The mother of invention

Necessity, so they say, is the mother of invention, and i suppose that’s been the case ever since Ugg, the hunter-gatherer, fed up with backache from having to drag his hunted-gatherings back home from the forest, felt the necessity to invent an easier method of transport; and so the wheel came into being, (followed fairly rapidly by the invention of those other ‘necessities’: road tax, MOT tests and interest-free car finance).

Though it may chiefly be credited as the mother of invention, necessity is also the first cousin, once removed, of knuckling down and getting to grips with mastering new skills: something to which i am an unwilling, but grudging, subscriber.

Regulars will be aware that I spend a large portion of my time in sl trying, (and frequently failing) to get to grips with new skills, but never quite getting to any decent degree of proficiency with them. In both rl and sl i’m an inveterate dabbler, happy to have a bash at the basics of many and varied disciplines, but lacking the staying power or will to make anything particularly worthwhile of them. This is why I own a guitar i’m unlikely to ever play and i’m invaluable in a pub quiz, although incapable of putting most of the ‘useful’ knowledge i possess to any other practical use.

The same is true for sl: although i have a smattering of knowledge when it comes to building, scripting, sculpting and animating, my actual abilities when it comes to putting that knowledge to some practical application are somewhat less impressive – this, the result of far too much open ended dabbling with far too little reasoned and purposeful thought about my reasons for doing so. Blue skies thinking and experimentation are all very well, but without the necessity of attaining a particular desired outcome, it tends to end up somewhat half-arsed and unproductive.

It’s no big deal, until you come to a point where you want to get a bit more serious with how you use sl, at which point you realise that having a bit of a grasp of scripting, a basic understanding of building and having had a bit of a dabble at sculpting is nowhere near enough! To put it another way, there’s nothing like having a goal to achieve to focus the mind on developing the skills required to achieve it. Which is exactly where i find myself at this point in time.

i’m sure that i’ve mentioned recently that it really is about time i started making sl pay for itself, or at least contribute towards its upkeep and, to that end, i managed to acquire a bit of land, where i’ve built a bit of a store. Now, even i realise that an empty store, no matter how aesthetically pleasing, is about as much use as a chocolate teapot, (and nowhere near as tasty), so the push is on to come up with some products that i can conceivably put on the market. Herein lies the catch… i’ve got the space and i’ve got the ideas but, when crunch time comes, those amateurish dabblings in the more arcane arts associated with making things in sl which, up until now have been perfectly acceptable, are being revealed as candidates for drastic improvement.

It’s come as a bit of a blow to realise that – if i’m going to stand any chance at all at making anything out of my new venture, then i have no choice: i will have to learn how to do basic scripting properly; i absolutely have to properly get to grips with creating sculpties, and; i’m going to have to invest a lot more time and effort into building my animation skills. All of which is pretty daunting, particularly since i’m not going to be able to move forward without getting these things under my belt – but it’s a necessary evil, if i’m ever going to see any real return on my efforts.

Even in sl – if you want to get anywhere, that is – there comes a time when the training wheels have to come off!

s. x

To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star
This is my quest
Carter USM – The Impossible Dream

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