Thursday, December 20, 2007

Eudeamon : what now ?

Some time has passed since S-6734's release. During that time, several other Banes (L-1109, V-4275, L-8746 and others) were born and enjoyed (sort of) their short sentences their own personal way. All of them learned how hard Banishment is, how alienating and sometimes depressing it is to not be able to communicate with friends in a world where communication is the key. But at the same time it is very rewarding, like an accomplishment, a challenge, and a vacation from the everyday concerns. From all I could read and all I've discussed about with friends, SL Banishment has the exact same effect it has on Katrina in the novel. I would call it "asymmetrical isolation" as the Bane is isolated from the world but the world is not isolated from the Bane. To pull the plug off would be "symmetrical isolation", you just cease to exist but it frankly becomes old and unrewarding very quickly. This, on the other hand, to me is BDSM at its best. Helplessness and vulnerability to an entity (the Custodian), and safety and isolation from the rest of the world.

Isolation... well sort of. It's more a matter of focusing the attention on something in particular instead of the usual scattering and waste of time. Banishment requires an Operator (a human) and/or a Custodian (a machine) to "handle" the Bane and monitor/correct her actions. For now, the two are the same because there is no script made to punish the Bane for her Protocol Violations yet. Some people are on it already. I will be working on a Custodian script as well, that will interface with the Spy plugin of my stuff (as in : the remote will have a special Custodian sub-menu and both scripts will communicate and act like one). I have done the specs already and have plenty of wicked ideas. But as it will take a while before I'm even able to start coding (some other projects are higher priority), I will not talk about what it does yet. And I need to build ground rules for a Banishment Project prior to starting anything technical. And last but not least, I don't want other people to stop their work when learning I'm working on something similar, while their creativity and experiences are what the project needs the most.

So far the group will be divided in two categories : Banes and Operators. The former will have to buy a Banesuit, while the latter will be paid to monitor the Banes (several Banes per Operator). Now will they be paid by the Banes, or by a donator (me for the matter), I still don't know. It will be a business, I'm pretty sure of it, because it requires time to monitor someone, leading to a retribution. What I'm sure of is it will be a select business, not just anybody will be able to join. To be a Bane requires an iron will and a strong personality. And only non-violent "criminals" will be allowed to go for Banishment.

So there will be Operators, and there will be Custodians. N Banes per Operator, and every Bane will have her own wicked Custodian. The Custodian-to-Eudeamon transition will of course require human roleplay (I may be specialized in AI, there is no such thing as an AI yet, let alone coded in LSL. lol). That's where things have to be really kept under control because each Eudeamon will be unique. Will an Eudeamon played by an Operator ? Or by the Bane's best friend ? I would love the second option but that would require the friend to read the novel, and that would lead to clashes when other friends learn they have not been "selected" to be part of the Bane's mind.

Mind. I'm weighting my words here. What is an Eudeamon anyway ? Barebones it is something that enters your mind, judges your inner self and decides your "value". It leads to inner peace, it creates a symbiosis that transcends human abilities, to make something almost supernatural out of the poor isolated hopeless creature, to become a human computer. In the novel we only hear about "good" Eudeamonic-Banes, those who have been judged "worthy" and granted "salvation" by their Eudeamons. But what about the others ? Those whose mind is dark enough to create a conflict with the Eudeamon ? How do they survive ? Do they turn insane ? Do they desperately attempt redemption ? Do they exist at all ? We don't know. As I said, each case is unique and that's what I want to reproduce here. The Banishment Project might become an institution one day, but it will never be an industry. Of course there will be little ways to tell one Bane from another but inside their helmets, the experience has to be unique and earned. Those who come demanding "I want to try Banishment ! Put me in a Banesuit ! Show me my Eudeamon !" will be kindly ignored.

But there is no such thing as a mind-reading computer yet. Someone has to read the Bane's mind and that's where S-6734's brilliant idea of writing her own experience down on notecards solves the problem. Other Banes did the same and I think this is the key to a successful Banishment experience. But let's take a break here. How does it work in the novel ?

Katrina is banished and starts thinking about her own condition, strives to keep her own sanity, and suffers merciless punishments from an autistic computer solely programmed to make her life miserable. But as her mind takes the heat and as time passes, that computer learns about her inner self. After some time (months usually, but in Katrina's case it went faster due to the child rescue), the Custodian is able to decipher all these thoughts, to put a pattern on them, and to find the right way to learn and anticipate the future violations (it's what it has been programmed for in the first place). And it judges. One day, the Custodian strays from its primary function and you know the rest.

The learning process is long, and I would very much compare it with reading notecards written by the Bane herself in SL. The Bane writes her thoughts, fears, findings, insights... Not necessarily long stories (I would encourage her to keep things short), but key informations that would be useful to "improve the efficiency" (whatever the meaning) of the sentence. These notecards would be aimed at the Operator and used as a base to the roleplay. Saying too much only gives them more means make her life even worse, while saying too little delays the ability to turn the Custodian into an Eudeamon. There are several possibilities : the Bane could keep all the notecards to herself until she decides to give them to someone in particular, or she could keep them until an Operator requests them and gives them to a friend of the Bane's, or something in the middle.

Perhaps the Operator will be in charge of deciding when to hand the notecards to the person who will take the role of the Bane's Eudeamon, if any. Perhaps several friends can incarnate the Eudeamon even (who said it could not be schizophrenic)... Perhaps most Banes shall never find their Eudeamon because their sentences are too short (I would tend to think the majority of Banes will be in this case, as it's about isolation in the first place). As I said earlier, this Project will not be a "find your own Eudeamon in ten days" diet program.

Anyway this duality Isolation/Salvation is the key part of the Project. Some people will come for the first part, others for the second one. Both will have to be carefully thought, tested, trashed, thought again, tested again... but we have time.


Kyle Ohara said...

I love reading all about this. I saw a bane.. perhaps the original about a week ago.. but did not approach her.. It may have been S-6734 or perhaps L-8746. I was a bit busy being locked in a box of some sort so didnt get to talk. But I did look at her profile.. i had already been looking into info about the realrestraint viewer for a couple of days. Now i was getting the impression that it was everywhere because here i was just bumping into people using it to its fullest.

Anyways, I was glad to hear you say there wouldn't be a bane-facotry running and just anyone would be able to do this. I have found myself facinated by this and would have hated to see it become some sort of soriety club.

Moss Hastings said...

A really good post that seems to round off the subject, at least for the moment!

Well, I have read all the warnings, and I think I understand them. No doubt that illusion may be dispelled some time, but I am still interested in trying the banishment experience for myself. I have even got a good friend of mine to say she would be my controller.

Reflecting on your post, here is an observation: Controller and Eudeamon are two sides of the same coin, and I do sense a bit of this ambivalence in what you have written. On the one hand you clearly have your own ideas, not only on the technical and design aspects of the Project, but also on how it should be organised in human and even business terms.

On the other hand you say ‘I don't want other people to stop their work when learning I'm working on something similar, while their creativity and experiences are what the project needs the most.’ Controller and Eudeamon?

Be that as it may … I admire and applaud those who have ‘done their own thing’, but I think I would prefer to wait and see how things pan out. From the ideas you have put forward, I can see that there will be quite a lot of added value in your project, when it comes to fruition. I am in no hurry (well not much)!

I will continue to follow with interest.

Marine Kelley said...

Thank you both for your comments, to address Moss' concern, here is a little clarification :

I do not know yet who is going to be the Bane's Eudeamon, *if any* (I insist, not everyone is able to find their Eudeamon). It could be the Operator (or Controller, or Monitor, or whatever you name it) but bear in mind that there will be more than one Bane per Operator. And I'd very much prefer it to be a close friend of the Bane because both need to be very close to enjoy the experience to its fullest.

Problem is, the Operator is likely to receive the notecards first, then to hand it to someone of trust (said close friend of Bane's). Technically that makes sense since the Operator is actually able to decipher the Bane's thoughts, but philosophically I wouldn't want just anybody to be able to read my feelings in such a situation.

However, the Bane controls what she writes. I think she will just write overall feelings at first, then will become more and more personal with time. It would be interesting to use that "progressiveness" from Operator to friend to mark the transition from Custodian to Eudeamon. Just thinking out loud here.

Kylie Ohara said...

i havent read the story yet and maybe i won't.. i don't think i want to spoil it for myself.. on the chance that someday i may try to experience it for myself. if i am that brave. But i do like hearing that most would not 'find their Eudeamon'.. or whatever it was.. this is a good thing.. small and selective groups.. special things happening only often enough that they are still special.

pu571 said...

For such an amazing Secondlife toy, Restrained Life has barely any publicity attached to it.

A Secondlife user who searches for Restrained Life in google will indeed find the download link for the viewer, but upon installing it will usually be confused at the fact that the help readme file says the viewer "permanently" disables features like Edit->Deatch->, which simply isn't true.

In fact, the viewer doesn't appear different form the normal Secondlife viewer at all, causing some people to think it is broken or they haven't installed it correctly.

Don't take this the wrong way, I love the idea and am using it right now. But I wanted to point out a few things like this.

Also, searching for Real Restraint or Restrained Life in-world gives few and some confusing results. There isn't anything under "Places" except for a store or two that claims to stock a Restrained Life vendor (and actually don't).

Searching under "Classifieds" yields much better results, but the actual real store (where the scripts and link to the viewer URL is located) is buried under many small store adverts for nearby locations. It's also easy to confuse the Scorpio and EvilKitten items with the RR items, which leads to disappointment.

From the point of view of someone who searched hard for the viewer, scripts, and then an explanation on how to use everything properly, I really think there should be a more concise, simpler guide to all the Restrained Life merchandise.

At the moment, it's a bit disorientating. At one point I even thoguht maybe the viewer itself had to be "locked" in order to start the special functions, becuase the helpfile that comes with the downloaded viewer implies this in a couple of places.

If I was explaining how to use this great stuff, I'd make it simple and to the point, like:

1. Go to the main store in Secondlife.

2. Click on the rotating cube at the store, and receive a folder containing the viewer download URL, and the scripts.

3. Download and install the viewer (saving the old executable elsewhere if you want to play safe).

4. Launch the new viewer. You won't notice any changes yet.

5. Go back the store, and buy an RR item. Perhaps the gag, or blindfold, or crate.

6. Now, rez the item on the ground somewhere. Be careful - the gag is near-invisible by default, so use CTRL+ALT+T to see it.

7. Open the item, and drop into it any RR script that you want to affect you. These scripts will not begin to take affect until you are wearing the RR item, and it has been locked

Scripts include:

NoTP - You cannot teleport.
NoSendChat - You cannot chat in public.
NoSendIM - You cannot send IMs.
NoReceiveChat - You cannot hear public chat, even chat from items.
NoReceiveIM - You cannot receive IMs from anyone.
*Allow - Your Dominant can make themself an exception to all the other script effects, letting them summon you (i.e. TPing), and speak with you.

Those are the main scripts people are interested in.

8. When you wear the RR item, you need to click it, then select give keys so that you pass control of the item to your Dominant.

9. Once your Dominant has the keys, they need to click the item, then click PLUGINS, and then Allow, on the drop down menus.

This will enable you to speak with them, and be summoned.

10. Your Dominant can now LOCK the item, sealing it completely.

While you use the Restrained Life viewer, you will now be unable to Detach the RR item. The clic menu will not have a Detach option, and the viewer will ignore any click on "Tools->Detach item->". It simply won't work.

There, now you are stuck. If your Dominant seals you inside an object, or uses your collar to freeze you, you will truly be unable to escape, or communicate.

Have fun! :)

(I wrote this because really I would love to have found something like it when I was struggling to understand the viewer a few days ago - I hope it helps someone).

Marine Kelley said...

Thank you for your comment, pu571, you make a couple of valid points here. I do agree it might not be totally intuitive to find the viewer URL and scripts at my shop. And once found, despite the instructions, some people do find the overall procedure complicated. I may do something about it in the future, it has been experimental until now.

However, I do not want RestrainedLife to be solely associated with my brand, and that's why I will never write something like "now buy a ballgag and put this-and-that inside", it would only be a shameless plug on my side. The viewer is not commercial but meant to be free and open to other items so anyone can interface theirs, that's why I will not pay to maintain a classified to advertise it.

And I created this blog to this purpose, too, so people know where to look when they need information about the viewer (its actual URL being the easiest one of all). This is a complex project, which requires time and I'm not a good advertiser. As for my brand, I rely on word-to-mouth to spread it around.

But I do agree with you that I should be more precise and straightforward. I remember having written that the viewer behaves normally until you lock one of your restraints, though, not as soon as it is worn.

Thank you again, I will do my best to make things clearer :)


PS: I never said anywhere that the viewer made "Detach" permanently deactivated. Only when the item is locked, and compatible.

pu571 said...

Thanks for replying - sorry I put the commnet against an entry not strictly about the viewer.

Hmm. The reason I added a step saying "now but the gag and put the scripts inside, etc" is because when I tried to put the scripts inside non RR items that lock (Amethyst collar, Scorpio gag, and a few others) nothing happened. Locking those items didn't produce the desired effects. I'll go back to experiementing with non-RR later.

About the parts of the guides that confused me - the notecard in SL is much clearer than the text help file in the downloaded viewer.

On the two specific points you mention:

1. The in-world notecard says "makes all compatible restraint UNDETACHABLE WHEN LOCKED. And allows several other wicked behaviours such as being prevented from chatting and IMing. Hours of frustr.... of fun."

For me this implies that the viewer does two things. First, it creates the undetachable effect, then second it does other things, regardless of whether you are wearing locked RR items. This is really just a matter of phrasing, but threw me off.

Yep - you do mention in this notecard specifically that the viewer acts normally until an item is locked, but you say it like this:

"put the scripts that you have received inside each one of the RR items you want to use jointly with the custom viewer, to make them compatible. The instructions also explain how to install the scripts, which are copiable.

And then... lock it !"

Stupidly I took this to mean lock the viewer, since it says "it" and not "them" (the RR items).

2. Cut and pasted from the Viewer Readme file, with my square brackets around the misleading line:


Let's go down to business. There are 2 kinds of modifications :

* General modifications. [[These are the ones that apply all the time, whether you're wearing a locked item or not]] :
- No HUD attachments hiding. If you don't know what I mean don't ask, but that's a way to cheat restraints that prevent you from interacting with your environment, you can't cheat here.
- No Attach To or Wear when right clicking on an object in world. That could kick a locked object otherwise.
- No Edit > Detach Object... in the top menubar.
- No Release Keys button.

To me, the words "These are the ones that apply all the time, whether you're wearing a locked item or not" were confusing and led to some wondering if I had installed the viewer properly. I fully expected Edit->Detach-> to be permanently deactivated, because really that's precisely what the above line says.

I think this section was what caused the real confusion. The notecard helped to clarify what I needed to do, and is what eventually helped me install and lock everything properly.

I hope this helps with any improvements, enabling more people to get to grips with the viewer.

It is remarkably simple to use, and a stroke of genius how the viewer and items interact to produce such exciting, permanent results.

Please don't take any of this as a complaint - I love the viewer and items, and I've even written a wordpress blog introducing my experience with them.

If non-RR items can be adapted to work with the viewer, then maybe it would be useful to have this covered in the help files. What I mean is, you could have a section explaining exactly what scripts already need to be inside an item before it will work with the RR scripts. Would it be something to do with the Realkey scripts and drop-down menu commands? Or with allowing Plugin scripts?

I'm not a skilled scripter, so for me handing the Realkeys over to a Dominant, and them activating commands listed under "Plugins" are what creates the special RR effects.

When I placed the scripts inside a Lockmeister, Amethyst and Scorpio item, they didn't seem to work, so I guess something is missing from those items that is inside your RR items?

If you are using word of mouth to promote the viewer and scripts, and don't plan to advertise any more thoroughly then maybe you could have chats with the main D/s item vendors so that they can do this for you?

I guess my main point is that I know a LARGE number of people would love to use this stuff if they only knew more about it and could set it up quickly. At the moment, there is some awareness, but even the person who told me about the viewer couldn't find the URL, because they thought it was called "RestrictedLife" instead of "RestrainedLife".

Anyways, many thanks again. I'd say we could talk in-world sometime about this but for now your devices prevent that! :D

Marine Kelley said...

lol ! Don't worry I took your comment as objectively as it got, and answered in an objective way as well, no offense taken here. Thank you again for the compliments, and now I understand better where the confusion comes from.

I think I've put somewhere that the viewer works with every restraint but that the creator has to make their own compatibility scripts, but that may not be clear enough. Actually people who come to my shop (hence read the in-world notecard) come specifically to use RR items. Other creators have to explain their own scripting like I did mine. It is their responsibility as it depends on their own coding, I cannot say what script is needed to do what. I will put a mention on the text Readme, though.

The viewer indeed does many things (and will have more features added with time), the "other wicked behaviours" part being purposely vague for that reason. Maybe I'll add something like "when locked" too.

The "lock it" part was referring to the "each item", singular... I will put "lock them", no problem. English is not my native language anyway.

The "General Modifications" part is correct... except the Edit > Detach Object that is said to be missing, while it's there. Actually this is my mistake. It was deactivated for a while but has been put back for convenience with a check to avoid detaching locked objects. So I'll simply erase that line which is not true anymore.

The Scorpion gag is supposed to be compatible with RL already, at least when it comes to detach it. Not sure about the speech prevention, I'll have to ask Laida.

Which reminds me, to address a previous concern of yours, the vendors around mine in Pak (my main shop) are friends ones, I let them squat there without any commission or rent, and their business can be quite different from mine. I expect people to read notecards and know what they buy.

Finally, yes I'll have some chats with key people around, when the viewer is mature enough. I just don't want to look like someone who wants everyone to use it, as it's intended to be used by hardcore bondage lovers, not just by the average joe. And some people reject the very concept totally. I've been insulted a couple of times for having bred such a "monster" (yes, really). Not to mention someone who uses RL has to trust me implicitely for not prying into their computers, unless they want to take a look at the code. I've sometimes been suspected of trying to steal passwords and all. Though it is easy for me to prove the opposite, I cannot afford the time and patience to justify myself ten times a day.

That's why I don't advertise much, and I think whoever has the slightest doubt regarding what the viewer does or even regarding my honesty should abstain from using it.


pu571 said... late more features will be added, now that part makes sense.

I wonder what features? :)

Once I got the stuff up and running, there have been no more confusions or technical problems. It's a very powerful tool, so yes I wouldn't recommend it at all to newbie-type people.

I can understand as usual how some will call it a monster and be weird about all this. In fact while I was searching for your store and couldn't find things under Places or a definite advertisement under Classifieds, I actually suspected something bad has happened and the RR stuff had been pulled by you or someone else for ethical worries.

I don't think your viewer has stolen any passwords yet! :D

Thanks again for helping and hearing me out - I can be a bit ditzy and it took me a while to work things out :)

One final suggestion - is there any way to make the viewer prevent someone from sending an item to another person?

Does maybe the *Edit script do this? (I haven't used that script becuase I need to Rez things).

The reason I am asking is at the moment there are still two ways for someone to cheat using the viewer. The first is for them to send notecards to other people (hence the question above) and the second is to hear other people's emotes.

I wonder if those exploits can be shut down?

Marine Kelley said...

Well I'm torn off when it comes to preventing people from sending items, it's one of the key features of SL, and business owners like me need it badly. What I want to do is prevent the user from reading notecards on request, including on reception (that's the hard part), and I'm already able to prevent them from opening the inventory windows (which close when the prevention is activated).

With these 2 additional rules it will be possible to completely prevent communication. Emotes, on the other hand, are going to stay like they are, as they're supposed to show what people are doing, and not what they're saying. They're restrictive enough as they are (try to cheat with them, you'll see).