Main /
Structural Integrity

Academy Topics

Articles relating to Active Worlds
Help with Objects, Textures, Masks, Coronas, Movers, Avatars, Sequences and more.
Guides on how to do various things in Active Worlds
Graphics, ads and sounds for use.
Downloadable AWG's, Particles, Movers and Building Code

Resources (...)

SW City Network


Realism seems to be fairly popular building theme in AW. Making games and VR realistic is part of human nature I guess; The time and money invested into realism in modern games is proof of that.

When I started SW City, right off the bat I knew I wanted it to be a realism them. However, the realism theme has [I]a lot[/I] more to it than meets the eye and has taken years to get the hang of. Below is a guide that might help put it all into persepective.

Note this guide does not take into account realistic building floorplans and exterior detailing. That's enough for another guide by itself.

General Rules

  • Pretend there's gravity. The most obvious step is to eliminate floating objects.
  • Pretend there's weight. Build support columes and support beams. They make fine detail to a build, and make nice fillers for unused space. Columns and beams are very art-friendly. Instead of just using premade supports, like col8m050 or pole or cyl8a1 for example, try making custom ones using narrow objects, for example.
  • Texture use. Think of the strengths and proper uses of textures. For example, bricks are good for vertical strength. You can't, in any practical use, lay bricks horizontally unless you have arch support. Think the "grain" of a texture to determine how it should be used. Solid stone segments are no good for creating spans like cylinders. I know from real life experience they couldn't support their own weight. Unless they're supported with rebar of course.
Avoid using a single texture for the whole building. I see people take the wall texture on roof, creating a boring mono-texture scheme. Try using roof shingles, or concrete rooftops.
When stacking materials ontop of eachother, consider if the bottom texture looks like its strong enough to support materials above it. So you probably wouldn't want a wood foundation holding up a brick house for example ;)
  • Foundations. Not only are they realistic and look better, but they're quite useful. Being a bit off the ground makes it easier for landscaping and ground cover, as many of you probably know.

Windows and Walls

  • Say no to paper-thin walls. You don't have to get rid of them, but, just don't let people see they're paper-thin. Whenever you get an edge, give it a lil' padding. You can also try putting a decorative pillar/cylinder on the edges to hide it. Besides that, you'll only have to deal with pd__ door ways. Putting a door in should be good enough. Speaking of doors, remember to add a front door :P
  • Windows and glass...they're great, but they should be used with care. There's a lot to consider when you start adding glass. One thing I always avoid is letting the glass reach the bottom, top, edge or corner of a building. There should always be a real wall frame between such keypoints of the structure and the glass. If you consider it, the black frames on that pp16 glass can't support anything beisdes it's own weight. I usually build custom frames around glass using wall objects, such as wall01w1, because wall objects aren't paper thin, so the glass just slips right into it.
Load bearing pillars on the glass frames.
Before and after. Which looks more sturdy?
Custom window frames.
An example of an unstable structure. The glass could never hold up the stone walls. Put wall objects on the corners.
Also, note that adding wall objects to the window frames will hide the paper thin-walls. This is half the reason I add custom frames like that.
Small frame to prevent window from touching the roof, causing the ceiling to look like it has depth.
Page last modified on December 15, 2006, at 07:49 AM
Edit SideBar Edit Page | Page History | Print