Friday, February 29, 2008

A little preview:

As far as the build goes, I lost about three days due to feeling badly, which is... not good, though I think I can still finish on time. I hope. I'm scrapping the gazebo I'd planned to build, at least for now, because it seemed redundant and I couldn't find a good place to put it.

But I came up with a good solution for light bleed, so I'm in a good mood at the moment. Local lighting tends to show up far beyond the point where it should: I can be halfway across my sim and a little radius 5 light will still be affecting my avatar, and I can continue all the way to the other side of the sim and still detect it. (I made a JIRA issue about this, but I'm either the only person whose client does this or the only person who finds it bothersome.) As you can imagine, this is a problem; the illusion of a deep forest tends to be shattered when you can't escape the store lighting.

And then I remembered, wait, only six lights can be displayed at once. So I turned some of the tree trunks on the forest border into lights, set the light color to black and the radius to 20, and problem solved. The store interior is all lit up, and the forest isn't. Hooray for at least one thing going smoothly.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The trees are at a point where I can start plunking them down. Here's the beginning of my forest, which still needs a few more rocks and plants added to the ground:

I've been a little disappointed with it so far, but I have to admit that it looks pretty good in that picture.

The ktris drawn numbers of this thing are making me very, very nervous, however. Hopefully they won't be Straylight bad (1000+ in Windlight!) by the time I'm done.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Back in my original Nouveau build, I had a staircase. An all prim staircase, with swirling, elaborate railings. When I redid my store build, I made it only one story, and removed the staircase.

Nonetheless, I appear to have a thing for 200+ prim staircases, and I present to you its successor, in spirit if not appearance.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Due to real life issues and the work taking longer than I anticipated, the sim opening date has been pushed back to March 8 and 9. I apologize for this -- I appear to be the world's slowest builder ever.

Oh, yes, and if you join my update group (Miriel's Latest) there is a free pair of some of the new eyes, in a brand new color. They're in the standard size and are a dark green.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Ah, yes, I see that turning off all shaders in Windlight once again no longer turns off the new lighting system. Thank you, LL. My desire to have my fashion photography look like fashion photography is clearly unreasonable, after all.

Monday, February 11, 2008

So, I have a little under two weeks to turn this:

into something awesome. I feel like I'm back in college, with five hours left to churn out an eight page paper that will earn an A.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

While I take a break from landscaping (it is booooring), I thought I'd give a rundown of the various programs I'm using for this whole sim project. There are quite a few of them, and some of you may find some of them useful. Everything on this list is, for the moment, free or has a free version.

ngPlant: This is what I use to make my trees, in conjunction with Blender and Paint Shop Pro. It's a free tree generator that can export to .obj; I generate individual branches, import them into Blender, and render them.

CrazyBump: This is the best thing ever. It can generate various kinds of texture maps (such as normal maps and displacement maps) from images. It's also spectacularly easy to use. (It is the anti-Blender.) Obviously, if you're not rendering anything in an outside program, it's not going to be useful to you, but I highly recommend it if you're going to be baking textures in a third party app and plan on using normal or displacement maps.

Bailiwick: This is the second best thing ever. It's an editor for sim .raw files. I was initially forced into using this because Paint Shop Pro can't handle .raw files with the 13 channels SL uses, and now I wouldn't stop using it even if PSP suddenly could. In addition to automatically working with the required 13 channels, it will tell you things like the minimum height and maximum height in a height map, and let you see what the landscape looks like -- complete with water level -- when the height multiplier is changed.

L3DT: A useful counterpart to the above. This is a terrain generator. It does way more than you need if you're just making sim terrain, but it's pretty easy to use and will convert a crude height map into something looking like actual terrain. In other words, if you know you want a round island with a lake in the middle, you can scrawl a white O on a black background, and L3DT will turn that into something that looks like an island and not a five-year-old's drawing.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Work is progressing much slower than it should be (thank you, poor health), but I did get the basic terrain shape done today, I think. (I'm happy with it now, but I'm going to sit on it for a day or so before declaring it done, since I might notice problems tomorrow.)

The terrain textures need tweaking and changing still, though that gray is a custom pebble texture I made.