Monday, December 4, 2017

A Quick Look at the Normie Head

I've tried a pretty wide variety of MESH bodies, but I've not really stepped into the realm of MESH heads yet.  Partially because they all are pretty expensive.  Also, there's a pretty large variety of options and it's not quite as clear on which is "best for me".  The body part felt pretty easy, for the most part, they are a layer a MESH that lays over your standard avatar skeleton to sort of smooth things out.  There are nuances in there, but picking one and then adjusting it with the standard body sliders felt pretty straight forward.

Heads feel different.  Like, it would be easy to end up spending 2000+ L$ on something that I couldn't possibly make work for my "preferred style".  It's not clear to me how much these heads can be adjusted using the standard sliders.  The head and face are kind of a big deal, at least to me, as part of the identity of my Avatar.  It's what I look like.  I use it in SL, I have all of my values written down so I can slap them into any OpenSIM instance I need to.

Recently <UTILAZATOR> released a head called "Normie".  The name is a little odd but if you know anything about <UTI> it will feel kind of obvious.  Most of <UTI>'s stuff is anime themed, very stylized.  It's popular among people who fall into the "4chan crowd", for lack of a better description (this isn't meant to be any sort of insult).  "Normie" is sort of board vernacular for a "regular person".  The Normie head, unlike most of <UTI>'s offerings is more "normal" looking, instead of the stylized Anime look.

I decided to try this head for two reasons.  One, it's only 500L$, which is cheap.  Secondly, based on the ads, and other pictures I've seen, it has a bit of a softer roundish style, which is the sort of look I wanted in my avatar's face.

I think I may have a <UTILIZATOR> body, but I haven't tested the head yet against it, my preferred MESH body is the Maitreya Lara.  It still works out pretty well and I was able to make the neck fix bits work pretty smoothly, or at least as smoothly as it can get.  I also created a quick OMEGA applier for my skin so I could keep the same skin I've been using for ages (I really like it, and it's almost as important as my shape).

So, the head itself.

I... mostly think I like it.  I have a few issues but I think maybe I need to just tweak things a bit more to make everything better.  Most of my problem is with the mouth.  The lips look weird no matter how I adjust things.  There are several different Bento based face poses in the HUD as well, but it could really use a good closed mouth smile.  Every single post makes my avatar look grumpy except the smile face, which makes me look derpy.

I've tried adjusting things to give the mouth a natural up curl on the sides for the neutral pose with no luck.  I am not sure exactly how universal Bento is, so I have not yet tried looking into some sort of alternative face posing HUD.  I do know that the old smiler attachment (randomly smiles every so often) doesn't work with this head.

I'm not giving up on this head or anything, in fact I'm kind of confident things may get better in the future, I've seen comments that <UTILIZATOR> is pretty good about keeping their products updated.  This is essentially the 1.0 product.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Playing with SpacialOS

I've been wanting to explore some other Virtual Worldy environments outside of Second Life and OpenSIM a bit, and recently went through a quick look at Spacial OS, using their tutorial which can be found here.  Spacial OS kind of feels more like a basic game engine/server than a real virtual world environment.  You don't really develop in world or anything, but it is something that can be used to develop and deploy a multiplayer online environment.

I didn't get too detailed into developing anything, though it uses Unity, which is a pretty common platform these days.  I did run through and deploy a world that I could connect to, and somewhat more fun, I used a remote computer for the server and my laptop for the client.  I had to adapt the tutorial a bit, during the authorization phase by copying and pasting the URLs around and entering the IP of the server instead of "local host" but it worked out easily enough.  I deployed the server end on a Windows 7 VPS I have on Cloud At Cost.  

During the set up, you connect the server to the console at  Once it's up and running, you can use this dashboard to view and interact with the backend of the game world, in this case, the demo Lumberjacks and Wizards game.

The demo game itself is pretty basic, and definitely a demo, you control a little wizard, you can set fire to things with one button and put out fires using rain with the other button.  There are also some lumberjacks gathering wood and building little houses.  You pretty much just walk around setting trees, lumberjacks, buildings, and even yourself on fire.  

It's kind of neat watching the back end of the world, you can do some interaction here as well, like deleting things removes them in real time.

Ultimately, I decided to wander off to the edge of the map, when i reached it, my little wizard just disappeared, forever.  Kind of disappointing, but it was a neat little demo.  It would take more time and skill than I have to go much farther with this platform however.