Thursday, March 10, 2016


          Just two stops this week but boy were they both detail rich. It was NPC week on Safari, so of course our first stop had to be the spiritual home of the non player character, Nara's Nook, a grid that has storytelling at its heart. HG Addresses, as always at the end of the post. The arrival sim on the Nook is Greyville, and it has a new look. 

The first thing you may notice here is the lovely book fountain, built by Avia Bonne, who was responsible for much of the main square, which is flanked by buildings by Neo Cortex, and Nara Malone, Endora Twinklens, Siobhan Muir, to mention the three talented Nookettes who met us on this trip.
Nara, Dora, and Siobhan welcome us to their grid

Nara Nook: I am amazed this landing went so smoothly, this is a mesh heavy build... I speak to soon...knock on wood...a bit of chat lag...
Cendres Magic: are we sure to speak to Nara, and not an NPC, right now ?
Nara Nook: usually if it is an NPC it says Not Nara. It is how I tell myself apart from the others.
snowbody Cortes : we can ask some questions to Nara ... and see what she answer...
Cendres Magic: I'm sure Nara is able to script the npc to answer perfectly
snowbody Cortes: Cendres we can try using questions like "if you were the real Nara .. "

Nara Nook: We are doing so much more with NPC now than we could before, even just a year ago. Over on the other side of the fountain is our writer hangout, complete with a dungeon for those falling short on their word count.
Siobhan Muir: I aint' tellin' you nothin'
Pathfinder Lester: Nara, for someone trying to learn how to program NPCs, what would you recommend as a good resources to read on the web?
Nara Nook: I don't know about reading but viewing the videos Fuschia did with me are quite helpful,and I will put some NPC info on the Nook blog after each workshop. For our last workshop, I talked with everyone about the importance of NPC having a purpose, you don't want to plop a bunch of aimless NPC on your regions, that just annoys everyone
Siobhan Muir: And they're pushy if they run into you
Nara Nook: right, I hate random walkers that run into everyone, it's a bad idea to have an NPC roam random, very intense on server resources. Use a poseball an npc is sitting on to move them, or we have a tool we will give you today called a walker that lets you move an NPC around with very low resource usage.

Nara Nook: we have around 90 here at Nook, and no they aren't all in, but Dora put in some to highlight, and this NPC is an exaMple of one way to use them advertising the NPC learning lab and shows what you can learn there
Sunbeam Magic: i love how you have the Love statue over doorway Nara ;)
Nara Nook: thanks for pointing that out Sunbeam, it's a romance writer colony for most part. This tool is excellent for teaching, let me rez NPC and props with the help of PMAC
Sunbeam Magic: gotta love the PMAC
NPC Workshop Presentation:  
Rob was the first NPC I made. He was an AI enabled dancebot that would dance and chat with visitors. For events we dress him like a traffic cop and he directs visitors to the proper location. 
Next to guides followers are probably the most useful and misused style of NPC. 
They are useful because they can impart a sense of companionship, or give visitors a sense their company is desired. The follow kittens are good for this. The opposite end of that--deterrents like tigers, bears, snakes, and gators scripted to repel or return visitors to the landing zone--provide a challenge to be overcome. These were used extensively in scene three of the hypergrid story.
Companion NPC aren't entirely new, but they are in a state of rapid development at the moment. Items like the Paramour dance balls and dance floors make it possible for visitors to have a dance partner at events, or join a session of Tai Chi with the the cows using the line dance floor. PMAC allows you to rez companions for photos, a masseuse from a massage table, or perhaps a tour guide to take you around a sim. 
These Easy NPC poseballs were created by Aine Caoimhe and remain the simplest of all NPC creation tools. If you can click a mouse, you can make an NPC. 
Version two has the added feature that the NPC will only rez if someone is nearby. You edit that feature on line 65.
Nara Nook: there we go, the slideshow board rezzed them and the sofa
Endora Twinklens: she is now behind us
Nara Nook: it could just as easily be a cellular structure or a physics display. These two NPC are actually the poseballs we all know and love, you can rez them as props, or you can rez NPC from a menu in the board. We have been working on the New Greyville since the first of the year. Avia build most of it in a couple days. The rest of us are slower.
Pathfinder Lester: this is a fantastic educational resource
Nara Nook: it's designed to be an inspiring place to write and create. Neo just finished the library building and now we have to stock it.

Nara Nook: let me show you the tiger pen. I like sitting here with the big cats, they inspire me. The tools to make these are in Pandora region.
          There was much talk about whether the lion and tiger present were fierce enough to eat little Wizardoz Chrome, in her lizard avatar. Seems that rubbing a steak all over you helps in these situations, but I may not have been following Chat with due care and attention, so don't rely on that advice.

Nara Nook: we are learning that storytelling isn't just writing anymore, it involves artists and scripters and builders and musicians, so Greyville will reflect the changing face of storytelling. 
Sunbeam Magic: I'd say it has surpassed it self in reflecting the face of story telling! and there is still so much more to be
Nara Nook: but real quick before you have to go, I'd like you all to hop to the NPC learning Lab on Pandora. We have some tools for you there. 

~swishy teleport sound~
Nara Nook: Over here beside me a copy of the newest release of PMAC, a big box of my favorite NPC goodies, and an NPC Walker kit.
Ange Menges: These are the new versions reworked for the 0.9 update, Nara ?
Nara Nook: yes they are. If you have trouble you can always stop by and ask me. Over on the shelf are all the tutorials I did with Fuschia and the video display has all the video for that, the walker kit is so cool, that is how Sunbeam made her flying bed
Sunbeam Magic: waves her hand
Selby Evans: this is where we have WIP on 2nd SUNDAY on month
Endora Twinklens: it really is makes things like walking upside down fun
Sunbeam Magic: with help from Neo and Ferd ;) upside down too cool and wacky
Nara Nook: right and don't we have that this Sunday? is this WIP Sunday?
Selby Evans: yes we do --noon SLT and That is Daylight time -- remember US changes to an hour forward.
Nara Nook: cool, so you can take your npc kits home and come back to show us what you made
Endora Twinklens: that will be fun
Lucy Afarensis: this weekend?
Nara Nook: yep. Another thing available is a hypergrid library for interactive stories for all members of the hypergrid to add to, the storybook land and poetry regions there will open soon
Nara Nook: Sunbeam is doing Storybook Land
Sunbeam Magic: I come here often for inspiration
Nara Nook: Tracy is working on the poetry section
Sunbeam Magic: the youtubes and the blogs (like Aine's ) are really well done too and so helpful too
Nara Nook: we glad you find them helpful, these are tools I wished I had, and we saved them as they were created. So many folks contribute to this
Endora Twinklens: Nara when is the next npc workshop?
Nara Nook:  3rd week in April
Endora Twinklens: Will give people plenty of time to play with these tools and then have good questions for you.

Thirza.Ember: What is the single most valuable item/tool here, Nara and Siobhan and Dora? which item could you not manage without?
Nara Nook: The story sequencer, that was a major breakthrough, I can rez multiple NPC from it, create floor shows, tell stories, have them do sequential dialogue
Endora Twinklens: oh yeah, that one was invaluable for immersive edge, and the walker, because it makes climbing stairs possible
Siobhan Muir: Everything we have now is built on everything we've learned. So I don't now if there's just one item, but I'd say the PMAC because it condenses things in to concise packages.
Nara Nook: Yes PMAC is another essential tool...put it with the sequencer and we have scary power - we're working on an advanced model that combines the two
Endora Twinklens: and then the pet follower, because having a tiger follow you around is just fun :)
Sunbeam Magic: and FUN is what we all pursue ;)
          It was around about that point when we all elected to sit on the unicorn. Word of advice, the tail end is a lot easier on the virtual buttocks than the horn end.
           So if you think you need more fun in your life, you should head over to Pandora on Nara's Nook and pick up the tools and the information about how to use them! This is a precious resource freely shared with the whole community, one based on fostering creativity rather than hiding or hoarding knowledge and technology. Shame that so much of the real world (and many virtual worlds) don't share these values. They are the hallmark of true civilization. 

          Time to head to our second stop, in the spirit of storytelling and NPCs, Rapunzel, part of the var region Mothergoose. 
Best way to get to Rapunzel is via the Welcome (default) sim of outworldz,  then use the tp poster. If you're in a hurry and the sim takes a long time to rez, which always happens to me, look for the picture with the violet frame

          It's on Outworldz grid and is an immersive version of Tangled, the Disney version of the Rapunzel story, built by Ferd Frederix and his long time partner Debbie, aka Nyira. 

          When you arrive at the sim you get to ride on the fabulous horse Maximus (note, this item is not available to take away from the sim, for copyright reasons) and you're let into the build, where, when you click on the swinging cord that represents Rapunzel's hair, you're taken up into her charming apartment at the top of the tower.  Rapunzel is there, dashing around the apartment. 

Ni Lemon: congratulations for this amazing place
Yara Eilde: nice Rapunzel
Ferd Frederix: Thanks, she was hard to make. Faces are not easy
Thirza Ember: do i have bad lag or does Spike have a tuba
Ferd.Frederix: Could be worse, you know.
snowbody Cortes: it's great Ferd !
Random tuba wearing is now trending on Safari
Ferd Frederix: There's a few freebies in the notecard and some things are copy. So feel feel to poke at stuff
Pathfinder Lester: this whole place is a feast for the eyes
Ferd Frederix: Thanks. It was an exercise in Disney texturing - painterly. They spent $250 million on that movie. And some things we can do here, and some not.
Nyira Machabelli whispers: WELCOME EVERYONE
Ferd Frederix: Nyira has been my online partner for 9 years now. Just passed an anniversary.
         There was much talk about the horse Maximus. Not only can you 'hire' one at the landing point, but there will be a special Maximus who will be a character in the build. Other, free to copy horses are available on Outworldz for you to take home. Riding on the righteous side of the fine line between copy and parody, Ferd is keen to slightly tweak things to make them funnier and of course always interactive, and although the build still has some way to go before it's completely up to their high standards, it's already a delight to visit. 
Nice looking $#@ floor
Thirza Ember: so the toughest part was Rapunzel's face?
Ferd Frederix: yeah, and this $#@ floor. It was really hard to make
Thirza Ember: really? why?
Ferd Frederix: It's all these radial shapes. Mirrored and flipped and beveled and then reworked to death. I have carpel tunnel in my left index finger from this floor
Nyira and her tiny dancer

Pathfinder Lester: whoa, i just found the tiiiiiny ballet dancer upstairs.  that's awesome, what a neat use of an NPC.  make a tiny windup ballet dancer. :) 
Ferd Frederix: it's by Nyira who also made the animations! We have that as dancer a freebie over in Virunga. Its in Dian Fosseys house. But I have all the sims offline.. looks like I didn't need to. The server is at only 5.25 % now
Thirza Ember: never hurts to be cautious with a big group stomping all over your work
Ferd Frederix: It's amazing that Opensim can run this this well. My experience in Phaze in Second Life was the opposite. It was easy to kill their server. Wizardoz - I love the way you dressed up my lizard,  I am always amazed at people's creativity here.
          That really sums up the reason why virtual worlds are special. Sure, it's only pixels. Sure, you may say, we're not creating anything 'real'. But we are. A real house can burn down, real belongings can be lost or stolen, just like an asset server can crash and wipe out. Nothing lasts forever, in any reality. But what we can make that has an eternal quality, is a spirit of sharing, of encouragement and appreciation. It is as infectious and as precious as life itself, and this place, this open sim, is full of it. 

HG Addresses
Nara's Nook
          Greyville sim (default sim) has learning resources and a grid tp hub
          Pandora sim for more NPC resources
          This address will take you to the Welcome sim, use the tp posters to visit Rapunzel, and the other fine destinations on offer.

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