Sunday, January 18, 2015

Wow. Just... wow.

I am now seriously impressed with what one can do in Second Life.

You really should watch the following video--switch it to 720 and go full screen. It shows off Angel Manor Estate, which makes serious use of "materials".

It starts with what, if you don't look very closely, seems to be a shot of a man at a monitor showing Second Life as it was... cheesy, low-res, vaporous unrezzed avatars interminably hovering... but when the virtual camera pulls back, you realize it's showing on a monitor in a much different Second Life. Varnished woodwork and metallic ceilings, hardwood and marble floors. Fade out... and then fade in to a misty sun-dappled woods. After touring it, back to the outside of the manor through the seasons, and once again into the building to view the rooms, the furniture, a lunch gathering at a very ornate table laden with food, a theater, and on...

It's not perfect. One of the hardwood floors looks like the varnish is coating it to a considerable depth--for a second I wondered if we were on water. And of course, we humans are a lot pickier about recognizing humans than we are inanimate objects, so the gentleman, while quite good looking, doesn't tromp my oeil as much as the surroundings.

That said, it is utterly breathtaking. Metallic objects in Second Life have in the past required independent twin I-beam suspension on your disbelief--either they had painted-on highlights, or like some Indian jewelry in my inventory, were set to glow. The metal in Angel Manor Estate looks like metal. There's plenty of detail that is probably there thanks to bump mapping, and hence nowhere near the burden on your system or on SL that would otherwise be required.

Many, many thanks to Kaya Angel for this video. I hope that it won't be long before all of SL is as amazing.

Watch and then pick your jaw up off the floor.

UPDATE: Hereunder is a video of the manor from three year ago for comparison. The inspiration is there, but constrained by the SL rendering of the time.

Friday, December 26, 2014

New (to me)

I went Googling to see what's going on in the breast attachment world. (Sad to do that rather than going in-world and searching, but I suspected that the trend to Marketplace-only sales thanks to SL's outrageous land prices is still underway.)

With the fitted mesh option open, I went looking for "mesh breasts". Sure enough, there are several sources of fitted mesh breasts. (There are also non-fitted mesh breasts out there--you can scale non-fitted meshes, but the fitted ones are controlled by the relevant avatar sliders. I'll have to try both kinds, of course!)

I must say the video for the Cherry Bomb fitted mesh breasts is very impressive. My only quibble with it is the way the model's hands are positioned over the breasts at a couple of points; as a potential customer I don't want things hidden. Responding to avatar sliders is a wonderful thing; I like having control over buoyancy and cleavage. OTOH, will the size slider give me the size I want? I know me; the answer, of course, is "no", but it's a matter of tradeoffs. After all, fitted mesh allows jiggle.

I don't wish to slight other makers or products, but I will say I hope that they come out with videos as well.

 Is it my imagination, or is Tango compatibility the main, if not only, breast attachment support new clothing has nowadays?

A surprising amount of other things showed up in a marketplace search for mesh breasts, much of which I was happy to see--AOs that mentioned breast attachment compatibility as a selling point, clothing and hair... and, oddly enough, a set of mesh additional arms if you want to release your inner Hindu goddess. (I have the two "Kali" sets; they don't move, but they're nice when you want ten arms. If only I hadn't read about the thousand-armed goddess of mercy, I might be satisfied... :))

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Lucidscape -- learning from SL?

By now you may well have heard of Lucidscape, but just in case...Lucidscape is an attempt to create the metaverse that looks like it's trying to avoid  aspects of Second Life that keep it from scaling. To demonstrate scalability, they simulated ten million participants on an 800-server cluster. The "participants" are a mixture of movable but largely stationary emitters and constantly moving drones that the emitters control and communicate with and which are constantly communicating across server boundaries.

(One could very well argue that one of those aspects is user-created content--people can and do create things without concern for efficiency--but that's too important a feature to forbid; on the page they say "the [emitters and drones] were purposefully crafted to be inefficient [emphasis in original] in the same manner we average user-written code may be.")

I especially like this:
We are a team of developers who are passionate about creating a future where massively multi-user virtual reality is pervasive and everyone can participate in a Metaverse which is:
  • Free and open source so everyone may add their own worlds to the Metaverse the same way anyone can run a web server today.
  • Devoid of any form of centralized control, free of gatekeepers and censorship under the guise of curation. Because if anyone can tell you what you are allowed to do in it, then it is not the real Metaverse.
I hope to see more from them.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


A lot has been going on, and keeping me away from the grid. I hope that's over.

More layout changes as I can get them in--the way out-of-date Ubuntu version countdown is gone, as I can't find one for Utopic Unicorn. (Sigh.)

On to what might be more important (OK, it doesn't take much importance to do that): this JIRA entry, VWR-9203. Curiously, it has recently been marked as fixed. Does that mean we'll get flexible sculpties someday, or does "fixed" just mean that top men are working on it. You know, Top. Men. that it won't ever happen?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Google+ changes its name policy

I'm happy to say that Google+ has announced that they will no longer place restrictions on the name you can use. Details on the Google+ Google+ page.

I hope this settles the matter once and for all. I've been on Google+ as Melissa Yeuxdoux for some time, but I've hesitated to link my blog to my Google+ presence (so that, for example, my Google+ feed includes links to blog posts) after reading about some Blogger blogs that went away over "real name" issues. I'm hoping the link will be safe now.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

(N+1)th Life?

Here's part of a statement that Hamlet Au received from Linden Lab and posted an article about on NWN:
"Linden Lab is working on a next generation virtual world that will be in the spirit of Second Life, an open world where users have incredible power to create anything they can imagine and content creators are king....The next generation virtual world will go far beyond what is possible with Second Life, and we don't want to constrain our development by setting backward compatibility with Second Life as an absolute requirement from the start."
What comes to mind at that news?

  • The Osborne Effect: how much effort/$ are you willing to invest in something when you've been told something far better is coming?
  • Will they support both kinds o' computers--Windows and Mac? While it's still a sore point that Linden Lab has never provided a 64-bit Linux version, it has provided a 32-bit Linux version for a long time, for which I am extremely grateful. That said, it would be really nice if they'd come out and say "yes, we will support Linux for this new virtual world", especially given that it will at least initially be closed source. (For that matter, did you hear about the improvements to graphics in Android "L"? I hope you're targeting capable tablets and smartphones, LL.)
  • Can we be anonymous in the new world as we can in Second Life? I hope that is the case; Ebbe Altberg tweeted "Yes, we clearly want to... let you bring you [sic] identity and friends across", which gives me hope.
What comes to my mind the most, though? Sheer delight!

How many times have I quoted Fred Brooks here? At least twice. Let's bump that number.
"Plan to throw one away. You will anyhow. The only question is whether you deliver the throwaway to your customers."
Of course, backwards compatibility would be nice... but Second Life looks crude compared with other 3D environments. Every so often you see a link to a video of avatar configuration in a game that makes Second Life look pathetic in comparison, both in simplicity and power of UI and quality of avatar. Creators shouldn't have to find obscure bugs that they can take advantage of to do things SL's creators didn't envision or even wanted to forbid.

Bless the creators of Second Life for their ingenuity and skill--but they deserve an environment they don't have to fight. I will cheerfully give up inventory if I can have better.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Textures not taking?

Gatherings has a lovely new (to me, at least!) blue suit, so I bought it. It comes with heels and cute glasses (now I have to go looking for a pencil-behind-ear attachment :)), and all was going well... until it came to the trousers.

They were gray.... or were they just not rezzing completely? Rebake textures... rebake textures... no change. Put on a different pair, and they rezzed. OK, take them off. Off they went. OK, put them back on. They sort of went back on. I could see what were intended to be cuffs... but they were textured like me. OK, sign off and back on... and they were gray.

I guess I'd better go back and look at the poster--but I can't believe the trousers are intended to be gray. Strange.