Monday, July 30, 2012

Managing Your Dances

Managing Your Dances 120730

Usually I take pretty good control of my inventory in SL. After five plus years in SL I have at least the top level almost in control and a few of the second level folders too. Since I was away from SL for a month and then devoted for a couple of weeks exclusively to the Dance Festival V, I haven't paid much attention to inventory. So, today I started cleaning up. It got me thinking about some of the special things I do with inventory because I dance. Let me share these with you.

As you read this think about the kind of person you are with your inventory. I'll describe it in jigsaw puzzle terms. You know, the puzzles that are in a thousand pieces all cut to look alike with a picture on one side. If you pour all the pieces on the table and immediately start putting the puzzle together without further organization, you are at one extreme. If you pour out the puzzle pieces, then organize the pieces by turning them all face up, putting the edge pieces in four groups depending on the orientation, then order the non-edge pieces by shape and color, then start working on the corners followed by the top edge, you are at the other extreme. If you are at the extremes these ideas won't help you much. If you are somewhere in between, here is what I do. If you have some ideas to help, add a comment to this blog post.
  1. Inventory Your Dance HUD - About once every three months I make a list of all the dances that I have in my HUD. Right now I have 5041 dances in mine. You probably don't have as many, but, if you are a dancing addict, you frequently add new dances to your HUD. Your HUD is growing. Having a list helps you know what you have. When you pass about 500 dances, you will find you can't remember them all. Think about dance shopping. Hmmm, do I have that dance or not? A list helps. Think about that IM from a friend, "do you have ___ dance?" I put a lot of animated poses in my HUD too and these are even more challenging to remember. To make a list follow the instructions for your HUD to get an alphabetized print out in chat. Copy the print out and at a minimum paste it into a notecard. Some of the HUDs give you added info, so you may want to put the list in a spreadsheet and remove the unnecessary info, then paste the list into a notecard. I don't go so far as to noting whether the dances are copy or transfer, but more extreme organizers may. The list is also good if you lose your HUD. After the crocodile tears stop, you know what you had when you are ready to get another HUD.
  2. Organize Your Copy Dances - Copy dances usually cost more than transfer dances and can never be resold, but when you lose your HUD or want to use the dances in more than one device, copy dances are the answer. I've posted about this before. I make a separate HUD from my main HUD and put the copy dances in the second HUD. The loaded HUD remains all copy so I even go so far as to make a copy of the loaded second HUD. I also put the copy dances in my inventory in a special folder called Dances - good. Since I collect all sorts of animations and dances, I also have folders for the not so good dances, like the ones in the Free Stuff Box at Dance Central. If you are a more extreme organizer you can further order your copy dances into categories such as dance categories and styles or by maker. If you are a real fanatic put your copy dances in a box and store the box on a sim. The dance database can help you with organizing dances because it contains information about maker, category, style and other ways you may choose to organize your inventory.
  3. Organize Your Animated Poses - When you first start dancing you may have a few animated poses to look sexy while standing, but you probably don't think about the thousands of animated poses that exist. Over time your animated pose list grows. Take a trip to Kuso, for example, where you can get 10 L animated poses and you come home with more than you expected. Or when you buy an AO you get all those animated poses. These are things like stands, sits, fly up, etc. Most animated poses have names only a programmer can understand. I never (almost never) rename dances or animated poses. A name like SLCST(30)58muri(P4) or D2663-Stand.U (185cm) or ao_drunk_stand_4 doesn't tell you much about what an animated pose does. You can check in the dance database if you need to, but you should think about organizing your poses as you get them. Most poses are copy, so you have a copy for your inventory. The database has animated poses divided into categories of the type of action. You can use this or devise your own category. If you don't, you will soon have hundreds of animated poses and you will have no idea what they do. Although I put a lot of animated poses in my HUD, most I do not. That is because with animated poses there are often not a lot of differences. How many ways can you put your hand on your hip for example. However, I do organize the ones I don't have in my HUD. This is because I like to make plays and use a lot of animated poses for this aspect of dancing.
  4. Organize your HUDs and AOs - I buy a lot of AOs and dance HUDs to get the dances and animated poses inside. I remove the animations I want, but since the AOs and HUDs are usually copy, I have a fully functioning HUD or AO. Rather than toss it out, I keep a copy of each one in a folder. Occasionally, I have found a special use for a weird HUD or AO.
  5. Organize your special animations - Most of us do not make animations. I thought I never would, but I do now. I have described the process for making dances previously. What I have found is that when I make a dance show, sometimes I cannot find a special turn or move. Usually it is something simple. So I have made anims and imported them into SL. As long as it's simple you can learn to do it too. Forget about making a sexy dance without the right equipment, but a simple move you can do. These are anims that are full perm, so I put them in a special folder also. Similarly, I have uploaded some of the Linden internal anims because I wanted to use them in a show. I have a special folder for them too. 
Since I run Dance Queens, I have even more organization of my dance inventory. You may choose to organize dance folders for your dance shows, for example. You spend a lot of money on dances and animated poses, so why throw away some of the benefits by poor inventory management.