Tuesday, April 29, 2008

My computer broke again. This time, the motherboard and/or power... thing is to blame, so they're getting replaced. I'm not exactly sure when it will be up and running again. I'm not exactly sure why I keep breaking my machinery, either.

I'm using the downtime to read up on PHP and MySQL in the hopes of having my personal vendors automatically add sales to a database.

Monday, April 21, 2008

I made some novelty eyes for my own amusement, and decided to release them free to my group, Miriel's Latest. What do I mean by "novelty," you ask? Good question.

Enjoy, if they're your style. :)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

I've been thinking a lot about visuals lately. More than usual, I mean. And I've got a little wish list of things I'd like (but will probably not get). Besides a better night sky, I mean, which I've wanted forever.

1. Optional normal mapping for terrain textures. Well, normal mapping for everything would be nice, but you and I both know that giving people an excuse to add twice as many huge textures to things is a recipe for disaster. Terrain is limited to four 512 x 512 textures, though, so the performance cost shouldn't be too bad. And adding a bit of depth to the very smooth ground would really help with realism, I think.

2. Terrain textures that repeat more often. I think each texture repeats once over a 16 x 16 m square. Everything turns blurry and you can forget about any kind of fine detail, unless you keep things at an unrealistically large scale. I'd love it if that distance were cut down to 8 x 8. (At least I think I would. Maybe everything would look way too repetitive that way.)

3. The ability to fine tune the degree to which environmental lighting affects a face. Right now, we can turn environmental lighting off entirely (via the full bright check box -- yes, that's what that actually does, it's not really a button to make everything glow). But that's it: it's either on or off. I don't know how feasible this is, but I'd rather see it treated like glow is, where you can set a value from 0.00 to 1.00. With that and a bit of careful texturing, for instance, you could make interiors that only took some of the environmental light -- you know, like real interiors do.

4. A pony. (And a better night sky.)

Friday, April 18, 2008

The sim will be done when (and if) it's done. That's all I can say now.

I'm posting now, actually, because I have a note on sculpties. I've heard that using smaller sculpt textures can lead to more efficient sculpties, even ones that have fewer vertices than normal prims. The smaller textures lead to vertices being right on top of each other, and supposedly these duplicate vertices will be automagically culled by your video card, leading to a lower overall rendering cost.

I've been doing some testing of sculpted prim efficiency these past couple of days, so I decided to test this while I was at it. I made a 64 x 64 sculpt texture of a simple cylinder, then made a copy of that texture and resized it to 16 x 16. (I tried 8 x 8, but SL seemed to have issues with that.) I turned my draw distance down to 64, went to an isolated spot on my sim (read: nothing would be moving in or out of rendering view), rezzed an object that I applied the 64 x 64 sculpt texture to, and checked the ktris drawn numbers. Without changing the camera angle, I then applied the 16 x 16 sculpt texture to the object, and checked the numbers again.

They hadn't changed.

I tried this with a variety of different camera angles and the results were always the same: the ktris drawn numbers were identical. Now, perhaps there's something screwy about the ktris measurements or about my experiment, but my best guess now is that using smaller sculpt textures doesn't lead to more efficient sculpties.