Flexi Skirt Maker - FAQs -
Frequently asked questions
note: now SL design hints included at the last section:
FAQs MAKING THE SKIRT
WHAT FEATURES ARE ON THE VERSION CHANGES?
EXPLAIN LIMITATIONS? -
3.04 and above Models - the limitation below has been fixed at least to our level of testing. We found the issue that clearly was causing the problem. Therefore the skirt makers for 3.02, 3.03 and above should work for xy center openings for circle and oval for all skirt pieces that are a multiple of "4". We tested a number of cases up to and including 100 skirt pieces and got consistent results.
3.01 and Previous Models
A customer had asked us if there was an upper limit to the number of skirt pieces this skirt maker would do. We made a number of tests. The skirt maker did make skirts all the way up to 100 pieces, but that was not the limitation that we found that concerned us. What we did find was that if a customer, as we ourselves do, want to do an opening in the center either circular or oval after the skirt is one, the xy opening software does have limitations. We found the largest number of skirt pieces that would work was 72. But in more testing, we did get different results in groups for skirt pieces. And so, these are the ones we recommend most, the ones we recommend second, and ones we do not recommend:
What to do if you want more than 72 skirt pieces in a skirt? The answer may in fact be easier than waiting a huge amount of time to make huge skirts. I would suggest for example that if you want a 120 piece skirt, that you make a 60 piece skirt, adjust its flexi and texture and more where you wish it, then remove the software and save it. Then copy it in your inventory. Then rez two copies of it .. one directly over the other - by a very slight amount. You might want to rotate one by perhaps 3 degrees or so if you want overlap. the combine the two. Right click and select "edit" on the lower one. Then hold down the shift key and left click the upper one such that both are selected. Then ctrl and "l" (small 'L') will link the two. Now save your multi skirt. It should have 120 skirt pieces, but also two center pieces for 122 total prims. Does this work? This is what we used to do in the early days of making flexi skirts. It works quite well.
TURBO FAILURES - While we have not as yet seen a failure of our "fast" skirt maker, Turbo is a different story. After making about 50 test skirts with our turbo maker we have seen two failures. Since those two failures do not repeat and the way they look when made, the failures seem right now to be a "lag" issue. Actually the fast and turbo versions use exactly the same software package. A simple option we type in at the top, 0 or 1, tells it whether to be fast or turbo. What does that mean? They both make skirts much the same way. The differences are only in the permissions and the linking speed. We have been doing software now on SL for years. What we have found is that SL "lag" can damage almost any software. Likely there will be a case one day when it will damage a "fast" skirt maker as well. We have put a great deal of lag protection in our dance animation software for example, but no matter how much, lag can find a way to damage now and then. The "turbo" version is more vulnerable since it breaks SL rules. SL wants one second of dead time after software links items. This drives software people like us crazy. We do not know why they need this. But apparently SL does. The turbo which links faster than the 1 second asked for by SL does so by trickery - it has one large program and three small software helper programs doing the linking. But in times of lag, it can be vulnerable. We think from what we see, we know what the problem is, but the type of problem it is is not very fixable. We believe that if there is a lag on a sim, the linking may be out of order. That might mean that the skirt will look normal at first glance after it is made, but some of our software such as xy center openings or texture spreading will not work correctly - since it expects the skirt pieces to be linked in a certain order. What to do? If frustrated, try the "fast" version instead of "turbo". You also might simply get good results by trying it in a lower lag sim or by simply trying turbo again. The problem is in the making of the skirt, but may not show up till changing the center opening or doing texture spreading.
USING FAST OR TURBO SKIRT MAKER?: Turbo requires 4 permissions instead of 1. But the notes do try and help and make that less of an issue.
LENGTH ADJUSTMENT SPREADS SKIRT PIECES OUT FAR AT TIMES - It may for a second or two - depending on speed of your sim. The length adjustment of course can affect three different items - the length, the distance from the central skirt cylinder that made it, and the xy opening. The length adjustment does the first two of those adjustments - length and distance from the controller first. This may cause an unusual skirt appearance. Then when done with that, the software then redoes the xy center opening for the circle or oval distance that you wished. And it will send you a note when it is redoing the center opening and fixing that.
WHY A REQUIREMENT OF A MULTIPLE OF 4 FOR SKIRT PIECES? - I would guess that all of us regardless of age have heard someone say to us "Keep it Simple". Even the genius Albert Einstein has a famous quote about keeping it simple. His quote was:
Make everything as simple as possible, but no simpler. – Albert Einstein
And what he meant by "no simpler" was "do not cheat". But moving on... I agree. I have been in the software business for over 20 years, SL software for 3 or 4 years. What I have learned early on also is to do totally my own software. I mean, even if I can see an example from another, it is unwise to use it - not just because it is not right, but because it does not lead to the best. Doing a skirt the other way - a skirt piece at a time takes an equation that looks like it was done by a mad alchemist in medieval days who even bothered Merlin. It is a horrible equation. We looked for another path. We realized that if we did four skirt pieces at once, that we could eliminate most of the complexity that drove others mad. And we did that. And all of our geometry software in this package is truly our own. Thinking that the internet would be a help was ha ha, a waste of time. We just developed totally our own software equations. Now, I am not going to say that even that was easy. At times the complexity bothered myself as well. But at least "keeping it as simple as possible" removed some of the skirt making mystery. Now since it was totally our own software and equations, we know where everything is ... since we put it there. And as such we learned how to add on things such making the skirt solid or hollow, or a center or oval with xy openings, and then finally add the texture spreader. And even going back to the very very start of making the skirt, some other skirt makers seemed so glad that their item worked or not, they would leave you with trying to figure out how to get the center distance to zero. We hated that. With our software more reasonable, we simply calculate that for you. That is what "keeping it simple" does - it allows features to be added more easily. Now does this mean that the whole skirt maker was easy? Not at all. It just made it possible. Over the last three of four years doing SL programming I have done dance animation software for couples, and for line dancing, and outlaw target practice, and fireworks and balloon rides and gondola rides and much more. The skirt maker is by far the most complex. As I write this, today it is 3 large programs - each as large as SL allows - and 4 small helper programs. If you have been an OnP Deluxe Skirt Maker customer for a while you would also know that we have gone through multiple fixes and feature additions. Yes. It has not been easy. On the other hand, trying to "keep it simple" has caused it at least.... to be possible. What amazes a software writer like me? When things work as planned. Now that the xy center opening is fixed and works for all multiples of 4 that I have tested, I still look in amazement as the skirt pieces move around to do an oval. This likely sounds dumb. But some times you write code for days, weeks months, and then one day watching it, you feel like a child watching something impossible that is happening. So yes, there are rewards for software programmers. There is often a day when we look at something and say "yeah, I know it was supposed to work ... but how great it is... when it does.". We truly hope you enjoy the product. It has been by far, our most complex product. And that is after trying to always keep as much as we could to the Einstein idea of "Keep it as simple as possible".
FAQs TEXTURE SPREADER
WHAT REALLY IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN "DO Normal" and "DO Offset"? - Think of a skirt flexi cone piece (cylinder) or even a prism. Since they both have part of each flexi piece sticking outward from the skirt but also some inner areas hidden by other skirt pieces, one could say that you are seeing only have the skirt texture and the other half is hidden. Of course it does matter what your skirt "width" or "horizontal repeat rate" (same thing) is to determine what you are seeing or missing. But let us suggest you are seeing about the skirt texture and half of it missing. When you use "DO Normal" you are going to show that center texture portion of the skirt that lines up as exactly as we can do so with the actual front of the skirt. This might be fine for most applications. But at times if you used lettering on the skirt and put it in between the areas for an even Hphotos number, the lettering could be hidden. In this last case, try just pressing "DO Offset" to see the portion of the skirt that is now hidden. When you do this the skirt might be texture moved such that the texture center is no longer the texture center of the skirt, however, you might like the appearance better. We find that even if you are not using letter, sometimes pictures or scenery will simply show up better using "DO Offset" rather than "DO Normal". It is something to check to see if you like it better.
SL DESIGN HINTS - general build information
ADJUSTING ATTACHMENTS - You can edit attachments as shown below - move, rotate, and re-size - and if you detach the skirt or other attachment, it will remember its new attach points and information.
EDIT MOVE: Right click and edit an object to be able to move or modify it. You should see arrows after editing an object. Grabbing an arrow and dragging it with your mouse (left button down) will move the object in the direction of the arrow.
EDIT ROTATE: If not already in edit mode, right click the item and choose edit. Now as you hold down the "ctrl key, you will see circles. Find the circle that rotates in the direction you wish to modify it, and left click it and hold down the left mouse button to drag the circle in the rotation that you wish.
EDIT RE-SIZE: Note that we do not suggest this for skirts made with skirt maker unless you really are familiar with this and want to. The skirt maker after version 3.02 has a length adjust that keeps width and depth the same, and also tries to ensure same distance from the controller piece and also keep the same xy center opening. But if you wish to resize something else, or still want to use this to modify a skirt size, edit the skirt and press down both "shift" and "ctrl" at the same time. Then you should see boxes, pulling a box in should make the item smaller - up till any part of it is at its smallest design allowed point. Pulling a box outward will make the item larger - again till it hits maximum allowed size for any prim inside of it. If you do use this for our skirt maker, go to the main menu and press "reset" such that the software an now try to re-calculate the new distances.
SL PERMISSIONS: Often cannot change if attached to your avatar. To change permissions after removing things from contents, rez the item to the ground, remove the items, and then save it or save a copy.
COPYING ITEMS IN INVENTORY: Right click the item and copy it. To make a new copy, use "paste" in whatever folder you wish
COPYING ITEMS THAT ARE REZZED: Sometimes holding down the shift key and pulling a new item out from it if can give a copy. But we have seen some oddities with permissions when doing this at time. But when it does work, it can speed up building large structures.
BUILD SIZE AND LOCATION ACCURACY: For much building, most of us do not rely on eyesight but will edit the object and then go to the edit tab and set size, position and rotation more accurately.
TEMPORARY LOOK AT AN ITEM and THEN IT GOES BACK: You can at times get a temporary look at a skirt that you are wearing for example by editing it and moving it to one side. If you leave it in edit, sometimes "ctrl" and "z" is an undo function that might return it safely to its starting location without more effort.
COMBINING ITEMS (prims) TOGETHER: When combining items, leave the main item for last - since the last item combined will be the "root prim" - the one whose location will be the location of the whole combined item. To get started, edit a first item. Then hold down the "shift" key and click more items, leaving the main root prim for the last one added. Then when all are selected in this manner, then use "ctrl" and "l" (small L) to link them together.
UNLINKING ITEMS (prims): First of all note that when you unlink, you will not go back to the major items that you combined, but all prims will now be separate. But to unlink simply edit the object of multiple prims to highlight it, and then press three keys at once: "ctrl" and "shift" and "l" (small L) to unlink.
HIGHLIGHTING MANY ITEMS TO LINK OR DELETE THEM: On this one, you must be careful not to include a prim or object you did not wish to. But if you have a mess and many prims in an area that you want to link or delete and you do not care which the root prim is going to be, then right click and edit one of them. Then with your mouse, enclose the rest within a window that you highlight that does not include someone else's objects or your own wall or whatnot. Then you can delete or link. If you decide to link first, you might want to look at the number to see if it makes sense. Also if you want to protect your workshop, making the walls and floors "locked" may be a help.
FINDING TRANSPARENT ITEMS - note that SL allows you to use "ctrl" and "alt" and "t" to show transparencies, or if that feature is on, it will shut it off. SL will show transparencies as red items using that feature.
THE DRESS FAST TRICK - If you wish, you can store outfits. Just create a folder in your inventory. Then put all of the pieces you want in it including clothes, hair, shoes, shape, skin, undies, jewelry and more. Then you can just drag the folder to you to wear the whole outfit. It also allows you to compose color and pattern matching outfits in your leisure SL time, such that when ready to go, you can do a rapid change. Careful if you have two of the same clothes or attachments in that folder - sometimes SL will put both on your avatar at the same time.
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