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Moriash Moreau: My Second Life
Monday, May 09, 2005
Last week, I stopped by the Afton stronghold of the Brainiacs (SL location link). Like Oneironaut Escher's Cannabis Carnival (SL location link), Brainiac's HQ is a great place to drop in and have your mind blown.

I was particularly intrigued by a one item there: the Spirograph. Basically, it was a simple physical pendulum. The basic operation required no scripting. Instead, it ran indefinitely under the game's physics engine. The construction of such a device is simple:
  1. Create an anchor object several meters above the ground.
  2. Create a pendulum object a few meters below it.
  3. Select both of the objects.
  4. Under the Tools pulldown, select Make Joint and Point-to-Point.
  5. Select only the pendulum object.
  6. Turn on Physics.

And that's it! In order to see the trails, you'll probably want to add a simple particle script to drop particles from the pendulum bob a few times a second. (I'm too lazy to post said script. I just ripped it off from a Watermelon Gun bump, anyway.) Then, give it a nudge. The mechanism is frictionless, and will run indefinitely from a single push.

The pictures below were made with a 20 meter long pendulum. (The Make Joint command has the same limitations as Link Objects. As such, I had to create a "rope" to bring the physical pendulum close enough to the anchor to be joined.) I went ahead and made the whole assembly transparent for the pictures. As a further refinement, a script was added to periodically deliver a small, random impulse to the assembly every two minutes. This served slightly perturb the motion every so often. The results were kind of pretty, if I do say so myself.

be warned, this eats up a lot of clock cycles on your sim ;)
Everyone listen to the man!

Yeah, I took mine down a few hours after these were taken. It's a fun toy to play with during off peak hours, when you're not going to unduly time-warp the neighbors, but I wholeheartedly agree that it's not good for unregulated full-time use.

I suppose someone could come up with a method of swapping it back and forth from physical and non, and try to reproduce a snapshot of the motion vector taken prior to freezing it. Or just apply a random spin and impulse vector upon activation- it doesn't have to be continuous, just interesting! Use a sensor ping every couple minutes, and deactivate it if nobody is in particle viewing range.

Eh. Or just do it once and take nifty screen captures before deleting it. It's perty and all, but hardly worth the sim impact for a permanent installation.
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