Coming soon…

I often leave the world of SL for extended periods leaving my work bench sadly unattended, but I’m back in the shop for a bit, and I just thought I would take a few minutes to share what I’m working on.

VR Studio 3.0

First, of course is the VR Studio, which is of course just the posestand with a different name and a healthy list of updates. Don’t worry, if you’re a posestand owner you’ll be able to upgrade for free as usual. The reason for the new name is simply because with all the work I put into cramming it with features “posestand” just doesn’t seem to do it justice. It’s a powerful photography tool, not just something to prop up your avatar, so Studio it is.

The newest version will be adding a number of features, the most important of which is probably the new library management system. You’ll no longer need to keep each pose set in a separate stand in your inventory – you can have them all accessible as separate libraries in your studio without the need to rez and resit, and without the need to edit notecards to set it up. Just how this works I’m going to keep that as a surprise for when it hits the shelf, but I can guarantee you’re going to love it!

The HUD is also getting an update with a new color picker, more channels, and a new positioning system that will have you twirling yourself about just for giggles.

I don’t want to give all the new features away, but it’s on its way so keep your eyes open!

Scripted resizer/retexturer

Also coming up… well I haven’t really settled on exactly what to do about this, but I have decided to solve a problem in SL that’s been driving me crazy for months now. Resizers! Hang on let me get my soap box.

Ok, so here’s the situation so far. Designers from ancient SL had to put up with all sorts of theft issues, from people using scripts to copy their designs, to manually re-creating prim work, ripping textures, and the like. This old world approach to content theft has long since been antiquated for a number of reasons, one being that sculpt maps which are essential to many of modern products can’t be so easily extracted and reused by scripts, and the other is that anyone who’s serious about content theft will of course nab a copy of Cryolife or something like it to circumvent all permissions. The end result, though, is that creators are still checking that “no modify” check box in their products, annoying us all with their desperate though useless effort to avoid being stolen from.

This is a problem for a number of reasons, aside from the fact that we can’t put handy scripts into things to add to their functionality, we can’t do a truly custom fit without spending ages working at it with some crude scripted tools… but the biggest nuisance of all is a byproduct of the most popular solution: the resizer script! The adopted solution to allowing people to fit their merchandise is the use of a “resizer” script often including a number of other features like texture changing and such. The exact inventory of features doesn’t matter though because all these script have one thing in common: they lag the heck out of SL! I haven’t seen a single resizer which doesn’t depend on installing one or sometimes several (!) scripts in each and every prim of your accessory. This turns into a nightmare when you’re talking about a 100 prim shoe which like any normal person you wear two of… If you’re keeping track, that’s 200 prims, and between 200 and 400 scripts you’re walking around with.

Now what’s the big deal, you ask? Well, aside from the fact that most of these are mono scripts (which might seem like a good thing, and in some ways it is, but mostly it isn’t), you’re going to be walking around using about 1-2ms of a sim’s cpu time running scripts which are actually doing nothing. Now for reference, 2 ms of script time is approximatly 10% of a sim’s total cpu allotment for scripts, physics, and everything else it needs to think about. That’s a big problem. The bigger problem comes when you teleport though. The sim server needs to pack up the script state for all 200 of your scripts, then transmit all that data to the sim server you’re teleporting to so it can unpack it and resume all those scripts. This causes both sims to completely lag out for anywhere from 5-15 seconds… during which everyone else gets to lag slide through walls, under ground or anywhere else, all so you can walk around in fancy shoes or a feather boa or whatever! This is truly a ridiculous situation, but sadly it seems to be the new standard for every nice new product in the world of SL Fashion.

The solution? Well, I’m working on a new resizer script that will only run scripts when the person is actually resizing or retexturing their item circumventing the issue of  items with a zillion scripts in them, and I’m guessing this will satisfy many who refuse to check that “modify” box in the next owner permissions, but in truth I would urge every designer to JUST MAKE IT MODIFIABLE! Really, if someone wants to steal your stuff, they’re just going to copybot it, and your silly “no modify” designation isn’t going to do you any good at all against that. Also, if any scripter is trying to get you to put a script in every stinkin’ prim you’ve ever made, just say no. Seriously. It’s very bad for SL.

Edit: I just ran across this article which lays out exactly what sim lag is and how you can avoid it, if you’re interested to learn more! SL Universe post by Chalice Yao