Virtual Landmark Solutions – Virtual SLurls

December 18, 2012 by
Filed under: DGP4SL Info, New Products, SL Marketplace, Technical Info 

A fairly large number of Second Life® Residents are also sellers on the SL Marketplace®. They will take something they’ve built, made or scripted and place it for sale on the Marketplace. They will include product pictures, a description and various other bits of information about the product that will help potential customers make the decision to purchase.

An important but under-utilized part of the Product Listing is a field known as the “SLurl”. The purpose of the SLurl field is to direct potential customers to an in-world location where they can see the product “in the wild” … in other words, see it in-person and perhaps test it out for themselves. This is most often used for things like Structures, Furnishings, Landscaping, Decorations, Utility Devices; in short anything that really needs to be seen to be appreciated. By following the link in the SLurl field, the potential customer can gain a first-hand appreciation for the product and its unique qualities.

(Note: If you are in a hurry and just want the high-speed recap version of the process, you can skip down to the bottom to find the Four Quick Steps in bullet points.)

The Traditional SLurl

Early in the development of Second Life, it became obvious that something was needed that would let people put a “Landmark” on a web page. Of course it isn’t possible to put a real Landmark on a web page, they just aren’t compatible. So instead a special type of “Hyperlink” was created that would serve the same function as a Landmark but could be placed into a web page just like a regular link. This special type of link was called a “Second Life URL” or “SLurl” for short.

Just like a Landmark, a SLurl refers to a specific location within Second Life. However instead of teleporting your Avatar when clicked, a SLurl opens a map of the location on a website designed especially for Second Life. The original web site was called slurl.com, although not too long ago Linden Lab introduced a similar site at maps.secondlife.com. Both of these web sites perform the same function; they display a map of the location referenced by a SLurl and will teleport the visitor’s Avatar to that location with a single click.

However, just like regular Landmarks, they have the same problem of being pretty much cast in concrete. Once you create a SLurl to a location in Second Life, that location is fixed and cannot easily be updated. As long as nothing changes, that’s not a problem. But as we all know … things change all the time. And when they change, the SLurls you’ve used in your Product Listings on the SL Marketplace suddenly point to the wrong locations.

Here is a screenshot of a SLurl entry used in a Product Listing on the SL Marketplace. As you can see, it contains the name of the Region as well as the absolute coordinates:

Normal SLurl for the DG RP Titler

 

But what happens if the location of the product moves? What if you have to relocate your store or just simply want to rearrange things a little bit? If it’s just one Product Listing that needs to be changed, it’s probably not a big deal. But if you’ve got more than one, it can take quite some time to find and update them all.

Virtual SLurls – The Flexible Solution

There is a better solution available using a product we recently introduced called “Virtual Landmarks”. Part of the Virtual Landmark package is the ability to create what are known as “Virtual SLurls”. They work just like regular SLurls in that they open a map to the In-World Location on the slurl.com web site, but they have the advantage of pointing at a location that can be easily changed without having to go back and edit the SLurl itself.

When you create a Virtual Landmark for a location within Second Life, a Virtual SLurl is also created at the same time. Called a “VLMurl”, the Virtual SLurl opens the slurl.com web site for the current location, but if the VLM is changed at any time in the future, the VLMurl will open the new updated location instead. For example, the VLMurl for the “Freebie Corner” in our Main Store is: http://vlmvw.com/vlm/PqMzyv/1049 (Go ahead and click the link. You’ll see that it opens the slurl.com web site and points at the proper location.)

Freebie Corner on slurl.com

Adding a VLMurl to a Product Listing

Unfortunately the SL Marketplace will only allow entries with a specific format to be used in the SLurl field, so you can’t just copy and paste the VLMurl directly. However with a single button click, you can create a SLM-Compatible link that can be used. We went ahead and created one for the above VLMurl, and it gave us the link: http://bit.ly/ThoBus (Give it a try and you’ll see it goes to the same location as the VLMurl above.)

Then all that’s needed is to copy and paste the newly created link into the SLurl field of our Product Listing then save the changes.

SLM Compatible VLMurl for the RP Titler

 

Once the changes are saved, it will appear at the bottom of the Product Listing similar to the following:

See Item in Second Life link on RP Titler Product Listing Page

 

Updates and Changes

Okay, so far so good. But what happens when you have to move things around or you have to move your entire store? How do you update the VLM and its VLMurl to point to the new location? This is where it gets even easier because there are actually two methods you can use.

The first method is what we politely refer to as the “Old and Slow” method. Using the VLMVW Management HUD, you stand in the new location for the VLM then use the HUD’s “Change Loc” function to update the VLM’s location. This will also automatically update the VLMurl in the Product Listing page as well. Although that may seem pretty simple, there’s an even easier method that uses one of the devices in the VLMVW Package called the “Location Beacon”.

The VLMVW Location Beacon

In an earlier blog post we highlighted the Location Beacon. This is the exact situation it was designed to handle. After you set the VLM Location the first time, you just need to rez a Location Beacon and configure it with the VLMurl. Then when you need to change the VLM’s Location, you simply pick up the Beacon and drop it in the new location.

The VLMVW Location Beacon

The first time you rez the Location Beacon, you will need to copy and paste the VLMurl into the prompt window to set it to the proper VLM.

Paste the VLMurl into the Prompt Box

 

(Note that the VLMurl shown in the image above is the same one we used above.)

When you need to move, just right-click and “Take” the Location Beacon then rez it at the new location. It will prompt you to verify that you’ve rezzed the proper one and that you’re happy with its new location. Once you approve, it will instantly change the VLM’s Location so that all future references to the VLMurl will display the map and teleport people to the new place. It’s just that easy.

Four Quick Steps – A High-Speed Recap

Okay, all that stuff above is a bit thick and maybe a bit tough to follow, so we’ll recap things here in a series of “Bullet Points” to help you get a better grip on the process.

Making the Virtual Landmark

  1. Wear the VLMVW Management HUD
  2. “Add VLM” to Create a new VLM
  3. Stand in the desired location and click “OK”

Adding the VLMurl to Your SLM Product Listing

  1. Open VLM Statistics Report
  2. Click button to “Make SLurl for SLM”
  3. Copy and Paste the SLM-Compatible VLMurl into the Listing’s SLurl field
  4. Save the changes to the Product Listing

Marking the VLM Location with the Beacon

  1. Rez a VLMVW Location Beacon in the desired Location
  2. Edit it to set the position and orientation as desired
  3. Copy the VLMurl and paste it into the Prompt Box

Changing a VLM’s Location

  1. Right-click and “Take” the Location Beacon
  2. Go to the VLM’s new location
  3. Rez and orient the Beacon as desired
  4. Approve the new location

There ya go! With just those simple steps, you have automatically updated every place where you’ve used a VLMurl … in your SLM Product Listings, on your Blog, in your Forum Signature … or any place on the web. Any of your Customers that have the VLM will also be teleported to the new location too. So you’ve managed to keep all your location information accurate and up to date without having to spend all day finding and editing stuff.

Now you just have to decide what you want to do with those 20 hours of mind-numbing labor you saved yourself!

Purchase Virtual Landmarks from the SL Marketplace


Visit the DGP4SL Store on SL Marketplace

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