Mesh Deformer Status Week 35

Max Graf posted on Plurk. I’ve quoted most of his comments and I’ve corrected some spelling, completed some sentences, made paragraphs, and omitted comments by others. It is not a perfect quote. Read the actual Plurk thread before reacting to this version of the post. I am also going to assume you know the players. If not, click on the Tagged: Deformer link in the right-hand column.

Nice but High Poly Count

[It is] 415 days since we formally requested LL fix mesh clothing. Qarl submitted the first working deformer 245 days ago. WTF, LL? Will it ever be?

This is the kind of disgusting response to the community that is going to drive SL into the ground. Change needs to happen. Looking at you, Oz and Rod. Really.

As I stated from the beginning, why should they implement this, honestly, when we are so willing to change our shapes to fit the mesh or do countless hours of extra work in order to make the system usable? If we want to do all that extra work, they are more than happy to let us.

I mean, we even came together and PAID FOR IT, Rod. If that doesn’t tell you how badly we want this, nothing will. In the meantime, the months roll by, the tier adds up; perfectly understandable why solutions are slow to arrive. We keep paying.

The “someday/maybe” status they applied to the original jira is exactly what we ended up with, and with the TPV changes, there is no other way to implement this feature. It has to go through them, and if and when they want to do it. It’s…pathetic.

I’m no spokesperson, I’m just angry enough to keep bitching about it. Maybe they will do something about it. Someday, maybe.

There is NO legitimate reason why, after stating our need, paying for/designing/giving it to them, why this is not in place 415 days later.

Look at it this way: 957 people watched/voted on the original jira. If they are sim owners, they have each paid $4,130 in tier for 14 months. That totals $3,952,410 in tier they have collected from those people they chose to ignore. Is that customer base worth listening to?

I’d think with some of that money they could get it together and make this thing work.

There is no doubt many of us are frustrated by the amount of time that the Mesh Deformer is taking. Max is frustrated with the Lab. I’m frustrated with Karl and the Lab and to a degree Max. The frustration with Max may be more a frustration with crowd funding than with Max.

This Mesh Deformer Project is more like a government run project than a free market project a business would undertake. In a business project a decision would be made whether to build something or not. So, an iPhone might thought up, planned, built, and sold. All the control would reside in the owner or owners of the business and those doing the work would be held to account and be working on a timeline.

Businesses also engage in public projects and often join forces with communities. In rural America co-ops form to build water systems and to fill other needs of the community. The co-ops usually have a single purpose and those forming the co-op supervise. Co-ops have their problems and are less efficient than a for-profit-business, but they are more democratic and avoid leaving a single entity in control. They are, however, supervised by those with a interest in the project.

Government usually has a leader that proposes and sells the public on a project. Funds are voted to pay for it. A contract is awarded and some company or team of companies starts building the project. The politicians that lead the project seem to move on to their next great accomplishment to help the people. Bureaucrats are left to manage the project, which it seems inevitably gets mismanaged, skimmed, and overruns budget resulting scandals.

In the case of the Mesh Deformer there is no management. A leader got the project funded, the contract was awarded and work began. Work is ongoing months later and we have not heard a peep from those involved in it for weeks.

Who Is Doing What and Why?

Over a year ago the mesh project was ‘completed’ by the Lab and released into Second Life™. Clothes makers and their customers soon realized there was a problem. Getting clothes to fit was a problem. In real life getting clothes to fit is a problem… ever hear of a diet? Yeah, well in SL diets were replaced by an appearance panel. I’m still in search of a RL equivalent so I can up my ice cream consumption.

In RL clothe stretches and contours to our shape. That can be good or bad depending on whether we like our shape. But, in SL mesh clothes neither stretch, shrink, nor do they contour to our avatar’s shape. The Mesh Deformer will add the stretch to mesh clothes.

When the Lab was asked to provide the feature, they said not now. They have other priorities. No matter how much we think the Mesh Deformer is a higher priority the Lab is free to think what they want and set their own priorities. We are free to do the same.

Max organized an effort to get someone other than the Lab to work on the project of a Mesh Deformer, thank you Max. Since the Lab was not going to do the work, the community came together and funded a private project. The ‘contract’ was awarded and work began. Like any government project, supervision was ineffective and basically non-existent. Max did not want to supervise and nothing requires he do so. That is not his duty or obligation. He did the part he wanted to do and I’m grateful.

The result is the Lab tells us whatever they tell us, Karl tells us what he wants, and they do that whenever they do it. Ask either about where we are on the project and the Linden your talking to likely says they are waiting on Karl or haven’t heard from him. Ask Karl, and you get a couple of more details but basically he is usually waiting on the Lab and has not heard from them. We actually have no idea who to believe and we base our decision of who to believe on whatever empirical model we have of the process and the people involved. There is no real evidence. So, we do drama and create conflict and none of it results in much forward movement.

Karl did warn us that involving the Lab would slow things down. But, it isn’t like we have a choice. The Lab owns SL.

Max refuses to be placed in a position of managing the project, that is his right. Max bitches about the Lab like that might help. The Lab has already said they were not going to develop the project, but that they would help as they could and time was available. Whatever time they give it is beyond their daily work assignment (I don’t mean outside working hours). The Lindens simply do not see the Deformer Project as a priority. Fixing problems, plugging exploit holes, rebuilding the infrastructure to improve region crossings… I could go on and on… are all more important things to the Lindens. We stand little chance of being able to change that thinking.

So…

What a mess. To make effective change we have to understand what and who we are attempting to change. We also have to understand the SL community and what can catch their attention and what they are willing to do.

If we try to raise awareness and get the community to pressure the Lab, the Lindens will point to Karl and duck. You can characterize that as good, bad, or indifferent. Whatever the behavior is, I think it is an effective dodge because most SL users are not going to leave just because some Lindens duck an issue. Max thinks the behavior will drive SL into the ground. The behavior seems to have kept them in business for years and it appears it will continue to do so.

If we get people to write Karl… what is he going to do if he is legitimately waiting on someone in the Lab to do something? Whether he is or isn’t we can’t know. It’s the political season in America and I have trouble believing anything I hear. There is no way to know, so initially I treat most things as if I’m being lied to until I have proof one way or another.

So… we could fight over whom to believe and stack up a bunch of stinky opinions that prove nothing and make no movement forward. Such behavior only divides us. Politicians count on that. The Lab seems unable to deal with it.

I think we have no choice but to give both sides the benefit of the doubt, refuse to be satisfied with lame answers that may or may not be accurate an only serve to divert us. We need to be asking both sides what we do to get this project moving.

Once we have a new round of answers, I would take that information and address any problems we have with the answers and possibly any lack of movement in letters to Rod, literal paper letters. Even a hundred paper letters looks like a lot stacked on a physical desk. It might… MIGHT… break something lose.

Remember

We need test clothes. The Lab has warned us that at some point the lack of test clothes could hold up the project. I’ve been working on a male sports coat. It is a horrible mess in my opinion. I’m learning but I’m still too embarrassed to put it out. So, my slacking may be contributing to the delay or will at some point. Where are you in this process?

The lack of test clothes is also seen by the Lindens involved in the Deformer project as a measure of the community’s REAL interest level. Talk is cheap. Putting effort into a project carries weight. The Lindens have learned how fickle the community is. Minorities are very vocal. They know that too. Businesses serve the majority. It may be hard for them to know what the majority wants, but it is obvious the vocal minorities and the majority of people differ in their desires and priorities. To change a Linden’s mind we have to demonstrate a serious commitment by a good sized segment of the community.

Max sees the funding of the project as a measure of the community’s interest in the project. But, only a few hundred people funded the project. I see the funding as indicating that a few hundred people are serious about the project. But, they paid their cash and most walked away from any involvement. Even Max doesn’t oversee the project or manage it. So, I’m not sure how committed people are.

I want the project but I’m playing with Pathfinding characters right now rather than working on my jacket, which would be an excellent item for testing the Deformer. So, am I really all that interested? Based on that should the Lab realign its priorities? I doubt that is going to happen based on what I and those behaving similarly are doing.

My position is that we should be looking at ourselves rather than complaining about the Lab… or even Karl. If one wants to complain… complain to someone that can and will do something about it… and before complaining have a solution ready… one that actually fits the scenario. If we are not going to demonstrate interest and a willingness to take action, how can we expect anyone to believe we are all that interested?

10 thoughts on “Mesh Deformer Status Week 35

  1. Frankly, the catastrophe that is mesh clothing sizing lies squarely at the feet of the Lab. During beta, they were told repeatedly that sizing would be an issue. They didn’t listen when there was still time to deal with the matter before mesh went live.

    Now, we are in a messy situation. A situation that I don’t think can be blamed on Karl, Max or SL clothing creators. LL should be responsible for fixing the problem that they created. It was poor product design. Pure and simple.

    As for Max and the fundraiser, I strongly disagree that he should be blamed in any way. He was just the person that said, “Hey, this sizing issue needs to be fixed ASAP, maybe other designers feel the same way and will put their money where their mouth is”. He did not sign up to be a project manger.

    If LL would not have instituted the new TPV policy, Karl’s code development would have been further along and would have been adopted and used by TPVs by now. LL is the one that decided to step in and police the development of the project. Therefore, they should be responsible for overseeing it.

    Finally, on the topic of test garments, I’ve seen many creators ask LL to change the copyright submission conditions. Yet, LL has not done so. The conditions really make no sense since the garments are just needed to test how the code behaves. It is just another unnecessary barrier constructed by LL that has slowed down development. So, I think it is a bit disingenuous for the Lab or anyone else to blame the content creation community for the lack of test garments when they have already stated why they have an issue with the submission process.

    • We see things differently.

      There is no doubt the Lab misunderstood the importance of mesh clothing during mesh development. That is just creatives and programmers failing to communicate. There is no doubt the Lab failed to understand and set priorities that would accommodate the community. But again the number of people speaking up was small. Gianna has pointed that out a couple of times in Metareality podcasts.

      It is interesting you went right to blame. The first time the word blame appears is in you comment. I am frustrated with the Lab, Karl, Max, and the community. I don’t blame them. I agree Max did not sign up to be a manager. But, what did he think would happen if no one managed the project? What would happen is what we have now. He might not have imagined that or had the experience to anticipate. Everyone learns. Or he may not have wanted to spend the time or take the responsibility. I don’t fault him that choice. But, it is frustrating.

      Since the Lab did institute more active control over TPV Dev we don’t know what would have happened if they hadn’t. We can only speculate. Either way the Lab was going to have to provide changes to the mesh asset structure and would have been involved. Without those changes the TPV community would have had problems implementing the Deformer. So, I’m not buying that the TPV Dev’s could have done it on there own.

      As to the copyright… several people have been through that and blogged the complications. The Lab won’t hand out the clothes test sets without permission. Legal counsel at the Lab told them that the copyright thing is what they needed. Counsel says it does not limit creators and only provides the Lab limited rights. I read it the same way. If one is not interested in providing something the Lab can hand out for testing because they feel the requirement is too restrictive, doesn’t that say something about how interested they are in getting the project completed? Or maybe it just says they don’t understand the actual rights being requested… whatever, we are doing a good job of messing things up and stepping on our own feet.

      If you think that is blame instead of an assessment of the situation, well then that is the way you see it and we see it differently.

      • Perhaps, it wasn’t your intention to place partial blame on Max and Karl, but that is how it reads. But of course, I’ll take you at your word that it is just frustration. Those of us that create clothing for others are seriously frustrated. But at the end of the day, it is the Lab that is responsible for making *their* product perform properly. There is no way of getting around the fact that LL should not have shipped worn mesh with the glaring sizing defect. It is just bad business. Period.

        As for your theory that the lack of content creator submissions proves they aren’t interested , I don’t think that logically follows. A person could be seriously interested in fixing an issue but refuse to participate if they are concerned about an aspect of it. Personally, I did submit a test item. But, I won’t fault others who have concerns.

        • Blame is something you are inferring.

          Your idea that the Deformer is a basic part of introducing mesh is your opinion. Charlar has explained in various places and elaborated in this blog on why the Deformer and clothing was not thought to be a priority. As much as people use the word ‘should‘ it is an individual perception and evaluation about they way the speaker thinks things should have been. Whether you are right or not, that should does not move the project forward nor will it motivate the Lindens.

          It is not my theory that a lack of contributions proves anything as to how how much the feature is desired or not. I wrote about why the cries for a higher priority are not being heard through the myriad of voices crying for various specific changes. As the Lindens look at an audience of hundreds of thousands there really isn’t anything to bring the Deformer up as a high priority.

          You can discuss why the lindens should see things differently. The fact is they see them as they see them and a small number of test garments is what they see. No matter what anyone thinks they should think of that, the Lindens seem to see that as an indicator of little interest. You are welcome to try and change their thinking. But, I think more test garments will do more to change their thinking than anything else. The community can make more test garments independent of the Lindens. Changing the Lindens’ thinking process is going to require their participation and seems unlikely of succeeding.

          Numerous people are making mesh clothes. People are buying mesh items. I do not see any stat that is available to the Lindens that shows a lack of the Deformer is a problem. There is no stat to move them forward or change the priority they have set. So, I do not expect them to change.

          My article was about changing the Linden perception based on what we can do. What I have heard so far is placing of blame, discussion of what I may have meant, and ideas of how things should have been. None of these things move the Deformer project forward nor are likely to have an effect on the Lindens.

          Frustrating.

          Thank you for your contribution to the test garments. You’ve done more to move the project forward than most. My belief is we need more people like you that are willing to help.

  2. VOTE THE BASTARDS OUT!! — Oh, wait, private corporation —–
    Maybe we need to buy in — the peoples’ stakeholder.
    One thing is for sure, we completely lack an effective voice. Max and all the others who have said it are right, “eventually LL will drive people away”. I think when it happens it will be a tipping point situation, the exodus will be very fast and without immediate warning. It will be interesting to see how LL responds.

    • You could be right Shug. But, I’ve heard this for years playing Myst and more years playing in SL. So, I’m doubtful that will happen. But, buying in might be a good idea and way to get a say. Maybe a crowd funded project to buy SL…

  3. There is a bit a disconnect in the logic, both in saying that the lack of test objects is the true test of whether people really want the deformer, and in the original crowdfunding idea.

    As an example, mesh clothes are practically useless for me, because my shape is too muscular for the runway-style standard sizes.
    Does this mean that I have to learn mesh modelling and rigging, so I can create unique test sets requiring deep knowledge and experience with the way mesh deforms in problem areas before the fact that mesh clothes are unusable for me is even considered a valid concern?

    Or alternately (and this is where the original crowdfunding idea shows its weakness), do we need to start a new crowdfunder to pay existing, experienced creators for making the rest of the needed work on this project; the test sets?
    (And then fund the QA testers, too, by the way).

    • The funding showed a relative few people are willing to put their money with their desire. If the amount needed were higher I think we would have seen more. But, you are right, it is not the TRUE, I would say definitive, measure of the Deformer’s popularity. But, no one thing is.

      Looking at things from the Linden side, they see a few hundred people willing to pay for the project and then a dozen or so helping with the testing. Then there are a large number saying they want the Deformer, but Lab has been down that road before, think sidebar – they add it people scream, they remove it just as many scream.

      The various Lindens have repeatedly said they and the Lab in general want the Deformer. Their constraint is time and the priority of other issues. It had a place in the Lab’s overall perception of the SL development path/plan. We, the community, started the Deformer project and effectively removed it from the Lab’s build queue and added it to a new ‘assist developers’ queue. I’m not surprised that there are problems with projects in this new queue. That adds to my frustration.

      As long as people do ‘the Lab should have…’ and ‘if the Lab had not…’ things they will never figure out how to move things forward. As long as people remain conused about or ignorant of the Lab’s perception of priorities nothing is going to change. They did whatever they did. Now we have to deal with that.

  4. For the record, there was never any intention/understanding/opportunity or expectation that I would be involved with the mesh clothing deformer outside of the initial jira posting and starting the funding project (even that was not in my control once it began. Everything went directly to Karl automatically). It is not a matter of me wanting to be involved or not, that was never a possibility or even on the table at any point, which I was well aware of. Once this began, it was very much out of my hands and I was fine with that, I knew that was how it would work. What I did not expect is that it would get sidelined by the TPV policy changes and then, for all intensive purposes, shelved indefinitely back to the original “someday, maybe” status that we began with.

    Much ado about nothing; In the end they ended up placing this project (and any other feature development whether publicly funded or not) exactly where they intended through policy change. Im just sorry that so many people put so much effort and money into this to be where we are still. The intent was to have a working solution in place already.

    • Your involvement is greatly appreciated. Whatever level of involvement you chose after the funding is up to you and I have no issues with your choice.

      The possibility that no one other than Karl would be involved, I don’t buy into. I’ve been working with another group on a project where they will control funding disbursement after the project funds via crowd funding. It gets complex and I am not surprised that most are unaware of how to handle a project through crowd funding to maintain financial control. Even if you had known and implemented it, I don’t know how much you could have changed the process.

      I know that many consider the TPV Policy a significant change. I don’t. The rewording does not seem to really change much. While many will debate that, the change was mostly cosmetic. The real change was the Lab deciding to avoid allowing control of their product to get out of control as it did with the Emerald Viewer and the debacle that devolved into. They changed how they were going to enforce policy and used the TPV Policy change to signal that change. This nuance may only be semantics. But often nuances make all the difference.

      The addition of more attachment points was a similar process. Emerald (or was it Phoenix by then? I’m not going to look it up) tried to force the Lab to provide more attachments points by providing them. There is no doubt the Emerald team had a better handle on what users wanted, as the FS/PH team does today. But, they created a problem the Lab decided was unacceptable. It created problems fro the Lab with new users. The Lab eventually changed their enforcement process of policy and made it clear by using that as an example of what would no longer be permitted. We can cry, whine, and moan about that and yell SHOULD’s as much as we want, but it is not… going… to… change.

      The Lab has bought into the Deformer, unlike their resisting attachment points. You and some others are attributing the delay to the Lab. You may be right. We cannot get a handle on what Karl and the Lab are doing. Karl says… OZ says… and the two of them do NOT seem to get a long. But, at least the Lab has agreed to add it if the addition meets their standards. So, we know how to get it added. Blaming the Lindens or trying to change the game mid-stream is unlikely to work. We either do it the Linden way or give up. I see no other choice.

      I’m frustrated because the process is opaque and I can’t tell who is spinning me or holding the process up. Geenz is moving the Materials Project forward and I hear each week how that is working. With Karl I have not heard anything in weeks. That doesn’t mean Karl is messing up, but there is a difference in the two projects and that says something. I’m looking for a way to break the log jam.

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