THE BASIC RULES OF WORKING IN TIME IN SIMMETRI:
In Simmetri there are 4 different ways to activate, experience and edit the world. Stop, Play, Pause and Present-Time.
GIF SHOWING: Stop, Play, Pause, Play, Stop and Present-Time. KeyStroke callout in bottom right is a separate app than Simmetri.
You start out in your Simmetri space in Stop-Time.
Pressing buttons at bottom right:
- Press Play button in Stop-Time to enter Play-Time.
- Press Play button in Play-Time to enter Pause-Time.
- Press Play button in Pause-Time to re-enter Play-Time.
- Press Stop button in Play-Time to enter Stop-Time.
- Press Stop button in Pause-Time to enter Stop-Time.
- Press Present button in any time to enter Present-Time at the moment in the timeline.
- Press esc in Present-Time to enter Pause-Time
- Press Spacebar in Stop-time to enter Play-Time.
- Press Spacebar in Play-Time to enter Pause-Time.
- Press Spacebar in Pause-Time to re-enter Play-Time.
- Press esc in Play-Time to enter Stop-Time.
- Press esc in Pause-Time to enter Stop-Time.
- Press ctrl+tab in any time to enter Present-Time at the moment in the timeline.
- Press esc in Present-Time to enter Pause-Time
Time stands still and the world beckons your creativity.
Where you place items in the world in Stop-Time is where they will be at the beginning of Play-Time and where they will return to after Play-Time (unless you commit their transform changes before exiting Play or Pause-Time(see below).
During Stop-Time, if you're animating some object's property values using Keytracks on the timeline, you can move the green playhead along the timeline to sample times in the future and see what things will look like as time progresses.
Philosophical Note: Either we "pre-determine" where items will be at a particular time in Simmetri, or we leave it up to physics'. In Stop-Time, Simmetri does not yet know where physics will take your world. Not until Simmetri enters Play-Time and begins calculating the universe at every frame (90-200 times per second) does it begin to compute forward to reveal where your particular objects are at a particular time. Physics gets calculated 100's of times a second and the nature of physics calculations in computers introduces small rounding errors which can cause little variations in where things go... The net effect: things may end up in different places Play-Time to Play-Time. Think of animating on the timeline as "deterministic", leaving things free to physics as "non-deterministic" and scripting events as "conditionally deterministic" and your audience who interacts with your creation as "agents of change".
- Time: All active timelines in your space will start ticking at their set timescales.
- Animations: Animated key tracks and their key frames on your timelines.
- Audio Streams and Clips: Active audio assets in space or on overlay viewports active will begin to play and be heard from their locations.
- Physics: the computations of your universe begin.
- Pulses and Signals: that drive emitters, and other number controllers.
- Scripts: all the scripts (except those you've deactivated) will run when called.
- Actors: Playable actors you control.
- Play time does not activate VR-viewing mode, but it does allow for controls to communicate (positions, rotations, VR controller button clicks).
PLAY TIME EDITING: With Power Comes Responsibility
Simmetri allows you to continue creating, editing and playing with your scene while in Play-Time. We call this "Play-Time Editing". Its part of what makes Simmetri fun, experimental, fast to iterate and discovery rich.
The Rules of Play-Time Editing
- What Gets Built in Play Time Stays: Things that you build will stay built when you stop the world again. They will by default return to where you first built them in the space.
- The Default Camera, the one you fly through the space to view and edit your world, also called "Director Camera," can fly almost anywhere, but note:
- The camera won't fly through the terrain or any object in the space with an active rigidbody.
- The camera will stay in place when you pause time, but it will return to where it began at the start of Play-Time when you stop time.
- You can turn this 'camera-returns-to-start-point' behavior off under menu: Edit (top menu)> Preferences> Editor (bottom tab)> Enable undo for director camera movement
- Make Things Stay Where You Placed Them in Play-Time: Commit Transform Changes:
- When you stop Play-Time: Things that got moved around during Play-Time will return to their initial position of Play-Time (where they started or where they got created by you.)
- If you like where you moved things during Play-Time you need to tell Simmetri to keep them there, otherwise the program will try to help you by putting things back where you started. Any change you make to an object's transform (position or rotation) during Play-Time, will be reset at stop-time unless you 'commit transform changes' before entering stop time.
- Commit Transform Changes by selecting the objects whose end-of-play-time positions you like then press ctrl+T or edit>commit transform changes . This will commit those objects into their positions before you exit play-time.
- This is very useful when positioning emitters, for example, because knowing precisely where the emitter is emitting objects and fine-tuning where those objects travel is best viewed and edited in playtime. Just select the emitter, and press ctrl+T before hitting esc to exit Play-Time.
- Edit > undo after stop: If you press stop and items in your world (which were moved during playtime) jump back to their initial starting positions, and you wish some of them had stayed where you placed them during Play-Time. Don't worry. Just immediately undo the last step. ctrl+Z or edit>undo, this will revert all items to the last frame of Play-Time, put you in pause-time and give you the chance to selectively commit transform changes (select items > ctrl+T), then exit Pause-Time (esc) to go back to Stop-Time where you can continue creating and editing.
- Lock Unlock Play-Time Generated Objects:
- Play-Time Generated Objects, things generated from a node-emitter or from a cloning script, will be cleared away at the next Stop-Time. The emitter that emits them will of course stay. This is to keep emitters from filling up your world.
- If you want to interact, as a play-time editor with your emitted "play-time-generated objects, you need to disable a setting called "Lock Play-Time Generated objects." Find this under the Edit>View menu. They're locked by default for more efficiency meaning you can have more of them in your world before things get slowed down and choppy.
GIF SHOWING: Spheres from an emitter, "Play-Time-Generated Objects" can't be play-time edited, thrown around in this case, as they are locked by default. But they can be unlocked under the Edit>View menu.
- Show/Hide Helpers: Some items- like lights, emitters, blank 'nodes', sounds - exist in the space at a single point and they don't have 3D volume, aren't 'volumetric,' and don't have a mesh and materials that you can get a hold of to select or move them. These items represent themselves with an icon and a text title in the space that you can use to grab them. These icons are called "Helpers" and they can be very helpful. But sometimes you want them out of your nice view. Hide them by selecting/unchecking Edit(menu) > View > Show Helpers
Pause-time is a temporary time-out during Play-Time
- Click the big play button (or spacebar) to enter Pause-Time
- Click the big play button (or spacebar) to exit Pause-Time back into Play-Time activating the Timeline again from where it left off.
- Clicking the big stop button (or esc) while in Play-Time or in Pause-Time will stop the timeline and reset it to its beginning.
Rules of Pause-Time:
- Items you add to the scene in Pause-Time
- Changes you make to object's position or rotation count as "Play-Time transform changes" and you must commit them (see "Commit Transform Changes" above) if you want them to stay when you return to Stop Time and if you want those items to be located in those same positions at the beginning of Start-Time next time you press Play.
Present-Time and VR-Present
...or if in VR-Mode , ... then
Click the (corner-brackets) Present button or press Ctrl-Tab to enter the world in Present-Time. Press the Esc button to exit Present-Time into Pause-time... Press esc again to reset the timeline and return to Stop-Time.
- Is the primary mode for presenting your Simmetri experience: be it through VR, direct screen game-play, or a multi-screen interactive art show.
- Activates everything in your 'universe' that is active in Play-Time like animated keytracks, physics, scripts, etc.
- However, in Present-Time:
- The Master Display (outputting your chosen camera view of the world) which you see on the computer screen will go to full screen, hiding 'Windows task-bar'
- All UI panels and Play-time-Editing elements are hidden and deactivated.
- Helpers (the icons representing non-volumetric things like lights, sounds, emitters) are hidden.
- Interacting with the world is now limited to your designed player-controls (be they preset/default player-controls on VR controllers or player-controls on Simmetri's built in Actors like the vehicle or movable ball).
- Activates VR if you're in VR mode. (VR-mode enabled by the VR button at the top right, when enabled the button will glow pink).
- Your mouse cursor will remain visible, and will have the ability to interact with any screen elements with "interactions" assigned to them. The mouse can be hidden against the bottom of the screen or in a multi-monitor setup, over on another screen.