This is the fifth and final installment featuring Second Life® creators discussing their work and the limitations that determine what is possible. This final post is drawn and synthesized from several comments by many different designers. I synthesized their comments in a plurk asking for their suggestions. That is followed by additional commentary from the participating Roundtable designers. Again, I thank the following designers for their generous gift of time and willingness to participate: Cyclic Gearz (CG), SySy Chapman (SS), Tyr Rozenblum (TR), Siddean Munro (SM), Anya Ohmai (AO), Shai Delacroix (SD).
What do you, as designers, wish your customers knew?
1: The cost of producing an item is a lot more than the 10 linden upload fee. Including in the cost of production are software purchases, licensing fees for design elements such as textures, animations and components, and above all time. There is an opportunity cost to all the time spent developing skills, designs and creations. When you buy a dress in your real life, you don’t object when it costs more than the thread and fabric. You understand you are paying for the experience, skill and time that went into making it. You understand the cost of production includes things like utilities, insurance and labor. Second Life businesses are businesses and have overhead costs, production costs and labor costs just like any other business.
CG – Consider that SL for most creators is a fulltime job, spending 40+ hours a week including weekends creating, for less than minimum wage a lot of the time. Someone who works doing something similar RL would be earning a lot more and at least get the weekends off.
2: Marketplace transactions are handled by Linden Labs, not by us. We are not informed of failed deliveries or other problems. If you don’t tell us about a problem, we don’t know about it and can’t fix it.
3: Just because our store is open 24/7 does not mean we are online all that time. Be patient when requesting customer service. When requesting help, read the profile. Before requesting help, read the notecards that came with the item. Perhaps you missed something. Some designers prefer notecards, some prefer IM. Some have customer service staff that address problems and do not want to be contacted. When you make contact by IM, start with your request. Don’t just say hello and wait for a response.
TR: I want to add to this, just because stores are open all the time, and we are online, doesn’t mean we are working 24/7. We came to SL for the same reasons our customers did, and thats to have fun as well. Unfortunately we can’t put a closed sign up. So if something happens late one night that can’t be fixed until the following day, please try to understand, we do have lives.
CG: Also think about timezones – not everyone is on SLT time.
SS: That. We’re not machines. We eat, sleep and have RL. Also: a customer is not the ONLY customer we have to deal with 😉
SD: That we appreciate your feedback. Not only does it help us improve, it makes us feel better about our work. We love that you took the time to message us about errors or colors you prefer. Thank you.
4: Understand that there are script limitations. They cannot fit every person and every shape and height. Pose engines have adjustment options and customers can use them, but even with adjustment options, they will not fit all torso lengths, arm lengths and so on. It is not possible.
SD: That even if we make the mesh and rig it, we cannot possibly account for all animations in SL to work well with the rigged mesh item we sell. Some animations rotate/deform on places that affect our items. Unless both are purchased from the same creator and was made to work together. Same goes for AO creators who cannot adapt their work to all rigged mesh clothing. Its not all bad rigging or bad animations. Ideally, we should be working in the same studio swapping meshes and rigs, using the same simulated scenery and tools.
5: Read the ad before buying so you know what the perms are and are not surprised. If it says skin not included, skin is not included. If it says no trans, it’s not transferrable.
TR: With gacha being as popular as it is, it’s important to note where you purchased something from. If you find an item labeled after a store on MP, be sure to read the sellers name if a transaction goes wrong. We unfortunately cannot help with third party purchases. It’s really important to be responsible about your purchases. This goes for anything too, KNOW who you are buying from. Lots of shady sellers on MP will sell empty box products and dupes. Both things original creators cannot do anything about.