Thursday, May 5, 2011

Anna's Many Murders

Anna's Many Murders will open at 9am SL time Saturday May 7th.

A few months ago a land baron by the name of Syn Short did something quite remarkable. She named a sim Bryn Oh and gave it to me. Syn in an interesting character who has shown me that it's quite difficult to believe anything you read. I keep hearing about land woes yet here she is buying up dozens of sims at a time and profiting. Anyway, she doesn't want recognition so I won't go on about her here. Syn gave me a sim two or three months ago and I have just finished a build for it called Anna's Many Murders. For the last few years I had put a great deal of time into the Rabbicorn Story trilogy which had an overall melancholy storyline which was quite close to me. From an art perspective, I find the nature of Second Life or virtual worlds to have the ability to create great depths of emotion. That to me is one of it's greatest strengths as an art medium, so to ignore that ability is folly. When I stepped back from creating Standby at IBM, I really wanted to take a break from, what is to me, a emotional way to create. So that is what Anna's Many Murders is. It's a bit strange, a bit disturbing and with a bit of blue humour. It's essentially about a girl who watches everyone around her slowly add apps and gadgets to themselves until they cease to become human.

Anna tired of body apps
that people used
to fill their gaps.
So with a touch
of profound sadness,
Anna embraced
what we'd call madness.

What I also wanted to do with this build is experiment. I have created a windlight for Anna's which is very dark and placed the build at the cloud layer in the sky. With the sky setting the clouds turn into mist. Under normal sky settings the clouds are just annoying. So if you find you wish to use a different sky setting then you might like to turn off the clouds. To do so go to advanced-rendering-types-clouds. This will uncheck them. Or just press Ctrl-Alt-Shift and - at once. But yes the build is dark and I am trying out illuminating areas with ambient light features.
There is a nice new feature in this build though for Phoenix and Imprudence viewer users. At the start where you arrive you can click a sign to get a variety of things including a windlight file called Anna's Many Murders.wl. It will go to your notecard area in your inventory. If you double click this it will automatically change the sky for you. One of the greatest obstacles to using windlight in the past was trying to convince people to plug it all in and save it. But to not use windlight for me the artist, is tantamount to ignoring a huge part of my artists studio. It all depends on the artists focus though. For me it is essential yet for another artist is may not even be considered nor desired. One day regions will (hopefully) automatically set the windlight for you, but until then this is a very quick and painless way for Phoenix users to try out an artwork that also incorporates windlight.
So turn up your ambient sound (even make sure it is on as it was off by default on a recent Phoenix viewer install) Make the room dark that houses your computer. If it is a big bright room then you will have a hard time seeing anything due to the contrast. The idea is to create an environment where you feel a little bit lost, a little like you can't quite see properly. It's what I think is a way to further devellop Immersiva. To create Immersiva you have to capture the full attention of the viewer. By challenging your vision of the environment I believe your mind will focus more on the monitor and narrative. That is another reason to darken the room you are in. No distractions. It's a test though so please feel free to give me your opinion. The whole idea in the end is for me to learn what works and what doesn't.
Another thing I have incorporated into this build is the use of Kirstens Viewer. Kirstens is the best graphical viewer for Second Life. It has wonderful shadows and things like depth of field. If you have a good computer I would suggest you try installing it just to play with. Below I have written out particular settings for using Kirstens with Anna's Many Murders. I have tried to keep them fairly low so as not to tax your computer too much. My computer is not top of the line but it runs these settings ok.
If you really don't want to do any of this it looks fine on the regions default which is night.

First you will need to go to
and download the viewer under downloads at the top.

You will need a pretty good computer for this...

At top right under S21 go to preferences and then graphics.

Set quality and speed to max.
All shaders should have a checkmark.
If you have a great computer then put on shadows.
Water reflections can be minimal but all static objects is better.

under Avatar rendering click avatar impostors and hardware skinning.
Draw distance 80 - 150 is fine.
max avatar 12
max particle 5120
post process quality 9
terrain texture 9
shadow quality 2.2

Mesh detail
objects 12.125
flexi prims 0.8
trees 1
avatars 8
terrain 13
sky 152

under advanced
click local lights and use default stuff above.

under textures
click animate textures, anisotropic filtering, water mip maps
deferred alpha mask.
Terrain detail - high
texture memory 512

shadows is up to you if you use them.
click use far clip, disable vsync, use full control gama,
disable VBO, enable OpenGL. Antialising 2x or higher.

Global illumination
click box and use default.

This is fun if you want to try it. But can be confusing.
click toggle DOF effect
camera FOV 95
cameraFNumber 83
Camera focal length 596
camera aspect ratio 2.91
DOF focus transition time 4.67

This is depth of field. It will blur everything except what you are looking at. Point using your mouse at the thing you wish to focus on and it will come into focus.

Under sound and media make sure ambient sound is not muted.

This is one way but fool around to find out what works best for you.

"Anna's Many Murders" - Bryn Oh

Under Atmosphere


Blue Horizon
Haze Horizon = 0.17

Blue Density
Haze Density = 4
Density Multiplier = 0.21
Distance Multiplier = 23
Max Altitude = 322

Under Lighting

Lighting Sun/Moon colour


Sun Glow
focus = 0.00
size = 1.0
scene gamma 0.74
star brightness = 0
Sun/Moon position = 1
East angle = 32

Under Clouds tab


Cloud colour

Cloud density

Cloud coverage = 0.64
Cloud scale = 0.18

Cloud detail
Y= 0.48
D= 0.04

Cloud scroll x = 2.99
Cloud scroll y = 0.51

Now click new and save it as "Anna's Many Murders"
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