I couldn’t wait to get home and try my new SpaceNavigator and patience is not a virtue I’m blessed with. Still, wait I had to but it was worth it.
Setting it up is easy – plug the USB, insert the CD and away you go.
Getting it to work in SL is also easy – the RC (release candidate) version of SL has a default setting for it. I doubt it will be long before this gets into the main viewer (actually, it might be – I’m using the older 1.19 veiwer to ensure the best stability possible during shows with TSMGO).
Using it effectively is a different matter entirely – it feels odd and strange after a mouse yet somehow natural as it moves, something I think is due to its feeling of gentle resistance and springiness and its pleasing weight (I’m not hot on the two buttons, but hey, that’s a minor detail 🙂 ). The hardest bit to get right is the moving forward or backward and not tilting the camera over or under, but it will all just be a matter of practice, practice, practice 😀
I took it out for a spin at various locations and, as I tried for the umpteenth time to explain what it was and did, it occurred to me that a simple comparison video would be a good idea. So, dear readers, may I present to you the HBA Machinima Test Videos 2 & 3!
The first video shows me caming around in a sim called Murray. In this one I am using the mouse and ctrl / alt buttons to move. You’ll see how jerky it is, how I have to stop when my mouse movement maximum is reached, how I have to use the curser to continually grab and hold a focus point for the camera to move to or around. Also note how I get that odd ‘snapping away’ effect when I try to grab the moving leaves or myself at the end. All in all, not something you’d want to watch 🙂
This second video replicates (roughly) the camera path of the first but this time I’m using the 3D SpaceNavigator – it is smooth, I can sail around through the trees with ease, shift my focus on the fly. And all this with hardly any physical movement on my part and no keyboard use at all. My right hand is on the SN and just gently pressing in the directions I want the camera to travel or move – it felt like I could have done this for hours whereas mouse-moving gets tiring quickly. You can see how I sometimes lose focus and the camera moves in a way that feels wrong, well rest assured that these things are down to me still trying to make the movement of the SN-to-screen as natural as years of first person shooters have made my mouse-to-screen skills.
So there you have it – the next instalment in my SL Machinima guide. Again the capture was done using Fraps and the editing on VideoSpin. I need to look into how to improve the end screen quality, but that is for another day 🙂