Water. There’s a lot of it to be found in Second Life, particularly of the Linden variety. Not all of it may be accessible, but the areas that are have encouraged animation override makers to include basic surface / underwater swimming animations in their products, whilst a number dedicated swimming systems have appeared over the years.
One of the most recent of the latter to pop-up is the Dripping Wet Swimming Suite, created by Sakasi Hasudo (HerdMother) and marketed under her Lactopia brand. It is designed to provide a complete Second Life swimming experience for four-limbed human avatars (it will not by default work correctly for merfolk), I found the description and outlined functionality intriguing enough to give it a go.
At L$699, Dripping Wet sits within the typical price range for animation overrides, and offers a genuine swimming experience with surface and underwater swimming animations, idling / floating animations, water effects and splashing sounds, and water droplets that will fall from the body on exiting Linden Water.
As such, the package comes with no fewer than 14 items: the HUD, 12 water dripping / splashing attachments and a script. The attachments provide particle effects when swimming, entering / leaving the water, and also particle drips that “fall” from the body, and which can be turned on / off manually, if required).
Twelve attachments may sound a lot, but whey you consider that for swimming, many other attachments (multiple mesh clothing items, for example) can be removed, this is actually not too bad. Further, not all of the attachments need to be worn; as I’m not overly enamoured with the dripping effect, I only use the arm / leg attachments to the swimming particle effects can be generated.
The included script can be used by those using ZHAO-style animation override HUDS to ensure a smooth transition between walking / swimming animations when moving to / from Linden water and land without having to toggle either HUD on / off. I confess to not having tried this, as I use the TPV client-side AO system, which can be easily clicked on / off via the toolbar.
The HUD and attachments should be ADDed to your avatar, rather than worn – again, possibly the easiest way is to create an outfit and include the HUD and the dripping attachments you wish to use together with your swimming costume.
Sitting at the bottom of the viewer window by default when attached, the HUD is very unobtrusive, comprising three buttons: swim, dive and “drip”. The first two are reasonably self-explanatory, accessing as they do the swimming and diving options respectively, whilst the drip button will turn on the body dripping / splashing (thus allowing the “wet look” to be used n land for photography, etc).
Overall the following animations are included:
- 12 surface / underwater animations swimming animations (the breaststroke can be used both on the surface and underwater).
- 6 floating / idling animations (4 available for surface & underwater swimming, two for use when on the surface).
- 8 diving animations.
The easiest way to use the system is to select your preferred surface swim and idle animation, and then do the same for underwater (obviously, you can change these at any time you wish). Using the movement keys in Linden Water will automatically engage your swim animation and your avatar will return to the “idle” animation (e.g. treading water) when movement stops.
Using PAGE DOWN will move you under the waves and engage the underwater swim / idle animations. While it may well be an issue with my Bluetooth keyboard, I found I had to tab PAGE UP to cancel the “downward” swimming, otherwise my avatar would simply remain face down stuck in that animation. PAGE UP will return you to the surface, with an automatic transition to surface swim / idle. When swimming / idling on the surface, you can adjust your position in the water via the HUD’s z-offset controls.
The dives will operate at any height, providing Linden Water is properly detected beneath you. If it is not, because you’re attempting to dive onto land, for example, or if the water is simply too shallow, your dive attempt will be stopped and you’ll be warned in chat:
You will break your neck – there’s no water to land in!
All of the dives are exceptionally graceful – if a little rocket-powered, given the height you can reach! In addition, you can save a dive spot to the HUD and use it to return to that spot – handy if you are diving from, say, a boat (assuming there is someone else on the boat to stop it being auto-returned if in public waters!).
Admittedly, this is the first HUD-based swimming system I’ve tried, and I’ve found it does exactly what it says on the tin – and does it very well. As noted, the swims are smooth, the dives effective and the entire package easy-to-use whilst the unobtrusive nature of the HUD means it does not get in the way of things.
In terms of the z-offset adjustments, this can be done via the HUD’s dialogue, as noted, and also by editing a configuration note card in the HUD.
The latter could do with more explanation in the user manual for those who may note be comfortable in editing objects and playing with config files. Those who aren’t, and who find fiddling with the HUD’s dialogues irritating, may find tweaking their hover height slider an acceptable compromise.
I understand from Sakasi that an update is in progress, and that their are plans for the system to work in non-Linden water – all of which will further increase the value of the system.
For my part, the system has already become part of a swimming outfit (with cossie and a suitable hair).
- Dripping Wet Swimming Suite (Marketplace only)