Let's go for a jiggly jaunt now. First, keep in mind I edited this pic to add additional saturation: you won't find this vivid a sunset in SL au naturel. What we do have is beautiful, but I want so much more. Second, consider the case of Michio Kaku's rhapsodizing on civilization types. It got me thinking in a very metaway, curled up into a ball and then explodey like popcorn. How advanced can our SLivilization become? We are capable of some truely great feats with prims, but we have not yet mastered control on the very small (i.e. physics imprecision) and very large levels—sun, moon, stars! For the latter, there are some rudimentary utilities like Force Sunset—which really means Force Daylight—but why is it the Mr. Sun & Mrs. Moon only get swapped out during holidays like an upcoming Halloween, and Valentine's Day? Furthermore, stroll along this thoughtline with me, and ponder: why can island estate owners change textures on the ground, but not alter the appearance of the sky, or even the water? This is a frustrating conundrum.
Let's examine several things. First, we know that sun & moon can be changed. This is a part of our established canon, and keeping that framework in mind, I don't know whether the changing process is automated on holidays like some computer game easter eggs (think of Santa in Sim Tower), or if a Linden activates it accordingly like a god in the machine. We also know the scope of the sky is much grander—and seemingly infinite—compared to explorable ground terrain. Furthermore, there exists a related variety of scattered factors: different types of terrain get "crossfaded" as to appear seamless, water is pretty uniform and doesn't change in that respect, it might be disconcerting to see suns switch as you travel between regions, etc.
To elaborate on that last point, if you've been on privately-owned continents, you may have seen a sudden switch in "time of day" when walking from one sim to the next. It's not the smoothest of processes either. There is a certain fade with the sky gradient, but all too often, you'll see the sun or moon not display correctly for several moments more. (I have this tendency of seeing a black sun that suddenly turns red when I force daylight.) It can be a minor cosmetic annoyance, but can also be a big boon for some very unique effects. AS SEEN HERE... CAPTURE THE MOMENT!
Narrow it down to integral simplicity: if we could change the cosmic textures more flexibly, this would open up a new chapter in artistic expression! Have you seen the green grasses of Taco? The pink what-the-heck of Nomine? Imagine even how better they'd feel, they'd be with skies that actually complimented the earth. Taco could have a freakin' happy face smiling back atcha, baby! If you've been to other online worlds and games, you've surely seen others. Stared at Lineage II's lunar body? It looks like it could hit your eye like a big pizza pie! I'll even say we're currently a FarCry from what I'd like to see. Hopefully you have ideas of your own.
All that said, I find it bizarre we can customize so many aspects of our world (our imagination), but for now, the outer limits remain untouched by Residents's particle pointers. Some things:
- This seems relatively straightforward and easy to do. For simple color changes of the sky, some additional UI controls for those parameters would suffice. Beyond that, a texture picker much like any other, and that's a good base.
- Consider how much of your screen what I'm referring to takes up. It's above the horizon for a reason. If you don't think it would have much impact, close your eyes and try to visualize SL's skybox replaced with a solid white. How would this affect your emotions?
- Greater immersion, enhanced realism. I'm not kidding. We have a Japanese grid expansion on the way. Why's Japan called "the land of the rising sun"?
- Connections: a proposal for weather has been accepted.
Right now, in Second Life, there are gaping holes. And one of those is ample room for sonic experts to come on in, set up shop, and start selling their original sounds (especially tailored for this medium—and not just copied from public domain archives on Internet). Resis who understand working with the technical constraints (like a 10-sec. max length), who can participate in sculpting better atmospheric experiences, and essentially, compensate for what is a very underrated audio market in the world. Someone with heart who takes their portarecorder down to a creek, slices up samples and performs the requisite EQing and enhancements, then loops them into the ideal wife for a silent waterfall. Fresh exclusives available nowhere else.