Everyone who's ever created prim-based objects in Second Life or OpenSim which are important to them (especially educators, developers, and other professionals), needs to read this blog post by ex-Linden Lab evangelist John "Pathfinder" Lester and watch the video below, both of which explain how to convert a prim-based object in Second Life or Opensim into a mesh object, and export it to your hard drive. This is seriously important for reasons he and I will explain below, but click Play below now to get the party started:
The latest update of the third party Singularity viewer (which you can download for free here) includes a killer feature which lets users export their prim-based creations from SL or OpenSim into Blender, Unity3D and other industry standard modeling applications and game engines. If it works as well as Pathfinder explains (and I have no reason to doubt that), this is a great solution for content creators who want to truly own the prim-based works they make in SL. (Instead of leaving them as data that only exists on Linden Lab's servers, which users don't own or control.)
Control isn't the only factor here, because commercial and audience viability is too -- the Unity 3D engine, for instance, has a much much larger userbase than Second Life. And for John Lester, who was Linden Lab's education evangelist, this Singularity viewer technology is a (relatively) easy way for folks like him to jump into this larger market:
"One of the biggest barriers to entry for educators and immersive learning professionals exploring the world of Unity3d and other mesh-based virtual world platforms has been the difficulty in creating mesh-based content from scratch," as he explains it to me via e-mail. "It's still a huge challenge for beginners to learn to use programs like Blender and Maya. One thing SL really did right was to give people an intuitive and easy to learn 3D building environment using prims. Now that Singularity allows you to easily export your prim-based creations as mesh models, you have a brand new content creation workflow where people can log into SL (or fire up their own local Opensim sim on a stick), build quickly and easily in prims, and then save their creations as mesh models to then be used in any mesh-based virtual world platform. Of course there will always be some tweaking that people might want to do in a mesh editing program to optimize these exported mesh models (e.g., reducing triangles and deleting extra verticies). But the main point here is that people who love building in prims now have a great new way to get their content into other systems."
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