Miscellaneous hints and freebies

Until recently pretty much all of the content I’ve made for SL has been stuff that you wear. I was pretty happy with that state of affairs until I built a shop and discovered (or, really, re-discovered) how much fun it can be to build props and environments.

With the Advanced Lighting Model (hereafter, “ALM”, ‘cos I’m sure not typing all that out every time) in the viewer there is now much more opportunity to add depth and atmosphere to a build, but most people don’t really use it to its fullest extent because not all SL users will get the benefit. I built my shop trying to make the most of the cool bits of ALM but always with an eye on making it degrade gracefully for non-ALM users. Visit the store and judge for yourself how well I succeeded.

That build prodded me to experiment a bit more and see how far the ALM could carry some atmosphere. To that end I’ve started building something, a short experience, that tries to use no-holds-barred ALM to create something memorable.

It’s part technology demonstrator, part just me experimenting and a small part me evangelising on what’s possible with SL in 2014 and pushing the limits to find what would be great to enhance in SL2.0 (we’re all dooooomed! etc, etc – it’s totally a five-o doom). I may never finish it; all you may ever see of it is a few pictures on this blog. Still, what the hell – I’m having fun with it now, so let’s see how it turns out.

I want the build itself to be as open as possible, so despite it being very early days, I’m releasing a set of generic (i.e. not tied to specific meshes) textures that I’ve made for it. This time it’s some diamond plate for the non-slip flooring:

Normal Map

Normal Map

Stretched normal map for bigger bumps!

Stretched normal map for bigger bumps!

Ambient occlusion

Ambient occlusion

Above are two normal maps with different levels of elevation for the diamonds and an ambient occlusion map for the diffuse channel, all of which tile nicely. These textures are released under a CC BY 4.0 license, so feel free to use them in your own builds and products so long as you provide attribution and a link to this blog post.

So, where is all this effort going? It’s going into the mysteriously abandoned hulk of the USCSS Conrad.

Welcome aboard

Welcome aboard

This research vessel belonging to the Aleph Corporation was lost three years ago in mysterious circumstances. Mistakes were made.

USCSS-Conrad2

Words can’t express how safe you’ll be on the other side of this door

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