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Australian Shepherd II Release Notes

posted Jun 29, 2014, 3:29 PM by Rosanna Himmel   [ updated Jun 29, 2014, 3:57 PM ]



The VKC Australian Shepherd II comes in two color options:

  • Blue Merle
  • Red Merle

When you decide to regenerate (upgrade or convert) or to adopt a VKC Australian Shepherd, you will be able to choose either of these coat colors.

The dogs have a bandana with 40 textures like the other dogs. By default, the Australian Shepherd's bandana is hidden. To make your dog show the bandana, you say:

fido bandana show

The other bandana commands are described later in the document.

Your Australian Shepherd can have a short or a full tail. The command to change the tail is:

fido tail long


fido tail short

By default, the dog has a short tail. If you prefer the long tail and want your dog to revert to that tail whenever he or she is updated, come to one of our classes or question and answer sessions and ask how to make an "init" trick to set up your dog's personal settings after an update.

The Australian Shepherds also have all the rest of the great features of the other VKC Dogs including:

  • Pathfinding1
    • Finds his way around obstacles. No more bumping into things.
    • In and out of the house with ease
    • Smoother on heel and better heel positions
    • Explore, Patrol and Hidefrom instincts
    • Hide and Show Name
  • Traditional Mode1 — for when Pathfinding is not available.
  • Improved Toy Handling2
  • Bandana with 40 textures
  • Four petting animations
  • Stands right on the ground
  • Motions and blinking

1 Pathfinding allows the dogs to move around without crashing into things. They can find their way around obstacles instead of jumping over them and can find their way through doors or gateways. If you have a fence around your yard, the dogs will stay inside the yard without a settle command provided that you keep the gate shut and make sure there are no holes in the fence, of course.

To get the best out of Pathfinding it is necessary to set any prim surfaces that you want the dog to be able to walk on to "Walkable." This is done using simple tools that are built into most modern SL viewers. Some of the VKC Trainers are seasoned Pathfinding experts now and offer classes in getting your home set up well. They'll be happy to help or advise you as you are getting started. Don't forget, you can also use the dog in Traditional (non-Pathfinding) mode while you are getting everything set up for Pathfinding.

There is more information on Pathfinding at the end of this document.

2 We call this Toy System 2. The toy is now part of the dog and moves with him as he moves rather than following along behind him, desperately trying to keep up, as it did in the past. Those old toys were *very* inefficient and we have discontinued them now. They will not work with these dogs. But there is a wealth of new toys that do. Don't forget to pick up the Free Toy Box filled with Toy System 2 Toys from the Information Kiosk when you Regenerate your dog.

Regenerating your old VKC Australian Shepherd

If you wish, you can Regenerate your old Australian Shepherd to the Australian Shepherd II. To do this you use the Regeneration Station which can be found near the Clinic in the Dog Parks at Turing Isle, Canis Beach or Steelhead Harborside. You will be able to choose whether your Regenerated Australian Shepherd is the Blue Merle or the Red Merle.

Please note that your newly Regenerated Australian Shepherd II will no longer be Transferable.

There is a fee for this service. Please join the VKC Group or the VKC Newsgroup Subscriber so that you are informed of special offers and reduced Regeneration Fees which occur from time to time.

Detailed Summary of Features for the Series II Dogs

* Pathfinding — in Pathfinding Mode, your dog will be able to find his way around obstacles, through doorways and so on without crashing into them. (To get the best out of this new feature, you may need to do a little work on your land to optimize it for Pathfinding. Please watch out in the VKC Group for announcements of Pathfinding Classes. If your land is not ready, or your landlord has disabled Pathfinding, your dog will still be able to work in "Traditional Mode".)

* Petting Animations — the Australian Shepherd has the three petting animations of the other Series II Pets plus a cuddle animation. When you cuddle your pet, the animation plays until you stand up (using the stand button in the viewer). Use fido setpet stroke, setpet scratch, setpet hug or setpet cuddle to choose which animation to use when you pet the animal.

* Bandana Textures — The Australian Shepherd has a bandana with 40 different textures. You choose the texture by clicking on the collar or bandana to cycle through the choices or by using the bandana command together with the number of the texture that you want to use.

For example:

fido bandana <number>

where fido is the name of your dog and <number> is the number of the bandana on the textures sheet.

For example, if your dog is named Admiral and you wanted him to wear the black bandana, you would say:

admiral bandana 37

You can also say scarf instead of bandana, for example: admiral scarf 23

* Hide and Show the dog's name — you can use fido hidename and fido showname to hide or show your dog's name.

* Other commands (in Pathfinding Mode)

You can find more details about these by clicking on the command.

* Improved positioning — the dogs now stand right on the ground.

* New options for the turn command

In the previous dogs, turn was used with the compass points (N, S, E, W, NE NW, SE, SW) along with l for left, r for right, toward for turn to face the speaker and back for turn around and face the other way.  In this dog, we’ve added some more options -- avatars, other dogs, left, right, and angles in degrees!

For example:

  • fido turn enrico — dog turns to face enrico
  • fido turn kitty — dog turns to face a pet named Kitty
  • fido turn left — dog turns 90 degrees left4
  • fido turn right — dog turns 90 degrees right4
  • fido turn 130 — dog turns 130 degrees to its right
  • fido turn –20 — dog turns 20 degrees to its left

4 The original turn l and turn r still work. They turn the dog 45 degrees just as they did before.

Troubleshooting Pathfinding

If you get your newly Regenerated dog home and he won't come when you call him, or go to another avatar or object when you tell him, it might be because he is in an area where his Pathfinding cannot work. There are a number of things you can do to diagnose what is going wrong. The first one is to ask him what the problem is, if he is standing with his head down, looking rather sad, try saying:

fido problem

If he replies with something like “cannot path find from current location” or “goal unreachable”, then you know that the problem is Pathfinding-related. If he is in the house or skybox, or standing on prim surface, try taking him outside onto the Linden terrain (or to the VKC Park) and checking that he can move there. If he can, then you know that the problem is not with the pet himself and that you need a little optimization on his home so that he can move around more easily.

Pathfinding optimization is mostly a case of setting your floors to “walkable” and things like walls and fences and other objects that do not need to move, to “static obstacle”. You can do this using simple tools that are built into most SL viewers. You can read more about it in the pathfinding section of the Second Life Wiki:

There is also a simple tutorial about how to mark objects as "walkable" or "obstacle" on our own web site.

If you know the basics about Pathfinding, we have a quick how-to set objects to be walkable in all sorts of different viewers.

We also have regular classes which cover beginner and intermediate level Pathfinding plus troubleshooting a build, you can find the class schedules in the VKC Parks. If you need more help, you can make an appointment with one of our Pathfinding Practitioners who will make a home call and talk to you about optimizing your build.

Sometimes Fido’s problem message will look like this: “Dynamic pathfinding is disabled in this region”. This means that the landowner has turned off Pathfinding on your region. A lot of people were misinformed when Pathfinding was introduced a few years ago and were led to believe that Pathfinding would damage the performance of their regions, so they panicked and turned it off. Many of them will be happy to switch it back on when they realize that it’s actually considerably less laggy than physical movement.

If all of this sounds like a lot of work and a lot of waiting before you can use your pets properly, don’t panic. There is also a non-pathfinding mode that you can use while you’re deciding what to change, waiting for your landlord or looking for a new landlord! Fido can also revert to traditional mode where he moves without pathfinding. This means that he can move around in houses and skyboxes with no Pathfinding optimization or on land where Pathfinding has been disabled. To revert to Traditional Mode say,

fido pf off

Fido will now be able to come when you call him and will be able to explore on his own, if he is in active mode. He just won’t be able to navigate quite as intelligently as he can with Pathfinding Mode.

When you and Fido are ready to go back to Pathfinding mode, because you’ve got your landlord to enable it, or you’re visiting the dog parks where it always works, you can switch back again by saying,

fido pf on

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is pathfinding?

A. Pathfinding is an amazing new Second Life feature that allows animals like the VKC Dogs to move around without crashing into things. They can find their way around obstacles instead of jumping over them and can find their way in and out of the house, provided the doors are open or if you have a fence around your yard, the dogs/animals will stay inside the yard. You’ll need to keep the gate shut and make sure there are no holes in the fence of course.

It takes a little bit of work to get your land set up for pathfinding, particularly your buildings. But it’s not difficult by any means and the results can be stunning. You can read more about it on our web site and on the Linden Wiki.


Q. Can I cuddle my dog/cat/rabbit/bear?

A. All of the Series II Pets should have cuddle animations as well as stroke, hug and scratch. If you are not sure whether you can cuddle your pet, the Trainers will be happy to advise you and help you update to the latest version.

Q. Will you rebuild the other old breeds?

A. Yes, we intend to rebuild the old prim dogs. We are also working to upgrade the more modern dogs -- for example, the Wolves -- to have Pathfinding and the other new features. This is an ongoing process.  We will also release new breeds in between the work on rebuilding and upgrading. It's not possible to say when a particular breed will be ready

Q. Will you charge for the other updates?

A. The plan is to charge for the Regeneration of the old, prim dogs, just like we are doing for the Bloodhounds, Irish Wolfhounds and Australian Shepherds. Where possible, we will update the more modern dogs for free. Some dogs will require more work than others to make them compatible with Pathfinding and the other new features, and may incur a charge. We will announce charges at the time of their release.

Q. When will my <whichever> breed be upgraded?

A. The rebuilds and upgrades are an ongoing process.  We also wish to release new breeds in between the work on rebuilding and upgrading. It's not possible to say when a particular breed will be ready.

Q. My landlord has disabled pathfinding on my sim and he won’t turn it back on. Do you have anywhere I can rent where it will be more friendly for my pets?

A. Yes! You can find land at both Turing Estates which is owned by Enrico Genosse, Blu Sparkle and Sandry Logan, and at Racer Group Estates which is managed by Aztek Aeon (of Canis Beach).

Land at these estates is always pet friendly.