Saturday, December 16, 2006

Much better! (And, goals and obstacles)

Day 34

This morning, I optimized the Necklace Generator — since the necklace should be symmetrical, it's stilly to start in the front and work all the way around. So now I start halfway through (in the center back), and each time I calculate the position for one link, I just have to flip it across the X axis by negating the Y value, and I have the position for its opposite link in the chain! That cut the calculation time in half (though it still seems like it takes forever).

That's a new, nicer chain. I kept the basic link shape (it's a torus, size <0.026,0.010,0.010>, profile cut B=0.15,E=0.35, hollow 95), but instead of those flattened disc things I had linking them, I used a tiny little "cord" in between them (actually it's the same thing as the main link, but just brought down to 0.010 in the X size, and the profile cut range was reduced to B=0.20,E=0.30). You can just see them if you click on the above image for the larger version.

What are my goals?

I feel like a constant newbie, because I don't have a lot of things. And I don't have a lot of things because I vowed not to spend any real-world money on Second Life. It would be so easy to just plunk down $20 for some Linden Dollars (L$5279 at the current exchange rate, quite a bit more than I've been able to amass in over a month of camping chairs, dance pads, Scramble, and the occasional contest prize or gift). But I'm not fishing for handouts here — if I manage to turn my building and scripting skills into a profitable SL business, there'll be a bit more satisfaction in knowing I started from nothing.

I didn't get into the game with the intent of starting a business — I just thought it sounded like a neat playground for someone who enjoyed programming and 3D modeling (and besides, my boyfriend is in grad school and I have to find some way to occupy my time while he's got his nose stuck in a book). But I saw some of the things people were selling, and I thought, "Hey, I could do that! Why not give it a try?"


Now, building is free (though I've been told that it used to cost L$ just to rez a prim). Texturing, on the other hand... if you want to really customize your prim, you have to make the texture yourself. Each texture costs L$10 to upload, and I create each of my gemstone textures in sets of 9 (amethyst, blue topaz, citrine, diamond, emerald, garnet, ruby, sapphire and topaz). The rectangular ones need 18 (one set for vertical orientation, one set for horizontal), so that's L$90 or L$180 per set.

The best place I've found for dancing overnight (and the fact that there are usually open dance pads is part of why it's "best") only pays L$2 per 17 minutes of dancing, so every hour and 25 minutes gives me enough to upload one texture. One nine-color gem texture set requires over fourteen hours of dancing (assuming the sim doesn't get restarted and lose me all the dancing money I've accrued)! Fortunately there are other things, like Scramble games, which pay more, but you have to actually participate; you can't just sit there.

Technical User Interfacing offers a Career Course in jewelry, which includes information on how to set up a business (something I really need). I've talked to a few students who have taken or are taking it, and they all seem to believe it's well worth the L$3000 it costs to take the course. The last time it was offered, I had only a fraction of the cash to take the course. I can afford it now, just barely, but my inner skinflint is apoplectic at the thought of spending that much money all at once! Sigh.

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