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
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