Saturday, 7 July 2007

A virtual egg-timer - not!

I noticed Jeff Barr playing with large numbers of physical prims and it made me wonder about the possibility of building a virtual egg-timer - a clear rounded-end tubular object with a narrow section in the middle filled with small physical spheres.

I started by knocking together the tubular container. Fairly straight-forward. Then I filled it full of small physical spheres. Then I made a mistake - I moved the outer egg-timer case without first making it physical itself. This left all the little balls in mid air. They immediately fell to the ground making a bit of a mess.

I scooped them back into the container, made it physical and then dropped it. Again a mistake but this time for a different reason. The in-world physics engine went a bit loopy - with balls jumping all over the place. Somehow a lot of them escaped from the container - I guess I must have left a gap - and left me with an even bigger mess to clean up. At that point I gave up.

To be honest... I don't even know why I started!


Peter Miller said...

I sympathise. I tried to do something even more Heath Robinson and didn't get past first base. I wonder whether those nice spheres have square edges in reality?

Eloise said...

Did you manage to crash the sim?

What happens, as best I understand it, is the physics engine gets confused with all the collisions, things go awry, and one of the "awry" things is partial penetration of the wall, followed by being kicked out.

You can do this with a "swimming pool" and apparently totally still physical balls inside them. At some point they achieve critical load and the sim performance nose dives, the balls self-agitate and jump all over the place. If it weren't so likely to kill the sim it would be lovely for brownian motion.

There are more, and fun ones (7 hollow concentric spheres, partially transparent and different colours for extra fun), make them all physical and watch them fly...

Oh, btw, if you do this on the mainland, be prepared for things to be returned to you from a radius of about 20 sims.