Camera tricks and tweaks that make fishing fast and easy.
This blog is about the advanced camera controls I use setting up my viewer screen to optimize for quick clicking of my Fish Hunt rod. I use the standard SL Viewer but I believe these tweaks are available in the third-party viewers as well.
Manual Rod View
I need to see two important things when fishing. The timer at the end of the rod and a large rod target that's easy to click. That is best achieved by having the camera positioned where my right hand is holding the rod with the camera looking down the rod at the timer. In my case, the shark becomes my large clicking target. With a beginner, pro, or deluxe rod, the large clicking target is the fishing reel. I use a ground sit that I like because it is a cool fishing look, but you can achieve the same goal in a standing position.
Best way to get your camera into position is to use Alt left-click to move the camera into place. When you hold the Alt key down, the cursor changes to a square with a plus in the middle. This is the Alt-zoom tool. With the Alt key down, place the cursor on your fishing rod and then hold the left mouse button down as well. Your camera is now locked and centered on your fishing rod. Moving your mouse zooms the camera in, out and around the spot. Release the mouse button and the Alt key and the camera locks to the new location and stays there until you use another camera control like Esc, which brings your rear camera back to default position. If you've never used the Alt-zoom, its a little tricky at first, but once you learn it, its likely to become your default camera control. You may have to click on your rod a couple times to find the right camera position at the back of the rod looking at the timer.
There are a couple settings in the Advanced menu that help enhance the Alt-zoom tool. Open the Advanced menu (Ctrl-Alt D) and make sure that Limit Select Distance is NOT checked and that Disable Camera Constraints IS checked. This will allow you to Alt-zoom your camera across an entire sim if you want. You can find more information about the Alt-zoom tool in the SL wiki and there are also tutorials on using it.
Rod View Camera
I recently found another short cut to getting the camera into position even faster than Alt-zoom. There are 3 camera positions in SL: rear, front and side. The camera default positions can be changed using the Debug Settings in the Advanced menu. Since I never use the Front camera, I adjusted its default position to be my Rod View camera.
To make the adjustment, sit or stand with your rod as you would when fishing. Change your camera view to Front View using the Camera Controls (Me/Camera Controls...). Open the Advanced menu (Ctrl-Alt D) and select Show Debug Settings. You need to adjust the CameraOffsetFrontView and the FocusOffsetFrontView. Each has x,y,z values. Type FocusOffsetFrontView in the Debug Settings and then use the up/down arrows to change the default x,y,z values. You will see the camera move in various ways as you change the settings. With a little bit of trial and error, you can swing the Front camera around and place it at the end of the rod. You will need to modify FocusOffsetFrontView as well as CameraOffsetFrontView until you get the desired position Focus Offset controls the offset of what the camera is looking at. Camera Offset controls the position of the camera as it relates to your avatar. It takes a bit of fussing around to get it right, but once its done, moving from your standard Rear View to your new Rod View camera is as simple as selecting Camera Controls and choosing Front View!
The new setting for Front View camera is automatically saved to the viewer's settings.xml file and will load automatically at launch. Since I don't use my Front View camera, this works for me. To be safe, I've also copied the x,y,z settings to a note card. That way if I use a different viewer or the settings revert back to default for some reason, I can go back into Debug Settings and reset for Rod View by just entering the x,y,z settings. Also note that as you adjust the settings in Debug, the arrow click adjustments are sometimes too drastic. In that case, just type in a smaller number to fine tune the camera position.
If you use your Front View camera for other things, you can use the Side or Group View camera for your Rod View. The Debug parameters to change are FocusOffsetGroupView and CameraOffsetGroupView.
A big advantage to Rod View is that when the rod moves to reel in a fish, its a big, visible movement. I keep my viewer screen to just ¼ of my available screen size. If I'm surfing the net in my browser, that movement on my SL viewer is more than enough to grab my attention for me to click my rod. No need to hear the reel noise. Plus with a smaller viewer window and sounds off as well as streaming music, media and voice chat all disabled, my bandwidth usage is much lower and that helps reduce lag.
When in Rod View using my favorite ground sit, the timer numbers usually show against the sky and will sometimes be hard to see, especially Tasty yellow worms. Fixing this is easy. Fish at night! World/Sun/Midnight will get you there.
I have noticed that my Rod View Camera will sometimes default to one side or the other of center. It is easy to fix by just using the left or right arrow keys to move it back to center.
You will notice in the screen shot, that my shubbie is HUD attached. That saves me from having to cam over to my shoulder to reset Cast Count or check his Status.