Venue Managers: How to Create a Custom MST-Ready Template for Your Performance Area
This advanced tutorial describes how a theater or performance space owner can make a simple template the exact size and shape of their space, for the purposes of giving their choreographers and designers a simplified copy they can take back to their own build areas. This is useful to reduce people trying to “build sets in the theater” which can which slow the build process down. This tutorial shows not just how to make a template, but how to make it “MST Ready”, so it can be easily used MetaHarper Show Tools Performance Engine for auto-centering, rezzing, and all of the other performance engine features.
Note: This is an advanced tutorial suitable for those with some familiarity with the in-viewer builder tools and ability to do careful detail work. If there are places in these instructions that are unclear you can ask Arrehn Oberlander for an example of a tempalte, or if you are a performer at any of the theaters listed at the end of this page you can check their dressing rooms for an example. If you don’t want to build one yourself it may be possible to commision one, depending on schedules.
- Rez the basic MST Performance Engine in Your Performance Area, then set the “Venue” and “ALLOW” lines in the ~PACKLIST notecard.
- Create a Simple Prim Template
- Link the MST Performance Engine with Your Prim Template
- Set the Full Size Scale
- Set the Box-Size Scale
- Test Boxing and Unboxing
- Remove the MST Scripts & Distribute to your Performers
- Distribute Instructions for Performers
1. Rez the basic MST Performance Engine 5.3.9 or later in Your Performance Area, then set the “Venue” and “ALLOW” lines in the ~PACKLIST notecard.
Start off by rezzing a fresh copy of the MST Performance Engine basic golden triangle. Note: This MUST be version MST Performance Egnine 5.3.9 or later.
Edit the ~PACKLIST notecard and add an ALLOW= line with the UUID of whichever avatar owns the MST centerpoint in your performance space.
You may optionally wish to add additional ALLOW= lines for any special stage managers, people who you wish to have the ability to quicky clean up or put away sets and stages if needed. You should keep this list small as small to avoid sets listening to more individuals than they need to.
Next, edit the ~PACKLIST notecard again and set the VENUE= value to match the VENUE set in the your performance area’s MST centerpoint. Save the notecard, and watch for the nearby chat message to verify that your performance engine can see the centerpoint. You should see a message like, “INFO: Configuring to venue YourCenterPointName” where “YourCenterPointName” is the name of the MST Centerpoint you’re using.
Click the centerpoint, go to “More Rez”, and choose “center” to make sure your performance engine moves to the centerpoint’s location. Leave it there for now.
2. Create a Simple Prim Template
This step requires some careful, prim building skill. Create plywood prims and carefully cover the entire floor of your performance area. Your plywood should follow the shape of the performance stage as closely as possible but be slightly above it, usually around 0.01m, in places where it is visible to the audience. When you cam out and move your camera back and forth slowly, facing the performance area, you should not see any flickering textures.
If you do see flickering textures, make your plywood prims extend a hair further away from the stage until the flickering stops.
As a rule a thumb, for parts of your performance area were your individual set designers and choreographers are likely to want to customize a background texture, make sure your prims extend OUT 0.1, so that the plywood is exposed. Conversely, for areas where you do NOT want people to put custom textures over your theater, keep any edges of your prims about 0.01m INSIDE the theater build and tint them full black, so they will not show and offer a visual cue that they are “out of bounds”. This will lets designers see where their “Edges” are, but not override your theather textures.
If you need more than one prim to cover all of the performance area floor, align your floor prims as perfectly as possible to avoid any visible gaps or overlap flickering. It may be helpful to learn how to use the build window’s “alignment tool” to help with this.
Make sure that your prims are at least 0.5m thick in every direction. We’ll need to resize them later and they need to be thick enough to resize
Optionally, depending on how much detail your choreographers and designers will need, add prims to cover the walls and roof of the performance area similarly to the floor.
Link your prims together. You may wish to change the prim type to “convex hull” to reduce the overall prim count if it helps.
Texture or tint all the faces that are visible to the audience, that your performers should retexture, a dark grey or similar neutral but non-pitch-black color.
Tint all the rest of the faces, especially interior faces that would be hidden by your performance area floor or walls100% black.
3 Link the MST Performance Engine with Your Prim Template
Without moving the MST Performance engine you centered in step 1, link this performance engine to your template prim in the above step 2, so that the MST Performance engine becomes the root prim.
Rename the new prim something to identify it as a template for your specific stage, such as “MST Template (Stardust Stage)” if your performance area was called “Stardust Stage”
You may see error or warning messages from the MST Performance engine when you link it. Ignore these for now.
4. Set the Full Size Scale
In this section, we teach the MST Performance engine what size and rotation it should be when it is “full size”. This step is necessary any time you manually resize it or link it to another object.
Stand witihin 20m of the new, linked template and type “/8 getscale”. You will get a number of printouts in your nearby chat full of size and rotation numbers. For example:
[9:18] MST Template Example: <5.000000, 5.000000, 0.100000>, <0.000000, 0.000000, 0.000000>, <13.283087, 20.299999, 0.150000>, <0.000000, 0.000000, 0.004200>, <9.509526, 13.770000, 0.150000>, <0.066500, -10.174300, 4.836200>, <9.509526, 13.770000, 0.150000>, <0.056500, 10.224900, 4.836200>, <14.197550, 20.268389, 0.150000>, <0.002700, 0.018400, 9.664400>, <9.474195, 20.299999, 0.150000>, <-6.565500, 0.012200, 4.853400>
Each of the above three numbers inside angle brackets is called a vector. Copy these to a text editor, like notepad.exe, then split them into groups of six vectors. For example, if your printout looked like the above, your split groups would look like this
<5.000000, 5.000000, 0.100000>, <0.000000, 0.000000, 0.000000>, <13.283087, 20.299999, 0.150000>, <0.000000, 0.000000, 0.004200>, <9.509526, 13.770000, 0.150000>, <0.066500, -10.174300, 4.836200>,
<9.509526, 13.770000, 0.150000>, <0.056500, 10.224900, 4.836200>, <14.197550, 20.268389, 0.150000>, <0.002700, 0.018400, 9.664400>, <9.474195, 20.299999, 0.150000>, <-6.565500, 0.012200, 4.853400>
It’s ok if your last group is smaller than the others. Make sure that all groups other than the last end in “,” and all groups start with “<“
Now, open up the ~PACKLIST notecard in your template, and delete all the lines near the beginning that start with “FULLSCALE=”. Now, paste the vector groups you created above into the packlist near the beginning, with “FULLSCALE=” before each group. Make sure to paste the groups in order! In the example above, your notecard would look like:
# Don’t edit the scales below, except in advanced cases. It determines the size of the template and helps it determine if it is “small” or “full size”.
FULLSCALE=<5.000000, 5.000000, 0.100000>, <0.000000, 0.000000, 0.000000>, <13.283087, 20.299999, 0.150000>, <0.000000, 0.000000, 0.004200>, <9.509526, 13.770000, 0.150000>, <0.066500, -10.174300, 4.836200>,
FULLSCALE=<9.509526, 13.770000, 0.150000>, <0.056500, 10.224900, 4.836200>, <14.197550, 20.268389, 0.150000>, <0.002700, 0.018400, 9.664400>, <9.474195, 20.299999, 0.150000>, <-6.565500, 0.012200, 4.853400>
Save the ~PACKLIST notecard when you’ve pasted these lines in. and take a backup copy of your template, such as “myTemplate_fullsize”. It is ok if hovertext appears in the center of your template.
5. Set the Small-Size Scale
Now we will follow a similar procedure to teach the MST Performance Engine what size and rotation it should be when it is in a small “boxed” shape.
Start by selecting the template, and now manually resize it down to a small object about 1/2 the size of an avatar or less. If it won’t resize this small, this is almost always because one or more of the prims (such as the MST root, triangle prim) has a dimension that isn’t large enough. make sure “stretch both sizes” is checked in your build window. Edit that particular linked prim and, WITHOUT CHANGING ITS POSITION, stretch it a little thicker / wider / deeper. It is ok if this changes the look of your stage— this will only show for boxed forms and won’t change the appearance of the full-sized stage. When you’ve done this, you should be now able to resize the template smaller.
Once you’ve resized your template to a small size, stand within 20m and again use the “/8 getscale” command. We will now repeat the same process as before. Break then into groups of six vectors. Remove all “SMALLSCALE” lines in the ~PACKLIST notecard. Now paste in each group of vectors with “SMALLSCALE” prepended at the beginning.
Remember that each line should start with “SMALLSCALE=< ” and all of these lines except for the very last one should end in a “,”.
When you’re done save the ~PACKLIST notecard, and take a backup copy of your template, such as “myTemplate_smallsize”. It is ok if hovertext appears in the center of your template.
6. Test Boxing and Unboxing
You’re now ready to test boxing and unboxing. Make sure you’ve taken a backup of your template, because if if this process has a mistake somewhere, you will likely end up with a broken template that will need to be deleted.
Reset the scripts in your template.
Click the template, go to “more rez”, then select “unbox”. Verify that the template is back to its normal size. If this doesn’t work, you likely have an error in one of the FULLSCALE= lines. Rez your backup from step 4 and repeat step 4 to see if you can spot the issue.
Click the box template, go to “more rez” and select “box”. Verify that the template shrinks to an expected box size. If this doesn’t work, you likely have an error in one of the SMALLSCALE= lines. Rez your backup from step 5 and repeat step 5 to see if you can spot the issue.
Finally, change your template to a box form, then move it a little ways from your stage. Click it and choose “stagerez”, and verify it snaps into your theater, aligning with your centerpoint. Then click “stagederez” and verify it returns to it’s box shape, a little away from the stage where you had placed it. Your performers will use this mechanism to store acts safely backstage.
7. Remove the MST Scripts & Distribute to your Performers
Finally, remove all scripts and notecards in your template, except for the ~PACKLIST notecard.
Make sure change permissions on your template to full-perm, or at least copy-modify.
You can now distribute your template to your perfomers as you see fit. You may want to put it in a giver box, or a vendor, or send it to peopel directly by dragging it into their profile, etc.
8. Distribute MST Instructions for Performers
Any of your performers can now use your template as an MST Performance Engine by copying all scripts and notecards (other than ~PACKLIST) from one of their existing MST Performance Engines and into your template.