Monday, January 21, 2008

Here, Primmy, Primmy: Finding Lost Objects [Levels 1-4]

Some things in Second Life are invisible—but there are tools you can use to see them!


Level 1

Hit the CTRL-ALT-T keys (CMD-ALT-T on the Mac) simultaneously and invisible things will become visible. You will see transparent (alpha) textures, particles, and other things that are ordinarily hidden from view. Like ghosts (just kidding). They will show in red; if there are a lot of invisibles, you may be looking at the world through a red haze.

Hitting CTRL-ALT-T again will turn off HIGHLIGHT TRANSPARENT. (This is called a toggle because it works like a light switch: toggle on, toggle off, toggle on, toggle off.)

HIGHLIGHT TRANSPARENT is handy for finding lost objects (ever rez something and lose it from inventory, hear that rez sound but couldn’t find it? Chances are it’s there, just out of sight and reducing your prim count. Click on items hidden in the red fog and look at their names until you find the one you are looking for.



Chey’s Funny Highlight Transparent Story

Just about a year ago, when Cheyenne was still new to Second Life, a particularly obnoxious neighbor agreed to sell her his 5k plot. She found herself standing on the property with the neighbor and a Dreamland agent, negotiating the deal.

Somehow, Chey had accidentally hit the key combination that turned on Highlight Transparent. As she was standing there conducting business, her neighbor’s certain Xcite! body part was clearly erect and visible, and she could not, despite frantic IMs to Exuberance, manage to turn it off. She was laughing so hard she was barely able to hit the Pay button to complete the deal.

You can read about it here.


A Word to the Wise

When created, very object is named, uh, Object. It’s wise to change that to a distinct name, and the sooner the better! That will make it easier to identity when you relocate it—and if worse comes to worst and you go on a serious prim hunt with one of Second Life’s many prim finder gadgets, the prim finder will be looking for Xubi’s Mechanical Robotic Extensible Steam-Powered Replacement Right Arm and not one object named Object in a field of hundreds with the same name.


Objects Hiding In Contents of Other Objects

Level 2

Golly gee, Chey and Xubi, I used Highlight Transparent, but my object didn’t turn up. Whatever can I do?

Glad you asked, grasshopper. And that’s Xubi and Chey. Read on.

Occasionally (and we’re not quite sure how), an object will, instead of rezzing, be placed in the contents of another object. Floors are especially bad about this. So when we lose an object and it doesn’t show with Highlight Transparent, we take a quick look in the contents of the prim or prims on which the lost object was rezzed.

To do that, open the EDIT menu on the objects nearby the place of rezzing. Click the tab that reads CONTENTS, and see if your object is there. With luck, it may be!

It has happened to us!

If you find your object, drag it back into your inventory. You can then re-rez it.


Objects Hiding Inside the Physical Space of Another Object

Level 3

Every move a picture close to a wall, only to have it disappear inside? Don’t you just hate it when that happens?

If your lost object is still selected in Edit, you may be able to rescue it by dragging it to a new location. But what if you’ve lost focus on the object? It’s stuck inside that stupid wall, and you just can’t get to it to move it!

In most cases your object will not be inside the wall’s contents; it will merely be inside the physical space of the wall.

One way to retrieve your lost object is to simply move the wall—even if it’s the wall of an entire house! With the wall out of your way you can grab your lost prim and move it into the clear. Then you can put the wall back in place.

Second Life’s Undo function makes this easy. When you want the wall back in place, simply select it by right clicking and choosding Edit, and then choosing Undo. It should snap back in position.

Hint: if Undo doesn’t work, be sure the focus is on the object. We usually just close and reopen Edit.

Chey distrusts Undo, so she moves objects a specified number of meters in one direction or another—usually 10 meters higher; she simply adds 10 meters to the Z position. When she has retrieved her lost prims, she lowers the object back into place by subtracting 10 meters. Be careful, though; if you mistype the position, your object may wind up anywhere between 0 and 770 meters! For this reason, Chey has learned not to hit Enter after changing the Z position. Instead, she just clicks somewhere else in the Edit menu. If she has made a mistake, she may be able to get the object back by typing its original position in the Z field.

Oh, but great sages, what if the object my prim is trapped inside doesn’t belong to me? What can I do about THAT?

If you know the object’s owner personally, he or she will come and move it for you. If you don’t, you can IM the owner and ask. Most people in Second Life try to be helpful. You will find the owner’s name in Edit, General tab.

Many landowners have their parcels set to autoreturn the objects of others. If so, you will sooner or later get a message that your object has been returned to your Lost and Found folder in inventory..

There IS another option. It’s a Level 3 technique, maybe even Level 4, but we will reveal it now. You may thank us with everlasting reverence and loyalty.

You can use Camera Control to manipulate your view so your camera is inside the physical space of object that has trapped yours. If you can manage that, you will see and can select your object. Once selected, you can drag it to safety.


Select by Surround

Level 3

If your object is still lost, there yet hope. Go to the Tools menu and turn on Select by Surround. Also turn on Select Only My Objects. Click on an object and then hold Shift down and draw a box around it. This will show all your objects inside the box’s boundaries. If you see your lost prim, right click and select it and you can rescue it.

Be careful, though, and make sure only the desired prims are selected; otherwise you’ll move everything that is selected.

We’ve done that!


Playing with Rendering

Level 4

If you’re a god or goddess of Second Life, accomplished with camera control and the interface, this may be the technique for you!

Think your object may be underground? Go to the Client Menu, Rendering Submenu, Types SubSubmenu, and turn off Ground. The terrain will disappear and you can see what, if anything, is under it.

If Highlight Transparent isn’t working because you’re near a waterfall, fountain, or smokestack, turn off Particles (same submenu). Most of the red haze will disappear and you can more easily see your object.

You can also turn on Wireframe, which will reduce the entire world to a colorful set of outlines. Perhaps you can spot your object that way.


So adieu for now, and good luck with that lost prim!

1 comment:

Tycho Beresford said...

I had lost a prim, and was hoping to find help here to find it.

Let's say your best friend is designing a residential-type bar, and wants some 1-prim bar-stools to go with it. Furthermore they want people seated upon those stools to be able to turns like on the stools at the Blarney Stone. So you rez a single prim, maybe a flat torus, to use as a sample single-prim seat and start scripting.

You get to where you think it's ready to test, so you sit on the prim and try to turn. Some kind of way all the Xs, Ys and Zs get all obfuscated and discombobulated and you find yourself sitting sideways somewhere way, way up in the sky. Your first concern might be to get safely back to the ground, so you jump off (of course you always keep a parachute handy!) As soon as you jump you realize that you probably shouldn't leave this torus abandoned in the airways as it would be a navigation hazard to jetliners and high-flying avatars. Turn and twist as you might, you are not able to grab the torus to bring it down with you.

So my question is, once you are on the ground, and you know you have a prim way up in the air somewhere, is there a quick and easy way to retrieve it? Something other than flying patterns across the sim at gradually-increasing altitudes?

This is a rhetorical question, really. A kind and benevolent and perfectly-coutoured soul happened upon it and returned my prim to me. What a glorious homecoming that was! Another hero of the metaverse helped me with my script, so now it's all ready to drop in the stools as soon as Iso finishes with them.