Well, it has finally happened. Another grid, In-Worldz, is going ahead with the Mesh Deformer. They contacted Karl Stiefvater (Qarl Fizz) and paid him to make changes to improve the Deformer’s performance.
Karl is estimating that the new version is 21 times faster. I don’t know that anything else has changed in the Deformer. Is it faster because the process of deforming changed? I don’t know. I doubt it. But, may be.
Henri Beauchamp posted in STORM-1716, the Deformer JIRA, that speed really hasn’t been the problem some think it is. But, there is a problem with how the viewer is handling the item’s LoD. That problem delays the deformer kicking in. So, this change may not resolve the ‘time’ problem in SL Viewers.
Henri says he will support this new Deformer code in Cool VL Viewer in his three branches of the viewer. The code is already in his viewers. BUT… only when connected to OpenSim grids. Only his experimental viewer will support the Deformer in the SL Grid. Linden Lab’s Viewer Policy requires any viewer that changes the ‘shared’ experience to be an experimental viewer until the feature is officially released by the Lab.
I expect to see the Deformer gain traction in OpenSim grids. Having clothes that fit and are easier to make is an incentive for people to use OpenSim. There still are not enough people in the OpenSim grids to have much influence on the Lab.
This is incentive for third party viewers (TPV) to include the feature. Of course for the TPV’s to have the feature they will have to be experimental versions.
This brings up the question of what happens when TPV Dev’s start to label their viewer’s experimental and users adopt them over the main release of the viewer. Imagine Firestorm releasing an experimental viewer that a majority of their users adopted. Suddenly we could have something like 50% of the grid in a Deformer capable viewer.
If clothes suddenly start fitting, the demand for deformable mesh clothes will go through the roof. Mesh makers are already selling big time. We can imagine that more people will be buying and wearing deformable mesh clothes. Already Liquid Mesh clothes that use the collision bones for deforming clothes is gaining popularity. I would expect this to be a similar situation.
People without the experimental viewers will see clothes fitting poorly. People using experimental viewer will see a good fit. This will most certainly break the ‘shared’ experience. What will the Lab do about it?
Freedom is messy. I suppose that is why so many people don’t like it, especially politicians. While the Lab can control TPV Dev’s to some extent, controlling users is another matter. If we are free to choose our viewer and what we wear, we may see deformable mesh clothes flooding SL. At least I can hope…
This could bring the Deformer issue to a head. The Lab might actually give Oz the people he has been requesting to work on the Avatar issues. In-Worldz and experimental viewers could push the issue out of control in SL. I suspect the Lab will want to stay ahead of that. BUT… they are mostly programmers and may not accurately evaluate what may happen.
The idea is that experimental viewers will never be adopted by the majority of users. But, TPV’s are being adopted by something like 2/3’s of users. Considering how few people read the forum and blogs for SL, the information that there are TPV’s has to spread by word of mouth. I think that is what is going to happen with the experimental viewers. Time will tell.
Whatever the case, this is an interesting development in the Mesh Deformer saga.
Thanks to Shug Maitland for telling me about the development. See her post: News about the Mesh Deformer