Thursday, September 26, 2019

In World Again

Robot Sanatorium with Rosie's Head Retracted. For scale, the platform just to the left of center at the bottom is 15 meters wide. When I came into world after a long absence, I found the head in open position.

It should have been closed, like this.

I've been spending time in world after being absent for too long.

Our regions Whimsy and Whimsy Kaboom have been ticking along without supervision for several years now. I left the volcano Pele's lava suspended 40 meters above the caldera when I vanished, and put it back immediately. Otherwise, things have been fine in my absence.

Oh, every once in a while Kitto Flora's little steam train takes a powder. When that happens it sends me an IM and I log in and track it down and send it home, but that's about it for emergencies.

Wandering around and looking at things in detail, however, I've discovered some things that needed attention. Somehow, some time, for instance, I managed to paste a texture onto one face of a big three-prim bamboo plant. Oopsie! Delete.

I found several wandering fish who were no longer wandering and deleted and replaced them. I found that gulls I had rezzed weren't free-flying, as I had thought, and were anchored to a central prim where wasn't phantom. I had left of these center prims several hanging a meter or so in the air, and, invisible as they were, they were an obstacle for those walking on the beach. I raised some and lowered some and all was good.

The roof of the robot sanatorium was missing, or, rather, had been lowered and didn't return to position. I'm not sure how that happened, but I put it back. I'll need to take a look at the script and fix it.

And I discovered the hand that rises from the ticket booth at the robot sanatorium cinema had vanished. I found it hanging in the air some 50 meters below its assigned position, returned it to its rightful place, and tweaked the script to send it home after every up and down movement to make sure it wouldn't wander in the future.

That's not too shabby for two years of non-maintenance.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Jian Otters at Whimsy (And a Considerable Digression)

Second Life wildlife has come a long way from circling birds and fish. You know; you've seen them. They're linked to a sphere and rotate via a simple script. That was pretty much it when Second Life was new.

Not that a circling bird or critter is a bad thing. Some, including Julia Hathor's eagle, look great. Circling is not entirely inappropriate behavior for an eagle, either, so there you go. Julia's eagle, which I believe was given to me by Bill Havercamp, has been slowly circling above Whimsy's upper gardens for more than a decade!

If you look closely at the photo below, you'll just be able see the long cylindrical prim that connects the bird with the small sphere about which it rotates.

The above photo is cropped, but it's not a trick photo. I had just flown to the area, and the alpha texture on the cylinder hadn't had time to resolve--and so it was visible, even though when fully rezzed it can't be seen.

When Julia made her eagle back in 2006, Second Life would not a texture to be set to 100% invisible. Consequently, to make an item disappear, we had to use an alpha texture. Today, we CAN set objects to 100% invisible. That works immediately and alpha textures don't, so what you see above is a historical artifact.  How about that!?

You can find an alpha texture in your inventory, in the Library. It's in the Textures folder and is called *Default Transparent Texture. If you apply it to a prim face, it will turn invisible--but these days you can do the same thing more effectively just by selecting 100% Transparent in the Textures tab of the Build window.

Here's a shot of the eagle that shows the Second Life interface. I ran the eagle down and right-clicked it and selected edit, making the ordinarily invisible prims evident. You can see the long cylinder. There's a small prim, invisible from this distance, where the blue and green and red arrows intersect.

So, yeah, before I got carried away, otters.

No, wait-- please allow me to continue to digress.

Than you for being so gracious.

Here's how I knew just when Julia made her eagle. This is its Inspect window. You can choose it from the pie menu (or the square Edit window, if that's how you roll).

This is actually a digression upon my digression. My digression concerns Julia. Julia made and sold beautiful plants and animals and structures and textures and sold them from her Creative Fantasy regions. Unfortunately, she left Second Life around 2005 for InWorldz, and her creations disappeared from SL. Now InWorldz itself is gone. Julia, wherever you are, you and your creations were and still are loved in Second Life!

Don't worry, Digression is winding down. I learned about Julia's (and her creations') departure just last week, when I tried to buy another of her lovely herons.

The digression is now over. Please come back from wherever you wandered off to.

Julia's Animated Great White Heron was a marked improvement from circling birds. It stands on the alert for fish and every thirty seconds or so snares one. It's moved by scripts that change the orientation and position of its constituent prims. So much better and more sophisticated than those circling scripts, which operate from just one line:

Hard to believe creators would lock up such a simple script, isn't it? Buy yeah, they do, and shame on them! My first experiments with scripting consisted of tweaking the variables in that line to change the direction and/or speed of the rotation. Had some fine avatar not left the script modifiable, there would be no robot sanitorium today! Imagine that: no home for the many mentally malfunctioning mechanoids of the Metaverse!

Second Life critters continue to improve. My favorites these days come from Jian, including the adorable sea otters at the top of this page. You can find a pair in the little inlet along the beach at Whimay and another pair near the sea decks on Whimsy Kaboom. Jian's frogs and chameleons and piglets and sharks and other critters are cute and energetic and creative and fit nicely on our sims.  You'll find them scattered all over. Check them out!