Over a year ago i started to rebuild three places i have in the Steampunk City of New Babbage. Starting with the Imperial Theatre which has been there since the first time New Babbage appeared in 2006. The second was the Absinthe Cafe which i completed last spring.
Now i have completed the third build called Cobblestone house and this was the most challenging as unlike the previous two builds which were more upgrades, Cobblestone was an expansion. With the previous build you could only walk into the front house section. The Factory behind it was just for show as i did not have enough prim allocation to make it habitable. With the magic of MESH i hoped to change that.
So the old Cobblestone House was a terrible build. I made it using the latest hacks for creating complex sculpt prims which covered the house and took ages to load represented by giant blobs until they loaded. The stats were as follows. 85 Prims with a download weight of 42.5, Physics 96.4, server weight of 42.8 and an overall display cost of 37913. For those who don’t know what these numbers mean, they are a break down of what you objects cost the viewer to display and interact with them. It’s was my goal to make a much more detailed Cobblestone House with lower display costs but i also planned to make the factory section habitable this time.
Using the Singularity TPV with its object export tool i was able to export the old build to blender as a reference for the size of the new build. It really is a handy tool for getting straight into building in blender for SL. I hope to see Linden Lab adopt this feature in future for the official viewer.
UV unwrapping takes almost as long as the 3D modelling but it’s very important. You can learn tricks where you use the same UV map for displaying two walls with the same texture. Learning the tricks of UV mapping can lead to really efficient use of textures. For example you can use reuse a texture for many parts of the building which saves on download costs and display costs.
Since i rebuilt the Absinthe Cafe the Materials Feature has officially been released. What this does though is add two more files to download to every texture surface.
So you can now have three textures to cover a wall
1.The defuse Texture (your normal texture)
2. The Normal Map (how bumpy it looks)
3. Specular (how light reflects on it or shiny)
I’ve already seen instances where a wall surface can start failing to load 1 of the three files making the wall look like its wobbling. In truth you should consider what needs to have Material mapping. It’s temping to cover everything with materials but you should consider that each time you add a material map you are adding another file the viewer needs to download and cache. Personally i find that material mapping on outside walls do not show up so well compared to walls inside buildings. The effects of material mapping seem best when reacting to light sources inside enclosed spaces. It can all depend on your wind light settings.
So finally just before christmas i finished the House. The House at the front now has an extra room upstairs and the arches that connect to the factory building are now possible to walk through. The Factory itself are 3 floors high connected by stairs. I used reference photos from a working Mill house called Quarry Bank for inspiration as i plan to turn the place into a working textures factory with machinery so it was important that i have enough Land Impact left over on the plot.
The final costs of this Mesh Build came to as follows. 97 land Impact, 91.6 Download, Physics 20.4, Server weight of 92 and a display cost of 41064. These costs do seem significantly higher but if you consider that i’ve more than doubled the overall build in terms of detail and habitability it’s all rather spiffing. Land impact is a little bit more than it was but to match the new amount of detail with old Prims you would use five times as much. Download cost has doubled while Physics has been cut by half.
The video gives you a taste of the new build without needing shadows enabled, It also gives a sneak peek at the Spinning Mule machinery I’m working on next. Overall the new Cobblestone Workhouse turned out better than i hoped and the use of materials has given it a fantastic steampunk atmosphere inside, especially the reflective windows and brick walls. You can check the place out yourself HERE.