Sunday, September 19, 2010

Second Skin Labs Windlight Presets

Second Skin Labs has a free download of many excellent Windlight presets. The installer can be downloaded at:
After downloading this Windows executable, open it and select the installation folder. For instance, using the Phoenix viewer you would browse and select the folder:
    C:\Program Files (x86)\Phoenix Viewer\app_settings\windlight\

Once installed, login to Second Life and select one of the newly installed presets by navigating to the Advanced Sky Editor:
    World -> Environment Settings -> Sky Settings
Click the pulldown menu to the right of "Sky Presets" and select one of the entries. I am particularly fond of the Barcelona preset.

Unfortunately, the selected preset does not persist over login sessions so you have to do this every time you login to restore your favorite preset. Let me know what your favorite presets are!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Follow Me / Tweet These

Is it ok to review your own products ? Hey, it's my blog, I say yea! Plus the Interwebs are equal parts porn, cats, and self aggrandizement. So, here's my latest creation - the "Follow Me" transparent pants layer and "Tweet These" transparent jacket and undershirt layers.
This is the pants layer "Follow Me" worn over some underpants layer shorts in my inventory. Any underpants layer will work in conjunction with the Follow Me pants layer or it can be worn without underpants if you wish to, um, highlight your assets.
The "Tweet These" transparent jacket layer can be worn over either an undershirt or shirt. Similarly, the "Tweet These" undershirt layer can be worn with a shirt or jacket. Either can be worn alone as a tattoo. Fun, huh?

All three layers of the "Follow Me / Tweet These" clothing decals are available on Xstreet for 50L.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Phoenix Second Life Viewer (Emerald Succesor)

I am trying out the newly released Phoenix viewer for Second Life. This viewer project was hastily formed when the Emerald project self destructed, hopefully leaving behind the individuals whose actions resulted in the project's demise. Read about that all over elsewhere.

Emerald users will be quite pleased with either Imprudence or Phoenix. Both are based on Emerald source code. The Phoenix viewer, however, is nearly identical to the final releases of Emerald and contains all of the features Emerald users are accustomed to. On the other hand, some users may prefer to grant their trust to the Imprudence team which has not been involved in any way in any of the questionable activities that resulted in Linden Lab banning the Emerald viewer. Imprudence is also very "Emeraldy".

Support for ogg vorbis audio streams in Phoenix is the principle reason I am using Phoenix as my primary viewer. Imprudence 1.4.x may provide ogg vorbis support in the final release at which time the choice between 3rd party viewers sanctioned by Linden Labs becomes more of a toss-up.

[UPDATE] Phoenix was released containing fixes, performance improvements, and the ability to display friends' chat in a different color. However, the team also lost a couple of developers including lead developer Dimentox Travanti  over "a difference in opinion on how the project and team should be run". It would appear the Phoenix team continues to suffer from a fractured and possibly unstable team dynamic. Perhaps we will learn more in the next few days but for now the promised "transparency" looks like nothing more than corporate double-speak to me.[/UPDATE]

I configure the Phoenix viewer with the following preferences:

Main Menu at top left of Phoenix window

Edit -> Preferences

General ->
    check "Show Start Location on Login Screen"
    Rating "PG, Mature and Adult"

Network ->
    Maximum Bandwidth to 1050 kbps
    Disk Cache Size to 1000 MB

Web ->
    check "Use external web browser"

Graphics ->
    Quality and Performance to Ultra
    (this setting depends on your system's graphics capabilities)

Audio & Video ->
    Enable Streaming Music When Available
    Enable Streaming Media When Available

Text Chat ->
    Chat Font Size to Large
    Chat Color -> You -> cyan, Chat Color -> IM -> green
    check "Color text in chat from my friends in a different color"
    uncheck "Play typing animation when chatting"
    check "Use machine translation while chatting"

Popups ->
    uncheck "Automatically view after accepting"

Skins ->
    select "Silver" from the drop down menu of skins
    (I tried "Dark" but Silver is a lot more readable)

Phoenix ->
    TP Login ->
        check "Double-click Teleport"
        check "Make name Tags of the same client be the same color"
        check "Disable Teleport Screens"

    IM ->
        leave "Enable Autoresponse" unchecked
        check "Autorespond to non-friends"
        compose an autoresponce message
        check "Send an item along with the response"
        drag an inventory item you wish to send to the bar
        check "Vertical IM tabs"

    Chat ->
        uncheck "Hear typing sound when people type"
        check "When 'Receive group notices' is disabled ..."

    Misc ->
        check "Always rez objects under the land group if possible"
        check "Disables minimum camera zoom distance"
        check "Show a message when someone takes a snapshot"

    Build ->
        check "Embed an item into the newly created object"
        drag and drop a information notecard to the bar

    Page 2 ->
        Effects ->
            check "Enable enhanced physics on avatar breasts"
            Breast mass:      84
            Breast rebound: 11
            Breast max vel:  85
            Breast friction:   11
            Breast min vel:   15

        SpellCheck ->
            check "Show misspelled words in red"

Apply -> OK

File -> Quit
Run Phoenix again, login and check your preferences

Main Menu at top left of Phoenix window

View -> uncheck "Movement Controls" (who uses them?)

Phoenix -> check Show Advanced
    check DoubleClick Teleports
    check Enable Autoresponse

Advanced ->
    check High-res Snapshot
    check Quiet Snapshots to Disk
    uncheck Limit Select Distance
    check Disable Camera Constraints
    Character ->
        Character Tests ->
            make sure "Go Away/AFK When Idle" is unchecked

Toolbar at lower right of Phoenix window

Inventory -> Sort -> uncheck "System Folders To Top"

Finally, I would like to thank all the talented, dedicated, and hard working volunteers that create, distribute, and support these 3rd party viewers. Emerald, Imprudence, and now Phoenix have enriched my Second Life experience. My only question to these teams would be why the ex-Emerald development teams do not collaborate on a single Emerald based viewer. Why does there need to be Emergence, Imprudence, and Phoenix ? Seems like an inefficient and triplicated waste of effort. Anyway, Enjoy!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Imprudence Second Life Viewer

I'm trying out the Imprudence Second Life viewer after the Emerald "team" hit the self destruct button. FYI, read some really juicy Emerald comments by Nelson Jenkins. At this moment (4-Sep-2010) Imprudence is my choice of viewer since Emerald, Emergence, and Phoenix are not on the approved 3rd party viewer list. The only problem I have found with Imprudence thus far is an annoying chirp which sometimes occurs with the audio stream.

Anyway, Imprudence is based on Emerald source code and Emerald users will find it nearly identical although lacking a few features and some settings moved to different places/names. Still, it is an excellent replacement for Emerald and even has breast physics! About the only Emerald feature missing that I used a lot is the avatar radar. UPDATE: Imprudence has avatar radar in the Mini Map - just click the down arrow in the lower left corner.

A cool Imprudence feature is some sort of song id thing. When I teleport somewhere that has media playing and I have my media player turned on then I see the song and artist identified in local chat. Neat! [I am told this was also in Emerald but I never saw it]

You can read a detailed list of Imprudence features on their wiki as well as a list of features entering the experimental releases.

Here's my first round of instructions/recommendations/settings for Imprudence:

 Install Imprudence 1.30 or later
Edit -> Preferences ->

    General -> check "Hide my name on my screen"
    Input & Camera -> check "Disable camera constraints"
                                 check "Disable minimum zoom distance"
                                 increase "Camera transition time"
                                                (when slow    pans desired)
    Network -> increase Maximum bandwidth to 2048
                                  (or as appropriate for your connection)
                     increase Disk cache size to max (1000)
    Web -> click "Use external web browser"
    Text Chat -> click "Large" Font Size
                        (never seems to do anything but I keep hoping)
                        uncheck "Play typing animation when chatting"
    Communication -> check "Vertical IM Tabs"
                                              (requires restart to take effect)
                                 I turn on logging of Local Chat
                                    (if you do this be sure to clean your logs
                                     regularly as Local Chat logs grow quite
                                     large very quickly)
    Skins -> I click the Silver skin
    Advanced -> check "Disable teleport screen"
Debug Settings

1)  Make sure View -> Advanced Menu is checked

2)  Advanced -> Debug Settings

3) In the Debug Settings window type in the following:

    value 14.000
    value 17.000
    value 83.00
    value 86.000
    value 16.000
    value 0.100

Make sure EmeraldBreastPhysicsToggle is set to TRUE
When setting these parameters it is not necessary to press ENTER after entering values, the settings take effect immediately when typed. Also, after initially typing in EmeraldBoobFriction the subsequent parameters can be easily found by clicking the little down arrow to the right of the parameter name in the Debug Settings window.
See for a discussion thread on Imprudence breast physics settings.

Further Settings

Advanced -> Quiet Snapshots to Disk
Snapshot -> click "Save to your hard drive"
                    check "High resolution snapshot"
                    check "Keep open after saving"
                    check "Auto-refresh"

Imprudence 1.4.0 and later (experimental)

Advanced -> Main -> check "Increase rez speed via draw distance stepping"

Advanced -> SpellCheck -> set Base Language and add additional dictionaries if needed; configure AutoCorrect Options

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Cyber Shark Machinima

My first true attempt at creating Second Life Machinima (machine cinema), a 2 minute video of a cyber shark swimming in circles at the University of Western Australia Sim. Recorded with Fraps and edited with Windows Live Movie Maker this machinima will be entered into the UWA 3D Art & Design Challenge machinima contest MachinimUWA II: Art of the Artists. 

The video is titled "Yearning For The Sea" and uses "Open Sea Theme" from the movie "The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou" as the audio track. I just fell in love with this beautiful mangled displaced creature and felt like it was constantly struggling to free itself from whatever magical binds held it and swim headlong to the sea that perpetually taunts it on the not so distant horizon.