Environment Enhancement Project: a primer

EEP UI Elements


EEP introduces changes to some elements of the viewer UI and adds a group of new floaters. The following provides described the key menu and region / parcel options, together with a brief outline of the new floaters which are examined in detail elsewhere in this tutorial.

World → Environment Menu

The World → Environment menu

The Environment options found in the World menu have been changed with EEP, with the old Sun and Environment Editor sub-menus replaced by a new Environment sub-menu (shown right). The options on this menu comprise:

  • Sunrise, Midday, Sunset Midnight: these all function as per the old settings of the same name previously located in the Sun sub-menu, applying the selected time of day to your own viewer only.
  • Use Shared Environment: this replaces the Sun → Use Region Settings sub-menu option. The name change reflects the fact that when checked, it will cause the viewer to display whatever EEP settings have been applied at the region or parcel level.
    • Note that Parcel settings are dependent on whether or not they have been expressly permitted at the region level (see below for more). When active they will override the region settings for those within a parcel that has local EEP settings applied to it.
  • My Environments…: allows you to work on your EEP assets from a single location. It provides:
    • Access to all folders in your inventory that contain EEP assets (e.g. the Settings folder and the Library Settings folder).
    • The ability to filter the listed EEP assets by type (Day Cycles, Sky, Water) or by entering your own filter parameters.
    • The ability to edit and / or apply a selected EEP asset.
    • Options for creating new EEP assets.
The My Environments floater will list all folders in your inventory / the library where EEP assets are to be found and includes filters for refining what is displayed, and options for creating new assets, etc.
  • Personal Lighting…: provides access to the Personal Lighting floater – see below for more.
  • Pause Clouds: as the name implies, will pause cloud (and wave) motion in your viewer (others will continue to see any cloud motion).

Region / Estate and Parcel Controls

Tutorial reference: Region and Parcel Controls.

A further aspect of are the region / estate and parcel controls. These are found, respectively, on the World → Region / Estate panel and the About Land panel, appearing in each under the Environment tab.

The options in either Environment tab are mostly the same, as defined in the image below, although the region options take precedence over those at parcel level.

EEP Region and Parcel Controls. 1: Select Environment – sets the environment across a region / parcel (region controls determine whether or not environments can be set at the parcel level), including the use of the SL default 4-hour day cycle);  2: sliders an spinners for setting the day length in real hours (4-168) and time offset from GMT – dependent on the defined length of day); 3: options for setting sky environments by altitude (can only be set at region level; parcels will inherit). 

Notes:

  • Access to the options in the Environments tabs is dependent on having the required rights, or some (or all) of the options on either panel might be greyed out.
  • EEP adds new a permission in the Group Abilities list (Modify environment settings and day cycle). This is enabled for region officers and owners by default.

New Floaters

EEP introduces four news floaters: Personal Lighting, Fixed Environment – Sky, Fixed Environment – Water and Day Cycles.

Personal Lighting

Tutorial reference: Personal Lighting.

The Personal Lighting floater. 1; ambient colour and density pickers, with water map and cloud texture pickers; 2: haze sliders: for adjusting atmosphere and horizon haze; 3: scene gamma (brightness) slider; 4: Sun and Moon position trackballs – drag the Sun / Moon icons to position; 5: sliders for setting glow and star brightness; 6: toggle Sun / Moon beacons on / off.

The Personal Lighting floater is a tool for photographers who may wish to make adjustments to a region or parcel environment (e.g. move the Sun, change the amount of horizon haze or cloud density, etc), when they haven’t got permission to change the environment directly. All the changes made using the floater are viewer-side only (and so similar to making viewer-side windlight changes). Also, changes made using the floater cannot be save back to inventory.

Fixed Environments – Sky

Tutorial reference: Fixed Environment – Sky.

The Fixed Environment – Sky floater. 1: Name field: displays the name of the asset you are currently editing / allows you to enter a new name for an asset; 2: Load: allows you to select an load the settings for any Sky asset in your inventory; 3: Import: allow you to import Windlight sky settings; 4: Atmosphere & Lighting tab – allows you to set the ambient sky colour, haze settings, gamma, and moisture settings; 5: Clouds – set the cloud texture, coverage, density, direction, speed, etc.; 6: Sun & Moon: set the Sun / Moon textures and position, their size in the sky, pulse brightness / glow for Sun and stars; 7: The Save / Apply button for saving / applying settings.

The Fixed Environment – Sky floater is the enables you to define a specific fixed sky environment, which can be applied to yourself, or to the parcel / region you are on (subject to local rights), etc. Within it you can:

  • Set the ambient light colours (sky, horizon, haze), and select the levels of density, etc.
  • Set the cloud requirements – density, colour, cover, speed of movement – even apply your own cloud texture.
  • Set the Sun / Moon position(s), size, light colour (Sun), brightness, and apply your own custom textures to either.
Fixed Environments – Water

Tutorial reference: Fixed Environment – Water.

The Fixed Environment – Water floater. 1: Name field: displays the name of the asset you are currently editing / allows you to enter a new name for an asset; 2: Load: allows you to select an load the settings for any Water asset in your inventory; 3: Import: allow you to import Windlight water settings; 4: water fog, refraction and blur settings; 5: option for setting and custom water map; 6: wave control (height, direction and speed) scroll pads and spinners; 7: The Save / Apply button for saving / applying settings.

The Fixed Environment – Water floater offers a means to edit Linden Water settings and apply them to yourself (e.g. for testing) or to the parcel / region you are on (subject to permissions).

Day Cycles

Tutorial reference: Day Cycles.

The Day Cycles floater

A Day Cycle contains multiple EEP assets to create an entire cycle – e.g., day / night, Sun and Moon motions across the sky, changing ambient lighting, etc. As such, a Day Cycle:

  • Comprises a water track and up to four unique sky tracks.
    • The water track comprises one Water asset.
    • Each sky track is defined by altitude at the region / estate level
    • A defined sky track comprises at least one Sky asset.
  • Can be a minimum of four hours in length (a default SL cycle) can be any length up to 168 hours.
    • This means it is possible to have a single day cycle lasting up to 168 hours in length, or create a cycle of 7×24 hours days, or create almost any custom day / night cycle you want.
    • Day lengths and offsets are defined at the region / parcel level.
  • Can be offset from GMT by an number of hours – so the day / night cycle could, for example, be off-set to coincide with your own physical world time zone, if using a 24-hour cycle.
    • Time offsets are defined at the region / parcel level.

Creating and Editing EEP Assets

Creating EEP Assets

New EEP assets can be created either from the My Environments floater or from inventory. Each offers two means to create a new asset – using the + button or by the right-click inventory context menu.

Creating a new EEP asset from either My Environments (l) or Inventory (r) using the + button (1), or via right-clicking on the Settings folder and the selecting the required asset type from the create menu → New Settings option (2)

Notes:

  • You can create new settings in any folder of your choosing in Inventory (or visible in the My Environments panel), but the Settings folder is the recommended location for EEP settings.
  • You can create sub-menus in Settings to organise your EEP assets if you want.

Editing EEP Assets

To edit a settings asset:

  • Open your inventory or the My Environments floater.
  • Navigate to the folder containing the settings asset you wish to edit and then:
    • Double-click on the required settings asset.
    • Right-click on the required settings object and select Open.
    • Click the gear icon and click on Edit (My Environments floater only).
  • The relevant edit floater will open (Sky, Water, or Day Cycle). Details on these floaters can be found in my EEP Tutorial.

Applying EEP Settings

EEP settings are applied using their corresponding asset. They can be applied in two ways:

  • Directly to your avatar = so they will only be visible in your viewer.
  • To a region/estate or to a parcel – so they will, by default, be visible to everyone entering the region / parcel (applying EEP settings to a region/estate or to a parcel is subject to permissions).

Apply EEP Settings To Your Avatar

A new concept with EEP is that you can apply environment Sky or Day Cycle settings directly to your avatar. If you have not used EEP before, copy some of the Sky and Day Cycles From Library → Environments to your Settings folder, and experiment using the notes below.

There are a few points to remember when attaching EEP assets to your avatar:

  • Only you will see the environment settings as applied to your avatar.
  • You can only apply one sky or one day cycle to yourself at a time, but you can attach one or the other and a water setting at the same time.
  • Attached EEP settings will persist across region crossings and teleports.
  • By default, attached EEP setting will not persist between log-in sessions. If you wish them to do so, you must set the debug environmentPersistAcrossLogin to True.
  • When you attach an EEP asset to your avatar:
    • The viewer will automatically disable World → Environment → Use Shared Environment.
    • Re-enabling World → Environment → Use Shared Environment will detach any EEP asset and settings you have applied to your avatar and use the local region / parcel settings.
  • You can make temporary adjustments to the setting (e.g. for photographic purposes) by starting an edit as described above and then editing the setting through the relevant floater (Sky, Water or Day Cycle).

EEP assets can be applied to your avatar in one of three ways:

  • By the right-clicking context menu in Inventory or the My Environments floater and selecting Select Apply Only To Myself from the menu.
  • By clicking on the Gear icon at the bottom of the My Environments floater and select Apply Only to Myself in the drop-down menu.
Applying EEP assets to yourself via Inventory (l) and My Environments (r)

To Your Region / Estate or Parcel

Subject to permissions, EEP asset settings can be applied to a region or parcel in the following ways:

  • Region: World → Region / Estate → Environment tab, click the Use Inventory button and select the desired EEP asset.
  • Parcel: About Land → Environment tab → click the Use Inventory button and select the desired EEP asset.
  • Both: open the Environment tab, and drag and drop the desired asset from Inventory and into the desired altitude box where you want it to apply.
  • By using the Save / Apply button in any of the environment edit panels – see Fixed Environments and / or Day Cycles in my EEP tutorial.

In Summary

EEP is an extensive set of changes to the viewer (and simulator-side support for the capability), and it can take time to become familiar with all the options. This primer – as lengthy as it may be – is only designed to offer an overview. The SL wiki page on EEP and my Tutorial offer more detailed information.

Further Information

2 thoughts on “Environment Enhancement Project: a primer

  1. As long as I can force a NORMAL setting that ignores all of this, I’ll be happy. I have Midday settings, standard water and sky. I do not want to have this #@$#@ FORCED ON because I don’t want to have others plunge my experiences into darkness or muck with @#$@ed up sky or other settings.

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    1. EEP work the same way as Windlight does at present: when you enter a region, your environment changes to match the settings for the region. You still have the ability to change that if you wish.

      The main difference is that EEP extends environment settings to PARCEL level, avoiding the viewer-side hack that has until now been used by the likes of Firestorm, which could perhaps be problematic in regions where there are a lot of different parcel windlights set, particular. However, this can be avoided by applying an EEP asset to your avatar. Details are also in my EEP Tutorial.

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