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.

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