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posted Jan 12, 2013, 1:13 PM by Rosanna Himmel   [ updated Jan 15, 2013, 7:59 AM ]

22 December 2012

Widget is in trouble! He escaped from one of the dog parks and — well, he had a very happy time with some purebreds in the Caledons. He’s back in the dog park where he belongs, but look who followed him home. Let’s put it this way: Widget is very proud of himself AND his new descendants! Yes!! I said descendants!!!

There are four puppies: Alder, Birch, Cedar and Dogwood. If you’d like to see them, they are in the Puppy Pens at Turing Isle and Canis Beach.


The puppies have all the great features of the VKC Dogs. Plus they have the following:

  • Pathfinding
    • 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
  • New Commands and behaviors
    • Explore
    • Patrol
    • Hidefrom
  • Hide and Show Name
  • Improved Toy Resizing
  • Collar and Bandana
    • Bandana with 40 textures
    • Collar with 40 textures
  • Stands on the ground
  • Motions and blinking
  • “here” command for carrying your puppy

New Commands

Explore (Pathfinding Mode)

Explore is like a pseudo-active mode where the dog wanders around looking at things, greeting people and so on. You need to tell the dog a range to explore within.

For examples:

fido explore 50

Which will tell the dog that he may explore within 50 meters* in each direction from where he starts.

Instead of giving a numeric range, you may also say:

fido explore region

Which means that the dog uses the entire sim as his exploration area.

* You may find that the dog will move outside of this area when he chooses to greet someone or something, but he will return to the area when he starts to explore again.

Patrol (Pathfinding Mode)

Patrol can be used with a list of marks or a range in meters. The dog will walk to the first mark in the list that you give, then to the second and then the third and so on. Once he has visited each mark, he starts over at the beginning. If you give a range in meters instead of a list of marks, the dog calculates a square area with however many meters you said on each side, and patrols the four corners of that area.

For example, if you teach the dogs marks at your front door, back door, garage and stable, you might say something like this:

fido patrol frontdoor backdoor garage stable

Or using a range, you might say something like this:

fido patrol 50

We know that many of you have taught your dogs patrol tricks at various times and we also know that many less sophisticated pets have had some sort of patrol command for a while, but we thought it was a good time to introduce it as a feature in the VKC dogs and take advantage of the Pathfinding System to help the dog patrol intelligently and avoid obstacles.

Patrol Speed (Pathfinding Mode)

You can use the patrolspeed command to tell your dog how fast to walk (or even run) between the points that he patrols. For example:

fido patrolspeed 6

Hidefrom (Pathfinding Mode)

This is a really fun thing, but you’ll need to experiment with where it works and where it doesn’t. Our favorite place to do this is in a maze of some sort. When you tell the dog to hidefrom you or another avatar, he runs off looking for someplace where you cannot see him and then he lies down.

You would use the command like this:

fido hidefrom enrico


You can hide the dog’s name text (and display it again) using this command.

fido hidename — makes the text disappear

fido showname — makes the text display again


This is the command that changes the petting animation. You have three options: stroke, hug and scratch.

For example:

fido setpet hug

I’ll leave you to work out which is which!


It’s unlikely that this is something that you’ll need to use very often. It was something I used when first developing the pathfinding dogs and I left it in for the trainers during testing. You can use it if your dog appears to be stuck on a particular pathfinding task and unable to get to where he wants to go. All it does is tell him to stop anything related to pathfinding that he is trying to do. Most people would probably tell their dog to come or sit instead.

pf on/off

Use this command to switch between Pathfinding and Traditional modes.

fido pf off — switches to traditional mode

fido pf on — switches to pathfinding mode

Updated Commands


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 — fido turns to face Enrico

fido turn fido — fido turns to face fido

fido turn left — fido turns 90 degrees left*

fido turn right — fido turns 90 degrees right*

fido turn 130 — fido turns 130 degrees

fido turn -20 — fido turns -20 degrees

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


(Click to enlarge the contact sheet; right click or control-click
to download it to your computer.)

Example commands:

fido scarf 21 — changes the scarf texture to #21*

fido bandana 12 — changes the scarf texture to #12*

fido s-color 0 0 128 — puts a dark blue tint onto the scarf

fido b-color 128 0 0 — puts a dark red tint onto the scarf

fido scarf hide

fido scarf show

fido bandana hide

fido bandana show

*See the contact sheet at right for the textures.

Improved Toy Resizing

A number of people had observed that the dogs using VKC Toy System 2 scaled the toys down to fit the dog when a small dog took a large toy, but the toys didn’t scale back up when a large dog took them. I expect we’ve all experienced something similar in RL, where the dog gets hold of something small and you can’t see what he’s got and you’re trying to get your fingers inside his mouth and pry his jaws apart and you’re getting covered in drool and it’s generally unpleasant. Well, the VKC Dogs should scale their toys back up so that you can always see what they’re carrying.

Other Changes

The major change is that with the new features related to pathfinding, you will find that sometimes settle and/or stay are released when using some commands.

go / on / run / come — does not release settle/stay setting. (Same as before.)

heel — releases settle/stay settings. (Changed behavior.)

patrol — does not release settle/stay. If any of the points are outside the dog's settle or stay area, the dog does not attempt to patrol.

explore — releases settle/stay settings. (Command is owner only.)

hidefrom — releases settle/stay settings. (Command is owner only.)

Features that are not working

Swimming — this still works in Traditional Mode (pf off). But, the current implementation of the SL Pathfinding system does not support in-water or underwater pathfinding, so the dogs will no longer swim, but will stop at the water’s edge. I’ll be watching the Lindens’ further developments in Pathfinding with regard to this. I think when people start to get the hang of it and see the possibilities for other things, they’ll be asking for volumetric (3D) pathfinding and maybe then the dogs will be able to swim again.

NOTE: If your dog happens to fall into the water, you will now have to use the tp command to retrieve your dog or move him out of the water in edit. Telling him to come once he is in the water will not work.

Toy System 1 — I have withdrawn support entirely for the old “follow me” toys in the new pathfinding animals. Toy System 2 has been successful and seems to work well, so I think that with our new generation of animals, it is time to move on and leave the old system behind. It served us well for a long time but we all know that we can do better than those funny toys floating in the air trying to keep up with the animals as they move. The Toy System 2 toys will remain backwards compatible with the older VKC Dogs.

Setpet  — At the time of release, there is only one petting animation in this first release. This will be updated as soon as we can, but at the moment our animator, Solcar Amat, is in the throws of moving house and has no Internet access so he is unable to work on the animations for petting the puppies.


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. 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 Racer Group Estates which is managed by Aztek Aeon of Canis Beach. Land at these estates is always pet friendly.

Q. Are the puppies breedable? Is Widget breedable?

A. No, the story about Widget escaping is just a story. Widget is not able to reproduce either in SL or RL.

Q. Will the puppies grow up?

A. No, they will be puppies permanently.

Q. Where do those names come from? What breed are the puppies?

A. The puppies are all mixed breeds, for the purposes of the VKC Registry their breed names are their names.

  • Alder Puppy
  • Birch Puppy
  • Cedar Puppy
  • Dogwood Puppy

Q. Can I change their names?

A. Yes, you can rename them just like you do with your other VKC Dogs.