This month, I completely dropped the ball on my gaming goals. On one hand I’m sorry, on another hand, I’m not so much. I’m having a whole lot of fun doing what I’m doing, and it’s put me in an artistic mood, rather than a really gaming mood.
I’m happy to announce the one goal I did complete was leveling Summoner/Scholar to 70. Now, I just have to go back and do job quests for both those jobs. ><
Ninja I did work on a little bit. I’m just shy of 50 — at level 46. I could easily knock that out with a handful of squad runs, but I just haven’t been motivated to finish it. I guess it goes on next month’s goals.
FFXIV Cleanup Quest Goals
Ninja – Lv 40+45 Quests
Warrior – Lv 40 Quest (maybe a few before that, not sure)
Black Mage – Lv 64-70 Quests ✓
Machinist – Lv 60-70 Quests
Paladin – Lv 60-70 Quests
Miner – Lv 70 Quest
Botanist – Lv 70 Quest
Fisher – Lv 60-something – 70 Quest
Check all Crafters to make sure they’ve completed up to Lv 60 Quest at least
Yeah, here’s where the disappointment starts. I really should have spent more time cleaning up these quests. Even an hour here or there would have made some progress. I still can’t believe I let myself get this far behind.
At least I did finish the Black Mage quests. Sorry to folks who enjoy the job… I just can’t get into it. I’ve got Red Mage, and even Summoner, down okay. But just don’t enjoy Black Mage, which is sad.
I’ve always found the Black Mage quests really annoying, even when I’m overgeared for them. So if there’s one job I’m glad to be done with, it’s this one. While I did kinda enjoy the story for the job quests (Shantotto doesn’t have a lot of meaning to me, sorry), the actual fights are generally frustrating and a pain in the tail. So… if there had to be one set of quests I forced myself to finish, it was these.
Try 1 new Steam game each week
HAH! No. It didn’t happen. I would like to try again next month, though.
What will happen next month? I’ll try to put up some goals tomorrow, but really, I know Second Life is going to continue to call to my creativity. There’s just too much to make, see and do. Never enough time.
Second Life’s Fantasy Faire, a 10-day charity event to support Relay for Life, has been going full-swing since last week. Spanning 15 sims, each with its own theme, too many shops, and so much entertainment, there’s just a lot to see and do. You’ll find music, great avatars, writing discussions, role play – table top and virtual, both – and even a George R.R. Martin day.
As of this moment, the event has raised over $22,000 in donations for the American Cancer Society. This event will last until Sunday, so there’s still lots of time to explore and donate!
This is the 10th year of this annual event, but the first time I’ve actually attended. I was really blown away by the quality of everything I found there. Some of my favorite creators were supporting the event, and I even picked up this awesome Tiger Mod for my Bento Water Horse!
One event that I was looking forward to was the annual quest. I’d heard about it, but didn’t know how it worked until it released on Sunday afternoon. I’d never gone on a quest in Second Life, so I wasn’t sure what it’d be like.
While there were a ton of prizes to win, I was really there for the experience first and foremost. I was quite delighted by the quality of this quest once we got into it.
To start, you did have to purchase a HUD, which directed you in every step of the way on the quest. There were two versions – one that included an outfit and one without. All proceeds from this sale were a donation for Relay for Life.
We started by meeting up with the fae dragon, Cheer… whom we actually got as a cute shoulder pet!
From there, we got a well-written little quest line, with fully voice-acted cut scenes, and story that took us to each of the different sims to meet various NPCs and gain their wisdom. There was a pretty strong William Shakespeare vibe going on throughout the quest, so the ending of the story didn’t disappoint.
It was super helpful to have three of us – Amoon, Xaa, and myself – working on this together. That way, we could split up and better find the quest locations and NPCs. That’s probably the only way we finished it the first night. And because this was something happening in real time, we didn’t have any hints on how it worked (which was fun and sometimes frustrating).
I was really surprised at how much time and detail went into these quests. The HUD could actually house and serve up all the videos (hosted on Vimeo), or you could watch the cutscenes outside of SL from the video link that the quest gave you. This was nice for the moments when the lag was just too much.. or if you didn’t want to give SL media permissions.
The creativity that went into all of the different fantasy themes and sims was amazing to start with. But coupled with a search for NPCs and an actual quest, it was really enjoyable.
There were a few small snags, as there tends to be in SL (or any game, for that matter). One of the sims was having technical difficulties, which made it nearly impossible to search for the NPC there. That’s been fixed as of yesterday, however, so hopefully those coming behind us will have an easier time there.
I haven’t sorted through all of the rewards I got (and man, were there a LOT of them in that pile of gold) just yet. However, I greatly appreciate all of the gifts, time and love that went into this quest line.
This was one of those times I’m glad I gave SL another chance. The residents there can really do great things… and for a good cause!
I’ll admit that while I know plenty about using Photoshop for art, texturing things in Second Life is not something I’ve fully explored before. I knew the moment I saw the Water Horse Riding Horse bento avatars, and saw that other people were making custom textures for coats and patterns, this was something I wanted to try.
Last week, I broke open the shadow maps and sample texturing stuff that came with my water horses. Apparently, these are the same for both light and draft horses, which is nice to know.
I wanted to try something simple to start with, and I knew that there were a lot of creative designs I could use as inspiration on places like Deviant Art. So, I picked this particular piece, and decided to design a coat based off of it. I’m not looking to create things of pure realism, nor am I versed enough in coat colors to pretend I know what to name them. So I’m going with a slight fantasy slant in my coat creation.
I fired up Photoshop on Saturday night and started painting. Thank goodness for the Beta Grid, is all I have to say. I uploaded so many attempts as I worked on getting things right. My first try, however, didn’t turn out so good.
First of all, my shadows were all incorrect, and the coat all smeary. The textures that came with the horse are… interesting and unwrapped flat. So it was hard for me to gauge exactly where something I painted would end up on the horse. Second, SL displays the coat a whole lot lighter colored than it looked on my tablet.
Taking these two things back with me, I started working on my own internal guide for mapping the shape of the horse. I pulled out the grid texture that came with the horse and began to red line it.
This took several tries to get anywhere near this accurate. The idea was that I’d outline areas, especially the shadows, so that on the flat version of the unwrapped texture, I would have a better idea of what was what. The legs and rump, for example were a lot thinner than I thought they would be, and drawing them out like this gave me a guideline for painting.
So, when I came back on Sunday to work on it again, I tried to do this painted furry looking pattern on it. This is what I got.
Yeah. The shadowing is a bit better, but the fur was all over the place, going in directions I had no idea it would. It’s a kinda interesting stripe design, but not what I was intending.
It’s also still looking a bit too grey.
So I continued to make adjustments, blurred out the lines and I ended up with this:
It’s.. getting better. But now it’s lost a lot of pattern and looks more blurred than anything else.
About this time, I decided to shift the color to make it a little warmer. I also tried to define the pattern a bit more. I was fighting especially with the black speckles I wanted to appear over the neck and shoulders. They weren’t working well.
This was a bit too brown, but I actually kinda like it. I have a feeling I’ll revisit this iteration and expand on it to make another coat on down the line.
I shifted the color again, trying to give it a more strawberry tone. This was the point where I learned that using a spearate pattern for the black speckle effect was the best way to go. I also learned how to add a specular shine to the coat and experimented with that a bunch.
Getting closer to what I want…
I started trying the coat on the draft horse, and learned that I needed to darken the legs to better fit with the black feathers for those breeds. I was also pleased to see that the coat worked on the Arabian Mod (though the speckled pattern does not).
Not too bad for a Sunday’s work.
Last night, I spent time refining the coat details. I added more subtle pattern to it, fixed the leg darkness for the drafts, worked on defining things around the eyes and nostril. Fiddled with the specular coat shine and toned it down so that it didn’t blind you when the sun was setting. That kind of stuff.
Overall, I’m happy with how this turned out.
Warmblood with specular and pattern:
A better look at the pattern from above:
The Clyde draft without the shine or the pattern:
The Arabian with the shine:
I think I’ve come a long way from that first coat attempt!
Over the weekend, I was actually working on finishing some of my many job quests I’ve ignored for far too long in FFXIV (gasp!). Man, Black Mage quests are a pain in the tail… but that’s not what this is about.
So, I’d just returned to town to complete one of my quests, and hit the normal cutscene…. when I heard the ping of a /tell pop up. At first, I figured it was a friend or a FC member poking me for something. But when I went to read the tell, it was from someone I’d never met before.
Their question was cryptic.
I pondered how to answer this, since I didn’t actually know why. Then, me being a writer who loves words, I became curious and decided to Google it. After reading through a quick article, which I thought was pretty interesting, I shared the info with this questing soul.
There was a bit of a pause… and I got this in return:
I guess he asked the wrong person if he didn’t expect an answer.
Just when I thought that was the end of it, I heard another ping:
Oh, dang. I didn’t know this one either.
And to Google I went. When he realized I didn’t respond immediately, it dawned on him that I was looking this one up, too.
But, “bruh”… if you can type these things to me, you can type them to Google for yourself. 😉
I’ve had a pretty crazy week IRL with work and stuff, and I’ve mostly been in my MMO holding pattern again this week. I did finally reach one of my monthly goals, which was to level my Summoner/Scholar to 70.
This was mostly through doing my normal stuff — beast tribes and Alliance roulettes. Nothing fancy.
The main point of leveling this job was to finally consolidate all of my caster gear into the one level 70 set. It felt pretty good to clean out my inventory last night and to sort through which items in my piecemeal level 70 stuff for healer I wanted to keep as well.
I think I may be taking a break from roulettes for a little bit since Syn is going to be away for a few weeks. I’ll try to focus on getting my Ninja to 50 and finishing up my job quests for many, many jobs.
When I was growing up, like many girls, I loved horses. And there was one series of books that fueled that love — Walter Farley’s The Black Stallion. We had a small bookmobile that came from our main county Library and stopped by my neighborhood. They almost always carried a book from this series, and if they didn’t, I could put in book requests to get more.
I devoured these books as a child, fell in love with the Arabian horse, and the art on this book cover in particular was my measuring stick for all horse artwork I drew:
I probably still have a box set of these books somewhere in my closet. And if I don’t, I might just take it upon myself to go and collect the series with this particular cover art just to keep for myself.
That little spark of Arabian horse love still burns in me, so I knew when I saw the Arabian Horse Mod for the Water Horse weeks ago that I’d be making that a project of mine. Over the weekend, I did just that.
While I think that my original Warmblood bento horse is very lovely, I have to say that the Arabian mod has transformed it to something above and beyond.
A lot of work from talented creators went into this horse. I wanted to take a look at how all that comes together and give them my props for wonderful creations that bring me joy!
It Started With a Skin
I’m a huge fan of Hap’s work at Painted Pony. There’s a lot of great content out there for these horses, but her skins and content keep pulling me back in. She develops a lot of work for the Arabian mod in particular.
When I saw the new specular silver coat in her Highlights section, and noticed it could be used with the Arabian, I was struck by it immediately. I can’t really explain how this coat catches and reflects the light, but it’s amazing in person. I can just sit here and look at the way light plays off of my stallion… Beautiful work!
So, this prompted me to head to the Jinx store (another creator I really love) to pick up her Arabian mod. This was the most expensive part of the modding process, and also the most tricky.
This is a full body replacement for the Water Horse. This means when you add this to your avatar, you essentially have two horse bodies. You make the original horse body and tack transparent, and somehow this mod meshes beautifully to show instead.
It uses the Animation Override within the original Water Horse tack, so it moves and controls exactly like the original. Here’s a video of this horse in action (Note: lightly dressed female avatar warning):
If I had to nit pick about anything in this mod, it’s the tail portion. I’m not sure what it is about the tail, but the textures in the originals just don’t render right for me. Especially the white tail.
But that’s easily fixed with a texture replacement from Painted Pony. I picked up the Arabian Tail Fat Pack 1 and the Happy Tail add-on (which makes the tail swish from time to time like a real horse).
And the final cosmetic piece was, again, from Painted Pony. I already had this from making my Miss Daisy setup — a lovely Tropicana Blue eye.
Syn and Amoon like to tease me that the eyes make my Arabian look spooky, so I’m almost tempted to name him Specter. XD
So, I learned how to mod the tack AO to replace the standard animations with these. They included a very regal idle standing pose, a floating trot, and a lovely canter replacement. I also picked up a new gallop animation that I really liked.
What’s even better about this animation set is that it includes sidesaddle animations, which I was looking into picking up to fit a medieval dress that I bought. So a medieval warmblood project might be my next focus — we do have the Fantasy Faire coming up this week in Second Life!
And finally, the tack. I chose the new Sultan tack by Jinx. This is currently exclusive to the March Fantasy Collective, so I have no idea how much longer it’ll be there, or if Jinx will sell it in shop after the event is done.
Much of the Arabian tack available is quite ornate, so I liked that this was less flashy and didn’t take away from the horse. These are cosmetic add-ons, and not a replacement for the AO tack. They look great and come with a HUD that allows for color change and minor modifications.
In the end, I’m very pleased with the overall results of the mod. What do you think?
Second Life has two grids — the Main Grid (Agni) and the Beta Test Grid (Aditi). Sometimes Aditi is also called the “Preview Grid.” Both grids use the same log in name and password.
If you are going to be building, especially in mesh, and you know you’ll need to upload objects several times to test them and get your build right… please do your Linden balance a favor and do all your initial testing on the Beta Grid!
What’s so great about Aditi?Well, as per the wiki…
In order to participate in Beta testing, you just need to login to the Aditi grid using your viewer of choice. Your account should automatically be set up and you should receive L$50,000 to start.
Nothing that happens on the test grid (Aditi) has any effect on your avatar, inventory, L$, or marketplace listings on the main grid (Agni). Objects, inventory and L$ on the Beta grid may be damaged by bugs, be removed, or disappear at any point during Beta testing.
This means you’re granted L$50,000 to do with as you please (limited to the Beta Grid) and none of your uploads will effect your actual L$ balance.
Now, looking over that wiki page, I also see this, so be aware:
WARNING: June 2016, 2017 – If you are a new user and have never logged into ADITI, you will need to contact Support to gain access. This is supposed to be a temporary bug in Aditi login.
Below, I’ll cover how to log in to the Aditi on the native SL Viewer and my viewer of choice, Firestorm.
How to Log In to the Beta Grid on the SL Viewer
If you’ve never logged into the Beta Grid before, you have a little bit of setup to do on the SL Viewer:
Click Me in the top left corner, then click Preferences.
Click the Advanced tab.
Select Show Grid Selection at login
You may need to log in to the main grid, log out, and restart the viewer for the Beta option to show. It was kinda wonky for me.
Once you’ve done that, then you will see this drop-down menu option. Just log in with your normal SL account and you’re there.
How to Log In to the Beta Grid Using Firestorm
This is a bit easier.
Click the Grid drop-down menu and select Second Life Beta. Log in with your normal SL account.
Finding a Place to Build
Aditi has a bunch of public sandboxes that you can use to upload, test and build to your heart’s content. Just know that there is an automatic return built into them for every so often (usually 3 to 5 hours).
To find a place to build, just Search your Places for Sandbox.
Any of the sandboxes will work just fine. I tend to gravitate to the one in Mauve because when I was a complete SL nooblet, I used to build there on the main grid. So many hours spent in that sandbox… 🙂
Anyhow, happy building! I hope this helped save you some L$ on uploading and testing your stuff!
There’s a few things here that caught my interest from the newest Live Letter. Since the translations are posted on Twitter instead of the forums now, I’ll just be pulling from the official Twitter account for info. Sorry that WordPress pulls the parent tweet into the post above the tweet I actually want to post. Bleh.
I’ve not been a huge fan of the new 24 man raids for quite a while. But, I did enjoy some of the encounters in Sigmascape, so I’m going to hope they might be going that direction with battle design. I’ll wait and see.
Introducing Heaven-on-High, the next Deep Dungeon for adventurers level 60 or higher. 100 floors await, with floors 31 and above designed as high-end challenges for parties of four. #FFXIVpic.twitter.com/puxRG0Vd0s
We all had a suspicion that this structure was going to be for the next Deep Dungeon. So happy this is going to be a thing. Especially if it’s supplementing level 60-70 leveling. Leveling isn’t bad right now already, but I’ll always take more options.
Prepare for the Pagos Expedition, the next installment of the Forbidden Land of Eureka! Make sure to bundle up, because it looks a bit chilly… #FFXIVpic.twitter.com/dVrqgzbh9v
I think I mentioned in my last post that I’ve kinda been in a holding pattern when it comes to MMOs lately. I log in to FFXIV (the only MMO I’m really playing), I do some daily beast tribes, I maybe do an alliance roulette, and sometimes I do a leveling. Some days, I don’t really even log in at all.
I’m still working on my goal for the month, which is to get some leveling done on my Summoner/Scholar (which is now at level 66 as of last night). I do need to work on cleaning up story quests still, too.
But other than that, I don’t really feel the call to do a lot in MMOs lately. So there’s not a whole lot to write about here.
This makes me feel a little bad, especially since I’ve been much more active at putting out posts for my revived Second Life blog. Maybe it was a mistake to have separated the two blogs, I don’t know. I thought that folks who followed for MMO posts wouldn’t be interested in tons of Second Life posts and vice versa. Also, I wanted to reuse the URL I used to have for my original Second Life blog because there are still links out there that send folks to that site.
I also felt a little bad after reading Syp’s post on Biting the MMO hand that entertained you. While I do feel like I’ve been suffering from MMO burnout, especially FFXIV end game burnout, for quite a while, I’m still playing casually and I don’t have negative feelings towards the game or MMOs in general. I just need a change of pace.
But we are all seeing a shift away from MMO blogging. It’s gotten quiet around these parts. Not just in what people write about but in overall interaction with each other.
Right now, I’m really focused on many aspects of Second Life (even though I thought I’d never come back to it). Part of that is because of the response I’ve gotten from others… even though the grid is huge and I’m pretty much a stranger to everyone. Though some folks in the Second Life community can be jaded, they also seem to quickly laud and promote the work of SL folks.
Yesterday, an established Second Life blog highlighted a series of tutorial posts I’m writing about being a Blender noob. I suddenly got this rush of new visitors to my young-restarted blog, with a few leaving random comments. I’m also getting a pretty positive response and conversation on Reddit. And boy does that encourage me to keep going with those posts.
I really love Syp’s Global Chat column on MassivelyOP for this reason, too. I always check it out just to see who’s been highlighted, and get a thrill if one of my articles appears there. I think it’s a wonderful thing to lift other people’s work up in that way, and always give props to him for keeping his finger on the pulse of so many blog posts.
This is in no way a knock against the MMO blogger folks, because I have nothing but respect and affection for you all. I guess it’s easy for us to get siloed into our little slots — maybe we’re writing about a game other folks aren’t playing or hopping around having a hard time finding that place to call an MMO home.
It only makes sense that if I’m playing X-MMO and another blogger is writing about X-MMO, they’re going to get more of my read and comment time than someone blogging about an MMO I’m not playing or interested in. It could be just another casualty of having too many games to choose from, not enough time, and most folks struggling to find a game that really calls to them to stay.
I don’t know.
I’m rambling now. But I suppose I felt I needed to write something to say “I’m not dead done yet. I’m really into something not MMO (but yet kinda MMO — Second Life is more of a virtual world), so I’m blogging about different things. But I haven’t quit playing or blogging or anything, even if my focus is somewhere else for the moment, and I seem a little quiet here.”
I’m sure someone will do something silly in a duty finder for me to write about. Just hang in there.
When it comes to putting a texture on a house in Blender, there are several things you need to do. I’m going to break these processes down into bite-sized chunks to make it easier to work through.
First, let me introduce to you Materials.
Materials probably have a lot more to them than we’re going to cover here. But for the sake of working with a house we’re uploading to Second Life, think of Materials as Blender’s word for Texture.
Basically, when you assign a material to a face of an object in Blender, that tells Second Life that this is a selectable area you can texture once you upload the object in world.
The Rule of Eight
VERY IMPORTANT NOTE:When you upload a mesh object to Second Life, that upload can only contain up to 8 separate materials.
This means, if you decide to make each individual wall in your house a different texture (4 walls on the outside and 4 walls on the inside = 8 individual texture areas) you will have to upload the other parts of your house (like the doors, windows, floors and roof) separately. Again, this is because a single object can only have 8 textures assigned to it.
For more complex houses and objects, you will have to break it apart and upload individual pieces because of this.
So, this requires planning ahead and combining your texture areas when you can. Do all of your outside walls really need a separate textured face… or can you assign the same material to all outside walls while still achieving your design goals? Things like that.
Checking Out the Materials Tab
Now that we got the Rule of Eight out of the way, we can talk about where to find Materials in Blender and how to make a new one.
First, let’s talk about where to find Materials in Blender.
That long, funky menu on the right side of the screen has a bunch of rather small tabs indicated by icons. The materials tab looks like a multi-colored circular object.
Selecting this icon will change the right-hand menu to something like this:
Get to know this well! We’re going to be working with this a whole lot!
So, you might notice that by default, the house already has a material assigned to it. That’s what this little bit indicates (red arrow below).
This material is currently covering every face of the house I’ve been making by default… since I’ve not assigned any other material to it yet. It’s also currently a boring, dull gray color, which you can see because the sphere object in the Preview section is boring and gray.
So, just for the fun of it, and to make it easier to see, let’s make the default material stand out a bit by recoloring it something brighter.
Recoloring a Material
If you click on the white bar in the Diffuse section (under the boring gray sphere), you’ll get a color wheel pop-up! Now we’re in business!
I chose a terribly bright mauve here. The sphere and the icon next to the Material name will change color. The whole house will change to the color, too, since I haven’t assigned any other materials to it yet.
This will make more sense when I add a new material to the house. So, let’s go ahead and do this now.
Adding a New Material (Texture Area)
This is actually a pretty simple process, and is the most important part of this section to understand.
In the Materials Tab, right next to the original material, click the Plus sign. This will create a slot for your new material.
Keep in mind, that only adds the blank material slot, not the actual material (for whatever reason). So let’s add the material now.
And there you go. Two materials!
Now, double-clickon the material to rename it. I named my second material “Wall” just to set it apart from the original base material. You can name it whatever you want.
I then changed the color of the new material, that way I can see it on my object easier. This is optional, but it really does help.
Assigning a Material to a Wall
Now that you have a second material, let’s assign it to a wall. Keep in mind, Blender considers walls as an object’s “face.”
In Edit Mode click Select Face.
Click on the wall you want to set as a texture area.
In the Materials Tab, select the material you want to use. In this case, we’re choosing Wall.
Click the Assign button, located just below the list of materials.
And sure enough, the wall turns blue (or whatever color you chose the second material to be) to indicate that you’ve assigned the second material “Wall” to it.
So what’s the outcome of doing this in Second Life?
This assigns this wall a texture area in Second Life. This means, everything that’s mauve uses (for example) a brick texture. But that wall can be textured separately with (for example) a wood texture instead.
Here’s a very quick video that shows everything I just explained above in action:
Can I Have More Than One Texture on a Wall?
Yes, you can!
Say, maybe you want to put a different texture on top and bottom of a wall. What you can do is use a horizontal edge loop (See Part 3 for instructions) to make a slice along your wall. This separates the wall’s face into two pieces, which allows you to select each part individually.
Create new materials for the top and the bottom (I named them Top and Bottom in the screenshot below), and apply the material to each part.
When you upload this, Second Life will allow you to select each of these parts as a different texture area, allowing you to put more than one texture on one wall!
Just keep in mind that while this is fancy, you still have to hold to the Rule of Eight. So don’t go too nuts with adding too many materials to your build!
Now, there’s a lot more intricate things to do with texturing such as bringing in images, lighting, baking AO Shadow maps and stuff. But for the sake of this simple tutorial, I’m going to stick with this very simple method. Once I get a better handle on the more advanced topics for myself, I’ll probably work on a more advanced Blender series dealing with those topics on down the line.