Sunday, August 8, 2010

Virtual Puppy Fix

Today I took a major step towards permanent Second Life (SL) citizenship. I bought a dog from the Virtual Kennel Club (VKC). Her name is Nephthys (pronounced Neffis) and she's a "Widget". I went looking for a schipperke but no one makes them. I can special order one but I shudder to think how much that would cost.

Nephthys cost me L$2000. VKC dogs can cost as much as L$5000. They're expensive because they're AI. They respond to a whole whack of commands and can learn new commands. They even make and remember friends. There are some commands that would only be found in SL like "attach 28" which attaches the dog to your spine (she shows up on my back) so that you can use a teleport (TP) together. Which is cool. We can TP from my home to the dog park in a couple of seconds. I have to remember that, with Nephthys, "heel" means walk by my side and not sit on my right side as I teach my PADS puppies.

The most unintentionally funny thing about VKC dogs is that they notice new things or things that have changed/moved. "Nephthys notice Madison" will show up in chat followed by "Nephthys greeting Madison". Which is fine, but you'll also see "Nephthys notice bowl" and "Nephthys greeting bowl". Heaven forbid you change your furniture around. The dog will go around noticing and greeting everything. One of the trainers told me a woman brought her horse to the dog park and it left a dropping behind and all the dogs "notice poop" and "greeting poop". I said it was artificial intelligence.

I've only had Nephthys a few hours and already my SL home is littered with balls, squeakies, and kongs. I have beds (yes plural), blankets and food dishes. I'm beginning to realize that there are just as many things to buy for a virtual dog as there are for a RL dog.

I've gotten attached to her. I'm feeling a little guilty that I'm not in SL with her right now. When SL crashed while we were at the dog park I worried about what was happening to her while I was gone. I don't think she cared. When I came back and found her she was at the water bowl with a bunch of other dogs.

I know I'm in for a period of learning and adjustment but I think it will be cool. I'm already hooked into a bunch of other SL dog owners. Hmm. Now I can talk about dogs in RL and SL. Is that a good thing?

BTW Nephthys looks way better than she does here. My picture is kinda crappy because I have an old graphics card and a computer that shouldn't even be able to connect to SL. A new computer is on my list of things to get...

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