In August of last year I wrote about meshes coming to Second Life. We have a type of mesh in SL now, they are called Sculpties. But sculpties have lots of limitations. Placing textures on them and controlling LoD (Level of Detail) is complex and they tend not to show their real shape until we get close. They are also slow to render, starting out as a sphere.
The meshes we are about to get are what I’ll call free form meshes. T. Linden is telling us today that we will get them some time in Q2. Yay! See Second Life Blog: Q2 Coming Soon: What’s Ahead For Second Life
This change in mesh uploading will allow those working in Maya, 3DMax, Blender, and others to bring meshes into SL. This will also mean the existing 3D models on the net can be brought into SL.
However, in Q2 this is to be a BETA introduction for testing on the beta test grids. It will be farther restricted to a special beta version viewer. That answers my earlier speculation that the mesh code might be in the 2.0 viewers, it isn’t. While this is still quite restrictive the move into beta stage is a big step toward having them generally available. It also gives earlier adopters of technology a step up on making new products.
More Things Coming
XStreetSL is being replaced by SL Market Place, new software and new features. We’ll have to wait and see what we actually get and if it is better for business or just better for LL.
Search is being improved. Land and events are early subjects for search improvement. Speed is a target for improvement too. I think most of us with products for sale are interested in better search for products with less sensitivity to spam overload.
Viewer 2.0 is being improved. User feedback is supposed to be guiding changes. I suspect much of the feedback being listened to is from new subscribers rather than existing residents. LL has to get their retention rates up. Having more residents will help most of us. Most of the new stuff is going to appear in Snowglobe first. You can get that open source viewer at Snowglobe Download. Current experimental version is 2.0.1 (build 3339).
Development of Avatars United is to continue. This is more integration of Second Life with social networking tools for a Facebook like tie-in. The viewer, Avatars United, and Facebook are headed toward some type of intersection.
Havok 7 is coming. It is in use on one of the beta grids now. That should greatly improve performance for various parts of SL. Combat regions come to mind. We will see the change over as server 1.40 is rolled out. The initial changes we will see are minor… not that performance is minor… it is future stuff that will be more impressive. Better integration between the web and SL is big. We see more emphasis being placed on good web connections and API’s. Consider. It is the API’s that allow people to build better vending machines and game meters (XRPS/DCS2/CCS/etc).
In general both advances in game technology and LL communication with residents is to happen at a faster pace. This may be pressure from Blue Mars and others looking at virtual worlds. OpenSim has mean features and programming language additions that make OpenSim grids worth the hassle of dealing with alpha level systems. All of these are contributing pressure on LL to improve SL…. a good thing for residents.