MetaReality #SL Mesh Deformer plus Cloud Party

I’m doing this review or index a bit different. I’ll provide the time marks on the outline Gianna Borgnine posted at MetaReality and add some more topic labels. Afterward I’ll provide my take.

Metareality Podcasts

I won’t be quoting as making verbatim transcripts is too tedious. Also, my paraphrasing is what I took from what I heard. That is not necessarily what they said or meant. Listen to the audio if you react to something I wrote. The audio podcast is here: It Almost Looks Good.

Index

  • 02:00 – RedPoly Mesh Clothing Deformer – 03:00 Describe what the alternative deformer is. Both Geenz Spad and Karl  04:00 Why designers like or hate this new idea.
  • 06:00 – Avastar Plugin – It can be used with the alternative deformer.
  • 13:30 – Update on Qarl’s Deformer – Gianna wondering if we’ll ever get a deformer done.
  • Mesh Deformer Limits
  • 14:30 – Content Creation Improvement Informal User Group – This group was inspired by the confusion and ideas spinning off the alternative deformer. Geenz explains the hope he has for what the group will accomplish.
  • 27:00 How Second Life Lost Its ‘Old Frontier Feel’ – About a recent Botgirl post. Is losing the frontier feel something we care about? Some feel SL9B brought some of that back.
    Gianna adds in her thoughts on getting communication from the Lab. Are the top guys still interested in SL or are they moving on to their other products?
  • 32:30 – Funny Reed story as they discuss a possible new materials system. Which is where the name Almost Kinda Looks Good.
  • 35:00 – 7 Things You Need to Know About Cloud Party – Tutorials are good. CP shows the difference between CP and SL introductions. Uploading mesh and materials is way easy. It is not really a Facebook game. It uses Facebook login.
  • 38:00 – CP is going to need an Adult area. Discussion goes in what Blue Mars and CP are doing right and wrong and comparing to SL.
  • 40:00 – Safari users have to go into the Developer section and enable WebGL to run CP. Some other speed comparison are discussed. CP is using pixel lighting. That is going to be difficult for older computers to handle.
  • 45:00 – What CP is and what SL could be in a browser.
  • Not Yet a Party But Soon?
  • Facebook Knows What You’re Doing (Even If You Don’t)
  • 1:00:00 – Design Gearz – Cyclic talking about her mesh training and things she makes. She mentions the designer
  • Starstruck SL – Cyclic furniture. All new furniture to be mesh only.
  • Content Creation Improvement Informal User Group – Geenz reiterates. Please do what you can to be there. Set a reminder. I will.
  • 1:03:00 – The status of qarl’s deformer and what happens now – Karl is waiting for some sort of consensus to form. Geez!

My Take

A bit of history. There are lots of missing parts. But, a guy named Redpoly Inventor figured out how to use bones listed in the viewer files to make another kind of mesh clothes deformer. I wrote about it in #SL Mesh Deformer Alternative. To promote the things Red sells he put up a video of how the products worked. The products are a couple of clothing items that use the alternative deformer process.

That video was found. It started to circulate among designers getting Plurked and discussed. Finally Aki Shichiroji put it on the agenda for the Content/Mesh Creators User Group for the June 25 meeting. From Plurking, I suppose, there was a huge turnout, 60+ can’t get in the sim turn out.

For whatever reason Red was there and explained how the process he discovered… or developed… or whatever he did with it… works. That has started numerous discussions.

What we learn in this week’s podcast is that designers are mixed on whether this new way of getting deformable mesh clothes makes designer life easier or harder. That seems to boil down to how much the designer hate making multiple sizes.

The Mesh Deformer Karl is making requires that we weight paint our clothes. Some designers hate weight painting. But, there is no way around it. It is part of life in a 3D virtual world.

Generally one can make one size of an item and paint it then make the additional sizes. Occasionally one may have to make some weight painting tweaks on the additional sizes. But, the weights one paints on something do appear in copies, which save time.

Creating sizes is a bit tedious. Even with the Alt-S scaling in Blender changing size is a PITA.

The whole deformer thing is to get away from that. The Alternative Deformer or Red Deformer, for a sort name, should get us away from the problem. And it seems to do a nice job of deforming the mesh clothes.

Geenz Spad got in trouble… well got flamed, for suggesting that Red Deformer was not such a hot idea. Geenz can come across a bit arrogant. I attribute that to the nature of programmers. Birds tend to poop on things and programmers tend to be arrogant. That my world view and doesn’t mean they are.

On several points he is right. The bones that Redpoly found are from a time when the SL system used the bones to shape the collision envelop for the avatar. If you are playing in combat regions, the collision envelop is a big deal and you probably know about it. I suspect fashionestas couldn’t care less.

I’m not sure whether the SL system still uses the avatar as it did when the collision bones were added. Or maybe they are an artifact of the Poser model the Lab used. Whatever, Geenz worries about whether this collision bone feature might disappear at some future time. I get that he sees using this bone system as a hack, because it is used in a way not originally intended. So, in that way it is a hack. But, if it has not been removed by now then I doubt it ever would, but that is opinion.

There is also the problem that the collision shape does not use Enhanced Avatar Physics, breast, butt, and belly jiggle. That may not sound like an issue to some. But, sex is a huge part of life and a huge part of Second Life. That the Lab has not come to terms with their ‘corporate’ sexuality doesn’t lessen its importance. So, I see this lack of jiggle as a big negative.

There is some discussion in the podcast about whether breasts and love handles can be sized. I am pretty sure they can’t. Redpoly touched on that in the UG meeting. The Lab will have to make a change in the avatar to fix that for the Red Deformer thing to work.

The upside to the Red Deformer is one does not need the code required by Karl’s Mesh Deformer. That makes the viewer faster. This is good. But, giving up sex for speed is not likely an acceptable choice. Sex rules.

The HUGE downside is in the work flow. When weight painting in Blender we can move the avatar to different poses and see how the painting is or isn’t working and make adjustments. With the alternative bones used in Red Deformer, that isn’t possible without some programming. So, with the Avastar add-on to Blender it is possible, or we hope it will be. I’m not sure which the case is right now.

If we can’t see how weight painting is working in Blender, we would have to export from Blender, import into Second Life, check it out and return to Blender to make adjustments. This is a HUGE PITA for me. this is another of Geenz’s concerns. Also, of mine and a number of others including Redpoly.

What Are We To Do?

Gianna and several others would simply like to see something, anything, decided on and get done.

Karl’s Deformer is nearing 0.4 release and I am hoping it will be much improved. I posted Mesh Deformer 0.3x Limits to provide a reference point for the next release of the Karl Deformer.

Until we see it, I think we shouldn’t make any decisions.

But, Karl is waiting for some sort of consensus to form. Sound like a Catch-22 scenario? Certainly does to me. Oz is waiting on Karl, Karl is waiting on us, and we are waiting on Karl. I know I wanted to see how the new version with consideration of the normals in the math for finding the closest vertex worked before trying to make a decision. Will it deform as well or better than the Redpoly method? Well now I can’t know. F__K!

An Action

What we can do to decide and get things moving is participate. Geenz and others are forming the, what I’ll label, Improve Second Life user group. They call it: Content Creation Improvement Informal User Group. (Links above).

At 19::00 in the audio Geenz explains that the appearance of Second Life has not changed much since 2007/2008. We have gotten Windlight, Sculpties, and Mesh. But, most of SL has not changed in appearance. He hopes the new group can do something about that. SL lags behind the technology. The current graphics cards can do amazing things at incredible speeds.

We can get word to fashion creators and other content creators that this group exists and ask them to participate. The hope is we can find the things that would most help creators with their work flow. It is possible that we can change things in Second Life. I am sure the change will be so slow that some people won’t be able to associate what they do with the eventual changes. But, meetings do have an influence on the Lab… or at least some do.

We can also email Karl and Oz. Ask them to break the wait cycle. If Karl wants to see a consensus of users that will never happen, because we are being asked to decide lacking information. That means residents are going to be deciding on what they imagine all to mean.

If a consensus from the Lab will work, someone there can just make a call. They are about as well informed as one can be. I think better informed than residents. But, our perception of what is needed and theirs is different. I think we will have to live with that to get the wait cycle broken.

Groups

One point is misrepresented in the podcast, not maliciously. But Nyx Linden’s user group Content Creation/Mesh Import (formal name) is about all forms of content creation. Originally when Charlar ran it is was about mesh. It has been hard to break that association and perception. People bring their mesh issues there and that is about all we hear. Nyx has been trying to break that stereotype. Geenz shows it is not overly successful.

Geenz is one that still sees Nyx’s group in the narrow scope. So, there is the need for this new group in his eyes. I’m not a great one for new groups when existing ones could serve the purpose. But, from my days with the Myst Online fan forums I’ve learned that duplicate groups can be a good thing and grow into something good and popular. I’ll wait to see how this one works. In the mean time I hope to see lots of creators there. Please help get the word out.

Geenz at 31:30 gets into what can be improved in SL without having to be a professional level modeling expert from a big game house. I think he is hoping to get more features into SL that are easy for people to learn and use. There is more going on in this area that I just haven’t taken time to get to.

Challenge

Unfortunately it seems most of those sponsoring and running the group are programmer types. I believe it is hard for left and right brain types to communicate ideas. So, I’m not sure how well this group is going to work. It takes some skill and determination to learn to communicate across the left/right brain barrier. We can see some of the problem on Plurk. Emma Gilmore has some challenges dealing with Geenz and I think Geenz has challenges realizing why. Fortunately I don’t have to mitigate.

Style of Second Life

Cyclic Gearz talks about seeing so many people using old computers and holding people (SL) back. She mentions that the current specs are way low for what is actually needed. I disagree on some levels, but I understand her point and agree on others. In several ways she is right, especially in the area of allowing more excellence in SL.

Gianna brings up the point that new laptops can be unsuitable for running Second Life. Knowing what machines can and can’t run SL is a problem. If you have seen Can I Run Second Life?, something like that built into SL’s web site could help. Or even a link to it. But, the Lab needs to check out whether it is all that good.

I’m out of time. Off to San Diego.

8 thoughts on “MetaReality #SL Mesh Deformer plus Cloud Party

  1. I had been waffling over the pros and cons of the Red deformer idea, but this nails it.
    Essentially locking content creation to specialized plugins by 3rd-party programmers, rather than standardized tools and workflows, makes the Red deformer a complete non-starter, no matter which opportunities and/or shortcuts it may or may not offer.
    This is not where we want to take SL

  2. I think it’s worth mentioning here, that although I’m a programmer, the others organizing this aren’t, and I do a fair bit more than just writing code all day. Oz is simply a liaison to LL for the event, and Elie and Siddean are both designers. The bigger challenge will be finding things that everyone, or at least most people, can agree on even within the same respective camps.

    • It is definitely worth mentioning. And don’t take my perception of and experience with programmers too personally, it seems you haven’t.

      Getting groups to agree is always a problem. Freedom allows groups to divide and try their ideas. In the end the better ideas win out and civilization moves forward. Too much central planning (loss of freedom) kills that process and stops human advancement. So, I wish the group well and will be participating.

  3. This Metareality Podcast upset me.

    I am not very tolerant of Mainland bashing and Content Creator elitism.

    One of the things that originally attracted me to SL (lo those many years ago) was the ability to build what I wanted myself, in world! I suspect most of us are still content creators in that sense, and there is nothing wrong or inferior about that!

    As for the mainland, I own a mainland region with a little club and my various projects. Everything works fine and I pay my tier to LL instead of lining some land baron’s pockets.

    • I hadn’t heard that idea. I didn’t think of it either.

      More and more I just want something NOW that makes rigged mesh attachments fit better. Making the tight skirts and tops I so love is a real pain.

    • I think having both would be a viable option.

      Qarl’s thing (assuming it gets finished and there’s a demand for it) would provide an easy, automatic solution for content creators. All they have to do is tick a box, and ideally the final version will “just work”.

      cBones would provide a means that would allow people to better customize their results.

      An alternative third approach would be to allow content creators just define their own morph targets, enabling them to “sculpt” how they want a rigged mesh to deform when someone messes with their shape sliders.

  4. Pingback: Healthy Competition | MetaReality Podcast

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