Saturday, May 28, 2011

AO, AO, It Makes Your Movements Flow...

No matter how realistic our avatars looked, if all they did was stand around like statues, they would not be very convincing. How you move affects your overall look as much as what you wear. So let’s talk about…AOs.

Every avatar has a default animation for walking, running, sitting, flying, and so on. These animations, especially the default walk and run, are, in a word, crap. They instantly mark the person using them as a newbie.

Getting rid of the default animations involves the use of a gadget called an animation overrider, or AO. Some AOs are attachments, and operated with chat commands, but most AOs today are worn on your screen as a Heads Up Display, or HUD.

Sometimes items like shoes will come with a built in “sexy walk” animation that can be turned on or off by a menu or a chat command. If you use an AO, turn these off.

The controls of an AO can be quite simple, or very complex. Even the complex ones can be shrunk down so they are mostly hidden and out of the way until they are needed.
An AO is made up of three parts. First, the AO object itself. It contains one or more scripts…the programs that make it work, and usually some sort of configuration notecard. You can edit the notecard to tell the script(s) what animations to use in which situations. Finally, the AO contains the animations themselves.

Most people buy pre-configured AOs, that already have one or more sets of animations installed. I like the ones from SEMotion and Vista, but there are many good animation creators out there. People who are more adventurous or want a truly custom “look” will get a blank AO (you can find AOs with no preloaded animations for free), and they will then hand-pick and install their animations. This isn’t hard, but it does require close attention to detail…a single wrong character in the configuration notecard can keep things from working.

All AOs contain scripts, and some of them contain quite a lot of scripts and contribute more than they should to sim lag. If you use the popular third party “Phoenix” viewer, it has a built in AO (you have to supply it with animations though).

ZHAO Look for the sign “ZHAO and Friends”

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