Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Port Seraphine and the Dangers of Sculpties

I'm quite saddened by the Port Seraphine build. Even when I'm only sharing the sim with two other people, I can't move, I get stuck in terrain, I'm lagged to hell, etc. So, yeah, from now on it's a place I shan't ever be going. I rather liked the old build. Maybe it wasn't as flashy as this, but it was still rather cute, and I could, you know, actually look at the shops in it.

This is why one should not make their entire sim out of lots of sculpties. Technology can't handle it at this point, at all.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


So, I say that "oh dear, no one loves me, I haven't been added to the fashionplanet feeds yet" before I LOOK at the feeds in the sidebar. D'oh. At least I didn't post that to that blog. And scrolling down further, there's one more post about the treat bucket!

So, yeah. Today is awesome so far.

Le Cadre’ shop!

Holy carp! I signed up for this thing on a lark, seeing the last call for submissions on fashionplanet (which, I tried to get the store blog added to and have heard nothing back. Maybe he hasn't had time yet. Assuming you're supposed to email him and ask even, since I couldn't find anything that actually told me how to get added). I totally didn't expect to be accepted, but I figured I ought to send out an app anyway... AND I GOT IN. I'm blown away. So, soon there will be a third location! There are bigger spots open in Ohana Isle too (or at least were as of a couple of days ago), and I wouldn't mind moving in to something bigger there, with the treasure hunts it gets some nice traffic, and I do really like the area. But I so don't have the time for setting that up right now, so I'm going to have to wait for the next round. I have to finish my treasure hunt goodie too- it's not going to be anything super awesome this time, but kind of cutesy, at least.

I need to look at the area and see what the style's like, so I can try to get a handle on how exactly I'm dressing up my shops (I finally installed my floor in La Reina last night, but I'm sure whether I'm going to bring that vévé over or not. I chose it specifically for that location, I think she'd like the pink beaches. And, I've sort of been plotting building a French Quarter dollhouse on the roof and seeing if G. would mind if I replaced the shop with it. Not that I've had the time to get started yet [way too much happening way too fast! Before this even! I want to do some of the Halloween fun, but I also have this huge ass commission I need to finish, decorating and outfitting the shop in La Reina, and of course I get the "ZOMG MUST MAKE" bug biting me every so often. Sending things off to bloggers to be reviewed takes time- of course, it's the bucket, so I'm kind of antsy that most of them haven't said head or tails about it yet since it will be going away in a couple of weeks, and wouldn't be surprised if they ignore me entirely anyway since it isn't fashion-fashion. Got to say, it's been a bit disheartening as well as a pain in the ass hunting down the people to submit things to and the format they each want, and I'm seriously considering not even trying for anything ever again. I'm sure it gets easier once you've done it a few times, but starting up? Gah. On the bright side, getting in to Le Cadre' is a massive ego boost, so I don't feel quite so "I'm not good enough for them, they're ignoring me"]).

And I HAVE to get the ad together of the thing I just made yesterday and the day before now. I want to add another piece (thank you insomnia?) but I think I'll release the bits I've got now as one set, and have it be an extra, like the long eyeball necklace and the arachnophobia tiara. With that much space...I need to take picture of way more stuff I've already got made up. The crown earrings will be going in La Reina, at least, as well as the matching crown, and if I do end up expanding like this I may start offering different things in different locations more...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Sizing Sculpties Smaller

I'm working on a (somewhat huge) commission right now, and one necessity to do things right is a small sculpted item. It, however, has to be smaller than the .01x.01x.01 you can get to with just uploading a normal sculpty. Prim torture doesn't work for the workaround for sculpts, the texture itself has be altered to get things smaller.

Considering I'm primarily obsessed with jewelry now, this is a wall I would be running into regardless eventually. I've been avoiding sculpties because they tend towards massive lumpiness, as well as criminal inefficiency in most cases (all the vertices need to be interpolated, and we're talking way more than on a regular prim, and it makes quite a lot of sense that some people are sitting there chugging away with spheres where sculpties should be while they load the things that could have been done in 2 regular prims, which would have loaded far faster and easier). A big part of the problem is we're talking about giving shiny toys to people who don't understand the real practicality behind them (at the Jewelry Exposition, someone was fighting about the exclusion of sculpties in our builds, because "they're the great new thing! She's an idiot to not let us use them! We can just give one of our texture allowances to them!" not realizing that it works on a substantially different principle, and does add more to lag. Also there was a bit of "why can't I do _that_, it just adds to client side lag?" while ignoring the fact that client or server side, LAG IS LAG when it comes to the people who are trying to actually look around. But, I digress). Another big part of the problem is that the system already has serious constraints without adding yet another big imposition on it. Sculpties are marvelous and fabulous and let us do things we couldn't before...and technologically we're not really ready for them, except in ideal conditions. Add in the people who are using them entirely to cheat their prim limits on their sims...and yeah. It isn't a system breaker, but it certainly does mean things run less smoothly than they could.

But yeah, off the soapbox, and back to useful things. Johanna Hyacinth was the only reference I could find to anyone even suggesting cheating the size limit on sculpties. However, I needed to do some trial and error to figure out how to cut the channels- this is how it's done in Photoshop:

Open your sculpt texture.

Open Levels. Move Output Levels more towards the middle, in this case, I chose 60, 195. The more towards the middle you go, the smaller your sculpt (also, as she points out, the more detail that gets lost! So don't go too far! And really, you can't actually make things out well once they're too small anyway), but this ought to be sufficient for my needs.

Save, import, voila! An (almost) identical sculpted item, at a smaller size!

Of rather useful note: the UV mapping will be the same as if it were at the larger size- it doesn't do the thing with inner hollows and the percentage texture thing (Robin Sojourner has a great tutorial book in world on figuring all that out, close to the place to pick up her avatar uv maps).

(Yes, this is extremely basic, but I'm good at forgetting what I've done, and then being stupid trying to figure it out and ignoring the obvious.)

Bucket notes

This is for me to keep track of the way in which I developed the bucket code. This isn't really of interest to anyone else, and mostly is just so for the future I don't waste as much time trying to do things that can't be done (although, with Mono someday maybe, ha!, soon, some of this may be obsolete before I try anything like this again- although most of the problem was with the permissions system). Also, it serves as some insight into how I feature creep, because, well, I have a tendency to.

At first inception the bucket was to: hand out items to anyone that touched it, have an arm animation for holding it standing, and have an animation to hold it out to say Trick or Treat. The sound was pretty much included as something I wanted from the beginning, even though I tend to avoid sound, and in fact usually have my computer sound off (a habit I got into long ago when I had a particular roommate, and after that year all the burps and whistles annoyed me since I'd become used to not hearing them).

I decided I wanted the items handed out to be no copy. This serves a few purposes- one, it means that once the bucket is not present, you're stuck with the few items you have, and you have to give away items, not just share them. It's an analog world recreation, since with digital replication it makes far less sense. However, it has the advantage to making it a game as to who gets what ("Awww, I wanted those horns!" "I'll trade you for that hat!"), as well as reducing inventory clutter a little- giving away your candy means you don't now have the copy. Again a having-cake-and-eating-it situation makes more sense in digital, this was to suggest real world conditions.

Now, with the way SL deals with permissions, this means that only I can easily do the system this way. Giving the distributor out to people means that I really need to be able to set a second generation of permissions (items in bucket- copy, taken out of bucket- no copy). That simply isn't possible with how the system is currently structured, there is no way to program more restrictive permissions beyond setting it in the properties tab for one next owner. Telling people to set all the copies in the bucket no copy by hand? Neither a solution that would happen, nor a solution that has any appeal for, well, anyone.

This gave rise to no-copy/transfer items in the bucket. Contents are effectively unlimited (apparently), so I could cram multiple copies of everything into the bucket, so it would take a very long time to run out (there are quite a few distinct items [over 40 if I recall correctly, although a number are just hue shift candies], and I'd gotten up to 20 copies of each and the system was lagging on loading the contents terribly...and really, that's going to last just about anyone a good long time). If it's going to run needs to actually tell you it's running out. So, I coded the attachment to have the "contents" of the bucket slowly sink, then start disappearing (it got quite spectacularly complex as I was doing a check to see if there were any lollies or apples left to take away the lolly and the apple when they ran out, as well as each individual candy of the...34, I think it is, to disappear one by one at the end- and that made for massive headaches and almost impossible testing, as the candy doesn't run out for me, so it was touch to load the script, open and delete item, touch again, for 40+ times. The very last "pull" was to be a unique item to each bucket, the worm "bracelet", as the worm would be the very last thing to disappear. The bucket would then appear empty, and touches would now turn the lights on and off instead- the animations and "Trick or Treat!" would still happen as usual).

So I coded all of that up, massive headache that it was, since each candy had to have a distinct script- llGetObjectName does not have an associated function for getting the names of child prims to make life easier, so it was pretty miserable.

Then I finally talked Max into making an appearance so I could make sure it worked...and every touch regaled me with a script error. @$#%&*! Now, this could have been avoided if I actually did read through all of the text on the wiki ("No-copy objects can not be given from attachments."), but, well, I tend to skim things a lot so I missed that crucial point of information.

Which meant that the objects given out had to be copy/transfer. Period. Otherwise you wouldn't be able to give things out to anyone (and copy/no transfer was never something I wanted for the contents, they should be shared). All of the headache over the lowering candy level and checking for the last apples and lollies, and candy disappearing one by one at the needed to be thrown out. None of it would work, unless I decided to delete the contents as they were being given out, which would just be mean, really. It made sense while items would be no copy, but once they are? It ceases to make sense, since they are infinite outside of the bucket, they ought to be infinite inside it as well.

Which all meant that it could have been finished at least a week ago, maybe 2, if I would have just gotten down to doing the recording sooner. (After scouring the net for a good royalty free "Trick or Treat!" sound from a gang of children, I finally gave up, and just recorded myself saying it a few times, pitch shifted some, and layered it all. I think it actually came out rather well, even if it is just me masquerading as a gang of children, and not actual kids. Thankfully I did it before my voice got quite so wrecked by this cold, as well.)

I did end up adding a mini AO as well so when sitting (or crouching), the arm is not held out straight, but instead holds the bucket up in your lap (and around that general area, mostly it tends to be inside your leg a lot, but that's partly to keep wrists from being bent at horribly ugly pointy angles).

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Touch my bucket!

So, I've been working on this treat bucket forever. Numerous hurdles presented themselves, which eventually led to me doing it the easy way and bypassing all of the hurdles entirely, so it should have been done weeks ago- it was making the hard way work that took so long.

(That's the eyeball bracelet from My Mother's Eyes- I've been wearing lots of the pieces of it recently often.)

Come to La Reina, and buy the great big coffin gift box for $0, for a bucket of your very own.

(For personal reference: ATTACHMENTS CANNOT GIVE OUT NO COPY ITEMS! Even if they are transfer. It won't do it. It refuses to take them out of the inventory and give them out, as expected. So in the future, ignore all thoughts of "I could make it like a trading card game" and "this would help keep inventory clutter down" because it ain't gonna let you. Remember this for the next time you do something like this. Please. It will save you weeks and weeks of headaches.)

Mostly for my reference so I don't forget, because I didn't actually document this code (yeah, I know. Bad girl), functionality: on touch, the bucket hands out one of the (many) items it contains, which are some sort of candy (some of which is not friendly candy) or costume items. Everything is meant to be worn. Also, upon addressing the bucket in chat channel 13 it will: hold out the bucket and say "Trick or Treat!" both audibly and in chat (/13 tot, /13 trick, /13 treat, /13 trick or treat); extinguish the lights (/13 dark); light up (/13 light). Included is a very rudimentary AO which holds the arm straight when holding the bucket, and holds it tucked up when sitting. And, crap, I think the AO overrides the holding the bucket out. I'll have to figure out a workaround for least it isn't horrible breakage, and most people won't notice it- but it will irk me if I don't fix it.

Today, I ironed out (what I thought were) the last kinks (caused by over engineering expecting it to work the other way until I got an unsuspecting other-than-me person to help test it), and started distributing it. First, G. got one, and I tested hers out just in case to make sure it all was working. Once I knew I had a working copy, I knew I could load up the coffin that I was very happy that no one had noticed and gotten a copy out of while it was broken overnight.

G's a bad influence on me, by the way. I spent most of the day in a new _pink_ mohawk.

G. started inviting people to the shop (while I was...a very scary drag queen on the roof fitting something for a guy shape), and I came down to say hi instead of just being a disembodied voice once I'd gotten that done with. I sent out a group notice, since I was finally ready (and I love my bucket, I'm really quite proud of it). I got to meet some really neat new people, including one of the people who joined my group during the Jewelry Exposition (ok, _the_ person, although someone has joined since!) and we talked about Doctor Who for a while, as well as other this and thats.

In return, once everyone left and the place was empty, I checked out her groups, and found Octoberville.


Pure awesomeness. A scavenger hunt around an entire Halloween themed sim (so you have a reason to actually get your hands dirty and explore), which 100 random things you have to find. The downside is that it is quite popular, so the lag can be somewhat brutal. But it is something I highly recommend. Although I still haven't figured out how to get past the first room of the haunted house!

(The horns I'm wearing while roasting marshmallows there? They're in the bucket.)

Monday, October 8, 2007

IBM SOA adventure Island Haunted House

I've been remiss about my haunted houses. I haven't been to all that many- I've been far too distracted by making little nothings and setting up my shop and all.

However, IBM SOA Adventure Island has a rather neat maze. The ways to get through it are not always readily apparent, which is totally awesome. I really loved the prim ghosts, they were very nicely done.

I saw the best sculpty skull I've seen yet there- a Light Waves, of course.

It's not all spooktacular, but it's rather well done and pretty (it was filled with butterflies in one grotto when I went, due to an event, which sort of downplayed the spookiness factor).

Saturday, October 6, 2007

New Shop!

I've set up a new shop in La Reina- currently both my shop and the sim itself are in the process of being built, but I've got a start of it with things from the Jewelry Exposition.

I'm really excited! And I've started putting pumpkins and jack o'lanterns all over for Halloween.