Spaced out

Wide margins are a good thing. Back in the days when i could be found backstage at the theatre most days of the week, there were two golden rules of stagecraft, the first was ‘never, ever cut anything smaller unless you absolutely have to’; the second – a corrollary to the first – was, ‘if you absolutely have to cut something, always cut on the waste side of the line, (and try not to be a complete muppet!)’. This was sound commonsense, particularly if you didn’t want to needlessly waste precious materials, wanted things that fitted together properly, and were keen to avoid attracting the ire of stage managers on the warpath! They are rules that have served me well throughout life, although some might say that i’ve taken them to heart perhaps a little to excess.

Cutting on the waste side of the line, thereby allowing myself a decent margin for error has become a bit of a mantra for me, but my margins for error tend to be on the, er… generous side.

According to my WordPress dashboard, i’ve used up 29% of my allotted space – every time i see that message, i get a little panicky… in my mind, im rapidly running desperately short of space and well on my way to the oblivion of ‘upgrading’ – netspeak for ‘paying for’ – the blog. No matter how much i tell myself that – at my current output – i’ve still enough space to last until the tail end of 2016, the panic still sets in on a regular basis. Stay calm… stay focussed… pour more wine.

This is the cause of my amazing hard drive escalation syndrome – every time that i see that properties’ pie-chart beginning to show a meaningful segment of gobbled-up bytes, my bottom  lip begins to tremble and a trip to the PC-monger’s quaint little shoppe starts to loom. My current capacity is hovering somewhere around just under 3TB, (which doesn’t even include the countless gigs of portable drives, backup-backup drives, memory cards and goodness knows what else is lurking in dark corners), and i’d guess that pretty much half of that is empty! i still get twitchy about running out of space though – there must be a more re-assuring option. Please don’t tell me i should upload it all to The Cloud either, i’d rather stick rusty, blunt pins in my eyes than trust the interweb with my precious data – to me, it feels like trusting Linden Lab with the contents of my inv. – although, in that regard i have no choice in the matter.

Little wonder then that i tend to operate in a similar fashion in sl. Historically, i’ve always tried to be frugal with both my prims and the space that i inhabit, although – perhaps inevitably – the moment always seems to come when a decision needs to be made: cut back; stop bloating; or, find room to grow into. Until recently, the latter of those options has ultimately been the way forward for me – sometimes, i find it hard to believe that the very first place i could call my own ‘home’ was a single motel room, at first limited to just 25 prims! Since then, it’s been a long but satisfying process of growth and expansion, although for infinitely boring and practical reasons, it has to stop somewhere: Which is where option 2 – stop bloating – has to come into play.

That’s not to say i haven’t always been careful with my primmage and how i utilise the space available to me, because i’ve always tried to get the most bang for my buck – but time and progress continue their relentless march onwards, constantly evolving to provide fresh and new opportunities for snipping a prim or two here, reducing scripts there and generally cutting the cost of SLiving, elsewhere. It didn’t taking me long after the rollout of mesh, for example, to discover the joys of turning prims into convex hulls whenever i had the opportunity – oh the joy of halving the land impact of some of my creations, without all that tedious messing about that proper building entails! Now, with the introduction of the all-new Havok physics engine – an appropriate nomenclature, if ever there was one – and the possibility of new land impact calculations plunging the Grid into a virtual Dark Ages, (believe me, if a Linden says everything is fine, it’s a bit like Michael Fish telling us the weather will be fine –  it’s a dead cert that all hell will soon break loose!), i thought it high time to see what else i could give the convex hull treatment.

Well, it turns out, not a lot – all of the simple stuff had already been sorted and when it comes to convex hulls, it’s not the sort of thing to rush into willy-nilly… take the 4-prim sofa that, after being zapped, turned into a monstrous 42 prims! Convex Hell! Steer clear of tori, tortured prims and anything remotely exotic, or pay the price, i’m afraid. Similarly, even simple shapes can exhibit unexpected behaviours, if you’re not careful – hollowed cubes and path cut doorways can become rather annoyingly solid when given the hull treatment.

My advice? Test everything thoroughly and always make a backup copy first, if you don’t want to see your masterpiece become a disaster.

There i go again: leaving margins for error and cutting on the waste side! Ah well, i guess a leopard can’t change its spots.

s. x

 

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