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trying to build a lighthouse light...


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I am new to building and want to learn scripting. 

Right now, i am starting to build replicas of real life ligthouses and need a light.

it nees to be adjustable for blinking at different times as some blink and some don't but all do it differently.

i also want to to project out to sea.

any help appreciated.


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Hi Grace,

You're going to need more than just a script, and you need to consider exactly what optical effect you wish to mimic. A good replica will require significant effort.

First, most old lighthouses don't really "blink". They have a rotating lenses or reflectors that focus narrow beams of light at greater intensity than possible if light was cast in every direction. That makes the house appear to blink, but it's actually on all the time (hard to extinguish and relight a whale-oil lamp every second!). To make what appears to be a beam of light scattering off of fog, or haze, you'll need a cone textured with a white gradient alpha texture. The texture will be more opaque at the narrow end of the cone, and fully transparent at the wide end. By setting the texture to full bright, it will appear as a cone of light fading into the distance. A linear gradient is easiest and looks good enough, but a logarithmic gradient is more accurate. Light intensity falls off as the square of the distance from the source.

You'll need a script to rotate the beams, probably using llTargetOmega() for a linkset containing the light cone (or cones if the light emits in two or more directions) and a model of the lamp unit itself. Years ago, I tried using "glow" on the cone prims, but found the result to be spectacularly ugly. You really need an effect that decreases with distance and an alpha gradient is the only way I know to do that.

Those lighthouses that actually do flash would do so gently, as the lamp filament takes time (not much) to heat up and (more) to cool off. That would be difficult to simulate with the tools available in LL. I've used particles to simulate that in the past, with mixed results. And only the bulb would have that graceful blink. Any beam scattering you model would not have that effect.

Here's the llTargetOmega() page, which does have an example script to get you starting spinning a linkset. You'd put the script in the root prim, which should be the lamp unit, to which you've linked one or more beam cones...


The first major build I did in SL was a lighthouse. It was great fun working it all out.

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  • 7 years later...

A bit of an update for todays modern times and maybe some corrections.  Light house beacons a few at a time, are being converted to flashing LEDs, especially the off shore and other remote ones.  This reduces greatly maintenance and procuring obsolete parts.  LEDs are highly direction, so the do not need a rotating reflector necessarily.  This also reduces power requirements.  Add to that, cheaper solar energy systems.  This is also true of some channel marker lights  Second, some light houses are huge.  The Cape Hatteress light is big enough to have special climbing days.  Some lights do now flash.

I now, and have for over fifty years, lived by the Norfolk (Virginia, East Coast U S)  and can read nautical charts,  The Thimble Shoals Light is visible across the channel from Ocean View Beaches.  I am a retire electrician with  a good electronics back ground.

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