September 18, 2021

A New Other-Shops Teleport Sign

We currently have 3 small satellite gacha shops at different gacha shopping areas around the grid. Wiki’s been bugging me for weeks to make a teleport sign to them. I finally had some time to devote to this.

The Sign Base

Design-wise I wanted a wooden sign, but with separate, interchangeable metal placards in the likely event that she moves stores around. So in Blender I made a basic sign shape, with a kind of partially rounded top area for permanent shop logo and text, and a big blank area for the placards.

I’m still a newbie, and probably went a little overboard with the UV unwrapping. Since I was going to texture this in Substance Painter, I wanted to make sure all the UV islands lined up the right direction, certain edges stitched together so the wood texture would match (even though end-grain wood should look completely different, but I’m not going to get into that level of detail.. yet). It took about two episodes of Boston Legal worth of effort to get the UV meticulously unwrapped.

Once in Substance I tried a few different procedural stock wood textures until I found one I liked. I toned down the texture dramatically since it was a little too bumpy, and removed some of the procedural knots. Then set about learning how to apply a stencil for the painted text area. Once I did that I moved the stenciled paint to the right area in the layers so it would pick up some of the wood grain and surface dirt, then applied a smart mask to make the paint worn. I think if I had more time and this was a piece of work I was selling, I would’ve spent more time to give it a sun-aged, cracked paint as opposed to worn.

I didn’t bother bringing the textures back into Blender to bake shadows in. Instead I exported the color, normal, and specular maps and imported the whole thing to Second Life. So far so good.

Placards

The placards were pretty simple, made of 2 half cylinders and a cube. I did wrestle with the normals. For some reason they were all pointing inwards on the cylinders. It was an easy fix, I’m just glad I noticed it early on.

In Painter I immediately found a nice worn metal texture. The really cool thing was, every time I hit the Randomize button on the texture, the scratches and worn bits would come out different. I really wanted different looking placards. I exported the maps, then exported 5 different randomized versions of the color map. Those color maps were then brought into Affinity Photo, where I added the text to each.

I did the placard workflow like this so I could quickly add new signs. Admittedly there were some flaws. First, the text wouldn’t be scuffed up and dusted like the rest of the placard. Second, I only had one normals and specular map for all images, so if you were to look closely, the scratches and scuff marks wouldn’t line up. My third sin was not randomizing the rounded edged of the placard, so they match on all of them My apologies to Second Life realism.

The proper way would’ve been to stencil the text onto the placards in Substance the way I did the wood stencil, but it’s a trade off for a simpler workflow that I can return to in a few months without spending an hour trying to retrace my steps. Who knows though, the next time I need to make a placard I might revamp the workflow.

The End Result

I added a touch-activated teleport script to each placard. Initially I was reusing an old script I had that used llTeleportAgent, but the permissions have changed so that now only the owner of the scripted object can be teleported. Experiences is an alternative, but I’m not a big fan of that system yet. So instead I chose to push a teleport link to local chat, and pop up a small dialog telling the user where they can find that link.

All in all I’m pretty happy with the results.

The Other-Shops Sign

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