This page contains information for theater and venue owners who wish to use MST technology. Setting up MST in an official venue does not require specialized technical skills, but it does require you to follow some detailed steps carefully. I’ve listed these below.
Preparations and Requirements
- You do not need to be a builder, but you do need basic familiarity with your viewer’s build window for tasks such as selecting objects, moving objects, setting object coordinates, locking objects, and changing transparency, renaming, and editing notecards.
- Make sure your performance area fits inside a single region. MST does not support multi-region venues.
- Make sure your performance area where you will be rezzing sets, props, and backdrops has at least a 20 meter buffer space between it and the edge of the region. Automatic rezzing of large objects close to region borders can be problematic. Also make sure that your stage floor is at least a few meters above the ground terrain, and at least 50 meters below the 4096 maximum-buildable altitude limit.
- If you plan to support scripted cameras in your venue, you will need furniture for audience members to sit on. You may use the MST Theater Seats in the MST folder, or you may use your own furniture. If you use your own furniture, your furniture must have “mod” permissions, and must allow avatars to sit directly on your furniture without having to rez furniture poseballs, like some older-style furniture sometimes does. MST camera scripts have been tested with “AVsitter ™” system style furniture.
- Make sure your performance area is stable, and ideally your stage objects should have the ‘locked’ box checked in the SL build window so that it can not be accidentally moved, resized, or returned. If you move or resize your performance area, you may have set up the MST centerpoint again (more on this below).
Step 1. Place your MST Centerpoint and Change a few Settings
Almost every MST tool will need to know what your venue’s name is, who is allowed to use it, and where it is physically located in the sim. The “MST Centerpoint” object accomplishes all of this for you. Just place it on the floor of your stage, rename it, edit its notecard, then make it invisible and lock it in the build window. The detailed steps to accomplish this are described below:
- Locate the center of your stage (or similar performance area). There are many ways to do this. One simple way that works in many cases is to visually estimate the center of your stage, then select the floor object at that spot. Note the X and Y coordinates of that object in your build window.
- Rez the “MST Venue Centerpoint (rename me)” move it to X and Y coordinates you’ve determined are your stage center. Set the height so that the MST Venue Centerpoint prim is barely visible. Rotate the MST Venue Centerpoint, if needed, so that the point of the triangle faces toward the audience.
- Rename the MST Venue Centerpoint. For example, if your stage is called “Augustus Stage” rename the centerpoint to something like “AugustusCP”. Shorter names are best.
- Select your centerpoint and edit the notecard inside it named “VENUE CONFIGURATION”.
- Customize the “CHANNEL_CAMERA_VIEWERS” channels by adding or subtracting a few numbers from each of these. These help reduce crosstalk with other MST stages nearby. For example, “CHANNEL_CAMERA_VIEWERS=-500010” and
- Explicitly allow the critical core staff of your theater. It can be helpful and more flexible to allow your stage managers, power users, people who may be helping create acts for others, or who may be running camera or special effects for others. It’s most reliable to allow by UUID. To get a UUID of a user, look at their profile and the UUID for that person will be listed at the top. Copy that value and paste it into an ALLOW line. For example, if wanted to allow Arrehn Oberlander, you would add the line “ALLOW=3c637a3e-370e-4bca-b18e-92b4692a685a” to the file.
- Decide if you want to add in allow lines for *all* of your possible performers by name, or whether you just want to allow people who wear a particular group tag. Typically, allowing a group is much easier to maintain. If you want to allow a group, in the build window set the group of the centerpoint prim to the group you want to allow access. In the VENUE_CONFIGURATION notecard , make sure the “ALLOW_SAMEGROUP=YES” line exists. Users who have an active group that matches the group of the centerpoint will now be allowed.
- Copy the x/y/z coordinates of the centerpoint’s location into the centerpoint’s “description” field. This is so you can move it back to where it’s supposed to be, if it ever moves accidentally.
- Change the transparency of the MST Venue Centerpoint to make it invisible, and set the “lock” checkbox. If you want to move or adjust the notecard, first unlock the prim and then lock it again when you finish. Locking this object insures that it does not accidentally get moved or damaged, which could throw off all acts at your venue.
- You’ve now finished setting up your centerpoint.
Step 2. Create a “Theater Template” for choreographers to build acts specific to your performance space. If you’ve already done this, skip to Step 3.
In this step, we’ll describe how to build a rough-and-ready mockup of your theater, called a ‘Theater Template’. Choreographers use this by rezzing them in their own private workspaces to plan acts for your theater. You should encourage people to use these whenever possible to avoid competing for time in (and possibly cluttering) your actual theater outside of planned rehearsal times.
This step requires some basic but careful prim building skill. If you’re not a careful builder ask someone you trust to help out. 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 0.1m, so that the plywood is exposed. Conversely, for areas where you do NOT want performers 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 theater 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.
Optionally, depending on how much detail your choreographers and designers will need, add prims to cover the walls, roof, and backstage area of the performance area similarly to the floor.
Texture or tint all the faces that are visible to the audience that your performers should retexture a grey or similar neutral but non-pitch-black color.
Tint all the rest of the faces you do not wish your performers to cover up, and especially interior areas that cannot be seen by the audience 100% black.
Link your prims together. You may wish to change the prim type to “convex hull” to reduce the overall prim count if it helps. You’re now done. Name your template. Set it to have copy and mod permissions at the very least, if not full perm, and place it where your performers can copies.
Step 3. Update your theater template to show users where to place their own MST Centerpoints.
In this step we’ll take the theater template you made earlier and make sure it marks where your choreographers should place their own MST Centerpoints, when working in their workspace area.
- Rez your theater template and place it over your actual stage as exactly as possible.
- Create a new box prim, call it “<name of your centerpoint> MST centerpoint goes here”, color it red and shrink it to a small size, smaller than the actual MST centerpoint.
- Copy the coordinates of your theater’s MST centerpoint you set up in step 1. Paste these coordinates into your box prim so that it will move exactly on top of your MST centerpoint.
- Copy the rotation values of your theater’s MST centerpoint you set up in step 1. Paste this rotation into your box prim so that it will face the same direction as your MST centerpoint.
- Link your box prim to your theater template.
- You’re done! Distribute this new template to your choreographers as usual.
Step 4. Optionally set up Theater Furniture for Scripted Camera Capability
You don’t need to use specially prepared furniture for most of MST’s features, but if you wish to use MST scripted cameras in your theater you will need specially prepared furniture. Usually this involves either using the seats that come with the MST package, or taking the scripts out of these seats and placing them into your own furniture. The specific details of how to do this are outlined below.
- First, rez the “MST Theater Seat” object near your stage. It’s important to start with this object even if you have your own custom seating. After rezzing the MSt Theater Seat, edit the “~seatConfig” notecard inside. Edit the line that says “VENUE” to match your centerpoint’s name. For example, if your centerpoint is named AugustusCP then you should make your seat configuration notecard have a line “VENUE=AugustusCP”. Save the notecard.
- Watch your nearby chat window for a line that looks like “MST Theater Seat: Venue configuration set for AugustusCP” that will appear AFTER you save the notecard. It should say the name of whatever you have named the centerpoint object. If this does not happen, double check each notecard to make sure you have no mispelllings or formatting errors. Only continue after you see this line appear after saving or updating the MST Theater Seat “~seatConfig” notecard.
- Edit the “~seatConfig” notecard again, and add “ALLOW=” lines to match those you have allowed in your centerpoint’s configuration notecard. At a minimum you should allow your own UUID and the owner of the centerpoint if this is not you.
- At this point, you can clone the MST Theater you’ve set up to create chairs for your audience. Feel free to change its textures or name. If you want to use custom seating read on:
- If you wish to use your own seating, copy the “~seatConfig” notecard into your custom furniture, along with the “~camSeatManager” and the “~camSeat1” script. When finished moving these scripts into your furniture, either re-save the ~seatConfig notecard or “reset scripts” on your custom furniture. Make sure you see the message “(name of your custom seating): Venue configuration set for <your centerpoint name>” similar to step 2.
- If your custom seating supports more than one avatar sitting on it at one time, unpack the “MST allow more seated avs” box and copy scripts as needed into your furniture. For example, if your furniture supports 3 avatars, copy “~camSeat2” and “~camSeat3” scripts into your furniture. You can copy and rename this scripts if needed to support larger amounts of avatars on a single chair. (CAUTION: when one avatar stands up or crashes in the middle of a scripted camera sequence, this causes some minor disruption to other avatars seated on the same piece of furniture. This is an SL limitation.)
- You’re finished setting up seating.
Step 5. Create a Camera Reset Mechanism (Optional, Only for Camera-enabled theaters)
- Normally performers will rest or “clear” camera control at the end of their show, returning control to the audience. However, sometimes unexpected events happen that will prevent the clear command from being sent. For example, the performer might crash, or the sim might crash. If for whatever reason the performer cannot remove camera control, all of the theater seats will be “stuck” at the last camera location. To avoid this situation it is strongly advised that venues create a “camera reset button” and rez it backstage somewhere where all the performers know where it is. It should be owned by the centerpoint owner and should shout the command “/8 clearcam” when pushed.
- If you need help making your own emergency clear cam button such as described above, contact Arrehn Oberlander or a friendly scripter.
- If you do make one and want to contribute it to the MST package, please let me know!
- Alternatively, you can create a gesture that sends “/8 clearcam” when activate, or show directors can shout the “/8 clearcam” directly when needed.
Step 6. Communicate these New Changes with your Choreographers
- Let all of your people know that you have created an official centerpoint location and what you have named it. If they are using the MetaHarper Show Tools Suite or ChoreoHUDs, this is very important info!
- Make sure to tell your performers who owns the centerpoint, so they can allow this user in their own performance engines.
- Let them know where they can find your updated theater template with the MST centerpoint location.
- If you set your MST Centerpoint to a particular group and authorized access from that group in step 1, tell your performers that they should have this group active when using MST tools in your theater or performance area.