prim road vs. texture road


for some reason i totally suck at making roads – that or i’m too persnickety. hmm, it’s probably a combination of both. the point of diminishing returns would have been also been a good title for this post


that's a ruler in my hand! =D

i seem to have an issue with roads and the iliveisl estate in Second Life had city sims that had roads with catacombs under them. the road textures never seemed right to me and i ended up redoing them like 5 times and it was a pain each time because it included sidewalks and intersections on 6 sims

i have carried that same OCD attitude into OpenSim with our roads in Enclave Harbour and today was the straw that broke the camel’s back! for some reason, my curve textures became crappy looking and i don’t know if it’s just my viewer or caching or gremlins, but i was ready to cry (awww, poor Ener) =p

fortunately, i had lunch with subQuark and was lamenting about the roads and he said

why not make prim roads without textures?

i put down my fish taco and asked “what do you mean?” o_O

basically, the use of additional prims in the place of textures – derr!

prims do use RAM but if you keep them simple (ie, boxes instead of tori), they’ll probably use less RAM and place less of a load on the user than the textures. based on subQ’s approach, the added number is on the order of maybe 40 prims spread over 16 regions – that’s something i can live with

undoubtedly though, nicely created textures will always make builds look better. in the case of Enclave Harbour, subQuark reminded me that this is geared to middle school kids and is intended to be illustrative of science concepts and not a photorealistic interpretation of the world. textures are nice but not at the expense of the user experience who is most likely using the family computer to hit these activities and not some tricked out VW pc

subbie came in-world and built me the two components i needed – a straight section and a curve. my curves have sidewalks on each side of the road (3 prims) and the straight parts have a cut and hollowed prim making outer sidewalks and usually a prim for the road itself (2 prims)

subQ’s are duplicated prims that he cuts or hollows so that he has 5 prims for each component which all have the same x, y, and zed position making it easy to line up the parts. the end result is a road where the centre and side stripes are below the road surface. that was hard for me to accept because i have this desire to be somewhat realistic, but i’m also tired of messing with dumb roads! 

as an added bonus, to help me to let go of my persnickety perspective, there is no anisotropic distortion! that drives me nuts and the only way to lessen it on textures is by using anisotropic filtering which is something that no student visiting us will know how to set in their viewer

this type of building technique is not going to be right for most people, but it helped me to step back and consider our audience and their experience (virtual world knowledge and hardware limitations). and isn’t that what the use of any media should consider?

  • know your audience
  • keep it simple

no anisotrophic fuzzies but no nice textuesr - i'm torn a bit ="


same positions make it hard to screw up (Ener Proof?)


thanks on saving my sanity & nice work subQuark - looks like a road =)

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written by Ener Hax

October 24th, 2011 at 7:46 pm

13 comments to 'prim road vs. texture road'

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  1. “… but it helped me to step back and consider our audience and their experience (virtual world knowledge and hardware limitations). and isn’t that what the use of any media should consider?

    know your audience
    keep it simple ”

    That’s 3D instructional design!!! GREAT points!

    Cathy/Mari Asturias

    Cathy Arreguin

    24 Oct 11 at 9:30 pm

  2. make me want to put a road down. its these tricks that should go inyo opensim bulder guide.


    24 Oct 11 at 10:18 pm

  3. That was genius. I’m the same about realism. There was one SL sim I visited that was a beauty to behold the way it was set up, with litter in the streets, photoreal gravel, everything was so realistic.

    And it’d been great to rez in and stand around cam viewing the place since it’d take 20 minutes to “walk it” heh.

    I have a request though if you take them – even though I’m a “noob” around yer blog though…but an expansion on bristle’s comment… really need an os builder guide, like an official version! My request is along those lines for an entry of starter resources in one spot. There’s so much info and it changes, but in spite of my year long searching for a repository of stuff, I keep finding stuff from 2009 and previously and it’s so outdated I honestly don’t know anymore what works and what doesn’t.

    However, for that guide, I found this night before last and read the whole site in one sitting – lots of really helpful scripts and how to’s for SL but that should be OS relevant too. Finally learned how to make 3d animated animals so that was a total gem.

    Adding this link but if it’s not allowed or doesn’t add properly, the site is Phaze Demesnes and the link is – I was like a kid in the candy store. We need more sites like this!

    Virtual Clover

    24 Oct 11 at 11:59 pm

  4. PS…so the tress and foliage – is that from whatever viewer build option you use or did you make that and import it in? I’ve not set mine up yet so haven’t really gotten a specific viewer in mind. I am still resisting the multiple viewer thing – wish for one that’s cross grid compatible with full options, but anyway, since I’ve not played with it I haven’t seen whether that tree/flower/plant option is in any of these viewers like in the SL viewer. If not, I’m going to seriously miss that tropical plumeria (is that it?)…might have to hijack it out of SL ;-p

    Virtual Clover

    25 Oct 11 at 12:14 am

  5. With some minor prim manipulation you can use a pathcut tube to keep your straight texture around a curve as well. If you wanted to get really fancy you can hollow/pathcut out a box and a tube and get your sidewalks offset all in the same prim.

    (edit those out if that’s not ok)

    Johnny Night

    25 Oct 11 at 1:49 am

  6. i spend a lot of time reviewing, writing, do in vworld. since 2007 i spent time in open croquet, second life, open simulator, blue mars, etc. i find out i cant keep up.

    so the builder guide is needed. in my case, i should have a whole shelf for sl/opensim or two. but instead i have it in my computer — somewhere. i have video too, some are old.

    maybe it should be like the game programming gems where one is release every now and then. i would like to know how to build thing like hair, attachment with sculpty, meshes, and even npcs. some other may want to do building or landscape. and so on.

    i dont know where i am going yet, but i cant spent my time looking at the various game systems and vworlds. i would like to be associate still with second life and opensim and then build from there. i would like to put builders and writers together and make these books (and videos). i also would like to know future stuff like realXend mod that was released long ago but no one in opensim did anything until second life did they meshes.

    i am bristle chesnokov on second life and facebook. if you have any ideas please contact me. i also have a kitely account but i dont know how you find me. and also my misfits account where i have a web page that keeps changing.


    25 Oct 11 at 11:55 am

  7. Did I hear misfits mentioned? :-D

    Bristle, feel free to use whatever I post on my wikidot site. I’m not a prolific writer, but there’s information about setting up AuroraSim, which is forked off from OpenSim, and other info.

    Sarge Misfit

    25 Oct 11 at 12:52 pm

  8. i am playing with a mind map, freemind. i think i had used it before. but if i get it to work for me, i will add a lot of info there. certainly i can put a lot of urls and comments. i have one forum where i am using it differently than most.

    as for misfits, yes i have a mischiefworks that was after i was thrown out from my own forum on some other site (2004?). because the people that came with me was “misfits”, i called it misfits.mischiefworks. bristle comes from everquest, bristlebane and the area was called mischief.


    26 Oct 11 at 2:43 am

  9. thanks Cathy! i’m glad my masters in science ed is showing a little!!! =) you raise a good point though that i am guilty of – it’s easy to get lost in what can be done with virtual worlds rather than what should be done for yor audience =)

    nice example clover on the load time for beautiful sims and that white plant issue is viewer-related having to do with default Linden textures being included

    now as to a user’s guide Clover – well my last 1400 posts have some of those elements and i have not missed a single day of having a blog post here since May 25, 2009! so . . . i think it would be excellent for you to write the OS guide for a few reasons. first, as someone a bit new (but you already understand more than many VW vets) you have a fresh perspective on what seems hard and what you have to learn first and secondly, if you created that guide you’d be super knowledgeable and an expert

    get a free blog like at and create “pages” (not posts) for resource links like scripts, textures, viewers, etc

    then start writing posts about different aspects and categorise them well =)

    excellent Johnny and to be really prim-conscious, your approach is paramount! i knew about doing a box like that but not a tube, your pics illustrate that beautifully! plus those roads are incredible! man, they reall, really look great! is that texture on the tube the same as that straight? it matches perfectly!

    well said bristle, a lot of this info is all over th web and it’s hard to keep it fresh and current. so many updates make it hard to have as a real printed book. you could easily spend all your time working on it and never have time for your own VW work. very neat to hear about the origin of your name bristle, i like learning that about people

    my name is

    Ener Hax

    26 Oct 11 at 10:54 am

  10. you are definitely an energy hack. i mean hack in a good sense.

    i stsrted to document some stuff dealing with setting up opensim, controls for sl and opensim, and some stuff for video. but over time i forgot where i put things.

    now i am using freemind (a mind map) as a experiment. here a sample:

    i have created a forum which is for information only. with that and the urls and video i will create something. someday. real-soon-now. TBD.


    26 Oct 11 at 1:23 pm

  11. here is a sample which i have created now


    26 Oct 11 at 2:00 pm

  12. ack. no picture there. oh well.


    26 Oct 11 at 2:03 pm

  13. […] when i saw the significant reduction in one region’s OAR file after removing some textures, my OCD side kicked in and i decided to see what would happen if i swapped prims for textures. i already started doing this with the roads, thanks to subQuark’s help, where we went from 2 and 3 prims with textures to 5 prims without textures (that post) […]

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