Saturday, June 19, 2010

Updates on Mesh uploads, NDA was temporarily lifted.

NDA-liftedFriday, Testers of the private Beta of a viewer with Mesh uploads where told on the SL forum by Runitai Linden that the the NDA they signed was lifted and started to talk about it in the AW Groupies group and the connected irc room. Shortly there after they where asked again to stay quiet until LL could give them more direction on what they where and weren't allowed to talk about. I guess they will hear more on Monday.

Meanwhile we have a sneak peak via the chatlog and it lifts a little bit of the veil of what we can expect:
  • Import format will be Collada
  • Collada allows rigging which means:
    • Wearable clothing
    • Entire avatar replacements that bent with animations.
  • Five submeshes for each object
    • Four for different Levels Of Detail
    • One for collisions for Havok.
  • Meshes will need specifically made textures
    • You can have custom uv maps applied to your mesh
    • Material id can be assigned to polygons, they can be accessed as "sides" in lsl
    • The sides you can use to script texture changes, like in prims
  • Theoretically Unlimited number of vertices can be used in a model, but some N number of vertices will be counted as 1 prim against the parcel Limit
Downloading models in the Collada format from sites like google warehouse and uploading them is possible. Providing a whole lot of new free content, though these models are often not optimized to conserve vertices, and will likely quickly fill up your parcel. It will give people a starting point to learn to model by learning to optimize free content that is available.

A few days ago Hamlet posted a video on his blog of a Violin playing Alien, at first he though it was a Sculpted model, but now it seems like it is actually a custom mesh rigged to the avatar. Look how the arms, knees, shoulders slightly deform while bending, if it where sculpts those would stay rigid.

I have also found a second video of a alpha tester just playing around with two mesh models. One of the things you can see here is that the collision mesh follows the contours of the mesh. No weird oblong shaped collision mesh like with Sculpts. Turn your sound down, there is some unpleasant sound distortion in this video.

It seems soon we can see some amazing things in Second Life. If you make sculpts you will like meshes, as you will be able to do what you always wanted but couldn't because you had to work around Sculpts limitations. For the end user it will be mean higher quality content, and possibly a better frame rate. As optimized mesh objects will surely cost less rendering time then a highly compounded objects consisting of multiple prims, sculpts and textures.

For professional modellers this will open up SL for their content, expertise and skills, though they will have to learn how to deal with thousands of end users and possible content theft.

I would recommend checking out the links to Runitai Linden's pictures and the SLCC 2009 preview of Mesh Uploads.

Other Links:
Short Chatlog on Mesh while NDA was lifted.
NWN Post:An Alien Who Plays Paganini on Violin


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