Some of the most complicated parts of designing a choreographed dance sequence are choosing the animations that you will use, figuring out how long each one should play, and finally translating this information into a timeline that tells SL when to run each animation and for how many seconds. This process has in the past required stopwatches, scratch paper, a calculator, and a generally steep learning curve.
I’ve tried to greatly simplify this process with a wearable HUD that lets you visually build an animation sequence. This tool is called the “MetaHarper Show Tools Designer HUD” or “MST Designer”. It’s in BETA right now and can be used to create animation timelines for yoru MST Performance Engine in a visual way. In the future my hope is that it can help create even more pieces of an entire performance.
Below are images of an example taking you through the steps of using this HUD, from initially wearing it, to browsing around for animations, to building a sequence and finally printing out a timeline that can be used in MST Performance Engine.
You can start by rezzing the HUD on the ground somewhere and adding your copy-permission animations to it. It has three openly licensed animations for example purposes, but these are rather silly and should not be used for real performances. Once you are done loading your animations, you may also wish to rename the HUD to something that will give a hint about what animations are inside. For example, “MST Designer HUD – Star Salsa”
Once you’ve finished copying in your animations, pick the HUD back up and wear it. The functions are described below, and you can click each graphical panel to get a larger blow-up that may be easier to read.
Step 1: Wear the MST HUD
Step 2: Try browsing, stopping and starting animations
Step 3: Enable Animation Sequence Building Mode
Step 4: Move the animations you wish to use in your dance routine animations from the left panel to the sequence panel on the right
Step 5: Set the correct run time in seconds for each animation, and make sure the order is correct.
Step 6: Press the Print button, copy the lines from local chat into your timeline processor (such as the MST Performance Engine EVENTLIST notecard).
FAQ / Troubleshooting:
IF the panels are not wide enough or are too wide..
You can follow the below procedure to adjust the width of the HUD using the build window.