Work continues on the development of mesh for Second Life. This week a couple of interesting bits of information came up in the Mesh Group.
Bones… people want to stretch and shrink your bones… It’s not all that ghoulish. When making various avatars it is going to be necessary to create different skeletons. The Lab is not ready for that. They are still getting the skeleton we have to work right with mesh. Adding a couple more arms or legs could be fun but it is technically complicated and way down the road.
However, a resident suggested that being able to change the length of bones would be a good interim alternative. It should also be far less complex technically. It will also allow a much wider range of bi-peds to be developed. Changing bone length would allow big legs and small arms like a T-Rex. Dogs and cats would also be easier.
A JIRA was filed this week for the feature request and Prep Linden agreed to get it prioritized.
Mesh Cost…this is still changing. The values one sees when uploading and editing mesh are erroneous. Still, it seems to alarm those working with mesh when they see upward spike in the costs.
Collision Shape Costs… related… When a mesh is made into a complex shape the SL physics engine has quite a job figuring out when an avatar is bumping into it. So, rather than give the physics engine a complex shape it is possible to have the up loader calculate a simpler shape. Or the creator can build a simple mesh shape to upload with the complex mesh.
To encourage residents to pay attention to the load they place on the physic engine, the upload and tier cost is based in part on how simple or complex the Physics Shape is. The code that controls these calculations is now isolated in modules. The problem right now is getting the code that deals with this in the server and in the viewer integrated so they work together. Once the server side is working in sync with the viewer we should to see consistent numbers in the build editor. Right now you can apparently get different physics cost numbers in different simulators.
Mesh Rez Issues… Seems a number of people are having problems rezzing meshes. The Lab is working on several issues related to meshes that wont rez.
Mesh Asset Gone… Until recently mesh was similar to sculpties. There was sort of a prim that was cast as a mesh object using a mesh asset like we do sculpty textures. That is no longer the case with mesh. The reasons given that mesh assets were removed according to Nyx Linden are:
Technically, there are assumptions the simulator needs to make about meshes that makes it impossible to change the mesh asset once the object is rezzed, without causing significant simulator stability and performance issues. [Also,] to prevent modification of mesh assets so that we can always identify *who* uploaded the mesh, to assist with IP takedown.
So, it’s a side issue, but a completely valid one, that we need to let people know who to contact for support. [some punctuation added]
It is great that the Lab people are thinking of IP rights problems and simulator stability. But, the removal of the mesh asset brings up another problem.
Creators make and sell, or give away, builders’ kits. For sculpties these are often a collection of textures, say for a vase. When the builder using a kit creates a new prim/object and adds the texture the object shows them as the creator. If a kit is prims with the sculpty textures already inserted so you have a vase rather than a texture, the creator of an object shows as the Kit’s creator not the kit-user. As an example, if you have a shoe object and add your textures and scripts to make a new shoe, it is the person that made the original shoe shape that shows as the creator. It does not take long for new people to learn that the second type of kit confuses the residents as to who built the object and who to call for support, which if you sell kits to builders can become a horrible problem.
Without the mesh asset, it is going to be difficult to keep the creator properly attributed. It appears that the mesh asset won’t be coming back. But, some new system of tracking creators is needed.
While it is possible to sell the Collada File that makes up the mesh the buyer has to upload the file. If you have played with the mesh uploader, you know it is complex and beyond the ability of many SL residents. It is an awkward way to go. We’ll have to see how the Lindens work this one out.
Mesh Development Priorities… Work is proceeding on the cost and a current priority (Nyx Linden). Merging disabled code for mesh into the main trunk and working out VS2010 problems (Microsoft Visual Studio – the tool used by many to build the viewer) (Charlar Linden). Also, merging bitbucket.org/seraph/mesh-development-vs2010 into hg.secondlife.com/mesh-development (davep).
OK… that merge stuff is a lot of geek speak for; ‘we are getting close’ to mesh release. I am guessing 6 to 12 more weeks… but no ETA’s from the Lab. Also, they say there are some Big Issues in flux… whatever that means. But those Big Issues are keeping the Linden’s from setting a date.