I recently blogged about changes to my parcel on Blake Sea and doing more to landscape it decently. Turns out that post was a little premature; at the time I wrote it, I still wasn’t really happy with things, but the creative muse had decided to the take a few days off, leaving me bereft of ideas.
Since then, I’ve had time to play and re-work things a little more – which is part of the reason blog posts have been a little sporadic of late (the other being RL and sorting out things for Christmas and New Year with family and all). The place still isn’t entirely finished, but I’m approaching a point where I’ll be reasonably comfortable with it and happy to let the rest fall into place over time.
The main bits of additional work have been to add a decent mesh river course (from a kit by Flea Yatsenko), move the bridge and wooden deck, and lay some new paths which in turn allowed me to do more with the flower beds.
The river now more naturally splits the parcel into two – or at least, that’s the way I look at it 🙂 – which has allowed me to improve the look and feel of the river bank alongside the house with new paths and flowerbeds. The far side of the river is a little less organised, with trees and few ruined walls. It’s not quite as I’d like it to be, and could benefit from ferns or long grass, but I’ve yet to find anything that has sufficient caught my eye.
With a total land capacity of 800 prims, I set myself a ceiling of 500 for the work, of which some 246 was already accounted for by the house, furnishings and decor and also by my cruiser, Lady of Calas (157 prims on its own), leaving me 254 with which to play. Right now, the total count stands ay 491, so I’m feeling a little pleased with myself. A couple of things which have really helped along the way: the convex hull physics shape and mesh, both of which can help greatly reduce the land impact of a build.
I’ve written in the past about the ability of convex hull physics to help reduce LI / prim count by up to a half, depending on the complexity of the build in question. Coincidentally, when I wrote that piece, I was using convex hull on the house I have now, reducing part of the structure from a LI of 32 to just 18.
However, just in case some are unfamiliar with convex hull: take two basic prims, link them and then convert the linkset to convex hull physics (Edit > Features > Physics Shape Type); the LI will drop from two to one. Add two more prims and the LI becomes 2. Add two more, and the LI becomes 3, and so on. With this build, it has allowed me to reduced the terraces, paths and planters from a land impact of 31 to just 16.
If you do try the technique for yourself, be aware there are limitations. The trick won’t work on prims which have been heavily tortured (tori, tubes, etc) or sculpts. Due to the way the “new” SL accounting system works, materials can also off-set or completely counter the use of convex hull on hollowed or twisted basic prims, while embedded scripts can also reduce / negate the effectiveness of a conversion.
Mesh has also helped me in making effective use of my available land capacity. That stretching a mesh object can greatly increase its LI tends to overshadow the way that some mesh objects, when linked, can reduce their collective land impact. Again, when and how linking is used needs some care; it can have adverse as well as positive effects. However, Many content creators use the technique, and this has allowed me significant benefits.
For example: I’ve made extensive use of Kayle Matzerath’s Luminaria flower packs. Not only do these look beautiful, they are designed to have a low LI. This means I’ve been able to create extensive mixed flowerbeds with an LI of just 49 where I would otherwise have needed around twice that. Mesh can, with care, also be linked to prims (even those with convex hull shape) to help reduce the impact of items, a point I’ve also used to my advantage.
Using these two approaches to manage LI has allowed me to devote some of my land capacity to bringing a little more natural life to the place. I’ve included little groups of Kayle Matzerath’s wonderful butterflies fluttering over the flowerbeds, for example. I’ve also sought the help of Morgan Garret and his amazing little birds.
The latter really do have to be seen to be believed; not only are they stunning in their level of detail, they are beautifully animated, sound superb and even respond to a region’s day / night cycle, falling silent as the sun sets and then bursting into song once more as it rises. I have a number of them dotted around the garden, twittering happily. In fact, I have a sneaking feeling there might even be a few more before too much longer!