Sunday, January 21, 2007

Cleanup in Aisle Two!

Written 17 January, 2007

Cleanup in Aisle Two!

It was an inspiration.

I don’t know where the idea came from.

Perhaps from a lifetime of Bounty and Brawny and Viva commercials.

But it came.

And so, I built a giant roll of paper towels and hung it in the sky.

And, in an adventure in scripting, I made it rotate.

Woo hoo!

I made it from a huge prim. It was a one-prim wonder.


You may know that in SL, the limit on the size of primitives is 10 meters—in every direction. North, East, South, West, Up, Down.

Huge Prims are grandfathered. The come in a variety of sizes (although some of the most useful sizes don’t seem to be present), and are, apparently, legal to use. They cannot be resized, but they can be copied and transferred.

Want a set?


The huge prim was a cylinder, 20 meters in diameter and 60 meters long.

In other words, big.

Really, really big.

I found a texture in my inventory that looked rather like paper towels and applied it. I hollowed the prim a bit and applied a cardboard texture inside the roll. Then I set the roll to rotating, and there it was.

A giant floating roll of paper towels, in Viva green.

When Sweetie showed up, she tweaked it. Suddenly, it was Bounty blue.


Huge prims—some of them, anyway—act a little strange.

As I’ve said, they can’t be resized.

And the huge paper towel prim, although hollowed, wouldn’t let Sweetie and I enter the hole.

So, Sweetie made regular prims, colored them like cardboard, inserted them into the “hollow” spot in the huge prim, and set them to rolling.

Some of them rolled backwards, but I fixed that by turning them 180 degrees.

Now we could walk inside the hollowed out giant prim.

And I tell you, it was like being at the fun house in the carnival.


In another moment of inspiration, I used a huge prim to make a 30m tall propeller and set it to spinning. For effect, I made it rotate in the direction opposite the roll of towels.

Then Sweetie, mistress of texturization and prim tweaking that she is, twisted the prim into a propeller shape and turned it into shiny metal.

Way cool.

I added a shaft in the middle of the propeller so it looked as if the prop was attached to machinery inside the roll (maybe I’ll add that machinery later).

Suddenly, we had a flying machine.

Or almost.


We had two problems.

First was the prop.

Remember how I said giant prims can act in peculiar ways?

The propeller snapped off into a regular prim.

Not once.

Not twice.

Three times.

And when it did, it didn’t just make a smaller propeller. No, it looked like a snapped-off prop. Both blades.

Isn’t SL strange and wonderful and strange?

Have to figure out why that happens, or else make a prop from three regular prims.

The other problem was the rotation.

You see, I didn’t just rotate the texture; I rotated the object. And since the rotation was around one of the axes, the prim’s axis of rotation changes as its’ coordinates changes.

In other words, rotate the roll of paper towels 90 degrees on the wrong axis, and it’s suddenly tumbling end over end.

This is not good for a flying machine.

I could rotate the texture instead and I’ll try that. I’m not sure, though, if texture rotation will change as the direction of the object changes.

But I think sooner or later, we’ll have a flying ship.


Dodge and Damian and I later had fun riding on the paper towels. The evening ended up with us sitting on the bottom of the lagoon in a giant Union Pacific locomotive.

I like being in the Icarus society.

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