– SL graphics update and Steam –

I have updated the CCD

Now that this is out of the way.

You all have probably already heard this but, LL is planing to buff up SL’s graphics and make a move on Steam.
Now this is all great news, especially the part about going to Steam, but the reasoning behind the graphics buff as well as some other detail, and the way they have presented it to the general public, is worth a facepalm or two. So let the rant begin!

First lets start off with the announcement LL made about their plans to improve the graphics. http://community.secondlife.com/t5/Tools-and-Technology/New-Open-Source-Project-to-Improve-Graphics-Rendering/ba-p/1637559 Right off the bat, they start off with some incomprehensible giberish about the chalanges we creators face. Than they go on explaining what normal maps are and how they work by saying stuff like “imagine that each pixel could be turned on tiny pivots”, like, what the actual fuck?

As always, it sounds as if it came out of some random smart sounding sentences generator, a bunch of big words put together without any sense, like all their other blog posts about things of a significant importance to everyone on SL, like the display names or mesh announcements they made in the past, that caused lots of panic and confusion within the community. Why cant they just explain things in a normal simple way, do they even know what they are talking about themselfs?

Let me try explaining what normal maps are, a normal map is a special RGB color image that is generated from a higher detail model and than put on a lower detail model, to give it the high detail illusion, without increasing its polygon count. It reacts to lighting the same way that the higher detail model would react, making all that fake detail look real.

Okay now it might sound confusing from here on but im going to try to explain how it works. And the way it works actually pretty similar to how a sculpt map works on SL, you can read about it here. The RGB of each pixel on the normal map, represents the XYZ of the particular surface point of the high detail model, that it was generated from, granted they both have the same UV map. The lighting engine ignores the actual geometry its supposed to be lighting and instead lights the surface based on the XYZ values from the normal map, as a result, bumps get highlighted and shadows fall in grooves.

Now the video itself is kind of confusing too, they call it materials for some reason. Either the person who did the video has no idea what materials are, or im afraid, LLs gonna pull another one of theirs “lets take an existing technical term and apply it to something completely different, without any regard to anything, because we don’t really know what it means, so we will make up our own meaning” Just like they did with sculpting, mesh, faces, and now we have materials, another confussle.

What they are showing in the video is called mapping, and mapping is a material property, not a material in itself. What “materials” really means, materials are groups of polygons with an asigned texture and surface properties such as shinyness and color(on sl, materials are called faces, you can change the color, texture and shinyness of every face on a prim. Prims can have up to 9 faces, mesh has a limit of 8 for some reason) Normal map is something that you put on the selected material to give that material detail.

Okay, now that we have that out of the way, lets look into the reasoning behind this move. Assuming this blog post isn’t full of shit http://nwn.blogs.com/nwn/2012/08/second-life-steam-gamer-platform.html witch it is because it starts of talking about improved rendering performance and than it ignores the part it said about improving performance and talks about how normal mapping will be increasing the 3D graphics card requirements. Normal mapping inst anything new to SL or your graphics card, and is used on water for example, if looking at water doesnt lag you back to december, i dont think looking at an avatar with a normal map on it, will do it either.

Okay so assuming LL is trying to appeal to hardcore gamers with graphics, i can understand where this is coming from, we all know how butt ugly SL looks and it scares off any new use, who has any other game experience, to compare with SL, and it’s really admirable that LL is concerned about how the game looks.

What the sad reality is that, even if you increase the graphics any higher than it already is, it wont do much good because majority of SL will still look like a god awful pile of prim turds, and a turd with fancy lighting and shadows is still a turd. 80% of SL looks like some 2004 freebie library primshit land, better graphics will not magicaly make all of this go away.

Click to see bigger image

And i can count on my one hand fingers, creators that will make full use of this new feature in their creations.

People often say that SL has bad graphics, but people don’t really understand what graphics are exactly. Graphics can be divided into 2 main parts, the art direction\the visual style of it(textures, atmosphere, theme, colors, design, overall quality of craft), and the technical part of it (lighting, shading, rendering engine, polygon processing power, fancy texture filtering and resolutions). SL has plenty of graphics already if you look at the technical part of it. It is a monster at how many polygons it can render on screen with real time shadows and ambient occlution without lag, no other game can match up to SL in that aspect, but SL’s problem isn’t in it’s resources, its in how it utilizes those resources, its not in it’s illumination and rendering, its in what exactly does it illuminate and render, and that is the content. Sadly, people only tend to focus on the technical part of what makes a game have good graphics, Duke Nukem Forever technically has good graphics, but it still looks so god awful you wanna puke, because of its severe lacking in the visual direction department.

Here’s some games that did not have not have normal mapping or any fancy shading and rendering capabilities, instead they had a solid uniform visual directions. To me they look far more visually appealing than the latest soulless shiny grey and brown normal map crap.

SL doesn’t need its graphics made better than it already is, as much as it needs a content and sim visual appeal rating system, and a rating based filtering option, that is on by default to all the new users, they will find and disable that filter in their viewer settings and will see the true face of sl when they are ready for it.

As for the usual stubborn oldfags refusing to let go of v1 viewers or whining about not being able to play SL on their ghetto computers after the graphics upgrade, relax, as i already said, normal maps isn’t anything new neither to SL or your graphics card, if you can run SL at all, you wont need to buy a new computer. In the worst case, if you are already running SL on the lowest graphics setting, this shouldn’t even be relevant to you because the lowest setting doesn’t include normal maps in it.

Finally, about the move to steam itself, this is probably the most exciting part to me and probably one of the most significant things that will happen to SL since mesh. What this means is that SL will have a huge increase in users, there are over 40million users on Steam that love jumping on the bandwagon of latest game trends. Just like Killing Floor and APB and DAYZ before it, SL will be that hot new game that everyone wants to try. But it will be a short lived boom, just like it was with all the other hot new shit that everyone and their mom just has to play(because everyone else on their steam friends list is playing it), before they get bored with it and move on. Steam trend fags change games like socks and have no commitments to them. Eventually all these players will move on to whatever other hot new game is out and move with the trend, not all will stay on SL for good, because after all, there’s nothing really that a hardcore game would do on a game like SL. Most real gamers would find little interest in SL because of its broken, customizable controls, that make any kind of gameplay a horrible experience. Combat on SL is a joke due to lag, bad scripting, unresponsive delayed controls, severe SLS limitations, overall flawed stiff, nature of SL. As well as amateur content creators with pants on their heads, that pay no attention to small but important detail that paint the big picture, like the timing of animations, synchronization, sound effects, any kind of appealing HUD and health bar graphics. SL could never stand up to any real games in terms of gameplay. This is the main reason why I as a gamer, am not interested in combat sims and other gameplay related stuff on SL. If i wanted to play a combat game, id play a real one that is done property, because i have better games to play.

ssssd 

To me SL is an interactive 3D chat program and a way to spend time with my other steam buddies, in betwen our gaming sessions, visually sharing our impressions of the latest game we played or a movie we saw or the music we like and all the other things you can do on SL apart gaming, because theres more to sl than that and i hope other gamers from steam will see this potential too and will actually stay on SL.

– Rikugou – Anubis armor –

And its done :D

Introducing the first set of armor upgrades for Rikugou, now available on the marketplace as well, click the image to go to the product marketplace page to find out more details about this set.

The in world launch couldn’t go without any problems as usual lol, problems with the sword and me including the wrong manual mostly, but fixed all that stuff in the end.
if you where one of the 64 first ones to get it yesterday, you can do the following things to fix your sword. You can rez your update card to get the latest version that includes the right manual this time and all 3 versions of the sword fixed. If you hate unpacking and stuff, you can manually fix the sword by resetting the script inside the folded sword on the back.

It also completely slipped my mind to include any kind of shoe platforms, if your legs are sinking into the ground a bit, wear the one included with Rikugou(if i included any with her) or some other thing or make your own.

Heres some stuff you can do with it.

Hope it was worth the wait.

– God Bless ebay –

Okay so this guy made my day

Anyone who’s not familiar with Ebay, its supposed to be an online auction website where anyone can make a quick buck, selling pretty much anything, from a rubber garden hose to pokemon trading cards. But not many people actually use the auction feature, most just use the option to sell without an auction to do mass selling of mint items, saving themselves the haste of ruining an online store website of their own, and possibly even evading a tax or two (depending on their country laws). Every seller has a user rating and every product has its own rating too.

Now, im really sure how this rating system is supposed to work in theory, but it clearly isn’t working in practice. All most every seller i bought from, was either including a card with the product or sending me a message, nagging me to give them a positive rating. Some even urge you to immediately go and leave a positive rating before the item even arrived, cuz apparently, rating is serious business on ebay :O Well i thought, it looks like a really important thing to them, so i will go and leave them a rating, but a real one and only when i receive the item of course.

So here’s what happened, i ordered a black mask with a skull drawn on it. After some wait, the mask had finally arrived and…. it was a piece of crap. The eye opening wasn’t cut out right, the skull itself was too small, the stitching wasn’t aligned right and it clearly didn’t look like it was actually tested on a human head. So i went back to rate it, i didn’t wanna give the guy a bad rating cuz i know that its not his fault that chinese can’t be arsed to test their cheep ass products, but i have payed a decent amount or money for it and i expected the thing to be on par with the price, instead i got something that looks like its worth 2bucks :/ so i gave him a neutral rating.

A few days later:

Dear utilizator101,
I am an honest man and I work hard to feed my family as I’m sure you do also. I would never hurt a mans business by leaving negative feedback without giving them the opportunity to correct any error I feel was made in a transaction . That would be the fair thing to do .
We just wish you had given us the chance to show you we are human . we shipped in a timely manner Im sure we could have fixed this by reshipping or refunding for you. I hope you give the next seller you are not 100% happy with the opportunity you did not give my family, God Bless you and your family , Pete
 

Well shit, now i feel bad D:, i tried to cheer the guy up and explain that i didn’t give him a negative rating and he doesn’t have a single negative rating in general.

My responce:

Dear dvus-skulls,
hello, i didn’t give you a negative rating, i gave a neutral one, you are a top rated seller, 99% of all your ratings are positive and the remaining 1% isn’t negative either, so i shouldn’t worry about this hurting your business in any way.
What you should be worry about is people seeing your weird all caps reapplies to each of the neutral ratings, that doesn’t shine professionalism and might actually hurt your business somewhat.
 

here’s one of the all caps comments.

He writes me back:

Dear utilizator101,
You apparently don’t know how ebay works, It is counted against a seller if the 5 star ratings are less than 5 or if you choose any rating other than positive, Like I said , an honest buyer would give a man who is trying to feed his family a chance to please them , Its ok . I am blocking your country because apparently you guys dont appreciate the american made quality products we make , and your lack of communication with us id deplorable, Maybe when someone hurts your ability to feed your family you will understand, God Bless
 

Yeah well i admit i have no idea….  whoa, Wait what, did you just say you’re going to ban a country? and LOL “american quality” your mask has a label that says made in china, dipshit. And the only one that is hurting your ability to feed your family is you if you are really crazy enough to ban a country full of potential buyers. But it doesn’t end here, this was followed by another message.

Dear utilizator101,
There you go all Lithuania is blocked … I never realized how uneducated you people are … all you idiots can go buy that chinese junk !
 

ROFL! now that’s mature. Like, seriously? he banned a whole country, full of potential “family feeders” just because one of them didn’t give him the rating you wanted? what if some other guy from Belgium gives him a bad rating too, and than some other guy from some other country, will he ban the whole world? who will there be left to buy your stupid crap? and he says hes trying to run a business here HAHA. Hes not exactly the only seller on ebay either, there’s like 15 other guys besides him selling the same exact shitty mask alone. I don’t think any responsible adult who has to feed a family, would loose his shit to such ridiculous extremes like some 14 year old kid on xbox live, over something so trivial, and block off his wallet from any money that could feed his family. And i like that ironic part about cheep chinese junk, And all the “honest man” and “god bless” crap was a nice touch too.

Well, this was entertaining.

– Anime Convention, Batman and some other things –

I was invited to the anime artist panel thing at the annual “Now Japan 2012” anime, cosplay and videogames convention, that takes place on August 18-19 where i will be drawing anime chicks and doing some other stuff (mostly just lazying around, checking out all the underage cosplayers in short skirts and inappropriately revealing outfits and hogging all the snacks, pretending im doing something useful, like i do every year when i go there :D)
Dunno what more to say about this, shit will be pretty boring and full off smelly weaboos for the most part. Furthermore, its really hot this summer so that doesn’t help either. But im looking forward to it anyway cuz, day time i will be treated as if im someone important :D, and at the night part im gonna be getting piss drunk and high at the afterparty with my bros, than come back all wasted next day, to the second half of the event, Hog some more snacks and draw a line or two on the computer screen, with all the underage fan girls gathered around with their eyes wide open, abusing japanese language “OMG KAWAII BAKA NEKO SUGOI DESU NE! :O” while watching me draw and giving me a bloated sense of self awesomeness haha.

 

Yeah and this next thing wasn’t big of a deal enough to make it into its own post i guess, but i have watched the new batman movie recently, i think its called “the dark knight rises” or something like that, it was pretty cool and i felt like i have something to say about it, as if my opinion was important, but i cant quite remember what it was.
Oh well, i will remember it half way through this post. So i went there with with my causally over hyped up friends, myself being full of preconceptions about the movie, rooting for it to blow ass and suck dick, so that i could point finger and say “HAHA! told you this movie will suck :D” You see, to me this movie seemed like one of those movies that deviated too far from its source material, just like micheal bay had no respect for the source material when he made thansformers or when hollywood made the american godzilla movie. Like bane for example, in this movie he looks nothing like the real bane, he is supposed to be a huge meat bulldozer that can smash brick walls with his head and has a spanish wrestler mask and green chemicals pumping into his back, making him grow bigger and stronger. The shitty 90s batman and robin movie was crap but at least it got bane right in that one. This dark knight bane however has nothing to do with the real bane apart from having the same name and a shitty mask. All in all, i have pictured the movie as a shitty attempt to cash in on a well known title. It looked like they didn’t even get the basics right, wheres the whole dark gothic batman atmosphere, wheres the gritty retro looking style city, wheres the fucking bat mobile, fuck, wheres batman himself?

  
On the left you see bane from batman, and on the right you see some skinny guy with a coat and a mask that is also for some reason called bane. (looks where not the only different thing about him, his personality was completely different too)

So i finally watched the movie And while it did deviate and cash in on the title like i expected, it didn’t make it a bad movie, to my huge surprise, it was a really good one :O, it would have stood really well on its own, even if it wasn’t called batman and the characters in the movie didn’t share the same names with characters from batman. Right off the bat, it started with some really interesting shit, and the way the whole plot went was really interesting too, usualy i root for the bad guys and i just don’t give a shit about what happens to the good guys, or even love it when the good guys get their ass kicked, because most media kinda fails to get me to care, or make the good guys any bit interesting. But not in this movie, here i was really not liking what the bad guys where doing, and i really wanted someone to stop them. Somewhere, half way through the movie, it managed to give me that sense of hopelessness and that everything was lost and it kept getting worst with every unexpected plot twist, i was thinking to myself, this cannot be happening D:, it cannot end like this. But okay i don’t wanna spoil anything, so yeah, the movie was awesome, i actually really liked the new bane too, i liked his voice and the way he talks and the things he does, bruce wane was cool, catwoman was a real bitch and i wanted to punch her half of the movie but her outfit was awesome and she looked good in it too, even robin was awesome. Oh what was kinda ridiculous and this is just off topic nitpicking from a design point of view was that they made batman’s bike a prop and not CGI, so everything on it was dangling and looking loose and cheep lol.

So yeah, go see the movie, its pretty cool.
And finally, here’s some news for you, i will be updating the CCD with some more stuff soon and i have already started animating rikugou, so it PROBABLY wont be long now xD.

have some more pics of bane

– WIP update – small design revision

I felt like the chest piece was a bit too big and bulky and the pelvis area was missing something, so i redesigned the chest and made a pelvis armor part. Also i noticed there’s this unintentional cat or some other animal theme going on(she kind of reminds me anubis from ZOE2) with the head gear looking like ears (was supposed to look like a bow) and the legs looking like some animal legs, so i added a tail, im not sure if the tail really works with the overall design tho, i may change the texture a bit but if you don’t like it, i made it a separate piece so you can just remove it

Now tat all of this is done, i can finally start animating it, make some sounds, sort out some problems with alphas on the special effects and get it scripted.

also check out shit crappy video demo of the now outdated design that i forgot to link in my previous post.