Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The 2k problem

Linden Lab recently announced a new TPV (third-party viewer) policy. Most of it is straightforward... but the zinger is at the end, part 2k:
You must not provide any feature that alters the shared experience of the virtual world in any way not provided by or accessible to users of the latest released Linden Lab viewer.
The $64 question: what does LL consider the "shared experience", and what do they consider an alteration of it? Some say that features that solely affect what the user of a TPV sees don't fall under that prohibition... but OTOH, Qarl Fizz's mesh deformer code, though it is just such a feature, apparently falls under the 2k ukase. Fortunately, since the latest Linden Lab viewer lets one adjust the level of graphics, enable or disable shadows, and change one's Windlight setting, those aren't considered impermissible alterations of the "shared experience"... but parcel Windlight settings, OTOH, are.

Linden Lab supposedly has something in the queue to give functionality similar to parcel Windlight settings... but would they bother if people hadn't seen what it could do and decided it was a good idea? This decree would seem to kill any non-UI improvement in a TPV, by saying "you can't do anything until we have already done it". I fear that this will slow improvements to SL to a crawl.

OTOH, SL isn't the only grid around any more. Is LL shooting itself in the foot?

Tomorrow morning there will be a downloadable recording of a discussion with the folks behind Phoenix/Firestorm; check their blog for details and a link when the file is available. I guess we'll have to see whether LL clarifies 2k, and how TPV writers react.

UPDATE: Read Cheyenne Palisades's excellent post about the changes to TPV policy.

UPDATE #2: Read Emilly Orr's post and followup on the changes in TPV policy.

UPDATE #3: I was optimistic about the recording of the Phoenix/Firestorm discussion, alas--but Second Life Newser has a post with a summary, including lots of links to web content discussing the changes.

UPDATE #4: The discussion itself is up with audio and video on treet.tv. Apparently future episodes of the Phoenix/Firestorm Hour will also be on treet.tv... that's good to know.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Wear it and Weep

I am amazed--I seriously doubt that this would ever happen were it not for SL allowing user-created content.

Check out Iris Ophelia's article about mesh tears in New World Notes.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Good grief...

The LL Second Life client won't remember how you set the resolution for snapshots saved to your computer... but by golly, it will remember that you enabled UI display when you wanted to capture the displayed land impact comparison of sculpted prim, old prim, and mesh guitars and thereby ruin your next landscape photo!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tweaking My Head

If you've read this blog for a while, you know two things:
  • I'm not the sort who changes avatars as one would change clothing, and hence I give serious thought to possible changes... but also
  • I am not satisfied with my head; it looks sufficiently like the stereotypical pointy-chinned anime head that I have made fun of it
So, this morning I finally sat down (in RL) and stood up (in SL) and did something about it. Here is the result... and it's amazing how I'm hesitating in RL before typing this and inserting the photo, and will probably hesitate again before clicking "publish". (I have to laugh at myself a little because of that...)

I may tweak my nose a bit... we'll see.

UPDATE: Sorry, Kaseido, I missed a good geeky reference by not titling this post "Fun With My New Head".

YAUPDATE: Eek! I swear, the image didn't look that dark when I saw it locally.  If this tweaked version doesn't work, I'll go inworld and get another picture.

UPDATE**3: T talked with Reine, and she suggested that I tweak my nose, so I did. Here's the result--I should have gone for something a bit less like a mug shot. *sighs*

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mardi Gras at the H-Bomb Lounge

Starting at 6:00 p.m. SL time on Tuesday, February 21st (0200 GMT February 22nd), the H-Bomb Lounge will have a Mardi Gras celebration.There will be a "Most Colorful Costume" contest, with the winner receiving a set of vString prim breasts (to use yourself or give to a friend), and L$500 for a shopping spree. Put on your finery and come dance!

Bring back global illumination

For a while, there was a graphics option in the Second Life client called "global illumination". With global illumination, objects are rendered not just based on direct light, but also reflected light. Raul Crimson has a blog entry that shows a scene with and without global illumination; it gives you an idea of the difference it makes. There's definitely overhead involved with it, but it makes SL graphics more real, or should I say verisimilitudinous?

Unfortunately, we no longer have that choice, at least for now. From JIRA entry SH-2965, "Global illumination didn't even work properly. It was unfinished, and Runitai decided it was best to just remove it with the OpenGL 3 upgrade."

That JIRA entry asks that global illumination again be made an option. I hope you'll consider voting for and watching it. Thanks.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Man Revisited

A while back I wrote about The Man, the oldest object in Second Life. I am embarrassed to have to say that I forgot about this amazing artifact, but glad to say that Cheyenne has written a very good article about it and linked to a downright awe and reverence-inspiring post from Serendipity Haven. Do read them both.

I was inspired to return, and this time I, too, peeked to marvel at the antiquity of this imposing Art Deco statue:

oldjohn Linden, as you can see, is nearly nine and a half years old. I feel a mere child in comparison, and the statue indeed inspires awe.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

More Mesh Avatar News

The other day Bart Seymour was kind enough to chat with me about mesh avatars and show me what he was working on. Today I went to his store, and he has models out so the general public has an idea of what's coming:

The sign reads as follows:

New Mesh Body Shape, Coming Soon
No more tinting, one texture for the complete body, matching clothing that can be wrapped around the body. Allowing clothing like slingshot bikinis.

Perspective here exaggerates the difference in sizes, and I am sorry to say that mesh avatars, if I understand rightly, have skeletons with the same limits as the stock avatar shape, so unless I'm wrong or something changes, it won't be possible to be 5+ meters tall. (Darn it.)

UPDATE: I am happy to say that I am wrong; be sure to read Aliasi Stonebender's comment!

I believe the coloring of the figure at the right shows the components that make up the mesh avatar. They have no heads; perhaps that means the alpha mask won't hide your head. That would certainly be a simple way to make sure the head is as configurable as it is now, because it would be the current head! I'm just guessing on that point, though--so I hope that Bart will comment on this post with any additional info he might wish to mention or any necessary corrections if I've erred.

Bart intends to make it possible to change breast size and hip/booty size--and  I've definitely seen some impressive examples of the latter!

I very much look forward to seeing what he comes up with. I have to think that the man who made the third-party prim breast-friendly clothing market possible will want to preserve that, but we'll see.

Jamie Schnook at Wet and Wild has also been busy creating more mesh avatars (NSFW picture behind a page break; shame on me for forgetting this when I first posted):

Après la déluge: Minoans rebuild

Recently, Ariadne sent out a notice about a build inspired by what post-catastrophe Crete might have been like. I've had a chance to take a look, and I'm highly impressed!

You arrive first at a region with a circle of locations for stores and a central enclosed area. Around the central area's exterior are posters showing the history of the Minoan civilization and how it was rediscovered in the late 19th century. Inside is a platform from which one teleports down to the build proper. The TP object sits before a bull, and on the wall by the bull are indicators of the online status of the Queen, Ariadne, Mistress of Arts, Rhiannon Carlucci, and Architect, Abby Python.

(The design is beautiful and functional--the use of a skybox for the shopping area leaves more space on the surface. Clearly a lot of thought has gone into it--high honor and praise are due to the Architect!)

The surface is wilder than the very urban and tightly packed Minoan Empire was, but it still bears the marks of Minoan civilization, and I cried when I first saw it.

You will find temples there...

...and I am very pleased to say that the statue of the Earth Mother has miraculously survived; she is now in the natural shrine of a cave.

There is a labyrinth, but rather than the confusing original labyrinth with the fearsome, man-eating minotaur at its center, here we have a more contemplative labyrinth of trained and trimmed shrubbery.

I've not shown you everything--there are shrines I've not shown, and there are some buildings whose purpose I do not know--but I hope that you've seen enough to be interested. One thing I should mention--there is a racetrack! Races are on Saturday, which makes me happy, since I can attend both them and the races that have been conducted by the Minoan exile community on Sundays since the closing of the Minoan Empire sim.

Khaire Wanassa! I cannot say how happy I am to see this place. Thanks to you, to the Mistress of Arts, and to the Architect.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Be My Busty Valentine: almost here...

Maggie's blog has more info on the "Be My Busty Valentine" hunt, which starts tomorrow as I type this. Many thanks to Shattered Axel and Tw@tty C@ke for hosting the hunt, and to the participating makers! (And of course to Maggie; if you don't follow her blog, you really should.)

Wednesday, February 08, 2012


What is it that we in the SL busty community all wish? That we could go to any store we wish and buy and wear any dress that strikes our fancy. Can we do it? Right now, alas, no... but Rygel Ryba and Pixel Paradigm have set out to make breasts, "Pixel's ParaBoobs", that are as easy as possible for clothiers and skin makers to support. In their words,
"With the ParaBoobs system, you just make everything as you normally would - and then paste a UUID into a script, lock it up so it's non transferable and secure and you're done. (Well, actually, there are three lines to change - but it's EASY)."
A brief aside: Icon Allen has made mesh breasts since November 2011. ParaBoobs are mesh. I've got to train myself to stop saying "prim breasts" if I want to be inclusive. To refer to all these things that make it possible for us to live our busty dreams in SL, I will start saying "attached breasts". If you have a better term, I'd love to hear it.

What makes it difficult to support attached breasts? It goes back to cartographers.

Pre-mesh Second Life clothing is mostly painted-on textures, and to make the clothing look right--or as right as it can; let's not go there now--there has to be a flat map. Not of the Earth, but of the avatar or a portion thereof. Those have already been created; the Second Life Wiki's "Clothing Tutorials" page  has a link to the "Linden body and clothing templates", which are maps of the head, torso, and the rest of the body. The majority of creating clothing in Second Life is like making a detailed map with features painted on the parts of the map that correspond to where they are on the avatar, just as on a map of the Earth you'd draw in cities, mountains, and rivers in the places that correspond to where they are on the Earth. In computer graphics, it's called "UV mapping".

ParaBoobs are designed so that the map that works for the breasts on the stock female avatar will work for them, i.e. so that if you create a map showing the "geographical features" of one, it will serve as well as a map for the other.

Now, that's handwaving a bit. If you go to the store and look at the model ParaBoobs on the wall, you'll notice that they include a bit of the torso, namely, the region around the clavicles and top of the sternum, so it's not just the breasts. Also, ParaBoobs are bigger than the stock avatar breasts, stretching the texture in non-uniform ways, so that, to use Ryba and Paradigm's example, buttons that start our round may end up oval. Stretching textures, since they are raster graphics, also blurs them. (If you ever studied topology, ParaBoobs and the corresponding piece of the avatar shape are homeomorphic.) We'll have to see how many clothiers and skin makers take advantage of the opportunity and how good the results look.

This design decision has a consequence. When you get your ParaBoobs, you will want to scale them to work with the settings of your avatar shape, but that size is the one that works for you. At a different size, they won't match up with the avatar shape where they join. For that reason, ParaBoobs don't support dynamic scaling. If ParaBoobs prove successful, the makers plan to come out with different sizes and shapes, but if the ability to grow your breasts or let someone else make them grow continuously over time is important to you, these are not the breast attachments for you.

I'm not mentioning a lot of ParaBoobs features--you will want to take a look at the documentation on the makers' web site. In particular, they're intended to work as part of the LustBaby project, which, if I understand rightly, is a project involving hypnosis as an aid to immersion in erotic roleplay in Second Life. For me, the important thing is the length to which Ryba and Paradigm are going to encourage mainstream SL clothiers to accommodate ParaBoobs users. No, that's not the whole busty community, but it's a start. I wish them well, just as I wish all those who do amazing things to let us fulfill our well-endowed dreams in SL well.

UPDATE: Saying two things are homeomorphic really doesn't say as much as you might think, or more to the point, I might have thought; after all, as the saying goes, topologists are mathematicians who can't distinguish a donut from a coffee cup. There's a stronger relation that holds, but I'm not sure how to characterize it.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

VOOH Designs

Yesterday, I had a lovely visit with a friend I hadn't seen in way too long. (Hi, Dae!) We had a nice chat, she showed me a neat object she was building, and when I complimented her on her lovely sweater, she kindly showed me where she got it: a store that was new to me, VOOH Designs.

VOOH Designs has a wide variety of prim breast-friendly clothing, ranging from formal to intimate, demure to daring... including my new favorite dress, "Seduction":

The only things I have on in this photo that don't come with this inexpensive outfit are my hair, skin, eyes, and prim breasts. The shoes, which this photo doesn't show, alas, have an alpha layer; they hide your feet, so you'll want to tint them appropriately for your skin. The HUD that comes with them allows that, and many other choices as well. The skirt is scripted for easy modification. If there's one thing to watch out for, it's your ARC. I peeked at it: 229,000! (Not 229,000 factorial, which would be really big, but 229,000--wow!) Of course, hair contributed to that, but I will experiment with taking off the jewelry and otherwise trying to minimize my rendering footprint.

UPDATE: The jewelry was indeed the source of a lot of the ARC.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Wearing Red

Don't forget... today is Wear Red Day in the US. Heart disease kills more women than all the cancers put together.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Google sets up to facilitate per-country censoring of Blogger blogs

Shortly, if you follow a link to a Blogger blog at .blogspot.com, Google will route you to .blogspot. where is your two-letter country code. As I type, the domain for India, country code = in, exists. You can go directly to it.

The idea is that the . version can be filtered to match whatever censorship the corresponding country wants to impose. (Which I would suppose mean that they won't let you directly go to .blogspot.us; better learn to use proxies.)

It's a shame that Google feels the need to do such countries' dirty work for them.

I do have some NSFW photos here--not many, and they're behind page breaks. If you should suddenly discover that some articles or images are no longer accessible, I'd be very interested in hearing about it. Comment here, or email me at mel_yeuxdoux@yahoo.com.