Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Two Useful SL Features
Learned a couple of useful things in SL over the last week or so. Most experienced players will have learned about them on their own, but I thought it might be nice to point them out explicitly for newer folks (like me).
First, I found out something kind of useful about the object selection particles. (That little stream of lights that jets from your left hand to whatever in-game object you are using.) Apparently, these particles point at the exact location where you click on the target object. I had just assumed that they pointed at the object's insertion point. (Yes, I know, I'm not terrifically observant.) So you can use them to point out a specific point in space. This pretty much renders the whole laser pointer project moot. Oh well. It was pretty trivial, anyway.
Second, you know those white crosshairs that appear on the faces of objects when you hit Select Texture in the Edit window? Those work great for lining up textures across multiple prims. This is what they were no doubt designed to do, but nobody seemed to think it was worth mentioning. So there you go. Just make sure your texture scale matches (either by using repeats-per-meter or adjusting the horizontal and vertical repeats as required for each prim), then adjust your texture offsets until the crosshairs line up at the edges.
As things are now, the crosshars are kind of frustrating to use. You can only work with one object face at a time. The crosshairs on the previously selected face disappear when a new face is selected. I contacted Live Help to ask if there was an override to switch them on full-time. They said that there was not, and that this kind of thing could be done numerically, anyway. (I can't argue that, but the math gets tedious with oddly spaced prims). One of them, a Linden whose name I can't remember (I've got to write these things down), agreed that this would be a useful feature. He even suggested that I post it to the Feature Suggestions forum. Sadly, this suggestion went unacknowledged, and I expect that it will never come to pass. That's unfortunate, since it seems like it'd be both useful and easy to implement.
In the interim, I whipped up my own version of a grid alignment tool. It uses voice commands to slide it out of the way during edits, and even changes color on demand. It's still kind of primitive and clunky, but it seems to work well enough. Laura Ingersoll used it to line up the walls on her and Chrestomanci Bard's new shop in Abitibi. She reported that it worked pretty well. I went in and lined one up with the East wall, just to show the grid in action.
I know, it's a simple device, compared to some of the items in game. But I'm kind of proud of how well it worked out.