Thursday, July 31, 2014

Introducing the Artiste Thrower

The Artiste Thrower

The Artiste Thrower is one of 150 features of the Artiste Suite of products. It is so special and sophisticated that it has its own manual and Palette submenu. It also has its own notecard for adjusting about 50 parameters. You can also adjust many of the parameters quickly and retest your changes using the [THROWER] Palette submenu.

Up until now, the only throwers you could involve yourself with are the mouselook-games type throwers. Problem with them as they relate to shows is that they are manual and not programmable nor customizable, you cant see your animation during the throw and some don't even have animations. They have manual power meters that you would have to repeat for dependable outcomes with the consistent accuracy. Some use range-detection to trigger the handoff which doesn't allow for a more precise handoff  that can be accomplished with more precision by using 'another method'.

Benefits of the Artiste Thrower:

1 - No mouselook. Third-Party POV.
It DOES NOT use MOUSELOOK like all of the action-throwers in current products
available in SL.  You always can see all of the throw. The Artiste Thrower offers TRUE GRAVITY-based RL throw. You see the throw and its animation during a throw and are not
confined to a mouse-look view which masks the automation, if used, from the person using the thrower. NO show-time power-ramping. NO hidden extended-arm solution.

2 - Reliability and Consistency
Speed, direction, and many other throw-related characteristics are hard-fixed via notecard parameters for repeatability and reliability.

3 - Interoperability
Because a "throw" can be triggered to occur at very specific times, you can integrate it with other time-based Artiste HUD actions as well as other Palette actions that require tight synchronization.

4 - Configurability
Unlike current throwers whose only parameters are usually limited to a manual 'power-up' and gravity on/off, the Artiste Thrower has over 50 customizable features to tailor your throws for show-time use that specifically caters to the unique requirements of live stage performers.

5 - Not Limited to Range Targeting
Unlike current throwers, the Artiste Thrower is not limited to using range to terminate a throw which usually results in wide spacial gaps for unattached-to-attached transfers. While we also offer range as a termination solution, we have found a new method/process we have developed to provide for even closer 'hand-offs' i.e. attaching an inflight object to an avatar.

6 - Non-Avatar-Movement "catching" - ability to simulate the catching of a thrown Palette via using the HUD to sync the animation in the Player Palette with the release of the thrown Palette without using the normal 'move' option of the Player Palette.

7 - Multi-Stage Throwing
We provide for multiple stage throwing to allow for pre-throws and post-throws. Examples might be: Boomerang, dribble-before-shoot, pass-before-shoot, drop-before-kick, catch-and-passback, hike-before-throw, hike-before-kick, pitch-and-bat, ricochets, etc.

8 - Palette Compounding
Because a throw is part of a Palette, you can combine a throw with most of the other features of the Palette. Example: A throw could happen while involved in a 'moving palette' operation or Palette rotation or it could trigger a Topple or Shatter.

9 - Special Features
The Artiste Thrower offers multiple options for:
a - throw-movement
b - throw-rotation
c - throw-triggering
d - throw-targeting
e - throw-inflight behavior
f - throw disposition
g - throw handoff
h - throw-termination
I - special predefined functioning like: boomerang and ricochet

10 - FUN!
It is just plain FUN to use and create with.

Please enjoy the 12 demonstration videos below  to give you a visual of how we've chosen to implement this ability. If you can't wait to see the thrower used in an actual performance then you can watch it here:
STATE OF SHOCK -  Video  - Watch the video ==> or you can watch the videos below in order then save the STATE OF SHOCK video for last as there is another link at the end.

Attachment Based Throwing Video Series

The 1st Video gives a brief overview of the Artiste Thrower

1 - Artiste Thrower Overview - Watch the video ==>
The 2nd video demonstrates 2 basic throws that are detached, (do not originate as an attachment to an avatar) amongst many combinations. You can get an idea of the beauty of true gravity-based throws.

2 - Basic Throws (Unattached) - Watch the video ==>
The 3rd video extends our 1st video by demonstrating:
a) - a thrown palette originating as an attachment to an avatar
b) - a throw timed to release in sync with a release-point in the animation
c) - a targeted landing

3 - Targeting - Watch the video ==>
The 4th video demonstrates some special handling of a thrown object, that of a return flight path to the originator. It introduces the concept of a reverse-throw and that of the 'catch' so it uses 2 animations both timed to sync to the departure and arrival of the thrown Palette. It also has a configurable hover-time and rotation speed to name just a few options.

4 - Boomerang  - Watch the video ==>
The 5th video demonstrates a controlled ricochet effect where 2 targets are used. But we could have used just one of the targets. Either one. notice how the rotation goes from controlled to chaotic...also configurable.

5 - Ricochet - Watch the video ==>
The 6th video demonstrates how Palettes can interact with each other in mid-flight, in this case with both of them moving at the same time but at different rotations, trajectories, and velocities. It takes a bit of experimentation to get the timing right as this is NOT a targeted collision but its effect is none-the-less eerily impressive.

6 - Cruise Missile - Watch the video ==>
The 7th video in this series demonstrates how we can emulate the transfer of energy between multiple thrown Palettes in a very precise method with realistic decreased velocities and a final landing disposition of precise positioning and rotation that could be considered to have story-telling pertinence by its choice of subjects.

7 - Three-Hat-Carom  - Watch the video ==>
The 8th and final video in this 1st (Hat) series demonstrates a matrix-like effect, that of stopping thrown objects suddenly in mid-flight. The key is choosing the right animation(s) and then timing and aligning the "stop". We accomplish much of the timing using the Artiste Performance HUD.

8 - Matrix - Watch the video ==>

Unattached-Based Throwing Video Series

The 1st video in this series (Soccer) demonstrates a detached throw, timing an animated throw(kick) with a detached Palette.

9 - Kick - Watch the video ==>
The 2nd video  demonstrates a 'catch' of a thrown object. The first near-hand reception that "I personally have ever seen in SL" accomplished using our new technique.

10 - Catch- Watch the video ==>
The 3rd video demonstrates how the Artiste Performance HUD can synchronize 2 throw-related functions by synching a 'throw' with its associated 'catch'.

11 - Kick and Catch- Watch the video ==>
And finally our 4th and final video in this series illustrates multiple functions synchronized with each other with the addition to our kick-and-catch...of a "drop"( detach-throw-gravity-only) and return-throw "punt"(2nd detached-throw)

12 - Kick, Catch, Drop, Punt - Watch the video ==>

STATE OF SHOCK -  Video  - Watch the video ==>
This has probably been one of the longest developments that Yummy and I have undertaken.  Some months ago she said to me "Hey I tell you what would make a good routine" and gave me the YouTube link for the song. Little did I know we were starting on an adventure.

The initial set up for it was simple enough...two avatars dancing on a stage and a sort of "dance off" that would be achieved by using the AB function of the sequencer to establish two sequences - sometimes alike and other times very different.  But then the real fun started.

 How could we establish the dialog that the two dancers were "doing solos"?

 I built a simple spotlight around a palette with an animated floor and the whole thing would fade in/out so that the soloist was highlighted.  As well as the animated texture under our feet, they also had the fade and a mover built in, something which would normally have to be covered by three controls. You will also notice that they follow us around, not only in established moves but inside dance moves which is usually impossible.  Finding a way around it took a couple of days of working through ideas until we hit upon one that worked.  In this case, jumping from the palette in the light to an invisible palette.

Of course, once we started using the routine as a development tool there was no stopping us and several "what ifs" later and a lot of palette updates...

There were certain areas where, because I was the one wearing the HUD, I needed to be able to "force" Yummy to adorn something and it wasn't viable, until she came up with a small relay that she could wear that would listen to my HUD for RLV instructions, which came in very useful.

We both love the old hat tricks, so I had to get in the old MJ hat flip and to make sure that it went smoothly she initiated a different adorn feature that allows for a direct swap between objects instead of  strip/adorn ( so yet another option to consider)

Having such a long routine did make us look at ways of making the sequencers more efficient and I think Yummy did this incredibly well.  For a dance that lasts over 5 minutes and no appreciable lag.

So the final question was how to end the routine...and it being a stage production it had to be something with a bang.  I liked the idea of having the speakers blow up at the end (too many Iron Maiden concerts) but at the time Yummy was experimenting with the hat throws and had just introduced me to it.


making the speakers blow up with the hats.

I learned how to use the palette as a particle generator and these were hidden in the speakers..the tricky part was the hat toss. It would take too long to go into the specifics here, but suffice it to say that getting a physical hat to match up with an animation AND to fly at the correct trajectory and speed AND to bounce in the right place....well that was a fun learning experience.  I don't think I have ever laughed so much at a hat even for a Dadaist.  Originally the hats and explosions were timed to each other but in the end we went with the collision to trigger the explosion which worked perfectly.

The great relief was having everything centered around one set of scripts in the hat rather than disparate elements from all over.  THAT would have been a nightmare.  So 12 palettes on the stage all controlled by one HUD.  Sounds a bit like herding cats but actually its very simple. 

All in all,  months of some very hard thinking and planning, but I think we came up with some fantastic solutions to things and as ever it was a great pleasure and honor to work with Yumz.  

Ok what are we doing next??

Aura Fitzgerald

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