Nalands Building

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Nalates
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Nalands Building

Post by Nalates » Mon Mar 22, 2010 8:27 pm

Getting my SIM on OSGrid has been interesting. Watching Andy at GoW show how he is working with Blender to build an age for Open Uru is interesting. I'm building like crazy in in OSGrid as are several others. May be posting a journal of building in OSGrid would be interesting to others considering it.

I posted the process with links for getting a SIM up and running on OSGrid. Getting OpenSim on the Internet-Grid.

I did not take pictures of the process from the beginning. Mistake. But, I can start. May be I can talk some of the others into taking pictures and posting as they build...

Whatever... Sunday was a messed up day. Saturday night got a call to sort through a mod_rewrite problem that the client created. Of course none of the logic tree had ever been diagramed... :roll: So, Sunday was mostly recovery trying to stay awake and get my hours turned upside down.

I think I got a lot done... (I can't find the How to Post Images... point me and I'll fix these) ...the following will sort of document where I have gotten to. Then I'll pick up from there in future posts.

One of things I did was get a home built. Oddly OpenSim and SL provide more vertical space than horizontal. SIM's are 256m x 256m x 4,096m... So, we build lots of stuff up in the air.

This is the house now...

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All the stuff in this house is freebie stuff. I textured the walls and floors. The quality of the stuff is not bad but it certainly isn't representative of what is possible. The prim count certainly reflects the fact there are no tier fees.

The island looks like this...

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The view from one of Mat's ships anchored east of my island.

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My new racer... :) It runs! SL/OS vehicles are as bad as the Zandoni in Uru. I suspect they are even worse on my SIM because I have yet to install the optimum interpreter for the programming language. Also the ODE physics is not that good yet. SL's use of Havok makes things nicer, but they have problems too.

Over on Devokan...

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Right to left: Dot, Paislee, Nalates

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Paislee and I looking at her Pods.

In the next post I'll get to some of the building process.
Nalates
GoW, GoMa and GoA apprentice - Guildmaster GoC - SL = Nalates Urriah

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Nalates
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Posts: 437
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2008 7:50 pm

Re: Nalands Building

Post by Nalates » Tue Mar 23, 2010 10:34 am

Building in OSGrid
Part of the fun of building in Second Life (SL)/OpenSim (OS) is that people can drop in. In Devokan that means some level of IC whenever people are round.

First, a tour of the island as built so far. Anyone can visit. You just need a Viewer and a free membership. In the OSGrid world very very few regions have a real cash economy, so it’s free and hard to spend money.

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This is the NW corner of my island. I've just started adding landscaping.

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Physics in the SIM is shaky when it comes to walking on terrain. So, I put in walks and stairs to make it work better. I use the support beams to let me get the slop of the individual steps right.

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Mat drops by... my sword makes him nervous. He seems like a nice guy... I take pause whenever someone wants me to go unarmed...

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Reaching the top and the main building... this is a first attempt... I really miss my SL building tools. The Prim Docker tool in SL makes things go so much faster, especially texturing.

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End tour...

I’ll try to show the two levels of building in Second Life, Open Life, and OpenSim. It’s pretty much the same in all the SL related worlds. There is the in-world and out-of-world building.

Building in SL/OS Worlds
Building in world first. One can’t build just anywhere. One must have build rights. The land owners are in charge of that. So, in my region that is me. You usually have to be a tenant to get building permission. But there are SANDBOXES in all the worlds where anyone can build. SL is loaded with them.

My dock looks a bit cartoony… The piers are too simple. I decided I need something a bit more realistic. First I’ll show you the in-world way to make the pilings. The first image shows the in-world build tool. Press Ctrl-B to open it. (You can get to it by menus too.)

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In the image a cube is selected… in the build menu. I right clicked the plywood sheet that is highlighted in the image (yellow) and right clicked to open the Build Dialog, another way to open it. Personal habit. The system is telling me the plywood is the current edit target. You can pick any of the primitives shown. Actually the cube and the next 3 primitives (prims) are the cube, just modified. So, one could start with a cube and modify it to a pyramided. The same with the cylinder. The torus and ring are similar. The difference is in how the mesh wraps, which can affect the texture, especially if you animate it. Not something I need to consider for my piling.

Click to select the cylinder. Then click on the plywood sheet, or anywhere. A cylinder will appear… rez. I’ll size size the cylinder by selecting the Object tab and typing in values. See the arrows. Dimensions are in meters. Using numbers is a style called building by the numbers. It is good for making parts that must fit together and positioning thing next to each other.

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I put a cube in the image showing the basic movement handles. Press the Ctrl key to see the rotation handles (not shown). Press Ctrl-Shift to see the sizing handles I show on the cylinder. The white handle (#1) is a proportional handle that sizes the entire object proportionally. The colored handles are for changing a single dimension. The red is for the X axis and green for the Y axis and blue for the Z axis (#2).

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Look in the Build Dialog. In the top just above the blue OPTIONS button there is a check box, Use Grid. I keep it checked to help control size. Click on the blue handle and start dragging up. Provided you checked ‘Use Grid’ you will see a grid/scale appear. Drag inside the grid and you can change free form. Slide the cursor over the grid as you drag and it snaps. Easy. The read out on the grid gives you numbers to help with sizing. For a piling just drag until it looks right.

All the SL/OS prims come with the default plywood texture. You can change the default to whatever you want… well… I guess that depends on the viewer you are using. The Emerald viewer is a favorite of builders. I happen to be using Imprudence viewer because I’m on the OSGrid and Emerald as some new features that create problems on OS. (Textures not loading)

I want to change the texture. So, select the TEXTURE tab in the Build Dialog (#1). Now I click on the texture (#2). This opens a texture selector. The list is a window into my inventory of stuff… 10’s of thousands of stuffs… Horders has nothing on SL builder types. Pick a texture and it is applied. Select to close it. I can give the texture a tint, a glow, or make it bright (no shadows in it), or set the opacity. Depending on your viewer you can make things only 95% transparent or in others 100%, clear. You can also size and rotate textures and do it face by face. Each face can have its own texture. The textures can only be animated by a script… eventually someone will fix that and add it to the Build Dialog.

Once textured, drag it into place using the basic movement handles. Done. This is pretty much what I did when I built the dock. Once the piling in place, hold the Shift key down and drag a movement handle to duplicate the piling and place another.

Blender Building for Second Life & OpenSim
My dock is looking pretty plain and cartoony. I would like a bit more organic looking pilings. Time for Blender and a sculpty… SL’s strange way to import free form meshes and I use the term ‘free form’ very loosely.

There are a couple of tools that will make your building sculpties much easier. PrimStar and JASS . Both of these are donation based and well worth some bucks if you build many sculpties. I use PrimStar most of the time. I have used JASS. There is a new version 2.0 I have not tried. JASS is easier to install. It is a combined Blender and JASS wrapped in one simple install. PrimStar and JASS are very similar, except for the install. The developers are friends, AFAIK, and sort of worked together. If I understand correctly JASS is built on PrimStar. Either way go over to the JASS site and get the Grid Align Tool. I think it installs with JASS 2.0 now.

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To get started I create a Sculpty cylinder. Space->threw menu to Sculpty Mesh (#1). If the option is not there then PrimStar or JASS is not properly installed. That pops up a dialog for creating a sculpty mesh (#2). If you are wondering why use a special mesh… it is because Linden Lab (10) figured out a way to make a very efficient and controlled way to allow mesh importing into SL. This mesh will get turned into an image 64x64 pixels or any size that results in 4,096 pixels… lets skip the boring math. It’s just bizarre but there is a reason. All that matters is it is the only way.

I want a piling taller than wide so I’m using a 4x8 control mesh any size that gives 64… 4x8=64 works well. Other sizes work, IF you know what you are doing. The Y axis is tall in this case. You can see lots of interesting LOD info. The two levels makes the result stable in-world… it’s all LoD magic. If you want to mess around with other sizes read the PrimStar manual or watch the JASS tutorials, both are good and give you Blender tips.

When I have the dialog set I click build. I get an open cylinder (#3). I press Tab to get to the vertices editing and the Subsurf controls. I switch to front view and close the top of the cylinder (#4). I build the shape I want and then I’m ready to make the “SCULPTY”. I save the Blender file then apply the Subsurf. (Switch out of Edit Mode and click Apply in the Modifier panel).
There is a sculpty gotcha that can mess you up. We need to handle it. All the mesh vertices must have coordinate values between 0 and 255 as they are going to be saved to an image file. PrimStar will fix that when it creates the sculpty by moving vertices to a integer value. I would rather see what it is going to do to the mesh before I import it to SL or OS. The Grid Alignment Tool does that. It is an odd tool. If you need help getting it to work, post asking for help.

The basic idea in using it is to scale your model to fit in a 2.55x2.55x2.55 space. To do that move the cursor to the 3D window, press N, and set the dimensions to 2.55. Since my piling is tall and narrow I need to do a bit more. My piling started out a meter (or Blender unit) wide. That is too big for a piling. So, I make the Z axis size 2.55. Then I scale down the entire model to 1/3 (press S –scale and type .333 and press Enter). Then again I make the Z axis size 2.55. Now I have it scaled (#6 #7). I move the model to fit in the upper right quadrant and keep all values for the vertices positive… did I mention sculpties are bizarre?

I clean up the shape so it looks the way I want. Now I run the Grid Align Service and it snaps all my vertices to the nearest 0-255 grid location. The align tool will run whether you move the model or not. I believe I get better models by having all the vertices with positive values. If it’s a good model little will change. Now I’m ready to bake a sculpty.

I change my right-hand window to UVMap. There is usually a preliminary UVMap (#5). There is some tech stuff showing that has to do with LoD control. Read the manual if you’re interested. Using Subsurf lets me skip lots of such details.

There will be a 32x128px (32x128=4,096) image in the window. If not… well there usually is. In the top menu is RENDER. Within that is BAKE SCULPTY MESHES. Click it and get the next dialog. The defaults are good. Bake and you get a new rainbow image. Save it. It is the Sculpty image. This is one of the images I’ll import to SL.

I want a texture for this piling. I create a new UVMap image. I want one large enough to work on easily. I like 1024px size images and then size down for import. So, 1,024/128=16 and 16x32=512. I should make my new image 512x2,048px to keep the same proportions.

I’ll do some Texture Painting to find important places in my texture, like the flat top and the narrowing sides. In 3D view, in Edit Mode, I switch to face select (Ctrl-TAB). I select the faces making up the top of the piling. I switch to Texture Paint and paint the top if the piling. I switch back to Edit and select the next area and paint it (#7). I don’t care what colors because I’ll build the texture in Photoshop. I save the result of my painting and open that image in PS (#8). I use some wood texture and add some shading on the taper areas using the image from Blender as a guide (#9). A 512x2048 is a large image for a 3D world. I’ll shrink this down to 128x512. I can take this over to Blender and look at it on the piling.

Provided it all looks good, I go back to OSGrid and upload the texture and sculpty images. With the images loaded I make a cylinder just as before. On the object tab there is a setting for Box, Cylinder, etc and Sculpty. Once selected an image window opens. I drag and drop the sculpty image into it. I select the Texture tab and apply the texture I made. I size it, put it in position and and duplicate it by holding Shift and dragging on the placement handles. Soon I’ve got my new pilings in place.

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For more on making Sculpties see Machinimatrix.

Obviously the in-world building is simple. It can be extended and made to look better using Blender.
Nalates
GoW, GoMa and GoA apprentice - Guildmaster GoC - SL = Nalates Urriah

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