MUVE Location – The Particle Laboratory
For my second location I chose the Particle Laboratory. As I stated in my previous post I am interested in the building side of Second Life. So to me this is only a natural place to visit if you want to learn more about the use of Particles within Second Life. The Particle Laboratory provides you with tutorials on how to do some basic scripting and how to use particle effects within Second Life.
The Particle Laboratory is located in the Teal region and the SLurl is: (http://slurl.com/secondlife/Teal/180/74/21). The Particle Laboratory was made and is maintained by Jopsy Pendragon who has obviously been very dedicated in bringing this valuable resource to the Second Life community.
When you arrive at the landmark location you are not actually at the Particle Laboratory yet but really at the central location to where you can navigate throughout the Teal region. To get to the Particle Lab you can either take one of the nifty air balloons and enjoy some scenic views along the way or just click the giant red arrow with what looks like a laser beam coming out of it. Either way these will both get you up to the Particle Lab which is an island up in the sky.
When I first came into view of the island itself I was quite amazed. It looks just like a chunk of land has been forcefully ripped out of the ground and floated up into the air to where it now finds its residence. The bits that look like chunks of ground still attached to the bottom of the buildings are all made out of sculpted prims and different textures have been applied to them to get the desired effects. The rest of the floating island seems to be made out of just basic prims as well of course as some particle effects in the display examples. For some reason I had issues with some of the scripts within the Particle Lab not working, for example when trying to get notecards from each tutorial nothing would happen on the touch event. Also the balloon ride wasn’t working for me as it did the first time I came here :(.
Once I made it to the actual Island itself for the first time, I must say that I was a bit overwhelmed and kind of abandoned ship at that point. It looked to me like there was just so much stuff and it all looked too complex for my skill set at that time. But after coming back again determined to have a look around I found that it wasn’t that bad after all. The Particle Lab is laid out with arrows on the floor showing you which direction to go and the lessons range from easy to hard. When you come to each lesson there is a breakdown of the components to get the desired result. Each display also has the script that makes the particles do their thing. This means that even if you don’t know how to script or program you can still work with the basic scripts that are provided for you. I assume there is a notecard system in place that breaks down each lesson further, but for me none of the touch events were working so this is just speculation from me at this point.
Scattered around the platform are a series of notice boards that have relevant information to the lesson and some generic information on how particle effects work within Second Life. I guess these are a replacement for the seemingly not working notecard system as they do contain some of the breakdowns for the lessons.
There is also a couple of small sandbox area’s set aside for you to test out your new found knowledge on particles. In the middle sandbox area there is a number of particle templates for you to grab and use while you practice. However once again for me none of them seemed to be working for me and I was unable to get any templates from them… Perhaps it is a case of n00bitis on my part.
The Particle Lab doesn’t just cover the use of particles. On the lower levels there is the start to some scripting tutorials. At the moment it states that the exhibit is still a rough draft so in the future it may contain more detailed information. So for the moment I think I will stay away from the scripting tutorial there and just look more at the small scripts that make the particles work.
So what are my impressions of the Particle Laboratory? I would have to say I am pretty impressed (apart from the touch events not working) and think that once I get better at building or have some ideas about some particle effects that I would like to use I will definitely be coming back here. Also after you get over the initial WOW factor it is easy to follow from tutorial to tutorial and the breakdowns are very good. So much like the Ivory Tower Library of Primitives I think this is a valuable resource for all the building enthusiasts within the Second Life community.