Saturday, January 24, 2009

I Write Scripts

Written 21 January, 2009

I Write Scripts

I will never call myself a scripter.

However, I do script.

At long last I’m able to make a prim do pretty much anything and everything I want it to do.

When I look at the code of others, I’m astonished by how lengthy and complex it sometimes is. The prim is often doing something relatively simple, but the code is anything but.

For a long time I was intimidated. thought I was ignorant—why wasn’t I writing those long, complex, elegant scripts?—but I’ve become increasingly convinced a lot of scripters take the long way around, using hundreds of lines of code when dozens would suffice.

I continue to learn new things: how to use timers, send messages to prims within linked sets, change the media URL, animate a sitting avatar and set the camera view, move prims about in space, change a prim’s color, size, shape, and texture, do _if_ and _if else_ loops, make particles and blue menu boxes.

Some things still elude me. I’ve not quite figured out the angle variables in particle scripts. I’ve not been able to convince a script to read data from notecards. And I’m constantly flummoxed by program flow; scripts constantly don’t do what I expect them to when I expect them to. But I’ve learned that with LSL there are usually several ways to tackle a problem; when I worry with my scripts enough, I eventually get them to compile and do what I want them to do.

Call me a quick and dirty scripter; I won’t mind. My code is easy to read (at least for me) and no longer than it needs to be to get the job done without crashing. Moreover, my scripted prims always seem to work properly and reliably, without protest and without lag.

Don’t get me wrong, now—I know some scripts are exceedingly complex, and the clunky structure of LSL calls for a lot of code. I’m not knocking those who write complex scripts, just saying a lot of relatively simple scripts seem a bit verbose to this relative novice.

Scripting has not come easy for me. I’ve had to learn it pretty much on my own, as both the LSL Portal and LSL Wiki are sketchy, not explaining much and giving few examples. It’s taken me a good long while (two years) to be able to say this:

I’m not a scripter, but I write scripts.

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