Wednesday, April 03, 2013

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Cloud Party Adds Mesh-Based, Collaborative Building Blocks Which Sound Super Superior to SL's Prim-Based System

Cloud Party building contest

Cloud Party has just released simplified, collaborative, mesh-based block-building tools to its web-based user-generated virtual world backed/advised by Second Life co-creator Cory Ondrejka. The tools, Cloud Party CEO Sam Thompson tells me, "are designed to be incredibly easy to learn and use, yet still very powerful." To promote those tools, the company is holding a house-building contest with 1000 Cloud Coins (worth $50) to the winner.

Block-building tools sound similar to Second Life's original prim-building tools, but Thompson tells me there's some key differences, which to make me, make this new system sound quite more kickass:

"One of the biggest differences is that you are actually generating a mesh itself, not a collection of prims," he explains, "which means a large improvement in performance. By default, objects are on a simple grid (like LEGOS) which means collaborative builders can start in different areas and their builds will merge nicely. We also support multi-resolution editing, meaning you can combine blocks at a much smaller grid size to add details, while still getting the benefits of the default grid size."

More features:

"While the tools are limited to block shapes right now, you can rotate them and they even-work on non-uniform scales, which allows a lot of flexibility. We are working on ways to create more complicated meshes as well (possibly including curves), but those are in the experimental stages at the moment."

"Speaking of which, more features are coming:

"The other cool thing about them is that they create a single well-tesselated mesh instead of a giant pile of individual objects, which means it's very efficient to render. We'll also be eventually providing tools to get those meshes out of Cloud Party for further editing or even 3D printing." Emphasis mine, because, dude, whoa.

So if they add these features, they'll be more robust and exportable than Second Life's system currently is. But from a user experience, are they better than Second Life's? Sam points me to testimony from a Cloud Party builder, Phate Shepherd, who's also built in Second Life:

"I can't keep thinking what a stroke of genius this was. The one thing that anyone in SL could do (usually badly) was build a home. It was easy to mod them, move doors around and put wallpaper on the walls. I never thought something even better would be in Cloud Party.

"With voxel buildings, anyone can mod them. My OCD loves that all the walls will be aligned and uniform. You never have to worry about wallpaper alignment... it just works. Wall moulding can be changed separate of the wall texture. Normal mapped moulding looks very convincing.

"Mesh trim makers can make windows and door frames that will fit into any voxel house. Kitchen appliances and bathroom fittings just need to build on .25 meter increments, and it will all fit nicely into a voxel house."

Read more about it here, and see more tutorial videos here. And if you are a Cloud Party builder, be sure to share your creations in Comments.

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Adeon Writer

Lack of in-world building was my second-biggest complaint about Cloud Party. (the biggest was not having SL's alt-cam)

This certainly... Changes things. I'm excited to rejoin the world now and start building. The main reason I stopped logging in was I couldn't do anything.

Although I still need that intuitive camera...

Metacam Oh

This is a pretty big deal. Good for Cloud Party, and once again Linden Lab caught snoozing on the job. Before they know it, the only thing that makes them money which they constantly neglect, is going to have a sound competitor and then the lights go out.

Sam

@Adeon: Cloud Party has an orbit camera, just hold down alt and click on an object. More info here: http://forums.cloudparty.com/discussion/359/new-orbit-camera/p1

elizabeth (16)

grid building been available for a long time. is how CAD programs work fundamentally. can also be found in games like Cube Saubraten

+

the key thing that Cloud have done is baking the grid build into a mesh object/file

we been asking linden for this since mesh came to SL. hope they will sit up and take notice now

Hitomi Tiponi

Improving the way they optimise the rendering is useful, and an improvement over SL's prims - but it is needed for Cloud Party, which is hardly that fast at rendering. I will head back in to have a look at it next week. Lego-like building is not new, and of course blocks generally have a low impact on rendering - I wonder what will happen to rendering times when they add complex curves.

cyberserenity

This is great. Everybody should be able to build. Mesh is good for us that have all the tools and understand it.
But virtual worlds should be fun. And building is one of the things that attract people and make them stay.

ZZ Bottom

Sorry to say, but f*** cloud party!
The future to open sim belongs and pixieviewer is the way to go, version v2 released already!

Mera

This is totally amazing. I built my "suburbia" (link above) in less than a day thanks to this block technique combined with traditional build tech. Just flooded the mesh and saw the building litteray grow in front of my eyes. And all in 1 piece *applause cloud party* :D:D

Arcadia Codesmith

It'll be a couple weeks before I have time to check this out, but I WILL be checking it out. This is exactly the sort of thing I've been kicking LL about for years now, without the slightest sign that they're rousing from their slumber.

Nodster

this is all good news for us and bad news for SL, bye bye SL.

one thing to pick up on its "like LEGO" and not "like LEGOS"

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