Archive for the ‘Building and texturing’ Category

Building a Story Set

Melanda 1

When I do storyboarding for my short fiction, as I’m doing a lot of lately for the story based on “Like a Thief In the Night,” I like to get as detailed a set as possible, so that I’ll have the place my characters inhabit as clear in my mind as I can.  When we first meet Melanda, Duconna Ceal of Eldav, we’ll see her in the office of a doctor specializing in biosculpt and cosmetic enhancement technology.  Not surprisingly, though, there aren’t many places even in Second Life that boast a biosculptor’s office and exam rooms.  So I was forced to build one for myself and my partners.

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Freeform Starbases, Via Exosphere

Starbase expansion 1

Welcome to the beginnings of what may be a permanent dormitory section of my starbase!  The main regions below don’t have room for the approximately fifty people that usually work at Tulla ‘niFalon Starbase, so some sleeping arrangements needed to be provided.  Brenda Hoisin and Exosphere recently came to the rescue on this, with X-Walls, a set of modular panels that can be assembled into any type of room you may desire, either on the ground or in orbit.

Learn more on the next page.

It’s the Signs of the Times

Starbase, 12-21-2014

Changes are going on at my starbase.  As you can tell from the tubes going up and down at several places, along with the moving of several elements (and the removal of several others), there’s a lot more vertical spread than there used to be.  This is because Exosphere has released new components, including what Brenda refers to as “Starbase Decks.”  These are essentially elevator landings with four iris doors in the outer walls.  (The lift tubes, of course, help keep the vacuum out as well as allowing passage from deck to deck.  Most people find breathing hard vacuum somewhat…unsatisfying.)

With a little thought, I rearranged things using these new modules, and I now have a fully linked square, allowing you to walk the entire perimeter of Deck 1 (as it now is) if you prefer, instead of taking the travel bubbles.  The tram stations are still there, however, allowing for fast movement between one side and another when speed is needed.  I’ve also removed the prim-heavy Black Bishop modules, which are pretty and less “space-worn,” but are not compatible in length with the Exosphere components, and will not fit without a special connector.  I can still, however, put up the Black Bishop modules for special purposes in another volume of “space” — I’d be willing to rent out the station for machinima — or for another commons in a separate dormitory block.

Just one problem with all of this activity — I have to redo all my signs now.  As the starbase grew more complex — remember, I originally was thinking of just a few sheds for storing boxes out of my inventory! — becoming more of a set for my fiction, and my thoughts on what would be needed for it grew, I needed to mark out the ways around it (for visitors, if nothing else; I’ve had a few).  But every time I change the configuration, of course, I have to change the signs.  For instance, the main landing center, which you can see in the lower left corner, is currently on Deck 1L.  It used to be on Deck 1, but I’m trying to move some of the “grittier” aspects of station life off the main levels and down to a “basement” deck.  I could even go down another deck or so, as well as up past Deck 2 (the current top level) within the volume I’m inhabiting right now.  But that will, of course, mean more or new signs…

GIMP is starting to overheat on me right now….

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What Mighty Obsessions, uh, Oaks….

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I just wanted someplace to store all my extra stuff; maybe clean out the Inventory finally.  The only real place to go was up, so I tried out the Exosphere modules; and I began easy….

Yes, that’s where the obsession started! Turn the page and see.

Station Map

I figured it was time to get the layout of my starbase somewhat formalized, so I spent some time learning a few tricks with GIMP, and I came up with this “subway map”-style illustration of the layout:

station map -- 08-15-2014 upload

If some of the terms are weird to you, such as “Grand Council” or “Ard Taòisha,” fear not; you need to be reading my stories (which I still hope to publish one day) to know everything going on here.  If I ever get those stories up, you’ll have a chance to learn them for yourself.

I felt it was logical to divide the station into its proper functions, and assigned a color code to each area.  (Gee, I wonder where I got some of the colors from…?)1  Not everything I want is in the station yet, and so this map will certainly change as time goes on, and as I discover and fix mistakes.  (I’ve already added in something since I made this, and discovered one spelling error [sigh], so I already need to go back and fix things.)

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1 And yes, I know you’re probably used to the colors being assigned differently.  Remember, in the Star Trek I grew up with, “Command wore gold, Engineering wore red–”  “And the women wore less.”  (Deep Space Nine, “Trials and Tribbleations.”)

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Some Shots from Fashion For Life

A few snapshots from the prettier areas of this year’s Fashion For Life.  The entire build, all 11 sims, is excellent; but these are my favorites.

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Free Water Normal Maps by Trompe Loeil : StrawberrySingh.com

In case you haven’t seen a link to this article yet, or actually been to the original, rush off to Berry Singh’s article on a new goodie from Cory Edo.  Cory has released, through Trompe Loeil on the Marketplace, a set of normal maps for use in world in the WindLight editing tab of your client.  Please do read all of this carefully, and make sure to see Berry’s video on how to use the maps.  You can’t make a “water prim” this way, but you can give your in-world water a look that you desire for photography purposes or machinima!

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A Station Among the Stars

I’ve been experimenting with an interesting set of goodies I discovered on the Marketplace — interlocking modules that let you construct your own custom space station or starbase, with almost idiot-proof simplicity and a lot of room for fun and creativity.  Market by Exosphere, the modules are fully mod/copy, and cover many of the situations you’d find in an RPG space opera, with more planned for the future.  You could also put together a nice, if perhaps a little lived-in-looking, spacegoing homestead for yourself.  Since the modules are mod-allowed, then if you’re good with texturing, you could redress the interiors to something less “worn.”  (As an aside, seeing this starbase does make me wonder what the insides of the RL International Space Station look and smell like after over 15 years of occupancy.)

Starbase 1

This is an exterior view of the work/test/construction platform put together by one of the owners of Exosphere, Brenda Hoisin, which she was kind enough to let me wander around in, as well as led me on a few tours of.  As you can see, Brenda’s station is complex and rambling; but it doesn’t have to be this way.  You can make yours as simple as you wish for your needs with just a few basic modules and connectors.  This one has most of the currently available modules attached, and so has many up-and-down access ways to get from level to level.  For even faster access to crucial areas, you could add in a teleporter system.  (I have noticed that you cannot do double-click teleports anywhere on board, which I find interesting.)

The following photo-rich article will seem like a bit of a catalogue, but I reserve that for Brenda and her (I believe) senior partner in the business, Eco Chronowire, at their blog/product site.  You can find the entire current line at their Marketplace store; there is no in-world store at the moment.  This is more of a travelogue, I hope, around a product line that I find very intriguing.  It is rather plugging their wares, but it’s worth it if you’re interested in the spacegoing life for yourself in Second Life.

Turn the page to get started

Closing the Doors

You may recall my talking recently about replacing the stairway in my house.  I mentioned in there that the elevator I put in instead of the stairs still needed a shaft to make it look complete.

Snapshot_001

Well, the work is now done, and it’s not a bad piece of work, aside maybe from joint lines that I haven’t noticed yet.  I took a cube — of course, you must always take a cube! — and hollowed it out, then sliced off one side, creating an instant basic shaft construct with an open front.  Stretching it up through the floor, so that it went from living-room floor to office ceiling, was not difficult; but it was critical to make sure that the shaft fit around the elevator.  Not for looks; the script on this elevator detects blockages, and the walls of the car catching on the walls of the shaft would not be good.

Next came the doors.  I picked up a copiable, scripted door I liked from Dats Door and Texture Store (“Dats,” get it? [shaking head]) and rezzed it up on each floor, then swung the door to make it open out in the correct direction — trickier than it seemed! — and grafted it into the front of the shaft.  Again, I had to make sure there was no point of impact between the door and any part of the elevator, so I stretched out the shaft slightly toward the front to give some needed airspace.  I implanted the doors, and stretched them so that they would fit the width of the shaft, and not be so tall that they would show the top of the car through the glass in the doors.  For looks, I capped off the airspace above the doors with another prim on each floor, and the result is a very realistic elevator shaft with an antique car on the inside!

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One last step was a bit of a bother.  You see the clear glass floor section of the upper floor here.  Before, it stretched all the way to the elevator.  Adding on the door, though, I developed a rather familiar and annoying invisiprim texture glitch where it looked like the door, when it opened, was poking through the floor.  So I shrank the section backward, and now there’s a black landing floor to fill up the space.  I’m hoping that’s the last modification I’ll need to make to that poor floor; it’s shrunk a bit in the past month or so….  (Sigh)

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A Few Changes

A change
(A change will do you good)
Will do you good
(A change will do you good)
I think a change
(A change will do you good)
Will do you good
(A change will do you good)

Sheryl Crow, “A Change Will Do You Good”

Home changes_003

Here I am (shot through my second-floor window), working on the next great piece of fashion editorial while at my ease.  As I take a break for a bit, I look around the house I’ve inhabited for some months now, and grin at the changes I’ve finished making to it, and to the ease of my life living in it.

New House 3 blog

And they’re mostly centered around this room, the first room you encounter when you enter the house.  I originally published this back in June, when I’d finished setting up the place (though by no means finished decorating it — in fact, that hasn’t happened yet), and you can see the big square fireplace in the center of the area, with a free-floating spiral staircase behind it to the second floor.  These two elements were my biggest bugaboos about an otherwise beautiful house, and something I resolved to work on as time and budget allowed.

Read on to see what I did about it….

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