Conrad Props Download

As I mentioned before I wanted to make as much of the USCSS Conrad build as possible available for others to use. I’ve trawled through all the bits and pieces and pulled out everything I think is re-usable outside the build.

I’ve put together a zip file of 39 upload-ready meshes along with associated assets like normal maps and textures.

!PreviewAll

All these are released under a CC BY 4.0 license, so feel free to use them for anything you like so long as you give me some credit 🙂

Download here : http://sta.sh/01j5da2qutdq

Long absence and a USCSS Conrad Post-mortem

It’s been a while since I updated this blog and I haven’t been in SL much either. A combination of things have been keeping me away – relatives in and out of hospital and some personal issues that kept me away.

It’s not all done with yet, and I may still not be back on a regular basis for a while, but I hope things are tending more towards the calm now, so fingers crossed.

 

The last thing I was working on was the USCSS Conrad build. It was a fun project but as it grew it became very clear that a build like this needs to be quite meticulously planned in advance rather than just thrown together in an extended manic episode. I may make a better planned attempt at it later but for now it’s a question of picking over the things I’ve learned and hoping you can learn something from them too 😉

Part of the reason I began building the Conrad was to have a bit of a play with SL’s Advanced Lighting Model. I wanted to explore what could be done with projector lights, scripted lighting and a few other things.

 

Setting the environment

Controlling environmental light in SL isn’t an easy thing – everyone can set their lighting settings to whatever they like, but I wanted the Conrad to be dark and to only have the light that I wanted in there.

The solution I was running with in the end used a small HUD that used RLV to set the user’s environment to a completely blacked out one and prevent them from selecting another while they were inside the build. Access to the Conrad would be by donning the HUD and being teleported to the entrance.

This allowed me, for RLV users anyway, to control the environment and trap the players in the darkness – something I felt was important. If they could turn the lights on at any time it’d lose a lot of impact. There would have been a “bailout” option that would teleport the player out of the build and release the environmental controls.

To give the players some control they would have been given a torch. I played around with this in a number of ways and eventually settled on a two part torch solution. There would be a simple prop torch that the avatar would hold in their hand and an invisible prim that attached to the avatar’s eyeball that would actually project the light into the scene. This allowed the torchlight to follow the avatar’s gaze in mouselook or to follow the movements of their mouse when in third person view.

Conrad Torch

Scripted Lighting

There’s a scene in Alien where Dallas visits Mother, the ship’s main computer. As he enters the computer core the fluorescent lights come on, flickering then stabilising, with that characteristic ticking noise. I always liked that look of the environment blinking into life around the character.

The very first part of the Conrad that I built was a corridor with a door at one end. When you clicked on the door to open it the lights in the corridor would flicker on, illuminating the previously dark corridor. I thought it made a good introduction to the scene.

Conrad Main Door

The lighting clusters are scripted to listen for a message from the door saying that it’s either opening or closing. When they receive this message they enter a randomly timed sequence of flickering on and off before settling. The script affects the projector light component, the “full bright” and glow settings of the fluorescent tubes. The projector texture is one I made in Lightwave depicting the light cast from a similar lighting assembly – it’s mentioned in a previous post.

There’s various other scripted lighting events around the Conrad build that add some reactivity to the environment, but they mostly follow a similar scheme to the one above.

One that doesn’t is in the main lounge area. The lighting here is completely dark except for some light cast into the scene from four screens set up near the ceiling. One of the screens is broken and dark, two display information about the ship’s condition and one is flickering.

CONRAD Lounge

This screen is scripted on a loop to just flicker on and off endlessly. The picture is warning about a biohazard alert and projecting its flashing light onto the door that leads the player down into the lower decks. I was trying to use this to begin to set a gradually more dangerous feel as the player moves down through the ship.

Animated Lighting

In a previous post I talked about making the classic cliche light-shining-through-a-fan. I covered that pretty thoroughly there, but I figured that while I was making animated GIFs I ought to toss one of that in here.

Conrad Cargo Bay

 

So, where now for the Conrad? I’m probably going to tear it down, strip out the useful and re-usable scripts, make some notes on my mistakes (of which there are many), and wait for the mood to take me with another idea where I can use these techniques. I’m going to try to package up as many of the props and textures as I can and distribute those for free so anyone can use them in their builds – watch this space.

New Release : The One Shoulder Dress

In an unusually swift display of development I’ve completed and released the One Shoulder Dress. It’s available now from the Kcreations stores at the entirely reasonable price of L$250.

OTS Dress Group Notice

The package comes with versions in Advanced Lighting Model latex and leather as well as a texture only version for use with the included latex and leather texture packs.

OTS Dress Mktplace 1

What we have here is a failure to communicate

Like a lot of people I have SL set to send me offline IMs in an email. I use this to keep track of any support requests or questions people send me when I’m offline.

Unfortunately I’ve been having some issues with my upstream spam filter for a little while and, while I think I have the issue resolved now, some messages were getting filtered.

thought I’d managed to recover all of the filtered messages but it looks like some of them may have got lost after all. So, if you’ve tried to contact me recently and I haven’t responded then please send me another note or IM and accept my deepest apologies for not getting back to you earlier.

Valentine Balloon

Just in time for Valentine’s day here’s a nice little heart-shaped balloon to decorate with.

It’s a complete kit – mesh balloon, normal, diffuse and specular maps. Available now for the very reasonable price of L$0 at my main store above the Little Shop of Kink in Lineside.

HeartBalloonSnapshot

 

Enjoy 🙂

Second Life and Tax

For the thrilling conclusion to this tale, and the solution to all the problems, see this post. Listen to that post and not to all the mistakes I made before it! ]

You may have heard something lately about Linden Lab requiring tax documentation on people who transact above a certain level in SL. Well, today I got my request for filling out the forms. As of now I can no longer withdraw any money from SL until this is all sorted out.

Unfortunately I’m not a US citizen. My country, the UK, has a tax treaty with the US meaning that I don’t have to pay any US taxes so long as I pay the UK ones (which I do – I fill out the giant self assessment forms every year. What joy). This should mean I just fill out a form and everything’s fine, but I doubt it’s going to work out like that.

I’ve filed the required form electronically with LL and I’ve been trying to send them copies of the required identity documentation but their system won’t let me upload them.

So, right now just about $2000 is sitting in limbo waiting for Uncle Sam to say that I’m allowed to have it. Having dealt with American bureaucracy before I don’t hold out a lot of hope there.

I hope you’ll join me in keeping your fingers crossed for me – if I’m not allowed to withdraw my earnings then there’s not a lot of point continuing to create things in SL. For the moment I’m putting everything on hold until this is sorted out. I’ll update when (or if) things change.

Padded Rubber Walls

I’m sure by now that many of you will have played Marine Kelley’s Bubblizer game. One thing a lot of people have noted is the cool effects if you have a materials-capable viewer. The walls of the playing arena look like shiny padded rubber.

There’re a lot of places around the grid that use textures that look like this but I think Marine is the first one to do it with materials. Since it’s so popular I thought I’d make up a quick normal map that will let you use this effect on your own builds:

Rubber Padding Normal Map

Take a copy of this image, upload it to SL and apply it to a prim on the Bumpiness (Normal) channel in the texture panel of the build floater.

To get the proper polished rubber shiny effect apply a plain white texture to the Specular channel of the surface and then have a play around with the Glossiness and Environment spinners. There’re a lot of different looks you can get by adjusting the shininess settings.

To cover larger areas the normal map will tile nicely. Match it with a checkerboard texture on the diffuse / texture channel to get a more colourful look.

Some examples of the different looks possible with a plain white specular texture are below:

PaddingExamples

 

I’m releasing the normal map above under a CC BY 4.0 license, which basically means you can use it for any purpose so long as you give attribution to Kat Fetisov, so go nuts 🙂