"By the end of August," the Lindens just announced, "everyone in Second Life will be able to import Mesh objects." And then Second Life objects will look like this:
Important caveat: "Of course, if we run into unforeseen issues or bugs, then this time line will need to shift." And the Lindens once promised mesh for the 2nd quarter of 2010. However, after many delays, it looks like it's finally happening.
When it does, 3D modelers will be able to create Second Life objects that are industry state of the art. Which brings up a bigger question: The Second Life economy and creative ecosystem has been prim-based for over 8 years, with whole cities of content made from those essential (if rudimentary) building blocks. This is like a developing nation suddenly switching from buildings made from stone and mortal to steel and polymer composites. Optimistically, this will revive the now-stagnant in-world economy after a painful period of creative destruction. But other scenarios are also possible. What's your take?