Resources

hippoRENT - Vendor Guide


The hippoRENT vendor units provide an easy way for you to advertise your rentals to potential customers. They talk to your rental boxes, live, via the server so they always display accurate price and prim information. You can also opt to have them flick automatically through your rentals, slideshow style, if they’re left inactive. Furthermore, tenants can also rent directly from a vendor if you wish, the vendor informing the rental box of a payment once it’s been made. Potental tenants can also click on the "Show on Map" button on a vendor to see a property on the map and, if they wish, easily teleport there. In short, they are a powerful sales and promotion tool.

Please note that the vendor is fully modable, but be careful unlinking things, as you may break it. Stick to texturing and resizing it, unless you know what you are doing!

This guide describes three things:

1. Every possible option you can specify in the configuration notecard
2. All the menu commands provided by the vendor
3. The voice commands that vendors understand

Please note that this guide does not cover the web-enabled hippoRENT vendors; for information on those, see the ‘Using the Web Plugin System’ document.

1. Configuring a Vendor using the Configuration Notecard

The configuration notecard resides in the vendor and allows you to control several options. When you’ve made changes to your notecard, you must tell the vendor to reload it. Do this by clicking the vendor and choose “Reset” from the menu that appears. If you’ve typed any wrong commands, errors will be reported as the notecard is loaded.

Each command the notecard can use is listed below. Commands can be inserted anywhere in the notecard, the order is not important — just ensure you only include one command per line. You can also // to prefix comments, e.g.

// I must remember to delete this later.

Comments must also go on their own line, they cannot share a line with a command.

Advanced users may also want to use another clever ability of the vendor — it can be instructed to load a configuration notecard from the server. Why might this be useful? Because it allows you to have one notecard control multiple vendors: for example if you have a dozen vendors, all set up the same way, you can avoid having to change twelve notecards whenever you decide, for example, to change the display text colour. For details of how remote notecards work, see section 4 of the ‘Server & Router Guide’ document.

Here is each command you can use:


  • NAME: <text>
    e.g. NAME: Little Sales Unit

    The name of the vendor appears in lists accessible from the server and in messages to you from the vendor.

    For Advanced Users: If you wish to simply have the vendor use the name of the vendor object you’ve rezzed, use NAME: <object> (include the < and >). Each time you rename the vendor object, you can now simply click it to have it’s virtual name, as it were, update accordingly. Just be careful you don’t end up with your server listing dozens of identically named vendors, which can cause confusion!

  • HOVERTEXT COLOUR: <colour>
    e.g. HOVERTEXT COLOUR: red

    Sets the colour to use for hovertext; the vendor knows the colour names red, green, yellow, blue, pink, black, white.

    For Advanced Users: You can also use a colour vector instead, e.g. HOVERTEXT COLOUR: <0.4, 0.3, 0.2>. To read about how colour vectors work in Second Life, see e.g http://rpgstats.com/wiki/index.php?title=Color or search at forums.secondlife.com for advice.

  • SERVER KEY: <key>
    e.g. SERVER KEY: c0f06c89-71c2-7537-a4e3-495c3cc0b336

    Insert the key of your server here so that the vendor box can talk to it. (You can get it by clicking your server and choosing "Server Key".) Please note that without a valid server key, the vendor will not function.

  • PASSWORD: <text>
    e.g. PASSWORD: lemmingsurprise

    Provide a password to protect network traffic between boxes, servers and vendors. Without a password, a clever hacker could theoretically interfere with your network. With a password in place, communication is 100% secure. Make sure that you set the same password in each rental box, server and vendor otherwise communication will fail and you’ll get an error message. (And passwords are case sensitive, so ’secret’ is not the same as ’SECRET’.)

  • CAN RENT FROM HERE: <Yes/No>
    e.g. CAN RENT FROM HERE: Yes

    Specifies whether a customer may rent a property by paying the vendor.

    Technical Note: When a vendor is paid, it talks to the rental box concerned to check it’s available, so you won’t run the risk of double bookings etc.

  • CAN RENT MESSAGE: <text>
    e.g. CAN RENT MESSAGE: You may rent directly from here by paying the vendor

    The hovertext message that appears above the vendor to tell a potential customer that your vendor is willing to accept payments.

  • HOVERTEXT: On/Off/Auto
    e.g. HOVERTEXT: On

    Controls whether the vendor’s hovertext is on all the time, off all the time, or runs in auto-mode (it will appear when the vendor or a navigation arrow is clicked, then disappear after 12 seconds of inactivity).

  • HOVERTEXT CAN RENT MESSAGE: <yes/no>
    e.g. HOVERTEXT CAN RENT MESSAGE: Yes

    Inform the vendor whether or not to display the "able to rent" message (see above).

  • HOVERTEXT LOCATION: <yes/no>
    e.g. HOVERTEXT LOCATION: Yes
    - Specify whether or not to include the location of the property in the hovertext that floats above the vendor.

  • HOVERTEXT PRICE: <yes/no>
    e.g. HOVERTEXT PRICE: Yes

    Tells the vendor whether or not to include the rental price of the property in the hovertext that floats above the vendor.

  • HOVERTEXT PRIMS: <yes/no>
    e.g. HOVERTEXT PRIMS: Yes

    Tells the vendor whether or not to include the prims available at a rental property in the hovertext that floats above the vendor.

  • SHOW RENTED: <Yes/No>
    e.g. SHOW RENTED: Yes

    Specify whether the vendor shows property that is currently rented. (If so, it will be tagged [Unavailable]). If you choose "No" then only vacant properties will be shown.

    Technical note: The vendor refreshes itself, live, from the server. So the moment a box is rented, it will be removed from display on any vendors set not to show rented properties.

    For Advanced Users: As well as "Yes" and "No" you may also use SHOW RENTED: Only. This does precisely what it suggests, namely tells the vendor to show *only* rented properties. It may be useful to have such a vendor for your own use, or to promote how well your island is selling, or to act a teleport hub for all the businesses in your mall etc.

  • AUTOHIDE MAP BUTTON: Yes/No
    e.g. AUTOHIDE MAP BUTTON: Yes
    - If you turn this option on, the "Show on Map" button on the front of the vendor will hide itself and become inactivate if the property being viewed is unavailable (e.g. rented/reserved/locked).

  • SLIDESHOW MODE: <Yes/No>
    e.g. SLIDESHOW MODE: Yes

    Specify if you wish the vendor to run in "slideshow" mode when not touched for a while, cycling between rental properties.

  • SLIDESHOW START AFTER: <seconds>
    e.g. SLIDESHOW START AFTER: 60

    Specify how many seconds of inactivity must pass before the slideshow starts.

  • SLIDESHOW DELAY: <seconds>
    e.g. SLIDESHOW DELAY: 15

    The number of seconds delay between each property "slide" when the vendor is running a slideshow.

  • OTHER MANAGERS: <names>
    e.g. OTHER MANAGERS: Kermit Frog, Miss Piggy, Pathfinder Linden

    If you’d like other managers to be able to use the menu and voice commands, list each name here, separated by a comma. Please note that if you wish your managers to be able to edit the configuration notecard, then this requires you you to edit Second Life settings (e.g. modification rights). However, to *reload* a configuration notecard, a manager needs to be included here so that they can reset the vendor and reload the card.

  • SDK CHANNEL: <channel>
    e.g. SDK CHANNEL: 123456789

    For advanced users only! If you wish to make Software Development Kit functions available (contact Hippo Technologies for information on how to write scripts that can hook into rental boxes, servers and vendors), then set the communication channel for commands here. If that last sentence sounded like meaningless gobbledegook, then don’t worry and leave all well alone.

  • FILTER: <text>
    e.g. FILTER: ambleside

    If you wish the vendor to only display certain properties, then you can specify the text that rentals must include in their name or location in order to appear in the vendor. In the example above, only properties in the Ambleside sim, or with "Ambleside" in their name, would appear; anything else would be ignored by the vendor. Note: filter text is not case sensitive, so ’ambleside’ is considered the same as ’Ambleside’.

DISABLE REGION SAY: <Yes/No>
e.g. DISABLE REGION SAY: Yes
- Rental boxes, vendors and servers in the same region will communicate by chat (well, llRegionSay() to be precise) as well as email, making communication more effective when Second Life is being slow and sticky (which never happens, huh?) There is a very, very small performance hit for this, as devices need to maintain a listener. If you don't wish to take advantage of this and would prefer to kill the listener script, use DISABLE REGION SAY: Yes to turn it off.


REPORT INVALID EMAIL DETAIL: <Yes/No> (v5 and above only)
e.g. REPORT INVALID EMAIL DETAIL: Yes
- Turn this on and the details of any object (e.g. server, box) that tries to email your vendor and which has the wrong password set in its Configuration Notecard will have details reported on it to you; e.g. "hippoRENT Vendor: @ Hippo Technologies (186, 128, 500) reports: email received with a password that does not match mine ('mypassword') ... Object-Name: hippoRENT Rental Box w/plugin; Object-Location: Pax Hipponia (23, 42, 31)".
See here for more details.


REFUND IF NO CONFIRMATION FROM RENTAL BOX: <Yes/No> (v5 and above only)
e.g. REFUND IF NO CONFIRMATION FROM RENTAL BOX: Yes
- When a tenant pays a vendor it will email the rental box and tell it to start the tenancy. If the box does not respond in 90 seconds or so, the vendor will assume that Second Life has gone awry and the box never received the request. If you set REFUND IF NO CONFIRMATION FROM RENTAL BOX: Yes (the default), the tenant will be refunded. However, if you’re on a sim with very bad email performance (e.g. an OpenSpace sim), you may want instead to use REFUND IF NO CONFIRMATION FROM RENTAL BOX: No ... to avoid the situation whereby the box did receive the vendor’s email and start the tenancy, but the confirmatory email back to the vendor never arrived. (In this scenario, the tenancy would start but the tenant would still get their money refunded!)


Finally, those of you using the rental system to manage land and tier, can change the language that the vendor uses so it’s more appropriate to tier payments and estate management. The default vendor configuration notecard has this command:

TERMINOLOGY: Landlord, Tenant, Rent, Rental, Plot, Rental box

This determines the language used in menus and messages. If you were managing an estate and people were paying for land/tier, you might use something lke this instead:

e.g. TERMINOLOGY: Estate Owner, Land Owner, Tier, Contract, Land parcel, Tier management box

As you can see, each word/phrase should start with a capital letter. The terminology you choose gets used for the majority of messages and menus throughout, allowing you to more easily customise a hippoVEND vendor to what it is you’re renting/leasing/hiring/collecting money for.


A final note for advanced users: There is one final notecard command, LOAD REMOTE: <name> {FROM <vendor key>} which allows you to load a configuration notecard remotely. How this works is detailed in the ‘Server & Router Guide’ notes.


2. Menu Commands

RESET
Resets the vendor and reloads the configuration notecard. Use this after changing configuration options.
* For Advanced Users: this option performs a “soft” reset, because a full blown script reset would need to ask for debit permissions again and would prevent managers reloading configuration notecards. If you wish to perform a “hard” reset for any reason, use the voice command described below.

STATUS
Reports the status of the vendor, its various settings, how many people have rented from it or looked up property’s on the map using it.

LIST
Lists each known rental box along with some basic details about it.

NOTECARD
Gives you a copy of the notecard from the rental box currently shown on the vendor and asks the box to report its status. This is a good way to test communications are working.
* For Advanced Users: A vendor can give out an information card to anybody who clicks it when it has no properties to show (e.g. when everything is rented). Just add any notecard to the vendor’s inventory ... it will give out the first notecard alphabetically it finds there (but not the configuration notecard or user guide of course, we thought of that!)

UPDATE
Forces the vendor to contact the server for an up to date list of properties. Normally this should not be needed since the server “pushes” data to each vendor as it comes in. But in the event of any problems, this command will force an update. Note that the vendor runs this command itself automatically once per day.

VOICE CMD
Listen for a voice command (see below). The vendor will stop listening after 60 seconds (or when it hears a command), in order to reduce lag.

OPTIONS
Allows you to change several options:

  • SLIDESHOW - turn slideshow mode on or off and change delay and startup times.
  • TEXT COLOUR - change the colour of the vendor’s hovertext.
  • PAYMENT - turn the facility to allow a customer to pay at the vendor on or off.
  • RENTED - choose to either show or hide properties that are rented.

HELP
Shows the first of the information notecards and offers to connect you to the Hippo Technologies web site (www.hippo-technologies.co.uk) where there are a growing collection of other help resources.


3. Voice Commands

To issue a voice command, click the vendor and choose "Voice Cmd". To begin with, you can then type any configuration notecard command:

e.g. HOVERTEXT COLOUR: blue

If all is well, the vendor will respond with the message "Ok."

Please note that resetting the vendor and reloading its configuration notecard will overwrite any configuration settings you have put in by voice command: so settings you wish to hold permanently (especially server keys or passwords) are best kept up to date in the configuration notecard itself.

There are also a few other commands you can type. Voice commands are not case sensitive, so ‘Server Key’ and ‘SERVER KEY’ will work equally well.

SERVER KEY
Reports the server key currently known by the vendor. Useful if you’re error checking network problems.

VENDOR KEY
Displays the key of the vendor itself.

VERSION
Reports the current version of the vendor software you are using.

RESET
Resets the vendor and reloads its configuration notecard. (Any options you have set using chat commands will get overwritten).

HARD RESET
Performs a system level reset of the vendor and its scripts. Only the owner can issue this command as it will require granting debit permissions again. It will also reset the count of how many people have rented property via this vendor and how many have looked up properties on the map using it.

GIVE <part of notecard or picture name>
e.g. GIVE config to get a copy of the vendor’s configuration notecard
If you wish to examine some of the contents of the vendor, this is a quicker way to do it than editing it and examining things via the contents tab (although you can’t make and save changes this way). You can also use GIVE NOTECARDS or GIVE PICTURES to see a copy of every notecard or every picture in the vendor.



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