Learn From Toady!

Not long ago the Build Bug bit me again but I thought my skills might be rusty, so I took a class with the famous Toady Nakamura, and you can, too! She put together some info for me to post:

Toady Nakamura has been teaching for ten and a half years in SL! Classes range from vehicles to lobbers, wearables, furnishings, and every class has at least one script example! She teaches three classes a week:
9am Tuesdays at Dreams East
5pm Tuesdays at Isle of Wyrms
9am Friday at Happy Hippos Building School

(All times SLT)

She announces her classes weekly on her blog.

Former classes are for sale at Grendel’s Children main store and at the birthplace of Grendel’s in Chima sim.

Toady’s goal is to share building and scripting knowlege widely because that is what makes SL different than many other “game” platforms.

Besides in SL classes, Toady helped write the “Introduction to LSL” on the SL wiki, and maintains a page of helpful scripts there.

Intro to SL
http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/LSL_101/A_Gentle_Introduction

Personal wiki page
http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/User:Toady_Nakamura

Personal quotables
As far as I know, I’ve taught more classes in SL than any other SL teacher, since March 24, 2007 when I started at “Illuminata University.” My dean back then Contessa Marquez, still attends some classes with me from time to time!!

My first SL teacher was Shadow Marlin at Mystica sim.

Moar Prims!

The Lab’s official announcement of the poorly kept secret some have called Primsmas – the 1.5x increase in a region’s given Land Impact (LI) allotment or “prim count” – distracted me at my Real Life job today as my mind thought of several scenarios for visualizing the increase.

perspective-on-prim-count

This doesn’t seem like a huge increase. Just 58 LI for the  “standard” 512m2 land plot we should all be familiar with, but think back to those days when your First Land, your Linden Home, or even a getaway parcel was was full and you felt like you needed more space. Fifty-eight prims. If you could have been given that boost, the one or two extra prims you scrimped and saved to get back seems like almost nothing.

perspective-on-prim-count-2

And now you have that boost. Thank you, Linden Lab!

Building Still Matters

uccies-standing-desk_001

One my Alts was out checking old landmarks she had when she found a full-perms shop and a nice shelf that could be used as a wall-mounted standing desk. Being a well-trained Alt she bought the item for me as a gift and I got to putting it in my cabin. The L$95 cost was cheap considering what it might cost to upload such a unit.

If I could upload such a unit. I still have near zero skills when it comes to creating mesh so I’ve gone from an avid builder to an avid buy-and-rez consumer. But the old skills are still valuable. This desk is a case in point.

Resizing: This most basic of skills is still beyond some people. In a world where many items are outlandishly large compared to Real Life counterparts, most items need some tweaking. This item needed to fit a specific space.

Linking and Changing Physics: Knowing that a prim’s Physics Shape Type can be changed to affect the Land Impact (LI) of an item and how linking prims together changes this, too, is of great benefit. Linking the computer to the desk reduced overall LI, but I knew that linking in the cookies, cocoa, and stir fry (the latter items partially concealed in the picture above) would increase the LI, so I didn’t link them to the general build. An anti-fatigue mat at the bottom didn’t affect the LI but adding it means that copies of the final build will always rez at the proper height for the embedded animation. This is old-school skill.

Scripting: Over the years I’ve been able to learn enough about scripts that I can do very simple modifications to very simple scripts, but when I wanted to add a pose to the desk so a poseball wasn’t, needed things got a bit tricky. After searching about how to handle rotations to a pose via a script and remembering rather late that such adjustments would be easier if I used basic prim-handling skills, I finally got it right. Knowing enough about scrips and having some search skills were helpful.

In the end, I have a desk that no one else has, fit to my purpose and well-functioning. A buy-and-rez consumer would profit from learning a bit because building still matter.

Long Story, but Kennylex

Long story but I’m just gonna say Kennylex Luckless, Second Life’s premier Prim Doodler. He’s always experimenting with prims, textures, and the texture-enhancing Materials feature. I was at his freebie shop in Minna (SLurl) again and took some pix for another purpose and I’m publishing them here for a reason not terribly important to anyone. All are unedited and feature standard Windlight (except the first one).

This is the Old Watermill in Minna, a really cool structure that Kenny built to hold his freebies and experiments. Pretty sure he lives here, too, but I don’t poke around (wink wink).

Turn on Advanced Lighting and you see this … projected light and prims you can almost feel.

Turn off Advanced Lighting and it is like SL was rolled back two years.
Turn on Advanced lighting and the magic happens.

Turn off Advanced lighting and you see the most basic of textured prims again.
Kenny’s experiments often become freebies in a little shop plus you can grab items that will help you learn his tricks and techniques. I’ve learned so much from Kenny and he alway brightens my day. Visit Minna to see what I mean.

New Freebie from [PoP Shop]

To the surprise of many, I do sell and give away stuff I make in Second Life. Once in a while I have an in-world shop but you can always find my products on the Second Life Market place here. Partly out of boredom, a new free item was added today (get it here): The [PoP Shop] Builder Deck w/Pose Stand (& bonus Alignment Guide).

I took the classic builder grid we all know and love then messed with it.
It still works like the classic grid, but that noir scheme makes everything you build classier.
A 7 LI Alignment Guilde uses lasers to make your builds even cooler (yeah, man!).
A handy pose stand allows you to edit avatar attachments and follow the grid into the sky if you pop it up to some 2000m like lots of builders do these days. Gratuitous glowy effect included at no charge.

An Old-Fashioned Guitar

Remember back in the day when one built with prims, meticulously cutting and twisting and sizing and torturing then throwing it all way and starting again because “it” wasn’t just right? Kinda like when Robbie Dingo made this guitar for Suzanne Vega to play in Second Life nearly a decade ago.

Now try to remember waaaayyyy back to when you checked the Virtual Vagabond blog today (like all the cool kids do, mind you) and saw this free one prim mesh guitar from Ydea.

Makes you want to cry a bit, doesn’t it?

Our World v. Blocksworld

At Home Depot (a massive, warehouse-like construction supplies and equipment store in the United States) today my iPad was pretty helpful. I was able to look up items for comparison, take pictures of things to show my mother since her vantage point in a wheelchair was really a disad-vantage point, and to sketch ideas. Later, while waiting for my steak (!!) at lunch, I was able to play Blocksworld, Linden Lab’s iOS-based 3D building game and think about what Our World in Second Life could take from this mobile world.

First, the building interface is super simple. Well, it is aimed primarily at kids so that’s probably a given. Drag pre-shaped blocks or other items from a toolbox to the virtual ground then change dimensions and/or placement with simple tools. That is how I re-created my deck from Second Life in Blocksworld:

After setting up the blocks I dragged-n-dropped some colors and a texture and *boom* it was done. This was more of a “see if I can do it” exercise. I can save it but it isn’t easily moved and I have no idea for what I’d use it, but I spent 10 minutes while eating popcorn and sipping Mt. Dew, so there is no waste, really.

Blocksworld seems to be geared more to vehicles and creating games which involve vehicles. Most of the build kits one can buy with in-game coins fit this description though many of the user-created worlds (and the contents thereof) are split between gaming and creation for creation-sake, like my deck. Lots of possibilities and some very simple tools, like drag-n-drop to script.

In Second Life I can’t script my way out of a paper bag. Sure, I can make the bag, but … anyway, if I can’t use some pre-written scripts or get someone to script for me, I couldn’t make a car, for example. Some 5 minutes in Blocksworld and I’d have a car with steering, reverse gear, and lasers. Drag a wheel to the ground then drag “scripts” to it. Bam. Do that again and you have most of a bicycle. Twice more again and you have a car, more or less.

Now imagine Second Life with a similar builder toolbox. Beginners could get started right away making something more sophisticated than a chair. Talk about generating excitement! Talk about potential Resident retention!! Not only could n00bs catch the building bug right away but non-builder residents would have a very simple way to enhance all their in-world purchases. Look inside any Linden Home (ahem … privacy first!) and you’ll see that a majority of residents have cobbled together walls and floors to enhance their homes. Simple stuff, but so many people don’t really know how to rez a prim. When I joined Second Life there were people who hung out at Help Island and sandboxes just to show new Residents how to rez a prim. Not so much these days.

Another feature that SL could import from Blocksworld is the idea of easily sharing your creations. In the iOS game user creations are featured in a couple different ways and any user can play with these builds at any time. The Lego MMO of a couple years ago had such a feature and so did the former CloudParty virtual world. SL has the Destination Guide, but a category like “Come See What I Made!” could be added. But that would work best with one more Blocksworld idea …

Visit “worlds” created by other users and play with their builds!

Every Blocksworld user has their own “world” – a build space they can call their own, with a  pre-set landscape, roads, some water, and even some atmosphere effects. It’s pretty cartoonish, but you can actually have several build spaces, naming them for different purposes. No, that’s not practical in Second Life, but I have an idea. Give every resident some land. Mainland is incredibly empty. Give non-Premium members 512m2 free to use on the vast, empty Mainland. If they don’t want it, they don’t have to use it. Premium members could still have a choice of a Linden Home (a great value, I think, compared to just a 512m2 parcel) or they could have 1024m2 of Mainland free to use instead. Like a Linden Home, these lands could not be sold, merely exchanged for another parcel somewhere else or simply not claimed. But everyone would have a space associated with their avatar where they can build and show off what they build. There’d have to be a mechanism in place where folks like me who have met our household’s maximum allowed number of accounts would have our land options limited, but … well, details. I think that that idea is a good one over all and should stimulate account retention.

Maybe when I help put up new window treatments tomorrow, hang some shelves, or help swap out the shower hardware, I’ll see other features of Blocksworld that might transfer well to Second Life. Or maybe I’ll just be tired enough to flop into my bed with my iPad and build stuff in Blocksworld. If I do come up with more ideas, though, I’ll be sure to blog about them.