Putting the Cyber Grunge into the Vortex VR Club

So the V5 opened up on monday and for 12 hours straight the dance floor was packed, uncovering bugs and issues i need to fix, while also highlighting what happens when we reach the limits of the platform XD.

Science Bit

The New Vortex club is simplistic in its shape and low in textures,  but that low resource is cancelled out by materials. For every texture you see, there is also a Normal made and a specular map needed to download in order to show bumps and shiny stuff. It’s hard to gage how well a build performs in Second Life. What is it that causes textures to blur out, or causes you to crash? is it the stuff around you or the people around you?

Overall the New fifth version of the Vortex club is half the land impact of the previous prim version, thats including the City street section. It’s basically simple cubes of mesh but with material mapping giving the illusion of lots of detail. I had a lot of fun exploring how light bounces off surfaces such as windows and i used an old technique to create the illusion of reflections in wet puddles. Finally we have the tools game devs have had for decades and it’s been fun experimenting with wet roads, dirty road sides, Glistening windows and changes in surfaces.

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DrawBack

While the texturing looks awesome, and i did try my best to optimise the use of textures, it does fall victim to the evil Texture Thrashing Issue in #SL. If you don’t know what that is, it’s when your viewer downloads a texture, loads it in high rez, then repeatedly goes blurry, then focussed, then blurry then focussed. It’s as if the viewer feels the need to download the texture over and over again, which is stupid. If it’s in the cache then why is it reloading?. This happened worst on the dance floor at the vortex, which seems even more stupid because its the one texture we are all looking at the most, so you’d think it would never feel the need to reload. I pray it’s someday not an issue.

UPDATE: It has been brought to my attention that the textures are probably being dumped due to my graphics card filling up. How the SL viewer manages how much graphics memory the Mac Viewer can use is another issue entirely. As far as i know, the SL Mac viewer is using 512mb of my 2GB dedicated card.

FeedBack

The response has for the most part been very positive commenting on the detail and atmosphere. Some not realising this sort of thing was possible in Second Life which is encouraging. Others have commented on the scale and how it feels bigger on the inside than it appears on the outside. Some have said it looks ugly from the outside which i guess is fair since i did not really consider how its viewed from outside.

End of the Day

So the open party was a blast even if i did repeatedly crash and Linden Lab restarted the region half way through the party hehe (just like old times). I managed to stay up for part of Trever Flumes Live acoustic with was awesome before i had to go to bed. Now i just need to get my Oculus DK2 working on my Mac so i can see how it looks up close.

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I made  quick video showing the New Vortex, but it’s got to a point where you need to visit places in virtual person.

 

My latest Project is almost here #V5

Dance clubs are a big part of the SL experience. They are the places that people meet and discover new friends. They are the place long time friends can dedicate time each week to drop what they are doing and hang out with friends from around the world. You click the dance ball, leave your avatar to do their moves and kickback while engaging in chat. It’s something that hasn’t really changed in SL after all these years.

At the start of this year my SL brother entertained the idea of rebuilding the Vortex dance Club again. For those who don’t know, the Vortex is one of the oldest clubs in SL. First opened in 2006, it has gone through four iterations and for the fifth i decided to help my bro in designing something that used all the latest building features, from mesh to materials and projector lighting.

Beginning work on it back before the SL11B Cake Stage, it of  course i started as a small idea, but..well.. you should know me by now….

 

The new V5 Vortex will open on Monday the 22nd of September with a line up of DJ’s and live performers starting at 9am SLT to 6pm SLT.


The Vortex Club

One of the longest-running clubs in SL, The Vortex Club hosts a collection of devoted DJ’s who play new, classic and eclectic tunes. Check out @vortexclub on Twitter for more info, including DJ schedules.

Visit in Second Life

The 4th Anniversary of Escapades Island ROCKED!

Four years ago i decided with the help of my friends to upgrade my old homestead to a full region, allowing for more room to expand creativity and adventure. Each year we celebrate the arrival of Escapades Island with a weekend of manic events from your traditional music gatherings to shared racing and roleplaying stories The schedule of events is pretty much the same each year but the events themselves always seem to produce unique unforgettable experiences.

The Events

This years Founders Tea party theme was Camelot castle where the founders of Escapades and their friends dressed up as knights or medieval garb. Surrounding a round table there was an experimental food fight game using the new XPtools to allow for throwing pies and getting covered in Goo. It kinda worked :-p

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There was another Airship Brawl Battle in the skies above Escapades. I created this game last year and for some reason have not found the time to release it to the public. Would be nice to get this game out for christmas as not only is it a really exciting team player game, but its also very fun to watch. Fl0 Cal and Richardus Raymaker won the Airship Brawl this year.

I usually do a race on water around Escapades Island with some obstacles, but what the residents race is always different. Last year they raced on the backs of Whales, this year they raced Surfing giant Squids. As with last year i  handed out the squids before hand with the texture files to custom. This lead to some awesome custom squids. Super Suz lead most of the way but hit a surfboard right before the finish line allowing Hexapoda to whizz past and steal 1st place :-p. Suz came 2nd while 3rd place was joint grabbed by both Lyo and Matthew who crossed the finish line together.

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My SL brother Gemini Enfield hosted the Pirate party again at the John King Tavern playing suitable music for the Tavern Brawl that seemed everlasting. The Tavern Brawl game allows people to grab a chair and throw it at others breaking tables and people in the cross fire. Soon the Tavern was full of chairs and yet Escapades Island seemed non plussed. showing how much more stable the grid has become.

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Sunday saw the usual two hour Goonies Beach Party which seemed to fly by. Then it was the final race of the weekend the great Offroad Dodgem Car Race. I had basically thrown together these Dodgem Cars in the morning and thought it would be fun to have the cars slowly fall apart if you bump into each other. Of course these things play out differently in a real scenario. All the cars lined up for the race and promptly fell apart. Eventually we managed to get a line ready and they were OFF. Much hilarity ensued as people raced around the track leaving behind bits of car bumping each other off, crashing , then running back to the start to get another car. In the end i could not keep count of the laps or any idea of who wa sin the lead so i gave everyone a Gold Trophy and called it a day.

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Through out the weekend there was also a Roleplay Story to get involved in. On Saturday the guardian of the Island known as Dogstar requested a group of residents to find some rare mushrooms for a stew. While completing this quest the residents uncovered a sinister plot to find hidden device that could be used to separate an ancient dragon from the dreams of an old man. The residents managed to save the old man from the evil clutches of the resident bad guy the Grand Master, but not before the Dragon was released.

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On Sunday the residents had to find away to banish the Dragon and its Dark Rider using a trap built by the Sky Pirates many years ago. After a a lot of running about the residents found the Sky Pirates Floating Island trap and lured the Dragon Rider into it, banishing it for ever?

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Doing the Roleplay was hard, because Roleplay in Second Life is more like Live Action Role Play (LARP) than an RPG. People with the freedom of choice they have in Virtual Worlds, tend to be a lot more unpredictable. Also with different people being on at different times meant the people who uncovered parts of the story in the morning, were not around to pass on that info to the the people in the evening. Even now i don’t think anyone got the full story of what happened over the weekend. “It appears to be a griefer” to quote Draxtor Despres when the Dragon Rider appeared breathing fire above them.

VIDEOS

During the weekend i filmed some of the events taking place and cobbled together a highlights video. These days snapshots do not do the SL experience justice so check out the Escapades Anniversary Video on Telly or embedded below. Draxtor Despres also filmed two events with commentary. You can hopefully still watch the archived video of The Super Surfing Squid Race and the Offroad Dodgem Car Race on Escapades Island TWITCH channel.

 

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So thats it for another year, it was a lot of hard work, but it was all worth it seeing all the snapshots on SL feed from all those who had fun. The next year promises to be even better as the grid is more stable than ever before. Thank you everyone who supports the Island 🙂