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Crystal Fortress Skybox Review


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For those that haven't already noticed there is a new premium gift available from the premium gift kiosks. At first glance I thought this was a really nice skybox but I've noticed some issues with it. Setting up the skybox is quite easy and it comes with instructions to follow. This is the first time I've seen a skybox that is setup in this way. You start by rezzing a rez box on the ground like other builds however once positioned inside the parcel you use an object inside the skybox to position it at the height you want. This is a great idea as it makes it easy to make sure it is within your parcel border and then move the whole skybox out of the way and far from view.

The bulk of the skybox is a mesh object which makes up all the crystals along the walls and ceiling. This looks great and is a little unique, it reminds me of Superman's secret citadel. There are openings along the sides however due to the physics you cannot walk/fly through these openings. I was hoping I could put 2 together to give me 2 separate rooms. Seeing as you cannot use these openings, it's a good thing they are blocked from the outside preventing people looking in through them.

There is a small pond in the skybox which comes with some fish rezzed in it. The fish are 2LI each and can be added/removed via a menu. The fish swim around the pond randomly and are quite nice to watch. A Guardian is also rezzed with the skybox which flies around and looks towards the closest person. The menu allows you to turn the sound and roaming functions on/off or remove the guardian. This is quite nice and makes me excited to see what people create when animesh comes out.

Along with the skybox you are also given a teleporter, table and chair, and some pedestals. The instructions for setting up the teleporter are quite basic but detailed enough however as the teleporter is no mod you cannot change the description which is what the script uses when choosing where to teleport to. This means that while I Can rez one inside my skybox and one one the ground, they will both show me a "Home" button in the menu and teleport me between the two. If I decide to put down another skybox and I put a teleporter in there I will then have 2 buttons saying "Home" and no way of knowing which is which.

The table and chair are only available in white, and while the pedestals are available in white, pink and lilac the large version is only available in pink. This reminds me of the Horizons resource pack as it feels a bit lacking. I would have liked to have seen more color options included.

 

So what do you all think of the new premium gift? Do you like it? Do you think there's anything that should have been done differently?

Edited by Hintswen Guardian
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I have no idea why LL makes these things no-mod. It renders almost all of these "Premium Gifts" useless to me as most of it is wildly out of scale and not well optimized and this skybox is no different and this content really could, and should, be an opportunity to get more users modding because that makes people more engaged with SL as a whole. Contrary to popular belief, modding isn't just for advanced SL users with 3D modelling skills. Most modding has always been simple stuff almost anyone in SL could do. Resizing bits, moving pieces around. If it were modifiable anyone could have easily been able to put two of them together and walk through the openings like you mentioned wanting to do, but LL nonsensically remove that option. I feel like, from a purely business perspective, LL would want to use these gifts as an opportunity, encouraging people to take the gifts apart and put them back together in creative ways, which was the spirit that made SL successful in the first place.

These days it just feels like people are discouraged from getting creative in SL and that's a real shame.

Anyway, the skybox is cute. The creator did some fun things. However, it is out of scale with my avatars so I can't really use it for anything, and it uses up a LOT of Land Impact. Just the skybox by itself, without the furnishings or the rezzable critters, is 161 LI. That's excessive for the size and detail level seen here, and I bet I could reduce it with a few tricks....if it were modifiable, but that option has been stripped away.

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1 hour ago, Penny Patton said:

without the furnishings or the rezzable critters, is 161 LI. That's excessive for the size and detail level seen here,

Not by Premium Gift standards. Remember the airship? If I remember correctly, that was more than 300 LI (un)worth of total garbage.

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33 minutes ago, Sandy Schnook said:

I'm feeling the same way as Penny.  I did love the dragon, but even that was no mod and because of scripting can't be used by itself.  The fortress itself is way too big and LI heavy, even for some who own more then a 1024 parcel.

The dragon is very much like one of the special glytches so if you like violet -- there's your answer.  And yes, super cute.

Meanwhile I got a premium friend to get this and rez it so I could see.  I am a little confused on the "why" of these settings. Maybe it just needed to be "simplified". Not sure. 

I really like the look and feel of the place and the dragon is very cute. The teleporter was SO EFFICIENT that my friend didn't even know he had moved!!!  So kudos there. 

For the techie folks:

image.thumb.png.5483fbb21b9f0e9f6dbf89c13c79c050.png

 

image.png.b7fd7045888c88b2868583071d2fc660.png

 

PS. For comparison here is my crystal cluster at SL15B:

image.thumb.png.d44e81237b565fb49bbe09080f556d7b.png

Edited by Chic Aeon
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1 hour ago, Chic Aeon said:

I am a little confused on the "why" of these settings.

Why they can get away with LoD models like that at all:

https://community.secondlife.com/forums/topic/422828-how-can-linden-lab-encourage-better-content/?page=5&tab=comments#comment-1762705

Why it's not a good idea to do it even if you can:

https://community.secondlife.com/forums/topic/423797-why-would-a-mesh-tree-be-800-prims/?tab=comments#comment-1761642

The Moles have gotten better at making mesh since the airship disaster but they still have a lot to learn.

 

1 hour ago, Chic Aeon said:

The teleporter was SO EFFICIENT that my friend didn't even know he had moved!!!  So kudos there.

I wouldn't expect less. The Moles' collective meshing skills may leave a bit to be desired but when it comes to scripts, they still have Silent Mole and probably some other top notch people too.

 

Edited by ChinRey
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I really like the design of this skybox, however, I am very disappointed that it can not be modded. I had hopes of using this for one of my shops and having the crystals with a glow and/or full bright to give them a more fantasy feeling. The high LI is also a huge con for turning it into a shop; so many of us are mesh makers and it is not difficult to get a lower LI. For now I will just be using this a place to  hang out. :/

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1 hour ago, Linden Lab said:

Hello everyone - some adjustments have been made to the teleporter permissions - drop by and pick up a fresh copy! Thanks for letting us know!

But, but... the whole thing should be modifiable. Is it? If not, why not?
No mod is no good for various reasons.

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1 hour ago, Coby Foden said:

is no good for various reasons.

That sums up so much LL Made Content, really...

Remember the new mesh starter avi's they rolled out for the launch of fitted mesh...

Each one had A set of clothing only it could wear, and the whole thing was no mod, and so damn awful, they earned the nickname "fuglymesh". Then several months later, LL made a big announcement that hence forth the fuglymesh noob avis would be MOD! 

Turned out the only mod part after the revision was the shape, but since the mesh avis rolled out for fitmesh launch were not, in fact, fitted mesh, editing the shape didn't really do much to them, except for height and limb length.
 

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9 hours ago, Chic Aeon said:

For the techie folks:

image.thumb.png.5483fbb21b9f0e9f6dbf89c13c79c050.png

image.png.b7fd7045888c88b2868583071d2fc660.png

If you select just the internal part and not the outsides it gets worse:

194f9f575cc6029d4d89489d8b86d24b.png.c568ab0739e030b05a36e97ef07e6f9c.png

This decomposes to a single GLOD triangle on the roof.

With the three lowest LODS zeroed out, this is exactly the sort of content that *will* break when the Lab redo the LI calculations. This item will be without doubt be penalised.

So, not just making things mod, the Lab should lead by example here and not using this hack to artifically lower the LI cost. Proper LODS should be made. In this case with the object diameter so large, they could have been cubes. But not GLOD decomposition to 1 triangle by utilising the zeroed-out-lod hack.

As far as the textures, for the core part, there are two seperate 1024 textures on the floor, one 512 texture on the outside top/bottom and one 1024 texture for the columns.

 

Edited by Callum Meriman
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27 minutes ago, Callum Meriman said:

If you select just the internal part and not the outsides it gets worse:

Yes, I saw that and it was of course not good but "understandable". I couldn't figure out how an object could have full LODS at all levels and STILL have such very short distances before break up. This seemed to be (highlighted in the viewer screen) the big area of crystal clumps.  None of that was processing for me -- from what I know anyway.

We don't KNOW that content will break with the new rules, do we?  I haven't seen anything like that. I was assuming that some of the less than great mesh out there would turn out to be much higher in land impact (than the traditional ONE in many cases) but that it would still work. Since The Lab goes to GREAT lengths not to break content I don't see that the "bad" mesh will be unusable, but more likely not salable because of LI costs.  Just guessing of course. 

I did LIKE the build. It was fun and creative and clever.  Just wish it had been made a little smarter. 

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4 minutes ago, Chic Aeon said:

We don't KNOW that content will break with the new rules, do we?  I haven't seen anything like that. I was assuming that some of the less than great mesh out there would turn out to be much higher in land impact (than the traditional ONE in many cases) but that it would still work. Since The Lab goes to GREAT lengths not to break content I don't see that the "bad" mesh will be unusable, but more likely not salable because of LI costs.  Just guessing of course. 

Not break per se, most including this, will just be scaled up in LI and that will add to the chance that parcels will overflow.

But, I do expect that the 512LI N+K Falcon ship will break and become unable to be sailed. It will be a good thing to watch when the Lab get to the new calculations. I am certainly retaining that as a test case when we get to that time.

9 minutes ago, Chic Aeon said:

I did LIKE the build. It was fun and creative and clever.  Just wish it had been made a little smarter. 

Well, it wasn't 300LI. But I do think the Lab need to use best practices on these premium gifts and certainly not themselves use exploits they've already stated they will be closing.

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8 hours ago, HaileeTempesta said:

LL constantly blames creators not knowing how to make mesh properly as one of the reasons for lag, etc & here they are giving us mesh from them that is badly made.  I mean, come on.

LL doesn't blame creators for bad mesh.  Other Residents blame creators for bad mesh - and blame LL for lack of incentive and inworld tools.

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44 minutes ago, Alwin Alcott said:

but have no idea what to do with it...

That's fair enough. If I understand correctly, the Premium gifts are supposed to be fun keepsakes/collectables, not practical useful objects for SL (although I know Dee Linden actually uses the tree house).

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5 minutes ago, ChinRey said:

the Premium gifts are supposed to be fun keepsakes/collectables, not practical useful objects for SL

I never understood this idea.  What good is something that just sits in inventory forever because it is impractical to ever rez it and use it?   At least the Glitch bus can be used as is and thus makes a cute fun toy now and then.

 

6 minutes ago, ChinRey said:

I know Dee Linden actually uses the tree house

If it were fully modifiable, I would use the tree house.  I actually liked that one, but to me it isn't really useable as is.

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On 6/22/2018 at 5:56 AM, Hintswen Guardian said:

So what do you all think of the new premium gift?

Overall cute, but worthless since it is no-mod.  I thought the 'emergency entrance' button was comical, since all I had to do was cam inside and sit on a crystal to get in.  I actually didn't even find the button initially - when they said it was 'on the bottom', I was thinking 'along the bottom edge of one of the sides'.

The dragon was a nice touch.  He's cute - I wish I could rez him in my current home, without the crystal skybox.

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6 minutes ago, LittleMe Jewell said:

If it were fully modifiable, I would use the tree house.  I actually liked that one, but to me it isn't really useable as is.

Maybe they want to encourage you to buy other treehouses like the one proky recently found xD

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1 hour ago, LittleMe Jewell said:

If it were fully modifiable, I would use the tree house.  I actually liked that one, but to me it isn't really useable as is.

I tinker all the time, so I can get frustrated with no-mod things too.  I just know plenty of people for whom that's no issue.  They never mod anything.  They either don't care to, or don't know how. I have a friend who got the treehouse and lived in it for almost a year -- just replaced it this spring.  She seemed happy with it "as is".

I wouldn't upgrade to Premium just for the gifts -- actually I haven't been tempted to upgrade at all -- but some of them are fun things ... and they are free.  It's a little hard to keep a straight face and complain about something you got for nothing.

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