UPDATE: I am no longer active in Second Life. If you meet anyone in SL who claims to be me, please ignore them!
Following up on Penny’s recent article on how scale affects content creation and land ownership in Second Life, I recommend another useful article from Penny on how to get better camera placement in the SL Viewer. Just in case you’ve missed the link in the previous article, here is the full follow-up by Penny Patton:
Camera placement is important. In the video game industry this is common wisdom. Game developers spent decades experimenting, improving and pretty much perfecting the art of camera placement in 3D video games.
Unfortunately, the SL camera does not take advantage of any of that experience. As a result, the camera sits way over your avatar’s head, angled down. Not very immersive or engaging. More like you’re watching a character from afar rather than interacting with the world through them.
This has also affected how we build. It’s common knowledge that avatars are generally oversized, often close to 7 or 8′ tall, some pushing almost 9′. And yet, the environments we build and explore are larger still, often fully double scale compared to real life. 5m high ceilings instead of the more typical 2.59, 20x20m rooms instead of 10x10m or 5x5m rooms. We need to build so much larger to compensate for SL’s camera.
Some will point out that you need to compensate for any third person view. This is correct, however with a proper 3rd person view you’d only really be affected by a room as small as about 2x3m, like a bathroom or walk in closet. You’d easily be able to navigate a 5x5m apartment with a typical 2.59m high ceiling.
The irony of all this up-scaling is that it makes SL smaller. We can’t re-size our land to match, afterall, so we either need to buy more or settle for a “smaller” build.
These up-scaled builds also eat more of our allotted prims. A 20x20m room might take 16 prims where the same room done to 10x10m scale takes up only 1/4th the land area and can be done in a mere 6 prims (or even 3 prims if you build as efficiently as possible) because you don’t bump heads with that 10x10x10m prim size limit.
So here you are. Alternate camera settings you can easily enter into the viewer’s debug panel to get a better look at Second Life.
CameraOffsetDefault (In Viewer 1 based viewers, including TPVs like Ascent/Phoenix/Imprudence)
CameraOffsetRearView (In Viewer 2 including TPVs such as Kirstens, Starlight and Catznip)
Y: -0.400 (Make positive for a left shoulder view or keep 0.000 for a centred view.)
FocusOffsetDefault (In Viewer 1 based viewers, including TPVs like Ascent/Phoenix/Imprudence)
FocusOffsetRearView (In Viewer 2 including TPVs such as Kirstens, Starlight and Catznip)
Y: -0.700 (Make positive for a left shoulder view or keep 0.000 for a centred view.)
In addition, Viewer 2.1 on up supports multiple camera presets in the form of “Rear View”, “Front View” and “Side View”. The settings I name above are to overwrite your rear view, which is the default setting SL will always revert to. You can also overwrite the Front and Side views with whatever camera settings you find useful.
To find the other debug settings replace the “RearView” portion of the name with “FrontView” or “GroupView” to alter the front and side view camera presets. In your View window in the SL viewer you can switch between these views with the press of a button.
[View the article on the Second Life Community Forums]