More Culprit fun in Second Life

Culprit’s Sphynxie and Flying Machine

Culprit owners Eku Zhong and Yure4u Sosa have released a couple more fun items I thought would be worth a write-up: the Culprit Sphynxie and the Culprit Flying Machine. Both are decidedly quirky (hence my interest!) and both are liable to be attractive purchases for some.

Sphynxie is a full animated Animesh companion that attaches to your avatar (just ADD it), and which uses an avatar skeleton that can be animated far more fluidly than other forms of pet. It takes the form of a sphynx cat – the famous coatless (but not without fur; its hairs are just exceptionally short and fine) cat produced as a result of selective breeding, and builds on the work done with the Culprit Mousie (see: Culprit Mousie: a little silliness in Second Life).

Mousie was a prototype – our Animesh début revamped for an older creation I did ages ago. He started out with less features (but he’s been updated). Sphynxie is entirely news, and come with more animations.

-Eku Zhong describing the Culprit Sphynxie

Either someone on the left of this photo has been on the catnip, or just got startled…!

At L$599, Sphynxie is also slightly more expensive than Mousie, with the price difference explained by Sphynxie being more capable.

Supplied in a package containing the cat, a HUD and an instructions note card, Sphynxie is offered in a number of individual hair finishes and as No Modify / No Transfer. Using it is a simple matter of attaching the control HUD and – providing you have no other Animesh items already attached (or no more than one if you are Premium!); you can then ADD the cat to your avatar.

Left to itself, Sphynxie will stand beside you on his hind legs (like Mousie, Sphynxie is anthropomorphic in nature) and entertain himself, moving from pose to pose, looking around, breathing deeply and tail moving quite naturally. A right-click Edit allows you to reposition him – move him a little further away if your AO stands causes you to step on him for example, or to move him to your preferred side, etc. When you walk, he’ll trot along beside you. And, of course, being an attachment, he’ll teleport with you.

However, it’s when you click the HUD that Sphynxie comes into his own. This contains three options: New Name (opens a dialogue box in which you can give your Sphynxie a personal name); Channel (to change the channel over which your HUD communicates with your Sphynxie to avoid clashing with others) and Gestures.

This last one provides access to an extensive range of animations that will play on Sphynxie when selected – so you can have him greet people, respond to a conversation (sometimes a little snarkily – something ideally suited to his somewhat upper class English tone of voice!) sing, dance, perform a few ninja fighting moves – and a whole lot more, a small selection of which are shown in the video below.

Complexity-wise, Sphynxie has a slightly higher cost than Mousie – around 7K on top of your avatar complexity  – but this is by no means excessive. If rezzed in-world he is slightly more resource efficient than Mousie – his LI is 27 and he has a physics impact of 0.5 and server cost of 0.8; however, he will only play his default animations if rezzed like this, and will not be responsive to the HUD. Plus, if you are a Premium member and have Mousie, you can opt to wear them both (as Premium members can have up to 2 Animesh items attached to their avatar) and they will not interfere with each other.

For those who enjoy attachable pets, the Culprit Sphynxie is – like Mousie before him – a fun addition to have, and his animations are likely to keep people smiling.

Culprit Flying Machine – out over the water

Currently on a short-term offer of L$100 as part of the Culprit Fly Buy Friday promotions (just join the store group) is the new Culprit Flying Machine. Designed entirely for fun, it is perhaps one of the most unusual vehicles I’ve used in Second Life – one that in some respects defies description; is it a boat? Is it a plane? Is it – well, I’ll leave it to the pictures to speak for it!

Like many of Culprit’s vehicles, the Flying Machine is supplied with two versions in the box: a “solo” unit you can fly yourself, and a rezzer unit. The latter takes the form of a black base unit that auto-rezzes an initial flying machine (no Mod, as it is a rezzer version) over it, and that will rez a further machine as the previous one is used, with the owner able to set the total number of boats that can be rezzed at any one time (up to a maximum of 12). These machines will also de-rez when the driver stands up, so they leave no clutter.

The Culprit Flying Machine

Seating a maximum of two people, the machine will turn on its engine when the owner (or first person in the case of the rezzer version) sits in it, and the rear “pusher” propeller will start turning. Movement is then achieved using the standard Arrow / WASD keys (depending on your preference and viewer set-up) – Up / W for forward, Down / S for slowing / reverse; Left / A and Right / D for turning.

Any forward  / reverse motion will start the “oars” flapping, making them more like wings, – and like a bee, you’ll improbably hover above the ground and progress in your chosen direction as if being rowed along and pushed by the propeller. Should you reach Linden water, the machine will handle that as well, dipping the rudder slung beneath it as if to help steer. Stop forward / reverse motion, and the “oars” will come to a stop and  the machine will glide to a halt.

And there’s more. Touch the machine and you’ll get the “standard” Culprit vehicle menu. In this you’ll find the Flight option. Click this to check it, and you can actually fly the machine at more than just the default hover height – use Page Up / E to put the nose up and climb, and Page Down / C to put the nose down and descend. Be warned however; if you wish to maintain altitude you must stay in motion. If you stop, the “oars” will stop and – naturally, as you’re deprived of their lift – you’ll start to sink towards the ground until you reach the machine’s default hover height – and if you’re over Linden Water, you will sink!

Culprit Flying Machine – flying over Isla Pey

The menu also allows you to turn the engine off, sound the horn, adjust your seating position (which is not saved in the rezzer version), but I’m not entirely sure if the throttle / gear options work (shift up / shift down).

For the purists, the handling may not feel entirely aircraft-like, but remember this is a fun vehicle. What’s more, with its looks and animations, it would also be at home in steampunk environments as well as being used simply for fun. In all, six colour variants are available and can be purchased – as with Sphynxie from the Culprit main store.

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2019 SL User Groups 34/2: Content Creation summary

Scarlett Isle; Inara Pey, July 2019, on FlickrScarlett Isle, blog post

The following notes are taken from the Content Creation User Group (CCUG) meeting, held on Thursday, August 22nd 2019 at 13:00 SLT. These meetings are chaired by Vir Linden, and agenda notes, meeting SLurl, etc, are usually available on the Content Creation User Group wiki page.

Bakes on Mesh

Project Summary

Extending the current avatar baking service to allow wearable textures (skins, tattoos, clothing) to be applied directly to mesh bodies as well as system avatars. This involves viewer and server-side changes, including updating the Bake Service to support 1024×1024 textures, but does not include normal or specular map support, as these are not part of the existing Bake Service, nor are they recognised as system wearables. Adding materials support may be considered in the future.

Resources

Current Status

  • An internal meeting at the Lab held immediately prior to the CCUG suggests Bakes on Mesh could be promoted to release status early in week #35 (week commencing Monday, August 26th, 2019).
  • It was therefore requested than anyone intending to test BoM to do so over the weekend and file any issues they find via Jira bug reports ASAP.
  • There are some known issues that will be listed when the project is promoted to release status, and which will be noted in the Bakes on Mesh knowledge base article when BoM is promoted to release status.
  • The major element in understanding how BoM works is understanding how the additional channels supplied for Bakes on Mesh work. These are:
    • LEFT_ARM_TATTOO – baked to left arm.
    • LEFT_LEG_TATTOO – baked to left leg.
    • AUX1_TATTOO – baked to aux1.
    • AUX2_TATTOO – baked to aux2.
    • AUX3_TATTOO – baked to aux3.
  • Unlike the existing channels (head, upper, lower, etc)., these do not have an underlying skin texture associated with them, and so do not have a wearable corresponding to the alpha wearable that can be used with the existing channels to “hide” them.
    • This may be changed in a future update, but for now, it is how Bakes on Mesh will be shipped with the new channels.

Environment Enhancement Project

Project Summary

A set of environmental enhancements (e.g. the sky, sun, moon, clouds, and water settings) to be set region or parcel level, with support for up to 7 days per cycle and sky environments set by altitude. It uses a new set of inventory assets (Sky, Water, Day), and includes the ability to use custom Sun, Moon and cloud textures. The assets can be stored in inventory and traded through the Marketplace / exchanged with others, and can additionally be used in experiences.

Due to performance issues, the initial implementation of EEP will now likely not include certain atmospherics such as crepuscular rays (“God rays”).

Resources

Current Status

  • Work continues on rendering bug fixes.
  • There are also some permissions bugs that need to be resolved as well.
  • Overall, it is hoped that these can be resolved and the viewer updated soon, with a view to moving EEP on to release status in the near future.

Animesh Follow-On – Project Muscatene

  • DRTSIM-421 on Aditi (region Bakes on Mesh) has the server-side code to support the new visual parameters LSL code.
  • The project viewer is now available – viewer version 6.4.0.530100, dated Monday, August 19th. This supports the new LSL code as per DRTSIM-421, above.
  • Vir has other commitments coming up (ARCTan?), so progress on updates to this work may be slow for the next several weeks.
  • A potential update is to revise the current throttle (limiting Animesh character to updating twice every 10 seconds). This was put in place to prevent people using the system as an alternative means of animation (and potentially thrashing performance); however, it is considered too slow for testing purposes.

Bakes on Mesh for Animesh

Still being requested, but also still seen as a significant piece of work, as it would require changes not just with how Animesh items are managed but to the entire Bake Service in support of the capability. As such, this is not currently something the Lab is putting on the road map.

Animesh Attachments

Having attach point for Animesh characters and items is seen by come as a higher priority than extending Bakes on Mesh to Animesh. It is also something the Lab could implement somewhat more easily (for some value of “easily” to be determined) than BoM on Animesh. A call was made for possible use-cases included particle support, ability to simple attach clothing items rather than having to rig them (which would conversely limit movement of the item as it wouldn’t necessarily conform to the Animesh body movements), objects such as weapons (for NPCs), etc.