Update, October 9th, 2014: Linden Lab announced that development work on Patterns has been discontinued.
I’m not sure what has happened with the Patterns roadmap; when launched, the original idea was that the product would remain in a Genesis version for about a year prior to progressing to an official “version 1.0” release. However, here we are at the start of 2014, and Patterns is still apparently in Genesis mode with version 0.06 released on Monday January 20th, and the development team promising lots more to come as Patterns progresses.
Not that this is necessarily a bad thing; a lot of what is going on appears to be as a direct result of user input, and the development team are refreshingly engaged with the Patterns community through blog posts, wiki updates, forum posts and live streams. Makes one long for the crazy, heady, communications-rich days of old in Second Life!
The 0.06 update further enhances the Substance Editor introduced at the end of 2013, and which I covered in brief at the start of January. As explained back then, the Substance Editor allows users to modify the existing surface and other substances (clay, copper, moonstone, etc.), and to create new substances for use in-game. The initial release included the ability to edit the diffuse (texture) normal (bumpiness) properties of substances. Version 0.06 adds the ability to edit and modify a number of additional substance properties:
- Specular: the shininess of a substance – this uses a greyscale palette with white being the most shiny
- Occlusion: – to map darker and lighter pixels resulting in a texture with an illusion of relief, and so allows the creation of hotspots and shadows on substances. The brick and bonestone substances are good examples of substances using occlusion maps
- Illumination: defines the glow and light emission effect for materials, using the range of white (most illuminated) to black. The lava and moonstone substances are good examples of the use of illumination
- Metal: affects the metallic quality of a substance. The default is black with white being the most metallic.
In addition, the Substance Editor gets an HD mode which doubles the texture resolution when using it, although the release notes indicate this makes using the Substance Editor performance intensive. It is also possible to define the total number of substances you include in a new Substance Pack.
The first part of a new video has been produced to explore the Substance Editor. This is described as “in-depth”, but I have to admit that this first part leaves something to be desired; the new properties in the Editor are glossed over with a “I’ll leave you guys to look these up…” Hopefully, there will be a more detailed look at them in the future as these series progresses, this is only an introduction, after all. However, given there has already been a far more detailed introduction to the Substance Editor already (albeit with only diffuse and normal maps), one has to wonder why the approach in that video was not followed, and a more informative piece produced to kick this new series off; as it is, the initial video is – frankly – disappointing and waffly.
First Person Camera Lock
Another new element introduced to Patterns is the ability to lock the camera into first person view (consider Mouselook in SL). This is activated via the Scene Settings options (ESC > Scene settings > Lock first person view).