Friday, May 15, 2009

New Features Lead (Eventually) to High Quality Merchandise: II. Scripting

Written 15 May, 2009

New Features Lead (Eventually) to Higher Quality Merchandise

II. Scripting

When I first came to Second Life, most scripted objects used fairly simple code. There were exceptions—Mystical Cookie’s Mystitool and Ananda Sandrgrai’s free Mahjong table and Ziggy Puff’s free Zhao AO come to mind—but I spent a great deal of money for birds with locked scripts with only one line of code to make them circle endlessly..

Nowadays there are thousands of scripted objects that take advantage of the latest developments in Second Life’s scripting engine and the SL viewer. In fact, it was the recently-blogged Damani media player that made me think of writing this blog. At just two prims, it allows selection-by-click that would have formerly required 40 or more prims; this is possible because it uses a new ability of scripts to tell just where a prim is clicked.
Damani Media Player: Two Prims, Lots of Click Action
Scripters are now taking full advantage of the Linden Scripting Language’s ability to communicate with the World Wide Web. My new Damani weather system, for example, can read the real-world weather conditions at my home zip code and duplicate them on Whimsy. When it rains at my house, it rains on Whimsy.

Web-enabled vendors and rent systems like those at Hippo Technologies are far easier to set up and maintain than earlier vendors, which read data from notecards—and they provide better metrics. Other web-enabled products maintain databases that allow automated delivery of updated products and notices of sales or special events.

Movement of prims has also improved. Birds and fish no longer merely circle dumbly; they patrol semi-randomly around a home position and move their bodies while they’re doing so (we have a great flamingo from Animania that struts and frets around on the beach at Whimsy). Many builders are taking advantage of the prim automation program Puppeteer or using their own scripts to automate houses, animals, and other objects.

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