Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Stored Away

So...in real life I trained as an interior designer (amongst many other things) and it was one of the subjects that I taught at college. As far as teaching went, it was domestic interiors, but in my own training I covered things such as commercial interiors and architecture. This combined with my love of shopping(!) means that when I am browsing around stores in-world, I don't just look at what is for sale. In fact, unless I want something specific, I am more likely to check out the build and store layout first. Yes, I know, I am weird.

I guess I work on first impressions. If I land in an interesting store, it makes me want to spend time looking around. If I land in some place hideous, I want to leave as quickly as I can. I am sure I can't be the only person like this, so the thing I sometimes wonder is do store owners consider the visual impact and aesthetics of their actual store when setting it up or do they just dump their creations in to it?

I have had stores in the past and even if it was just a stall giving away freebies to newbies, I tried to make it look appealing. Of course, if you are renting a store or space in a mall, you can't always have full creative control over the environment, but you can overlay walls and floors with your own textured prims if you have enough of a prim allowance. The thing that really gets me is when a creator goes to the effort of building their own store. It shows off more of their creativity and allows them to have control over display of their own content. Sadly this can backfire. If a content creator has built their own store, I am dubious of buying any of their work if:

-the colours clash
-the textures are flickering due to prim overlap
-there are untextured edges - so you get a flash of plywood as your camera moves around
-there are gaps in the walls

It does not fill me with hope that their actual items for sale will be put together any better.

As a fan of various hunts, I have been in many stores and some of them are, in my opinion, vile. A checkerboard floor can look great - but it depends on getting the scale of the checks right for the size of the store. Also the impact of fuchsia pink or cyan and black tiles can be visually unappealing. A store in a single colour can look elegant...if the colour is right. A totally black store or a dark red one just shows a lack of imagination or design flair. There is one store that is often part of hunts and I actively avoid it - every single element within the build has had the Shininess set to High. The whole store has a reflective glow that gives me a very real migraine in less than five minutes. Okay you want to theme your store as having a metallic feel....but every part?

Much the same as in real life, a store can soon become tired and dated. Something that looks great when set up looks old six months later. You don't have to change everything about a store to refresh it, use any accents you have wisely and you can keep the store looking as good as new.

Of course there are other elements to a store that can have an impact - and many of them are negative. Not everyone has a top of the range gaming PC with a graphics card so advanced that it can almost render the 2D world as a 3D one. No matter what anyone says to me about LOD, some sculpts take ages to rez for me. I really hate The Wonder Chair...a Lucky Chair variation that is sculpted and looks like a twisted Z to me far too long than I care to be around it. I have also seen entire store fronts that are sculpted. If it takes me five minutes to find the door, the chances are that I won't be going in because I am already two teleports away.

I like an interesting store layout, but I don't want to spend hours in a maze falling down levels because the floor is incomplete or the invisible prims that are part of the sculpted stairs do not go all the way to the edge of the sculpt. Nor do I want to look at a store that is the size of a warehouse but has no more a dozen items arranged feebly around the walls of the store and nothing else in it. Either get a smaller store or put out more content. It is easy to dress a store to make it look more interesting.

There are also those automated ways that shoppers are greeted - being hit by particles in the form of flowers, etc, little fairies that come to greet you and then make noises as they follow you around the store, 1001 'cute' animals tripping you as you try to shop and 20,000 sculpted animated noobs raoming around for no reason...it's like being in some second rate zombie movie.

And my final annoyance (at least for this posting) as far as store owners goes relates to the gender of shoppers. There are those stores that cater to men and women...but have freebies, Midnight Mania, Letter of the Week, Mini Mania for only one gender. And here is a hint for store owners - two outfits does not constitute a menswear department!

Last point (i.e. rant almost over), something that store owners have no control over...the shoppers! If your group tag or title says things like 'Spirit Fucker', you maybe should not be on a PG sim and if you cannot communicate with your friends without the constant need of gestures, it is time you logged off and read a book...preferably a dictionary.