Finalised Build and Reflection

The build is finally finished. I am quite happy with the results, seeing as I had to cut my allowed time short. I realised after starting the build that my ideas were probably a bit ambitious for someone with my level of skills in the Second Life world. It does look better than I expected it to though so overall I’m happy with what I’ve achieved.

I must note here, that the build looks best, and was planned to be viewed at night. The part that took the longest and the part I like the look of the most was the probably the bridge it was particularly irritating at the time, all of the small fiddly little bits, and the building interface and I didn’t really get along very well. but in the end i think its OKbridge
I added a little glow to some of the features in the build. After looking through a few scenes from lord of the rings I decided that I liked the ‘angelic’ feel that the elves had to them and i felt that this effect was appropriate. It also light’s the place up a little bit when viewed at night.
tower
I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t get the treetop effect implemented in time so i just scrapped the idea, after doing so i realise that the bottom of the platform that was covered up due to the treetop effect I had in, was now visible and looks fairly ugly from the bottom. Also the tower\tree looks a little too crafted, I should have added a few branches into it.
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The top platform of the tower I did like. Although the railings are a bit stolen from the bridge down below they still fit in. Bending them to the curve of the platform was not one of my favourite parts.
I build the tower first of all and finalised that before I got to the forest part. When my avatar decided to actually display itself almost at the end of the build i realised that i had built everything a bit too small. To overcome this in the little time i had left i had to stretch everything and make it bigger. I didn’t like the results of this development, it now meant that everything had to be squished together a lot more than anticipated and now it seems marginally claustrophobic when you first arrive.

Even after having a few mishaps close to the builds end, I stille feel that the finished product is not as bad as I originally anticipated. I wouldve added a few photos of the final product in but since its all squished and id have to take a lot of photos, its better just to go see it for yourself.

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Undergrowth and the Forest

This blog post will talk about all of the grasses, plants and trees in the build. I hope for the floor of the platform to have some kind of undergrowth\grassy knoll texture but with a few plants and such on top of it i guess this doesnt matter too much. I planned to have the main tower risen from the ground on some sort of mound in the ground or a small hill, this should be easily done by a few circles layered with some soil textures. The stream will probably be the hardest part of the vegetation to do, I plan to have it coming in from one side of the build and running off the other side after flowing under the bridge. I may have to look at buying the flowing water or getting a guide on how to do it. I obtained a low prim plant kit from a friend which only required the textures of the plants so that will save a lot of time when it comes to rezzing the vegetation. forest entrance
This texture will be the one used behind the avatar when they port to the platform. The path in the picture will hopefully follow onto the path on the platform that leads onto the bridge.

forest wall
This texture will be used on the walls of the ‘box’ so that it gives the impression that the viewer is in a deep forest. The only problem I may have with this is stretching the image may distort it too much to use.

treetops
I am yet to figure out how i am going to use this texture. I hope to use it at the top of the tower so it looks as if your looking down onto the treetops. perhaps putting a board over the box and the tower stretches through it. I may have some trouble implementing this feature.

I attempted to build a tree that would be large enough to put in the top left of the build but after stretching it, it was far too distorted to use. I then decided to go shopping for a tree that was low prim and that i could stretch a bit which didn’t seem to hard to find.

The floor of the build will be covered by a low dense shrub of some sorts, or a large quantity grass prim like flaxes or some sort of tussock.

Texturing and Main build

I’ve decided to do 2 posts, one on the main buildings parts of the build such as the bridge and the tower, and another post on the vegetation and grounds of the platform. First of all I have decided to build the main piece of the tower from a tree with a spiral stairwell encircling the outside of the tree.

Most of the textures I plan to use will have to be “old” like mos covered or speckled to give it a kind of natural look. after looking in the texture library that i already have on SL i have decided that quite a few of the textures will be pretty good to use and a few of the ones from the texture board that Isa has set up on Koru.

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The above texture I will be using on the floor of the top platform of the tower its a fairly good looking wood texture and apart from the fact that the platforms round it looks pretty fitting to me.

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This texture will be the one I use on the bridge and for the railings of the bridge its good because its sort of speckle and mossy the picture Isn’t very clear because its night time but it looks pretty good at day and since the planks are already in the texture I can just make the bridge one long rectangle.

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This texture will be the one I’ll use on the main trunk of the tree/tower not really any reasoning its bark and it looks tree-ish. I guess there will be a lot of repeating textures since in elven times there weren’t really any metals as far as my sources tell me. And since most of the wood has the same texture I’ll have to find a way of sprucing it up a bit so everything doesn’t look the same. I also want everything to kind of fit together, give it an almost natural look.

Assignment 3 Build plan

OK, so before I start my build I’m going to need to have a brief plan of what I intend the build to consist of and what i want it to look like. I am aware that my style of build is going to be elvish, and I’m hoping to build something in the shape of a tower of some sorts. Preferably a sentry tower. A few of the screen caps are taken from the game i have used this game mainly for the elvish designs on their buildings and looking at their architecture.

BuildplanAssignment3

The above picture is a small diagram of what the basic build area should look like. The large circle in the top right corner will be the main tower built up on a mound. The middle rectangle will be a bridge running over a small stream running through the build, although from my research it seems that streams are fairly hard to replicate, but ill give it an attempt none the less. The small circle at the bottom will be the spawn point of the avatar when they port to the build site. I hope to fill most of the rest of the blank area with vegetation and I also hope to have walls around the build with a forest texture printed on them. From the trees I’ve seen so far it may be hard to acquire large ones as they start to look fairly bad the bigger I stretch them. The base of the platform will be covered in a grass texture. I have planned to put a separate platform at the top of the tower so when you get to the top it looks as if your looking over the treetops.

Design and Development

It took me a while to decide on what i was going to do for my structure in assignment 3, after some consideration and trolling around in Google images, i decided on something elvish as i am a big fan of Lord of the Rings. I have so far decided on doing something in the likes of a tower/sentry tower or something similar. I started looking at the designs on some of the elvish structures and markings from the Lord of the Rings franchise especially at places such as Rivendell, Caras Galadhon and even some stuff from the many Lord of the Rings games I have played through. Some of the following pics are the artwork style i would like to include into the builddurin

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I especially like the elvish art style that has been used on the archways and doorways.

I hope to have either an internal or external stairwell in/on the tower, similar to the Tree of Caras Galadhon below. I do especially like the elvish balustrades the surround the stairway on its way to the top.

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The following is a pic from an old Lord of the Rings game and is fairly similar to the structure i intend on creating.
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I also hope on including trees into the tower somehow as that portrays a fairly important part in the elvish theme, perhaps part of the tower being build from the tree, or a tree house tower. My ideas are fairly vague at the moment but hopefully by my next post i will have more of a concrete idea and start working on the texturing and colors of the structure.

Temple of portunus

Why did I choose this location?
Well I went online and had a look at a few sites that were showcasing Old historic buildings such as the Parthenon. After scrolling down a bit I saw that someone had made an island with a lot of similar art style.

portunus

What functionality/interactivity it provides?
On my first visit to the island, there were little to no people there. Just big structures that looked awesome. Not a lot of content that could be activated with but there was a lot to see. On return to the island a few weeks later, i see that they have something in the likes of a fashion or art exhibition. The temple had at least 10 people being shown around the island by what looked like a tour guide, which I thought was a pretty awesome idea. In the art exhibition they were selling some of the textures from around the site also clothing and other various nick nacks.

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How it looks/how is it built/how much scripting there seems to be
Although the buildings are huge there isn’t a particularly large amount of proms going into them. also there are a lot of repeated objects like pillars and arches that were obviously copied and pasted. The textures on the buildings look amazing even for the unique quality of graphics that Second Life provides. All of the different marble types, cracked marble,stone and even all of the bricks look fairly high quality

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How it compares to others
Well that really depends on what sort of art style you are interested in. I don enjoy looking at historic monuments and old buildings, pretty much any big structures. Some parts of the build though, have some fairly low quality textures and it doesn’t fit in with the rest of the build. Unlike a lot of the other ones I visited this one actually had people on it, e.g the tour group. I decided not to take a photo of them, other wise I would have to go around everyone asking for permissions to use them in a photo.

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What your impressions of it are
I really enjoyed my tour around this build and even joining in on the tour group (I don’t think they knew I was there)and listening to the history of the location. Unlike quite a lot of other builds this one is also regularly used and looked after. Some of the things on the island don’t seem to be of the era that they are portraying, but I’m not a historian so its probably just me.

Permissions

In second life, all and any object that may be rezzed or created by an avatar has permissions on it even without you selecting them. The default for objects is set so that only you may alter any part of the object, well as far as mine is set to.
The permissions system is fairly crucial to the Second Life world. It provides a form of security that can be modified to allow or disallow the manipulation of objects and prims from other residents. Say for instance we didn’t have permissions and anyone was allowed to change everything. first of all there would be no second life community as no one would use the simulator. for instance, say you build a replica scale model of Helms Deep, and then log of for the night. When you log back on in the morning, someone has come trolling through and completely destroyed the place because there is no limit to who can alter the objects. you’d instantly alt+f4 and never return.
Here are the four main permission settings that control the permissions in Second Life.
Modify:
Allowing the modify option determines whether other residents can modify the prim or not. It allows the object to be modified in ways such as scale, name, and even deleting the prim. leaving this option ticked wouldn’t be the best idea as your model of helms deep might magically transform into a nuclear disaster site overnight.
Copy:
Ticking this option allows other residents to make a replica of your prim. The replica still maintains the permissions of the original object and cannot be altered. If a prim you have copied that is inside of an object, and is no-copy, the object itself cannot be copied until that prim is removed.
Transfer:
If the transfer option has been enabled, the owned of a prim may send the object to another person. If this option is not enabled, then it cannot be transferred, the owner cannot sell and they cannot give away the prim.
Move:
Fairly self explanatory, allowing this option permits the object to be moved.
For example lets say you want to sell someone your model of Helms Deep that they can change the shape and colour, but cannot examine or modify the script:
next owner modify – Helms Deep = yes, scripts = no
next owner copy – Helms Deep = no, scripts = no
next owner transfer – Helms Deep = yes, scripts = yes
This Permissions system is crucial to such games and simulators that contain large amounts of people and having the ability to build things, minecraft fro instance.
Here is an image of the build menu in-game, as you can see I am the sole creator and owner of the object and none of the permissions allowing others to obtain my object are ticked
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Protecting Intellectual Property

How does the Permissions system protect Intellectual Property?

The permissions system that I mentioned in my last post is the main way that Second Life allows us to protect our IP. It prevents any other residents from copying, manipulating, selling or trading any of the work that you create in second life. The creators of second life, Linden Labs try to enforce people to use their creative imaginations and build objects that are unique to them.

CopyBot

CopyBot was originally created for use as a tool for debugging by the libsecondlife development team. I was created with multiple purposes such as an import/export backup tool. It was also supposed to assist the AI and NPC systems they were developing.
Copybot is used to replicate the prims and objects that an individual avatar own, it however does not have the ability to copy any objects that contain any forms of scripting. This was developed in order for residents to create backups of their avatars in case of any loss of account or items. It was not developed for people to be using to steal and distribute other residents ideas.

Protecting IP
I think it would be an extremely hard task to accomplish, for many reasons. First and foremost, this is the information era and there is always going to be someone out there developing technology to get past any security that you put out there to protect your property. Second of all, it isn’t particularly hard for someone to prance on up to your works and sit there and build them for themselves. One method, ive seen a few people do, to stop people simply copying your work is to place a logo or some form of personal registered mark onto the object. There are also many methods on ways to copyright material in second life.

“The Big Six”

After a read through the Second Life Community Standards outlined by the Linden Lab Corporation I have decided to show my understanding of them by interpreting them into a short summary of each of the respective six behavioural guidelines.

Community Standards are group-held belief’s about how members should behave in a given context regarding socially acceptable behaviour. When it comes to virtual reality’s, whether its a simulator such as second life, or a game such as World of Warcraft, Community Standards play a large part in ‘keeping the peace’. Without these Community standards, being policed, games and simulators would be far less populated in fact some may not even exist due to the lack of backing or funding they may receive to create the game/sim.

Summary of the big 6.

1. Intolerance
-Unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behaviour that differ from one’s own-
In regards to Second Life, this guideline in fact all these guidelines are simply the same as the guidelines we follow in real life. An avatar is simply another version of us, it may look different and act different but it is who we want to be so it is still ‘us’. “The use of derogatory or demeaning language or images in reference to another Resident’s race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexual orientation is never allowed in Second Life.” This is a very good rule and should be accepted by everyone and portrayed by everyone. If intolerance is unacceptable in this life, why would second life be any different?

2. Harassment
-Aggressive pressure or intimidation-
Harassment cane come in many forms due to the vast number of capabilities of Second Life, states Linden labs. Any variants of sexual, racial , religious and many more forms of harassment are completely banned from second life. Such actions may result in eventual banishment from the second life community. These actions are completely unacceptable in Second life as are they in real life.

3. Assault
-bombard with something undesirable or unpleasant-
There are many different forms of assault, but I deemed this definition most appropriate. Lindon labs community standards states that, “creating or using scripted objects which singularly or persistently target another Resident in a manner which prevents their enjoyment of Second Life”. I find this description to be very definitive of Assault. Any form of physical harm or discomfort, even in a virtual world is completely unacceptable. Within second life this rule applies to any and all in “safe zones”.

4. Disclosure
-The action of making new or secret information known.-
I believe that this is one of the most crucial rules of any virtual reality. Revealing the identity, or any information of another resident of second life, or any avatars in real life should result in immediate suspension of the assailant, or at least some form of swift justice. Revealing another residents information could cause catastrophic problems for that resident in Second life and even more importantly in real-world. This may be more difficult to police in real world application.

5. Adult Regions, Groups, and Listings
This guideline is focused on ‘Adult’ content, which is strictly prohibited on the Second Life mainland. Second life does allow for this nature of content and has designated specific zones in which people accessing the content can be monitored, such as account age verification.

6. Disturbing the Peace
-“Every Resident has a right to live their Second Life”-
Any disruption of events, repetitive spamming of advertising, repetitive use of sounds, self spawning items, any objects that intentionally slow server performance or any actions inhibiting the enjoyment of other residents is classed as disturbing the peace. This guideline is particularly strong in destroying the great impressions of the sim on people. I know from experience a few games where friends have refused to play specifically because of the aggressive or irritatng nature of the general community.

For more information on Community Standards visit the Second Life link below:

Community Standards

Virtual World Communities

Join and participate in a community within a virtual world.

The community im going to talk about is Challenge Accepted, on the server Zul’Jin in the MMORPG, World of Warcraft.

If you are unaware of what World of Warcraft is then here’s a few links to some helpful sites (not that anyone should be clicking here -.-)
—> WoW Wikipedia <—-
—> Official Site  <—-

Here is a link to the online guild statistics site for the guild, if you click on the members page you will find, “Pinksmoker, and Cucumberbatc” in there. these are my two main toons.

—–>  Guild Statistics Site  <—–

We do also have a Facebook group for the guild for sharing things with one another, asking questions, informing other raiders if they may or may not be able to make it to the next event and just getting to know each other, but due to perms issues you would not be able to see any of the content.

 

Purpose:

In regards to the purpose of the group, I would have to say that it comes under a wide range of categories. Probably the highest percentage would have to be entertainment/discussion but when were online together we talk about a lot of different things, a LOT! about half of the members of the community know each other in reality by either working, going to school with one another and even a few who have met in-game and then realised they lived very close to each other. This makes conversation very easy between them and even makes talking very easy to new members of the group. One of the main difficulties i have with socialising in the guild is that the majority live in america, so by the time i log on its time for them to think about logging off. its good that we’ve made most of our events on the weekends so that a higher majority of the members can attend. We mainly use Ventrilo (which is a VOIP service) to communicate with each other, but also use text chat in case people are not in voice chat. The VOIP service is very useful for instances such as raiding where you will need to be using most of the keyboard and a lot of concentration, instead of typing messages into the chat.

 

Adventures with the Guild:

Outing #1 Finally finished Siege of Orgrimmar Normal!

The event took many hours of planning and getting each member of the raid group to read up on their classes and the roles that they would have to partake throughout the raid.After a few months of doing the event continuously and getting marginally closer to completing it each time, we finally completed it and took a photo to commemorate the occasion. Here is a link to a rundown of the event. As many people around the world participate in raids, there have been many guides written to help them.
Siege of Orgrimmar guide

You can click the image to expand, its hard to see the name but I’m third in from the left. its probably very hard to see, but below everyones names is the Guild name, Challenge Accepted and the rank we hold within the guild next to it.

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Here is another image of one of the raids mid-fight, this one is also hard to see but im the glowing white oval in the middle of the screen. If you can zoom in enough youll see the name Cucumberbatch above my head and also in the chatbox in the bottom left corner of the screen.

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Outing #2 ICC raiding with the guildies.

This outing is vary similar to the first event. Raiding. This raid however is from some fairly old content so can be done with friends with less stress and more of a social feeling to it.

This event didn’t take a large amount of planning and was more of a spare of the moment thing that some of the Guild members wanted to do as an achievement. and asked if I would come along to help them out

Here is a screencapture of the end of the raid in front of the raid boss, sadly a few of the members went to bed before i could organise the pic, but thats me 2nd from the right “pinksmoker”. This is one of my many ‘toons’ or avatars in WoW.

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I definitely enjoy playing and socialising with all members of this community. i log on most days to see what’s been happening with everyone and to see if there are any updates, even though most of this is shared on the facebook page. A few of the people in the guild know me from other games that we play together or even have the occasional chat in Facebook, even though they have a fairly vague idea of who I am, they still talk to me like I’m part of the family.

 

Also on a fairly unrelated note, while looking up what rank the guild was i noticed a lot of advertising for second life, see below pic.

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