Archive for the ‘technical / gadgets’ Category

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Grid down again : Might as well blog..

January 24, 2008

Well, the title says it all.

Hmm what to write, what to write..

Ok, here’s one. Some time ago, about the middle of last year, I noticed a blog post Cory Edo had written about her Logitech MX1000 laser mouse, and how all the buttons could be set up to work with SL to speed up building by putting a lot of the shortcuts under your fingertips. I was working at RiversRunRed at the time, and we all had MX1000’s there, so I installed the software and had a bit of a play about. I guess the grid must have been down that day too. The first thing I found, is that she was right. You can really increase connection with the virtual world by configuring the hardware of your interface, it makes sense when you think about it. Anyway what I’m getting to, is that I found that for me, a different setup to the setup she had posted for each button worked better. I’m not saying it IS better, I’m just saying I liked it more, having played about a bit and refined, so if you’re using an MX1000, maybe it’ll work well for you too.

mx1000-setup2.jpg

The added bonus here is that pushing the alt button (scroll wheel toward the left) and one of the other buttons gives you the same as pressing ctrl shift on the keyboard, and the same with the control shift + alt combo.. basically giving you full camera control from the mouse. Pretty handy!!

At first it may seem that these shortcuts dont actually add much to your experience, but as you grow used to them, the novelty wears off and it becomes the interface you expect to have and use, going back to a regular 2 button mouse feels like putting down your precise graphics pencil in favour of a childs chewed up crayon..

Enjoy and good luck!

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Product Review – Jextone EasyRez 1.25: First Look

January 21, 2008

jextone easyrezThere are times, when working on a project, that you may find it beneficial to work in a location other than that which will be the final installation space for your finished designs. For example, right now I’m building a small virtualtown, and I’ve chosen to do so up in the sky, because when placed the town won’t be aligned to the grid – so i’ve created it up in the sky, aligned to the grid, with the intention of moving the whole thing down afterwards, into its final position. Or, you may wish to sell your buildings or products, in which case you need an easy solution to enable your customers to rez and position their new acquisitions in-world.

There are many ways to achieve this, but by far and away the simplest and most straightforward answer is to use a ‘Rezzer’ – a device/box which stores the linked segments of your build/project, and then on command will ‘rez’ for you in a location of your choosing.

There are many rezzers on the market, but in the past they’ve always had their limitations or been quite difficult to use. So I was intrigued when talking to a friend of mine in Secondlife by the name of 10khz Tone, he mentioned that he had recently scripted a very simple to use yet extremely powerful rezzer, that could retain an entire sim’s worth of content, and rez it without difficulty irrespective of distance (within the confines of a sim)

Using the Jextone EasyRez is simple enough, first you link your build together, then drop a script into the root prim of each linked object, then rez the box, then the packer. Click the packer and it copies all the info regarding your project into the box, then pick up the project either as one inventory object or just piece by piece and place it into the box. Pick the box up and thats it, you’re ready to go.

In trying it in a fairly empty private sim, I found it easy to set up, and easy to use. While the build I was packaging wasnt exactly superhuge, it was nearly 700 prims or so, and yet I found it easy to dragselect bits of it and link before putting the script in each root prim. I’ve heard some people talk about how difficult rezzers can be to set up, but this really was a piece of cake and if you’re one of those that do feel like you spend too much time packaging your products for sale after the already hard task of creating them, I’d definetly reccomend you contact 10khz and ask for a demonstration of his product.

I havent so far had a chance to test out rezzing a huge huge (several thousand prim) project in a super super laggy place (cordova sandbox? (or whichever of that set it is that allows active scripts)) but based on my experience with other products created by 10khz, I’m confident that when I do, it’ll work just as well and easily as it has done so far. In as much as its ease of use, which is what I was trying to establish at this early stage, Its about as difficult as making toast 🙂

You can pick up a copy for yourself here on SLexchange , or here in secondlife

For those of you wondering what the hell this secondlife thing is, signup for free here 🙂

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Torley lights the way

January 21, 2008

I’ve not been bothered that much until now by all this windlight stuff. As a designer, I like having control over my colors and the way people percieve them, but having seen some of the pictures and movies people have made with the windlight client, I decided to have another look and re-evaluate my position on it.

Step 1 for me was to look at the Nicholaz viewer website – always my first port of call whenever a new client or whatever comes out. Nicholaz is one of the few who since the opensource viewer came out have really made the most of the potential, and using his modded version I generally get about double the framerate and none of the crashes I’d experience on the standard viewer. And as luck would have it, he’s coded a mod for windlight. So, success.

Next up, I was never really that keen on the standard settings, and didnt really fancy spending ages messing about with creating my own, i’m new to windlight, so I want a test drive, right? But luckily and thanks to the ever-helpful Torley Linden, I found this page which has 120 presets for sky and water. And super-simple to install! Thanks, Torley! The only problem now is choosing one!

So, newly equipped, I now have a stable, fast client that has a whole bunch of presets for effects ranging from fantastic to frightening! I still dont think its that well suited to building, even with the new settings i’m not terribly content with the way it handles color temperature, and most of the time I really need to see clearly what I’m doing, especially with some of the advanced texture creation/mapping – but certainly for regular recreational use or any sort of film or stills, i’ve got a great new toy to play with 🙂