Thursday, May 31, 2007

Is it all that easy the old way?

Today Cheyenne told me about a two-prim dolphin made with a sculpted prim. (Why isn't it one prim? One prim determines the path the dolphin takes; I presume it's a disk with the dolphin attached to the edge.)

She has dolphins made the old-fashioned way; they're twenty prims each.

Any shape can be built up out of a bunch of tiny basic shapes... but that would be an even more insane use of prims, which are a precious resource in SL.There are some stock tricks, like building trees and bushes with intersecting planes that are transparent save for having the side view of the plant painted on them, but in general the task is figuring out how to get a good enough approximation to the shape with the fewest possible prims. That's not easy... and to be honest, it often isn't quite good enough. If, for example, you're approximating a curve by overlapping two prims, the place where the boundaries intersect is hard to get just right; lighting will show up a corner, however slight, in a cross section at right angles to said intersection.

It's easy to create some prims and glue them together... but it's not easy to get a good enough approximation of a shape while minimizing prim count.

So... old style prims are easy at first; the difficulty comes when you try to make something more complicated. Sculpted prims, on the other hand, are hard at first, because you have to learn to use blender or Wings 3D or whatever... but once you've done that, you can make just about anything topologically equivalent to a sphere (for now; later we'll get other sorts of sculpted prims).

So... is the making of quality objects in SL all that much more arcane a skill now than it was before sculpted prims? I think not.

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