Monday, November 23, 2009

Farewell to XStreet

As should be no surprise to anyone, we at Murakami Steamworks will be removing all of our items from XStreet. For those interested about what brought us to do something like this, take a look at Hotspur O'Toole's recent blog post and also take a look at this Linden Labs Official FAQ on the matter to get the details.

Not sure what exactly brought about this push to drive small niche markets out of XStreet but I think greed would be the best guess. In most monetary systems power is regulated to a very small elite group while the majority are left to suffer. The little people are not really given a choice, the elite choose for them and say “we know what's best for you, just let us handle everything”. Sadly this happens both in SL and in real life, and the result is that creativity suffers.

I also find the excuses they use to be rather odd. One of the main problems they have is the fact that these freebies and cheepies clutter up the product listings. So when someone does a product listing by lowest price, the freebies show up first... This is something that could easily be solved by simply moving all 0L items into their own category and not have them listed at all in the normal product listings. There are many solutions that could have been implemented to the site in order to make searching easier. One has to wonder if they were really truly considered...

Another excuse they have is the fact that these freebies force merchants to lower prices on certain items. I guess they never heard of competition? I don't particularly see why any of us should care if someone has to lower their prices or not. Why should a shopper buy a stupid 2000L item when they can find a nice product that's cheaper and works better? I have actually seen this on many occasions. [NB from MrB: hell, sometimes the 2000l$ item just plain sucks from the get go]

Then there is the whole idea of charging a fee just for listing items on XStreet. Considering the amount of items we have up, it would be around 300-400L every month just to have them listed. Granted this is not a huge deal for us, but one has to wonder if this is just a way to make extra money for nothing. How long was SLX up for? 3-4 years? They never had to charge that much. I think they only took like 5% commission on everything you sold, that's it. [NB from MrB: it should have been removed when LL bought them] They managed just fine, but apparently it costs a lot to list all that stuff on XStreet! Sorry but I can't help but roll my eyes on this one. I wish they would tell us the exact costs of listing those items... I think we would find them to be rather negligible.

So in the end we can probably still list our items on XStreet and profit from it, but out of principle we have chosen to withdraw everything. I have a feeling if enough merchants pull out it may scare LL back to their senses and force them to reconsider. I also found the timing kind of funny as I am currently working on a nice freebie ironclad that I would have liked to place on XStreet, however it will still be available at our shop when it is done. In the meantime, I suggest all of you go on XStreet and gobble up as much freebies as you can as they most likely won't be up for much longer.

Oh and if you know of any alternatives to XStreet let us know!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Anti-Aircraft Gun

Finished modeling a nice AA gun for dealing with pesky airships. The design is modular meaning I can remove the long barreled cannon and replace it with a gatling gun which I will most likely do as another variant. The whole thing is only 42 prims which is pretty nice considering our other artillery pieces are around 35 prims.

The control mechanism for this gun will be a bit different in that there will be no HUD or buttons to press. You use the keyboard controls to move and fire the gun. This will make it a bit easier to get a bead on aircraft and it will also force the user to remain stationary, unlike the other guns where the user can run around and operate the gun from 20 meters away. Hopefully if this works out we can use the same method for the other artillery pieces.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fleet Week at New Babbage

Murakami Steamworks will be participating in the events during Fleet Week in New Babbage (Nov 15th-21). For the ship exhibition we have two of our ships displayed, the CSS Virginia and USS Monitor. Both can be seen docked here.

We decided on these two ships because they were some of our first and we are very proud at how they both turned out.

Also during the Fleet Week event there will be a large melee featuring many of the steamlands as well as a Fleet Review of the official navies. Both me and MrBunwah will be attending but will not be flying the Wrath Exiles colors at the request of the Commodore.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Murakami Steamworks Anniversary Party

We are having our 2 year anniversary party up at Eva's Isle of Skye skyplatorm. Come join us on Saturday, November 14th at 7-9PM SLT. Also if you remember our little experiment at Burning Life 2008 ( mini RC ironclad minigame) it is making a return at our party, but this time it is much more polished.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Update complete

The last update is finally done. We made quite a number of tweaks to all of the ships, especially the turreted types. We reverted back to the sundial control method, making those ships much easier to operate. Also all the guns now have a marker on the HUD that points in the direction they are aiming, including the turreted ships.

We also cleared up some bugs, such as the USS Roanoke going phantom and none of the ships being able to rearm after depleting their ammo. There was also an issue with some turreted ships not rotating correctly but with the new control method this was cleared up.

This will be the last update we make to these ships as they are pretty much as good as they are going to get now. We COULD have added some extra effects, but we did not feel it necessary to add anything else to these ships as they are very complex as is...the homesteads can barely handle them. The only other update that may come is the addition of grape-shot rounds added to the ships, but this will have to wait until UCS (Urban Combat System) is released to see if it is really viable.

We have three more ships left to complete before we move on to other ventures. The Wrath Exiles will be getting a custom ironclad that will be armed with unconventional weaponry, A more advanced exploration sub will be made in MSS and SCSE variants, and a supply ship is in the works that will provide ammo and fuel services to other ships at sea. After these ships are complete we will move on to other projects such as tanks, airships and field artillery.