Friday, May 25, 2012


Hats off the Pathfinder, once again we have evidence of his greatness.
To take someone hypergridding for the first time doesn't sound like much of a big deal, especially these days. Yet, once you've volunteered to accompany a group, suddenly the enormity of the situation dawns. Urk!
The IMAB  group, who are currently working on a new multi-grid art festival, wanted some pointers on how to jump. Did you click on the link, and find, by way of an introduction to the project, a paragraph that is Byzantine at best, and probably copy/pasted from elsewhere, possibly from a notecard of some sort? Yeah, so did I.
It's never easy to establish a good time for teaching events, when you have people from all over the US and Europe who supposedly want to take part. I was secretly kind of glad when in fact only Alizarin Goldflake and Medora Chevalier showed up for our mini lesson.
The problem with hypergridding with newbies is that jumping is rarely instantaneous. Lag, or hesitation happens, and you spend a lot of time wondering if they are lost, or crashed, or slow, or what. Should you go back to look for them, or will that just make it worse? Are they not answering in IM because they are too far away? Should you mention the fact that they are now wearing only lingerie, or have no hair, or (blushes) boobage showing? I don't know how Path does it!
On this trip, I was a cloud for a long time, but the reason was obvious. My shoes. It was either the Invisiprims, or the fact that I had been editing linked parts while they were attached to me. Either way, simple solution - go barefoot.
There is no shortage of destinations. Maria Korolov's website showcases both classic destinations, and newer ones, and Pathfinder's excellent blog hooks you up with new, or newly emerging places of interest, and lots of other people are blogging about their adventures too. Having missed out on going on HGAC trips in recent weeks, this trip with Medora and Alizarin re-kindled the desire to get back into the routine. Pathfinder helpfully sends out emails regarding upcoming trips, and often chronicles the event afterwards - it's all on his blog.
Void Pipe's Hypergates, Alba, Osgrid
So - where to go? It seemed appropriate to show them a beautiful 'old fashioned' blamgate, and your common or garden hypergate. We checked out the two examples on Void Pipe's beautiful sim in osgrid. Ali saw how clicking on the green hypergate opens a window suggesting destinations (the same kind of stuff found, obviously, on the Hyperica website.) Bear in mind that not all destinations are online, or still currently at that address. Grids move!
At this point, you want a nice, up-to-the minute 2D map of where all the grids are, to get it clear in your mind, don't ? Yeah.
I don't have one.
Hyperica Central
Anyway, then off we went to the Hyperica Central. As you know, the three Hyperica islands have pavilions on them, each containing about 30 or so hyperpools (direct links to specific destinations on other grids). The Pavilions make it easier to choose where to go - destinations are divided into 'Shopping', 'Activities', 'Education', and 'Main Grids'. You step over the hyperpool linked with your chosen destination - take a breath - and suddenly, you're elsewhere! However, if you don't fall through, well, choose another destination is my advice - that'a a much quicker route to fun and relaxation than trying to figure out why it didn't work. Alizarin fancied going to Pathlandia, but it seemed to be down. We ended up going to FrancoGrid. Once there, Ali got frozen. It was quite a surprise that she hadn't crashed really. My own first forays were full of horrendous crashing. Things have improved since then! We moved on to  New World Grid. It was Medora's choice, as she wanted to go somewhere educational. We found ourselves looking at Graham Mill's molecules on BioZone. Nice!
Biozone by Graham Mills
Lastly, off to VirtuYou, via the Map, to see the lovely Asterix sim (which needs more interactive scripts!). There were a couple of moments there when I thought I'd lost my companions, but no - we all managed to stick together, and it was a surprisingly smooth ride.
If you've already got half an idea where you want to go, say from this page of Landmarks, you can just  jump by using your Map. Here are the steps.
1. Open the Map, put the hypergrid address (it's going to have a number in it, like 8000 or 9000)
2. Hit Search, wait and see if the map can find it. If the destination is too far away, you'll need to find a stopover grid, somewhere in the middle.
3. Hit Teleport.
I've found that the Map will sometimes throw a wobbly, denying the existence of a specific sim or even a whole grid with the annoying message 'Invalid location'. But if it can't find the precise address, it will often find the grid's Main or Welcome sim, simply remove the name of the Landing area from the end of the address. Then you can refine your search once you arrive.
NIFLAR Asterix village, VirtYou
Seeing it through the eyes of my two friends, it was striking to realize how very different Open Sim is to SL. The loneliness, the freedom, the wildness of strange lands. Let's hope the IMAB project is able to capture that and share it with a wider audience.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Good Car - ma

This is probably the one and only time you'll find a post about my stuff in this blog, but we had such fun tonight it seemed something you might like to see.
On my private grid, for some time now I've been working on driveable cars. It's easy enough to build a chassis and to get the lights and sound working, but the driving script proved a bit more of a challenge. This was my first effort, a sort of sporty number. I also made some funny anims to go with it, where both passenger and driver wave at passers by and at times cover their eyes. Looks like my companion's searching for a map in the glove box. *should have built a garmin*.
Those of you who know me in SL are familiar with my partner Snow, who's very good at scripting. But mostly he takes it to a higher level than just drivin' around. And, as they say, at the plumber's house, all the taps leak. 
In lieu of a really effective driving script, I moved on to making vintage cars. There are four so far. They're kind of pedestrian, but mmm! shiny!
This blue one is my favorite. The texture is a handmade seamless Lapis Lazuli,  all cool  and slick looking. 
 We got a bit too enthusiastic, and managed to crash two of them. Yeah, I know. Women drivers. All this space, and nowhere to park!
 The driving script works just fine with the arrow keys, except for one thing, the car goes incrementally higher if you go forward. So within a few hundred horizontal yards, you find yourself 50 feet up in the air. Not that we minded. The engine puttered and the tail pipe smoked. Ooh there's a thought, a radio. With static.
 After all there's the little matter of me not having really labelled the 'Passenger' and 'Driver' poseballs right, so it's always a bit unclear who's driving. Blame it on too much multitasking. New grids are great but there's just so darn much to do. Didn't matter. We both pressed arrow keys,  for fun. 
 The script has, in the past, made the whole grid crash. Perhaps. Who can really be sure it wasn't a coincidence? But I think trying to fly off the edge of the sims probably doesn't do.
 In fact, we try not to even fly out of the one region. It's strange how quickly the vast open spaces of open sim aren't nearly enough. In SL my 1/3 of a sim always seemed huge and way more than I needed. Out here, four sims, with your draw distance open to the max, seem just a handkerchief square in the face of the giant builds that spring to mind.
 My favourite bit of this car is the fan in the radiator. The least good bit - the headlights. But some work on particle scripts should sort out all that 'don't try to walk through the beams' trouble. At a certain point, my gal pal Hotti jumped out to check if the back wheels were following the front wheels. Turns out they were. Hopefully too we can fix the jumpiness in the visual effect in time also - the passenger tends not to move with the car, but hangs back, as if on elastic, and ping into position about half a second after the car has moved. On the other hand, there's the same issue in Arcadia Asylum's metro trains, on osgrid, so that's not bad company to be in. 
After a hilarious drive around the Welcome sim, including a trip to the top of the tower you see in the background, we were ready to quit. And inspired, perhaps, to iron out the wrinkles and build some more. Which is surely the point of it all.
What larks.