The big topic in mesh is the Deformers issue… an obvious spinoff from the Transformers movies… not. Maxwell Graf is leading an effort to get mesh deformers for SL clothes. As you probably know mesh clothes will not fit to our avatar shape, which is overly simplified but conveys the idea. Deformers will make the clothes fit our shapes.
The Lindens were caught by surprise in this issue. The entire mesh project was geared toward using mesh for things other than clothes. During the closed beta period those helping were apparently oriented toward building mesh things, not clothes. So, clothes were a secondary concern for Lindens. In hindsight a good case can be made for seeing clothes as a secondary priority being a blunder. But, that is in hindsight and we know how that works, unfairly.
Now the Lab is in the place of figuring out what to do. The development plans have been made, set in motion, and something needs to change now there is a bump in the plan. Residents’ reaction to having to change shape and feeling alpha layers, while they work, are not the solution is at a surprising level.
I many ways I see this as a guy thing. Men and women have blind spots. The shape change thing is one of them.
So, what is to be done?
I missed the part of the meeting where the Lindens discussed this, because the usual meeting location was offline. So, I’m waiting for the meeting minutes. But, they did revisit the issue later in the meeting.
If you read the SL Blogosphere, you know there is a movement to hire Karl “qarl” Stiefvater, a former Linden, to create the deformers. Maxwell says they have received about 60% of the funding they need. See the Deformer Project, if you want to donate. See #SL Mesh Update Week 40 and Cyanist to Fix Second Life Clothes for more information.
Maxwell has made it clear his intention for the resident run Deformer Project is for it to be cooperative rather than competitive.
The question is will the Lindens use the code provided by the project?
The Linden Process
Internally the Lindens are figuring out if they can and want to do something with Deformers. Vir Linden gave us a clear answer for how the Lindens see the resident initiated Deformer Project. They will consider using the code. If the code works for them, they will use it. But, until they see the code they are not going to make a commitment. Nor have they decided how they want deformers implemented. So, they can’t give the project any direction to head for assured or probable acceptance.
Contributor agreements apply to any outside code coming to the Lab. So, the Lab will still need signed agreements.
There is a part of the mesh and related deformer projects that is in testing. See Prep Linden’s post: Need some samples of a rig weighted to the collision volumes … It seems that there is more to the avatar than I have been dealing with in my mesh clothing tutorial articles. I have yet to sort this out. As it is in research rather than development I see no hurry to figure it out.
I suspect that until the Lindens sort their way through this we won’t know what is to happen with Deformers.
In the meeting Runitai said,
Basically, if you look at the raycast display and you see those joints we use for avatar raycasts, [they] are scaled based on some of the parametric avatar deformers and you can apparently weight your mesh to them if you want to, say, make the belly bigger. [These are the ones you see in Show Collision Skeleton.] In *theory* weighting to those bones *might* let you make pants that auto-fit any avatar you put them on.
This means rigged mesh weighted to those ‘bones’ is needed to test whether this theory is workable. This week the Lindens are testing the method of providing Deformers for clothes. It makes me wonder of rigging to the right bones would give us clothes with bouncing breasts, which will be popular with the guys.
You’ll find more information about these bones in the skeleton.xml file.
Blue Alloy brought up a point about making full body avatar replacements. When shifting to mouse look the camera attaches to the base of mSkull, a skeleton bone. Considering that can improve construction of non-human full body avatars.
Has been part of the Linden team participating in the Mesh Project. As the Mesh Project winds down to completion Lindens are being assigned to other projects. Runitai tells us he will not be able to attend future Mesh Meetings… well, Content Creation User Group meetings. It’s apparently a scheduling issue. He’ll be missed.
If you have been using the the SLViewer 3.0.x viewers and development viewers you have noticed a deterioration in FPS performance. There is a goal to get the viewer back up to 35 FPS. Runitai is involved in getting viewer performance back. While he is not proud of the current 35 FPS goal, it is a significant improvement over current performance.
You can check your GPU performance with GPU-Z. My 8800 GTS never hit more than 20% load using SLV 3.1.1.
Some people are finding the SLV’s too slow to use for production work, building things and inventory management.
I’m using the Second Life 3.1.1 (242386) Oct 5 2011 development viewer as I write this. In my cottage I’m getting 19 FPS. That is not as bad as the previous version, but it is still behind several Third Party Viewers.
Mesh Regions Down
The Mesh HQ 2 region was down today. I had to scramble to find where the meeting moved to. I missed the first few minutes. Several mesh regions were down. The mesh regions will be back up and should be up as you read this. The next meeting will be at the usual place, Mesh HQ 2.
Mesh Project Viewer
A question was asked about which viewer should be used now that the Mesh Project Viewer seems to have stopped development. Vir Linden says the mesh-dev builds haven’t stopped, but nothing new has gone in for a while. So, the version has not bumped up (ver: 3.0.6 compare to 3.1.1 for Snowstorm).
Vir is going to update the Mesh Project Viewer to use the 3.1.1 core. It will remain the viewer to use for testing mesh issues.
Runitai says the series of viewers called davep_shining-fixes is about graphics issues. Use those updates if you want to test graphics issues (SH-2240). I can’t find any related links beyond 3.0.6.
The Main Development Viewer today: Second Life 3.1.1 (242386) Oct 5 2011.
This is a function within the SL Viewer code not in LSL. It is about creating the convex hull for 3D Model upload from the SLViewer. Linden Lab uses Havok to implement this function. Third party viewers need an open source version to replace the proprietary and costly Havok functions. Wolfpup Lowenhar is working to get some of the related compile problems resolved so TPV Devs will have an easier time of things.
Anyone working on an open source solution for convex decomposition for Collada model uploads could help by contacting Wolfpup.
Runitai warns that if there is a better proprietary solution, the Lab will not sacrifice better technology to be open source. So, it seems while there is a preference for open source solutions the priority is for the best technology and solution.
Progress is moving forward on the clothing fit issue. It seems clothing fit, the number of people impacted, and concerned caught the Lindens by surprise. But, by the next meeting we should hear more on what will happen with the issue, which is what the Lindens promised.
Lindens are shifting over to work on other issues. Viewer performance for instance. At some point we will see this group significantly changing.