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A Wish List for Builders


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I was in a discussion with some friends last night over various game engines comparing the build tools and the conversation quickly turned to the tools that SL lacked and some confusion as to why we don't have them.  I thought this would be a good topic for a post and with any luck, a Lab Rat will see this and perhaps look into these suggestions.

So, Here is my Wish List..Please add yours as well:

 

  • Specular Mapping where I can control the level of reflection and the mapping of that reflection.
  • Uploaded Bump Maps - where I can add the bump map and not rely on the default maps in the game.
  • Directional Lighting Controls with the ability to spot a direction light and control the cone for the width
  • Light Maps that allow us to control which part of the object is lit and at what level.
  • Full Bright adjustment being able to control the level of brightness of an object
  • Squeeze as a prim shape option where I can create a taper in the middle of the prim as either a straight line or a curve.

These are just a few ideas I had but I am sure there are many more that others have. 

 

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directional lighting already exists if you have shadows enabled (may require GI, I don't remember), which allows an additional texture and lighting option in edit --> features --> light to a degree this also allows light mappings

fullbright is an on/off setting, that basically means "do not render shadows or lighting over this surface,you can control the brightness by altering either the texture or the color, but they will always be static values. as an alternative, glow can provide some environmentally adjustable brightness.

my wishlist is short for the moment.

Normal Maps (will never happen)
get/set/edit for all prim parameters and all links (possible, but we've been begging for years)

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Yes, Directional lighting does work in Phoenix only and but that is not what I mean. That is atmospherics lighting and not controlled as such.

What you are referring to in Full Bright is also just a weak work around and requires that you modify the texture to make it work and only affects the shaders as either on or off without any controls for partial emissions. Textures cannot change the gradient of the shaders, they are all on or all off.

With a light map, you can block what part of the object you want lit not requiring the entire object to be lit.  Much like a bump map, this is a grey scale image/texture creates a scale of lighting from dark to bright from the between the black and white (grayscale).

Within most game platforms (Unity, Torque, Protera, 3D Studio Max) you create a light source then you can define what that light source does. Among those are a "Spot/Flood" option. You then can control the direction and the cone of that light to a specific spot.  In SL we have two forms of light, Omidirectional and Environmental but we do not have true directional lighting.

Yes, there are Faux Work Around for most of what I have said but that was not my point.  The wish list is for real build tools we see in most other gaming platforms.

I build not just for SL but for Wii, Playstation, iOS, XBox and others as well.  These are tools that are available in all of these.

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I am not a techie, don't know other game engines or software so what is on my wish list will be very primative at best. I can't give you the correct tech/industry speak either...so bear with me. 

If nothing else, I would like to have the ability to hollow on a prim at an area I choose not the center. Multiple hollow points would be helpful as well.  The ability to bend..not twist....not torturing he prim but actually bending certain points on the prim...maybe the points they use in flexies that create softness. Ability to place cuts at different areas of a prim.

I would like to see the 10x10x10 sqm max (.010 x .010 x .010 min) be changed to a minimum of 50x50x50.  Would like to see more of  the built in prim choices be allowed to be flexible. Also, more attachment points on the AVs would be a huge boon for all of us. Would like to see prim drift be a thing of the past and allow for precise alignment in objects. Like to see the link distance enlarged from what it is now (?40x40x40???) Expand, the amount of prims you can link from current. to a much larger number...would allow us to get rid of build rezzers for alot of large or primmy builds. A way to link phantom objects to non-phantom without using scripts to keep build from being phantom.

 

 

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I don't think we are talking about the same feature.... directional lighting does not work in phoenix, only in V2 based viewers with shadows enabled, and are know as projectors. it's similar to, but not the same as volumetric lighting (light filling a shape). it has control for apeture(cone angle), focal length( the distance at which the image resolves) and even direction (via normal prim attributes of position and rotation, since projectors face along the z axis). it can be used to project a texture across surfaces, or a a plain color. the texture can be used to mask the projector allowing a limited array of lightmapping techniques. They're quite fun, but the rendering requirements are out of range for too many users. here's a few lame examples...

a_projection1.jpg

projector across a leg to the ground behind it, notice the red and green changed across the leg and the other leg shadow at the left side

a_projection2.jpg

projector tilted slightly up to show it's non-static nature, texture applied is the head map for skins, the sun shadow can be seen far right)

 

I noted that texture and color control of fullbright was static, glow (bloom to texture artists) provides a measure of envorimental effect, with or without fulbright, that makes almost all gradients possible thanks to it being unchained from the texture. I never suggested they were the same thing, only that they can duplicate most effects that filter gradients would allow.

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64m^2 prims are coming with mesh, so you'll get at least 1 wish fulfilled =)

ps current link distance is 54m diameter on centers

and while it still takes a script, the script doesn't have to stay, simply create this script in inventory and drop a copy in the prim you want to be phantom (before linking!)... it'll stay phantom and script deletes itself..

default{    state_entry(){        llVolumeDetect( TRUE );        llRemoveInventory( llGetScriptName() );    }}

 (wont work for the root prim unfortunately)

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Thank you, Void.  Not tried a script to do linking, didn't know it existed...of course me being rather clueless most of the time doesn't help either. Will try it over the weekend. 

Yay, bigger prims...but not sure I am up for meshes though. 

As posted in another thread this morning,  I feel somehow that meshes will be the death of me and many other small creators that don't know how to make sculpts or meshes and prefer to purchase from those that do create.  I see this becoming a much more expensive venture I can barely afford now.

Again, thanks for the infor and will try it on a build later.

 

 

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I'd add to that;

1) Fix AgentHeight so the appearance editor displays correct avatar height.

2) Fix the SL camera so it's not floating up above me like I'm playing "The Sims", put it down closer to eye level like I'm playing any third person videogame made in the past 5-10 years or so.

3) Provide new users with properly scaled AND proportioned avatars.

 

Ok, in addition to the obvious reasons why I'd like to see these problems fixed there's the impact each of these has on building. Yes, SL is a virtual world, but land is finite and expensive. Larger avatars effectively make sims even smaller than they are. Considerably so given that the average avatar is anywhere between 6.5 to 8 feet tall.

The camera forces us to up-scale even further by adding another couple metres to the height we need to accomodate.Ceilings need to be around 4-5m high or it causes problems with the SL camera. The average ceiling in a modern home or apartment is 2.45m high, give or take. Raise the ceiling that much and people feel the need to increase the size of furniture and everything else, building outwards to try and keep everything in proportion to each other.

 The average resident builds to more or less double scale. Gradeschool geometry tells us that this effectively reduces sims to 1/4th their actual size. Ever wish you could get four times as much land for what you're paying now? I've just shown you how you can. You're welcome.

 I should point out this also increases the number of prims we use in our builds. A 20x20m floor requires four prims. A 10x10m prim requires only one. So once you're talking even that small level of scalke you're already talking about using four times as many prims in your basic structures.

 

If I know all this, why should LL need to bother fixing it for everyone else? Because regardless of what I know to be true, when I build something open to the public I am forced to build to a scale that works with the average avatar's experience. I can't shrink my buildings down to 1=1 scale because even if I can navigate them comfortably, the average resident wouldn't be able to fit through the door, and if they did somehow get in the low ceilings would prevent them from seeing anything.

I already mentioned LL giving new users properly proportioned avatars so I'd also add;

4) An improved appearance editor.

What would I like to see in an improved appearance editor?

a) A proportions lock that can be toggled on and off. Toggle it on and it prevents you from creating an avatar which does not have realistically human proportions. Turn that off if you wish to make an intentionally stylized or non-human avatar.

b) Base body type templates people can choose from when they go to create a new shape. Want to make a super heroic shape? Choose the super hero body template. Already comes 8 heads tall, broad shouldered and muscular. Want an super model? There's a tall, thin template for that. A dwarf? Got you covered. An average man or woman? Template shapes for that. All perfecty proportioned for the body types they cover.At least six shapes for each gender, and they could be selected via either the library, or directly through the appearance editor.

c) Additional proportion guides built into the appearance editor. Very simple stuff, like overlaying a series of lines over the avatar indicating the avatar's head size in relation to the body, to easily show how many heads tall your avatar is (average human is 7 to 7.5 heads tall. Average SL avatar? 8.5-9.5 heads tall. Freaky small heads!)

The appearance editor could even pop-up explanations for the guides, so everyone understands what they're looking at.  Go to adjust height or head size, you get the "how many heads tall" guide and a window in the corner explaining it.

Editing leg length or torso length? You get some lines displaying how long your legs are in relation to your upper body, including lines indicating where that should be and a text box explaining why. Your hand, with fingers splayed, should be about the size of your face. Your feet are as long as your forearm from elbow to wrist. Your arms, stretched out to either side, should measure to within a few inches of your height.

 

Why do I want these changes? I'm tired of every avatar I see being pin-headed, wasp-waisted, with gimpish short arms, freakish long legs, and with creepy carny hands and feet. Seriously, almost every single avatar out there has these problems and more. All the human starter avatars ever made included.

  SL's reputation for poor graphics isn't due entirely to technical limitations, or the fact that most content is made by un-skilled hobbyists. The lack of basic tools like this contributes heavily. Even the avatars shown in ALL of LL's marketing materials are grossly misproportioned, adding to SL's poor reputation.

I got a few more, too, to allow us to do so much more visually in SL.

5) Scriptable windlight settings. As in, if we own a private estate, let us set up 3 dimensional areas in space where different windlight settings apply, and those settings could be changed on an individual avatar basis by triggered events. We can already do this with RLV but I'd love to see it possible on a standard viewer, even if it required a worn attachment.

6) Scriptable camera settings. Same as windlight, I'd love to be able to control a visitor's camera settings as they explore my sim, again even if this required a worn attachment on the part of the visitor. Using this we could control field of view (press ctrl+8/9/0 on the keyboard to see field of view changes.) We could control the new depth of field settings seen in the mesh viewer, we could control other rendering settings like triggering wireframe.

Imagine the effects we could create with this ability! Ghostly visions, freaky hallucinations. We could create a fish-eyed "security cam" look when a person sits down at a security station to peek into a monitor. We could create a wide-field "horror" camera view in a haunted house.

7) NPC objects. Fake avatars we can rez, apply shapes, skins, attachments and outfits to to dress them up. Animations to make them move. They could be scripted to travel a path, or with dialogue trees for people to interact with them. We could populate a sim with characters or wildlife. We could create "enemies" for combat sims. And all this could be done much more easily, more reliably and with a much smaller impact on a given sim than by using bots.

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This discussion brought to mind something I saw recently in a tutorial video for DAZ Studio 4 that it'd make sense to have in the SL viewers.  I think it might have been in the first or second video you get sent to when you first run the program.  Briefly they showed a bit where you could take the avatar, any avatar, in there, slide a slider on it, and the av went instantly from adult to kid and back, with all the parts of the body (arms, legs, head, etc) changed to the right proportions for that age.  He slid the slider one way, BOOM!  Instant kid.  Slide it the other way, BOOM!  Instantly adult again.  I saw that and thought, "Wow, I so wish we had that on SL!"  :D

 

Seeing as how my persona is based on a character who's been through multiple time warps that made him younger again or older again, it'd be handy.  But it would definately make it much easier to have realistic-looking kid-avs.  So many times, someone takes the provided grown-up av they're given and tries to kid-size it, but gets it all wrong.

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Market Place Sandboxes - LM would be included in every MP purchase.

A Sandbox with Terrain that would change every month, presenting new building challenges.

to be continued...

The ability to rotate a copy in place.

A way to save and select between three grid settings in addition to the current single custom setting.

Project Sandboxes with longer return times and clearly defined work areas. 

 

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All that sounds really nice.

I have something much simpler for a wish: that I don't have to edit a position of something 3 times before it stays where I put it. I can understand if there was a script interfering but I have an art shop with pictures. The pictures don't have scripts.

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