Actor Director System
The Animazoo Actor Director System (ADS) allows machinima makers precise control over the movement of an avatar from one standing position to another. This page contains full instructions on using the Actor Director System, links for places to purchase and a demo movie.
The Actor Director System is simple to configure and use via the menu system. The ‘Start Point’ is the disc prim with an arrow and the letter ‘S’ and the end point or ‘Target’ is marked with the letter ‘T’.
The ADS gives a director complete control over a standing to walking to standing action sequence where the three animations, Stand 1, Walk and Stand 2 are played in sequence.
ADS has contains an algorithm for adjusting the speed, distance and / or time of the walk, making it ideal for a variety of situations where it’s important to fix the speed, distance and / or time taken.
- Rez the system. If you are asked for permission to link objects then click yes, this is necessary
- Right Click the Start Point and select Action! – your avi will go into the ‘Stand 1′ position
- Click the Start Point and select ‘Go’ from the dialog. Your avi will start walking
That’s it! Your avi will walk to the Target point then start playing the ‘Stand 2′ animation.
If you click the Start Point you will get the Main Menu (above). The main menu allows you to:
- ‘Go’: Start the avi walking
- ‘Start’: Set the avi back in the start position
- ‘Show’: Show the Start Point / Target
- ‘Hide’: Hide the Target / Start Point
- ‘Settings’: Access settings to make adjustments
- ‘Help’: View these help pages on the web
Tip: By using the ADS’s chat channel number you can use all the menu commands by shouting or saying in the chat channel: e.g. saying /30Menu will open up a new menu and /30Go will start the avi walking.
Setting the initial postion (Start)
The Start Point is positioned using the standard SL build tools. The Target is then set by rotating the Start Point and by setting the distance from the Start Point. This section tells you how.
- Once the Start Point is in a suitable position, click it to display the Main Menu and select ‘Show’. The Target will appear in front of the Start Point* and arrows will form a particle beam between the Start Point and the Target.
- The Target’s distance can be set using the menu, and the Target’s rotation can be set using the standard SL build tools.
* The Target will only appear if the set distance is below 27 metres. See the System Limitations section for more details.
Setting the end postion (Target)
- From the Main Menu, click Settings, then select Distance on the Settings Menu.
- Select keep ‘speed’ constant on the next dialog (if displayed)
- Move the Target to the desired ending position by using the menu buttons and by rotating the Start Point. Providing you are close enough to the Start Point, it is also possible to set the distance by clicking the ‘Say’ button and then saying the distance.
Speed, distance and time
‘Speed equals distance divided by time’ – Sir Issac Newton
The speed, distance and time of the walk are related. Changes made to one will affect another. However, it is possible to change one and make sure it only affects one of the other parameters, not both – e.g:
Option 1: Change distance, but keep speed fixed – so time changes as the distance is changed Option 2: Change distance, but keep time fixed – so speed changes as the distance is changed
Selecting which option is made easy by the ADS. Simply select the parameter you want to change in the Settings menu (Speed, Distance or Time) and the ADS will ask you which of the other two parameters you want to remain constant – see below.
In this way you can make sure you only adjust the parameter you want.
In summary – each of the three basic walk parameters, speed, distance and time, are accurately adjustable through the Settings Menu, and all three have the option of choosing which other two to keep constant when adjustments are made.
Other Commands and Options
Walk Type allows you to select the walk type from one of the four preprogrammed types:
Slow Walk Walk Jog Run
Each type has an associated animation, speed and time set initially from the Configuration file in the Start Point prim. The individual walk type’s speed and time values can be adjusted using the Settings Menu.
Status gives you the details of the current configuration.
Imports the settings from the Configuration Notecard. Importing overwrites the current settings.
The current configuration is pasted into the chat window in a form that can be directly copied and pasted in the Configuration notecard. The notecard is then saved and can be re-imported at any time.
Very occasionally, the ADS script can get corrupted by an unforeseen set of circumstances. Should the ADS stop functioning properly, the system can be ‘rebooted’ by clicking down on the Start Point and holding the mouse button down for 10 seconds. The system will restart when the mouse button is released.
Configuration from notecard
Certain parameters can only be adjusted using the notecard:
Animations – Each of the slow walk, walk, jog, run, stand 1 and stand 2 animations are configured by placing a copy of the animation inside the Start Point, and setting the name of the animation in the Configuration file. See ‘Configuration notecard format’ section below for more details.
Waist Height – Sets how far above the sit point is the avi’s waist. Can be used to ‘bury’ the Stand Point underground, or even put it above the avis, giving puppet-like control over a scene.
Frame Rate – Setting the frame rate enables a trade off between walk smoothness and sim lag caused by script. The higher the frame rate, the more lag the script will cause, but the smoother the walks will run. Values of 10 to 15 have neen found not to be too taxing on sim resources.
Chat Channel: The ADS uses this value for it’s chat channel. If you are using multiple ADS in close proximity (20m or less) you will need to chose different chat channel numbers for each ADS. Avoid using channel 0 or 1.
To change these parameters, open the notecard from the Starting Point’s inventory and adjust as necessary. Once you have made your changes, save the notecard. Then open the Settings Dialog from the Start Point’s Main Menu and chose ‘Import’.
Tip: Importing new settings will overwrite any settings made since the last import, so you may want to Export your settings before adjusting any of the above.
The Configuration notecard uses the following format:
Parameter description : parameter 1 , (parameter 2)
Each line describes the parameter, then gives the parameter. In the case of the walking animations, a second parameter is given for the walk time. The walk time is how long the walk will take to cover the distance given on the first line.
Walk Slow: drunk walk 1 ,21
Walk: male walk 1 ,10
Jog: MAO2 Jogging ,2
Run: male run 1.0 ,2
Stand 1: male standing 5
Stand 2: male standing 2
Chat channel: 15
Frame Rate: 15
Avi waist height:
Tip: Make sure you don’t leave a blank line at the top when saving the Configuration file.
Tip: The 3rd to 7th lines contain animation names for the various walks and stands.
The system has a number of limitations, mainly due to LSL scripting constraints:
1) If the camera is fixed on the avi, the display becomes shaky. This is due to LSL script frame update limitations.
2) The Target prim is not shown when the distance is over 27 metres. Although not visible over 27 metres, the Target will still continue to function and the particle beam will still show the direction.
3) When tested, the timing was found to be accurate to around 10mS on a walk of 30 metres and 15mS on a walk of 10 metres.
4) First reported November 2011 – some region types have a bug in the llTimer event whereby the timer event is seriously and significantly delayed. This is an SL bug, and caused the avi to never reach the target. A workaround has been implemented whereby the avi does reach the target in a time longer than was specified. In the event that this bug manifests, the owner is notified of the problem once the avi reaches the target. This may or may not be due to one of the following (click link to see Jira page):
- Q) What is the maximum walk distance?
- A) The maximum recommended walk distance is around 100m. Although the system has been tested to 362m (diagonal across a sim), the walking pace could not be relied upon to be consistent.
- Q) Why does the Target marker disappear at 27m?
- A) Because ADS uses prim linking and unlinking to accurately and reliably show the Target, the system is limited by the capabilities of the SL prim linking system.
- Q) Why does the avi unsit every time the Target is hidden?
- A) If the actor is seated and the ‘hide target’ button is pressed, the actor is unseated because the Target prim is unlinked. This is unavoidable – unlinking prims will always unsit an avatar – see http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/LlBreakLink
- Q) How accurate is the speed / distance / time stuff?
- A) All the internal calculations use server time instead of script time, as server time has been shown to be at least ten times more accurate. Tests have shown that over a 30 metre walk, the timing error was typically in the region of just 10 mS.