Sittin’ on the dock of the bay…

Posted July 5th, 2010 by wonko

…now it occurred to me that people would want to sit around and discuss things in world. Whether it is at a table, bus stop, campfire circle or octopusses garden, in the shade.

This sort of thing is almost trivial in Secondlife so I assumed it would be equally common in Activeworlds. Oddly, in searching, I found nearly NO information about making seats – this perplexed me as I assumed it was something people would routinely want to do with their avatars – in meetings, say…

Sitting animations, gender assorted

Sitting animations, gender assorted

…so I got me thinking – a “mover”object lets a character attach themselves to it – now this is usually used for vehicles and so on, and often the avatar is hidden whilst on a mover as all the documentation suggests making posture sequences for avatars so they look like they are sitting “in” the vehicle were more trouble than they were worth (again, not a good sign, nor very encouraging).

The trouble with movers, is, well … they move – lol. Yes, I know that sounds obvious, but the last thing you want a chair to do when you are sitting in it is to let you then steer it around the room like some feral “baby walker”.

Hidden away in the sequence files for avatars were sequences with esoteric names like “qsitmale” and “qsitfem2” [only 4 from hundreds of preloaded sequences] – no wonder I missed them. A mover can be “disabled” making it stationary, you can tell the mover to grab the avatar and place them in a particular place, orientation and displacement to the centre of the object you have chose as the mover when the person clicks on the seat object – all very neat and just a little bit fiddly to work out what directions were which initially – sometimes it is absolute world coordinates, other times relative the the object, other times relative to the avatar’s aspect, sometimes relative to the direction the person’s camera is currently pointing … grrrr.

There are literally hundreds of sequences for all sorts of gestures and actions, from nodding, to performing the “macarena” but oddly nearly NONE for sitting. I think I can see why – avatars have jointed bodies, the distances from ankle to knee, knee to hip all vary avatar to avatar. Having an avatar sitting convincingly, depends on their body geometry. What looks good as a sitting position for a short character, has a tall avatar floating oddly above the seat, or visa-versa one that looks good for a tall avatar has a short avatar sunk oddly into their seat.

Some tweaking and I have some acceptable sitting attitude parameters that I can now apply to chairs, stools, bean bags, hollow logs and campfire circle stones which is ok if the seat is elevated off the ground a little. I have yet to find anything that looks remotely like sitting with cross legs (on a picnic blanket, say), but that is for another search [unless any of my devoted readers have a solution they would be prepared to share … is there anyone actually reading this?].

Progress is progress I guess.

Mover parameters expanded

Mover parameters expanded

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