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Moriash Moreau: My Second Life
Friday, December 30, 2005
December's Come and Gone
Wow, it's been a while, hasn't it? Guess I just haven't had much to say lately. Still don't, actually. But, in the meantime, here's some assorted screenshots and ramblings.

Here's Sophia Weary, Charlie Kongo, Chrestomanci Bard, Laura Ingersoll, and I, stepping out in our own rendition of the famous Beatles Abbey Road album cover. I love things like this. We were all just goofing off, having a random conversation, and this came out of it. This kind of thing is why it's handy to have a basic poser object in your inventory. Props to Chres for finding the blank Abbey Road picture. Her Google kung fu is strong.

Laura and I saw this little scene out the back window of her new house in Or sim. No explanation offered (or sought), just a couple of robots playing the violin. They were there for quite a while, and a few folks happened along and joined in a bit later. Laura's house borders on a little privately owned artist's sandbox. I'm sure it's annoying at times, but I kind of envy her the view. That's the main downside in Louise: nothing unexpected ever happens there.

Here's a picture of the new reflecting water, added a few weeks back in a new patch. Makes me glad I live on the edge of the world. My machine isn't up to running with the fancy new water enabled all the time, but it makes for some excellent screenshots when I do have it turned on.

And here's another one, taken from below. The distortion effect is surprisingly realistic. Makes me want to go out and buy a submarine!

The two water pictures above were taken while I was standing about 25 meters off the east coast of Louise. As I mentioned a couple months ago, I did a little bit of prim sculpting to hide the jarring edge of the world discontinuity (the paper thin edge of the land, floating several meters above the water). I don't think I ever posted a picture of the final results. For the 20 or so meters where my plot touches land's end, there's a steep green cliff running down to the water, with several large boulders standing out of the ocean's surface. There's also a couple of trees, and a fence for safety. There's even a weathered old wooden sign directing visitors to the "Scenic Overlook."

The walk-on-water bit is an Easter egg for the more inquisitive (read "nosy") visitors to the Garden. (Turn on "see invisible" and look out past the rocks.) There's stuff like that hidden all over the place. This one stands your avatar on the water, and creates a particle ripple around your feet. Kind of a cute effect, anyway.

The SkyLounge kind of got out of hand, but I'm pleased with the results nonetheless. Mostly, I just wanted to be able to say that I have a build located as high above the world as possible. I'm sure there are other structures located this far up, but I'd guess there's not many. It's kind of a pain in the rump to build a permanent structure there.

As you may or may not know, no object can exist above 4096 meters (save for avatar attachments). Anything that exceeds this elevation is simply returned to its owner. To make matters worse, only physics-enabled objects (such as vehicles) can be moved above 768 meters. Any attempt to move a non-physical object (by editing it, for example) will result in its Z-coordinate being snapped to 768 meters.

But that doesn't stop items from being placed there indefinitely, provided they stay still. So, to make a long story short, I had to build everything at ground level, pack it all up, and place it at 4000 meters via script. Just because I seem to enjoy making things hard for myself, I whipped up a basic script to read a notecard full of names and locations, and rez the furniture from the SkyLounge building's inventory. Not strictly necessary, I suppose, but it makes things easier if I end up with more furniture than can be grabbed in a single selected set.

Anyway, I basically did all this for bragging rights (such that they are). And, in the wildly unlikely event that I decide to start doing the virtual horizontal tango, I'll have the most private skybox in SL. The view's not too shabby, either. The cone of white rings below everything is an homage to the classic Jetson's style hover effect. It seemed appropriate. Feel free to drop by the Garden of Mo (the location link is up there on the right, the transporter is a shiny black stool next to the entry point) and take a look.

And this? I ran across these outfits in a vendor at a shop in... Um, someplace. Can't remember now. But I do remember they were for sale right next to a vendor full of wedding gowns and tuxedos. And they came in a variety of flavors and toppings. I... I'm... I have no words.

Happy new year, everyone!
SL Webcomic Tips, Part 5
There are plenty of other tips and tricks we discovered as we went. Instead of making a new entry for each one, I'm going to add on to this one as the need arises. Watch this space!

Teleportation Effects
Sometimes, you'll want to photograph an avatar teleporting away with the familiar circling particles. But it's deucedly difficult to catch the effect, and time consuming to do it multiple times until you get it right. Fortunately, many Second Life actions (such as speaking or deleting objects) use the same particle effect. So it was easy to whip up a simple script to reproduce the teleport "poof" effect on a constant basis. The script simply speaks (via llOwnerSay, so you don't have to worry about spamming the neighbors) several times a second, complete with the accompanying particle effect. Just place the script in a prim, put the prim where you want the teleportation to take place, and touch it to start. Touch it again to turn it off. Note that the prim will turn itself invisible for easy filming, so remember where you put it, or use CTRL-ALT-T to see invisible objects.

You'll probably need to make something like twice as many particles as you think are necessary. Particles often drop out when you take a snapshot. (This can be frustrating when you're trying to show an avatar editing something. I've tried simulating the edit particles with a particle script, but I usually end up painting in the particles later.) This is especially true if you've got your graphics settings maxed out, and your particle counts are lowering due to client lag. To do this, lower the timer interval in the script (that is, increase the number of llOwnerSays per second). Your mileage may vary, but I needed to lower the interval to the point that the particles appeared to form a distinct cylinder in the air.

More to come!