Second Life
Magic & Secrets


LIMITATIONS and PROBLEM within Second Life Illusions 

First of all, we do want to stress that anything that tries to duplicate the complexities of real life, is likely to have many issues where the illusion fails.  We are quite impressed with the job the Lindens do with Second Life.  But yes, there are some limitations to watch for and try to minimize if you know that they are there.


In another section we talk about how great transparencies are and how they can add much to realism.  Yes.  But be careful.  If one transparent item is near another in Second Life life, Second Life often seems to have a problem how to show that on screen - as to what item is in front of what.  So avoid putting transparent or semi transparent items next to each other.  Some examples:

Ladies Gowns often have some small degree of transparency to add realism since clothes in real life have some small degree of transparency.  And some ball rooms for dancing who are not worried about this (but should be) sometimes make their floor somewhat transparent.  Well, then often when you put a ladies semi transparent gown over a semi transparent floor, the ladies gown can disappear in part or in full.

Second Life allows people to fence in their land with red keep out signs that block entrance.  Personally, I hate those red barriers.  But those red barriers which are supposed to be on your neighbors land can even show through your walls and windows - particularly if your walls have windows and thus have some transparency themselves.  Grrrr   I hate those red barriers.  They do so much to ruin the pleasantness of Second Life.

There are many more instances, if you go too far about putting many semi transparent items next to others.


First of all, all animations are an illusion and an approximation.  We always hope that those in Second Life know this and not be too hard on animators.  The first thing is that animations are similar to TV illusions, in that the normal Second Life Animation was really 30 still frames of an avatar in different positions per second.  Our eyes see that as movement, but just like our TV sets, we are just seeing separate still photos.  But there is more, much more.  An animator in Second Life designs for an average avatar size, but of course there is no such thing.  Some avatars are tall some short, some choose long arms, some short, and the same things with legs.  So animations are always going to be approximate from that standpoint also.

But in addition, Second Life has difficulties with memory storage since so much must be loaded into it.  So Second Life does not load all animation information that an animator provides, but throws some of it away to save memory space.  Second Life says they do not throw away anything important, but as an animator I disagree.  In one case I made an animation that turned slowly to the right so people could see how their clothes looked from different angles.  But when that animation was loaded into Second Life, it did rotate, BUT IN THE OTHER DIRECTION.  That gives an idea on how much information is thrown away.  And again, it is hard to be an animator and have someone tell you that your animation does not run smoothly when you know that that may well be because the smooth information was thrown away.  Hard to tell really what is getting thrown away, but you can guess that animators wish it all was loaded as they designed it.


This is a frustration for those who do not want anyone inside their homes in Second Life.  They can lock the doors.  But many people know that if you send your camera inside and find a chair and choose to sit, that your avatar will go right through the wall.  Similarly some objects with move script can also go through walls.  And yes, some call that a problem, and some call that a feature.  I feel the same way.  Sometimes a feature - depending on what you are doing.


Well, there is a difference here between the two - and I will explain that.  If you purchase a flexi skirt, most of that skirt or close to all of it is generally made with flexi material.  But if you buy flexi hair, you might be surprised to learn that some have less than 10% flexi material and it is 90% rigid.  What is the difference?  Well, the answer lies in what building blocks SL allows to be flexible.  Only three building blocks are allowed to be flexible:  boxes (includes thin versions that seem like paper), cylinders and prisms.  And yes cylinders can look like half a cylinder and be pointed on the top and still be flexible.  But the other SL building blocks of:  spheres, tubes, rings, torus's, and sculptured prims (did I miss any?) are each NOT allowed to be flexible.  Well, since we make both flexi skirts and flexi hair, let me give some inside information.  Flexi skirts are usually (a word that gets us all into trouble) with boxes (the flat type like paper) or cylinders (the half cone shape).  So, that means it is easy for someone to make them mostly flexible.  Tada!   But in the case of flexi hair, it is not so.  The two most common items in flexi hair are torus's and sculptured prims - neither of which are allowed to be flexible.  So some of us do add some flexi cylinders and/ or flexible box shapes to our designs to make at least part be flexible.  Of course some obvious usages are for pony tails in the back or hair hanging in the back which are often cylinders.  Another application is special textures added to the hair front using flexi small boxes.


For those who build in Second Life, we often to get things exact edit and write in values for where we want the object to be - by writing in values for x, y and z.  But for everyone who has done that, we sometime put in a wrong value, and do not see it in time, and hit "Enter" and then send the prim to never never land.  I have done this many many times.  How to fix? It often can be fixed.  I use a product I make called a skycart people mover that I sell.  First I try and stop and think what mistake I could have made.  Maybe instead of placing the item 10.32 meters in the air, I sent it to 1032 in the air, about 1000 meters higher.  So I take my skycart and I go up about 1032 in the air and look around.  I often find it and can then either "take it" or at least delete it.  It is a bit harder if you send the prim deep into the ground.  Sometimes there is a setting on your second life camera to eliminate restrictions on it and can send your camera into the ground to find it.  But oddly, I now am generally able to find most prims that I send off into the distance by trying to figure out what data I wrote wrong inside of it.



Main Page - MAGIC and SECRETS

Second Life Illusions - how they are made

Sculptured Prims


thanks for reading this

- Hunter Bronet

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