Thursday, April 10, 2008

Shaky Sam's Seismology Service

Written 9 April, 2008

Shaky Sam’s Seismology Service

When you live in the shadow of an active volcano, you can’t afford not to take precautions to protect yourself. So when an oily character who called himself Shaky Sam came by Whimsy with a seismology device, I bought it on the installment plan. I'll be making payments until Pele goes extinct, but at least we will have a couple of minutes notice before she looses a pyroclastic flow across the land and kills us all. We can all teleport somewhere like, oh, the Ahern Welcome Area until the danger is past.

Sam’s seismology device is parked on top of a heap of semi-cooled lava. On touch, it extends a robot arm and lowers a thermometer into the lava. A tape showing seismic activity scrolls across a screen and a printer kicks out a hard copy. If bad comes to worse, there’s a panic button which doesn’t do much, just howls like crazy and tells you to get the hell out of Dodge.

Pele’s sulfurous fumes have already rusted the damn thing, and I’m not at all sure it will hang together until I make the last payment. But no worry. Sam has already been around trying to sell me the 2009 model.


I had a lot of fun making the Shaky Sam seismology device. What—you thought Sam was real? Sweetie helped me by making a nice rust texture with a slot into which the seismology tape disappears. I used some nice animated steampunk gauge textures I picked up somewhere, and made the seismograph tape display with GIMP—which I am learning rapidly, having at last broken down and purchased a book to help me over the rough spots. I’m using layers now, can make alpha textures, and just learned how to do Bezier curves, which will make it MUCH easier to isolate figures from backgrounds. And I had fun learning how to animate prims with Puppeteer.


Stop by Whimsy sometime and climb to the top of Pele and walk around the rim and you’ll see Sam’s box down on the lava. Be sure not to touch the panic button!

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