Sunday, November 21, 2010

Making the Blue Whale

Chey Contemplates Her Baby Blue Whale as the Giraffe Watches From Afar

Written 21 November, 2010

Making the Blue Whale

Ferd Frederix has some fascinating tools on his web page; see here. He has a small program that will display images in the Second Life cache folder in a web browser and a single script that will let the user manipulate prims in any complex object (aka Puppeteer). There's a zip file with all of Emerald's Windlight settings for users of Viewer 2.x, a powerful translator, a script that will generate speech from text, a tutorial that will allow Viewer 2 users to play their mp3s in Second Life without eating lots of bandwidth or paying someone for the privilege, and a tutorial for some nifty ripping water (Viewer 2 viewable only). But my favorite tutorial is a multi-parter called The Blue Whale Project.

The tutorial is detailed. You start by downloading a series of textures and sculpty textures and putting them in a prim. You add a script, run it, and before your eyes a small blue whale is generated. You must then drag copies of the single fluke and fin, add a root prim, and link everything. Then you add a prim for riding the whale and drop in a swim script from the tutorial.

 It took a while, but I finally got the root prim oriented so the whale wasn't standing on its flukes or dragging me upside down through the ocean.

The next steps are to add prims for the spout and a splash; then scripts must be placed in the flukes, tail, and fins, and those prims manipulated to make up and down swimming motions. A separate script animates the flukes. Finally, the whale is taught how to swim.

I got lost on my first attempt. The whale moved, but it seemed to have epilepsy. Tonight I started again and got most of the way through the tutorial.

The whale is small now, but my plan is to drag it large in Viewer 2.3, which, I understand, allows the creation of megaprims to 60 meters. I'm sure I'll have to play with the particle scripts to make the spout and splashes work properly. I'll keep you informed, dear reader, of my progress.

Ferd's pages are wonderful, but the texture program worries me. It doesn't display usable textures, but it does display their Unique User ID's; with a script, that texture (including sculpties) can be placed in a script which will apply it to a prim. This effectively allows texture theft. Ferd says he has alerted Linden Lab about the problem in their security, but decided to publish the program nonetheless.

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