When I and many another Dimensionerd first started building in dimensions, one of the largest frustrations to creating anything were the building blocks themselves. A wall tile or rectangle would look straight up and down, until you tried to stack another on top of it and realized that it was not straight at all. The Toolbox add-on fixed many of those issues for me, since no matter what, I cannot twist a block to this day until it is exactly 90 degrees (although I can usually get within less than half a degree off by now) up and down. I would have given anything for a wall that stood upright without my having to do anything. Some people have the patience to make tiny rotations and corrections by hand, they take pleasure in this, and I say hats’ off to them, I do not. Toolbox was my ray of sunlight. Rubeyrose’s series of tutorials gave me enough of a clue to be able to figure out how to get my building blocks to do what I wanted them to do, and nearly constant experimentation took care of the rest.
With Rift going free to play, the amount of available building blocks exploded, just as with the rest of available dimension items. With those building blocks now, premade walls, roofing, doors and windows. No longer did we have to morph our own doors! No more “invisible” plate glass windows! No more fighting to get a wall to stand up at 90 degrees, and unintentionally recreating the Leaning Tower of Pisa when we meant to make a castle! A brand new dimensioneer could whip out first time creations that actually looked good. My first dimension looked a lot like Uncle Redneck’s garage. Premade pieces meant even the smallest of dimensions could now sport incredible mansions.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate the premade pieces, or even dislike them. I’ve used premade walls here and there, as well as the doors and roofing. I love the stone texture on the regular walls, that Linketh@Faeblight NA uses so well in his Castle von Linketh. Using premade windows saves tons off the precious item count. The large floor tiles are considerably larger than standard building blocks, so it requires fewer of them to cover big areas.
My lament with premade pieces is that so many outstanding dimensions were torn down, the things that made them distinctive and unique replaced with plain white walls with dark brown trim. The new “improved” dimensions that replaced these older builds were usually twice as large on average–and twice as empty. For the people that like to decorate, having a whole premade building to fill must be a blessing, because the building can be put wherever the builder chooses. Entire villages spring up and creativity expands, which is always a good thing.
When I started the Cozy Cottage contest, I stipulated no premade pieces as structural components because I broke into a cold sweat, as I imagined trying to judge 20 or more entries that all looked the same on the outside, with minor variations of trim and detailing. There were so many complaints about this single provision, I nearly cancelled the contest. In the end, I’m glad I stuck it out, and I was thrilled to see so many fantastic, unique dimensions. Not one looked the same as any other, even as the current selection of building blocks meant there were similarities in some. My hope is that each and every person who entered is proud of what they built, and that they enjoyed the building as much as I enjoyed the touring of them.
As far as the premade walls/doors/windows/roofing goes, if those pieces make it easier for a new player to become engaged in dimensions and perhaps morph into a Dimensionerd, then I’m all for it. New people building means new perspectives and new ideas, and those are always good things. Perhaps, as Dreamweaving is more fleshed out closer to the release of 2.6, we’ll see things like paint effects for building blocks, to give those premade pieces some dashes of color.
The Dimensional Distance Indicator
I am known as an avid Toolbox user. Diva is…learning. There are still those that, for whatever reason, choose not to use the add-on in their dimensions. I’m certainly not going to tell the people who craft their dimensions by hand that they’re wrong. I envy them, the talent to make the things that they do by hand, because I can’t do it, so I use help. Some things, like small morphing, I do by hand–and then I immediately save that set into Toolbox so I don’t have to create it again. There are a few–well, a lot–of things that Toolbox cannot do, however. One of those is finding a centerpoint between two objects. If I want to set the center point for this fountain to exactly between the planks, for instance, I have to know how far in game units the two limestone planks are from each other, and where the center point of each plank is, which means I have to know how wide in game units the planks are… Prior to 2.5, I would just eyeball it and guess, or have a bunch of poles set up to mark locations.
With 2.5, the Dimensional Distance Indicator was released, and this unassuming little pink ball is…incredible! I’ve sung it’s praises on the main forums a time or two, and I still can’t sing them enough. With the Distance Indicator, of course, you can do more than just find a centerpoint between multiple objects, there are angle ticks to set rotations, that are pretty close to exact. It’s still eyeballing and guessing to an extent, but much, much easier with this handy little tool. I built half of The Hanging Garden without it, and the other half with it, and the difference to me was noticeable enough I tore out what I had already built and redid it. For those of us who like to build big, and even for the smaller builds, this thing is a lifesaver. Ever since, I’ve used the distance indicator for windows, roofing, object placement within different contexts…I use it primarily for finding center points, but even setting rotations without Toolbox is a breeze. At 35 platinum (or 45 credits off the store), I considered this a bargain, as much as I’ve used it. For those that Toolbox is not an option for (and given that the add on itself is no longer being updated and will eventually break), this may be an item worth looking at.
Happy touring, and happy building!