Thursday, July 31, 2014

Keep your inventory under control (Part 5)

This article was published in Fusion Magazine, July 2014. Click for the magazine!

Greetings everybody! We've talked about boxing (using boxes to store our items), and even using notecards when packing our inventory, in order to make the total count of items go down.

There are some specialized items that will allow us to use some assets, even if they are packed: pose HUDs and texture organizers, to mention a couple of examples. This is extremely useful: while some of our assets are packed, we can still use them as if they were unpacked.

So what are these interesting tools we've mentioned?

A texture organizer, for example, is an object that will allow us to browse the textures we put in it, not needing to have the textures unpacked in inventory: when we need one, we just click on it in the organizer, and it will deliver us a copy. We use it, and delete it when we're done: it will still be in the organizer... and if we're extra-careful packing, in a backup box. (If we're extra-extra-careful, we'll also make a copy of the texture organizer. Things happen all the time.)

What features would be nice in a texture organizer?

As many categories as possible, ability to label the categories as we wish, search function, remove duplicates function, rezzable and HUD at the same time. Extra bonus if it recognizes sounds and animations. This is a tool particularly useful for builders and designers in SL.

A pose HUD is also a very helpful tool, especially if you are into SL photography (if you plan to be a blogger, you will need this). We may have in each of our pose HUDs thousands of poses that don't need to be unpacked in our inventories, and browse them easily, selecting which one we want to use at any moment.

What features would be interesting on a pose HUD?

Again, as many categories as possible, ability to label categories, search... but also, facial expressions, eye movement, ability to make at least one more avatar to pose. Perhaps we don't find all these together in a single HUD. If that's the case, know that there's a free HUD that will allow you to control facial expressions and eye movement, if you don't find an all-in-one that is within your budget. Look in Marketplace for Anypose Expression.

Texture organizers and pose HUDs will have a specific requirement: Do not add a no-copy asset. This is for technical reasons, but it is also important to bring it up, because we have to be really aware of the following fact:

If we drop just one no copy asset into just one box of a big linked object, the whole object is going to turn into no copy in inventory, and this is a risk. I would suggest packing no copy items separately, to avoid the risk of losing one of our packing boxes because of SL eating no copy items. Keep an eye when packing, because at times it's a no copy ad (texture) among all the copy/no transfer items, or a no copy alpha layer... and just that will make your packing box quite vulnerable to a SL mishap.

We'll continue in the next issue, with the last part of this series: Appliers and outfits. We're almost done!

Enjoy your SL.

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