A3 Reflection – MUV601

Initial Design Decisions;

I’m just going to say it now, the planning blog I wrote before starting the build had some over ambitious plans. But in saying that I don’t think that is a bad thing. I have no real previous experience in building on Second Life so I didn’t know how long it was going to take. I had planned in a lot of scripting in the build which would of taken more time than I had. There was some ideas in there, like the timer, that required a good knowledge of scripting to complete which I didn’t have.
My plan however was very in depth with lots of ideas which in the long run helped me a lot. I liked that I was very set on the layout of the maze, even coming up with a design. This helped moving into the build planning. Having all the ideas meant that I could pick the ones I felt progressed the build well and were achievable and implement them effectively.

Build Planning;

I went into the build planning with the idea that I could make the paths through the maze quite large. However I quickly realized that this was not the case as the halfway through testing with the width at 2 meters that it would come out larger that the area I had allocated. This meant that I had to go with the 1 meter wide paths. This had quite a drastic effect on the planning going forward. I do like the final outcome. I think that the maze works just as well as it would have if it had 2 meter paths.
Another thing that happened during the build planning was the design that I came up with in the design stage helped more than I thought it would of. I didn’t notice really when designing the maze but the design is broken up into 25 by 25 little squares. Being able to uses these squares as 1 by 1 meters in Second Life was the a great help. Also sticking to whole numbers in in the build was probably one of the best decisions, as I wouldn’t want to think about trying to build it without the snapping guides.

Building;

As I decided that I was using set sizes as for the build before starting I figured out all the different size bits I would need and built them off to the side. This was a great help during the build. As the maze I was creating was all straight edges I could do this. It meant that I could just shift click and drag and new prim into the correct location in the build. This speed up the build process so much. Building all the prims manually and sizing them would have doubled or even tripled the build time.
I enjoyed the problem solving aspect of this build. There were a number of things that I had never considered before starting, like the flicker of textures if there is a overlap, or how small changes had a big impact, like change the paths from 2 to 1 meter meant that instead of adding different textures to the walls I had to infact make them all black. I also like how the roof is slightly recessed to show the black walls. Looking down from about shows that the maze inside is actually quite complex and almost puts it on show a little. It also means that if you want you can try solve it first before even entering.
I think finishing the maze before building the surrounding objects was a good idea. This was because it meant I had some to base it off and during the maze build it allowed me to develop ideas. There were so many changes to the maze as well that if I had built the surround stuff first, it would’ve ended up being a big clash of ideas.
Thinking about it now to fit in with the theme I should of possibly added in a splash back wall around the build. This could of had a dense forest texture on it. When I finished the build I thought that it was missing some trees or nature so the above idea would’ve possibly solved this problem.

Scripting;

In the design stage I was coming up with ideas of how to make it harder, like having changing textures everywhere and having heaps of doors. But on completing the maze and having not only a resident get lost just three turns in but myself, the builder, getting lost to many times to list, it changed to how can I make this easier. The particle effect I believe achieve this. They don’t make it too easy but keep it achievable. The idea to be able to have the particles turn off and on by the users choice also means that they can challenge themselves.
When scripting the door I jumped in without any real thought to how script might work. I was planning to have it work on a proximity sensor. After spending over 3 hours trying to get it to work to only realize that the doors wouldn’t activate correctly was a bit of a blow. If I had spent some time before hand to work out that it wouldn’t work then I  would of not wasted all that time. But in saying that I will just learn from my mistakes. I had to fall back to the plan of having the doors activated on a button message sender/receiver system.
In hindsight one more thing I should’ve done before starting the scripting was to check what was needed to complete the complex build aspect. At one stage I thought I had finished all the scripting but when I checked that I had every thing I realised that I had only 5 of the 6 need parts. In the end I managed to have everything needed.

Final Thoughts;

I am happy with my build on Second Life. I am not a great designer, I have the ideas but putting them into practice is a little different. But as this is my first build I am pleased with how it turned out. I learnt a lot in a short time, especially about scripting and how simple changes can have a huge effect in the final outcome of a build. If I do another build next time for any major changes I make I will go back and revisit my design to make sure that going forward I can mitigate some future problems.
Overall I’m happy and I would get lost in my own maze again. 🙂

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