At the Content and Mesh User Group meeting the topic of the Mesh Deformer came up. Oz Linden attended the meeting to field the question posed by Mona Eberhardt : “What’s the current status of the mesh deformer? What features have been requested by content creators? Of these features, which are the most important and which could be omitted or postponed?”
Oz Linden’s response, “The deformer is waiting for LL resources to evaluate how well it works and what its performance impact is. I have not been able to get the required people on it yet. I’m optimistic that will happen, but can’t offer any timeline.
Sorry… I know that’s not a great answer, but consider that it could be worse.”
Mona Eberhardt : “Oz, what features have been requested for the deformer to have? I know I might sound like a broken record here, but there have been discussions – on a level of discourse I don’t really care about, to be honest – where LL is portrayed as simply not bothering with the deformer or even plotting against it.”
Oz Linden: “Mona – don’t believe 90% of what you hear.
The target functionality is, I think, clearly described in the Description of the JIRA issue. Note that I did not say, ‘and the comments.’ That having been said, I personally have some doubts as to the total workflow – the confidence that the avatar bases being used are actually consistent. But I’m not really the right person to answer that question, just someone asking it.
Note for example that if we accepted any of the changes offered in STORM-1800 [The vertex weights of the default character mesh could be better.], we’d be changing some aspects of that base.”
What Would the Change Mean?
As it is now the Deformer uses the default male and female shape as a base. Or… to make the deformer more usable one can specify a custom shape. These are the shapes we can export using the viewer’s XML export. (From the Develop menu – Ctrl-Alt-Q, Avatar, Character Tests, Appearance to XML)
The XML shape information exported SL, imported into a modeling program, and is saved for later uploaded with the rigged mesh, provided you use the Deformer project viewer for the upload. The data being saved is ‘Appearance Settings.’ The appearance settings are designed to adjust the existing avatar to the shape we see now.
If the Lab adds in STORM-1800, the base avatar may change. In that case all the uploaded settings would no longer produce the shape we have previously seen. Would that be a drastic change? We don’t know. But, will that affect the Deformer’s results? Probably, but we don’t know how much, because we don’t know what we are changing.
Since the Lab has an aversion to breaking existing content, they are not likely to release the Deformer until they have satisfied their selves they can make the Deformer, shapes, and existing rigged content work together. By withholding the Deformer they also prevent any accumulation of rigged ‘Deformer’ mesh that they would have to work around. The Lindens have no serious concern about breaking beta stuff made prior to an official release. So, part of the delay is the Lab keeping options open.
The result is, we are not going to see the Deformer for some time.
Henri Beauchamp was asking about SUN-38 – As users of kneel/lay/sit animations and tiny/giant avatars, we need a way to change the body size in SSB sims.
Nyx Linden acknowledged it is on their list of issues. But, confirmed it is not going to be fixed before rollout of SSA. Nyx is making no promises about when it may be looked at after rollout. I suspect that choice is above Nyx’s pay grade.
Firestorm has already removed the Height Adjustment feature from the 4.4.0 version as it would fail after SSA rollout. One of the team members is working on a replacement feature that should work with SSA. I haven’t heard how that is coming along.
One of the problems noticed with SSA testing is corruption of the Current Outfit Folder (COF). That turns into a real problem if it happens to you.
However, the Lindens are aware of the problem. Nyx says they are not expecting any higher rate of COF corruption post SSA rollout than is happening now. But, the Lindens are working on strengthening the inventory functions to make them more reliable.
The question of whether the Lab is going to add in custom armatures came up again. It drew the standard response: there are no plans to add that feature, but it is an often requested feature.
I suppose those that have been around SL for a time can read between the lines. Often requested features usually make it into the list of things to be added. That doesn’t mean it will be added to the schedule or even prioritized any time soon.
3D Modeling Tools
A question about whether or not the Lab is going to add some in-world 3D Modeling Tools popped up. The question comes up every so often. When I hear it I think of someone adding Blender into the SL Viewer. I am certain that is not going to happen.
Nyx was pretty clear that any addition of tools to work on primitives is unlikely as it would be a huge project. So, basically the answer is: no. But, I have heard Rod Humble say a couple of times that better 3D modeling tools were coming… or at least were something he was interested in.
So, now I think that some simplified mesh editor may be added at some point. But, editing primitives beyond what we can do now is unlikely as the entire parametric system used for torturing prims would have to change and doing that without breaking existing content would likely be very difficult.
But, that is just my speculation.
No one is giving us an ETA on Materials. But, on the 7th we got a version 3.6.0 (277049) Beta Viewer that is the Materials Project Viewer. Oz Linden says we are nearing the end of the beta cycle. And if we find any bugs to get JIRA’s filed. Otherwise we may have to live with the problems for a time.
Materials server side is live across all the server channels in the main grid. So, all you need is a copy of the Beta Viewer.