Monday, August 20, 2012

Converting to the Barre from the Huddles - 1

Converting to the Barre from the Huddles - 1 (120820)

Last May the Comparative Analysis of Dance HUDs was completed. At that time I decided to switch from the Huddles HUD to the Barre HUD. For me this was a big decision since I grew up with the Huddles and it is the heart of my dancing. I delayed this switch because of RL issues and the Dance Festival V, but now I am ready to switch. So I decided to post what I experience as I go through this process.


First let me describe what I have for my Huddles. I expect I am on the extreme end compared to most dancers even DANCE QUEENS members. I have now about 5100 dances/animations in my Huddles. I have maybe another 2000 additional animations in my inventory that I have chosen not to put in my Huddles. I have 22 notecards in my Huddles, but only three are used regularly. These are my Main A, Main B and Ordered. I long ago stopped dancing Freestyle with individual dances. I would say 99% of the time I dance using sequences. You may have noticed that there are now almost 400 published Dance Sequences. I have every one of these sequences on my two notecards Main A and Main B. The reason I have two notecards is that the 400 sequences won't fit into one notecard. There is a capacity limit on notecards and I have reached it twice. So notecard Main A has about 330 sequences and is full, while notecard Main B has 70 sequences and is where I add newly created sequences. I have organized these two notecards in an order based on my classification scheme of speed and feel. I have mentioned this subject before.

On each page of my Main A and Main B notecards I have the type of sequence, for example SLOW-SOFT, the transition dance Sultry Down Body,and the waiting dance Rhythm6. This leaves seven slots for dance sequences. This means I have about 50 clicks (page changes) in Main A to go through the entire list and about 12 for Main B. Changing notecards from Main B to Main A is not very practical since it takes about 3 to 5 minutes for notecard Main A to completely load.

My third notecards is Ordered and contains individual dances and animations that are not yet in sequences. I usually try not to reuse dances from completed sequences in new sequences, so I have listed the available, unused dances and have put them in order based on my classification scheme. I use this notecard when I am making new sequences.


I was involved in the analysis of the Barre relative to other HUDs so I already knew a lot about it, but still I was nervous. So I felt first I needed to get more experience with the Barre. Step 1 was to get the latest Barre HUD, which I did. I went to the Rachael Rockers store and upgraded to version 3.02. Next I read all the help information on the Barre HUD website. I am pretty knowledgeable of HUDs and dancing in SL, but I didn't understand all that I read. So, I figured the next step was to test the HUD and learn about it in practice. To do this I went to my inventory of copy dances and loaded a bunch (2117 copy dances) into my Barre HUD. I also loaded my Main A and Main B notecards to see what would happen.

Loading dances was easy and, since all my dances were copy dances, I just slid about 100 dances at a time to move the dances from my inventory to the rezzed Barre. The instruction for loading notecards also were easy to follow. In about 10 minutes I had loaded all the dances and the two notecards.

During the loading of the notecards the Barre gave me some error messages, mainly referring to the length of a few of the sequences (too long). It also told me that it had truncated my notecard. I noted the error messages on the sequence length and went back and fixed each one. I didn't understand the meaning of the truncation until later.

One of the very pleasant surprises for me is that I could move between the notecards very quickly. That five-minute switch I had experienced with the Huddles was gone.

When I looked at the display of the notecards, the list looked different in the Barre than with the Huddles. The order was the same and the pages were the same, but the Barre handles a sequence differently than the Huddles. Here is a picture of the two on the same page.

Some of my sequences had been made with out using the [NAME] command in Huddles. Huddles handles these by just listing the first dance even though it is a sequence. The Barre lists the entire sequence. You can see it creates a mess with the Barre. I am sure when Rach reads this post she will add a fix for this, but I decided to fix it another way. I went back and created names for all of my sequences. I will publish a revised list of Dance Sequences soon with names for each sequence. I like playing with names so this was kind of fun for me.

Another difference in the naming is that a dance or a sequence both look the same in the Huddles. I have one sequence that starts with Sultry Down Body and on the same page I have the individual dance Sultry Down Body. On the Huddles they look the same. With the Barre you can distinguish a dance from a sequence because the sequence name is prefaced with M@. I like this distinction though I would prefer a one letter notation. Since I make a lot of dance sequences, I have to name the sequences with a limited number of characters or the name doesn't all appear. One letter isn't much, but it gives a little bit more naming freedom.

Next, I started dancing. Of course, some sequences had no-copy dances in them and the dances were not yet in my Barre HUD. When I clicked on a sequence with no dance in the HUD, I got an error message like "[19:46:10] Barre Dance HUD 3.0: ERROR: Content missing... 'milan_3'." This didn't surprise me and, like the Huddles, the Barre tells you what is missing so you can add the dance to the HUD.

So, I chose some sequences that I knew had dances in the Barre HUD. Hey, it worked perfectly. I danced. When the music stopped I did what I do with my Huddles, I clicked the button to go to the end of notecard where I have my waiting sequences.

Whoops! That's when I understood truncating and some of the notes Rach put in her website. Only about a third of my notecard had actually loaded. Rach explains why this is, but in practical terms it meant that my long Huddles notecard would not work as is in the Barre. I expect this will not be a problem for most people, since I have an unusually long notecard. Actually, I don't see it as a major problem for me. I can divide the notecard into thirds and load three notecards. With the rapid loading of notecards I can switch easily among them.

Then, I thought of a potential problem. With the Huddles switching notecards means you stop dancing. Yuck. So, I tested this with the Barre. WOW! You keep dancing while you are switching. I like that.

So, now I began to think about the differences of the Huddles and the Barre and how that would affect my order of sequences in a notecard. This is where I will stop this post. I am ready to go clubbing and try the Barre and think about how to do this. I will continue the story in a few days.


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