Resources: What’s New in the Latest Version of hippoVEND?
This document describes what’s new in each major update to hippoVEND. It currently describes:
What’s new in hippoVEND v2.0?
Welcome to the latest version of hippoVEND. This document summarises what's new in version 2 and, in many cases, has links to individual documents describing each new function in more detail, helping you get the most from it.
- Pagination ... most hippoVEND webpages now split what they’re showing into “pages” for speed and ease of browsing. If you have more 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).
- Gift Vouchers ... regular vendors are ready to accept hippoGIFT vouchers, our new gift voucher system designed for use with hippoVEND. To find out more about how to use gift vouchers, click here. You’ll need to purchase the hippoGIFT module and tell your vendors (in their configuration) that they can accept payment this way.
- hippoINVENTORY Compatible ... servers are engineered to work with hippoINVENTORY, our popular inventory management tool. This powerful additional tool makes it much easier to organise, delete and load long inventory lists to the hippoVEND website.
- Improved Vendor Status Reporting ... the vendor list on the hippoVEND website now lets you know if a vendor has lost contact after 24 hours ... it’ll be flagged with a icon for you. Remember you can easily find any out of contact vendors by hitting the button and picking the “Only Show Vendors Out of Contact” option before you search.
- New Start Product Number Option ... by using the START PRODUCT: <product number> option in a vendor’s configuration notecard, you can specify which product it should show when it first comes online after downloading its contents. The default is START PRODUCT: 1.
- Hide Vendor Arrows Unless Needed Option ... insert the new AUTO HIDE ARROW BUTTONS: Yes command into a vendor’s configuration notecard and it will automatically hide its arrows unless they’re needed; for example, a 6 panel vendor would only show them when it contains more than 6 products. To turn the feature off again, use AUTO HIDE ARROW BUTTONS: No to return to showing arrows all the time.
- Adjust Vendor Arrow Behaviour ... choose whether the arrow buttons on a vendor move a whole “set” of products at a time or one product at a time. [Find out more!]
- Improved Demo Product Handling ... if you’re using the demo giving feature of hippoVEND, you can now connect several products to one demo item, using the new generic demo feature. See the guide on product demos to find out more.
- Holovending Improvements ... improvements to the holovendor function in vendors now allow you to rez multiple models per product or to rez a model at a specific position and rotation. Models will now also disappear after 60 seconds of vendor inactivity.
- Easily Configure Vendor Offline and Blank Panel Textures ... you can now pick the texture used by a vendor when it’s offline, or when a panel in a multi-panel vendor is empty, on the website. [Find out more!]
- Vendor Texture Previews Online ... tick the new “Show Previews of Vendor Textures in Product Definitions” option on the preferences web page and when examining a product definition the website will attempt to fetch a preview of the texture assigned to it. Please note this texture is loaded from the Second Life search servers and so may be a little slow loading, or even unavailable at times.
- Many More Vendor Voice (or Notecard) Commands ... almost every configuration option for a vendor can now be set, inworld, using either a voice command or configuration notecard setting amongst other uses, this means you can easily hard code a default set of settings into a vendor, so you can more easily just rez-and-go. [Find out more!]
- Disable Chat in Slideshow Mode ... want your vendor to chat the product name and details when a potential customer uses a vendor, but not annoy your neighbours when the vendor is cycling through products in slideshow mode? No problem, just use the new “Do not chat anything in slideshow mode” option when configuring a vendor:
- Vendors Can Report a Location Other Than Their Own ... 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. You can now use MAP LOCATION OFFSET: <vector> in a vendor’s configuration notecard to adjust 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.
- Server Inventory Filtering ... easily find that illusive bit of inventory by using the new filtering tools on the Servers & Inventory web page. Simply click the button and you can filter the inventory list by type, name and the product it is connected to.
- Product Copying ... setting up lots of similar products on the website is now much easier; just hit the copy product button in your product list () to instantly copy a product’s definition.
- Turn Off Catalogue Vendor Hovertext Permanently ... use the new HIDE ALL HOVERTEXT: Yes setting in a catalogue vendor’s configuration notecard to ensure that the catalogue vendor runs with no floating hovertext (the ability to turn it on via the options menu is also hidden when using this configuration setting).
- Customize Catalogue Vendor Help Notecards ... you can now more easily customize the notecard given to your resellers if they click a catalogue vendor and choose the “Help” button. Catalogue vendors now give out the first notecard alphabetically they find in their inventory (obviously they won’t give their configuration notecard!) so you can easily delete the default notecard we ship them to you with and replace it with a notecard specific to you and your business.
- Advanced Sorting ... vendors can now have a second level of sort specified in their configuration: so it’s possible, for example, to sort first by price, then by product name.
- Catalogue Vendor Voice Commands ... it’s now much easier for your resellers to configure multiple catalogue vendors at once (options like hovertext, slideshow mode etc.) using the new voice command functions. Single prim (single item) catalogue vendors can also be resized this way enabling you to ship no-modify vendors to your resellers, yet still enable them to size them to suit their store. [Find out more!]
- Sort Vendors by Offline/Online ... yet another way to manage your vendor list you can now sort your vendors by whether they’re online or offline, simply by using the new arrow buttons at the top of that column.
- Bodyparts and Landmarks ... servers can now upload landmarks and bodyparts!
- Landmarks Given by Offline Vendors ... if a customer touches an offline vendor, it will give out the first landmark it finds in its inventory. A useful way of helping your customers find your store again, even if your vendors are temporarily offline, perhaps because you’re busy updating your products. Simply add a landmark to a vendor’s inventory to start taking advantage of this feature.
- Catalogue Vendor Status Improvements ... the status report given when the owner of a catalogue vendor clicks it and chooses “Status” now includes the name of the profile the vendor is connected to. Helpful if you’ve a folder full of catalogue vendors and have forgotten which of your profiles you’ve connected each to!
- Sales Log Can Filter and Group by Product Range ... when a product is sold, any range it is part of is recorded. You can now filter your sales log by range (hit the button then pick the range to filter by) and you can also see your sales log with sales grouped by range (click “Group by range” in the right margin). If you rename a range, any sales made earlier will reflect the new name; if you delete a range, the name of the range before you deleted it will be hard saved to any sales entries effected.
- Customizable CSV Output ... people using the CSV export facility to export sales logs from hippoVEND for use in e.g. Excel will now find this slightly easier, as we’ve made it possible for you to choose the date format in your exports. [Find out more!]
- Filter Vendor List by Payment Sharing Group ... forgotten which vendors in your collection you’ve set to share sales income with a particular group of friends or colleagues? No problem, just hit the button on the vendors web page and use the new “Payments Are Shared With” filter to find vendors sharing their sales income with a particular group.
- API Improvements for Scripters ... servers now send a linked message when a product information notecard is requested by a potential customer, allowing you to write scripts that track this data or do clever and useful things with it. [Find out more!]
- Support for More Advanced Vendor Types ... we’re continually working to extend the flexibility of hippoVEND to help people making complex and clever custom vendor types. Version 2 vendors add the ability to show the previews for the next and previous products on the “arrow” face, making new vendor types possible. [Find out more!]
- Server Self-Test ... servers can now run a self-test function. Just select “Self Test” from a server’s “Tools” menu to have it report the status (and free memory) of each of its scripts.
How do I upgrade to version 2.0?
If you’re a user of the full (not demo) version of hippoVEND and have an earlier version you’d like to upgrade, this can be done free of charge. Simply visit the main Hippo Technologies Store inworld and use any one of the three updater machines upstairs in our Customer Services Department ...
- Select "hippoVEND” by using the arrows on the front of the machine
- Click the big, red “Get Update” button
- Provided the machine confirms that it can find your customer record, you’ll shortly get given version 2
Once you’ve unpacked your hippoVEND v2 carton ...
- We recommend playing with the new v2 kit before you upgrade your old vendors and servers, so you’re familiar with the new features.
- If you’re upgrading old items, upgrade your vendors first older (regular, non-catalogue) vendors can’t work with a new v2 server.
To upgrade existing servers, use the hippoVEND Server Update Disc ...
- Rez the Upgrade Disc next to your old server and follow the instructions. Please note these points ...
- Only version 2 regular vendors can work with this server. So upgrade your vendors first. (Older catalogue vendors are fine and aren’t concerned with server versions).
- The upgrade process deletes all scripts in the old server; so if you’ve a custom script you’ve written in there, make sure you back it up to your inventory before upgrading.
- The Upgrade Disc will not replace your old ‘_config’ notecard. So be aware that some of the new server features may require adding lines to your ‘_config’ card before they will work as described.
To upgrade existing vendors (not catalogue vendors, they can’t be upgraded), use the hippoVEND Vendor Update Disc ...
- Rez the Upgrade Disc next to the vendors you wish to upgrade and follow the instructions. Please note these points ...
- You’ll need to grant debit permissions again as the new scripts are loaded.
- The upgrade process deletes all scripts in the old vendor; so if you’ve a custom script you’ve written in there, make sure you back it up to your inventory before upgrading.
- If you’re upgrading a vendor that is version 1.5.x or earlier, you may get a script error and the update fail. If this happens, right-click the Update Disc and edit it. Change its description from NEWMODE to OLDMODE, then try the upgrade again (remember to change the description back again before upgrading any 1.6.x vendors).
- The Upgrade Disc will not replace your old ‘_config’ notecard. So be aware that some of the new vendor features may require adding lines to your ‘_config’ card before they will work as described.
- One or two new features require the scripts in the vendor’s buttons to be replaced; the Update Disc cannot do this, so if you wish to use those features (e.g. automatic button hiding) then you should either simply unregister your old vendor and rez a new one, or manually replace the scripts in the left and right buttons, the circular button surrounds, and the gift button (if the vendor has one) with their equivalents from a version 2 vendor.
As already mentioned, catalogue vendors cannot be automatically upgraded (since you don’t own those, your resellers have them). Simply configure and then start passing out new v2.0 catalogue vendors inworld as soon as you are ready the old ones will continue to work, even if you’ve upgraded your server.
What was new in hippoVEND v1.6.2?
Here’s a summary of the new features that were introduced in version 1.6.2 of hippoVEND. In most cases, there are links to individual documents describing each new function, sometimes in some considerable detail.
- Holovending ... all vendor types (regular and catalogue) can now function in holovendor mode; rezzing temporary models of the item for sale. Models can either be held in the vendor, or in any server in the same sim as the vendor. [Find out more!]
- Demos ... all vendor types (regular and catalogue) can offer a demo of a product to a customer if you wish. This can either be played inworld (e.g. for animations or sounds) or, for other object types, you can choose to give a demo version of the product along with any information notecard. As with holovendor models, demo items can either exist in the vendor, or in any server in the same sim. [Find out more!]
- Limited Edition (No-Copy) Product Selling ... servers can now sell limited edition products -- e.g. items that you have transfer but not copy permissions for. This means you could, for example, buy supplies of the "Electric Squirrel Toaster" from Hieronymous Bosch in bulk and sell them to people. The server will update the website with its supply level and will warn you when supplies fall below a certain level of your choosing. [Find out more!]
- Redelivery Terminals
Sometimes a customer doesn’t get their product for some reason --- occasionally, SL is behaving so badly, even the backup systems in hippoVEND struggle. Or, more commonly, perhaps the inventory gets lost, the customer accidentally has busy mode on, or declines the inventory etc. With the new Redelivery Terminal (sold separately for a small charge available from the main Hippo Store) you can now allow customers to trigger redeliveries of previous products they have bought from you. Easy to use, with complete control over which products do or do not qualify for redelivery, it’s a great addition to your customer services. [Read the instructions]
- MetaCard Compatibility
Regular vendors (not catalogues) can now be configured to accept MetaCard payments. This requires an additional plugn to be added to your vendors, provided by First Meta. (Please note we don’t offer support for this plugin, so for any questions or queries, please speak to First Meta).
- Vendors can be linked to your website ... do you have a website for your Second Life business? If so, you can now easily set a vendor to offer to open that page in a customer’s web browser when they click one of your vendors. [Find out more!]
- Vendors can confirm each purchase ... have problems with careless customers accidentally buying the wrong product then complaining about it? You can now turn on purchase confirmation mode for any vendor and it will explain to a customer via a Second Life menu what they’re about to get, offering them a chance to decline it before the sale completes. This should mean that even the most accident-prone newbie is now safely catered for! [Find out more!]
- Multi-Panel Vendors can fill their panels more intelligently ... do the number of products in your collections not divide exactly into the number of panels on your vendors? Want to avoid blank panels showing at the end? No problem, use this new feature and products will "wrap" at the end of a collection, ensuring that there are never any blank panels on display. [Find out more!]
- The server can send an IM and/or an email to its owner whenever it tries to deliver a product ... useful if you’re ever having problems with a particular server and want to keep an eye on it. [Find out more!]
- Vendors can now apply textures to the specific prim faces you choose ... many people who have modded/created their own vendors have long requested this. Now you can be completely flexible! [Find out more!]
- API Improvements for Scripters ... the regular vendors now have a small addition to their API to output details of each sale and servers also give data out on each delivery. Many vendor-modders have requested this. It’s now much easier to write scripts to extend the functionality of your vendors. [Find out more!]
- Automated Notification System (ANS) ... servers can now send data about each sale to an email address and/or a website address, allowing you to construct applications that work with or respond to sales events. [Find out more!]
There are also some changes on the website which you may have missed ...
- You can now set a vendor to discount every product sold through it by a certain percentage.
- The sales log can be filtered by sim.
- You can save your preferences for how you want the sales log to be sorted and grouped when you first open it.
- You can easily purge all or selections of sales from your log if you wish.
- You can edit multiple products at once, with only those fields that you change being copied across the selection. [Watch the video guide!]
- You can temporarily collapse the vendor groups list if its long and gets in your way. Just use the [+] or [-] link at the top right of the groups list to expand or collapse it as you need it.
How do I upgrade to version 1.6.2?
If you’re a user of the full (not demo) version of hippoVEND and have an earlier version you’d like to upgrade, this can be done free of charge. Simply visit the main Hippo Technologies Store inworld and use one of the four updater machines upstairs.
- Rez the server upgrade disc next to your old server and follow the instructions. Old vendors will work with the new server, but the new vendors need the old new server if you plan to take advantage of features like holovendor models or product demos on the server. So, in simple terms; replace your servers first. Please note that some of the new features require settings in your ‘_config’ notecard; the upgrade disc won’t change your card, so you’ll need to add these settings manually as and when you require them.
- Rez the vendor upgrade disc next to any vendors you wish to upgrade and follow the instructions. (You may get one script error while it runs, this can be ignored. As the payment sharing and main vendor scripts are replaced, you will to grant debit permissions to the vendor again). (If you’re upgrading a pre v1.5.3 vendor and the old vendor has a “Buy as a Gift” button, you might want to replace the whole vendor (or swap the script in the gift button for its new version).
The same comment above about new ‘_config’ card settings also applies to vendors
- Start passing out v1.6.2 catalogue vendors from now on.
Please note that the upgrade discs remove all scripts in the server or vendor they're upgrading as part of the upgrade process. If you've added your own additional scripts for any reason, be sure you have a copy somewhere safe.
Those are the major new features (we’ve also done the usual round of script optimisation, typo-corrections, minor bug nailing etc. etc.) For full details on each of these features and how to use them, follow the various links above.
We hope you enjoy the new features in hippoVEND v1.6!
What was new in hippoVEND v1.5.3?
Welcome to the latest version of the hippoVEND Web-Enabled Vending System, now Second Life’s most popular vending system! This notecard briefly details what’s new in this version; if you’re a user of a previous version, this will save you ploughing through the user guides to find out what we’ve added.
- New delivery system to work around the Second Life Grid problems of late. The main thing you’ll notice is that "pending" deliveries now appear in your sales log.
- Voice / notecard vendor configuration ... some vendor settings can now be quickly changed inworld, without visiting the website. It’s also easy to set up "defaults" for your vendors by embedding them in its notecard.
- New vendor functionality ... you can set a vendor’s description from the web (useful for when the new Second Life search goes live) and, if you wish, have a vendor rename itself to the product it’s showing, making reconciliation with your Second Life transaction history a little easier.
How do I upgrade?
- Rez the server upgrade disc next to your old server and follow the instructions. Old vendors will work with the new server, but the new vendors need the old new server. So, in simple terms; replace your servers first.
- Rez the vendor upgrade disc next to any vendors you wish to upgrade and follow the instructions. (You may get one script error while it runs, this can be ignored. As the payment sharing and main vendor scripts are replaced, you will to grant debit permissions to the vendor again). Note: if you’re using vendors with the "Buy for Gift" button we recommend *replacing* those vendors; simply click your old vendor, unregister it; then rez your new vendor in its place.
- Start passing out v1.5 catalogue vendors from now on.
We need to stress: old v1.2.x servers, vendors and catalogues will all continue to work; it’s just that they won’t be plugged into the new delivery system which is far more reliable. (You can read more about it on the website if you want to know what’s going on when somebody pays one of your vendors).
For those who’d like more detail, read on ...
Most of the changes are behind the scenes, to improve reliability following the recent Second Life updates and rolling restarts that have broken or damaged a number of key Second Life systems. For those who like technical info, the XML-RPC server that formed one plank of our old delivery system is now highly erratic and the Lindens seem unable to make assurances about its future performance. Hence with v1.5 we’ve moved to a replacement technology that’s far more reliable.
So let’s look in more detail at the new features ...
One of the major reasons behind this v1.5 upgrade is the death of the Second Life xmlrpc server, which formed part of our communication systems. We’ve rewritten hippoVEND with a whole new comms system to cope with this
Second Life issue and the result is a much more flexible system. When a customer buys from a vendor ...
- The main server is contacted (and any backup servers).
- The delivery is logged in your sales log and flagged as "pending" (it’ll appear in italics on the sales log page).
- Once a server delivers it, it’ll be tagged as sent and appear in the log as normal.
- In case email communictions have failed for any reason, every 20 minutes each server checks the pending queue for anything it can deliver and does so (you can also click a server and choose ‘Tools -> Pending’ to force a delivery of any pending items).
- This means you can now have more than two backup servers if you wish.
- The same system applies to product information notecards.
This system is infinitely more robust and provides you with more information to help customers. Two important things to note .... first, a backup server can take up to 20 minutes to deliver (vendors, by default, explain
this to the customer... and, two (see above) is that if you’re upgrading a pre-v1.5 network, you should change your server first ... since it's the server that tags a product as delivered. If you replace vendors first, you'll end up
with a sales log full of pending entries! (Should this happen to you, you can just rez the "Pending Delivery Clearer" device we've included and touch it).
You can easily change the message given to a customer who buys or requests a product information notecard. Simply edit the _config notecard and change the text after NOTECARD MESSAGE and PURCHASE MESSAGE.
Don't change the command words (e.g. those in CAPITALS) in the notecard, or you'll get an error. After any changes, click your vendor and choose "Reset" to reload and apply the changes.
If a vendor is in the same sim as a server, it will communicate with that server by llRegionSay() for speed. Chat is on a low-lag channel and is encrypted. However, should you wish for any reason to turn this off, simply
change REGION COMMS: Yes to REGION COMMS: No in the _config notecard.
Configuration by Voice
Want to change a couple of vendor configuration settings inworld and can't be bothered to launch your web browser. Easy. Click the vendor, choose 'Voice Cmd' and then type CFG (for configure) followed by the command
and settings. You can use ...
... 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 <number> <text> ... to apply a filter by range (use "none" to clear that filter) ... e.g. CFG filter range 2 Clothing ... or CFG filter range 3 none
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 than in the _config notecard, you'll need a : after the CFG --- so e.g. CFG: hovertext red
** We'll be adding the ability to configure more settings by voice in due course.
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 new hippoVEND v1.5.1 server has some “advanced” options in its notecard that you can play with.
|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.
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!
If you're having payment problems (e.g. sharing seeming not to work), you can pop the vendor into debug mode. Click your vendor, choose 'Voice Cmd', type DEBUG and a channel number to transmit data on (-1 will llOwnerSay()
debug data). e.g. "DEBUG 1000". The vendor will report everytime it pays out L$, transmitting on the channel you've specified. (To disable debug mode, just use DEBUG 0). You can also insert a debug command into the _config notecard if you wish (e.g. DEBUG: 14).
We hope you enjoy your new product --- do take the time to explore all it can do. And if you encounter any problems you can't find answered within the notecards, try visiting http://www.hippo-technologies.co.uk/support/ for further help and advice.