Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Building Blocks - The Magic of Phantom Objects & Reducing Lag in the Process!

In this series, we explore object properties - harnessing the power of what we can do with objects when building sets, costumes, props, attachments, and even bodies!  Whether mesh or prim, if you have mod rights there are many things you can adjust, tweak, and manipulate to bring your imagination to life!

Everything shared is based on my own knowledge gathered over the years as a seasoned dancer and shared freely.  I welcome feedback, questions, and discussion.  Question everything!  There are always new ideas, new things to learn, both things I enjoy most.  Leave your comfort zone - explore, experiment,  and make magic!

The world of object properties.  If you're like me, you've looked at the object properties window, said "wonder what that does", did my little thing and closed it back up.  Not in this series - nope!  We are going to tackle the features one by one, focusing on how they can be used in dance.  Hold onto your hats and grab a coffee, tea, or something stronger as we open the magical door to....

THE PHANTOM MENACE...and other special object properties

Well, no, we're really just talking about making objects Phantom <yeah, a bit dramatic>

There are four different special properties an object can have:

Locked, Physical, Phantom, and Temporary

Locked: you can't move, resize, or delete it.  Awesome for building platforms that always seem to get deleted...somehow...surely it wasn't me.... <cough, cough>

Physical:  Isaac Newton's favorite!  Turn it on and whoosh...what goes up must come down.  The fastest way to send your set plummeting to the bottom of the ocean due to the effects of gravity.  This can be fun in a script - coconuts falling anyone?

George wishes he'd made that tree phantom..
sorry George!
Phantom:  Just like those fender benders on the highways, SL has collisions too.  Ever finally make it into a busy event, walked like a drunken sailor, and got stuck in a corner of the store?  Yep, that is a collision.  If those store walls were phantom, you'd be able to walk right on through - no more collisions or getting stuck inside the walls.  (Admit it, we know you've gotten stuck in a wall at least once.)

Temporary:  Ohh...if only we could make anything we want temporary!  Electric bills...puppy presents...the annoying neighbor next door...  How grand that could be!  An object that is temporary disappears after 60 seconds.  Whoosh...gone...and no cleanup required!  This is especially fun in scripts and effects - flying rocks, crumbling walls, rubber chicken slinging...  Temporary objects also don't count against your prim limits.  Temporary popcorn flowing out the doors and windows?  Go for it!

Sooooo....the special part!

It is always highly recommended to click on that phantom setting for your sets!  Why?

  • You and your dancers can easily move through your set to get into position.
  • Phantom sets make rezzers happy!  When rezzing out your set and props, phantom objects can't collide with anything and end up in the wrong position.  For some rezzer systems and scripts, this could turn your beautiful set into a weird mish mash of pieces at the most inopportune time.  
  • SAVE ON LAG!  Yes!  Because phantom objects can't have collisions, SL stops watching for every little bump, nudge, and footstep.  This saves on resources and helps keep the lag monster at bay!  <does a little happy dance>

Make your sets and props phantom whenever possible.