Um, soooo….

Is there an Official Name for this general AV and clothing style in SL:

Um, sooo...

This is a random picture from a vendor board at Zombiepopcorn, but if you’ve been out and about in the fashion-caring parts of SL lately you’ve probably seen the style. On people, even!

It’s characterized by a sort of pouty-frowning mouth-shape, a smallish and widish body shape, and (um) an unusually wide space between the thighs.

I first saw something vaguely like this shape on someone who was I think doing it out of creativity, and generally paired it with an animal head or frog feet rather than fashion accessories. But now it seems to have Caught On enough that various people have been expressing reservations about it. (To say the least.)

I don’t find it especially attractive, myself. On the other hand I am deciding that I like the fact that it exists. It’s a rather NPIRL fashion trend, after all, something that’s possible only because we can fiddle so extensively with our bodies. And it doesn’t cater to or reinforce the usual beauty clichés, and that’s a plus. Of course in that it’s a new beauty cliché itself, it may be that it’s similarly being used mostly sell product. :) But that’s okay, really, as long as it doesn’t lead people who look other ways to feel inferior.

But anyway, what’s it called? And I don’t mean what amusing epithets does Alicia have for it. :) What do the people who actually design for it / wear it / not run screaming away from it call it? If anything?

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I’ll say one thing for Diablo III…

… at least the female Barbarians aren’t wearing absurd bikinis or anything.

Eolfrida, sensible armor

Eolfrida is not really pleased about the feathers on the belt, even…

Here’s an article about female armor, that talks some about the D3 barbarian armor, male and female, and how it’s pretty good, gender-wise. I agree.

Apparently the Demon Hunter character is more controversial. :)

Diablo III: that was fun! Kind of!

So I got a free copy of Diablo III for promising not to quit WoW for a year or something (I don’t know, it was complicated, but it didn’t cost anything, and there were some vaguely non-trivial-looking benefits, so I clicked the buttons).

RL has been even more complex than usual and I haven’t been able to get into SL much, but I’ve had enough stolen moments in D3 that I’ve now beaten the game (the first time through, see below), and I can sincerely say that it was worth every penny. Haha, see what I did there? :)

Not that it was worthless, but on the other hand I can’t really see why it was such a big deal, or why it seems to actually have fans and forums and stuff. Unless there’s lots of new stuff in the harder modes that I haven’t tried yet, it seems about as worthy of having devoted fans or forums as, I don’t know, some minor Edward Bulwer-Lytton short story or something.

But anyway! Here is my first character, Cathcart the Monk, the one that I beat the game with on normal mode:

Cathcart

That’s a screenshot, shown actual pixels, of him at like level 34, from the “Select a Hero” screen. It’s also apparently the closest that it’s possible to ever see any character in the game (not counting the pre-rendered cutscenes, which of course don’t show your character).

Here is a shot from within the actual game, after pressing Z I think it is to zoom in to the tiny extent that one can zoom in:

Little D3 People

Kind of small and far away, I thought. Want to see the actual expression on someone’s face? Well, too bad!

Crowded little D3 people

And, especially irritatingly, what minor zooming-in there is doesn’t understand about having to derender stuff that is in the way, so if you try to zoom in to take a screenshot of some noteworthy scene, your camera is likely to end up obstructed by a wall:

D3 zoom fail

or buried in opaque tree leaves:

D3 zoom fail 2

My first instinct in cases like that would be to spin the camera-view around, which leads to the next amusing feature of Diablo III: you can’t do that. There is exactly one possible viewpoint, looking down at your character from something like three meters in the air and five meters to the South.

I went to the D3 forums to see if this was really a limitation or if I’d just neglected to find the camera-movement keys, and was amused to see the True Blue D3 Fans forming roving gangs there and fending off anyone asking that question, saying things like:

I dont know man, that type of camera angle is one of the trademarks of the diablo series. Personally i like it as it is, it would not feel the same for me with a different one…

[T]he isometric camera is a staple of the true soul of the Diablo series.

The stationary camera is one of the pieces of nostalgia kept in place from Diablo 1 and 2 are very positive.

and

this isn’t wow

I knew the WoW kids would all flock to d3 with their complaints

and perhaps my favorite:

What legitimate gameplay reason is there to rotate the camera?

which invites two kinds of amusing questions in response: “Yeah, why would you ever want to look in anything but one fixed direction during a battle?”, and on the other hand “What legitimate gameplay reason is there for the characters to have noses?”.

Of course it’s only the WoW players who miss being able to look more freely around the world. Well, and the people from Second Life. And Skyrim. And Call of Duty. And pretty much any game made since 2005. And, well, DOOM. From 1993…

But anyway! :) The inability to see the character close up, or to have a first-person mouselook sort of view, or to look freely around the world, tended to keep me from feeling really immersed. Also the movement system is entirely click-to-move, which I find also detracts from immersion. Feels more like The Sims With Monsters in a way; more like playing with action figures, maybe, than like really being in an interesting world myself.

And it’s really short! As well as extremely linear. There are four “Acts”, each with various quests in them, and you’re taken from one quest to the next and one Act to the next with very little choice in the matter. There are a few side-quests, but rather than being things that you can run around doing at will, they are things that may or may not become available in any particular play through the game, more or less at random; that is, they are largely under control of the game rather than the player.

Once you finish the game once in normal mode (and it’s quite easy, all of the bosses are essentially “hit them until they die, being sure to walk into the health-globes that they spawn so you don’t die yourself”), you get to see the nice victory cut-scene, and then next time you enter the game you are without explanation back at the start, with all of your items and skill and level intact, but this time in Nightmare Mode. Which, as far as I can tell so far, means that the game is exactly the same, except that the monsters are all upgraded to about the same level that you are, so they are roughly just as hard to kill as they were the first time through.

So you get to play the same game over and over if you want (the modes are something like normal, Nightmare, Hell, and Inferno), with the same character at successively higher levels, against successively tougher monsters (or they would be tougher except that you are higher level now too), with maybe a different random side-quest or two thrown in. Thrills?

(There is also an orthogonal Hardcore Mode, which you can choose when you create a character. Hardcore characters are different in that once one dies it stays dead, and you can’t play it anymore. I’d be curious to see a good Hardcore player deal with some of the encounters that seem specifically designed to require two or three deaths to get through, where more and more monsters just pile in. Maybe there’s an Aggro model that I just haven’t figured out, or something, but I’m not that interested.)

There’s a Stash that lets you store items that you find and share them among all of your (non-Hardcore) characters, and there’s an Auction House (not inside the world but just dialogs in the main game menu; another blow to immersion) where you can buy and sell things, and apparently there is or will be some way to buy gold and/or items with actual real-world money (which I have to admit baffles me somewhat; why would anyone care enough about this tiny game to want to spend real money to buy fancy equipment in it?).

I’m still paying Act I in Nightmare Mode with my Monk a bit, although it’s sort of dull. I’ve also created a second character, Eolfrida the Barbarian woman:

Eolfrida

You will note I have to take a taller picture there, ’cause of she is Big. :)

Here she is running toward battle at like level 2:

Eolfrida running toward battle

and standing around looking blurry and undefined a few levels later:

Eolfrida again

Playing a Barbarian is slightly different from playing a Monk, more emphasis on smashing things, more use of healing potions and glomming onto healing drops ’cause of not having any healing magic (so far?), but basically still “click until you have enough magic whatsit saved up to right-click, and throw in a spell from the 1, 2, 3, or 4 buttons once you are high-enough level”.

The story is okay, sort of what you might find in a decent Conan-style pulp novella, with one loudly-foreshadowed plot twist just where you’d expect. There’s some amusing repartee with and between the NPCs, and there’s a little variety and thought involved in equipping the three follower NPCs and deciding which one to take along at any given time, although in fact they seem mostly interchangeable.

Probably worth more than the nothing that I paid for it. But if I’d paid the, what, sixty US$ that it costs retail? I do not think I would consider it a good investment…

Combat System Scripting V: our first combat meter

I have suddenly remembered this here series of combat scripting posts that I was doing the other Geological Epoch!

So I will do another one. A pretty simple, but important one; our first Combat Meter.

Now as I didn’t explain in the first post but probably should have, when it comes to people (AVs) taking “damage” in Second Life, there are two distinctly different ways that can work. There is a notion of “health” and “damage” that are built directly into the world (but as far as I can tell very seldom used, because they’re inflexible and kind of silly), and then there’s “health” and “damage” as enforced by scripts in things that you wear.

(In a way this is like the difference between vendors that let you buy using “buy”, and those that let you buy using “pay”, as explained in my extremely thorough post on the subject. “Buy” is built into the world whereas “Pay” enables scripting, just like Linden Damage is build into the world whereas Scripted Damage is scripted. Not that there is anything all that significant about the analogy. :) )

Many, even most, Residents probably don’t even know that every AV is always at some state of Health, and that if that Health goes to zero, we “die”, in the sense that we are suddenly teleported Home, just as though we’d hit control-shift-h or whatever.

The reason that people don’t know this is that the vast majority of SL land has the “damage enabled” flag turned off, so you’re always at 100% health, and the viewer doesn’t normally even bother displaying the health meter in that case.

But if you stop by my Park in the center of Hughes Rise, or various other places, and then look carefully, you’ll be able to find a little heart on the screen, probably with a “100%” next to it. It you fly or teleport a few dozen meters into the sky and let yourself fall, or fly at high speed into a tree, or other amusing things, the number may go down from 100% (and then rather quickly go back up again). If you lose enough health fast enough, you may even hear your AV make a little supposedly gender-appropriate pained-grunt sort of noise.

And if you get the little number next to the heart down to 0%, you will suddenly be teleported home.

Now that sounds like a useful basis for a combat system, but it really isn’t, because it’s relatively easy to script up an object that instantly kills anyone it’s pointed at, and being teleported home isn’t a very flexible way to implement defeat (for instance it’s tough to script a scoreboard of “kills” or anything, just for one example), and healing is always exactly the same over time (no way to make “medikits” or “health potions” or anything), and it doesn’t apply to non-AVs (targets, monsters, robots, etc) and so on and so on.

So basically no one uses the built-in health and damage system for actual combat. What they use instead is Scripted Damage, which works by having the combatants wear some sort of attachment or other, that somehow finds out when they are “damaged” by “weapons”, or “healed” by whatever, and does whatever the system designer thought appropriate when they “die”.

The things that you wear that keep track of your damage generally have some sort of indicator of how healthy you are right now, in Scripted Damage terms, and are therefore generically called Damage Meters.

In today’s posting here, we will make a Damage Meter. Or, actually, we will discover that we’ve Already Got One!

(“Oh, yes, it’s very nice.“)

Already got one with a few modifications, that is; because it turns out that our self-healing target, from the self-healing target post, makes a very nice basis for an AV damage meter.

This is because of this Very Important Fact: when something hits your AV, all of your attachments see the collision event.

(I understand that this may not be true in OpenSim, or in some OpenSims, in which case damage meters there will have to work in some entirely other way of which I amn’t aware; I may explore that at some point too.)

So for instance if you were to take our self-healing target into inventory, and attach it to the center of your HUD say, and stand in front of the auto-popgun, you would see the health value above it go gradually down; and then if you step aside out of the stream of pellets, it will go slowly up again.

The only problem with it is that when it gets down to zero nothing useful happens. The script does an “llDie()” at that point, which you might think would cause the attachment to Cease To Be, or to detach or something, but in fact (another Interesting Fact) llDie() does nothing at all in attachments, so nothing actually happens.

This is easy to change, though. For now let’s just have the meter say something amusing when you “die”, to demonstrate that it is working. We will just change the process_collision routine so that it does something slightly different when health is zero, as in:

process_collision(integer index) {
    if (llVecMag(llDetectedVel(index))>15) {
        health = health - 1;
        show_health(health,MAX_HEALTH);
        if (health<=0) {
            llSay(0,"Arg! "+llKey2Name(llGetOwner())+
                    " has been defeated!");
        }
        llSetTimerEvent(HEAL_SECONDS);
    }
}

(We also took out the “pow” and “clunk”, because we’re confident enough that things are generally working that we don’t need them anymore.)

So modify the target script as above, put it into a prim, wear that prim somewhere appropriate on your HUD, and stand in front of the auto-popgun or have a friend shoot at you, and you will find yourself being “damaged” and eventually being “defeated”.

Combat! Shazam!

Some other stuff one might want to do:

  • Support “medikits” or “health potions” or whatever, that heal you when, say, you walk (run) across them (I have code for that!),
  • Cause you to, say, fall down and stop running around when you “die” (I have code for that too!),
  • Remove your ability to use your own weapons while you are “dead” (I don’t have code for that yet, but I might talk about various approaches).

(The other thing I’m currently playing with, which I haven’t quite scripted up yet, is to have the targets, the “monsters”, be “lootable”, so that once you’ve defeated one you can touch it or something and get I dunno some kind of reward. If anyone knows of a sim or a system of scripts that does this sort of WoW-like lootable-monsters thing, let me know; I’d like to take a look!)

So that’s all for this time. Pew pew! :)

Ooops, sry!

So personx (not eir real name) is a relatively young newborn who friended me randomly at some club, like newborns do, and IMs me equally randomly now and then.

I just thought this was funny…

[19:04] personx: teleport me
[19:04] personx: fast
[19:04] personx: i’m falling off a cliff
[19:05] Second Life: personx is offline.
[19:06] Dale (dale.innis): lol oops too late!
[19:06] Second Life: User not online – message will be stored and delivered later.

I should watch my IMs more carefully; you never know when a quick reply may be called for!

Live poetry readings highly recommended! This one is probably too early in the day for me, but I’ve heard Ms. Hoisan elsewhere, and she is Teh Awesomes…

(Also: what does this “reblog” button actually do?)

Digital Rabbit Hole

I want to cordially invite you to my upcoming reading this month, at Poetry Reflections on Costa Rica Sims of Dream Seeker Estates. Those who have attended before, know what a beautiful venue it is, a true Arabic Salon for poetry, and I promise you a full hour of my best poetry, music, and imagery combined. I will be reading for the first time, three new ones, that I hope you will enjoy. It will be an eclectic mix as always, of my verses, and I invite you to dress up in the theme (but no obligation) and be ready for some after reading belly dancing, to get the circulation re-flowing after sitting so long.
If this sounds appealing to you, please invite your friends, as there is lots of room, and I hope you will join me for my monthly reading at Poetry Reflections.If you have never comeā€¦

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