Second Life: History – Who Made the Skeleton?

The Project is months old. But, it has a history already. Cathy Foil was one of the developers aske into the project and under NDA. Now the NDA has been lifted and she has made a 52 minute video relating her experience in the project. I have an index of the video below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQBvYY7yz8k

0-11:00 – Mostly audio talking about the people involved in the project. Cathy talks about her MayaStar and cooperating with the Machinimatrix AvaStar people to solve various problems.  

11:00 – Starts a detailed look at the new skeleton in Maya. The group had Blender and Maya users. There were no 3D Max users. So, they are sure the skeleton works with Blender and Maya.

15:30 – Starts talking about the initial face bones made by Siddon Monroe, of Slink. Cathy modified that. Then the group gave feedback. The result is a group effort set of bones.

20:00 – Ear, eyes, jaw, lips, tongue, cheek, nose, . Because the eyes are animated by the viewer code, allowing animators to animate the eyes required new eye bones or a massive change to viewer code. So, new bones were added.

25:00 – Hands, wings  – Hands and wings by Matrice (sp?). Originally the wings were rooted to the spine. Cathy suggests they parent into a root wing bone root to chest.

28:00 – F.lux program – Then continuing with wings.

30:00 – Animating pets attached to the avatar using the wing bones.

37:00 – Tail, groin – The groin is tied to package slider. Here Cathy is talking about repositioning the bones. I think that is bone-translation, which I thought we couldn’t do. I now have the idea that it is the root point of new bones that attach to the classic bones can’t move, which is a problem in the face.

40:00 – Opinion on what the Lab is doing and why.

45:00 – Discussion on Full Perm prices and price fixing.

There isn’t much in the video to show what we can do with the new bones, show being the operative word here. Cathy shows us the bones, explains why they made them the way they did and talks about what we might do with them. It is a more detailed explanation of the bones than I’ve seen anyone else do. I learned from her video.

The speech on Full Perm goods at the end is probably enlightening to many. Free market fans understand in depth what she is talking about. This is one of the places where RL law impacts Second Life. In the real world we have patents and copyrights that we enforce in RL courts. There is no easy way to do this in a virtual world. No one is going to set up a virtual court that has the respect of all parties or has teeth.

Cathy does a good job of explaining the problem and a possible solution for Project Sansar’s world. I’ll do a quick summary.

If I make a pair of shoes and sell the shoes full perm with the UVMaps for L$1,000 so that you can make shoes from my model, I get to make one sale to you. You need to make your L$1,000 back from your sales. But, you could sell your shoes for L$2 and break even at 500 sales. How many people will want to buy my model if they have to compete against L$2 shoes? Not too many.

You might start selling your shoes for L$400. But, someone else will buy my model, make their textures, and sell their shoes for $300. Someone else for L$200. You might have to drop your price to L$100. Competition pushes the price down. It is a race to the bottom.

Or someone does not like me, they buy a full perm model and start giving it away for free… I can only try to take them to RL court. Is it worth it?

This happens in RL too. I can’t sell you my model and by contract require you sell at a minimum price. That would be price fixing and is illegal in RL and virtual worlds (VW).

I could sell you a royalty product but then I would have to have some way to monitor your sales and collect my royalty fees. That is how patents and copyrights work in RL. We do so much of that in RL there are standard ways of reporting sales and royalties due. There are services that provide the accounting. There is no such mechanism in SL. Cathy is hoping that some royalty mechanism will be built into Sansar.

Now if I sell you a shoe model for free. But, require a royalty payment for each copy you sell. Meaning you have to pay me L$300 of each sale. That lowers your startup cost but increases your marginal cost. I can make my money over time and probably make more. You know your cost and your competitions cost. There is an economic limit to how cheaply you will sell.

This isn’t a perfect solution. But over centuries people have figured out what works best for everyone. This is about as good as it gets. We just need an easy way to implement royalty payments in Sansar.

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