Lights, Camera …

Posted December 23rd, 2009 by wonko

So, bored with the flat, uniform lighting and wanting to get a little moody, I set about first investigating lighting.

The “world” settings can vastly effect the mood of a place – the “ambient light” [general, non-directional ambiance] and “directional light” [that coming straight from the “sun”] can be bright and cheery, dark and dank and everything in-between.  You control the “colour” of the light and therefore the intensity/luminosity by the density of colours you choose – all very nice. I am wondering if an admin “bot” might not be able to programatically change these settings, I should think this would then give us night/day as the bot could do this change gradually, using world time. Anyways, i dimmed the settings on Q2 a little, so it was not quite so sunny and cheery …

As it turns out, most things can contain a “light”, so I went for some rock’n’roll lighting with part of Wonkyhenge to create a myriad of reflections and other cheesy fx and the result ..

Lighting effects combined

Lighting effects combined

..was actually quite satisfactory. There are LOTS of things that can be varied about each light source [note to self – the light source does not actually illuminate ITSELF – each of the rocks in this part of Wonkyhenge is a light source – you see the colour from other rocks, if that makes sense]. There are “point” lights [like a bare incandescent bulb that spreads outwards from that point] and “spot” lights that shoot out a cone of directed light [you specify the direction, intensity, cone dynamics etc] – both nice. Obvious controls exist for colour [using named values or hex html refs, so 16.7 million shades might just be enough; note to self: kids will learn to spoll colour wrongly because for it to work in script, it must be spolled color – *shakes fists at Americans*], brightness [ intensity] and radius [spread].

A rather nice collection of fx exist for lights as well – blink, fadein/out, fire [a lovely faux flame flicker], flicker [like a fluoro tube going bung], flash [like lightning] and pulse [a rhythmic throbbing] – most fx have a time parameter to control the rapidity of them also, again, very nice. I can see lots of applications here [particularly when I get around to discovering fire in rockshop.

It seems most typed of objects can also be defined as a “camera”.

camera position and controller

camera position and controller

…so what I did, after an idea I saw in the Activeworlds Forum was define an object, set it rotating [to be my camera] and then defined a clickable somewhere else that would switch the user’s view to that camera object [in effect, creating a “guided tour” that followed the animation of the object].

Camera:  create name wonkycam, visible yes, solid no, rotate 2 time=8 loop
Remote: activate camera location=wonkycam

meaning, the “camera” object is rotating at 2rpm, for 8 seconds, then returning to it’s original position in 8 seconds and repeating that. The “remote” transfers the user who clicked on it’s vision to the camera object, so you see what the object pans past  – nice

Walk-throughs and guided tours are possible using this trick [note to self, explore animation and path-controlled movement more], as is “remote sensing” of far-away places without actually leaving the comfort of your current location – very useful. Lots more to explore, will keep banging the rocks together.

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