Update 2010-09-15 – after fold – Update 2010-09-15 11:28 PM – Update 2010-09-16 – Details from Nyx Office Hours – 2010-09-17 – Update 2010-09-23 – Link to new Mesh Wiki Page
Wow! Oh wow! I thought this was a feature that was almost dead. I did not expect to hear another word on the subject this year. Here is whasup.
The current news out is the closed beta testers that have been under NDA, are now released from the NDA as part of the Lab’s new open door policy. They have started talking and posting videos. The Lab has a page up on their YouTube.com channel. See Second Life Channel Meshes – This is a play list, so you can see a bunch of videos.
According to Jack Linden the Lab is going to move from Closed Beta to Open Beta. The date is not set. We are promised that in two weeks they will announce the date for Open Beta. The Mesh Project will have a Project Viewer. If you are not familiar with those, well catch up. The new development process at the Lab is to have teams working on projects and coordinating with other teams. Teams use special viewers to allow residents to experiment with various project’s feature. Rather than try and make everything LL is working on work in a viewer, early work is separated and has separate viewers. The Display Names Project Viewer is a good example.
There is concern around the grid that this is going to cause more lag. The Beta testers are saying no. Linden Lab says they delayed this feature partly because they wanted to do enough testing to be sure it was not going to add cause more lag. If you are following other projects, you’ll know this new process for adding features is constantly concerned with stability and lag. Also that a major effort is under way to reduce lag and improve SIM crossings.
One of the things meshes will allow is the creation of avatars. This is not pasting on sculpties and prims type avatars, this is from scratch avatar replacing your avatar mesh. This is well beyond a ‘shape’. This is a new avatar mesh. Those clothing design templates that you use and that show all those triages and squares to help guide your design, that is what is going to change. Watch the videos. Awesome.
Better Cloth & Clothes
Watch the video labeled Second Birth. At the end when the avatar walks off the pedestal watch her dress. That is not the typical skirt we see now.
Also clothes will be more Blue Mars like. Many have a concern that tight form fitting clothes will not be possible as the AV will poke through as it moves. A recent post on the Blue Mars blog shows some form fitting clothes. So, it may be possible to have tight, sexy clothes.
Mesh Cost & Other Details
There are 5 copies of the mesh uploaded or created at upload, I’m confused on exactly how that works. One pays based on the size of the largest LoD version file. A 4kb file will equal one prim or L$10. Other factors can add to that cost. A complex collision mesh can drive up the collision render cost, which may change your upload cost.
Quoting Falcon Linden:
For physics, you’ll have two choices. You can either upload a physics mesh or you can use a utility in the upload tool to “decompose” it into a simpler representation. The tool lets you choose how much to simplify it, and has lots of parameters to play with. The advantage is that it will cost much less if you use the tool rather than upload a physics mesh.
[…] We’re going to modify the viewer so you can’t accidentally scale your mesh to the point where you’d exceed the parcel’s prim limits, just to be safe
[…] We’re working on determining whether we can increase the max scale. We do hope to, but it definitely won’t be ready in time for the start of beta
[…] you’ll be allowed to say “Don’t use any physics for this mesh. Instead, use these invisible linked prims for collisions”
[…] meshes in general will be useless with the old viewers.
Nyx says LL will not be back porting meshes to the SLV1 series viewer. Also, wiki documentation on meshes will go up with the open beta. Mesh avatars will use the existing avatar skeleton and there will be no facial animations. No advanced materials yet.
Probably most important, Nyx says open beta on mesh will come some time after the 2 week time for the blog update promised. (Reference – rare Nyx transcript)
It was asked if the code to render meshes would be made public to TPV’s before meshes go live. At this time that is unknown as Nyx and Falcon are not handling that part.
OpenCollada is said to be the best export tool for 3DsMax and Maya. Blender 249.2 has a Collada export built in.
Closed Beta Testers Posting
Some of the Beta Testers are posting about their experience in the Closed Beta.
- Mesh Buildings – by Rusalka Writer
- Mesh Avatars – by Rusalka Writer
- “Meshes with blender” a preliminary tutorial – by Matrice Laville
- The Status of Mesh Support in Second Life – This beta tester, Sand Castle Studios, tells us more about the coming meshes; Collada, no size limit, custom UV Maps, 5 levels of mesh – 4 LoD + 1 collision, rigging is allowed – meaning one can make a replacement AV, upload fee starts at L$10 but depends on polygon count, hard and rounded edges.
New Wiki Page: Mesh/FAQs Wiki Page
Wiki page with more Mesh information: Mesh
I think this is an exciting new feature for Second Life. Making and texturing sculpties is more complex than is necessary for meshes. The new Collada meshes will be easier to make and texture. Well, I hope the texture part will be easier. LL is working on making prim texturing simpler so I think it follows they will do a better job on mesh texturing.
These changes and additions are going to require lots of changes to the viewer. Not only will and avatar be able to wear a shape, they can wear a new mesh. How will that work with the shape tools we have now? Something will change. How will these new meshes work with the build tools? Things are going to have to change. I think all these changes will push TPV’s toward the SLV2 interface. Thankfully that is quickly changing. I have been using the Development Viewer with detachable sidebar panels for a few days and updating it once or twice a week. It is pretty nice, not a Phoenix or Imprudence replacement, but nice and certainly usable for exploring SL.