Difference between revisions of "Skybox"

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== What's a skybox? ==
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In Second Life, a '''skybox is exactly what it sounds like: a building in the sky'''.
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Skyboxes are as varied in appearance as ground structures: they range from simple work platforms which aren't technically boxes (for building, photography, and other focused activities) to elaborate houses (like castles in the clouds!) and even whole malls. Also, places that feel natural "in the air", like space stations, could be considered skyboxes within Second Life's [[culture]].
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{{KBnote|"Skybox" is most commonly spelled as a single word, although some write "sky boxes".}}
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<gallery widths=320px heights=320px perrow=2>
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File:4597277377_433ed5e9d8_o.jpg|A minimalist, elegant skybox by maclane Mills
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File:3431138779_3c4264feb7_o.jpg|A distinctively curved design by Trin Trevellion
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File:4616809636_13843663f0_o.jpg|Exodi, floating sky store
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File:4987038456_5455ff3935_o.jpg|Some prefab skyboxes include matching furniture
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</gallery>
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== How can I get a skybox? ==
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You can, as with just about everything else in Second Life, build your own. Here's a video tutorial showing how to place objects in the sky:
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: {{KBvideo|sAGnG63TdJg|640|385|type=youtube}}
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{{KBcaution|As shown in the video, "{{xref|rez}} a cube and sit on it" may not work if the region you're in uses a "terrain extender", due to [https://jira.secondlife.com/browse/SVC-3811 this bug].}}
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If you'd prefer the convenience of a "prefab" skybox, there's a '''[http://bit.ly/d2Uc6F special "Sky Boxes" category on the Marketplace]''' and you can also '''[http://bit.ly/cE2ulW search for skyboxes]''', as many aren't in that category (yet). The same means shown above can be used to get up there and place the skybox.
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== How high can a skybox be? ==
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As shown in the [[Limits|limits list]], the build height is 4,096 m. However, the base of even a very high skybox will likely be placed below that (for example, 4,000 m), allowing for room to be built upwards in case the owner wants to add an extra floor or other expansions.
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Skybox heights typically start at 500 m. The "classic clouds" layer is at about 150-225 m, although [[classic clouds|this can be locally disabled]]. Since terrain height can vary, check different perspectives to see if your skybox can be seen from the ground. '''Draw distance''' (found in '''Me''' menu > '''Preferences''', then click '''Graphics''' tab) also affects how far you can see.
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{{KBtip|Since the unassisted fly height of avatars is around [[Limits|150 m above terrain]], you'll need a scripted gadget to fly higher. Try searching the Marketplace for "[http://bit.ly/9lgJuj flight feather]" or "[http://bit.ly/csWhfY flight script]". Also, in your skybox, make a landmark using '''World''' menu > '''Landmark This Place''' so you can easily return. In the vastness of the sky, it can be frustrating to find a "lost skybox".}}
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== Why bother? ==
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Since avatars can fly in Second Life and placing objects in the air isn't affected by gravity (unless you choose to enable physics on them), making use of vertical space is very popular for several reasons, including:
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# '''Privacy''' - It's less likely for both text and voice chat to be heard when it's hard to get to where you are. (Although IMs, instant messages, can be a better option since they can't be snooped on by proximity.) New Residents and casual passerby are less likely to look thousands of meters upwards. Part of this is because there's a built-in fly height limit (also shown on the [[Limits|limits list]]), which can be bypassed with a scripted "flight assist" gadget, but is otherwise a default restriction. A skybox doesn't guarantee privacy, however, and at most is a casual deterrent. Use the tools in '''World''' menu > '''Place Profile''' to restrict parcel and region access.
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# '''Performance''' - What's in the sky is a lot less dense than what's on the ground. When less things need to be rendered, performance improves. Also, lack of visual clutter can help someone focus on a creative task, not unlike how [http://www.techmalaya.com/2009/02/07/full-screen-text-editor-blogger/ distraction-free text editors have become popular].
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# '''Immersion''' - Some Residents have figured out clever ways to create the illusion of a self-contained environment by putting a build inside a textured, giant sphere. Such a sphere (or a cube) could be used on the ground as well, but depending on your neighbors, it could be courteous to change the exterior texture to transparent, in order to avoid adding to "visual noise". (If you live under a {{xref|covenant}}, check to see that either sky or ground placement — or both — are permitted before proceeding.) A variation on this are skyboxes that have textures on the windows that simulate city landscapes and other "fake" environments to better control the experience.
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<gallery widths=320px heights=320px perrow=2>
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File:4604986523_667c315f3d_o.jpg|A texture is projected onto the window to make it look like the outside world is prettier
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File:3458032368_32ef25dbf0_o.jpg|"Baked" shadows add cohesion to the outside cityscape
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File:4118385703_1d8d025e86_o.jpg|Deshima space station is wrapped in a giant colored sphere which provides this background
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File:3821274922_c4c991b31a_o.jpg|An outside view showing these stores in their own sphere "world"
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</gallery>
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== What else should I know? ==
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There are special considerations to building in the sky:
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* '''You should only build on land you own or otherwise are allowed to''' (feel free to practice in a [[sandbox]]). Don't leave "sky litter" on someone else's property.
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* '''Check if skyboxes are allowed by the local {{xref|covenant}},''' or if there are certain restrictions. For example, the [[Linden Lab Official:Linden_Home/Covenant#Linden Home Restrictions|Linden Home Covenant]] doesn't allow skyboxes. Private estates may or may not allow them, or have minimum and or maximum heights for skyboxes.
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* '''Don't let your skybox overlap onto adjacent parcels.''' It's hard to tell where one parcel ends and another begins since property lines are only visible on ground terrain, so watch the navigation bar at the top of the Viewer window — as you walk or fly around, if the parcel name changes to another, you'll know you're past the borders.
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* You may also wish to right-click the navigation bar and check '''Show Coordinates''' so you can '''see  exactly where you are''', including height.
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*: [[File:Show_Coordinates.png]]
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== See also ==
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* '''[http://blogs.secondlife.com/community/community/tnt/blog/2010/10/07/guide-whats-a-skybox Blog post and Resident discussion about skyboxes]'''
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* Alternate usage: [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skybox_(video_games) "skybox" in other 3D environments] commonly means a simple construct to simulate skies.
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Latest revision as of 08:10, 6 December 2011

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