Monday, March 31, 2008

Openspace Survival Guide

The concierge team is still very swamped with Openspace orders, and the process for handling these orders is rather clunky and error-prone. Here are some tips for getting your tickets handled as quickly and problem-free as possible. I'm assuming that you already know what an Openspace sim is, and you're familiar with the changes in the program:

If you want your island to be placed near one of your existing islands, this is the most frustrating part of the process- for many reasons. First of all, even though you can't yet order Openspaces through the Land Store, you still have to use it to determine where it's safe to put your island. Unfortunately, the Land Store sucks in so many ways that I don't even want to get into it. I'll just tell you what you need to do:
  1. Go to the Land Store and click 'Manage Existing Reservations.' This should bring you to a list of islands that you've previously ordered from the Land Store. (If all your existing islands were bought from other residents, you probably won't see anything here, unfortunately...)
  2. Click the Location entry for one of your islands. This will center the map over the island you picked. Take note of the selected island's coordinates and look for any memorable 'landmarks' in the surrounding area that you can use to find your way back later on.
  3. Now click 'Return to the Land store' and wait a few seconds for all the reservations (the yellow blocks) to load.
  4. Before doing anything else, look for ANY blue (ocean) cell on the grid that isn't touching an existing reservation or island, and wait a few seconds to see whether you get the "This Space is Available" message. You may have to do this many times because the Land Store map is at least 9 months out-of-date, and many of the cells that look empty actually have islands on them now. (I own 12 islands now and only 3 show up on the Land Store map.)
  5. Take note of the coordinates in the "This Space is Available" message and use that as a guide to start navigating toward your desired location. Remember that the grid coordinates increase from Left-to-Right and from Down-to-Up (not Up-to-Down). If you've got really fast eyes, you can sometimes see the coordinates in reserved or already-built cells by watching the status bar at the bottom of your browser when you click on them. Otherwise clicking on those cells won't help, because the Land Store (infuriatingly) only reports coordinates for open cells.
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 as you make your way closer to your target coordinates, and keep an eye out for landmarks that might help you find your way. When you finally get to your desired location on the grid, center your map on your island and zoom in/out as needed.
  7. Once all the reservations are loaded, click around in the vicinity of your island(s) until you find an available space. You may be surprised at how many reservations are surrounding your islands today, and even more surprised that LL is still honoring them even though you'd think most would have expired by now if the reservation program were still active.
  8. Once you've found an available space, write the coordinates down. I also recommend that you pick 1 or 2 extra available coordinates to include in your order, because it takes so long for these things to process that someone else could claim your preferred space before the Lindens even look at your ticket.
You won't have the Land Store wizard to help you confirm the validity of your island name. If you pick an island name that's too long or is already taken, the Lindens will stop what they're doing and ask you to think up a new name, and this will delay the delivery of your island by 1 business day. Make sure that the island name you pick follows these guidelines:
  • No more than 3 words
  • A total of more than 3, but less than 20 characters, including the spaces
  • Only alphanumeric characters; no punctuation please
  • Not already in use
  • Do not use the names of real-world cities and towns
  • Cannot use "SL," "Second Life," "Linden Lab" or "LL" or other wording that could give the impression of direct association with Linden Lab
  • Must be PG
Note that I have noticed a number of brand new islands with names up to 24 characters in length. (The above requirements were quoted to me by Concierge staff.) I have requested clarification from Linden Lab about this, since I had to rename one of my own Openspace orders since the original name was 21 characters.

1. Go to and click 'Submit a Ticket.'
2. Once you're signed in to the support site, fill out your ticket with the following details:
3. SUMMARY: I gave mine descriptive names like: "Openspace order for (island name)"
4. TICKET TYPE: Land and Region Issues
5. REGION REQUEST: Openspace Order (this is new)
6. DETAILS: Be very clear and specific here, and be sure to specify all of the following:
  • ESTATE NAME. This can be one of your existing estates or a unique estate just for that island.
  • DESIRED GRID COORDINATES. I recommend either giving them a list of desired coordinates in order of preference, or giving them explicit instructions about what to do in case the coordinates you requested are taken by the time they get to your order. If you don't do this, they will stop and ask you where to put the island, delaying your order by one day.
  • DEFAULT TERRAIN TYPE (optional). You can request one of the default island shapes as specified in the Knowledge Base article, 'Default Private Region RAW Files.' If you don't specify an island type, your Openspace will be empty ocean with a flat seafloor. One of my new Openspaces was delivered as empty ocean, despite my request for an island shape. No biggie, as all the RAWs are available for download anyway.
It's been taking around 10-11 business days (up to 15 real days) to process island orders lately, assuming you don't make any mistakes in your order ticket. Resist the temptation to submit more tickets inquiring about status, because the time a Linden spends handling those tickets is time they could have spent setting up your islands.

Ignore the ticket status field in your support queue. Lately, peoples' tickets have been showing up as "New" until the day the island is delivered. Also, you won't be charged until the island is delivered either, so don't consider your USD balance an indication of progress either.

I also think it's wise that you keep an eye on your USD balance. I pay for new islands out of my in-world earnings, so I like to make sure that I've got enough USD there to cover both the island orders and my tier for all my existing islands. If your USD funds get drained away on existing tier while you're waiting for the order to be filled, the Lindens will have to submit a manual charge for the remaining balance of the island order fee, and you really don't want your credit card company to pick that day to deny your charge from this shady Linden Lab outfit. I have friends who have been long-standing LL customers for months/years and their credit card companies just arbitrarily decided to deny a SL-related charge out-of-the-blue. This is just one more headache you should try to avoid.

And remember, like all islands, the tier you pay on your Openspace will be monthly, on the date specified in your "Final Resolution" email that you get when your island is delivered.

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