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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

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Ann Otoole InSL

We will see if mesh is the end of the world. I doubt it. But there are issues. Mainly because of the dependence on SLv2. In addition a lot of people are finding the newer builds won't even run on modern PCs and it crashes at startup and the crash logger can't even connect to send the logs/dumps. That could harm the economy more if most of LL's customers are given a suggestion to change to Linux or GTFO.

Let's assume there is such a thing as a perfectly working SLv2 client that can run on most LL customer hardware AND all of LL's customers actually want to use it. If the economy is diverted to only a few people and most other creators close then yes the economy will fail as people tier down and stop paying LL anything because they can no longer make any L$ in SL.

No Money No Customers.

It is a delicate balance.

But again I doubt there will be any dramatic impact that the GSA search system did not already cause beginning in April 2010. The real damage has already been done and the sim closings and land abandonment continues unabated. It is going to take more than a magic bullet to save SL at this point. Mesh will be all over open sim too btw.

Gattz Gilman

I somewhat agree with Ann, but luckily, all of the content isn't going to switch to mesh based. It will take quite a long time before we see a lot of mesh content, where you would not be able to step onto a sim with everything being mesh.

And I'm sure that a lot of third party viewers will also be adding mesh as well, which will help give everyone options.

I'm excited with mesh giving people a chance to update the avatar mesh, since LL isn't doing this lol.

Metacam Oh

I don't think the average consumer will be able to tell the difference between a good mesh object, and a good prim object, nor will they care.

Rawst Berry

Have you ever flown over the mainland and seen the pure shit builds, or looked at marketplace and seen the pure shit stores that seem to be thriving? How about all the laggy malls full of shops reselling freebies? How come none of this ceased to exist with sculpts entered the picture?

That's because no matter how nice sculpts or mesh looks, the average SL user is not able to make it. It takes a lot of talent to not only make those objects, but texture it well and put it all together as something that looks good. Things that look really good sell for a lot, and things that are crap sell for cheaper. Stores selling ugly crap stay in business because its cheaper, and users with low-end PCs are content with that because it's easier to render than a bunch of sculpts anyways.

You tend to only post pictures and videos of the beautiful sims made by professionals (in the sense that they can make a living of SL) filmed on high-end computers. That's not what SL looks like to most people.

Rusalka Writer

I've been on the mesh beta team for over a year, and it's worth noting that:

1. Mesh works fine on the v2-based mesh viewer. It doesn't crash or destroy content, and using v2 is not the apocalypse.

2. v2 is not a permanent situation. Someday there will be a v3. There's no reason to assume it won't be better. Meanwhile, embrace the idea that LL is close to finally driving a stake through 1.23.

3. Mesh has been in open beta for quite a while now. Content creators interested in learning the new technology have had and still have weeks and months to try it.

We've had the discussion in the group that mesh is tricky. No denying it— it takes some work. I was helped by familiarity with Blender, but I still struggle with it. But we can't make everything easy for everybody at present. As I mentioned during our group discussions, nobody says "I want to learn French, but it's not fair it's so hard!"

Ann Otoole InSL

That is true about time to learn Rusalka.

However SL's primitives based system can be comprehended and used by normal people. Mesh/3D modeling cannot nor it ever be usable by neophytes. And if it comes down to LL trying to limit commerce to a minority then great. Everyone simply goes to open sim and watches the lindens send their resumes out as SL is shuttered because the 100 or so SL mesh pundits cannot support a 250 person company with their credit cards after everyone else stopped earning and thus stopped paying LL.

So LL is taking a huge gamble and betting the entire farm on this deal. It either works out well (hope) or it fills in the dirt on the SL casket. A year from now we will know if it worked out the way it is hoped it will.

I know a lot of people that have minimized already because they learned about LL's gambling with their own product a ways back and would rather sit back and wait and see before putting in another dime.

Aliasi Stonebender

I imagine v2 won't be 'truly' required - Phoenix has been porting all kinds of things, and while they'll be making a v2-based viewer I honestly trust them to not screw it up; they don't have the concerns LL has about 'trying to keep it accessible', which (to me) actually made the 2.0 viewer HARDER to use.

Aliasi Stonebender

Also, Ann, you're just plain wrong. Mesh is *easier* to use than sculpties. Sculpties require some fairly arcane knowledge and you either use rough inworld tools, the mind-scrambling UI that is Blender, or expensive modelling software.

A SL-compatible mesh can be made in freely available, easy-to-use software like Google Sketchup (and there's HORDES of existing content out there to import).

Ann Otoole InSL

Well Aliasi since you did not read what I wrote I will point out I referenced the primitives based system not sculpties. (However it is trivial to retopo a model to a sculpt in about 10 seconds so those sculpties are not actually so hard to make if you actually bother to get the right program and read how) And yes there is a lot of model IP out there to steal. And some free models. And a lot of "free models" that are actually infringements that have not been discovered yet.

What do you think the out of business former content creators will do with their time? Twiddle thumbs? Or hunt down infringements and report them to the IP owners? Like the Lich King models from WoW that were imported to mesh beta? Do you think Blizzard is going to sit buy while LL allows such infringements? I don't. How about when EA IP is pilfered and the EA people call Rod Humble to ask why he is allowing this?

Interesting times ahead for sure.

Vecky Burdam

The fascinating aspect of SL was from the beginning to create very easily relevant content; a prim, a basic texture, done.
Then photoshop skills became a must for relevant/competitive content, reducing the number of people creating relevant content.
Then basic 3D program skills became necessary for sculpties, which again reduced the number of people creating relevant content ... this time tremendously. And while the number of content-creators increased without the ability to handle 3D programs they relied on pre-fab sculpties ... which caused this creative stagnancy. Always the same stuff in endless texture variations.

Now mesh arrives ... although it will take some time to establish ... it will again reduced the number of people creating relevant content drastically. So we will have a world created by its 500 residence who learned professionally to handle 3D ... and the rest will either buy, or feel stupid.
The times everyone was able to create relevant content are definitely over with the arrival of mesh ... unless LL starts thinking about providing the tools within the viewer to still be able to create 'relevance' (which btw would not be any problem to merge 3D program functions with SL)

foneco zuzu

Ok as user that is in world at least 4h per day i can only say this:
SEX SEX SEX SEX SEX SEX!
AS long as sex will be the main reason for people to join, Sl will be alive no matter, meshes, sl v2, lag or whatever!
Yes, i wish that most of users will be at least as inteligent as LL genious that invented sl v2 (Joke of course)!
But the truth is that many join to have sex and quit after, tired and heppy!
That the pure reality, and those ones dont care about meshes, those ones care about not having lag when they come in, to be able to rezz and see the avatars around, to be able to get the best avatar look, the best sex toy.
So that leaves us with a minority that joins every day, t do things besides sex, like building, watching live events, exploring and so on.
And to make prefectly clear, the ones who spent money on Sl, also spend money on the best hardware to run it.
Dont make me laugh when you say you connect with a 4 year old computer or a laptop!
For having the best sex one has to have the top notch in desktop nowdays, and most have it!
So waht all need to understand for once and for all!
Sl is not a game.
Sl is not for kids.
Sl is not for the poor.
Sl is not for the masses.

Go play free games, there also lots of sex ones there.
But dont fuck with the ones who spent hundreds of Usd a month, to have the best cyberserx possible.


Vecky Burdam

and yes ... i am still dreaming of sitting my AV on a posestand, hit the 'build' button, rezzing a cube, and starting to deform and drape and shape it around my AV ...
and in very exciting dreams i even start to paint on the sculpty i just created inworld ...
but i guess that will stay a dream ...

Melissa Yeuxdoux

You've already posted, Hamlet, about the huge polygon overkill that seemingly simple prims introduce--but people freak out about mesh making their computer obsolete, uncontaminated by facts.

If we go back in time to the introduction of sculpted prims, the same howls of Second Life building being confined to a "3D elite" went up--even from rational folks like Gwyneth Llewelyn. It wasn't the end of the world then, and it won't be now. Back in April, there was a report in The Tennessean of a doctor and his wife--no background in 3D design mentioned--who, with a little help from online forums, used Google Sketchup to design their eco-friendly dream home. (The link I originally gave in a blog post is broken, so look at http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2011-04-15-google-solar-home.htm for an article.) Are they not normal people? There's vastly more effort put into 3D design software and tutorials for it than Linden Lab could ever muster, especially after its cutbacks in workforce. All you have to do is, you know, actually learn something.

I'm reminded of lines from Todd Rundgren's "Honest Work" (on his great album _A Cappella_): "I hold no blame for anyone/'Twas I who did arrange/To pay my union dues so I'd/Not have to learn or change..." I wish those who protest the introduction of mesh could be as honest about it.

Commizar Janick

I rather like the v2 viewer. I'm also rather happy with most of the updates from Linden Labs and I find that it runs much better on my 3.5 yr old MacBook Pro than v1 ever did. In general, I've found my Second Life experience getting better over the last 4+ years I've been exploring.

I'm also looking forward to mesh and what the SL artistic community will do with that advancement.

Graham Mills

@vecky Not quite what you wanted but interesting nonetheless:

http://blog.clayar.com/2011/05/clayar-slides-from-are2011-art-tools-session/

http://www.sculptris.com/

Kudzumai

Personally, I dont see any problems. After all the "building blocks" are a matter of taste. I know nothing about mesh or how to build with it and modding my avatars (or the ones I buy) are much more easier for me to do with prims. Or so I imagine. So eventually.. mesh personally won't have that much of an impact on how I'll perceive SL as a whole. It's just another good-looking addition, much like flexi prims and sculpts were in the past.

Oni Horan

Technically I really do not see prims getting replaced by meshes completely, ESPECIALLY when its about environments. An efficient prim builder will have a lot more room that he can fill, meshes should be used to add details, but thats all.
Now avatars are a different story...

cube republic

Yay mesh is coming, yay freak out, yay talk complete rubbish in forums, yay, yay THE PLOT THICKENS like my new mesh ______

Arcadia Codesmith

I see some people here are really, really frightened of progress. Don't be scairt!

That said, there are a few things Linden Lab could do to ease the transition.

If it's at all feasible, incorporate mesh rendering into the 1.x codebase. People who haven't switched to v2 by now are unlikely to ever switch, either because they're running legacy systems or they can't stand the new interface. Respect that.

Create a batch tool for creators that can translate a complex multi-prim object into a COLLADA mesh. Don't wait for residents to do it; the limitations of LSL mean resident tools tend to be rife with awkward work-arounds for simple data handling.

And listen to Vecky. 3D modeling is much easier than most people think, but it's not as easy as it could be. It's also not hard to code a simple interface that lets creators manipulate vertices and faces of meshes in-world (unless you're trying to do it in some bizarrely crippled scripting language...)

In my daydreams, I stand over the shattered remnants of Autodesk, Maya and Adobe, throw my head back in crazed laughter, and shout, "You wanted how many thousands of dollars? HAHAHAHAHAHA! Now I have better, more powerful tools for FREE, thanks to Linden Lab!"

I like that dream. Make it so.

Melissa Yeuxdoux

I can certainly understand the preference for the 1.x UI, but I would say far better for LL to revise the 2.x codebase so that it's easy to have multiple UIs that one can choose from, and to make it possible for trusted third parties to write UIs. A 1.x UI would be written right away, and there'd be a chance for handicapped-friendly UIs as well--LL can't afford not to leverage existing tools or willing help.

bodz

@Ann:

"Mesh/3D modeling cannot nor it ever be usable by neophytes."

That's just total crap.
I'm a neophyte (born a year ago for the first time) and never made a sculpty in my short life. I was able to make buildings in google sketchup in a matter of minutes when I tried. My 8 year old kid can too. It's just as easy as inworld in second life. Likewise other cheap tools like AC3D are not a million miles away from how things are built inworld.

This kill-the-economy idea and woe-is-me-it's-too-hard is overblown and just the usual cycle of drama we're all too familiar with in SL.

FlipperPA Peregrine

I'm not sure it will have a very negative impact on the economy. While it will definitely affect today's prim builders, so did flexiprims and sculpties, and those both helped the economy.

Also, do not forget, the most popular and driving part of the economy is clothing and fashion. Sculpties may actually be more of a help with a new hairstyle or pair of pants with cuffs than a full mesh version for traditional looks.

Rusalka Writer

Relying upon Sketchup? I'd suggest coming into the mesh sims and practicing with that. It hasn't worked out quite so easily as you might anticipate. I did a house in Sketchup and still had to run it through Blender to texture it and clean up the model.

Worrying that mesh will wreck the prim economy is like worrying that the improved control provided by a manual transmission will ruin the market for automatics and catastrophizing that everyone will need to learn a stick shift. Not going to happen.

Yes, people who know how to use mesh will have economic and creative opportunities open to them that people who do not have that skill set will not have. Such is life. I don't complain in real life that my sister is unfairly fluent in Japanese and I'm not, or that my brother-in-law is an engineer and I'm not. In SL, I don't complain that many of the mesh beta folks know _much_ more than I do because they've worked harder at it and been at it longer. Mesh is hard. I struggle with it. Such is life.

And let's remember— basic prims are just little meshes.

One bonus— I believe the plan is to raise the upper size limit for all prims from 10m to 64m with the coming of mesh. Something for everyone.

Another bonus— mesh is much less a burden on SL than sculpties. Which means less lag and better performance for everybody.

Ajax Manatiso

I watched the video to see if they used full textures or just flat colors -- flat colors, as I suspected. Its extremely hard to get a full texture correct on a sculptie -- or just take a look at the crotch area on shorts!
I've worked with meshes for years on other 3-D programs and whenever you want to use a full texture with all the blends and nuances -- you use prims. Just like all the inworld fancy dresses and shoes use prims. Everyone may be excited by mesh just like people were after WW2 when sliced bread came out -- but today, gourmets snub their noses as slice bread. And a year from now, the classiest builders with the nicest builds will be, as it always has been, using prims.

Eleri Ethaniel

I'm pretty Joe Average SL User- Like building things, throw together clothes occasionally, can't make a sculptie to save my life.

There are things I would really like to do in SL that have been limited by my inability to make my own sculpts. So the only difference between sculpts and mesh for me would be if I could manage to build something with a mesh program, and then easily import it into SL. If that's a PITB, then it is off my radar.

I suspect it'll be the same for lots of people- Is it a tool they can easily pick up and run with? If not, then what other people are doing with the tool won't matter much.

Ezra

@Eleri

Whether or not you'll grasp mesh depends on how willing you are to learn, but one thing for certain is there's a lot more room for not-knowing getting started with mesh than there is getting started with mesh AND figuring out how to make that mesh work as a sculptmap.

Mesh is a step forward in improving the ease of getting into content creation. I really wish Hamlet didn't throw "state of the art" up there since "state of the art" probably isn't inclusive of prim limits that mesh counts against, and size limits sure to fall in the megabytes, and not the gigabytes of what we normally consider "state of the art".

It'll be the same ol' Second Life, with just a less laggy less hacky way of doing things which in turn should leave more time for earnest creativity rather than doin' sculptmap voodoo.

Pathfinder

With the ability to use mesh models, SL (and likewise Opensim) will enter a much bigger univerise of potential content that can be imported and used. Peek around places like http://turbosquid.com and you'll see what I mean.

But perhaps even more interesting will be to watch as content creators in SL who learn how to create mesh models realize that they are now able to sell their content on sites like Turbosquid to a much wider market.

Ann Otoole InSL

Mesh is not going to magically transform the mainland into a low poly dreamscape. The same old builds left by accounts that have not logged in for years will still be there. The planes and flaming motorcycles will still be stuck in ban lines where they have been for years. We will get to see 60 meter spaceships and zeppelins jammed in banlines casting shadows though. That will be new.

Mesh will not magically make "computers made of wood" work better. Whatever the limits are in SL those limits get pushed. But the 10k prim efficient mesh builds are going to look fantastic and improve machinima and other activities a great deal.

The sky is not falling. But mesh is not a total savior and is not a savior for anything clothing related until LL introduces Havok Cloth. Dreses that look like 2 tubes stuck to your legs when you walk don't really look as good as flexis.

Some custom mesh avatars are going to be really great.

Melissa Yeuxdoux

I think I'll take skirts that don't look like you were on a desert island and sewed together a bunch of palm fronds at one end, and that don't go through your legs when you sit down, thanks. Glitchpants, a necessity with the sewn-together cloth strips that are SL state of the art skirts now, are also a pain--they're only really right for the leg length of the model the outfit was made for, and these days are more and more often unmodifiable so they can't be shortened.

I agree, it should be possible to spin and have one's skirt twirl appropriately, and it will be a shame if mesh skirts force one to give that up.

Ezra

Yeah its still going to take flexi prims to fake true cloth dynamics. I expect them to still be used in addition mesh until a solution akin to what Ann suggested comes, if ever.

Aliasi Stonebender

I think at this point we can safely say bringing out your "DOOM! DOOOOM! THE END IS NEAR!" signs is unwarranted.

There are many more people who have some 3D modelling experience than those who have learned SL's interface. Now, I fully support SL having built-in means to edit things - I don't think traditional prims are going anywhere, and they shouldn't. But Ann, seriously. Everything everywhere is done by people doing 3D modelling, these days. Mesh *expands* the pool of talent, it doesn't diminish it by a long shot.

Arcadia Codesmith

I'm keeping an eye on Richard Garriott's Portalarium. He intends to leverage Facebook as a gateway for more complex and sophisticated game content -- and SL's VW market space.

I'm not fond of Facebook and less fond of motherZucker, but if they can deliver, I'll be there (particularly since I'm quite fond of my favorite space cadet, Lord British).

Arcadia Codesmith

Drat.... posted under the wrong story. I hate it when that happens.

GG3

Finally! Out with the old, in with the new.

Second-Life badly needs a face-lift upgrade, mesh is one of those doors that will achieve a more professional and friendlier look on the eyes that Second-Life needed for a long time. It's about time SL is stepping up graphics-wise that so many players and users are use to in other companies. I've been and seen places on Second-life that even a kindergartner could do better on.

Now only if they would fix that hideous, awful lag!

However, the "charge of weight" is still unknown for mesh. Knowing SL and how LL gets away from pocket-ripping people, I wouldn't doubt if this new mesh design is pricey.

So what prim building has been around for 8-years, i'm glad other companies have thought ahead and are willing to make changes to advance in technology. With all the stubbornness that can be found in Second-Life, can you believe if a company took the same routine that many of it's customers have done, we'd still be running floppy-disk computers with very little to no significant break-through?

Second-Life users, for once leave the pocket-change dilemma and drama your so accustomed to having and become more open-minded to technologies, but that's always too much to ask.

Keanna Spyker

I have to sit back and laugh at the nay-saying, the dooms day woes and whatnot of the community at the inclusion of meshes to the table- I understand and somewhat agree at the points made of shrinking the creative community, I hardly believe that it's a death sentence to the creator populace as a whole.

Just as you can work with Crayola crayons and macaroni to make art, so can you use Rembrant and Prismacolor products to create the same, only with better quality. Adding meshes is, I believe, in no way going to diminish the community as a whole, but contrarily add to the pool of efficient and effective content producers.
There are actually plenty of 3D modelers who have to tailor what they know for work or hobby to SL specific avenues to create good looking content- just look at Prefabrica for a point in this. This doesn't limit them; in fact, this gives them the tools to create even better products for everyone.

I feel as though we (The SL community) will go through another content mini-revolution same as we did when people started realizing the capabilities of Photoshop CS5 Extended. [CS5 added the ability to work directly on meshes, making texture work for clothing and sculpties amazingly easier.] Within the last year/year and a half, I watched the quality of what I was buying move into my price ranges, where as three years ago it was sectioned off to those in modeling circles or those with very deep Linden money pockets. It's astounding.

The incorporation of meshes won't be a death sentence- quite the opposite. This addition will create less lag as the engine is not having to decode UV maps, but but more newer technology for rendering. The hard limit of 15,000 prims on a sim will actually have the option of being more of a comfortable term instead of a death sentence for builders.
And this is just BUILDING!

My only wonder is how the avatar meshes will affect my ability to wear clothing or items I already have. I haven't heard of anyone bringing up this concern, but I'd love to see how this is answered (if it has been yet.)

Dale Innis

Surprised the video showed mesh in the form of an AV, given that AVs are the one thing on the Grid that are *already* meshes. (Everything else in the video could have been simple or sculpty prims.)

I don't think mesh will have any big impact on things, frankly. Things will get incrementally prettier. There will probably be two or more TPVs that support meshes, but have good old 1.2x style UIs. People will continue to build with simple prims and sculpties, and will also learn how to do mesh.

I would love to see some kind of in-world mesh editing become possible, even if it's only relatively tight integration of some mesh editor (maybe via a plugin interface) into common viewers. Being able to build ad-hoc and collaboratively without leaving the world is imho a HUGE differentiator for SL compared to other virtual worlds that allow user-generated content, and bringing mesh into that would be great.

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