Winter Window

Cranky ’14

What a year, 2014! And I say that sarcastically. For the most part, I spent the time complaining about people in SL rather than posting about what I was doing. Really. Some things must change for 2015 or this blog will become a hate-driven zine nobody will like to visit. You don’t believe me? Here’s 2014 in abstracts.

Morton

In January I was writing about people’s stupidity, going to SL events fully attired with thousands of attachments, as if events were a fashion parade or a pageantry freak show. Later, I wrote about yard sales, and the hidden agendas of “gachers”, both creators and resellers, in making lots of money out of their victims’ addictions. I also recounted my close encounters with a strange fan that was too inspired with my modest attempts at creating homey environments, that she made an exact copy of my Bay City plot.

Transition

In February, I was telling you how boring I am, doing minimal changes in my rented parcel. Following that discussion, I told you how tired I was of hearing creators accusing each other of intellectual property infringement and stealing, and of a similar atmosphere clouding the camaraderie in SL sailing groups. It’s actually incredible that 11 months later, nothing has changed in that regard. People… I guess.

March and April were kind of quiet, since I only whined, in a very quick way, about some creators’ lack of “responsibility” for joining in too many events and then not showing for half of them. In May I calmed down a little bit and answered silently one of Strawberry Singh’s blog challenges. But tranquility didn’t last long, because before month’s end I was complaining about suspicions of “cheating” in the LL’s auction house after losing some bids to real estate mongers in several attempts at buying parcels in Mainland during that month. Of course, I never tried the thing again and declared it a waste of time.

I returned to the SL map to search for land for sale during June, and told you of how shallow-brained are people using banlines and other security tools to pester their neighbors and everyone else alike.

July

Finally, something good happened in July, after I found a nice parcel by accident. Of course I bought it and built my countryside hideout. What I didn’t tell you is that eventually, even that idyllic property got surrounded by banlines and an out-of-place gorean castle erected on a 512 sq.m. parcel in front of mine. How sweet! I guess that’s why, for the rest of the month I spent my time arguing against gacha excesses in all kinds of SL events. Fortunately, I wasn’t the only one with such claims, as some other people, including well-known creators, were equally lamenting the loss of quality in SL production because the over-abundance of SL events.

In August I did practically nothing. I only wrote about what I though should be fair pricings for SL land after LL announced the company was already working on SL’s successor. September wasn’t that “positive” either, and during the Home & Garden expo I reproached the use of a blogger application to call for promotional exposure for an event that, due to its nature and purpose, would benefit more from all kinds of advertising, from the all-inclusive blogging community, rather than filtering out the little people. For me it was a snobbish move that should only be reserved for purely commercial ventures, not for a fundraising one. Of course, that’s only my opinion, me that knows nothing about organizing anything in SL (that’s a disclaimer, kind of).

The rest of the year went pretty quiet, until the posts this week, that you should go and read in full instead of expecting a compendium (me, roll eyes).

That in essence was my 2014. All in all, I must confess I did have a lot of fun this year, as usual, despite my apparent hate phase. I even fully enjoyed writing about all those frustrations because it made me think a lot about what drives SL, in terms of it as a social medium, going through the mechanics that make this world go round –in its own fashion–, and the magnificent ménage of sentient beings that gives life to this collective illusion.

Winter

Winter in a box

When you’re the owner of an entire sim on a private estate or independently, there is a series of regional settings you can control that are not available to simple parcel owners or anyone living in Linden land. One of them lets you customize the appearance of the ground texture, so it can fit your landscaping needs.

When your kingdom is très petit, even smaller than the tiny world of the Little Prince, winter is probably the most difficult season to cope with the rest of the neighborhood, especially if you’re the only one cheerfully expecting the first snowfall –unless you live in the frozen confines of old Sansara, the ever whitish Snowlands, where the problem is exactly the reverse: how to fit in during the summer. You can, of course, cover your land with some prims and sprinkle them with snow and ice textures, use any of the available pre-made landscaping kits (with dozens of options to choose from), or even get your hands on a chic tool such as JVTEK’s LandMap to cover the ground with a precise layer you can paint as desired. But remember: the rest of the sim may remain as green as ever, and your plot will stand out as the shiniest rarity in the ‘hood.

For the last two winters –this one included– I’ve been living in different parts of mainland. To avoid any seasonal confrontation with my tropical acquaintances, I have rezzed a little skybox above the clouds to build my arctic “miniscape”. It’s not exactly as building at ground level, but there are so many options today that the scenery can even be lively in a limited vault like this.

 

My permafrost dwelling rests in a small 1696 sq.m. parcel, and it consists of:

  • Turnip – 40 x 40 Skydome, with winter textures.
  • Studio Skye – Enchanted woods, Snow Formations, and Silver birch.
  • 3D Trees – some accessories from a winter trees pack.
  • Botanical – Touch 2 Change Split Rail Fence
  • Happy Mood – Snowy road (sans rocks)
  • Dysfunctional Designs – several snowmen
  • Dust Bunny – Hunter’s Retreat (rare gacha item from the Old Fashioned Winter set at Nº21 event)
  • Tia – Love Doves Birdbath (rare gacha item from last year’s Winter is Coming set; machine is still available in store)
  • LISP – Victorian Street Lamp (white icy with snow version)

Except for 3D Trees, all other products are mesh, and I still have more than 200 prims left, woot! Snow in the pics is is a combo of a Happy Mood product and a texture+script from yours truly.

Autumn 2014

Tweaks

First of all, this isn’t a regular post. It’s actually a post-it note with useful information related to SL viewer settings that I want to keep handy for quick reference.

Even though a lot of people are happy with SL’s official viewer, I’m among those who have one particular reason to hate it: It crashes constantly, period. I don’t know why, but that’s been my experience, even with different computer setups. Everything else works fine, but I can’t stand having to log back in every 5 minutes.

Crashes have been a thing of the past for all third party viewers (TPVs) I’ve used and liked over the years, but sometimes those projects, some of which depend on a lonely soul, fall out of updates, either because the developer is not interested in continuing with the burden, for example, or because other RL or SL endeavors keep their attention away from development or from matching the pace of official releases, among other reasons. When that happens, I tend to hop to another TPV and move on.

Besides the SL official viewers (stable, betas or release candidates alike), I currently use the following two regularly: Kokua Viewer and Firestorm Viewer. Both of them are closely related since, if I’m not mistaken, the first one is based on the second one; sometimes Kokua updates also take more time to come around. And of course, both of them are more feature-rich than their official counterpart.

To get to the point, the raison d’être of this text is to keep track of the camera settings I use on both of these viewers. Since I tend to “hang out” with one of them for a time and then shift to the other as features are updated (or a new annoying bug is accidentally introduced), with some frequency I’ve had to do a search for “camera settings” when switching sides… because I’m so lazy that I forget to write them down, yep. So this is my way to keep the notes handy. By the way, Firestorm has an exquisite tool that helps you backup and restore all viewer settings (found under Preferences), but there’s always something to tweak after a fresh install anyway.

Backup utility in Firestorm

So these are the camera settings of my preference, in case readers find them of any use. They can be tweaked by going to the Advanced menu > Show Debug Settings.

In Firestorm, the viewer I’m using right now, you get this warning when attempting to access the Debug Settings. That’s their way of scaring the hell out of you, but there’s nothing to be afraid of; the settings we’re modifying are quite safe and harmless.

Warning

Once “inside,” the Debug Settings window looks like this:

Debug

From the list, we’re scrolling down to CameraOffsetFrontView, CameraOffsetGroupView, CameraOffsetRearView, CameraOffsetScale, and a little bit down the list to FocusOffsetFrontView, FocusOffsetGroupView, and FocusOffsetRearView. GroupView affects the Side View in the default Camera Controls window (the little eye button usually present in the toolbar).

To know the nitty-gritty of the settings, please refer to these excellent posts by other SLifers; I won’t explain them better than they already do.

The values I use are as follows:

CameraOffsetFrontView:

X  2.300    Y  0.000

Z  -0.900

CameraOffsetGroupView:

X  -1.500    Y  0.700

Z  0.100

CameraOffsetRearView:

X  -1.900    Y  -0.350

Z  -0.300

CameraOffsetScale:

value  1.000

FocusOffsetFrontView:

X  1.000    Y  0.000

Z  0.100

FocusOffsetGroupView:

X  1.500    Y  0.700

Z  1.100

FocusOffsetRearView:

X  2.000    Y  0.000

Z  0.200

Of these settings, the only ones overly important for me (stressed in bold) are the two that control the rear view and the offset scale (though right now I’m keeping the default value for the last one). They really make a HUGE difference in the way we visually perceive the SL world. Everbody should change those, that must be mandatory. I rarely (if ever) use the other two modes, front view and group/side view, but some of you might do. I also tweak these values a little bit more depending on the situation.

 

Picture: No, I didn’t return to autumn after last post. It’s an old picture I came across that never got posted, and since this rambling is not about home and garden, it doesn’t actually matter what season of the year I stick to (nor that it matter in SL anyway). Stuff in the picture from 3D Trees, Botanical, and Studio Skye.