The Linden Lab developer known as Lorca Linden has an informative update on the new Second Life object pathfinding feature in the comments of the blog of Nalates Urriah. ("Although Lindens do not generally post on Resident blogs," he begins, "I am going to make an exception in this one case." Why this is a general rule, I have no idea.) Despite earlier fears, Lorca says pathfinding performances is generally performing well:
This is a triumph; I'm making a note here -- HUGE SUCCESS:
Yes yes, a working portal gun inspired by Portal made by Adeon Writer. I want to tell Portal writer Erik Wolpaw about it, because he'd probably be impressed, or at the very least say, "I'm busy with Portal 3 here, so go the hell away."
Now, I've seen other Portal-esque Portal guns made in SL before, but I know Adeon to be a clever sort of someone, so I'm thinking this was impressively scripted. [Update, 11am: Adeon explains how he does this after the break. - Hamlet] And not only can you apparently teleport yourself with Adeon's portal gun, you can evidently teleport objects too, watch:
I rely on Nalates Urriah's blog for getting geek-heavy updates about Second Life code and features, so when she mentioned in a recent post that Linden Lab's new pathfinding features presented a possible "tsunami" of problems, I paid attention:
When the pathfinding code is released to the grid, she explained to me in an e-mail, "Doors need to work in new ways. Bridges will become a performance issue. Anything that moves and cuts the Navmesh [pathfinding objects], anything would cause an AI critter to change path... will incur a lag cost. Again, how much is a question." Right now, she continued, "[i]t seems the plan is to roll out pathfinding enabled on all regions and let estate managers turn it on or off. If that is done, tsunami."
Whether there's a tsunami or not depends on how Linden Lab rolls out the pathfinding code, and how SL landowners deal with it. Here's Nalates with the full geek exegisis -- read and discuss after the break!
SL's new pathfinding tools are being slowly rolled out to SLers, so we're going to see more impressive demo videos like this:
Created by ac14 Hutson who was "just messing around with the new pathfinding functions", he tells me. Now guess how many users in this video are driving cars. Answer:
In case you missed it (and you really shouldn't), here's a demo of the new pathfinding tools created by Linden Lab and available to SL developers in the next few months, offering robust movement behaviors (follow, patrol, etc.) for scripted objects:
When I first started watching, I wondered, "How are they going to create pathfinding that recognizes dynamic content creation and object moving?", and that gets answered (like a boss) at around 4:30. Read more about it here, and also on the official Wiki here. Question for developers reading this: What will do you with these tools once they're available? And yes, please feel free to promote your coming projects, because we want to know about them.
The inevitable has happened: You can now mine rock in Second Life like you would in Minecraft. That's thanks to Jezebel Madzuko's Minecraft Mining Kit. The kit comes with several varieties of Minecraft pick, and TNT, so you can expedite your mining with fricking explosions. Since you can't actually mine Second Life's mountains, Ms. Madzuko's kit also comes with a giant block of destructible rock. So once you go into first-person mouselook, aim at a block and start clicking -- it starts fracturing with every blow (which also comes with a Minecraft-style "carving" sound effect), then finally dissolves into a harvestable resource. It pretty closely captures the Minecraft experience. I rezzed my copy of Jezebel's kit into a Second Life sandbox, carved a tunnel on one side of the cube, and made a staircase that took me to the top.
“[I]t comes in chunks of 252 prims,” Jezebel tells me. “One prim equals one cube.” She’s created a very clever script which effectively turns each block into a “killable” object, or mob:
Here's some crazy brilliant inventiveness in Second Life before 2010 ends: Adeon Writer created an LSL-scripted version of Conway's Game of Life, which is impressive in itself, but then went another step further by making it a Linden Script Language program that you can, say, put on some prims and wear. And why not display the life and death of a whole virtual species on your back? Watch:
Adeon open sourced the code, which you can get right here. "You'll need to drop that script into an object made of the correct amount of cubes (the script will tell you if you do it wrong)," he tells me. "It should handle everything else and build itself. For those not build savvy, I can send a copy to anyone who wants one, feel free to distribute or improve it." In other words, the Game of Life is an open source project in Second Life.
Adeon was inspired to make this version of Conway's simulation after seeing a previous one by Jim Purbrick (when he was still at Linden Lab), one using LSL, the other running in Mono:
Remember the famous scene in Blade Runner where the dying replicant named Roy Batty talks about watching "C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate"? Of course you do. And I bet you wondered what those were, and maybe even wanted to visit them yourself. Now in Second Life, you can (at least one version of same.) Behold, the Tannhauser Gate:
This isn't a traditional machinima, but a demonstration of an adventure-in-a-box product created by Zeja Pyle. His Tannhauser Gate comes with an orbital launcher, a spaceport, a spacecraft, and, of course, a hyperspace gate station called Tannhauser. All the effects you see in the machinima are scripted into the kit, Zeja tells me: "100% of the visual effects are from the product itself," she says. (Somewhat ironically, the soundtrack dialog for the machinima is borrowed from another 80's sci-fi classic, Aliens.) Alas, there's no in-world demo: "There is no permanent installation of it in-world," says Zeja, "because the installation is changing around the traveler. People must buy the product to experience it... but they can do it with all their friends." Then again, it only costs L$1100 (under 5 bucks), which is still cheaper than buying Blade Runner on DVD. If you do give his Tannhauser Gate a whirl, report back here if it's worthy of Roy Batty's dying breath. (Not to mention Rutger Hauer's ham-tastic acting.)
Want to see Second Life from someone else's point of view? Get in touch with an SL scripter named Adeon Writer, who's created a very cool device that allows one user to see Second Life from the perspective of another online user. Demo video below:
"It's actually a very small bit of code, and consists of only two scripts in a watcher's attachment," Adeon tells me. "The gadget requests two permissions: Permission to get camera information about another avatar, and permission to control the camera of the wearer. Once the permissions are accepted it's merely a matter of requesting their camera position and rotation every frame, doing a very small bit of math to convert their camera's rotation into the camera focus point, and then updating the wearer's camera to match."
It's easy to imagine all kinds of applications for this -- education, training, even some very inventive games. More info after the break:
In Praise of Tyrehl Byk's Event Horizon: Despite Camera Lock, Particle Effect Show is Immersive and Euphoric
Tyrehl Byk and a glimpse of his Event Horizon show
I recently caught a performance of Tyrehl Byk's Event Horizon show in Second Life, invited at the last minute by Delinda Dryssen. (I was still in Princeton at the time, and it was faintly odd to log into the metaverse from a pre-Revolutionary home a block away from Einstein's old house.) And despite the huge enthusiasm for the show in Second Life, I was a bit skeptical going in: Wouldn't it be a glorified light show, sort of like those Pink Floyd laser light dealies they used to put on in planetariums? Especially because Tyrehl auto-locks your camera once you sit down in his auditorium, which essentially limits you to a 2D view?
I quickly realized my worries were unfounded -- Tyrehl Byk's show is euphoric and amazingly cool, not just because his particle effects are far more impressive and involving than anything a laser show could cook up. The whole process of going into the auditorium, meeting and chatting with other patrons beforehand, creates a sense of 3D of presence that sticks with you even after your camera locks, and the show starts. (My pal Pema Pera, the Princeton astrophysicist who makes light shows of his own in SL, suggested to me this would be the case going in.) So the overall effect feels less like passively looking at a light show, and more like floating within it. Literally floating disembodied through Tyrehl Byk's constellations of light and color. (That's when the euphoria kicks in, at least for me.) Pretty damn amazing.
Which is a long way of saying: Experience it for yourself! There's a lot of machinima recordings of the show out there, but you're really not going to get the full effect by just watching those. To get a list of upcoming show times, go to Mr. Byk's auditorium and click on a sign: Direct SLurl teleport here. Tyrehl Byk also has a Twitter account with more updates, and hopefully future event info will be posted there too (hint hint.)