Friday, December 14, 2012

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How to Improve SL: Fix Avatar Scale & Camera Placement

Second Life needs better proportion

Penny Patton has a really great post on how to improve Second Life retention, and I recommend that every Linden reading this read what Penny says. Patton, a very longtime Second Life content creator and professional graphic artist, bases a lot of her analysis on an equally great post she wrote about avatar size last year, which has become crazily disproportional in SL. Her final takeaway (here's her To Do list for Linden Lab):

  • As already mentioned above, fix the scale and proportions of the starter avatars.
  • Correct the height displayed in the appearance editor.
  • Improve the SL camera placement as demonstrated in most modern third person videogames.
  • Lead by example in creating better scaled library content and Linden owned Premium and public area

Read her reasoning here.

Hat tip: Nalates Urriah, who has comments of here, here.

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Adromaw

Some of the suggestions are commendable, but the camera placement is a bit more involved of an issue isn't it? Those video games have a different feel with character movement and control to compensate with the camera placement. Seems like the character is being directed and mastered by the camera, but SL feels like the character is controlled more directly. The last time I had tried to move the camera to an over the shoulder position the character didn't follow the cameras angled orientation and kept travelling towards the right because I had the camera rotated slightly as opposed to being completely parallel--which would only cause the avatar to faceplant in door frames. Takes some getting used to but in the video games that retraining of control isn't apparent. What would they have to do to get the same feel?

Also it tends to cause a blind spot that's not currently there. I do know that some viewers have been experimenting with camera placements so I should go see what the current feel of it is like.

Pussycat Catnap

Try the suggested camera placement out. There are a few hours of weirdness, and then you might find yourself unwilling to ever go back.

Her numbers and mine (slightly different) for fixing the camera are here:
http://catnapkitty.wordpress.com/2010/08/08/getting-started-in-second-life/#Camera_Setup

- This is something where the perfect setting will be a little different for everyone, so my opinion is these need to move out of the debug panel and into the camera preferences section.

My blog also covers view angle, which -IS- in preferences. Sometimes all you need is a better view angle. Even if you like SL's default camera position, the view angle might clear up a lot of 'fish bowl edge distortion' on some resolutions.

Adromaw

Thanks Pussycat, I'll check that out soon.

Silverfox Rainbow

avatar scale is also a big one - with so many 'galamazons' and 'hemans' running around :) creating stuff that is more scaled correctly is actually a big benfit

Pussycat Catnap

Yep. With mesh getting more and more common. People who have switched to mesh furniture or buildings may discover that the majority of them will go cost -less- prims when made smaller:
http://catnapkitty.wordpress.com/category/second-life/reducing-prim-costs/
So if you can scale down, not only do you get more space on your land to build in, your objects will cost less prims for the same number of them (assuming they are mesh).

(If your furniture and buildings are -NOT- mesh you can still use convex hull settings for a similar effect if the stuff is mod: )
http://catnapkitty.wordpress.com/2012/01/05/meshify-your-world-from-inside-of-second-life-to-save-on-prim-cost-of-houses-and-other-objects/

AND... proper proportion can only be achieved in SL, for females at least, if your height is under about 6 feet and maybe a few inches. This is due to the arms slider... to have your hands touch your mid thigh - like any human without a birth defect should - the arms slider needs to be from 90 to 100 by the time you hit even 5'5"... you quickly run up to 100 on that slider, and any more height begins to deform you. Penny talks about this in the link above, as have I:
http://catnapkitty.wordpress.com/2011/06/15/getting-good-body-proportions-in-second-life/

Arabella Jones

I am looking at my AV, and she's pretty well-proportioned, although maybe the hip-waist ratio is a little extreme. No big boobs, height and arm-length OK. Since I'm a furry, I think I have some leeway.

As for Camera Position, I'm surprised none of the TPVs haven't made it more accessible. There are a few HUDs out there. Can we blame the user experience clause in the rules on what can be added to a TPV?

Adeon Writer

Very good post. Scale is something you don't think about much in SL - after all, if the size isn't right, it still looks the same... until you compare it with something else.

Cohesive scale is worth far more than people think. When done right, SL really shines.

Adeon Writer

"I'm surprised none of the TPVs haven't made it more accessible."

To plug a favorite of mine, Nirans Viewer has implemented most of Penny's changes about the default camera.

satine

I second that ,niran implimented a while ago , still my favo viewer on so many levels

shockwave yareach

It does not matter what the causes are and what solutions we offer the lab. The lab has given up and walked away from it's once profitable business. They'll just ride the gravy train until it stops and then get off rather than try to refuel the machine and fix the throttle.

LL will go down in history as a pocket reference guide of all the excesses in American business and how they destroy a company with vision and a unique product that nobody else comes close to offering. Running a VW should be simple:

1. you obey the laws of your RL location. It's not LL's job to be the world police.
2. inworld problems go through an inworld court.
3. so long as you break no laws and "offensive stuff" isn't visible from Not-yours areas, what you do on your land is your business.
4. be civil in public areas or be thrown out.

Tada, a VW without volumes of tomes saying who can do what and where. That might actually return some of the "your world, your imagination" to SL which is what brought people in in the first place.

Not that I think LL will change that, anymore than they'll fix the dozens of other fatal problems in SL.

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