Custom Pivot

This spiral staircase took about 10 minutes to make using custom pivot.
This spiral staircase took about 10 minutes to make using the custom pivot function in the Copy and Paste Window.

Hello again, Dimensionerds!  This guide for DT 2.0 will go into my new favorite function, Custom Pivot, which sounds really complicated…until it doesn’t.  Back when I wrote the Spiral Stair guide for Toolbox making stairs from planks was a pain in the hind quarters, simply because of where the center point of a plank is located–in the middle of the block.

Planks aren’t the only items that way, tiles and rectangles also have center points that make them difficult to make any kind of spiral from.  But I digress.  How does Custom Pivot work?

It all starts with a pole--or a corner post, or anything with an easily identified center point. I like poles, because their length directly corresponds with game units. For example, a pole at default size is 1 game unit.
It all starts with a pole–or a corner post, or anything with an easily identified center point. I like poles, because their length directly corresponds with game units. For example, a pole at default size is 1 game unit.

There is a great deal of trial and error involved in figuring out how to do certain things with custom pivot, but the beauty of it is that nothing really takes overly long to figure out.  As I stated in the caption above, I like using poles to set my pivot points, because poles directly correlate to game units–and that helps in those instances when you have to do math.

What is the pole for?  It sets the point where all the items that are copied and pasted will pivot from.  I’ve use it so far to make the rotunda for the dome you may have seen screenshots of a few guides ago, the spiral stairs pictured above, and circles from cubes–with 0 manual manipulation.  Let’s get started with stairs.

Now that the actual steps are done–with amazingly little effort!–it’s time to add the risers.

Notice how both sets of planks pivot around the center point set by the pole.  The same concept is in play for the railing as well.

The only thing that really changes will be for the actual railing part of the handrail, and even with eyeballs and guesstimation, it still only took me about three tries before I was happy with the end result–which was pictured at the top.  No math, no calculating offsets.

And that’s how to make a small, elegant spiral staircase in not a lot of time.  Not having to do a lot of manual shifting also means that things look much more even.  Of course, not all builds require such a fancy staircase, but the theory is the same no matter what.  If you get a staircase that works well for you, I still recommend saving it as a set, as a template for further use.

Now, let’s move on to a full, upright circle:

I could have used the offset calculator and done the math that would align this circle perfectly with the pole, but this is mostly to demonstrate that you don’t have to.  Could I probably have done it faster using copy and paste with manual manipulation?  Possibly, but this way, all I have to do is change a few numbers if it doesn’t turn out right the first time, instead of spending even more time doing a bunch of manual shifting and squinting.

Let’s try another one, that’s on a much grander scale.  Remember that dome I’m so proud of, made from cubes?  It needs a rotunda body.

For this scale, it's time to break out the distance indicator. For the pivot point, I'm going to use a Wood Corner Post.
For this scale, it’s time to break out the distance indicator. For the pivot point, I’m going to use a Wood Corner Post.

There are a few builders out in Telara that build on this kind of scale on a regular basis.  I’m normally not one of them.  This circle is wider than planks at maximum scale can make with a standard circle, so custom pivot is going to come in very handy here.  Before we get started with picking and copying and pasting, I’m going to drop the indicator and the corner post–I only had the indicator raised up so I could better see if it was centered on the dome (again, no math).  Then I copied and pasted a corner post into the indicator.  I may have to do some manual shifting once the rotunda walls are up to align everything more perfectly.

With all of these examples, it took longer to write out the explanation than it did to complete the function.

Trial, error, and experimentation.  Of these things, great dimensions are made.

Happy Building!

 

 

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