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AO, AO, It's off to work I go …

November 29th, 2008 by Roland

Animation Overrides (the much storied AO) substitute the default walk, stand, sit, fly, etc animations with something which may or may not be an improvement. The default walk for most avi’s is a bit – what’s the word? Choppy? Cartoonish? Comical? Whatever it is, nothing marks you for a newbie more surely than not realizing you’re walking like a dork. Enter the AO.

AO’s come in a variety of forms and flavors, but they all have somethings in common – a container object, a script or two, a configuration card, and the list of animations. They’re easy to make, once you have the basics of building down, and if you don’t really understand building yet, this is a good first project.

Approach One: Do It Yourself.

Natalia Zelmanov over at Mermaid Diaries has a lot of excellent tutorials – including one on making your own AO. She includes links to the necessary animations and scripts which she has in her shop, Sirena. My only addition to this is where Natalia makes a bracelet to wear, I just threw the animations into a cube and attached it to my HUD instead of wearing the device. This cuts down on the number of times you inadvertantly take the darn thing off and wind up walking like a dork again. The “Male: Power Walk” is a bit much, but if you look around there are some variants on it that work pretty well.

The upside of this approach, it’s cheap and effective.

The downside is that the animations are only slightly better than the default. I have yet to find a good, free, male walk and the free stands tend to have rather jerky transitions. You stand this way, then SNAP you stand that way, then SNAP you stand another way. It’s better than nothing, but it’s not great.

Approach Two: Freebie AOs.

There are several free AOs fully stocked with animations. One that I know of is called the Gangstar AO, which isn’t really gangster-ish at all, but is really a Ninja model. The walk in it is kinda dumb, but it has some stands that work well together. If you make your own AO and can find one of these, you can combine the two and build one decent AO that actually works.

The upside: You get a better AO than using the standard freebie stands and walks.

The downside: Finding one can be a pain. The last known location was a freebie place called Magical Freebies and More, but it’s gone now.

Approach Three: Buy One.

There are some things it’s just worth spending the money on. While you can get out on the cheap by doing something like buying a decent walk (about $100L) and a couple of stands ($80L to $120L), the reality is that for $50L you can buy a basic model with a walk and three stands already configured from Vista Animations. If you’re willing and able to spend $250L-$300L you can buy a full featured model. For the math challenged, that’s actually a cheaper solution (on a per animation basis) and gives you a much more cohesive look. The new Vista store has a lot to choose from including a high-end fully featured ZHAO2 for $1900L. It’s a neat unit and they offer automatic updates, but if you’re just starting out, there might be better things to spend your Lindens$ on.

Upside: Saves a ton of hassle, and gives you a full featured AO.

Downside: Costs Linden$ and you don’t learn much.

Me? I bought the $250L model to get the animations and then grabbed a free – and empty – copy of the ZHAO2 interface from the island in the middle of the store (walk in, and circle to the left around the informational island). It only took a few minutes at the local sandbox to grab the configuration and animations from the ZHAO and reconfigure the ZHAO2 to work with them. This gave me a choice of walks, a complete set of stands, and a collection of miscelleneous poses for things like flying, falling, etc. along with a nifty interface to keep track of it all.

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