Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Long time, no post. Been busy in RL, dealing with the pre-Christmas rush at work. I will never understand why any client would insist on a project being done "before Christmas." What does that accomplish that a due date of, say, first week in January wouldn't? Nothing will be done between mid-December and New Year's, anyway, so why the arbitrary deadline? But I digress.
This one's going to be picture heavy, folks, so brace yourselves.
I finally finished the new and arguably improved SkyLounge a week or so back. Click the Garden of Mo link there on the right to visit. This version sucked up considerably more prims than the previous model, but it has a more established feel to it. The SkyLounge Mark I always showed its low-prim roots a bit too plainly. This one is a little more open and spacious feel (not that any build composed 90% of windows could ever be said to be cramped). And it's shinier, too. Always a plus.
As you can see, SkyLounge Two is centered around a medium sized Linden pine. This is a reference to the basic Garden of Mo abstract evergreen logo (adopted from the long departed LVZB). That, and I wanted an organic contrast to the gleaming steel and stark white.
After just shy of two years in Louise, I finally decided to add a media stream to the Garden. For now, it's just in the sub-plot occupied by the Lounge. It seemed to need some kind of techno/ambient/groove soundtrack to complete the retro-future feel. When I started it, I originally planned on shutting down the stream when the Lounge was unoccupied. I still like the idea of wind and birdsong being the only sounds in the Garden. But, after seeing a good number of green dots hanging out on the parcel below, apparently just grooving to the beats, I've decided to leave iton full-time for a while. Maybe I need to look into a soundtrack for the rest of the
Garden, as well.
Here's the bottom floor. Kept the old couches, and added a chromed version of the sun-following telescope from the Babel observatory.
And the middle floor. It's basically an outward-facing bar/deli arrangement. The bar counters are equipped with food pills (touch them, and they describe the kind of food pill you've picked), while the little cafe tables have Misfortune Cookies (touch to find out your fate). The latter was a project conceived by Laura Ingersoll, Chrestomanci Bard, and myself. Basically, we sat around and came up with lists of attackers and acts of violence, and I bashed together a quick script to randomly string them together. It's strangely amusing to find out that you will be immolated by an unpublished short fiction writer, or impaled by Oprah.
And, of course, there's a couple of Nutri-Matic machines for your liquid refreshment needs.
The top level serves as entry platform (entry is by elevator to the balcony behind the green panel) and general free-form space. Here you can see me addressing an imaginary audience in the stage configuration. The third floor has a rezzing routine that allows the user to select from multiple room layouts. Right now, I only have a couple programs, but eventually I'll add several different furniture layouts and exhibits. I'm sure I'll mention any good ones I come up with, eventually.
And, finally, a close-up on the central garden area. Fairly minimalist, like everything else in the Lounge. Note the granite prims strewn about. It was either that or more shrubbery.
Aside from working on the Lounge, I've spent a fair bit of time tinkering with particles. Here's an attempt at a 3-D particle chess piece. For various technical reasons, it's not really practical for use as a pawn (or bishop, or whatever it looks like). But it looks kind of nifty, anyway. The script generates stacks of particle rings of arbitrary radii, one on top of the other. If it could be spun on a lathe, it could be created using this setup. Unfortunately, it took an embarrassingly long time to remember enough trigonometry to make this work.
And here's the king of all impractical particle effects, a 3-D "holographic" land map. Each pixel (or voxel, if you want to be picky about it) is a single blob of particles, placed one at a time. To do so, the map generator uses an array of 64 elements. Each element rotates to point at the desired location in the display volume (using llLookAt- setting rotation with llSetRot proved to be too slow), then emits a particle at the required distance (BURST_RADIUS derived from llVecDist between the emitter and the target) to place the voxel in the correct position. This is kind of cumbersome, but it works. Unfortunately, it is both lag sensitive (all 4096 voxels must be updated in under 30 seconds, or gaps appear as the particles expire- this is a tall order!) and lag inducing (each voxel requires two
updates- prim rotation and particle system- to generate), but it was the only way I could find to place a single particle at an arbitrary location in space.
I expect this project won't ever see practical use. It's just too expensive to run, both in prims and sim resources. All told, it's an ugly kludge. But Jopsy Pendragon said it was "rockin cool," anyway. Wow! Praise from Caesar!
The display shown above was taken in the Albion sim. Quite a nice place, by the way. You should drop by for a visit.
Here's a close-up of the generator in action. Each cylinder is an emitter element. It's hypnotic to watch the tubes wave to and fro as they point at each voxel position. Kind of like a particularly spastic sea anemonea.
And here's a picture of the final version (at least until inspiration strikes again). The uninspired land on display is Louise. I like the sim, but one could wish for more scenic vistas. It's on display as one of the programmed exhibits in the SkyLounge, at least until my neighbors threaten to lynch me for periodically dragging the sim to a slow crawl every time someone runs it.
I've removed this exhibit from the SkyLounge. Just a bit too irresponsible, from a sim resource management perspective, to leave out and running.
And, finally, a simple project. Yes, it's a flashlight. Oooh. Ahhh. Yeah, it's not terribly cutting edge. The trick is to place the light emitting prim well ahead of the object. In this case, the center of the light source is located four or five meters in front of the flashlight. The net result is a reasonably convincing irected beam. I did discover one trick: the light emits from the center of the prim, even if said prim is dimpled and cut. This means that you can effectively place a light source several meters away, without having the object itself occupying the space. Could be handy, I guess.
I've had this one in the back of my mind for a couple months now. Sometimes, it's nice to have an easy, uncomplicated project or two on tap. They're a good way to decompress, especially after a long, frustrating day. After I took the pictures above, I spent half an hour with night override on and night darkness set to zero, just wandering around in the dark.
Yes, I'm easily entertained.