Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Automatic Writing

Oh goodness me, so many things that I've been building recently, I just don't know where to start, but I'll begin with my growing interest in the production of automata. I think of it as my way of giving something back to Second Life when I'm not there to "entertain" people with my "sparkling" personality and "ready wit".


First of all I continued work on Delilah, my "obedient proxy". Delilah is a mostly conical creation whose main purpose is to allow me to explore SL to an extremely limited extent while I'm not even there. Over email, she can be told target positions to go to, a height to hover at, a speed to move at, and also to say or shout messages from me - this uses similar code to the Touring Vehicle that I have mentioned previously, just with a different interface. She will feed back information about any speech that she has heard and, if asked, data on which avatars have entered or left her local area. I have set her to travel across the grid in my absence and hover around listening to people's irrelevant chat, which was not particularly enlightening.

The problem with Delilah is latency. llEmail (for her to feed back) has a twenty second timeout, and I don't really want to have my inbox filled with every event that occurs around her in any case, so responding to any chat in a timely manner is practically impossible. Some sort of XMLRPC interface might work, with a web page that I could log into and see updates whenever I felt like it, but that's rather a lot of effort for someone who knows only the basics of how XMLRPC works. At the moment, poor Delilah must be considered a flawed creation.

My next automaton was an aerial mobile guardian - a spherical machine with two main modes, "watching" and "chasing". In "watching" mode the guardian waits, spinning slowly, until someone approaches within a set distance. At that point it enters "chasing" mode, moving to a set distance away from that person and opening fire with the two cannon mounted on its sides. The guardian uses llSetPos rather than moving physically so is immune to pushing effects, though I should really fix this to make it work physically - I'm afraid that I was lazy, and llSetPos is so less fraught with problems than real physical movement.

However, through my contact with other members of the steampunk movement, for example Professor Jefferson Gould, I have learnt to take more care with the appearance and animation of my creations, and I am quite proud not only of the actual structure but also of the action of the cannon, which eject brass shell casings and the barrels of which recoil. Pictures to follow.


I have been doing other things but frankly, I'm getting so behind on this that it's not worth me trying to remember everything. As well as that I am not logged in anyway. This blog was originally intended to be a proper scripting diary, and I should post more frequently, bad Ordinal. I'll mention things if I they come to mind in future.


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