Linden Lab (LL) has said this quarter we would see the release of the new meshes. (Second Life Meshes Update) May be for Second Life’s 7th birthday we may see the new meshes. Those working with them have been under NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) and not talking. The rumor is LL released them from their NDA and then re-imposed it. During the time they were released quite a bit of information made it out.
Secoundslog is where I ran into the article, Updates on Mesh uploads, NDA was temporarily lifted. They have collected information leaked while the NDA was lifted. Literally, it was lifted for about 5 minutes then reclamped.
It seems the meshes will be in Collada format. This is the same format Blue Mars uses. I could guess the Collada choice is because it is an efficient format or because LL hopes to be more competitive with Blue Mars. Whatever the case, we have Collada format meshes.
Collada allows things like wearable clothes. This means we can get away from the gay look of painting sports coats on male avatars. It also means we can get away from jackets having to be a collection of attachments for the neck, chest, upper and lower arms, and etc. A jack will be able to be made from a single mesh and will flex at the joints. If you want to know more about how this works, check out how clothes work in Blue Mars.
The rumor is that we can use replacement avatars. Our entire AV mesh can be replaced with a custom mesh.
On a more technical level… the new meshes are to give us more control over the LoD (Level of Detail). The story is things will use 5 meshes, 4 for LoD and one for collisions. You see LoD at work as you approach things and see them changing shape. Controlling how sculpties change shape has been a pain. With a Collada mesh we will be able to create sub meshes that degrade as we want them to rather than waste vertices trying to control LoD. I’m looking forward to learning more about how these sub-meshes will work.
I was wondering how LL would control mesh size. Tier is based on the number of prims used in a build. The use of Collada meshes would significantly reduce the number of prims needed for many builds. That would reduce income from tier. Not a smart move for LL. Plus render time is affected by the number of vertices. Unlimited mesh sizes with unlimited numbers of vertices would create serious lag problems. Something would have to be done to give incentive to builders to use fewer vertexes. So, it appears some number of vertices will count as a prim. Large meshes will then count as multiple prims. Foolish use of Collada meshes could count as more prims than a simple prim build.
Only new viewers are going to render the new meshes. So, I would guess that means all the viewers we have now will have to go through an upgrade. I saw Imprudence and Emerald are both talking about moving from their current round of beta releases to a new standard release version. Could it be they are planning to have a release with the new meshes shortly after SLB7? …which is 6/21. See SLB7 Destination Guide.
It sounds like it will be easier to control textures for these meshes. The current sculpties and the UVMaps for them are pretty awkward. We are likely to have much better control with the new Collada meshes.
It also was said that each polygon will be treated as a side. If that is correct, I think we would be able to assign a texture to any single polygon. But I would think it might also be a nightmare. However, it was said that any type of UVMap could be used for the object.
We’ll find out all the details in the next few days.