Posted in Gaming, MMORPGs

MMO Holding Pattern: Not Done Yet

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.

For example, last week, a screenshot I took in world and posted on Flikr was chosen as a header image for a SL photo group there. That made me feel really awesome.

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.

Posted in Second Life

Making a Second Life Mesh House in Blender – Part 4: Assigning Textures to Walls

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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-click on 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.”

  1. In Edit Mode click Select Face.
  2. Click on the wall you want to set as a texture area.
  3. In the Materials Tab, select the material you want to use. In this case, we’re choosing Wall.
  4. 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.

Resource

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.

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