Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Planar texture alignment in new beta viewer

Ok, I admit that sometimes I can be a little OCD. I suppose it’s a handy trait to have when you’re a builder in SL, it helps you get past what could be very mundane, boring and repetitive tasks because you need to work through it to make everything line up juuuust right. :)

This new texturing aligning function is, in my opinion, THE best update to the viewer EVER! With one click you can perfectly align a heap of prim faces. If you're not a builder you wont really understand just how awesome this is. But essentially it can turn hours of tedious trial and error adjustments into one click. I had got used to measuring a wall or a floor, then re-primming it with equally sized prims, just to make the texture aligning process simple. But not anymore, with this tool you can just bash together a build and it doesn't even matter if some prims overlap, you wont get any flicker because the textures will be perfectly aligned.

I really hope every builder uses this function, I really can't stand in being in or around a build with flickering textures. Once I worked out this function I went back and re-aligned textures in old builds that were once "too hard" and "not worth it" to align properly.

Actually my last post on this blog includes a floor that has a few holes cut out of it. Aligning the carpet texture on that floor took quite a while. By the end of it I couldn't be bothered aligning the concrete on the ceiling of the lower floor. Actually we chose concrete as a texture mainly because its harder to tell that the texture isn't aligned properly. I went back to it and used this function and not a lot changed (yay for me) but I did notice a few faces rotate 180 degrees. Oops lol

You can download the current Beta viewer from the normal download page

Here's a little youtube clip I found where someone demo's the feature. It's the perfect video because it shows the texture flicker I was talking about. Some people can't see texture flicker, it only happens with most video card combos.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Office Building w/ Internal Garden

Well I can't teleport and SL failed when I tried relogging into the sim I wanted to go to. Seems SL is broken at the moment. A good time I think to write this blog post that I wanted to do last night.

One of the buildings we need to make in SCU2 is an insurance building. The scope of which is a mostly square, two level building of about 30 by 40 metres, with an internal garden with a water feature running through the middle. In the design sketches the building looks it could be twice as big to fit everything in. So we need to be a little creative with the design.

I've had this idea in mind for a sort of a curved wall of glass going through the middle of the building to separate this green space from the office space. This is how that idea developed.

I started with the walls, pulled the land up to put some greenery around it. It was taking shape but I was quite unimpressed with
the result.

I skipped ahead and started playing
with ideas for the upper level floor.

Now this is looking like it has some potential. :)

I filled out the rest of the upper floor, put a small railing around the opening and spent ages lining up the floor textures so there was no flicker on the overlapping prims. Then I copied the floor up to the ceiling. This is looking much better.

At this point Mahala got online, new textures were flying around everywhere, good to see she was happy with the new look, even though I sort of made her previous texture work a little redundant. oops.

We went with a palm tree in the large opening, scrapped the glass on the lower floor and just went with the glass railings around the upper floor.

The curvy part no longer resembles the original idea in my head, but I'm quite happy with how its turned out. Not bad for a few hours work. :)

Monday, September 6, 2010



I've been 'between homes' for a couple of months so I haven't been online. But now I'm back in my own place with awesome internets and a pretty decent computer, so Pants is back online and rearing to go!

I picked up a bundle deal with BigPond, 100gig of internets on cable, plus a t-box, and a home phone, for $99/month. Sound good to me :) I was paying $120ish for 50gig by itself just a few months ago. I don't think I'll be using the home phone part, it just came with the deal and she said it'd cost more without it :s

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

User Created Content in Games

So, Pants creates content in a virtual world. But today I want to write about User Created Content in games.

'How is that different?' I hear someone say. Well I'm not going to get into that, if you think Virtual Worlds, and/or Second Life is a game, then go away. :)

When it comes to gaming. I'm a big fan of the single player experience. Yes, I like playing multiplayer games, especially when the other players are within punching distance, but I find that most of my gaming is done in a single player fashion.

This got me thinking about the rise in games that allow User Created Content. I really like TrailsHD on the Xbox 360, and I find the more advanced levels really challenging but as soon as I got through all the levels I was thirsty for more. There is a feature to share levels you create with your friends, but, ummm... None of my friends had made any levels. A quick google search later and I'm watching youtube videos of some AWESOME user created levels in TrialsHD. I'd LOVE to play them. I'd even PAY to play them!!! Not much mind you, hahaha. Xbox currently has a 100 friend limit, so it's pretty hard to get these gifted level builders to accept your friend request so that you can download their levels.

Anyway, I made the realisation that the tools are already here, the community is ready. So come on developers! We love having the ability to create things in your game, but please don't stop there! Make some great tools for SHARING those creations so that we can help your game grow!

I want to be able to view a marketplace in-game that shows me the best user created content as rated by other users. And while your at it, why not allow the top X number of developers the ability to put a price on their content. Sure take a cut if you want, but if its on Xbox you could easily make a level worth 50 MS Points. That's not much for the average Joe but if a developer moves 1000's of the suckers, they're going to be quite encouraged to make more content, for YOUR game.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Installing Space Navigator

Hey, so I just wrote a bit of an instructional for a client for installing a Space Navigator to Windows. Was pretty simple actually as I hadn't installed it since I formatted my computer, so I just documented what I did, as i did it.

The Space Navigator is a pretty funky bit of kit. In short, its a 6 axis joystick and it lets you move your avatar or your camera around in Second Life or several other 3D programs really easily and intuitively. And its lotsa fun :)

Torley talks about it in one of his vids, let me find the link...
Actually a heap of videos on there about it, handy :)

Below is the instructional bit that I wrote for the client. Just a casual bit of script, nothing major.

1. Plug it in. Windows will probably try to install some drivers for you, if you lucky it might find some, but they're unlikely to work. Just wait till it does its thing, then go to step 2 when it doesn't work. (i found that mine sort of works for some programs, but doesn't work properly)
2. Go to and make the choices as appropriate for your space nav and your version of Windows (pick anything if your not sure which version you have, it'll show you a photo) and click search.
3. Click the little floppy disc icon on what the search gives you. (i only got one option, and the download is over 100mb, so this will take a few minutes, maybe go make a cuppa)
4. Run the file that you just downloaded to install the software. All the default options should be fine, but i opted not to install the control panel thing and the starting when windows starts thing. When it actually installs it takes a bit longer than expected.
5. Great, its all installed. Just a couple of settings to check in Second Life now, I'll run through what I do, but you might choose to do something a little different, its up to you. Log into Second Life.
6. Open Preferences (CTRL+P) and go to the 'Input & Camera' tab. Click on the 'joystick setup' button.
7. In there, click the 'SpaceNavigator Defaults' button, and SL will reconfigure everything automatically.
8. This step is optional, and worth noting to change later as you get familiar with using your Space Navigator. On the same screen as before, you'll see the three 'Control Modes' check boxes, one each for Avatar, Build, and Flycam. I don't like using my Space Navigator for controlling my avatar, and especially not for building. I untick both of those, and have Flycam on only.
9. Click OK on both open windows.
10. Your done. Just click the little button on the left hand side of your Space Navigator to enable FlyCam mode, and you can zoom your camera around everywhere. With that Avatar Control Mode enabled, pushing your Space Navigator will move your avatar by default. Pushting the button on the Right of the Space Navigator opens the options window for the Space Navigator. I press it by accident all the time, just press it a 2nd time to make it go away.

Your done, congrats, and enjoy. :)

P.S. If you have Google Earth installed, its heaps of fun to fly around that with your Space Navigator. You'll discover the controls are slightly different, but you'll get used to them.