Wednesday, August 19, 2009

RR Tutorial : Arms restraints

Hello again, today we are going to look specifically into arms restraints. They are my favorites ! We will use the police handcuffs we used in the Locking tutorial, because they are easy to use.

The purpose of arms restraints is to restrain you in a way that you won't be able to defend yourself, nor use anything around you. After all, it is hard to open a door when your hands are tied, let alone protect yourself from whatever your captor wants to do to you... But then again, this depends on the way you are bound.

As the "Real" part of the name "RealRestraint" stands for "Realism", the Police Handcuffs (and all the other arms restraints I make) are meant to do exactly that, prevent you from touching anything around. SL being made the way it is, this is an all-or-nothing feature : either you are able to touch or you're not. There is a RLV plugin called "Touch" that can do something in-between but it works only if you're using the RLV, of course, so we won't talk about it here.

This is why the handcuffs "force" you to wear a HUD (an object that sticks to your view and that only you can see) when you wear them the first time. This HUD is not a "control HUD" per se, you won't see hi-tech buttons and monochromatic displays like in supersonic fighters, in fact you won't see anything at all, it is invisible until the cuffs activate it.

When the cuffs are unlocked, or locked and chained in a way it makes sense that you can still use your hands (for example, in front), the HUD remains inactive. But as soon as your hands "look" secure enough to prevent you from touching, the HUD suddenly pops into view and you realise that you cannot touch anything anymore. Just like in real life !

Well, that's the theory anyway. In practice it is more flexible, subtle and versatile than this.

First of all, let me show you. These cuffs are the basic ones, they lock my wrists only, either in front of me or behind my back. I click on them and press "Lock", they just lock without a chain (as explained in the Locking tutorial). I press "1 Hnd front", they chain my hands in front of me (that too is demonstrated in the Locking tutorial). Now I will press "2 Hnd back"...

"Marine is now prevented from interacting with the environment."

Wait... what just happened here ? My screen took a slightly reddish tint, and now when I click anywhere I get the menu of my cuffs instead of what I expect the object to do ! Except on other HUDs I'm wearing (like my AO, radar etc), which still work.

Well this is just the RR HUD doing its job, because my hands are cuffed behind my back. No opening doors, using teleporters, cuffing other people anymore... I can't do anything ! This is what I call being "blocked", as in "having my touch ability blocked". I'm locked and blocked.

On a side note, when I click anywhere in the world, all I get is the menu to my cuffs. This means that if I were wearing other RR items, such as a ballgag, I would be unable to click on it to operate it. Instead, I can say "/77 gag" (without the quotes) to get the menu to the gag, because "RR Ballgag" contains the word "gag".

So you think it was simple ? Let's proceed to some... advanced stuff now. Why is it that everytime I lock my hands behind my back I'm blocked, and as soon as I lock them in front I'm unblocked ? Back, blocked, front, unblocked. Well because this is the default configuration, and it is actually entirely customisable. Let's do this now. I click anywhere, get the menu, press "More..." and locate the "Block" button. I click on it and...

"Marine is now allowed to interact with the environment."

Woohoo I can click again ! I can tell because my screen gets its normal color back (is it me or does it feel colder now ?), and I can click anywhere again. I unlock my cuffs, rub my wrists, then lock them behind my back again and... here goes nothing. I am still not blocked. Wtf ?! Is it broken now ?

Well no. This is because "Block" is a toggle, and its state depends on the pose you choose, and on whether you want this particular pose to block you or not. If you were blocked when leaving that pose, you will be blocked again when you come back to it, otherwise you will still be unblocked. This is perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind about the arms restraints : you are blocked according to the pose, you can change the default settings at will, and they will stick until you change them again.

You have certainly noticed the "Mouselook" next to "Block" on the menu. What does it mean ? It is a feature similar to Block, but instead of blocking your clicks it forces you to stay in Mouselook (a.k.a. "first person view"). This is handy when you want the captive to be forced to see things from her own point of view, and not cam around. For example when she's in a cell.

Now, I know, Mouselook is painful for most people. This is because they are used to see their avatar but frankly Mouselook is more immersive. You *are* your avatar. It just takes a little time to get used to it. Remember, while in Mouselook you can still do everything you do in third view, but you have to use a few keyboard shortcuts : Ctrl-T for the IM and group window, Ctrl-H for the chat history, Ctrl-I for the inventory, and of course Alt to click around, including on windows and menus.

But I digress. "Mouselook" makes your screen go black while while you're not in Mouselook, and spams you with "go to mouselook" messages every second or so. That's painful, yes. Like Block, Mouselook depends on the pose (it is always off by default), and is independent from it. You can be Blocked, or Mouselooked, or both, or none.

One last thing, the "Autoref" button. This one is specific to restraints that trigger an anim (arms, legs, Elegance collar). You may have noticed that some furniture, and even some Animation Overriders, break the cuffs animation when used. When you walk cuffed, you would expect your hands to stay cuffed, right ? This is the role of the "Autoref" button. It is On by default, so the cuffs always override any animation (you could see it as an Animation Overrider overrider), but if sometimes you need to make them yield to a furniture (for instance one that holds your arms over your head while you are cuffed in front), you can do so by clicking on Autoref to turn it Off. This works only if the furniture or walk that you want the cuff to yield to is priority 4, the highest priority. It is a toggle too, you click once to turn it off, then once again to turn it back on, but it does not depend on the pose at the time of this writing.

That's all for today, this tutorial was not so simple, was it ?

Have fun,