Today I'm releasing our long anticipated N° 9 collar feature set.
I've been working on this with my friend Garvin Twine full time since December 2019, only to be briefly interrupted while I was ill during 2020. It is very difficult for me to communicate this in a way you would expect from a product release post. I keep tearing up while writing, so I will try to keep it sane, and, should I find the will and the strength to do so, maybe add some words to the post at a later point.
What is N° 9?
N° 9 is everything you would expect a classic "SL collar" to be and more. It is an intricate and complex trinket forged from brilliance and emotion. Imagine it like a wizard and sorceress having a baby who can benefit of both INT and CHA modifiers. (That makes sense, right?)
If you don't know me, or wonder why your collar pointed you to my blog, all that's relevant about me is that once upon a time I maintained an open source collar project over the course of some eight years, and that I invented many of the features you might know in SL collars.
I enjoyed working on my previous open source project tremendously, it was really nice, and the truth is that I would have loved to do this much longer. I liked the learning part, the sharing part, the snotty attitude I was allowed to have when people complained, because after all everything my friends and I ever made was never for money, and always for love.
Always for love
But then there were issues with security and moderation at our home, at our mighty "temple of the collar". We needed better controls over our land so we could protect ourselves, needed to leave the Second Life mainland, and set out for a new home on an island.
I got others involved who did good work, and tried to compensate them beyond my means, taking a heavy toll in the process.
When the bills became more, the love became less, and expectations and pressure became higher. With earning more money came jealousy, and with jealousy came hate, and while I had this fixated idea in my head that I would be able to mend all these broken hearts by improving our beautiful collar trinket for everyone equally, I was never fully able to bring back the love people once had for one another.
So much anger on Second Life. We pass our time distracted and distant from each other, when all everyone ever needed was to be loved.
Well, regardless of who you are, and how you feel about me. Where you are, and how old you are, if you came to this world as a boy, as a girl, or if you changed your mind about all that along the way. I do love you, and I will try with the best of my ability to bring you some joy.
I couldn't have done this difficult and emotionally laden task on my own, and needed someone in particular for this grueling quest.
His name was Otto
Few people know that Otto aka Garvin Twine, was already around long before Wendy Starfall was born. A ruffian, and an engineer, one who was as proud and rude, as he was brilliant. When you see a leash coming from a collar, that's one of the things he created. No, he didn't invent leashes, or "chain particles", but he built the most widely used open source program that is powering them on everyone's neck, and not only that, he has woven the proto-fabric of the collar that became the base for so many things, including my beautiful N° 9.
For me to be able healing any and every open source collar that was ever created, I needed Otto's help to repair their many broken hearts.
The things I asked of him were borderline impossible. I have asked this man to do tasks, and solve problems, that would have made most engineers just shake their heads and leave the room. We worked so hard on this, we cried, we laughed, screamed at each other in voice calls, and then hugged it out, and everything we ever said that was impossible, Otto managed to solve in the end after all.
What a guy. And what a good friend you always were to me.
Where is my mind?
One of the most broken things in the collar, was its ability to think and communicate its thoughts across its many, many little programs.
The collar on the inside was much like an après ski party. Everything was crammed into a tight and noisy space, where everyone was severely drunk, and hopelessly horny, while trying to solve complex equations that would really require everyone to remain fully focused.
All of the open source collars have this problem with their minds, even peanut collar, which at least managed to shout what it had to say in the right direction, was never fully fixed, just "made to work". In the N° 9 it's all repaired, and you will quickly see that when you put it on.
N° 9 is swift thinking, even in complex tasks. Every operation, button-press, menu, is happening as precise and fast as it could ever be.
It has custom dialog logic for each of its many features, every little program uses its logic and memory precisely and efficiently. It is self sanitizing like an engine that keeps itself clean. N° 9 doesn't lag at all. Its heartbeat is as strong as the CPU of the server it is running on.
I made it for you
This powerful open source heart is driving all the features that everyone loves. I chose the feature set based on what all of you told me that you needed and wanted. Based on what you told me that you loved. The things you had troubles with, I fixed and improved, and the things you didn't want me to mess with, I kept as they were on the outside, and improved them on the inside instead.
The N° 9 has a much more user friendly #RLV folders and outfits system. Finally you can have your own categories again, and organize things the way you want. It has a strip feature that works entirely without any metadata or requiring extra scripts inside of clothing items.
N° 9 collars have the ability to produce cute heart sprites, now called "Little Hearts" instead "Herzchen", because the idea originally came from littlemousy who helped me with my collars a long time ago. N° 9 can also replace the chain leash with such sprites, and create a "Magic Leash", and if you did love the chain after all, I have made a new one that tints really well, so you can have it in the color you like.
There is a new built-in RLV relay and interface protocol (that allow other items to communicate with the collar) with substantially improved security compared to other open source collars. The relay can now safely "disconnect", and it filters malicious requests smartly.
Safewording is more realistic, helping you to start communicating when things got a bit too much. You need to try this out and see. When you need to safeword, instead of everything getting abruptly lifted and released, your dominant is informed, and gets a chance to react.
You can have fun with cute features, such as a renamer, or chat rules for addressing your dominant, there are quality of life improvements, such as a tracker that will send an email to your dominant when you come online. Something so simple to think of it, but so useful if you know what it is like when waiting for your online crush while logged in for hours just to see when they are finally here...
Setting force teleport rights is now as simple as checking a box. Features and access rights are properly displayed and explained in menus. You no longer have to rely on chat commands to find your way around, and you get a cute Fire Flower sticker for quick access.
This isn't a sales pitch
I just want that you like it.
The update is free until May Day this year, and when you are reading this early, you might even get to watch me standing at the Temple of the Collar, while I'm still installing it on some of the free collar classics, which I planned to do right after writing this post.
It's almost comical to watch this unfold, with everyone singing into my ears to stop giving everything away, stop harming myself by doing this, but honestly? I'm not doing this to harm myself, I share free things because I want to bring you some joy, hopefully to make you less angry, make you feel accepted in our community, and maybe even happy, although I know all to well myself how hard "happy" can be.
Nevertheless, I have to at least try to create some money to continue supporting the land, to be able rewarding my colleagues, and after working on this thing full-time all over again since well over a year, receiving some compensation for my effort and time would be nice.
That said there are ways to support me if you want to. I've been trying my best to come up with meaningful ways to acquire the N° 9.
The first and most obvious way would be to pick up one of the free collars, or one of the collars from my personal store. When I'm done writing, I will upgrade them all one by one. As I said if you are reading this early you can still watch me doing that. All of my collars for sale will ship with premium features pre-installed and unlocked.
The second way would be to pick up either the free updater, which will let you upgrade many of the collars you already have, or the full version bundle, which also includes a nice unisex collar with little hearts, magic leash, and tracker already unlocked. These packages also include a new, little sticker "HUD", that acts as a quick access button for your collar menu, and as a bridge for backward compatibility.
If you want all of the features you can get, you can pick up the premium package, which includes a more powerful installer that will install and unlock the complete feature set on your collar, instead of just updating only what was already in there. These features are Heartcore, Little Hearts, Magic Leash, Tracker, Sobriquet (renamer), and Chatiquette (chat censoring). There is a also a beautiful Turian 24/7 lifestyle collar included with the premium installer, which has all of these feature already pre-installed.
Depending on what you need/want, there should be something nice for you, even if you are just horny and broke. ♥
How updating works
Install all of the apps and plugins that you already have, and want to keep on your old collar first, stuff like Herzchen, Sobriquet, Heartcore, and such, and then run the updater. Yes, even the free updater will upgrade all of these features with brand new code, but keep in mind that if you don't own any of these features yet, and want to install them on a new collar, then you will need the premium package.
That was the best compromise I could find. You can keep, and get updated what you already have for free, and if you want to have something completely new, you can buy a premium installer, or one of my own collars.
If you don't know whether the updater works on the collar you want to upgrade or not, just ask a friend, or grab the free update and try it first. On the spec-sheet you would be able to update every OC collar ranging from versions 3 to 6, every VD collar, and every peanut collar.
Thank you angel, serpent, cat, soldier, robot, rabbit, dog...
After everything that happened, the open source cataclysm, the drama, the personal stuff I went through, this long term and emotionally laden project would have been impossible to finish without you: I would never have been able to finish this if I haven't had my friends.
Cae has been such an important friend. Meeting her bounced me back to earthen ground, and talking to her was like medicine. The time we spent at the end of 2019 and early 2020, made me decide to quit drinking. I've been sober for 1 year and 14 days today. Thank you.
My friend Grey Mars is a gifted artist, and he meshed all these beautiful collars for me. Every time when I needed something he would drop whatever he did, and helped me, and I cannot even begin to express how grateful I am for that. It's not that you made something for me that I can use in my project, it's that you were always there for me my friend. Thank you.
George the cat is my one friend who reminds me to be mindful and calm, and take care of myself, in a way that I actually take it seriously. Talking to you always helps me to have a less dramatic and calmer perspective on literally everything. Thank you.
Brutus. Oh, how I love you. Our love is so great, I may only be able to express it to you with this video because words cannot. Thank you.
Thanks to Hyperdyne Systems I also had Ash. Ash for the beautiful motions, and for the music we don't dance to. Thank you.
The most unexpected help came from Rory and Luna, who always seemed to magically appear before I completely gave up hope to ever finish (or when Otto and I had wizard vs. sorceress battles of epic proportions, and were in process of destroying each other). You wouldn't believe how emotionally taxing software development can be. Having an empath like Rory lend one of his bunny ears, and a loyal puppy like Luna licking my fingertips when they were sore from all the rage typing, made me feel privileged, and cared for. Thank you.
There are others I want to thank, most importantly Eva and Ami, even if we didn't talk a lot when I was always busy, you had my back when I needed you. Finally there are all those of you who supported me with donations so we could safe our sim last year. Thank you.
My cycle ends here, and you won't see me online much anymore. I want to support my friends in getting familiar with all the things that I didn't end up releasing, so they can turn them into products if they want to continue financing and running the social part of the project, the Temple of the Collar, and manage the Discord server.
There is still some documentation to be written for the N° 9. It is only partially complete right now, and there will be a FAQ based on the questions you all have. All of the free offers will be at least available until May Day. I'm hoping to release one more collar that day, one last time, as I was traditionally giving away a slave collar for international workers' day every year.