Thursday, October 20, 2022

Into the West

Continuing our celebration of all things Rings on this the 55th Anniversary of the publication of The Return of the King, the final volume in the LOTR trilogy, we visited  an elven sim of quiet majesty. Roland Francis has been building at ViBel grid (Virtual Belgium, his homeland) for years, and the quality of his regions reflect his artistry and philosophy - a respectful, relaxed environment with a little spirituality thrown in. Perfect elf territory.  Roland's region WesLorien was our second destination this week, on the heels of his recent post about making animesh animals herd - something everyone would like to have on their landscape sim. But first, a little history.

Roland Francis, photo by Wizardoz Chrome
Roland Francis: Once the home of the Lorien Elves, the region was depopulated during the Fourth Age until all Elves were gone. The woods and the elven homes have been maintained by the creatures who reside there, hoping l that the Elves eventually will return to claim their home once again. Read Elbereth Elentari’s Diary entry about her visit to WesLorien here. You can see the  WesLorien Flickr photos here.

Arches, slender pillars, gentle curves and pale colors are the look of Lorien, somewhere between Celtic and art nouveau. Comfortable and cunning furniture - the chairs on this sim are to die for - and wide windows letting the splendid landscape seep right into the room, that's the look. It's an original take or configuration on the scenes from the Peter Jackson films, reflecting that this is a land beyond the movies, a personal progression from the pages of the books. 

Bink Draconia stole a little bit of the show with her outfit, in particular That Hat. 
Apparently she won it after coming dead last in a Greedy Table contest. Nice to know that even if you come last, you get awesome prizes in Opensim. The spirit of sharing is one of the most attractive things about our community, and paying kindness forward is a powerful connector between individuals, groups and grids. It's not always easy, we're all from different backgrounds and ways of thinking in many ways, Communicating in opensim with others can be vastly challenging, between failing IMs, the fragmented nature of all our grids and our favorite social media platforms, time differences and language barriers, but making the effort really pays off. It's also nice when you see how many people like Roland and Fred too who take the time to list the people who have helped, the provenance of their objects, so that credit goes where it is due. It may seem like a small thing, and it is - but it makes a big difference when people feel appreciated. Let's keep it coming!

Make sure when you visit WesLorien that you have Advanced Lighting and remove any personal lighting settings you may have, so that you can see the beautiful EEP - subtle and splendid. 
Roland Francis: The new Unicorn Family (about the wandering animesh scripting project) completed. The new Unicorn Family Just recently the locals detected a newly arrived family of Unicorns (Animesh Horses) that roam the area where the Three Spirits are. 
Across the fragile looking bridge, we go off in search of the elusive unicorns. Despite the crowd, about 20 of us, including a few latecomers who tagged on at the second stop,  there was no real lag. A few crashed between Outworldz and ViBel, something that many of us haven't experienced for a while. Opensim has come a long way! 
If you are short on time, use the handy tree stump teleporter. That will help you find all the principle points of interest. And there are lots to chose from! The Orgonath, the Council Throne, Treebeard, and a brown Drakkar ship, not to mention a scrying bowl, tree spirits, and many woodland animals, poses, and perfect points for a photoshoot.
Al Scot took the Eagle tour (you click on an eagle and will find yourself seeing the sim for a very different perspective) and he posted this great action picture on the Safari group on Mewe - please feel free to join too!
Al Scot on the wing
The region at first glance from above seems quite small, really, but as you walk around, led by the trusty guiding figure of Roland, the size and variety of charming corners becomes apparent. This campfire area seemed to bring out the the ...spiritous side of some of us. 
Cyb, Fit, Tessa, James, Bink, Star, Nara, and Roland all looking for elven s'mores?
From the campground, we progressed to one of the oldest parts of the build, the tree houses. Each one is individual, and the walkable stairs are worth the challenge. There is a real sense of vertigo when you look down from the comfortable platform, and see people like ants far below.
But we all wanted to know more about those herding animals!

Roland Francis: When I researched scripting a wandering animal such as a horse, using llKeyFramedMotion (for it is known to be the most low-lag smooth moving solution). 
Roland Francis:  Being a non-coder myself, I consulted several experienced scripters. Kelso Uxlay (Novale grid) and Kayaker Magic (Discovery grid) provided quite helpful information and tools, but not without the push in the back by Satyr Aeon, who posted a complete and utterly minimalistic script "Random Wanderers with KeyframeMotion" for all of us to learn from. I can only cheer Satyr's comprehensive scripting ability to deliver in a few lines of code, what others produce with a multitude of lines of coding. 

Roland Francis: The wandering script (link provided above) was extended with several great features:
 - walk area limitation: on top of the "avoid to walk into water" feature, an area limiter has been built in, so we can contain our critters in small areas   - the horses & the wolves can follow it's owner, but can ALSO walk as a pair.  Additionally we are now testing them walk as a herd (group follower feature).
 The horses walk, graze and run and we can let them focus on one of those behaviors. Upcoming are interactions with other objects, either with other horses or with animals that could be seen as a threat.
Free unicorns  - happy dance!
Roland Francis: So we are quite happily extending our animal's behaviors, be it with more enthusiasm than skills, but we are happy to learn in the process of this fun group effort.  Scripted animesh animals that can be found on this region are foxes, wolves, and horses.   <<< Exclusively for this HG-Safari gathering, you can grab a free copy of each unicorn >>>

HG Address of Roland's beautiful WesLorien region

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