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How To Become an Accomplished Architect in Second Life : Page 3

If you have ever dreamed about building a castle, now's your chance. Learn to manipulate Second Life graphics primitives, and the only limit is your imagination.


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Creating the Castle Building Blocks
So far you have seen how to perform a number of basic building options. Specifically you have learned to:
  • Create any prim type
  • Move a prim or object
  • Resize a prim or object
  • Apply a texture
  • Apply different textures to different faces
You can quickly build a castle similar to the one shown in Figure 1 from a series of castle building blocks. In this section you will see how to create these blocks. You can obtain a copy of all of the textures and castle building blocks in the Second Life world at the following SLURL (Second Life URL): http://slurl.com/secondlife/Encogia/211/181/63.

The castle is packaged into a large box called "Castle in a Box Tutorial". The tutorial box contains all of the textures and building blocks needed for this castle. Additionally you are given full rights to these objects so that you can examine and see exactly how they were constructed. You'll want to use this technique to create buildings of your own in Second Life. First, create prims and link them together into larger objects. These larger objects will become the building blocks of your structure. For example, the castle is made up of the following building blocks:

  • 3X3 Cement
  • 3X3 Cement Grass
  • Battlement
  • Corner Wall
  • Corner Tower
  • Door Section
  • Floor
  • Front Door
  • Roof
  • Short Wall
  •  
    Figure 10. Castle Building Blocks: Sets of grouped prims such as these provide the basic building blocks for the castle.
  • Small Corner Tower
  • Stairs
  • Wall
  • Window Wall
You can see several of these building blocks laid out on the lawn in Figure 10. Each of these building blocks was built using skills already covered in this chapter. For example, stacking several sized cylinders and topping them with a blue cone creates a tower. Putting a wall/window texture on the front and an interior texture on the other side creates walls. The prims for each block are grouped. Except for the door, you've seen all the techniques used. The door uses a simple Linden Scripting Language (LSL) program (see my previous article) to allow it to open and close.


Listing 1 shows the Linden Scripting Language (LSL) code that operates the door. This script in Listing 1 works by establishing two states for the door: open and closed. When a user touches the door, it moves from one state to the other. The door should be a simple rectangular prim. The touch function calls the door function to rotate the door by 45 degrees, which "opens" the door, putting it in the open state. The open state simply waits a preset amount of time (5.0 seconds according to the user settings in Listing 1), and then rotates the door back by 45 degrees, thus closing the door.

The castle uses numerous textures. I could easily devote an entire article to texture creation. One of the easiest methods to obtain textures is to find free ones on the Internet. Once you locate a texture on the Internet, you can upload it into Second Life. For example, to find a "granite texture," you can use Google to perform an "image search" for the term "granite texture." You'll find quite a few textures.

Author's Note: Before you use a texture make sure that the texture is free. Most web sites that contain textures will state the usage license for their textures. Second Life allows you to use any texture that you have obtained a valid license for, and does not violate their community standards. If you would like to create textures of your own, you should look into programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.

By using terraforming, primitives, groups, and textures, you can build anything you can dream up. This article showed you how to first prepare a land site for building and how to create a set of reusable building blocks to construct a building. You also saw where you can obtain the castle building blocks.

Building can be a very time-consuming part of Second Life. However, as you become a more advanced builder you will accumulate a library of common objects that you have created, which will allow you to quickly construct new objects based on what you already have. Building on What You Know
This article only covered basic options available on the objects. However, you can build a castle even using only these basic options. After you master the basic options you should start experimenting with other options such as hollow and taper. These options allow you to transform the prims even further to create new and interesting shapes. For example, you can hollow out a cube to create a box, with an inside. You can apply a cut path to a sphere to create a hemisphere. The best way to learn these additional options is to create prims and experiment with the available options until you understand first-hand how to transform prims. Happy building!



Jeff Heaton is an author, college instructor, and consultant. Jeff is the author of four books and over two dozen journal and magazine articles. Jeff maintains a personal website where he publishes information about artificial intelligence, spider/bot programming, and other topics.
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