I started this series with:
- Second Life: Educational Community Update 2015 March
- Second Life: Next Generation Platform Update 2015.
- Second Life: Next Generation Platform Update-II 2015
- Second Life: Next Generation Platform Update-III 2015
This fifth article in the series is what I gleaned about the possibility of internal content creation tools from the speech at VWBRE that touched on the coming Next Generation Platform (NGP).
in Second Life we have no internal mesh creation or editing tools. We only have tools for working with the parametric primitives. Of course the layout tools in the SL Viewer will handle either prims or mesh. But those layout tools are showing a little bit of age and the main SL Viewer still doesn’t have prim alignment tools.
Numerous people ask from time to time if Linden lab is going to build in 3D modeling (mesh modeling) tools. The question applies to both NGP and Second Life. These questions are usually asked with the speaker thinking of some internal tool being like Blender or 3D Max. The idea being such a tool would allow us to create or edit mesh items from within the viewer.
I suspect they are hoping for something way less expensive than 3DMax or Maya and easier to learn than Blender. Unfortunately, that is pretty much an impossibility. 3D modeling is a complex task and the tools are sophisticated and come with high learning curves. It is way doubtful that the Lab vould produce a better tool on an initial try than cmpanies that have been the business for decades.
Whatever the case, Ebbe has given us a definitive answer about whether the Lab build a mesh modeling tool into the viewer, that’s not going to happen. What they plan to do is provide good import support for 3-D modeling tools. My previous article covers that support.
Ebbe explains they are using Maya for internal reasons. Maya easily provides them with the most complex content and they use that stuff to test the NGP software their developing. They’re trying for efficiency and performance with the new NGP. They need to quickly make complex content that stresses the system to find content rendering issues that slow the rendering process and optimize those bottlenecks.
Maya is a huge program. An entire company develops and supports it. The same is true of Blender, 3-D Max, AutoCAD and numerous other programs. Adding the equivalent of one of those programs to the NGP viewer would make for a huge workload. It just isn’t reasonable or practical build an editing tool into the NGP viewer that’s equivalent to Blender. Especially when several exist. The Lab can save that time and and spend it on something else, like NGP
If you’re wondering why the lab is using Maya and what those internal reasons might be, it is all about revealing the places where they need to optimize and polish their work on NGP. It is all about what is easy and quick for the Lab. It says nothing about which tools they are designing for support-wise. The only hint it gives us about tools that will be available for creative users is that Maya definitely be one of them.
We have three major modeling tools most people work in; 3-D Max, Blender, and Maya. I think the majority of SL hobbyists use Blender.
Building another 3-D modeling tool and building it into the viewer would delay NGP development. Plus a new and unique mesh modeling tool would add to the learning curve of all users. I’m sure those are things that just are not going to happen.
By using existing external modeling tools people will be able to use knowledge gained elsewhere to work inside NGP. That’s a good thing.