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Moriash Moreau: My Second Life
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Cleaning Out My Snapshots
This morning, I decided to do a little cleanup on my local hard drive, and sort through the several hundred megs of SL snapshots tucked here and there. Here's a few of the highlights. Basically, in lieu of actual content, I'm throwing up some old screenshots. This one's a little image heavy (although if you've read this far, the damage is probably already done). That's one of the nice things about writing for a group that plays SL (inasmuch as this weblog is for anyone but me): my readership is all broadband enabled, or they wouldn't be able to login to begin with. Alleviates some of the guilt at bandwidth hogging, image heavy posts. Anyhow, on with the pics.

This is the image that made me decide it was time to do a little housecleaning. It was taken at the 2006 Relay for Life... Back in July. Considering I snap at least one or two pics every day, and each one is on the order of 2.7 megs, I'd say it was time to start round-filing a few.

Sadly, this was my only other pic from the Relay. I came a little late, due to RL issues, and only had a chance to light a few last minute donation candles. But I'm in training for this year. I should be ready for a solid virtual walk come time for the 2007 Relay.

Sometimes, I run across a screenshot that just puzzles me. I can't for the life of me think of why I snapped this one. Still, this is one of the best rental adverts I've ever seen. Makes me want to go out and rent some land, anyway. Which, I suppose, is the point.

Here's a picture of another version of the 3D particle contour map (second half of the post). This one used a different method of projecting the voxels. Instead of tilting a stationary emitter and projecting at a given distance, it just moves the emitter to the desired location and drops a particle in place. This turned out to be much more accurate than the tilt-and-shoot method (no stray pixels caused by lag delays). And it looks kind of neat, as well. The display is generated by a swarm of 64 shiny, silver BBs that move across the display in a diagonal band. I suppose they could be made invisible easily enough, but I kind of liked the effect.

The picture above was taken with Show Updates enabled. Each of the red and blue wedges indicates another update sent to the server. There are 64 emitters, each one making 64 updates every 30 seconds (30 seconds being the maximum lifespan of a particle). Each voxel requires two updates: move to position and update the particle system. That tallies up to a total of 8,192 updates sent to the sim every 30 seconds, or 273 updates per second.

So, uh, yeah. I won't be using this thing very often. Or, pretty much, at all. (I've removed the one on display in the SkyLounge, even though it timed out in 180 seconds. Just couldn't justify the sim resource cost, even for short term, infrequent use.) It was a good educational experiment, in any case.

Ran across this book while I was looking around the SL Library project. This is a cover I whipped up for Cory Doctorow's Eastern Standard Tribe, back in June of 2005. Apparently, the image was carried with the other texture UUIDs that Falk Bergman created for the books. It's nice to see that my minor contribution to SL's literary scene hasn't completely disappeared.

Unfortunately, it appears that my HoloReader book format is dying of technical difficulties. Recently, an annoying bug in particle rendering has crept into SL. I don't know all the details, but the gist of it is that client max particle counts are not being calculated properly. Rendering distances are not being checked correctly, so particles hundreds of meters away (or even thousands- I've checked this at 4,000 meters up!) are counted against the total particle count. So, even if your client's max particle count is set way up, the client will often behave as if it's overwhelmed with particles. Net result is 2/3rds of the particles don't ever render if there is anyone within several hundred meters running even a moderately demanding particle system.

Sadly, this means the HoloReader formatted books I have strewn about the Garden are pretty much unreadable, as their pages continuously flicker on and off. I'm not sure what I'm going to do about that. Much as I hate it, I'm either going to have to re-format all of my books in a prim book reader format (expensive in terms of time and primcount, not to mention actual Linden bucks) or retire them altogether. Not terribly happy with either option. Of course, I'd rather the glitch was fixed, but I suppose everyone has their own pet bugs they'd like to see squashed.

Here I am dressed in my grey avatar (as featured in most of the Mo-Tech Industries sales signage), testing out the Cloud Surfer attachment in the Sun Microsystems sims. Kind of nifty, if I do say so myself. Very Dragon Ball Z. I don't think I will be releasing this one on the market, though. Not until lag and object update issues can get worked out, anyway. Seems like half the time the cloud refuses to turn off due to lag issues. And as cool as surfing on a cloud is in flight, it looks quite silly to drag around an oddly shapped poof of white on your ankles when you land.

And here's a sculpture of a prim cat chasing prim pigeons. I have no idea where I found this, but it's pretty good, in any case.

This was an old project I dug out of my inventory a couple weeks back. Basically, it writes letters using bursts of particle smoke. For reference, the building the sky writer is perched upon is 15 meters across. Unfortunately, the display isn't all that practical, as it's overly dependent on client and sim performance. If FPS drops too low, or the viewer pans his camera excessively, large swathes of pixels are lost. And it's not terribly sim friendly, either. (Wow, that seems to be coming up a lot lately.) Each pixel (burst of smoke) requires an object update, as the particle system is turned on and off again. While this isn't so bad for a single seven element display, I sure wouldn't want to have twenty of these running in the same sim. Still, it's fun to have my name written in 15 meter tall letters in the clouds.

I like projects like this one. They let me know I'm making progress. See, I shelved this one about 18 months ago, because it had some bugs that I couldn't work out. Recently, I ran across it again, and looked over the scripts. All of the problems proved to be quite easy to fix, now that I have a year and a half more scripting experience. Kind of a cool feeling.
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