Tutorial: EEP Day Cycles

The Environment Enhancement Project (EEP) is a mechanism to provide region and parcel holders and individual Second Life users, greater control over there personal environment or the environment for their region / estate or parcel.

This tutorial is designed to walk you through the essentials of EEP, including the terminology used. It is divided into a number of sections:

  • The introduction, covering EEP capabilities, concepts and settings permissions; viewer menu options; the region / estate and parcel controls; and how to create / edit EEP asset types.
  • Using the the Personal Lighting floater to adjust the environment around you in your own view only.
  • Using the Fixed Environment controls and options to control individual Sky and / or Water settings.
Table of Contents

Introduction
Part 2: Personal Lighting
Part 3: Fixed Environments
Part 4: Day Cycles

Part 5: Importing Windlights and LSL Resources

  • This section, using the Day Cycle controls and options to create complete day / night cycles, including different settings defined by altitude.
  • Importing Windlight Settings and EEP LSL Resources.

If you are coming fresh to EEP, it is recommended to read the introduction first.

Note that this tutorial has been written using the official EEP project and RC viewers. TPV implementations of EEP (when available) may vary.

Basics

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 – see Region and Parcel Controls.
    • 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 – see Region and Parcel Controls.
  • 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.

Creating and Editing an EEP Asset

Creating an EEP Asset

New EEP settings assets can be created either from the My Environments floater or from inventory. Each offers two means to create a new asset.

  1. By clicking on the + button at the foot of the panel and then selecting the required asset type (Sky, Water, Day Cycle) – when using inventory, you’ll need to go via the create menu > New Settings sub-menu.
    • Using this method will automatically place the created asset within your Settings folder.
  2. By right-clicking on the Settings folder and selecting the required Asset type via the create 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 obviously create sub-menus in Settings to organise your EEP assets if you want.

Editing an EEP Asset

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, Day Cycle.
    • As this section of the tutorial is about Day Cycles, the Edit Day Cycle floater is described here.

The Edit Day Cycle Floater: Overview

The Edit Day Cycle floater comprises four main elements:

The Day Cycle Panel with the Sky Environment tab displayed
  1. The top bar of the floater comprises:
    • Name field: displays the name of the Day Cycle you are currently editing.
      • You can manually edit this field to change the name of the asset, if required – just remember to use the Save / Apply button at the bottom of the floater (described later in this section) when saving your updates.
    • Import: allows you to import windlight settings from your computer and have them converted to EEP assets – see Importing Windlight Settings as EEP Assets, later in this tutorial for more on importing windlight settings.
  2. The Track Editor: this is used to define the tracks used in a Day Cycle, and ins described in The Track Editor, below.
  3. The Environment Editor tabs: depending on the selections made in the Track Editor this will display either:
  4. The Save / Apply and Cancel buttons.

The Track Editor

This section of the Day Cycle panel is used to define your day cycle: the sky and water settings that are used, at what altitudes (sky only, with a caveat – see below) and how settings are played and blended. It comprises the five elements, all of which are used together.

The Track Editor comprising: 1. Track tabs; 2. The track timeline editor; 3. The track option buttons; 4. Playback Buttons.

Track Tabs (1.)

Located to the left of the track editor, these define the specific  track you are editing. As noted above, a day cycle can have one water track and up to 4 sky tracks (Ground and Sky 2 through 4), depending on your own needs.

  • Water only applies to Linden water, and will set the environment edit section in the middle of the Day Cycle Panel to display the water edit options. How to use these is defined in the section Fixed Environment – Water.
  • The Sky tracks set the environment edit section in the middle of the Day Cycle panel to display the Atmosphere & Lighting, Clouds and Sun & Moon tabs. How to use these is defined in the section Fix Environment Editor – Sky.
  • At a minimum, a day cycle will use the water and ground tracks.
    • These can use custom environment settings for the water / sky, or the Second Life default settings.
    • The Sky 2 – Sky 4 tracks need only be used if specific environments are to be set.
    • The specific altitudes at which the Sky 2 – Sky 4 tracks are applied are defined at region level – see Region and Parcel Controls.
  • Clicking on a specific tab (e.g. Ground) selects that track for editing using the track timeline editor and environment edit functions.

Track Timeline Editor (2.)

Perhaps the best way to consider a track is as a timeline, charting the state of the water or sky through the length of a day.

  • This timeline is indicated by the white line running across the top of the track editor.
  • The percentage markers can be used to help determine specific points in the length of day.
    • For example, if the length of day is set to 24 hours, then 0%/100% would equate to midnight; 50% to midday  and 25% and 75% to 6:00am and 6:00pm respectively.
    • For details on setting the length of day, see Region and Parcel Controls.
  • A yellow pointer indicates the current point in the track that will be subject to any edits. This pointer can be left-click dragged forwards and backwards along the timeline as required.
    • If the pointer is directly over a frame, the settings for that frame will be available for edit in the environment edit area below the track editor.

Along the timeline for a track can be a number of indicators – frames – marking specific points in the track.

  • Individual frames are indicated by a blue marker – a drop of water in the case of the water track, sky boxes for the sky tracks.
  • Each frame in a track represents a specific point in time along that track, and contains a specific set of environment settings defining how the water or sky look at that point in the track.
    • If the frame is in a sky track, the environment edit area will display the Atmosphere and Lighting, Clouds and Sun and Moon tabs and options defined in Fix Sky Environment – Sky.
    • If the frame frame is on the water track,the environment edit area will display the water options defined in Fixed Environment  – Water.
    • Clicking on a specific frame will open its settings in the environment edit area of the panel below the Track editor.
  • Individual frames can be added to, or removed from, a track as required.
    • Note that by default, the water and ground track must have at least one frame each, and the Ground track for any newly-created Day Cycle will initially have eight frames associated with it.
    • The Sky 2-Sky 4 tracks do not require any frames to be associated with them if they are not being used.
  • The idea is that when applied to a region or parcel, the track is played by the system, which blends the frames together to show the motion of the sun / moon across the sky, the changing flow of the clouds and atmospheric colour and effects, the changing appearance of Linden water, etc) as the day cycle is played in accordance with the defined length of day.
Add A New Frame to a Track

New frames within a track timeline can be created in the following ways:

  1. Moving the yellow point over a blank space in the track timeline and then clicking the Add Sky / Water button to the right of the track editor.
  2. Pointing to a blank space in the track timeline and double-clicking the left mouse button.
  3. Use Shift-Drag (left mouse button) to drag a duplicate of an existing frame to a new location.

Note: when using either (1.) or (2.) above, the new frame will be the blended version of the frames on either side of it (so if a new frame is added half-way between frames A and B, it will 50% of A + 50% of B, for example).

Move An Existing Frame In a Track

Left-click on the frame to be moved and drag it to its new position on the track timeline.

Deleting Frames

Frames are deleted as follows:

  1. Click on a frame to be deleted to position the yellow pointer over it.
  2. Click on the Delete Sky / Water button to the right of the track editor.
  3. The frame is deleted – no warning is given or confirmation requested.
Load Asset Settings into a Frame

You can load the settings from a sky or water asset into an appropriate frame in one of two ways:

  1. Using an existing frame:
    1. Position the yellow indicator directly over the required frame.
    2. Click the Load Water / Sky button to the right of the track editor to display the Select Settings picker (this will only display the valid asset type  – sky or water) that can be loaded).
    3. Locate and click on the required asset to highlight it.
    4. Click OK.
    5. The asset’s environment settings are loaded into the frame, and displayed in the environment edit area of the Day Cycle panel.
  2. By creating a new frame:
    1. Position the yellow indicator over a blank point in the track timeline where you wish to create a frame.
    2. Follow steps (ii.) through (iv) above.
    3. A new frame will be created at the indicated point in the track timeline and asset’s environment settings loaded into it and and displayed in the environment edit area of the Day Cycle panel.

Cloning, Loading and Clearing Tracks (3.)

Below and to the left of the track timeline are three buttons Clone From, Load From and Clear. These are used to manage the tracks in your day cycle. Which of these buttons is available depends on the current state of editing a day cycle. The three buttons are:

Clone From
The Clone From track picker

This button allows you to clone an existing sky track to another in the cycle (e.g. if you have set-up a Ground track, you can clone it to any of the Sky 2 through Sky 4 tracks). This can simplify track creation which you are using similar settings at different altitudes. To clone an existing track:

  1. Click on the track tab you’d like to clone to.
  2. The Clone button will be enabled. Click it to open the Pick: Track panel (shown right).
  3. Click the radio button next to the required track name (e.g. Ground), then click OK.
  4. The track will be cloned into the current track.
Load From
The Load From picker, show with the track selector drop-down active

When available, this button will allow you to overwrite a selected track with the contents of a day cycle from your inventory. will open a picker allowing you to select any day cycle you have already created and making it the basis for editing on the current track. To load a cycle into a track:

    1. Click on the required track tab to select it.
    2. Click the Load From button. The Pick: Select Track panel.
    3. The panel will display a list of available folders containing day cycle assets in your inventory (this may only be the Settings folder and the Library).
    4. Locate the day asset you wish to load and click on it to highlight it.
      • If there is more than one track defined in the selected day cycle, use the drop-down list at the bottom of the picker to select which specific track from that cycle you wish to load into the current track (shown highlighted on the right).
      • Click OK.  The settings from the selected cycle (and track, if applicable) will be loaded into the current track, overwriting and frames already there.
Clear

This button clears all frames in the current track. No confirmation is required, and this action cannot be undone.

Track Playback Buttons (4.)

Use this buttons to play a track. or set the position of the track indicator.

Save / Apply and Cancel Buttons

Located at the bottom of the Fixed Environment floater are two buttons: a multi-function Save / Apply button, and a Cancel buttons.

Save  / Apply

This is a multi-function button, with options selected using the arrow drop-down to the right of the button. The button then needs to be clicked to use the selected option. These are:

  • The Save / Apply options

    Save: save your edits to the current EEP asset (as per the Name field at the top of the panel).

  • Save As: save your edits to a new EEP asset – a dialogue box will be displayed, prompting for the new asset name. This will also update the Fixed Sky panel to be editing the new asset.
  • Apply Only To Myself: as the name implies, applies the settings directly to your viewer – useful when testing how an EEP asset works.
  • Apply To Parcel / Region: these two options will only be available if you are ownership rights to the parcel / region.

Important: the Save / Apply options are mutually exclusive – using either of the Save options will not apply an updated setting, and use of the available Apply options will not also save any changes made to the asset settings.  You must use both a Save and an Apply option if you wish to save changes and then apply them or vice versa).

Cancel

As its name implies, this discards all work without saving. When using it, note that:

  • If you have not made any changes to the asset settings, the panel will close.
  • If you have made any changes to any of the settings in the Fixed Sky panel, a warning will be displayed asking you to confirm you wish to discard (and lose) them.
    • Note that this warming will also be displayed if you attempt to close the panel via the top right X (close) button after editing the settings without saving them.
    • A response of Yes will discard the changes will close the panel, losing your changes.
    • A response of No will close the warning dialogue and return you to the panel, allowing you to use the Save or Save As options to save your changes.

Creating a Day Cycle – Walk Through

Setting a day cycle can be defined in the following steps:

  1. Create /  edit a day cycle asset.
  2. Select the track you wish to set-up (water or one of the sky tracks).
  3. Select a frame in the track (or create a frame) and use the edit options.
    • For example, if you are editing a sky track, use the Atmosphere & Lighting, Clouds, and Sun & Moon tabs to set the desired light, clouds, sun / moon position (and textures, if required) for that point in the day, and as defined in Fix Sky Environment – Sky.
  4. Select or create the next frame in the track and use the edit options to adjust that frame as per (3.) above.
    • For example, if you are editing a sky track you might adjust the atmosphere and lighting to reflect a different time of day,  move the sun / moon to match, alter the cloud coverage, etc.
    • Note the system will attempt to extrapolate the required movement of the sun / moon between two given frames so that any implied motion is relatively smooth and logical.
  5. Repeat for all required frames for the track.
  6. Use the playback buttons to play your track and check the motion of the sun, moon and clouds, to observe the lighting changes, etc., and make sure it is working as you’d like.
  7. Make adjustments to specific frames as required.
  8. Make sure you SAVE the cycle.

Remember:

  • Repeat the above steps for any other sky tracks you wish to include in the Day Cycle.
  • If only one sky track is defined, it will be applied at all altitudes in the region / parcel.
  • If you prefer not to set a water track, the default system settings for linden water will be used.
  • You do not have to create a day cycle to your region / parcel; if you prefer you can use a fixed sky asset.

Where Next

 

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