Ethos Erlanger's First Virtual Life© Blog

Building in Virtual Worlds

Archive for April, 2009

Why Virtual? – Indeed!

Posted by Ethos Erlanger on April 30, 2009

Keystone Bouchard presents compelling points for the use of virtual worlds to serve architectural clients.


Posted in Second Life, Virtual Architecture | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Why Is It Taking So Long…….? — Now I’m Done!!!

Posted by Ethos Erlanger on April 30, 2009

DONE!!! YAY!!!

I just finished the task of combining the video, music and finally the voiceover narration.  View this tutorial here.

It will be a minimum of 40 minutes to upload the video file to YouTube.  I do hope you enjoy it and send me feedback on my first ever completely original video tutorial. See all my video files on YouTube.


I just added music to the Octagon Construction Tutorial.  This required me to add a short page to the credits at the end of the tutorial.  I am working on another large construction projects and must give it the attention it is due, so videos and blogs are a lower priority.  Regarding the voiceover description for my construction tutorial, I am learning my video tutorial skills with little tiny steps and feel confident the voice will be added soon. Stay tuned.

The video assembly tools are pretty simple to use. I am using Windows Movie Maker. Doing anything for the first time is slow for many people.  I respect those that venture into uncharted waters. I am a cautious explorer except when it come to building.

Posted in Machinima, Transverse Thoughts, Tutorials, Videos on YouTube | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Transverse Thoughts

Posted by Ethos Erlanger on April 30, 2009

I am drawn to ideas that can be applied to both the metaverse and well as the terraverse.

I call these ideas Transverse Thoughts.  This is my use of the word transverse.  Don’t look it up.  It won’t be there with this new meaning.  It is just one of the many new words or meanings of words that creep into the English language every year.  This meaning I want to force with my own gentle pressure into the minds of the world.

The result of this….  is a new category of mine for links over to the right side of the page.   I thought of this word because I needed a suitable category for Torley’s post on his site.  Go see it.  Read it.  Absorb it.  It will do you good.

A variant of this word usage will be Transverse Ideas. I am sure to do some pondering over the subtle difference of what an Idea is that makes it different than a Thought.  Let the pondering begin.

Posted in Transverse Thoughts | 2 Comments »

Making Second Life Tutorials – Get an Alt!

Posted by Ethos Erlanger on April 17, 2009

Making Tutorials in Second Life

Lesson 1 – Get an Alt.

For those new to SL and the metaverse, an alt is a short form for the term “Alternate Avatar”.  The reason you will need one is to prevent Instant Messages (IMs) and Group Notices and Group IMs from appearing on your screen (in your screen capture) and ultimately in your tutorial video recording.

The key to using this alt is to have him or her have no friends and belong to no groups. This is the surest way to prevent IMs and group messages. You simply have no one who knows you to IM you. You could mute all your friends individually and turn off group messages for every group for your primary avatar, but that becomes a great deal of work when you want to be yourself again and RESUME communicating with these friends and groups.

Note: this is not the same as going to full screen and not showing the user interface. To create tutorials that illustrate how to use the Second Life interface or the build window (form), you cannot turn off the interface.  Hope that doublespeak makes sense.

I do not know a way to turn off local chat. To avoid some newbie walking by and asking a question, or walking into my tutorial recording session, I go to a region where I can build and then make a platform at a very high elevation of 2,000 meters. All of this is what I use to avoid having extraneous messages and avatars enter into the video.

More about tutorial  making in later posts.

Posted in Education in Second Life, Tutorials | Leave a Comment »

Creating an Octagon Building in Second Life

Posted by Ethos Erlanger on April 16, 2009


This video is now set to music thanks To the creative artistry of

April 16, 2009

Creating an Octagon Building in Second Life

The true geometric term for this solid object is an octagonal prism.  However, for this discussion, we will simply call it an octagon rather than split hairs over the naming of geometric forms.  This is much the same as the way we describe The Pentagon that houses the United States Department of Defense offices in Virginia. That building should be called a pentagonal prism.  We are not wrong.  We are just builders, not mathematicians.

I have searched for this answer regarding how to build such a building for myself and did not find it.  I have made hexagon (six sided) gazebos and other hexagon houses before.  I have also used this technique for making a ten-sided (decagon) building with a domed roof.  The octagon building is made with the same techniques as any multi-sides building greater than four sides.  Even a four-sided square building can be made using these steps with only one modification.  The angles used to set the walls are dependent on the number of sides.  There are more steps to creating a pitched roof for the octagon building than there are for the walls, and I will cover the process of making roofs in a follow-up tutorial. Floors for these buildings are another matter, but we will focus on the exterior walls for now.

There are scripted tools available in Second Life to position prims, but this tutorial is intended to allow you to build the octagon using only the construction methods available from Linden Labs in their standard SL viewer.

I start by planning the size of the building.  Each of the 8 wall’s length can be made from one or more prims of any size, but I tend to build with walls that have dimensions of whole numbers.  The steps involved do not rely on any measuring, so the wall size would not change the steps involved. There will be 8 walls, each having the same length. Naturally, the wall’s height does not play a factor and the thickness of the walls does not play a factor in the steps that are used to build the octagon.

Let’s choose to use a wall length of 4 meters.  Remember, any wall length will work when a builder uses this method.  Create a prim that has that dimension along either the X or Y axis.  The Z axis (height) can be any value.  Let’s use 0.5 meters for the height. Another step I take when building is to always start with the first major prim at a location on the world building grid that is a whole number.  I take this step due to the tendency of the SL calculations for prim locations and sizes to be impacted slightly by a mathematical rounding error.  This step is not required, but it is a simple standard practice which makes it easy in many cases to check your results by looking at the coordinates of the position of your prims.

1)     Create and position the first wall section.

2)     Set its length to the wall dimension that you want each of the final walls to be as measured from the outside of the building.  I use the word length to mean the measurement along the wall as you face it, such as 8 or 10 meters.  Some other builders might choose the term width for this dimension.  Sometimes the word width can be confused with thickness, and a try to avoid confusion for the reader.

3)     Now, for the purposes of construction only, make the wall thickness twice the value of what you have planned for the final wall thickness.  You may either drag the prim side to make this wall depth, or you may enter it into the object tab of the edit window.  This thickness will be reduced back to the desired wall thickness in the final step.

4)     While in edit mode, set the building grid to Local.

5)     Using the shift-drag technique, create a copy of the first wall and position it at the 50% mark based on the wall’s length.

6)     Rotate this prim 45 degrees around the vertical axis (Z).

7)     Now that this prim is set to the correct angle, move it the final 50% distance so that it is at it’s final position along it’s centerline.

8)     Create the third wall in the same way, using steps 5, 6, and 7.

9)     Repeat this process for each of the remainder of the 8 sides of the octagon.

10)  Now that all 8 prims are set in their places, the last step is to reduce their thickness by dragging the outer face of each wall in towards the center of the octagon. This is still done with the building grid set to Local.  Because we doubled the wall thickness at the beginning in step 3) we will reduce that thickness to 50% of it’s current value now.  This should bring us back to the wall thickness that we decided upon during our planning stage of this process.

I have tested these steps and used them to build a number of multi-sided objects.  If you experience difficulty with these steps, then it is entirely my difficulty in communicating their intent.

Some time soon, I hope to make a video tutorial for these steps which will surely be easier to explain in a visual form.

Posted in Education in Second Life, Tutorials, Virtual Architecture | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Cecilia Delacroix offers art and more to SL citizens

Posted by Ethos Erlanger on April 13, 2009

Cecilia Delacroix

Cecilia Delacroix

There will be many Posts about Cecilia and her work in Second Life.

Her passions are many and varied.  On the surface she is interested in art and artists, music and musicians, photography, wine and coffee. Most of all she is interested in people and good conversation.  A complex, warm and caring person, she offers all of this to the public in second life.

Visit one or more of her parks and museums in Second Life.  More links and photos to come in future posts.

Posted in Art, Friends | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Water Faucet – THE MOVIE

Posted by Ethos Erlanger on April 10, 2009

Well folks, I did it! The first ever Wide Screen HD video made by me in Second Life.

Water Faucet - THE MOVIE

Water Faucet - THE MOVIE

The next big challenge will be music or voice over or both.

Posted in Machinima, Videos on YouTube, Whimsy | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Working on Videos

Posted by Ethos Erlanger on April 10, 2009

Nothing to show this time.

Just more attempts to find the best way to capture, store, and process the video from Second Life to then upload to YouTube so that I can then link to them from this blogsite.

I am trying to do HD widescreen, but it is not working out yet.  I am sure it will come together soon.

I am also hoping that you will all be able to enjoy the HD videos that I am able to capture in SL.

You can see all of Ethos Erlanger’s YouTube Videos even if they are not yet linked to an individual post on this blog.  Or, you may copy/paste this URL into you browser:

Posted in General Information, Machinima, Second Life, Videos on YouTube | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Hylee Bekkers’ work in Second Life

Posted by Ethos Erlanger on April 8, 2009

As you walk along the paths in Shakers Park , you pass the work of Hylee Bekkers. Some of this work is the uniquely lush greenery and trees. Other items are kinetic sculptures.  Near the entry to the park is Strange World 2 (the real one):

Strange World 2 (the real one)

Strange World 2 (the real one)

In the pond you will see Water Juggling Machine v2.

Water Juggling Machine 2

Water Juggling Machine 2

Please come into Second Life and visit Shakers Park to experience it for yourself some time.

Posted in Friends, Sculpture, Second Life, Videos on YouTube, Whimsy | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Washington Monument in Second Life

Posted by Ethos Erlanger on April 7, 2009

Washington Monument at Shakers Park

Washington Monument at Shakers Park

I want this post to become the introduction to Hylee Bekkers. When I said I had built the Washington Monument, she quickly asked if I had a home for it.  Now it resides with pride at Shakers Park.  I will write more about this wonderful place in a separate post.  And there is so much to say about Hylee.

So, what’s the big deal with an obelisk?  I guess it is like Mount Everest and the climber who says: “…because it is there”.

There were a number of sizes of the Washington Monument that I built.  Each of the larger versions that were more than 10 meters tall presented their own challenges to the construction/assembly methods that I used.

Ethos in front of the Washington Monument

Ethos in front of the Washington Monument

At first I really wanted to do every little detail about the monument.  Some dimensions and even good photos are hard to find of the windows at the observation deck and the entry door at the base.

One thing that was easy to make was the aluminum top.  But it seemed as if no one in SL would even look that high up to check, so I did not do it on the first version of the monument that I set out at Shakers Park.  Then I got a call from a friend to say I had missed it, and I knew there were people out there who cared about the details as much as I did.  So… here is the aluminum tip:

Aluminum Tip on the top of the Washingtom Monument

Aluminum Tip on the top of the Washington Monument

Please come into Second Life and visit Shakers Park to experience it for yourself some time.

Posted in 4 - Virtual Architecture, Friends, Sculpture, Second Life | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »