I think this article will also be of interest to SL folks. Because OpenSim is likely to become a free SL mesh builders’ sandbox. However, uploads on ADITI are free, so may be not.
I guess it depends on how one looks at mesh on OpenSim as to whether this is ‘coming’ or an old thing. RealXtend, a branch of OpenSim, has had mesh objects for some time. A module has been available for some time to allow OpenSim people to add messes to their SIM. What I suppose is coming is the ability for everyone to use and see the feature in OpenSim.
Most viewers have not supported mesh. There was no way to upload them, which pretty much stops their use. RealXtend has a special viewer. I have never gotten it to work on other grids, that is probably just me. With the Second Life Mesh Project Viewer out and the code being released Friday, that limitation is removed. Soon TPV’s (Third Party Viewers) will have support for uploading and editing mesh.
I expect to see meshes in use on the main OS grids ahead of SL. The reason is simple. On OSGrid, for instance, many regions are run on private servers. So, there is no tier. No cost or need for prim equivalency adjustments. Commercially hosted SIM’s pay monthly hosting fees and there is no tier. Also, more of the region owners on OSGrid are running their own grids. If they load their region with poorly designed meshes and lag their SIM to death, they are the one paying the price. Moving laggy meshes to other SIM’s will certainly get the attention of the SIM owner and likely result in quick removal of bad meshes. Consider too, there are probably more SIM owners on line at any time than just residents. More people are deeply concerned about lag and have a vested interest in avoiding it.
In Second Life things are different. The opposite distribution of people in world is the case in SL. There are far more residents than region owners. Products like couches, chairs, tables, clothes, and all manner of things spread quickly across the grid. Residents are only concerned about prim count when they have to pay for them. Linden Lab needs some way to assure people take into consideration mesh efficiency. They are planning on doing that by controlling the cost of mesh upload based on mesh size (vertices count). The actual cost is still being worked out.
Then there is prim equivalency. How many prims does a mesh represent? The idea here is that prims are made from a fixed number of polygons. Press Ctrl-Shift-R to see them. Press again to hide them. Rendering the polygons is where your computer gets lagged. Fewer polygons means faster render. So, a low poly count mesh should cost less than a prim. A high poly count mesh should cost more. So, it is a balancing act on cost and efficiency. The Lab tech’s are trying to make it a fair trade between size/count and cost.
OpenSim doesn’t have to solve these ‘cost’ problems, just yet. They can slap them out there and let SIM owners figure it out. So, I expect to be placing mesh objects on my regions in SL yet this month.