Monday, August 29, 2011

Noticeboard: Airship Tours Update

TenYearsGone's Ship Tours will resume on Saturday, September 3rd at 7pm VRT.

Locations to be visited:

More information can be found on the forums.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Reddit for Virtual Reality

Hey everyone.  Apologies for the infrequent posts... I'm in a bit of a lull as far as Activeworlds goes (it happens).  Anyway, I'm still around on other parts of the net and I've acquired the r/virtualreality space on reddit to foster a commonground between various VR platforms.

For the uninitiated, Reddit is a social content site where users can submit links that other users can vote up and down on, and the highest-ranked content gets more exposure.  Reddit goes beyond other sites of this nature by allowing users to take control of reddits/subreddits (such as r/virtualreality), make their own rules, and manipulate their design.

I've spent the weekend preparing r/virtualreality, and I think its ready for others to join me now.  If you'd like to visit, just go to  If you register a Reddit account, you can participate in the conversation by voting, commenting, and submitting.  It'd be really great to have a diverse crowd from many platforms, and I'd love to have some other AW users lurking around!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Commands in the Wild - Color

'Commands in the Wild' is an AWBuilder Tutorial series that features common usages of building commands.  This series assumes the builder is familiar with basic building and offers specific usages and techniques related to specific commands.

Quick Links:
ActiveWiki - Object Scripting
ActiveWiki - Color
Use color to make seamless curves in low-lighting conditions
Example 1: Curved Surfaces
Location: Obsidian Drive-In Theater in Alphaworld
Anyone who has ever built in Activeworlds is aware of the struggle between textures when they are occupying the same space.  This is called zbuffer, and there are several ways to deal with it when doing precision building.  When building curved surfaces, object collision is often unavoidable without considerable effort.  One of the ways to overcome the visual mess of z-buffering is to not texture the surface, but to instead color it.

With no direct light applied by nearby objects in a scene, colliding objects with the color command applied will not appear to be zbuffering.  As a technical note... they still are, but the pure color is similar enough for the collision to not be a visual issue.  This is why objects designed in this way should not be near light sources, because they will effect the colors brightness and induce enough difference for the zbuffering effect to be noticable.

Use color to easily create painted lines on surfaces by sinking the object

Example 2: Painted Lines
Location: Obsidian Cove Athletic Park in Alphaworld
Perhaps the most common usage of the color command is to represent painted lines that commonly appear outdoors on roads and grass.  Color is ideal in this situation, because it is clean and the objects it is applied to are often thin and can be sunk into other objects to create a unique condition. 

In the case of creating roads, better-quality roads are often created by using rectangular objects as 'road paint', which are then sunk into flat surfaces and repeated over the distance of the road.  This solution is also versatile, because the builder can simply manipulate the road paint to change which sort of intersection or exchange they would like to create.

Use color to provide additional details in the scene

Example 3: Expanding upon existing objects
Location: Southern Highlands in Alphaworld
A very helpful usage of the color command is to add component pieces to existing objects for the purpose of making that particular instance the object unique.  In the screenshot, the t_awhedge01.rwx object has been made unique by the addition of numerous red berries.

Other common examples of this are to add colored buttons to rectangular panels, colored decal to vehicles, and colored windows to building frames.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Noticeboard: Free Particle Set from JonBee

JonBee has released a set of free particles on the AW forums.  There wasn't much description given, but it sounds like a useful set of letters, numbers, and symbols to add some useful signage to builds.

You can see the forum thread by clicking here or download the set directly here.

A Successful Outing

TenYearsGone hosted a successful 'Airship Tour' of SW City in Alphaworld this evening... screenshots courtesy of Bach Zhaa can be found on the forums.  TYG has been trying to get this going for a few weeks and finally got a good turnout of ~15 today, which is really strong for a tour. :)

I was doing some other things (read: steam games) on my laptop when I got a PM from an AW friend to come in and join in on the tour, if that gives you any indication of how hoppin' it was on the ship. Followed them up on it and ended up having a good visit with friends.

I'll keep tabs on these and tag them on our noticeboard as they come up in the future!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Alphaworld Builders: Shear/Skew Petition

Shear/Skew have been disabled since the v4 rights bot stopped working, which has been troublesome for many builders who make use of the features for applications such as shearscaping (landscaping with shear/skew to easily manipulate 'terrain') and general building.  A poll has started in the AW Forums and has gotten some really good discussion going (including an excellent post by Byte) about the value of these commands and what a great asset they are to Alphaworld builders.

I'd like to join them in these remarks as I've personally used shear on a number of occasions in Alphaworld and AWTeen and the mathematic precision in producing angles is second-to-none.  Its much, much better than using three-axis rotation techniques and by using shear I've been able to streamline efforts in landscaping and construction projects, such as the Legacy Bridge in AWTeen.

Though I'm sure AWI Support would be more than happy to help you with shear/skew rights on an individual basis if you contacted them... I think it would be easier for everyone if these were just turned on by default. :)