May has proven to be especially busy. It has also been a great month. BlakOpal and I have been featured in a great interview with 80 Level.
From Tents To Tense
BlakOpal and I started out the month with a weekend in a tent. We had fun prepping for and participating in a regional campout in Santa Cruz, where we created a mobile version of The Brainy Bar‘s Fancy Shmancy S’Mores.
Coming back from the campout, I proceeded to immediately start coming down with something. The combination of exhaustion (we had so much fun), illness (it was a man cold hehe), and frustration (when things don’t work the way they should) made for a tense week. SineSpace’s update for Editor Pack 14 and the Unity 2018 engine have proven to be their most difficult yet. I’ve posted about it, but work is ongoing. Twice as tired, twice as much work, and half the progress you hoped – that sort of thing. Despite the challenges, I’m still a believer in what the platform can be. I am hopeful Sine Wave can turn a corner soon.
So Many Updates
A chunk of the month was spent with things most people will never see. At its most basic level, beta testing involves reporting when something isn’t working properly. As you get more involved, it involves going through a problem several different ways in an effort to try and isolate the culprit. The more information you can provide to the development team, the more quickly they can find and fix the issue. Lots of iterations and uploads, lots of headaches, and lots of things most people will never have to see.
May saw updates big and small. On the bigger side, I was finally able to get our update to the Lovelace outfit finished. That’s a great example of things people will never see. We started working on that update in 2017, believe it or not. There were a number of different issues that came up along the way. The clothing system, LOD support and issues with cloth physics kept us from getting the results we wanted. I’m really happy that we finally got that working well.
It’s The Little Things
The little things matter a lot, too. Sine Wave finally got some fixes in that let us fix how socks and stockings worked. Previously they took on a slight tint from the avatar’s skin tone settings (and we adjusted our designs to try and compensate for it), now the layers behave the way they should. I was able to go through all our socks and stockings and get everything updated to look even better. A minor new feature in the clothing system allowed me to go back and update all our shoes and boots so they ‘fit’ the avatar more naturally. Users don’t need to do anything, they just get better looking shoes and socks automatically as I got all those items updated.
Great Featured Interview
We were recently approached by Kirill Tokarev at 80 Level to talk about making clothing. This was a fun experience, an opportunity to show off some of our stuff, and he asked some great questions. I hope it encourages other content creators and makers to give SineSpace a try. Virtual worlds are awfully big platforms, and there is more than enough room for many different designers to be successful.
We talked about our background, clothes in games, our workflow, and our feelings on SineSpace.
Fun With Physics
In that great interview with 80 Level, we talked about how we discovered the virtual world of Second Life through a documentary presented by Dr. Michio Kaku (who we were fortunate enough to get to see in March).
BlakOpal and I are both fans of science, nature, and geeky things like philosophy and theoretical physics. At times I wonder if she might just be humoring me, but then she’ll get wind of someone giving a talk and excitedly tell me about it. One thing that made this a great month was a talk with Dr. Brian Cox that we caught earlier this week.
Still Hard At Work
In part of my testing early in the month, I started work on a test region I’m calling Mantis.
I have a bunch of ideas for what I would like to do with that project, but currently it sits on the sidelines. A few bugs and issues prevent me from moving it forward. As you can see in the image below, there are some issues with transparency in Substances.
Fortunately, there are a lot of other projects and updates to work on. One of them is the Fairfield Deluxe Home and region. I am finally getting a chance to give that some love and attention. I’ve figured out how to increase the size of the house without breaking the animations, lighting and other features. It will mean that existing customers will need to adjust their furniture placement, but I think that will be a small price to pay for a build that is much easier to walk and move your camera around in.
I’m also working on improving the lighting, and adding the ability to tint the windows in each room. Mainly I wanted the ability to tint the windows in that spectacular enclosed porch, but figured that if I set it up properly in each room, people could customize a bit more if they wanted to.
Dreaming Of The Desert
Now we get to the time of year when my dreams fill with dust. Specifically, I dream of the alkali-rich dust of the Black Rock desert. BlakOpal and I organize a theme camp (called the Brainy Bar) at an arts and culture festival we’ve been participating in for years, and it’s getting to be the busy time of year for preparation.
We think and talk about art and projects for it all throughout the year, but as spring gets ready to turn into summer we step things up into high gear.
We have ambitious plans for this year, and as things get busy coordinating with campmates old and new, planning and building infrastructure, it’s exciting to see our work coming together as well as the incredible work being done by other participants.
While it has been a really great month, and looking back I think that was a really great interview (thanks Kirill!), there is still so much more to do. Stuff to build in the real and virtual worlds, and now that I think about it I really need to get my camp’s web site updated, and think about making some art project posts.