#SL Mesh Defomer at Risk

Scanning the Second Life® news today I found an article on new World Notes by Hamlet about Oz Linden reconsidering whether the Mesh Defmer is worth the effort… the bother to add it to Second Life. Hamlet’s article is: Linden Lab Needs Mesh Samples to Test Qarl’s Mesh Deformer — Or May Not Incorporate It Into SL Viewers At All.

Crying Leo by storyvillegirl on Flickr

If you don’t know the Mesh Deformer or the Parametric Deformer is the missing part of the mesh project that was never completed. The Deformer will allow mesh clothes to change with avatar shape controls. It causes mesh clothes to follow the Enhanced Avatar Physics, the clothes bounce with the boobies. The Lindens are considering dropping the project. We need to demonstrate support for the project for it to continue. This article is about getting the support into a visible place for the Lindens to see.

I found Oz’s comments in the JIRA STORM-1716 item.

Oz Linden added a comment – 08/May/12 8:59 AM (perma-link)

Perhaps this issue really isn’t all that important, or worth the trouble to integrate.

So far, only one designer has responded with one test garment.

Let me be clear – the lack of test material is a major blocker for testing, and therefor accepting, this proposed feature. If you want it, step up and do it soon.


Oz Linden added a comment – 08/May/12 10:48 AM

Good suggestion, Sabina… done.

I don’t think it’s fair to say that no one knows.. there are 175 Watchers on this issue who got mail when I posted the request, and it did get picked up in at least one fairly popular blog.

However, the forums may reach a wider audience… let’s see.

Ashasekayi Ra added a comment – 08/May/12 11:56 AM

With all due respect Oz, I feel your comment is a bit harsh. You made your request just Thursday of last week. It is only Tuesday. I submitted just one sample because that is all I had time to build in that time frame since I already have work projects to finish. I certainly plan to send a couple of other samples. However, all my previous work was created for merchants who plan to resell it. So, it will take some time to build new models specifically for this because of the copyright issue in the contribution agreement. Believe me, manually skinning a clothing item properly for the SL Avatar is not a quick job because you have to combat severe problems caused by the horrible weighting in that model.

The point is that I assume that several other creators are working on (or plan to work on samples for this project). Many of them probably need to make items just for this and can’t use models that they have used before. It seems reasonable to give us a few weeks to submit our samples.

Lastly, this project isn’t a content creator issue; It’s an SL user issue. There are plenty of non-creators who want this feature badly. As a consumer and creator, I surely want it to be a success.


Oz Linden added a comment – 08/May/12 12:02 PM

I hope that you’re right Ashasekayi… I’d feel better if I’d heard from anyone but you (and by the way, thank you again). Even hearing “I’m working on it” would help.

I’m not sure what you mean by “the copyright issue” – the CA does not in any way reduce or limit your ability to use or sell anything you create, even if you also contribute it under the agreement. If anyone needs clarification on that, please contact me by email not here.

On May 3rd Oz posted in the JIRA that he wanted example clothing. I covered that in my coverage: #SL Viewer with Mesh Deformer.

The Problem

This is one of those situations in which the Lindens and users have a drastically different experience. I post articles on the Mesh Deformer and see a spike in my visitor stats. The Track-backs go up. People are interested.

I know from attending the User Group meetings that only about 50 or so people are regularly active in those groups. Of those 50 not even half are into fashion. I am certain these meetings bore fashionestas to tears.

Have you seen the images I snap at the meetings and post with the articles? Of the typical 15 to 30 people at any given meeting only 1 or 2 people will be dressed in anything nice. There are lots of neat avatars. But nothing I would consider showing even a tenth of Strawberry Singh’s style, who I consider to be one of the best dressed avatars in SL… or barely dressed as the occasion may call for. My point is the fashion people do not attend the Linden lead User Groups.

I can comfortably guarantee that fashionestas are NOT reading the freaking JIRA. I read a prodigious amount in any given day. I only read the JIRA when I have some reason to. I seldom browse the JIRA. In fact only when I am looking for something specific do I search or browse in the JIRA.

17 thoughts on “#SL Mesh Defomer at Risk

  1. If you talk to Oz, you may find the deformer isn’t at so much risk at all.

    As an attention-grabber, the comment on STORM-1716 seems to have … grabbed people’s attention.

    As a diplomatic move, perhaps not the best; as for getting people to sit up and take notice, it has tended to work.

    • Have you talked with Oz? I agree this could be diplomacy or more accurately a strategy. But, this should be all over SL.

      You may be right about it being a strategy. But, the lack of examples submitted is going to slow the project and make it additionally difficult. So, we need more designers providing support.

      I also think Oz does not understand how the community divides up or how to communicate with the segments. Nor do I think he understand where the support for this project comes from. I think it may be a natural problem for overly logical and orderly programmer types. I think a show of support is needed to get word around.

      • Yes, Oz and I talked directly on the 9th, and I’ve posted on the conversation (with his consent) on my blog. Sadly, the resultant discussion there has turned somewhat negative and off-topic.

        The post is: http://modemworld.wordpress.com/2012/05/09/further-call-for-deformer-assistance-its-needed-but-dont-panic/

        I don’t disagree with the need for more designers getting involved in the project, just that it is doomed if people don’t. Rather, it’ll take longer to mature. As Oz himself comments below, as as I’ve directly quoted him on my blog article.

        • I appreciate your coverage. While I don’t always see things the same way as you, you seem sane and rational. Our coverage has different tilts. That a good thing. Readers are free to decide matters from multiple viewpoints.

          People do take things in directions we don’t expect. I can tolerate that until they become abusive and go full on ad hominem. Then I sometimes send them an email explaining why their post did not appear and trash their post. I feel no need to allow people to spew their hate or vent their frustration on my site. And… serious stupid will get a commenter permanently blocked.

          • “Seem sane and rational” – thank you, I think! ;-). That’s the second time I’ve seen that expression used in reference to myself.

            There are three ways of running a blog: comments closed; comments moderated and comments open. I personally prefer to operate the latter way. This does open the blog to the risk of “misuse”, but it also tends to stimulate discussions which are, for the most part, rational. Rarely have I had to censure someone as the majority of those who read blogs do so because they are passionate about SL and virtual worlds.

            Obviously, there are times when things spill over into the personal, but I’ve found that these instances are rare, and in some 5+ years of running a blog, I’ve only had to actively block one person, and put 2 others pro-actively under moderation (although WordPress itself seems obsessed with some e-mail addresses and routes some posts to moderation itself).

            It comes down to a matter of individual choice; I personally feel that those who do take things at a tangent and launch into, say, personal attacks on individuals at LL actually do more damage to themselves, particularly if they are themselves in the public eye. Which is not to say I will not hesitate in taking appropriate action should it become warranted.

  2. 99% of the problem in an issue like this is the schizotically fractured nature of SL communications.

    There are how many accounts signed to SL?

    And there are how many who managed to find Oz’s comment buried in some JIRA or forum thread?

    I simply love the LL assumption that the user base will provide the means to fix their software for them.

    Should we pit them an olive and peel them a grape while we’re at it?

    LL has no clue how to communicate with or engage its user base – never has once SL grew larger than when the Lindens *knew* everyone inworld personally.
    And they’ve never bothered to make the effort because the users are so mad at the mess LL makes year after year that if they do go in front of the mob, they are lynched… and they blame the MOB for the state of affairs.

    LL doesn’t even use its 3D world – preferring to maintain *dozens* of offworld communications channels, none of which are integrated to each other.
    LL ha had the ability to poll and engage the entire user base for issues like this … and refuses to use their platform to do so.

    Remember group proposals? Remember the in-world drop downs that warned of incoming grid quakes?

    Ignored and lost now in favor of burying important issues in an endless morass of flame-baited cliquish web pages like JIRA.

    So, basically, I read this article and can only assume Oz has already given up and the rest of the “need help” is proforma handwaving Oz can point at later to pretend an effort was made.

    Put this question on twitter, facebook, plurk, the SL front page, the login notice (rather than some club or another I could care about) put it on the marketplace banner (rather than asking if I want to be a vampire) etc.

    And Oz knows there is demand – why else would Qarl have gotten funded? Why would TPVs have rushed to release new versions with Qarl’s alpha code the same day he posted it.

    Oz is burning out quickly and its showing in the dev list and now this comment/article.

    Face it – Qarl’s deformed is DOA.
    Mesh is what it is, and its “good enough” for LL as is.
    Just like Windlight.
    Just like sim crossings.
    Just like every other missed/broken opportunity in this code base.
    LL made magic for a while.
    Now they make excuses.
    And people make the move to OpenSim.

    • I think the Deformer being DOA is inaccurate. I am concerned it is at risk or likely to be delayed.

      I agree the Lindens tend to be clueless on how to effectively communicate with the community.

      Mesh is still advancing. Other projects will build on it.
      Windlight is getting integrated into the region controls, where more region owners can put it to use.
      Sim crossing are being refactored from the core level and have improved year after year.
      The JIRA’s are being triaged and the backlogs cleaned out.
      I don’t hear many excuses from the Lab. The complaints are generally about how little we hear.

      People moving to OpenSim… ever so slowly. There are a lot of disgusted people on the OpenSim grids, which tends to make it a miserable place. Those there simply because of cost make some great builds and they tend to make it a joyful place. I find it hard to tell which group is winning.

      • Mesh: I got all of Oz’s comment and the rather mild backpedaling in my email from following STORM-1716.
        I still am not convinced it wasn’t an accidentally frank comment but it does look like things will continue for now.
        We’ll see, when its actually done and out there in the official viewer, I guess.

        Windlight: The dismal windlight implementation set my expectations here, how long has it been and region controls or tradeable windlight assets are still “coming soon?”… while OpenSim and TPVs have *several* different systems already in place: LightShare from Meta7, ParcelWL from Phoenix/Firestorm viewers, etc?

        Sim Crossing: remember when SL had vehicles? and people used them? I do. But sim crossing and a deluge of parcel issues all but killed them, which is why LL is handing out a freebie rail car to remind people that Havok does vehicles to, not just avatars walking and flying.

        JIRA: has been a wasteland since it was implemented – I won’t miss it when its gone. My pre-JIRA cases were converted, and I deleted them when they had their second birthday unread. Commenting on other people’s JIRA is worse, some JIRA Clique will come and smash you for any suggestion Not Officially Supported by those JIRA Ghodz. Heaven help the mortals in the 10,000 posts JIRA flamewars. I even tried to suggest directly to Lindens to make Resident comments viewable by Lindens only to cut off the flamebait and cliquish nonsense. Oh well.

        OpenSim: yeah, I tend not to run into many of the SLMUSTDIE crowd on OpenSim, but I know who you mean. Of course, those people sort of underline the point of all of the rest of this – they are in a sense virtual world refugees fleeing from the caprice of their old homeland. Naturally they warn others of the perils of their lost lands… many lost large amounts of time and money to some whim or rule change by LL. No one has ever given me grief for being active on both worlds. I’d have to say the creators and affiordable grid folks are winning since all I see are helpers in Lbsa, Chinese folks from EnglishGrid practicing, and content creators talking about speedbuilds and what not, day after day… its been months since I’ve run into anyone screaming SLMUSTDIE. Maybe I am just too virtually reclusive to notice. Come to LaniSpace and talk with the sci-fi cluster community like Lani Global, Doll Orphan, Raz Welles, or talk with the Lbsa gang like Dan Banner, Hippie Balbozar, Key Gruin, etc.

    • No… mesh samples is not what they need. The need mesh clothes made with the Deformer Flag and based on the SL Avatar.

  3. Thank you for your help getting the word out to the SL fashion community. Like most engineers, I’ve rarely been accused of being a snappy dresser myself (either inside or outside SL).

    Seriously… I am more than convinced that the deformer is something people want, so no one need convince me of that. As I told Inara yesterday, my comments were intended to wake people up – perhaps I was a little hasty, and I certainly had missed the idea of posting on the Fashion blog (since fixed, as you noted – while I read Jira all day long, I don’t really follow the fashion world).

    What I do need is for those who care about designing mesh avatar accessories that would benefit from the deformer to participate in getting it done. There’s far more to getting any new feature into Second Life than writing the code: that code has to be tested, we have to look for ways in which existing content might be broken (while we may not always succeed at that, please believe that we always try), and we need to develop ways to maintain that stability in the future. The deformer code has made great progress, so the primary impediments to getting it the last mile is to do that testing, and for that we need appropriate content.

    The key word there is “appropriate”: to all those who’ve asked why we don’t just go out and buy things on Marketplace or pick up freebies… if that would help, I’d have done it long ago, but that content won’t help. First, we need garments designed to the base avatar shapes the deformer is coded to use as a reference (yes, those are the shapes in the clothing template folder on the wiki); if they are modeled on any other shape, the deformer will deform them incorrectly. At least as importantly, we need things that are designed to be good tests, which really isn’t the same thing as being good looking fashionable outfits. As for whether or not we could develop that content ourselves, well… I don’t think very many people would argue that we’re as good at that as the non-Linden designers, but more importantly it would take far longer. There is a lot of competition for few resources inside the Lab, and my job is to try to mobilize the community to make things happen even when we inside the Lab can’t do all the work.

    So… I thank you for your efforts, but I’d ask you and your readers to focus on helping me motivate the creation of the content we need. Really, the very last thing I want is kill this project, and I’m going to keep trying until we get it done. Maybe this time my way of getting attention was just a little drastic, but it was in a good cause.

    • Oz, you did get some attention. And, despite the tone of my comments about LL/SL in general above, I do think you sounded more burned out than anything else.

      Your open source dev list and the viewer development is the best-run/widest-communicated thing I’ve seen out of the Lab in at least half a decade. I wish more of LL were as visible or reachable as you and your team are.

      But yeah, you lob a a conversational hand-grenade and people are bound to worry about the pending boom.

    • As a high-tech project manager, I’m totally astounded by Oz Linden’s attitude. I can’t speak for all tech developers, but I can tell you this: When I’m working on a project, I set my heart on completing it. Just do it. And, if it can’t be done one way–find another way. And do it. If that doesn’t work, try something else, until it’s done.

      I can’t tell you how many times I’ve encountered resistance in unexpected areas. The thing to do when that happens is change course, and find another way.

      Sometimes my clients can’t or simply don’t want to do as much testing as we expected. Or they provide less than complete specs, reference material, whatever. It is what it is, and we work with what we have, and get the job done.

      Oz Linden’s attitude towards this is simply infuriating. It’s not just about his communication skills (lack thereof). It’s about his rigid expectation that his customers do free work for LL.

      Oz Linden, my request to you is as follows. Find a way to do this and get the job done, whatever it takes. Please.

      • You did read all the comments, right?

        Every for hire project I’ve seen has its limits. Persistence is great. Solving problems for clients builds a reputation.

  4. Oz doesn’t care if you like him. He cares that Second Life gets better. This is bad? F__k. That. All Lindens would be this way if I could pick.

    I can’t believe how many people get upset when Linden offers a doer instead of a diplomat. This is the same thing that happened when idiots drummed that graphics Linden off the mail list. Good job. What did that accomplish?

    My half-cent an hour net revenue pays your salary, officer. You better smile when you see me coming!

    [Minor edit by Nalates]

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