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Moriash Moreau: My Second Life
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Exploding Goldfish
He who tooteth not his own horn will find himself untooted. - My Grandmother

Recently, I was commissioned to create the physical embodiment of an inside joke. For those of you who haven't been following the Herald for the last month or so, apparently there was some sort of incident involving Cory Linden and a goldfish at the 2005 SLCC. A couple weeks after the convention, I was contacted by Walker Spaight (editor of the Herald and owner of the teeth-clenchingly improbable Herald Tower located a stone's throw from the Garden of Mo). Apparently, the two-year anniversary of the Herald was coming up, and he was planning a commemorative gathering at the _blacklibrary. In hopes of luring Cory to the event, Walker wanted a sacrificial goldfish in attendance. That's where I came in.

Given that the party was just over three weeks ago, I'm guessing that Herald coverage of the event will not be forthcoming. (The editorial staff was a bit busy at the time, and it's old news now). I don't even know if Cory showed for the party. I only stayed for a couple of socially awkward hours, doing the virtual equivalent of standing in the corner and examining the potted plants. I hate parties, be they SL or RL. (If anyone knows how and/or if Cory reacted to the goldfish, please drop me a comment and let me know.) In any case, I'm kind of proud of how the project came out, so I'm going to talk about it here.

Anyway, Walker IM'd and e-mailed me asking if I could whip him up a goldfish bowl. He offered to pay me for the commission, but I declined for a variety of reasons. (First and foremost, he's a friend and he had a nifty project to play with. But there were other reasons- unrelated to Walker- that may appear in an upcoming rant, provided I can summon sufficient bile to properly write it.) Basically, he wanted a fish swimming in a bowl. Simple enough, people do that all the time. (I'm sure everyone has seen fish swimming in endless circles by dint of the LSL llTargetOmega command.) But he had a couple of additional requirements (from his e-mail):
  1. When someone clicks the bowl, the goldfish jumps into the air and then splashes back into the bowl.
  2. If Cory Linden clicks the bowl (this would just happen for Cory, not for anyone else), the goldfish and the bowl explode in a puff of flame and smoke.

Naturally, I was hooked right then and there. Who wouldn't want a chance to make Carassius auratus go 'splode? And, as usual, I went way overboard. A goldfish bowl, even one that explodes on demand, shouldn't require two pages of documentation. Oh, well. I gotta be me!

The fishbowl, in all it's splendor.

Here's the fish and the bowl. Rez the bowl, move it into place, touch it to rez the fish. Simple enough.

The goldfish gets some serious air.

When someone touches the bowl, the fish jumps into the air (over a meter!), then splashes back into the bowl again. This is accomplished with a rapid series of particle effects. The prim fish disappears, to be replaced by a particle fish. The particle fish is launched upward, then is drawn back to the fish prim. This is accompanied by a splash effect (particles and sound) at the beginning of the jump, and larger splash at the end. It's not terribly complex, although the timing was tricky. I think it works pretty well, especially given that it doesn't involve any actual ballistic physics.

The goldfish goes boom.

And here's what happens when Cory Linden (or anyone else on the explode list) touches the bowl. It bursts into crackling flames, as the silhouette of the goldfish makes one last turn before expiring. Then, ten seconds or so later, the glass shatters (okay, the bowl disappears), releasing the water with a sizzling splash that extinguishes the flames. All that's left is a "steaming pile of scorched gravel" (yes, the object actually changes itself to that name). After a minute, or the next touch, the bowl restores itself and the fish returns good as new.

If only that happened in real life.
That goldfish was great, Mori, I still can't thank you enough. And sadly, Cory never showed, so no stories there.

One question: What does "teeth-clenchingly improbable" mean? :)

see you soon,
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