they have, in my experience, always been polite and helpful.

Recently there has been one update, to the HUD. We have gone from version 1.0 to version 1.2, in one quick step. This is, I believe, in response to the proliferation of auto-petters which, in every case I have seen, violate the Meeroos TOS. The HUD permissions have changed and I assume some code has been re-written to prevent the exploit. I am relieved to see the issue put to bed for now. I do not judge anyone who ever used an auto-petter, I understand the desire to have your Meeroos stats maxed without having to put in the time. I can not wait for an official petter of some sort to materialize in the Regard Store and soon. I would even use a third party product if it were endorsed by Malevay Studios. Alas the auto-petters as they were designed were a hack, they got around a wall that was intended to be un-get-aroundable. They violated the TOS, and did so by using Tigers scripts in their own products. That or asking the end user to do so, to move the scripts over themselves thereby causing their own customers to break the TOS. That is just in bad taste. The new HUD also adds the Hair trait and the percentage of time spent in "Too Soon" [The time Meeroos can not breed for after creating a Nest] to the display. Both welcome and much requested additions.
The attempted, and successful, thefts at the Twas Meeroo store caused Team Meeroos to close up shop there and transition the store on the Roo SIM, then known as Haute Coture, into the only Meeroos store on the Grid. At the Twas, and Roo, stores the would-be thieves used a Second Life exploit to create Prims even though the permissions on both Regions were set to prevent that very action. Once created these unauthorized Prims were made invisible and placed over the legitimate food vendors inside the store. Unsuspecting players paid their L$ to the scammers instead of Meeroos Resident. The miscreants were using new accounts set up so that their names looked similar to the real Meeroos Resident, substituting zeros for O's and such. In an overzealous clampdown, meant to alleviate the problem, Linden Lab banned all of the avatars with names in that format. Including the real Meeroos Resident, leaving Team Meeroos with no way to sell food. It was not long before the account was restored and even before that the entire situation was remedied when Meeroo food was made available on the Second Life Marketplace. Or as I still call it: SLX. So something good came of it all. I love having access to Meeroos products via the web and it is a form of insurance in case Roo goes down or the store becomes inaccessible for any reason.

I am still unsure about the sixty (60) day breeding period Meeroos have. In many ways I do like it quite a bit, it does have some drawbacks: When things go wrong and one half of a breeding pair has to be replaced breeding cycles can be lost. There is a lot of pressure there for the breeder. I feel it leads to a lot of anger when hyper rare Meeroos miss a chance to breed through no fault of their owner. It is a more realistic system than a fixed number of Nests and I like that it keeps you involved. A breeder has to pay close attention to cycles and Personalities to use those days efficiently. I doubt it is something Malevay Studios is going to change, and I support that. Catherine and her team seem to know what they are doing. I would hate to see that muddled up by to many conflicting requests. I only bring up the breeding period because I said I would re-evaluate it after enough time had passed. I thought a hundred days would be enough but I am still on-the-fence. I would be interested to know how the rest of you feel about timed breeding periods versus a fixed number of offspring. Feel free to swamp me with your insights.

As I write this there have been 189,583 starter Nests created. Not to mention the number of Nests bred from those and their offspring and so on. Meeroos have exploded into the public consciousness. Maybe not everyone has Meeroos, or an interest in them, but nearly everybody has heard of them. The Meeroo lore is just beginning to heat up and get interesting. Recently there have been hints of fantastical things yet to come. All of this in the first one hundred days. Soon we can expect the release of Chapter two (2), sometime in October. Makes me wonder what the next hundred days will bring. I am still trying to breed a Cinder coat for peats sake!

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Meeroos HUD Update version 1.2

A new version of the Meeroos HUD has been released by Team Meeroos. Changes are minimal but good. The HUD now displays the Hair trait. I do not have anything but normal Hairs so far, but it will come in handy when I do get some. It is a much requested feature and I am glad to see it on the HUD. There is also a percentage value when a Meeroo is in Too Soon. Immediately after a Meeroo breeds the value will be 0% then as it progresses through the next five (5) days it builds to 100%. Helpful when figuring out when Meeroos have bred and when purchased Meeroos will begin cycling again.
Version 1.2 HUDs at the main store
If you wear your current Meeroos HUD the new version should be offered to you very soon. You may want to detach and re-attach your HUD to jump-start the process. If you prefer; the new HUDs are also available at the main Meeroos store on the Roo SIM. Under the big red arrow. As you can see in the graphic above.

Do not worry if you noticed you have never had a version 1.1 HUD, no version 1.1 HUD was ever released to the public. This version 1.2 is the first update to the HUD following 1.0. You are not going crazy, everything is fine. For the most part.

Great new post on the WW of Meeroos site, very much worth a read. Looks like we are going to get some special messenger Meeroos. Which we will be able to buy for L$300 each with a random selection of traits and of the four (4) coats. Some coats will be rare others more common. More on those and other revelations later.

Monday, 22 August 2011

A Nest by any Other Name: Nest Inventory Management

Something I have always thought is a bit odd: you can not rename Meeroo Nests. There is no option in the menu and the HUD Rename button will not work on Nests. This means every Meeroo Nest anywhere in Second Life is called something like "Meeroo Nest #465788" the only difference being the ID# of course. At first I was concerned, if the Nests can not be renamed how am I going to keep track of them? With previous breedables renaming the nascent baby form was always an option. I renamed the Object with a label based on its parentage and traits then took it into Inventory where it could be easily searched. I quickly realized that not being able to label Meeroo Nests in the same way is not really a problem at all, there are two (2) simple solutions:
One is to place the Nest inside another Prim that you create for the purpose. Since you own the container Prim you can name it whatever you like. Apply the label/name to the container Prim that you would rename the Nest to if it were possible, then place the Nest inside the Prim. Now you can take the Prim into Inventory and it is exactly the same, from a search standpoint, as if you has changed the name of the Nest itself. Pluses for this system: you can send other avatars the container Prim, with the Nest inside, when trading or selling. This way the nest information is passed along with it, and it appears in their Inventory with trait information already attached. This point is nullified if your labelling method is indecipherable. If nobody knows what the name means you may as well just give them the Nest. Minuses: You have to first rez the Prim then take the Nest into Inventory then rez the Nest when you want to Coax. You would also need to do the same to verify the correct Nest is in the Prim. Which could be a pain.

Another way, the one I use and prefer, is to create folders in your Inventory for each Nest. Create a folder with all of the same trait information you would use for a container Prim, or if you could rename the Nest, then take the Nest into Inventory and place it in the folder. I also have Personality type folders to separate the Nest container folders. [See photos below] That way if I am looking for mates based on Personality it is easy to view every one I have of the target type. One possible drawback to this method is possibly loosing the metadata when you trade or sell the Nest. I suggest transferring the folder containing the Nest instead of the Nest itself. This will give the receiving avatar the Nest inside the folder in their root Inventory directory. It may confuse them, if they are newer, that the Nest is not in their Objects folder, but if you explain where to find it that is easily solved. They can also find it in Recent items and of course by searching. On the up side it is easy to rez the Nests directly from Inventory to check them and, once they have been placed in the folder, when you "take" them back into Inventory they will go back to their proper folder. You do not have to manually place it back in the folder you rezzed it from, it will go right back there when you take it.
Personality Folders in my Inventory root directory
(the !!! is so, when sorted by name, they are at the top of the list)
Individual Meeroo Nests & their folders
Quick, but amusing note: If you employ random Meeroo Nest sellers in your business, especially if you do not have loads of Nests in it, you might want to use the first option to obscure the Nest ID#'s. If you do not then anybody who wishes to do so can edit the Object and check the contents. Once they have the Nest ID#'s they can check the WW of Meeroos website to get all the information about them. Sort of defeats the purpose if you ask me. However maybe more work than it is worth, more-so if you have fifty (50) Nests inside.

Either method outlined above requires that you use some sort of labelling system. This could be anything from parents names and coat to everything you can think of. In Second Life both Object and Inventory folder can have sixty-three (63) characters in their names. Technically sixty-four (64) according to the wiki. That limitation makes it quite a challenge to pack all of the trait information associated with any Meeroo into the label. Remember that this would not be alleviated by making the Nests re-nameable since they would still be limited to the same number of characters as any container Prim or folder.

So what information do you need in the label? That is up to the individual breeder but I do have some suggestions and reasoning for why:

Parents Names: You want to be able to quickly tell if Meeroos are related to each other because they can not breed with siblings. Also most breeders will be looking for specific offspring from particular pairings. So parents names are pretty much a must.

Coat: Coat is important enough you are going to want to know what it is without having to check the website or rez the Nest.

Eye Stats: Again, important enough that you want to know quickly. I include the Diurnal and Clear/Dusty in this since they are associated and also vital statistics.

Gender: Obviously, for breeding, this is very important. Make sure to include the gender of your nest in the label.

Personality: Even though I have my Meeroo folders as sub folders in an Inventory folder of their personality type I still include it in the label so I can easily verify they are in the correct folder and nothing is amiss. Also good for when I trade Nests with my partner, makes it easier to place the Nests in the correct folder.

Size: Size can be compressed somewhat as I will explain below, a very important stat to have in the label.

Nest ID#: Do not leave the Nest ID# off the label! It is very important. You will want to be able to correlate your Inventory with the spreadsheets you can obtain from the WW of Meeroos website, so you need the ID# visible. Also you want to verify that you have the correct Nest in each folder. I know I sometimes accidentally drag Inventory items to unknown places in my Inventory when attempting to move them or even rez them InWorld. If you mistakenly move one to another Meeroo folder you will immediately be able to determine which Nest is in the wrong folder. Also searching for the ID# will bring up both the Nest and its intended storage folder so it can be placed back where it belongs. There are so many things you need the ID# for, make sure it is in your label somewhere.

Special Traits: The vast majority of Meeroos, right now, are normal everything, for special traits. that is they have normal ears, normal tails, normal heads and normal fluff. In the case that a Meeroo has no special traits of those types I leave that information blank. it saves a lot of space in the label. You can assume that any Nest that has no special ear-tail-head-fluff indicators has all normal for those traits.

I did not include Generation above because I do not, currently, find it useful to have. Label length is already an issue so I leave off any data I do not absolutely require quick access to. If you use Generation data then make sure you include it in your labels.

You are going to have to abbreviate some of the data to make it all fit in the label. Even if your Meeroos all have three (3) letter names you will run out of space trying to cram to much data in. For coats I stick to the first five (5) to seven (7) characters of the type. So you get things like: Wine, Ursine, High etc... I do not have loads of special traits so I have not assigned abbreviations to them all. Just remember to pick something you will remember that is short and can be easily searched. I am going with things like "SUE" for Short Upright Ears and ST for Short Tail. Size information can also be compressed. I use one (1) or two (2) letters for the size tiers (i.e. TC = Tea Cup, TY = Toy, S = Small ...) The only sizes that share a letter and need two (2) are Tea Cup and Toy. All the other sizes have unique initial letters. You then only need the whole part of the size number to indicate the exact size. So TC0 is a Tea Cup 0.0 where as a TC1 is a Tea Cup 1.75. There are no duplicate whole numbers in the sizes so that is enough to be determinate.

Finally I will show you an example, the label format that I have come to use. Keep in mind it is still a work in progress. I use so many different separators in the label to make searching for specific traits easier. Instead of searching for "TC0" when I am looking for a Tea Cup 0.0 I can search "}TC0" and it is very unlikely there will be anything matching that pattern in my Inventory that is not a Meeroo Nest. Ok so, the label for the following Meeroo:

Meeroo: Eve
Species: Gael Meeroo
Coat: Highland
Head: Normal
Eyes: Monsoon/Diurnal/Dusty
Hair: Fluff Only
Ears: Normal
Tail: Normal
Gender: Female
Personality: Friendly
Size: Toy (3.5)



The space between the [ and the ] is where special ear-tail-head-fluff data would go if present. If she was also short eared it would be [SUE] and if short ears and tail would read [SUE-ST]. Again, using all the unique separator characters is to make searching Inventory easier, for me anyway. Search is blind to case, so "SUE" is the same as "sue" when you are looking for something. I might have items in Inventory with the word sue in them, or with those three (3) letters as part of their name. It is unlikely I have anything in Inventory with the string "[SUE" in it that is not a Nest, nor the string "-ST" if I am looking for a multi-trait Meeroo with a short tail. Remember that in order for that to work properly you need to pick an order for special traits and always list them that way. I have decided on the form I have used here: ears-tail-head-fluff. The data between { and } is first Gender and then Personality. So you can search for all female Meeroos with the search term "{F/".

No matter what you do keeping track of your Meeroos can be complicated and time consuming. It is all worth it in the end, but it can be frustrating in the meantime. The only other option I am aware of is leaving all your Nests rezzed InWorld all the time. This both uses up a lot of Prims and makes searching your Nests impossible. You have to manually check each one, even if they are placed according to a plan it is more complex than I can maintain. That is why I had to come up with a system for putting them in Inventory [Actually my partner scarlett gave me the idea of using hierarchical folders instead of Prims, thx sweetheart]. Assuming we do get the option to rename Nests at some point any label system you decide to use should still work fine. You would just transition from using Prims or folders to store Nests in to directly naming them with the label and then taking them into Inventory. So long as the rename function supports the maximum name length for an Object [63 letters] it should accept the label without issues.

Hope some of this helps you get your Nest inventory under control. If you have a method you think works better or just one you would like to share drop me an IM and if it is cool I will do a follow up post with ideas other people have had for organization. If you have noticed any flaws or errors above also please let me know before I label to many more folders ;)

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Meeroo Fun Facts: Food & Everything

Did you know that quite a few things happen when your Meeroos eat? They do not just stop being hungry and go in search of tin cans to dig up, quite a bit more is going on:

  • If a Meeroo has not reached its maximum size: it will grow each time it eats.
  • Meeroos change to their next Season as they eat.
  • They get older; Meeroo age increments during dinner.
  • They perform an eating animation.
  • There is even a chompy eating sound!

Each Meeroo eats four (4) times per day, so keep your eyes out for those animations and, if you happen to have your sounds up loud enough and your camera in the right place; you might also hear the chomp as they partake in a few berries. If they are not done growing you will see them puff up a tiny bit right as they finish eating, it is subtle but you will notice it if you watch carefully.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Auf Wiedersehen Meeroo Forums

Team Meeroos is closing all but two (2) of their current Forums. The Genetics forum and Bug forum will remain and there is some good news: the Trading forum will be coming back! Catherine writes: "We will be reopening the Trading Post forum due to player request!" Having the trades forum back will be a huge help to newer players, and everyone really. It has the potential to be a really positive and helpful forum, as opposed to what has befallen the others.

I have to admit I am not a big user, or as it were; was not a big user of the forums. As Catherine says: "I'm terribly sorry that it had to come to this, but these forums are no longer a positive or productive place for communication." I always found it difficult to locate important information, and staff answers, on the forums due to the insanely large number of irrelevant posts. Mostly complaining about something, often personal issues that could only be solved by filing a support ticket and waiting. I do not believe that any amount of moderation could have solved that. For the most part they were posted with honest intent, out of frustration or anger, but not intended to do harm. That does not mean they did not come across as personal to the Staff members who read them. On top of those innocent posts were plenty of intentionally offensive or aggressive ones. If you are looking for a mate for any of your aggressive Meeroos I suggest you try some of the more vitriolic forum posters and their alts.

I myself fall in to the lazy category, perhaps why I never had the energy for the forums. While I completely agree with the decision to close them there is one thing I will miss very much, something Catherine alluded to in her post: the answers from Staff. In her own words: "Staff members including myself, Tiger, and Allatu have answered reasonable inquiries to the best of our ability which are often lost in the shuffle or uniformly ignored in favor of flame wars." Both scarlett and I have found (and quoted) important information given in answer to player questions by both Tiger and Catherine. I have read countless other useful answers and suggestions from the other forum moderators as well.

I am not sure how players will be able to query Team Meeroos now, but it occurs to me: If I want to tell say Nike about an issue I have with their shoes, or make a suggestion or even just complain; would you imagine I could get that across on their forums? No, of course not. They have people that manage their forums and keep them a safe distance from the Board of Directors. Here is a link to an article Tateru Nino wrote about the most effective way to communicate with Linden Labs. You will notice the LL PJIRA and blog are not high on the list.

Forums are simply not the way to get answers or information from a company. That is what the PR department is for, letting players know what is going on. Players, no matter how invested, have no right to demand answers to their every query. If you have an issue with Meeroos there is a support system in place, if it is too slow for you, well I can only suggest you try calling my ISP and asking them for support. Malevay Studios has grown from nothing to a major company in just a few months. I have had tickets pending with LL for longer than they have been selling Meeroos. Sometimes tickets will get backed up. It has happened to me and my partner. She is waiting to have a Meeroo ticket resolved now. Neither of us ever considered posting on the forums about it, it is an issue between Team Meeroos and us, their customers. Something I can not say of many companies, but can of Malevay Studios, is that they have responded to every one of our tickets and, in good faith, fixed everything to the best of their ability. I have yet to hear of an avatar not getting a ticket responded to at all or who was unable to get their issue resolved. [The exception being missed breeding cycles which is an unfortunate side-effect of Meeroos having timed breeding periods instead of a fixed number of Nests.]

Unfortunately there is nothing us players (playa, play on!) can do about mean-spirited forum posters. It is not enough to not be spiteful yourself. Although I applaud everyone who made good use of the forums and kept a civil tongue, they can not stop the trolls. Every non-troll helps but it only takes a few to ruin it for everyone. It is in essence a denial-of-service attack on the forums. By posting personal attacks and flooding the forums with pointless tangential posts they managed to drown out the good information and posts. It is worse that it was done intentionally with the desire to harm Malevay Studios as a company and it seems in some cases; individual staff members. Personal attacks are unwarranted, the CSRs are employees of Malevay Studios. If you have a problem with the company, raise it with the company. The avatar who represents them is not making the decisions you disagree with, or refusing to pay your ransom.

So we say goodbye to the forums, and perhaps good riddance. While they could have been great a small minority has besmirched their patina. The return of the Trades forum is fantastic news, and shows once again that they are listening to what players are saying, what people want. Even if they have to listen over a crowd shouting that they never listen. For what it is worth: I know you are listening Team Meeroos, most of us do. So um, any news on when that auto-petter you might make will be in the Regard store? Just kidding :)

Monday, 8 August 2011

An Eye for an Eye, a Nest for a Nest...

Meeroos have been under siege lately. Between scam artists placing fake food vendors over real ones at the store, Meeroos Resident getting banned, and the database going down it has been rough going for Malevay Studios. For the most part they have done a fantastic job of dealing with multiple simultaneous catastrophes. Yes, tickets are a bit backed up. That is to be expected when a lot of things go wrong at once. No company can afford to keep enough Help Desk type staff on payroll for a situation that only occurs once or twice a year. Does not stop it being very frustrating if you are waiting on a CSR, but things are getting done and they will get to you.

I know that databases go down, computer software of all types goes down, I accept that. I do not think anybody expects such things to be perfect. We know the Meeroos database can go down for awhile because it has, three (3) times in recent history. The first was unintentional, the second two planned. No problems there at all. Unfortunately these longer-than-normal database outages caused a, currently, unfixable issue: the infamous "Baby Ready" Nests.
A "Baby Ready" Nest (Hereafter BR Nest) is a Nest created during one of the periods where the database was offline. Instead of the normal float text explaining what type of Meeroo the Nest contains they have only the parents names and the words "Baby Ready" [See: photo above]. Touching a BR Nest will bring up the normal Nest menu with options for Coax, etc... It does blank the HUD as there is no information present about the Nest. If there is no ID# associated with the Nest, which there will not be if it is a true BR Nest, there is no way to get the statistics of the Meeroo within.

You have, apparently, two (2) options: 1) You can Coax the Nest and find out what sort of Meeroo it is. Be sure to Coax near a Home stump, failing to do so can have consequences. This leaves you with a live Meeroo of course, which you may not want. It is the simplest option, it is what I have done and what I suggest. It saves bogging Team Meeroos down with even more tickets. Understandably some people have Nests in this state that they A) expect to be quite good Meeroos and B) intended to sell. My partner scarlett is in exactly that situation; she has a few pairs of Meeroos that reliably produce Teacups, mostly zero-zero (0.0) ones at that. They are of little use to us as we have used some of the offspring already and the ones she gets now are too closely related for breeding. So she wants to be able to sell or trade them, but there is no way of knowing what type of Meeroos the BR Nests contain. This also effects some breeding programs: our plan, in part, involves holding onto some Nests with specific traits to Coax later. Not knowing what sort of Meeroo it is makes that impossible, for a very small fraction of our Nests.

So, option 2) Submit a ticket via the WW of Meeroos website and they will "fix" it for you. This is the part I have some reservations about. I have myself encountered the fact that, right now, a Meeroo broken for any reason can only be replaced with a live Meeroo. This means if you have a broken Nest it can not be replaced with another Nest. I am not exactly sure what the CSRs are doing with these tickets, from what I understand they basically Coax the Nest for you. Making it the same as option one (1). The issue I have is that when a CSR says: file a ticket and we will fix it for you, I expect that means they can and will rectify the situation and put everything right. In this case that can not be done. A broken Nest can not be replaced with a fixed one, only a live Meeroo. As a parallel: If I bought a bottle of wine, and it turned out to be mislabelled, I would be rather put-out if I was told they could only replace it with a recently opened bottle. 

I do not mean to be negative about it. I understand that it was likely far more important to have the ability to replace live Meeroos than Nests. I can think of a lot more situations where a live Meeroo would be preferable, and only a handful where having the Nest option is really needed. I also know that there are more important things to focus on right this second. Stability and safety from scammers are more pressing projects. I hope that, in future, Team Meeroos will be able to delay Meeroos having Nests for the duration of planned database downtimes and that they will develop a method for replacing broken Nests, with Nests. 

I sometimes have to remind myself just how new Meeroos are. There are going to be things that are not perfect, if I had given up on Second Life after my first few lost Inventory folders I would not be writing this today. These problems were caused intentionally, and Team Meeroos is going to have to be prepared for that. When you are the best you become a target for people wanting to rip off your customers. In the case of the fake food vendors I believe in most cases, as it happened multiple times, they were reported and removed within 30 minutes and Malevay Studios even worked with people who got scammed to get them legitimate Meeroo food. The only reason I feel the Nest4Nest option is so vital is that it would solve most all of the issues that arise when the database does go down for any reason. I think most people will accept it as a part of Second Life so long as their broken Nests can be replaced. That makes the inevitable database failures much less painful.

Things like changing the way Nests communicate with the server and adding the ability to pause Nest creation during downtimes sounds like something that might require a general Meeroos/Home update. Everybody complains about those, even though it is a breeze with Meeroos. When an update is released there is also the risk of releasing new bugs or exploits. I think it probable a lot of testing will be done before one is released, and I do not want them to rush it. I am willing to accept that things are as they are, for now, and it is being worked on. Tiger says in a recent post: "I won't be able to build something that replaces broken nests with a new nest for awhile." So we know it is something that will be worked on when the time is right. We all just need to hold on while development takes place.

Team Meeroos has never let me down. Nearly every issue, every minor complaint I have even thought of they have either already fixed or said they will fix. I have no doubt there will be a stylish solution to the database/Nest problems as well. For now there is a fairly simple work around: if you know the database is going to be taken offline in advance you can set any Meeroos that might breed during that time to Market Mode and they will not breed. This could cause them to miss a breeding cycle. If you do not need to know what the Nest is, or are going to Coax it no matter what, you are best off just leaving them. I do not think it will be a frequent event.

I wish Malevay Studios all the best during this. Tiger tweeted that this past weekend was "...the most stressful weekend of my life." I feel for everyone who has to put in the long hours to sort all of it out. If you do have a ticket waiting I am sure they are processing them as fast as possible, do not give up hope. Finally, if you deal with a CSR make sure to take the time to say thank you. Maybe give them a little hug or something.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Meeroos in Ancient Egypt

If you take a look around the Roo Region, where the Meeroos store is located, you will eventually come upon a large pyramid with a few Meeroo looking statues out front. If you venture inside you will see a single adult Meeroo and what looks like a human holding a smaller Meeroo in his or her hands. All of this is quite a bit bigger than life. I do not know what to make of it yet. Could be for almost anything. I hope it has something to do with the Meerunic language. I am quite curious about that. [I think all my guesses were very wrong]. Here are some photos to give you an idea what the place looks like. I suggest you go check it out yourself, when you have time. There are signs up warning that it is under construction, so watch out for falling prims, statues, Avatars, etc...

That is it for pictures, I will keep checking back and will keep you informed if anything changes.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Where is my Meeroo Version 0.4 Beta

Just a super quick post to let everyone know I have released the newest version of the "Where is my Meeroo" Meeroo finder system. New version is 0.4 Beta and is available on the SL Marketplace HERE. [Always Free] Couple of fun new features: It now uses probes for scanning and you can rez as many as you like. So you can track all of your Meeroos, on a particular Region, with one Base unit. The Base unit does still look for Meeroos itself, so the probes are optional. You can rez multiple Base units if you wish without adverse effects.

For safety, if you will, I added a "Removed Meeroos" list. Every time the system looses a Meeroo it is added to the list. This happens when you take a Meeroo into Inventory, when you release a Meeroo or when a Meeroo is legitimately lost either by accidental deletion by the Meeroos server or by some LL bug. In the last case you may be unaware of the fact it has gone missing, checking the list will alert you. To cover the first two cases: You can manually clear the list to remove Meeroos you intended to Release. For when you need to take a Meeroo to change Home stumps; the system takes Meeroos off the Removed list when it finds them again. So a Meeroo that you have taken and re-rezzed will not show up on the list. Only Meeroos they system really can not find any more will. I hope this will help prevent missing Meeroos slipping through the cracks.

Other than that, just a few speed tweaks when communicating data to the Owner. Auto switches from using IM to OwnerSay, which for technical reasons, is faster. A few other under-the-hood modifications, hopefully making the WIMM a bit more stable and use a bit less script time. Enjoy!

Monday, 1 August 2011

Watch Your Language

I have been investigating the Meeroo language as of late. Well, the symbols that comprise part of it anyway. I do not believe we have enough yet to really figure much out. I have failed to make any earth shattering discoveries. I have compiled what information I can and will present it here, perhaps someone else can improve on my humble beginnings.
Image 1
To start with there are two symbols we do know something about. The symbols on the Pre-Order program necklace spell, or mean; "Meeroos" as per Catherine's quote in THIS blog post: "...Unisex necklace that ACTUALLY spells out "Meeroos." If you pay close attention, you'll notice those little Meeroos have their own runic alphabet that means special things!" A photo of the necklace close up is shown above as: [Image 1].

I think it unlikely the language, which I now call Meerooish, is directly phonetic. That is, I doubt one of those symbols is "Mee" and the other "Roo". Especially as the language would have to pre-date their being called Meeroos, first done by the Unnamed Anthropologist: "...his creature, which he affectionately called a Meeroo." I do not even know which direction the language reads from, it could be right to left, or left to right. The beads on the necklace go both ways, on each side of the golden Meeroo. For now I am assuming it reads right to left like English does.

Image 2
Image 3
The symbol on the right side of the necklace close-up [Image 1] I have seen in two (2) other locations: 1) On the newly unearthed ruins at Roo [Image 2 - right side] and 2) on the inside of the store archway at Twas [Image 3]. It is interesting to note that in [Image 2] you have the symbols for Meeroos but with another symbol in the middle, the one below in [Image 4]. I wonder what that might mean, if anything? I do have a far fetched theory, but I will get to that in a bit.

Image 4
The symbols on the stone arch at the Twas store are interesting in that they are all very similar with the exception of the number of dots they have. This leads me to believe they might be numbers. There are three basic symbols which have either one, two or three (1,2 or 3) dots each. I do not believe the numeral zero (0) is represented. Nor are two (2) others since there are seven (7) symbols total. Taking it as a given that numbers with one (1) additional dot, on the same base symbol, are one more than without the dot I plotted the possible number to symbol mappings and came up with the following: There are six (6) ways to map the symbols to numbers that "work" on the arch. The six (6) variations, or options, are shown below:

Now for my wacky theory: if the symbol in [Image 3], the second symbol in "Meeroos", is in fact the number one (1) it could mean that Meeroos are in fact called "something - one" in their language. What might the symbol that comes in-between them in [Image 2] mean if that is so?  If it is the symbol for one (1) then either Option D or E is correct above. Will have to wait on more information before I can even guess further.

Keep in mind I could be completely off-base here and they may not even be numbers. This is all a theory which is, most likely, poppycock. But there you go, maybe one of you has a better idea what it might all mean than I do. If so, leave a comment and, in time, we will get it figured out. Most likely when they tell us in October (if they tell us).

Some more symbols from the other ruins at Roo and from the Home Stones: