Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Putting Your Modeling Studio To Sleep

The N30 Deluxe Modeling Studio is a very popular and useful tool for taking snapshots in Second Life. Unfortunately, it is a very script-heavy device that almost always ends up in a sim's list of "Top Scripts." Heavily-scripted objects contribute to lag, which affects everyone on the island. Luckily, the N30 Deluxe Modeling Studio has an auto-off feature that shuts the studio down while you're not using it. Please follow these steps to ensure your studio isn't wasting valuable resources while you're away. The process is a little weird, but follow these steps to do it right (steps after the picture):

  1. Touch (left-click) the studio's control panel to bring up the menu.
  2. Click Settings.
  3. Click Auto-off.
  4. Click Shutdown.
    IMPORTANT: You're not done yet! You need to follow the next steps too!
  5. Touch the control panel again.
  6. Click Settings.
  7. Click Auto-off.
  8. Click Auto-off again. You should now see a message in chat that "Autoshutdown has been activated."
With this option enabled, the modeling table will disable any lighting and special effects, and temporarily turn off the modeling table if no one is in the vicinity for 5 minutes.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Moving Large Unlinked Builds

Every once in a while you have a need to move a number of unlinked objects together, so that they all maintain their same relative positions, but just move elsewhere on your land. The example I'm going to demonstrate involves the Montana Log Cabin, designed by Cory Edo. The cabin is too large to be packaged as a single linked structure, so you need to know how to select and move all of the cabin's linked components together if you want to reposition the house.

This tutorial assumes that you already know how to use the Second Life camera controls, and you know how to edit and move individual objects.

Increase your draw distance
The bigger your build is, the further away you'll need to zoom out your camera. Your maximum zoom distance is limited by your current draw distance, however. Increase your draw distance so that you can zoom out far enough to see your build and the destination location on-screen at the same time.

Disable camera constraints
By default the Second Life viewer puts limits on how far you can zoom in and out on things. You need to turn these limits off in order to move a large build. If you do not see the Client and Server menus in your menu bar, press CTRL+ALT+D to display them. Make sure that Disable Camera Constraints is checked, while Limit Select Distance is unchecked.

Only select your objects
If you accidentally select any items owned by anyone other than yourself, you will not be able to move ANY of the objects that you have selected. In order to prevent this from happening, make sure the Select Only My Objects option on the Tools menu is checked.

Get a bird's-eye view and clean up your viewing area
Use the camera controls to pan overhead and zoom out far enough that you can see the whole build. Once you start selecting items, the camera becomes more difficult to control, so it's best to start from a good angle before you do anything else.

My screenshots are small so you can view them easily, but ideally you're zoomed out far enough that you will be able to select all the parts of your build without having any windows or other things obstructing your view or your selection area (for example, I have the edit window covering part of my house on my screen in some of these pictures, and that would cause me a problem when selecting in the next steps). I strongly recommend you detach all of your HUDs because they can block your selecting. (Notice that I'm not wearing any HUDs in any of these screenshots.)

Enter edit mode
In order to begin selecting your build, you need to select one object in Edit mode. Do this by right-clicking an object (it doesn't matter which one) and picking Edit on the pie menu.

Select the rest of the build
Once you have at least one item selected in Edit mode you can click and drag on the ground to select the rest of the items. This is where it's very important that you don't have any HUDs or windows blocking your view.

Move the build
Once all your items are selected and your camera is positioned properly, you can move things by dragging the red, green, and blue arrow handles. You can also rotate the build by holding down CTRL or by switching into Rotate mode in the Edit window.

Finalize the move
Once you have everything positioned just where you like it, simply close the Edit window.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Phase 3: Full Island Rental at 1/4 the Price!

I am excited to announce Phase 3 of Desperation Isle Estates: Full island rentals at the price we normally charge to rent 1/4 of a sim. These are special "Openspace" islands that only support 3,750 prims instead of the normal 15,000. Note that Phase 2 (multi-tenant, full-prim day/night islands) is still going strong, and will continue to grow over time.

Some people call Openspace sims "low prim sim," "sim-lite," or (incorrectly) "void sims." There used to be severe restrictions on Openspace sims: Formerly they were limited to only 1875 prims, you could only order them in bunches of 4 at a time, and they had to be anchored to another island, which meant that you couldn't just put them anywhere on the map. All of those restrictions have been lifted, however, allowing us to provide completely autonomous full low-prim sims to our tenants!

There are many benefits to having your own Phase 3 island:
  • Choose your own default island design. We have a selection of various full-island templates available that we can install when you first move into your sim.
  • Choose your own island textures. We will texture your island to your specifications- you can make it a lush tropical getaway or a foreboding alien landscape.
  • Access to Estate Manager tools. We will grand the primary tenant access to the Region Tools for the given island. Tenants can use the region tools to diagnose physics and scripting issues, restart the island, send messages to visitors, and more.
  • Total creative freedom. Since you have no neighbors to worry about, none of the 'building guidelines' from our covenant apply. Make your island as beautiful (or ugly) as you wish. Specifically, sections 6.2, 6.3, 6.5, and 6.6 of the covenant mostly do not apply to Phase 3 islands.
Keep in mind that Openspace islands are not exactly the same as regular private islands. You must be aware of the following technical restrictions:
  • Total prim limit is 3,750. Once you hit your prim limit on an OpenSpace sim, there is no way to rent "extra prims" from us.
  • Limited performance. Openspace sims share a processor core with up to three other Openspace sims; they are designed to handle 1/4 the load. This makes them great for residential areas, low-script-load stores, and casual gathering places, but they are not ideal for places with very heavy script load or an unusually large number of textures.
Pricing and Acquisition
The pricing for a Phase 3 island is the same as for renting 1/4 of one of the other islands:

65536m: 3750 prims, weekly L$7200 ($26.97 USD), monthly L$28800 ($107.87 USD)

We will order Phase 3 islands on an as-needed, first-come-first-served basis. It costs us $415 out-of-pocket for every new Openspace sim we bring online, so quantities will be limited. Here's how it will work:
  1. If you would like to rent an Openspace sim, contact Wildefire Walcott directly. If she is not yet prepared to order a new island, she'll add you to her first-come-first-served Phase 3 wait list.
  2. If a new island needs to be ordered and Wildefire is prepared to purchase a new one, you will be required to make a non-refundable cash payment of L$14400 ($54.14 USD) to Wildefire Walcott. This money counts toward your rent, and any back-rent you already have on your existing rental box will also carry over once you move out of your old lot.
  3. Wildefire will put in the order for the new sim, and then alert you when it is ready. The choice of island name will be hers, but she may give you some options to choose from. (You will be able to name any parcel(s) you create on the island.)
  4. Delivery time may take 1-2 weeks, depending on how busy Linden Lab's Concierge team is. Once the island is delivered, you will be able to choose what island design to use, and select island textures. The island design options available to you are listed later. You will have to provide your own full-perm terrain textures to Wildefire if you are not satisfied with the ones in the Linden Library.
  5. Wildefire will add the primary tenant to the Estate Manager list for that island.
  6. If you are an existing tenant of Desperation Isle Estates, you will continue to pay your old rent box at the adjusted fee (Phase 3 islands have no rent boxes on them.) Otherwise, Wildefire will set a new box up for you at one of the other islands in the estate. Please vacate your old land as soon as possible (and notify Wildefire once you're moved out), so she can quickly re-adjust your rent box and re-list your land in.
Available Island Designs
We have the following default island designs available for Phase 3 islands. Four of them are the original island designs that Linden Lab uses when creating new private islands, while the others were custom designed for Desperation Isle Estates.