Resources

The Complete Guide to hippoVEND


Contents of this document

1 Servers
1.1 Configuring a Server
1.2 Managing Inventory
1.3 Menu Commands
1.4 Advanced Server Configuration Commands
2 Vendors
2.1 Vendor Types
2.2 Configuring a Vendor
2.3 Menu Commands
2.4 Other Vendor Tips and Tricks
3 The hippoVEND Website
3.1 Registering an Account
3.2 Logging into hippoVEND
3.3 Servers & Inventory Page
3.4 Products & Ranges Page
3.5 Vendors Page
3.6 Sales Log
3.7 Groups
3.8 Currency and Account Settings
3.9 Preferences

1. Servers

1.1 Configuring a Server

  • To begin configuring a server, simply rez it inworld.

  • Each server needs a unique name; we use these, rather than Second Life keys (which many inferior vending systems use, but which can change if Second Life crashes or you take a server back into inventory), to uniquely identify each server. To set your server's name, edit the '_config' notecard that lives inside it. (Note, if you change the name of an existing server, make sure you update your vendors to reflect this ... see below).

  • Each server can hold hundreds of items. Should you need to, you can rez up to 20 servers.

  • The '_config' notecard also records the server's password. Change this to something unique and ideally random; this protects communications between your vendors and server.

  • Other commands the "_config" card can contain are as follows:

    • SHOW NAME: Yes ... or SHOW NAME: No
      - Determines whether the server name is displayed above it.

    • SHOW STATUS: Yes ... or SHOW STATUS: No
      - Determines whether the server's status (Online or Offline) is shown above it.

    • HOVERTEXT COLOUR: <vector colour>
      - Specifies what colour to use for the hovertext above the server. The colour names known are black, white, red, green, yellow, blue and pink. You may also use a vector if you're clever and know how to do that; e.g. HOVERTEXT COLOUR: <0.5, 0.4, 0.3>.

    • VERBOSE: Yes ... or VERBOSE: No
      - Sets whether the server talks through the inventory list as it uploads it to the website.

      There are also some advanced commands; see section 1.4 below for what these do. As a general rule of thumb: if you're not sure what a setting in the "_config" card does, just let it be. The server ships with all the default settings tuned to what the typical user will need at first.

  • After editing and saving the "_config" card, you can ...

    • Click the server and choose "Reset" to apply your changes.

      Then ...

    • Click the server and choose "Go Online" to set it online, ready to load inventory and serve products to customers.

      And then ...

    • Add inventory (see 1.2 below) and load it (see 1.3 below).


1.2 Managing Inventory

  • Every object you wish to sell, information notecard and picture (texture) must be added to the server's inventory. Do this by editing the server, opening its contents tab, and dragging items in; or simply hold down CTRL while dragging them from your inventory to the server itself.

  • Your server can distribute two kinds of item: those for which you have full permissions (e.g. those you've made), or items which you have transfer but not copy rights for (e.g. perhaps you buy a product in bulk from the supplier and resell it at a profit -- what we call "Limited Edition" products; more on these below.) Please note that you need full permissions on any product pictures that you wish to use, or your vendors won't be able to display them properly.

    TIP -> Permissions for the *next* owner can, of course, be whatever you choose. It's up to you whether your customers end up with full permissions, copy only, no copy but transfer etc. Just be sure to check carefully what permissions you've set; mistakes are common and can be very annoying.

  • Each item in your server should have a *unique* name (so don't call an object "Ticking Grandfather Clock" and a texture "ticking grandfather clock" --- in other words, the database of objects we use isn't case sensitive).

  • A product can be held on one or more backup servers if you wish; if a sim goes down, this means a customer would still get their inventory delivered in good time. To run a backup server, simply rez a new server, give it a different name, and add copies of the same inventory items you put on the first server. (Or just take a copy of the first server and re-rez it, remembering to change its name in the '_config' card before you register it).

  • To upload items from the server to the website ready for configuring, click your server, make sure its online, then choose "Load Inv" from the server menu.


1.3 Menu Commands

The server has the following menu commands available when you click it.

These commands are available when the server is offline:

  • "RESET" - reset the server and reloads its '_config' notecard.

  • "GO ONLINE" - register the server with the website and set it online, ready to sell products.

  • "HELP" - gives out the first information notecard.

  • "WEBSITE" - directs your web browser to the Hippo Technologies website to configure products and manage your network.

  • "UNREGISTER" - takes the server offline and removes it from the list on the website.

  • "TOOLS" - opens a sub-menu allowing you to copy inventory from this server to another nearby, or to check the queue of pending deliveries to see if there is anything the server can deliver instantly.

Once the server is online, you can also use:

  • LOAD INV - to upload the list of inventory items in the server to the website. Only objects, notecards and textures (pictures) for which you have full permissions are uploaded.

Finally, you can copy inventory easily from one server to another, should you need to, by means of the 'Tools' menu:

  • Click Tools -> Copy Inv on the server you wish to send inventory from.

  • Then click Tools-> Rec Inv on the server you wish to receive the inventory.



1.4 Advanced Server Configuration Commands

One of our philosophies is always to put as much control into the hands of our users, rather than hard-wire settings into things. So the hippoVEND server has some “advanced” options in its notecard that you can play with. Most users can safely leave these set to the default and skip this section!

BACKUP TIME DELAY: <time in seconds>
e.g. BACKUP TIME DELAY: 120
When a vendor is paid (or clicked for a notecard), it will email the “main” server associated with that inventory item and post a request for it into the main delivery queue (held in an offworld database). It will also email any backup servers and ask them to check that queue in the time you specify here.
DISABLE BACKUPS: <Yes/No>
e.g. DISABLE BACKUPS: No
If you wish, you can disable backup servers carrying out what has just been described above. (All servers, irrespective of the above setting), check the queue every 20-30 minutes.
DIAGNOSTICS: <Off/Whisper/OwnerSay/IM>
e.g. DIAGNOSTICS: Off
You can instruct the server to output diagnostic data when it makes a delivery, or gets a request so-to-do, with this setting.
REGION COMMS: <Yes/No>
e.g. REGION COMMS: Yes
Should a server respond to delivery requests sent by chat from vendors in the region? (We recommend this is left to “Yes”, turning it to “No” simply saves the server having to keep an open listener).
WAIT FOR WEB CHATBACK: <Yes/No>
e.g. WAIT FOR WEB CHATBACK: Yes
If set to “Yes”, a server will not make a delivery until the web delivery queue has actually confirmed it has acknowledged this and removed the delivery from the queue; it can help prevent a dual-delivery if SL is being very, very, very slow. (If this all sounds a bit technical, ignore it and leave the setting to the default). That goes for all of these advanced settings!
ALLOW VENDOR COMMS VIA HTTP SERVER: <Yes/No>
e.g. ALLOW VENDOR COMMS VIA HTTP SERVER: Yes

(Version 2.71 servers and higher only)

If set to Yes, then vendors (2.7 or higher) can use the newer http_server() Second Life technology to contact this server when a purchase is made. Because some sims occasionally seem to have problems with this technology, there is an option to turn it off (in which case, vendors will use email as normal).
The next three advanced commands allow you to have the server IM and/or email you when it makes a delivery ...
IM ON DELIVERY: <Yes/No>
e.g. IM ON DELIVERY: No
If set to "Yes", you'll get a basic instant message when the server makes a delivery. Usually you'll only get the product delivered and the key of the recipient. Please note that product information notecards do not count as "deliveries", so you won't be notified of those being sent.
EMAIL ON DELIVERY: <Yes/No>
e.g. EMAIL ON DELIVERY: No
If set to "Yes", an email will be sent when the server makes a delivery.
EMAIL ADDRESS: <address>
e.g. EMAIL ADDRESS: homer@theiliad.com
Provides the email address that emails will be sent to.
These next four commands are used if you're using the server to sell "limited edition" items, e.g. those you have transfer but not copy rights for. For more information on how this process works, please see this document ... for now, we'll just briefly describe what commands are available.
LIMITED EDITION ITEMS: <Yes/No>
e.g. LIMITED EDITION ITEMS: Yes
Specifies whether the server is set to handle limited edition items. If "no", it will ignore items you don't have copy rights on when loading inventory.
IM OWNER WHEN STOCK DROPS BELOW: <number>
e.g. IM OWNER WHEN STOCK DROPS BELOW: 4
When stocks of a limited edition item fall below the value you set here, the server will send you an instant message.
EMAIL OWNER WHEN STOCK DROPS BELOW: <number>
e.g. EMAIL OWNER WHEN STOCK DROPS BELOW: 4
When stocks of a limited edition item fall below the value you set here, the server will email the address specified in the EMAIL ADDRESS setting.
LIMITED EDITION POSSIBLE SEPARATOR CHARACTERS:<character list>
e.g. LIMITED EDITION POSSIBLE SEPARATOR CHARACTERS: _
Very advanced setting that determines what characters can come between a limited edition inventory item and its number. (See this website article for more info).
These next two settings control aspects of holovending and demo handling ...
UPLOAD DEMOS AND MODELS: <Yes/No>
e.g. UPLOAD DEMOS AND MODELS: No
By default, the server will not upload inventory whose name ends in "_model" or "_demo", as it will assume those are holovendor models or demonstration items. If you wish for some reason to load the details of such items to the website, turn this setting to "Yes".
PREVIEW ANIMATION LENGTH: <time in seconds>
e.g. PREVIEW ANIMATION LENGTH: 25
If the server is offering preview animations to customers, this settings determines how long each will run for. A server can only preview an animation to one person at a time, so if another vendor makes a demand for a preview whilst one is already running, the first animation will stop.
And finally, these last five settings control how ANS (Automated Notification System) works on your server. For details of what ANS is, how it works and why you might use it if you're an advanced user, have a look at this document.
USE ANS: <Yes/No>
e.g. USE ANS: No

Tells the server whether or to run with ANS enabled.

ANS EMAIL: <email address>
e.g. ANS EMAIL: usefuldata@mycorp.net

Provides the email address if you want ANS data emailed
ANS URL: <web address>
eg. ANS URL: http://www.bigscarycorp.org.uk/dataprocessor.php
Provides the web address to send ANS data to if sending via http.
ANS SECURITY CODE: <passphrase>
e.g. ANS SECURITY CODE: topsecret123
A security code you can use to verify that ANS data you receive is genuine.
ANS VERIFICATION: <Yes/No>
e.g. ANS VERIFICATION: No
If set to "Yes" and using http, the ANS processor in your server will hold onto data until your website acknowledges it has been received (the server has a limited memory, so only a few transactions will be queued, but it can still be useful).



2. Vendors

2.1 Vendor Types

Your hippoVEND system comes with eleven different types of vendors (eight normal vendors and three "Catalogue" vendor types (described in a separate notecard)). Each is identified with a name and a type code to help you find the one you need (you'll normally find they're named according to the number of sub or main panels; the -F suffix indicates they have a "Buy for a Friend" button on them). Each vendor can hold up to 100 items (it is possible, if using version 2.5 or higher, to increase this limit by contacting us for some additional database scripts to add to your vendors). You can carefully control which products a vendor shows by using product ranges, tags and categories on the website. More on this below.

Regular Vendors ...

  • Type "1P"
    A single panel vendor (7 prims); this displays one product at a time, with arrows to allow users to flip between different products.

  • Type "1P-F"
    - An 8 prim version of the above with a "buy as a gift button" allowing a customer to buy a product for a friend. They do this by *first* clicking the "buy as gift" button, entering the name of the friend, then making their purchase.

  • Type "4P"
    - A multi-panel vendor (15 prims); this displays up to four products at once in the little side panels. By clicking on a side panel, the customer can view the item on the large central panel, get the information notecard, purchase the product etc.

  • Type "4P-F"
    - A 16 prim version of the above with a "buy as a gift button" allowing a customer to buy a product for a friend.

  • Type "6P"
    - A multi-panel vendor (15 prims); this displays up to six products at once.

  • Type "6P-F"
    - A 16 prim version of the above with a "buy as a gift button" allowing a customer to buy a product for a friend.

  • Type "Single Item"
    - A single-item vendor (1 prim), designed for showing and selling just one item. (If you download more than one item to it, it will simply show the first one and ignore the others).

  • Type “Single Item, Single Script”
    - An ultra low lag vendor that shows one product and runs on just one script. It has a few limitations: (a) it can’t perform advanced vendor functions (e.g. holovending, handling demos, accepting gift vouchers etc.); (b) it can’t work with backup servers, so if email fails between the vendor and server there will be a 15 minute delivery delay; (c) not every configuration option is implemented (e.g. profit sharing); (d) the vendor will pause for a few seconds after delivering notecards or products (an SL limit). But for selling lots of items in a straightforward store location, it can significantly help to relieve script load on a sim, especially if you’re using tens or hundreds of vendors in one sim.

Catalogue Vendors (for distribution; note the 1.5% commission on catalogue sales --- see the separate notecard about them) ...

  • * Type "Catalogue Vendor- P"
    - A single panel "Catalogue" vendor. Read the separate notecard on what Catalogue Vendors are and how they work.

  • * Type "Catalogue Vendor 4P"
    - A four-side-panel "Catalogue" vendor. Read the separate notecard on what Catalogue Vendors are and how they work.

  • * Type "Catalogue Vendor 6P"
    - A four-side-panel "Catalogue" vendor. Read the separate notecard on what Catalogue Vendors are and how they work.

  • * Type "Catalogue Vendor Single Item"
    - A single-item vendor (1 prim), designed for showing and selling just one item. Read the separate notecard on what Catalogue Vendors are and how they work.

Each vendor can hold a maximum of 100 items (although the "Single Item" type will only show the first product in its database). You can carefully control which products a vendor shows by using product ranges, tags and categories on the website. More on this below.


2.2 Configuring a Vendor

To use a vendor, simply rez it inworld ... if it’s a version 2 vendor, you’ll then want to click it and choose “Reset” to register it with the website.

Then, if you wish to specify a particular set of options for the way the vendor behaves, or the products it shows, click it and choose "Configure" to be taken to the Hippo Technologies website where you can do this.

Once you're ready, click the vendor and choose "Download" to load its list of products and bring it online.

Some advanced vendor settings can also be adjusted in its '_config' notecard — these are for people who want to customize the way their vendors behave in quite particular ways. New users may want to skip to the next section.

NOTECARD MESSAGE: <text>
e.g. NOTECARD MESSAGE: Thank you. The product information notecard will be delivered shortly.
- This is the message the vendor chats to a customer when they click it for more information on a product.
PURCHASE MESSAGE: <text>
e.g. PURCHASE MESSAGE: Thank you. Your product will be delivered shortly.
- The message that the vendor chats to a customer when they make a purchase.
BUY FOR FRIEND MESSAGE: <text>
e.g. BUY FOR FRIEND MESSAGE: Please type the name of the friend you wish to buy this next product for.
- The message that the vendor chats when the “Buy for Friend” button is touched.
SIDE PANELS: <number>
e.g. SIDE PANELS: 4
- Used to tell the vendor how many side panels exist in this model. Don't fiddle with this unless you're a very advanced user building your own vendor designs.
DISPLAY FACE: <face>
e.g. DISPLAY FACE: 2
- Tells the vendor which face of the main display to use for showing product pictures. Most people can leave this set to the default; advanced vendor-modders may find this useful if massively reworking the look of a vendor.
SIDE PANEL DISPLAY FACE: <face>
e.g. SIDE PANEL DISPLAY FACE: 2
- As above, but configures which face of the side panel prims get used for product pictures.
PRELOAD FACES: <face1, face 2>
(Version 2.6 or higher vendors only)

e.g. PRELOAD FACES: 0, 1
- Vendors can “preload” textures, making browsing through products easier for customers if the sim (or network connection) is a bit slow. You can use the new PRELOAD FACES: <face1, face2> command in the vendor’s “_config” notecard (new vendors have it in their cards by default) ... e.g. PRELOAD FACES: 0, 1 ... this determines the faces used on the side panels to do the preloading. You can either supply one face number (e.g. PRELOAD FACES: 2) in which case the vendor will preload the next set of products onto those faces (ready for the customer hitting the ‘next’ arrow) ... or two faces, in which case the second face specified will load the previous set of products, in case the customer hits the ‘previous’ arrow). All sounds horribly complex? Simply leave the “_config” notecard as it is and let the vendor work its magic.
START PRODUCT: <number>
e.g. START PRODUCT: 1
- Instructs the vendor which product to show when it first comes online; for example, to have the vendor move immediately to the third product after downloading its contents, use START PRODUCT: 3. (If you’re using the return-to-first-product-after-inactivity feature, the vendor will also return to the product number specified here if you change it).

AUTO HIDE ARROW BUTTONS: <Yes/No>
e.g. AUTO HIDE ARROW BUTTONS: Yes
- if you set this to “Yes”, then the vendor will only display its arrow buttons when needed — e.g. when there are more products to show than panels available.
ARROWS MOVE BY: <value>
e.g. ARROWS MOVE BY: -1
- An advanced setting that determines how the arrow buttons behave. See this document for more information.
ARROW PREVIEW MODE: <Yes/No>
e.g. ARROW PREVIEW MODE: No
- An advanced setting that enables the construction of vendors where the “arrows” preview the product they’ll cause the vendor to show. See this document for more information.
TRY TO AVOID BLANK PANELS: <Yes/No>
e.g. TRY TO AVOID BLANK PANELS: Yes
- if you turn this setting on, the vendor will use products from the start of a collection to fill blank panels at the end of a collection. To see how this works in practice, see here.
MAP LOCATION OFFSET: <vector>
e.g. MAP LOCATION OFFSET: <0, 0, 20>
- If you’re fond of clicking on a vendor’s location in your online vendor list in order to teleport to it, you may sometimes find, if the vendor is rezzed against a wall, that you teleport into the middle of the wall itself. This command in a vendor’s configuration notecard adjusts the location it reports to the website: for example, MAP LOCATION OFFSET: <0, 0, 20> would report a location 20m higher than the actual location the vendor is located at.
BLOCK FREE: <Yes/No>
e.g. BLOCK FREE: No
- If you wish you can block the vendor ever giving out free (L$0) products. If you don't offer any free or demo products in your collections, it might be worth setting this to "Yes" to avoid any accidents (e.g. if you accidentally configure a product the wrong price).
AUTO RENAME: <Yes/No>
e.g. AUTO RENAME: No
- If you turn this function on, the vendor will rename itself to whatever product is being shown on the main screen. Why is this useful? Because the vendor's name will appear in your Second Life transaction history; hence turning this function on can help reconcile your hippoVEND and Second Life transaction logs. When the vendor is offline, it will default to whatever name you last manually supplied.
VENDOR NAME: <text>
e.g. VENDOR NAME: My Main Vendor
- Can be used in conjunction with AUTO RENAME above to provide the name the vendor will default to when offline. (If you don't supply one here, the vendor will attempt to memorize the last name you supplied, or the name it was rezzed with).
OTHER MANAGERS: <list of names, separated by commas>
e.g. OTHER MANAGERS: Homer Simpson, Fred Flintstone, Captain Caveman
- Add this command and once the vendor is reset, anybody named will be able to click the vendor and use the menus. (Note: they won’t be able to reset the vendor, so if they deregister it they won’t be able to re-register it again ... this is because resetting and registering require the granting of debit permissions, which of course only a vendor’s owner can grant).

The next four commands relate to holovending, if you're running the vendor in that mode. For information on what holovending is and how to use it, see this document.

HOLOVENDOR MODE: <Yes/No>
e.g. HOLOVENDOR MODE: No
- Determines whether the vendor is in holovendor mode or not.
HOLOVENDOR REZ OFFSET: <vector>
e.g. HOLOVENDOR REZ OFFSET: <1, 0, -0.3>
- Specifies the point at which models are rezzed, relative to the vendor's position.
MODELS MAY BE IN LOCAL SERVER: <Yes/No>
e.g. MODELS MAY BE IN LOCAL SERVER: No
- If set to "Yes", the vendor will look in the servers that the current product is sourced from for models (servers must be in the same sim as the vendor, for this to work).
SLIDESHOW MODE DISABLES MODELS: <Yes/No>
e.g. SLIDESHOW MODE DISABLES MODELS: Yes
- If set to "Yes", then moves between products by the vendor itself in slideshow mode won't cause a holovendor model to rez (this can help reduce lag in your sim).

These next two commands deal with the vendor's ability to give out and/or preview demos of products ... for more information see this document.

LOOK FOR DEMOS: <Yes/No>
e.g. LOOK FOR DEMOS: No
- If set to yes, the vendor will look for demos to give out.
PREVIEW ANIMATION LENGTH: <time in seconds>
e.g. PREVIEW ANIMATION LENGTH: 25
- Determines how long preview animations will play for.

If you wish you can have a customer confirm their purchase before it is finalised using this next command ...

CONFIRM EACH PURCHASE WITH CUSTOMER: <Yes/No>
e.g. CONFIRM EACH PURCHASE WITH CUSTOMER: No

And finally we have ...

SLIDESHOW SENSOR RANGE: <range in metres>
(Version 2.6 or higher vendors only)

e.g. SLIDESHOW SENSOR RANGE: 10
- Regular vendor types can be configured to have their slideshow mode automatically turn off if nobody is in range of the vendor and, likewise, turn on again only if somebody is present. Simply add SLIDESHOW SENSOR RANGE:<range in metres>, e.g. SLIDESHOW SENSOR RANGE: 10, to a vendor’s “_config” notecard to achieve this — then configure slideshow mode in the vendor’s online configuration as normal. Since slideshow mode is quite lag-inducing, this can have a big performance improvement in shops with lots of vendors


2.3 Menu Commands

Clicking the vendor will produce a menu with several commands you can use:

GO ONLINE -set the vendor online and ready to sell (you need to have downloaded its product list first).

GO OFFLINE - set a vendor offline.

DOWNLOAD - download the latest list of products to sell.

(All these commands can also be sent to a vendor via the website, if you prefer).

CONFIGURE - directs your web browser to the Hippo Technologies website where you can configure the settings for this vendor (whether it works in slideshow mode, the colour of any hovertext, the type of products it will show etc.)

STATUS - reports the number of products and payment shares this vendor has, along with its free memory.

RESET - fully reset the vendor and take it offline.

UNREGISTER - use before deleting a vendor, to remove it from the list of known vendors on your website list. (You can also delete vendors online). If you do this accidentally, simply use the RESET command to register a vendor afresh.

HELP - gives out the first of the help notecards.

VOICE CMD - allows you to type a configuration command in chat; useful if you want to make a minor setting to the vendor without visiting the website. You can use commands like this

CFG HOVERTEXT <colour> To change colour ... e.g. CFG hovertext green
CFG HOVERTEXT <on/off/auto> To change hovertext mode ... e.g. CFG hovertext off
CFG VOLUME <off/whisper/say> To change product announcement volume ... e.g. CFG volume off
CFG FILTER NAME <text> To apply a filter by product name ... e.g. CFG filter name gun
CFG FILTER DESC <text> To apply a filter by product description ... e.g. CFG filter name trousers
CFG FILTER TAGS <text> To apply a filter by tag ... e.g. CFG filter tags womens
CFG FILTER RANGE <slot number> <text> To apply a filter by range, you should first provide a “slot number” from 1 to 3, followed by the name of the range you wish to use (or "none" to clear the range). A vendor can include up to three ranges. Here are some examples ...
  • CFG FILTER RANGE 1 clothing
  • CFG FILTER RANGE 2 furniture
  • CFG FILTER RANGE 3 none

(Obviously the first two examples need you to have created ranges called “clothing” and “furniture”!)

CFG SORT ORDER <0-7>

To set a vendor’s sort order. The number corresponds to the seven different sort orders you can pick in the vendor configuration webpage. So, for example, CFG SORT ORDER 2 would set the sort order to alphabetically by product name.
CFG VENDOR URL <url>
Set the web page URL that a vendor will offer to a customer who clicks the vendor; note, it must start with http (or https) or Second Life will complain. For example, CFG VENDOR URL http://news.bbc.co.uk/
CFG VENDOR URL TEXT <text>
Set the information displayed in the dialog box Second Life shows to a customer who has clicked the vendor, asking if they want to open any URL you have set. For example, CFG VENDOR URL TEXT Here is a nice web site, why note pay it a visit?
CFG WHEN INACTIVE <0/1/2> Determines what the vendor does after a period of inactivity; CFG WHEN INACTIVE 0 will do nothing, CFG WHEN INACTIVE 1 will cycle through products in a slideshow and CFG WHEN INACTIVE 2 will return to the first product in the vendor.
CFG START AFTER <30/60/120/300>
Tells the vendor how many seconds of inactivity must go by before it does any action you’ve set (slideshow or return to first product); e.g. CFG START AFTER 60
CFG DELAY <15/30/45/60/120>
Tells the vendor the delay between products in seconds when cycling in slideshow mode; e.g. CFG DELAY 15
CFG IM ON SALE <yes/no>
Determines whether an IM is sent to you after each sale; e.g. CFG IM ON SALE yes
CFG ACCEPT VOUCHERS <yes/no>
Determines whether this vendor will accept payment by hippoGIFT voucher, if you’re using that product; e.g. CFG ACCEPT VOUCHERS no
CFG VENDOR GROUP <vendor group name/none>
Sets the vendor group this vendor is part of; e.g. CFG VENDOR GROUP My First Vendor Group ... to remove any grouping use CFG VENDOR GROUP none.
CFG GROUP DISCOUNT <0-100>
Sets any group discount value you want; e.g. CFG GROUP DISCOUNT 50
CFG GENERAL DISCOUNT <0-100>
Sets any global vendor discount value you want; e.g. CFG GENERAL DISCOUNT 50
CFG SHARE SALES WITH GROUP <group name/none>
Sets the sharing group this vendor will split sales income with; e.g. CFG SHARE SALES WITH GROUP My First Sharing Group ... to remove any sharing use CFG SHARE SALES WITH GROUP none.
CFG USE PRODUCT SHARING OPTIONS <yes/no>
Tells the vendor to split sales based upon the sharing options you’ve set up at the product or range level; e.g. CFG USE PRODUCT SHARING OPTIONS yes
CFG DISABLE ALL SHARING <yes/no> Tells the vendor to disable any and all payment sharing e.g. CFG DISABLE ALL SHARING yes

IMPORTANT: Remember that you'll need to turn your vendor offline (if it's online) and then download its settings to apply them after changing them this way.

TIP: You can also add CFG commands to a configuration notecard; just remember that in the “_config” notecard, you'll need a : after the CFG --- so e.g. CFG: hovertext red


2.4 Other Vendor Tips and Tricks

  • Textures ...You can customise the texture a vendor uses on its main display when offline, simply by replacing the “offline” texture found in its contents. (On version 2.5 or higher vendors, you can also replace (or add) a texture called “blank panel texture” to the vendor’s contents and this will be used on side panels when there is no product to show in them.)

  • Landmarks ... (version 2 or higher vendors only) If you add a landmark to a vendor’s inventory (e.g. by CTRL dragging it from your inventory to the vendor’s root prim) then any customer who touches that vendor when it is offline will be given a copy of the landmark. (This also works with catalogue vendors). Hence even if a customer can’t buy something — perhaps they’ve visited a store you haven’t finished setting up yet — they can still get a landmark, helping to remind them to come back and see you again!

  • Searching ... (version 2.6 or higher vendors only) some vendor types have a search button at their bottom right-hand corner. In this case, the customer can click the button, type some text, and the first product containing that text in the product name or description will be shown.

  • Restrict Sales To Group ... (version 2.6 or higher vendors only) Regular vendors can be configured so that only members of the same Second Life group as that to which the vendor is set can purchase from them. Please note that a customer needs to be wearing their group tag for the vendor to detect their group membership. Simply tick the “Restrict sales to group members only” option for a vendor in its configuration web page.

  • Quick Product Name Filtering ... (version 2.5 or higher vendors only) Change the description of a regular vendor to PRODUCT: <text> and that will be applied as its product name filter when reset/rezzed. It makes for really quick configuration of especially single item vendors. Want to rez a vendor to show your “Automatic Rabbit Painter” product? Just create a copy of a vendor in your inventory, edit its properties so its description reads PRODUCT: rabbit and rez it ... voila! When you download its contents, it will show that product. A great time saver. (Tip: to have a vendor remove any product name filter, use PRODUCT: All as its description). Remember if you change the description of a vendor already rezzed inworld, you’ll need to reset it for the change in filter to be detected and applied.

  • Quick Vendor Configuration Copying Inworld ... (version 2.5 or higher vendors only) This works similarly to the feature above. Simply change the description of a regular vendor to COPY: <vendor name> and when you reset/register the vendor it will copy its configuration from the first vendor it finds in your existing vendor list that has the same name. So, for example, if you’ve already configured a vendor called ‘Watching Paint Dry Animations’ then to have a new vendor configure itself the same way, rez it, change its description to COPY: Watching Paint Dry Animations and then reset it. When you download it, you’ll find it has the same configuration (everything from hovertext to filtering to sharing etc.) as the existing vendor of that name you’re running. Remember if you change the description of a vendor already rezzed inworld, you’ll need to reset it for the change to be detected and applied.

  • Reducing Scripts ... (version 2.5 or higher vendors only) It’s possible to reduced the number of scripts in a vendor by deleting those you don’t need ...Less Scripts = Less Lag

    • For REGULAR VENDORS ... If you don’t use slideshow mode you can delete the “slideshowController” script. If you don’t use payment sharing, then you can delete the “shareController” script. And if you don’t mind a delay (about 15 seconds) after a customer makes a purchase or requests a notecard, you can also delete “commsEmail-1”, “commsEmail-2” and “commsEmail-3”. Please ensure you reset the scripts in the vendor (from the SL tools menu) after deleting scripts, forcing the vendor to run self-diagnostics and work out what scripts it has and which functions are not available.

    • For CATALOGUE VENDORS ... The “slideshowController” script can be safely deleted if your resellers don’t use slideshow mode. Likewise, you can delete “commsEmail-1”, “commsEmail-2” and “commsEmail-3” if you wish, resulting in a minor delay after notecards or products are delivered. Unlike regular vendors, you don’t need to do a script reset after deleting scripts, although it is worth using the “Reset” menu command to refresh the vendor.

      USEFUL INFORMATION ... Please note that if you remove email scripts from vendors, or use the single-script-single-item vendor, then your vendor won’t contact backup servers, if you’re running them. Instead, should the main email from the vendor to the server fail (due to SL difficulties, perhaps, or if your main server is offline) delivery will fall to the alternative delivery method — whereby servers check for outstanding deliveries every 15 minutes. In other words — in the event of Grid difficulties, vendors without email scripts (or the single-script vendor) may see customers having to wait longer for their deliveries. Bear this in mind when you deploy them!


3. The hippoVEND Website

The hippoVEND system uses a specially designed website to allow you to setup products, update vendors and servers and track your sales. You can log on to the website by going to http://users.hippo-technologies.co.uk/ once you have an account (see section 3.1 below). The website has been tested in Safari, Firefox and Internet Explorer and both on a Mac and -- showing the extra mile we do go for our customers -- a Windows PC.


3.1 Registering an Account

If you have never used a Hippo Technologies web-enabled product before, you'll need to begin by creating an account with us. Simply rez the "HippoTech Website Registration Pass" that came in your hippoVEND carton. Click it and it will connect to the web, create you an account and tell you (via private chat, so only you hear it) your password. You can later change this password to something more meaningful (see 3.8 below). Never use your Second Life password for our website, always use a password unique to your Hippo Technologies account.


3.2 Logging In

Point your web browser to http://users.hippo-technologies.co.uk/ and enter your Second Life name and the password you were given in 3.1 above. You'll be faced with the main "Hippo Technologies User Area". Provided you've rezzed at least one hippoVEND server (see 1.1 above), the hippoVEND icon will be lit up and you can click on it to begin.


3.3 Servers and Inventory Page

The "Servers & Inventory" page can be accessed, if it's not showing, by clicking on its name under the large "hippoVEND" title. Once it loads, you'll see a list of your servers at the top of the page, followed by a list the inventory you've uploaded in a table beneath that. You can perform a wide range of functions from this page ...

  • To see the inventory in just one server, click its name in the server list. Conversely, to show the inventory in all servers, click on "All My Servers" at the top of the list of servers. The number of inventory items shown in your selection can be seen at the top right of the inventory list.

  • You can see a server's location on the Second Life map by clicking the location in the list; this will open the location in the Second Life client.

  • To the right of each server's name, you'll see its status ("Online" or "Offline") recorded. You can turn an offline server online, or vice versa, by clicking the status. (It will take a few seconds for the server inworld to get the command; once it has, the status will update on the website).

  • If for some reason a server hasn’t checked in with the website for a long period of time, you’ll see a icon next to its name, warning you that there is a problem. Causes of a server failing to make contact include: deleting the server inworld; a bad sim problem causing it to freeze; rezzing it on land with bad script permissions etc.) If you see the icon you’ll probably want to pay the server a visit inworld to fix whatever the cause is. Most problems can be solved by selecting the server, choosing “Reset Scripts in Selection” from the Second Life Tools menu ... then reset the server using its menu and turn it online again. (This feature only applies to version 2 or higher servers).

  • To delete a server, click the icon to the right of its name. Note that this won't delete it inworld, it will only delete the web-based record of it. Any inventory linked to it will be deleted and any products reliant upon that inventory will have their status set to inactive. You should probably update your vendors (see below) after deleting a server.

  • To force a server to resend its list of inventory to the website, click the icon shown to the far right of each server.

  • Note, after setting a server on or offline, or reloading inventory, it may take a few moments to update its status. Click the "Refresh List" button to refresh the web page with the latest status of all your servers.

  • The inventory list shows all the objects, notecards and textures (pictures) whose details you have uploaded from Second Life (see section 1.2 above). The icon to the left of the inventory name shows you what type of inventory it is; these icons are the same as those used in Second Life itself.

  • The inventory list shows your inventory in pages to speed up loading time. If you have more inventory items than can fit on one “page”, you will see the page navigator. It looks like this ...



    The current page number is shown in bold white text. Click a page number to jump to that page or “...” to jump backward or forward five pages at a time. Clicking “First” takes you to page one, “Last” to the final page whilst “Prev” or ”Next” move you backwards or forwards one page at time. (If you wish to change how many items are shown on each page, you can do this via the preferences webpage).

  • If an inventory item exists in multiple servers, you'll see text like this after its name: "(in 2 servers)".

  • If you are selling limited edition inventory items, the "master" version of each item will have, next to it, a report of how many copies of that item remain for sale.

  • To the right of each inventory item, you'll see the product it is sold as if you've set one up. The two names do not need to be the same; so you can have a product called "The Amazing Talking Toaster" that, when purchased, gives a customer an object called "Toaster 1.2 Carton".

  • If you have a long inventory list, you can filter it by clicking on the "Filter" button, at the top right of the inventory list. You can then select what type of inventory objects to show and/or filter inventory by name.

  • To deliver an object in inventory right now to somebody inworld, click the icon to the far right of its name in the inventory list. You'll be asked to type the recipient's Second Life name and the item will then be sent to them from your hippoVEND server inworld.

  • To create a new product that delivers an inventory item, click the icon to the far right of its name in the inventory list. Note, one inventory item can form part of multiple products should you wish it to for any reason.


3.4 Products and Ranges Page

The "Products & Ranges" page can be accessed, if it's not showing, by clicking on its name under the large "hippoVEND" title. Once it loads, you'll see a list of your ranges at the top of the screen, with your products in a separate table beneath that.


3.4.1 Ranges List

  • Ranges allow you to group sets of products together --- you can then tell a vendor only to sell a certain range, for example. So if you make vehicles, you might have ranges called, for example, "Aircraft", "Cars" and "Boats". You don't have to use ranges if you wish, but they often make product management easier.

  • Next to each range's name you'll see the number of products in that range. You can filter the list of products by clicking on a range name, or on "Show all products" or "Show products unassigned to any range".

  • To edit a range, click the pencil icon to the right of its name. To delete it, click the icon. Note this won't delete any products in that range, merely set their range to "none".

  • To create a new range, type its a name into the box beneath the list of ranges and click the OK button.

  • To assign a product to a range, enter the range it is part of it in the Product Editor (see 3.4.3 below).

  • A range can be set to share any sales with a group of your choice. See section 3.7 below on what groups are and how to define them.


3.4.2 Products List

  • The products list shows your products in pages to speed up loading time. If you have more products than can fit on one “page”, you will see the page navigator. It looks like this ...



    The current page number is shown in bold white text. Click a page number to jump to that page or “...” to jump backward or forward five pages at a time. Clicking “First” takes you to page one, “Last” to the final page whilst “Prev” or ”Next” move you backwards or forwards one page at time. (If you wish to change how many items are shown on each page, you can do this via the preferences webpage).

  • The list shows each product name and an icon for what type of inventory object the product will deliver. The next two icons show whether the product has a texture and/or a notecard assigned. (Hold the mouse over an icon to get more information).

  • You can edit a product's name, price, currency and status (active or not-active) in this table. After making any changes, be sure to click the "SAVE CHANGES" button at the bottom of the page.

  • To edit a product in more detail, however, you need to use the Product Editor — do this by clicking the icon to the far right of the product name; then see 3.4.3 below.

  • To copy a product, simply click the icon to the far right of its name; a new product will be created by copying the old one and appending “Copy” to the name. Please note it will be created set to inactive, so you’ll need to activate it after making any changes.

  • To add a new product, click "Add New Product" at the bottom of the page. You can also click the blue + icon next to an inventory item in the "Servers & Inventory" page (see 3.3 above).

  • To deliver a product right now to somebody inworld, click the white-arrow-on-a-green-circle icon to the far right of its name. You'll be asked to type the recipient's Second Life name and the item will then be sent to them from your hippoVEND server inworld.

  • To delete a product, click the icon.

  • To edit "product priority" numbers for your products (which can be used to sort the way products appear on specific vendors (see 3.5.1)), click "Show Priorities" at the bottom of the product list. Conversely, to hide them again, click "Hide Priorities" in the same place.

  • You can edit multiple products at once by ticking the products you want to change (tick boxes are in the far right column), then clicking the "Edit Selected" button on the bottom of the screen. Change the fields you want to apply to your selected products (they'll change colour when you edit them) and then save your changes.

  • Note that after editing, deleting or adding products you should update your vendors -- see section 3.5 below.


3.4.3 Products Editor

This page allows you to create (or edit) the details for a product in full. From top to bottom you can enter:

  • The product name. This does not need to be the same as the inventory item that gets delivered when the product is purchased; so you can have a product called "The Amazing Talking Toaster" that, when purchased, gives a customer an object called "Toaster 1.2 Carton".

  • A short description of the product; this will appear in hovertext above the vendor if you have hovertext turned on for a particular vendor.

  • The inventory item that gets delivered to people who purchase the product. Pick an inventory item from the drop-down list (which groups your inventory alphabetically under sub-headings of objects, notecards and textures).

  • The inventory texture that a vendor should display when this product is being examined; pick one from the drop-down list.

  • The notecard that should be given to interested customers who want to learn more; pick one from the drop-down list. (This is optional, you can create products with no information notecard -- you cannot, however, create products that do not deliver inventory nor that have no texture).

  • The price of the product and whether that price is in L$ or US$. If you use the latter, your vendors will query the Lindex exchange every hour for the latest exchange rate and convert the price accordingly. (This is fractionally more laggy inworld than just using L$ rates).

  • If the product is part of a range you created (see 3.4.1 above), pick the range.

  • You can also assign up to two categories to your product. These are optional but do allow you be very specific in what types of products different vendors show if you wish.

  • Similarly, you can assign tags (e.g. "hippo, animal, large, heavy") to a product in order to help you organise your selling better if you wish.

  • Last, but not least, you can type a "product priority" number for this product if you wish (it's purely optional). Product priorities can be used to sort the way products appear on specific vendors (see 3.5.1), should you wish to do so.

  • Then if you wish your customers to be able to redeliver this product for themselves if something goes wrong, tick the "Purchasers can automatically get a redelivery from any of your Redelivery Terminals" tickbox. To learn more about what Redelivery Terminals are and how they work, see this document.

  • Finally, click the "Product Active" checkbox if you're ready for this product to begin selling.

  • Once you've finished, click the OK button. Note that after editing or adding products you should update your vendors -- see section 3.5 below.


3.5 Vendors Page

The "Vendors" page can be accessed, if it's not showing, by clicking on its name under the large "hippoVEND" title. Once it loads, you'll see a list of your vendors, their inworld location, number of products each will display for sale and online or offline status.

  • The vendors list shows your vendors in pages to speed up loading time. If you have more vendors than can fit on one “page”, you will see the page navigator. It looks like this ...



    The current page number is shown in bold white text. Click a page number to jump to that page or “...” to jump backward or forward five pages at a time. Clicking “First” takes you to page one, “Last” to the final page whilst “Prev” or ”Next” move you backwards or forwards one page at time. (If you wish to change how many items are shown on each page, you can do this via the preferences webpage).

  • You can see a vendor's location on the Second Life map by clicking the location in the list; this will open it in the Second Life client ready for you to teleport to.

  • To the right of each vendor's name, you'll see its status ("Online" or "Offline") recorded. You can turn an offline vendor online, or vice versa, by clicking the status. To turn all online, click the 'SET ALL ONLINE' button and to turn all offline, click the 'SET ALL OFFLINE' button

  • If a vendor needs its configuration or product list reloading, the icon shown to the right of it will be black (otherwise it will be a light grey). You can click this icon, whatever its colour, to force the vendor to download its configuration and product list afresh and turn itself online. To do this for all vendors at once, click the 'UPDATE ALL' button.

  • To delete a vendor from the list, click the icon. This won't delete the server inworld, but will set it offline and remove it from the website.

  • To refresh the list of vendors, perhaps after having told all the vendors to go offline, click "Refresh List".

  • To configure a vendor, click the spanner icon to the right of its name.

  • If for some reason a vendor hasn’t checked in with the website for a long period of time, you’ll see a icon next to its name. You can hover your mouse over its online or offline status indicator to find out exactly when it did last call home.



    (Vendors call home approximately every 6 to 8 hours. Causes of a vendor failing to make contact include: deleting the vendor inworld; a bad sim problem causing it to freeze; rezzing it on land with bad script permissions etc.) If you see the icon you’ll probably want to pay the vendor a visit inworld to fix whatever the cause is. Most vendor problems can be solved by selecting the vendor, choosing “Reset Scripts in Selection” from the Second Life Tools menu ... then reset the vendor using its menu and download its contents afresh.

  • You can also perform operations on blocks of vendors at once; simply tick the vendors you wish to effect and then click one of the buttons at the bottom of the table.


3.5.1 Configuring a Vendor

You can adjust a number of vendor settings very easily and quickly:

  • Choose whether or not the name of a product and its description appears in hovertext over this vendor. Smart hovertext can also be selected; this will appear when a customer uses the vendor, but vanish 15 seconds later. You may also select the hovertext colour.

  • The product announcement volume determines whether (and how loudly) the vendor announces each product, its description and price, when the vendor is browsed and when in slideshow mode.

  • You can filter quite carefully which products appear in this vendor, so for example:

    • You can show only products with particular text in their name or description.

    • You can choose to include only products in one range (for more on ranges, see 3.4.1 above).

    • You can choose to include only products of a particular category.

    • Or products that include text of your choice in their tags (if you've forgotten which tags you've used with which product, click the "See my tags" link).

  • You can choose the "sort order" which determines what order products will appear in on the vendor. Most options are self-explanatory -- "by product priority rating" uses the "Product Priority" set either in the product setup screen or list (see 3.4.2 and 3.4.3). Note: the lower priority numbers will appear first and products with no priority number will appear at the very end.

  • You can decide what the vendor does after standing inactive for a set period of time; nothing special at all, run in slideshow mode (cycling through products), or return to the first product.

  • If you wish to share income from this vendor with a group, you can choose "Share all sales income" to split the income on every sale, or choose to use any sharing set in a product or range. (If you tick both, then the vendor will apply both settings --- be careful not to share more than 100% in total, unless you're feeling generous!) For more information on groups and how to set them up, see 3.7 below).

  • You can also offer a discount to members of the same *Second Life group* as the vendor is set to inworld (they'll need to wear their group tag when making purchases).

  • You can decide whether you'd like the vendor to send you an instant message after each sale.

  • Once you've finished setting the configuration, click the OK button. You'll now need to update this vendor by clicking the two-curving-arrows-icon shown to the far right of its name.

USEFUL TIP >> If you want to copy a vendor's configuration from another vendor, simply pick the vendor you want to copy from in the pick-list at the bottom of the page, then hit "Go".

NOTE >> hippoVEND also ships with catalogue vendors, a vendor type you can give out to friends or associates to resell your products for you. Their use is not covered in this notecard; rather see this document for details of how to use them.


3.6 Sales Log

The "Sales Log" page can be accessed, if it's not showing, by clicking on its name under the large "hippoVEND" title. Once it loads, you'll see a list of your sales, in descending order of date.

  • You can sort the columns in your sales log into ascending or descending order by clicking the little black arrows at the top of them.

  • The sales log shows sales in pages to speed up loading time. If you have more sales than can fit on one “page”, you will see the page navigator. It looks like this ...



    The current page number is shown in bold white text. Click a page number to jump to that page or “...” to jump backward or forward five pages at a time. Clicking “First” takes you to page one, “Last” to the final page whilst “Prev” or ”Next” move you backwards or forwards one page at time. (If you wish to change how many items are shown on each page, you can do this via the preferences webpage).

  • You can filter by an item of data (e.g. a date, a product name, a purchaser's name, a vendor's location) simply by clicking on it.

  • You can also click the "FILTER" button to open up a more complex filtering criteria box, allowing you to see sales by date range, purchaser, sales location etc. etc.

  • To turn off any filtering, click "Show All Sales" to the right of the table of sales.

  • To group sales, perhaps by date, or product, or sales location, click on one of the grouping options in the right hand margin. You can use filtering and grouping at the same time, should you wish to.

  • To produce a sales log in CSV format, suitable for loading into e.g. Microsoft Excel, click the "Export to CSV" link on the right hand side of the page. You can then save the contents of this page in text format ready for loading into Excel.


3.7 Groups

The hippoVEND website allows you to set up groups of friends or colleagues to share sales income with. To access the groups screen, click the "Groups" icon in the left hand toolbar.

  • Groups are listed in the table at the top of the page and the members of the currently selected group below that.

  • To create a group, type a name into the box and click OK.

  • To edit a group's name, click the pencil icon across from the name. Likewise, click the delete icon there to remove a group.

  • To look at the list of group members, click the group's name to select it.

  • You can then add group members by entering their name where it says "Add Person", followed by the percentage of sales income you wish to share with them.

  • You may also edit share amounts directly in the table of names, clicking "Update" when you're done.

  • To delete a group member, click the X icon across from their name.

  • Groups can have up to 30 members.

  • No more than 100% of sales income may be shared.

Once you've set a group up, remember to tell each vendor you want to share income from to use that group (see 3.5.1 above). You can also tell a particular range or product definition to share sales income, if you wish to split sales income on a per-range or per-item basis.


3.8 Currency and Account Settings

If you wish to set prices in US dollars rather than L$, you may be interested in two currency settings you can edit. Click the "My Account" icon in the sidebar and then the "Exchange Rate Settings" tab in the main part of the window.

  • The "Lindex markup" is the percentage a vendor adds to (or subtracts from, if you choose a negative value) the current exchange rate. The default is +3.5%, to cover the charge Linden Labs makes on currency sales.

  • The "Default L$ per US$" field is the exchange rate the vendor will default to if the Lindex Exchange is ever offline and cannot be contacted.

Note that if you wish to change your password, you may also do this from the Account screen, under the "User Name & Password" tab.


3.9 Preferences

The "Preferences" page (find its link below the large “hippoVEND” title at the top of the web page, after the Sales Log link) allows you to choose configure several choices. You can ...

  • Pick the default sort order and grouping for your sales log page. This can be used to ensure your sales log is set up the way you’d like it when you click through to it, saving you having to resort or regroup it every time.

  • Choose how many items to show per “page” (most hippoVEND screens use “pages” to reduce website loading time).

  • Decide whether you’d like to see a texture previews when you’re editing a product.

  • Turn advanced vendor configuration options on (options like customised offline and blank panel textures, for example).

We hope you enjoy your new product --- do take the time to explore all it can do.

Enjoy hippoVEND!