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July 30, 2006

Creating the Outside Hotel Structure

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Today Makaio jumped into the project with both feet and quickly built up the exterior build for the aloft hotel itself. Our one guide so far as been an artist's concept drawing of the exterior of the hotel, so we had to make a number of assumptions in order to lay the SL build out. Makaio approximated the height in meters of each floor, allowed space in between for floor/ceiling pieces, made an educated guess as to the width of each "panel" (a window with left and right wall sections), and from there worked up some numbers to build by. The hotel stands at 28.5 meters tall for 5 stories total, and about 111 meters wide.

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This is a good place to mention space as it relates to your avatar - your inworld representation - in Second Life. The default view of yourself and your surroundings is not from eye level, but rather from up and behind your avatar, so as you move inworld, you're constantly looking down at the back of yourself. This "camera view" is one that people are comfortable with from video games, but it creates interesting scale problems when designing architecture for Second Life. Real life builds will usually have ceilings that are 7-9 feet tall, or about 2.1 to 2.9 meters. This height is far too small for your avatar to be able to walk through, considering your POV is actually much higher and further back than your avatar.

The other height factor is the fact that your avatar, in general, is MUCH taller than a normal human would be. This is due to a lot of factors, but probably the biggest one is the "slider system" that you use to create your avatar shape and size. There isn't any reference for exactly how tall you're creating yourself, so most people go with what looks proportionally correct - which generally ends up being about 7 to 9 feet tall. Couple that with the fact that you're interacting with objects and other avatars that also match that oversized scale, and you end up existing in an oversized world (compared to real life measurements), but you never really notice it.

Anyway, back to the build. Once the measurements were worked out - each floor has 6 meter high walls, which is roomy enough for avatars to walk through - the actual construction of the outside went very fast. The repeating elements were created and then duplicated and moved into place. During his construction, I was sitting at the camera position taking photos of the hotel going up. Normally I've been taking photos every 30 minutes as I work on the island itself, but since this went so fast I found myself staying put and grabbing photos every 1-5 minutes, so we can create a smooth looking progression animation.

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The photography went smooth, but I'm a little nervous about subsequent photo shoots - Second Life will be undergoing a program update tomorrow, and there are going to be some major changes to the photograph interface. I'm glad I got these done before that happens.

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Afterwards, some detail elements were added - a 3D Aloft logo, the sloping rooftop section - and initial color coding for texture work was put in. As it stands, the build is ready for texturing, besides some detail work which we'll crank out as the texture work is finalized.

As for myself, I laid down some more (non-textured) groundwork for the harbor, stairs and garden walkway. I'm looking forward to starting in on the Splash pool along the back patio tomorrow.

Posted by Cory Edo at 2:35 PM in 3D Modeling | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) |

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