Fun with Kitbashing in Second Life

The updated Caitinara Bar uses the La Gare Vintage Train Station with kitbashed elements from other pre-fab builds

I’m not a creator, but as regulars to these pages know, I love fiddling around a building things with prims, and also modding various mesh items I buy “off the shelf”. But there is another aspect of content “creation” I enjoy – kitbashing buildings – taking parts from two or more and recombining them to provide something that little bit different.

Like modding items, kitbashing is hardly new, but in an age when pre-fab builds get used across multiple regions, sometimes resulting in a feeling of “sameness” when visiting, kitbashing – or even simple modding – can offer a way to provide a little uniqueness in look and feel to a place. Take one of my most recent (and admittedly relatively simple) kitbash / mod: the new Caitinara Bar at Holly Kai Park.

The original La Gare Vintage Train Station, as supplied by Sheerpetal Roussel  – note the multiple doors at the front (actually five in all) and the open platform nature of the rear.

When re-working Holly Kai Park a few months back, I knew I wanted to re-work the look of the bar, but had no idea precisely how to achieve what I wanted. However, my travels around Second Life have frequently brought me to contact with the La Gare Vintage Train Station by Sheerpetal Roussel, which looked like it might make a sound foundation for a re-work, while I knew the Chatham Skybox by Cory Edo, coupled with one or two bits and pieces from other creators and sitting in inventory, would help flesh-out the interior – notably the “brewery” look of the dance area in the bar.

Kitbashing does come with certain pre-requisites: the designs you’re using must obviously have Modify permissions in order to parts to be removed and re-used (and should preferably be Copy to avoid simply wrecking the original); you need a reasonable understanding of the tools in the Edit floater; and you obviously need some idea of what you want to achieve. For me, the Caitinara Bar kitbash was made easier by the fact that once I’d settled on it, the La Gare Vintage Train Station looked like it would fit around 90% of my needs.

The La Gare build itself is designed in such a way to make basic modding pretty easy: extending an enclosing the “platform” area was a simple matter of copying and using existing wall panels and support beams, and replacing the supplied “floor” with one of my own. As the bar is “underground” I admittedly didn’t have to worry about cutting a cylinder to fit the end of the arched roof

The important thing when assessing buildings for their potential use in kitbashing is to see them in-world, if you don’t already have them. This way you can use the Edit Linked option in the Edit floater to identify specific components – walls, floors, lights, support beams, stairs, fireplaces, etc., – and determine whether or not they might be easily be removed (either because they are not required or because they are the elements you want to use elsewhere). Similarly, the Edit Face option can (to a degree) be used to help determine how textures have been applied and whether surfaces are suitable for re-texturing, should the need arise.

In this latter regard, it’s important to assess whether things like shadows have been baked onto surfaces and whether they may become apparent in removing parts, or whether the bake applies across multiple faces, making it difficult to alter just one, and so assess how much re-texturing might be required and / or whether or not you may need to consider creating things like new materials maps to go with any re-texturing to perform.

Elements – some with a degree of re-texturing and new normal maps – from Cory Edo’s Chatham Skybox provided the means for me to add to the “brewery” look of the interior of the new Caitinara Bar

If re-texturing is required, and – like me – you’ve not a particularly good graphics artist, there are a lot of resources, both in-world and out, where textures can be obtained; just be sure to check any associated EULA / permissions prior to purchase / download.

For materials, tools such as PhotoShop and GIMP have options / plug-ins for creating normal maps, and there are plenty of on-line tools that can automate the process to varying degrees. NormalMap Online, for example is an exceptionally easy tool that can be used to generate a range of maps.

Normalmap Online is a useful tool for creating a range of material types, including normal and specular maps

However, automated tools aren’t always perfect – I tend not to use auto-generated specular maps, for example, as they can result in too uniform a result across a surface, making it look somewhat artificial. Also, if you are playing with textures and materials, remember to try them out on a surface using the Local Textures option. This both allows you to check the suitability of a texture ahead of any upload, and similarly, the in-world look of your materials maps can be tested and adjusted accordingly without having to go through paying for multiple uploads.

Putting things together obviously requires a reasonable understanding of how to unlink (CTRL-SHIFT-L) and Link (CTRL-L), moving and rotating objects – but these aren’t hard to grasp. Again, this is where using buildings that are Copy is important, as you’ll always have the original intact and available for use elsewhere in the future (or if things go wrong!).

The revised and enclosed “platform” area of the La Gare, incorporating the fireplace and pipes from the Trompe Loeil Chatham Skybox to add to the “brewery” feel (alongside of props by Jogi Schultz (yogijo) used in past versions of the bar), and with the glass canopy re-textured and mapped to provide the bar’s signature arched brick ceiling

Continue reading “Fun with Kitbashing in Second Life”

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2018 SL UG updates 47/1: Simulator User Group and News

Winter Wonderland

Server Deployment Plans

As always, please refer to the server deployment thread for the latest news and updates.

  • On Tuesday, November 20th, the SLS (Main) channel was updated with server release 18#18.11.09.521593, previously deployed to the RC channels and comprising internal fixes.
  • There are no planned deployments to the RC channels.

Due to the Fact the Lab is closed from Thursday onwards, it is unlikely there will be any deployments in week #48 (commencing Monday, November 26th).

SL Viewer

The Love Me Render RC viewer updated to version 6.0.1.521759 on November 20th, bringing it to parity with the Animesh release viewer.

Currently, the rest of the viewers in the official pipeline remain unchanged. Given this is US Thanksgiving week, the remaining viewers due an update for parity with the current release viewer may not be issued until week #48.

  • Current Release version 6.0.0.520636, dated October 18, promoted November 14. Formerly the Animesh RC viewer – NEW.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Spotykach Maintenance RC viewer, version 6.0.1.521757, November 15.
    • Estate Access Management (EAM) RC viewer, version 5.2.0.520057, September 28.
    • BugSplat RC viewer, version 5.1.9.519462, September 10. This viewer is functionally identical to the current release viewer, but uses BugSplat for crash reporting, rather than the Lab’s own Breakpad based crash reporting tools.
  • Project viewers:
  • Linux Spur viewer, version 5.0.9.329906, dated November 17, 2017 and promoted to release status 29 November – offered pending a Linux version of the Alex Ivy viewer code.
  • Obsolete platform viewer, version 3.7.28.300847, May 8, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

EEP

The next EEP function to see light of day should be llReplaceAgentEnvironment, that should allow an experience to override any environment setting currently being used by an avatar within that experience.

General News

Thanksgiving – Support Closed

Concierge Phone Support, Billing Phone Support, and Live Chat Support will be closed on Thursday and Friday, November 22nd & 23rd in observance of the US Thanksgiving holiday. Ticket submission will remain available, and support services will resume Saturday, November 24th, at 06:00 PST / SLT.

Winter Wonderland and 5 Weeks of Gifts

Winter Wonderland, the five-region activities area designed by Linden Lab and the LDPW, has reopened for the holiday season,, and the Lab is using it as the first swap on a gift hunt, which itself features the return of the Swaginator.  Find out more via Grab Your Winter Swaginator & Collect Exclusive New Gifts!