– Jelly babies will take over SL soon (AKA how linden lab is planing to break second life) –

So theres a lot of talk about the upcoming patch that will break SL visually, so i think its time for me to rant about it too.

So we all know how laggy and unplayable SL can be, its probably one of the biggest problems with second life today.

LL is going to do what LL does best, implement a half assed fix for a symptom instead of fixing the cause of the problem, optimizing the viewer, fixing how it handles video memory, making the viewer use full capabilities of your videocard’s processing power(it uses CPU to calculate and only uses GPU to draw), And maybe even making a D3D version of the client for windows users.

JB
Anyway, this “solution” that LL came up with will undermine the whole point of mesh avatars and i suspect this will make a lot of people just quit SL in the log run. It will Automatically derender any avatars exceeding whatever arbitrary render weight setting that you or LL chooses for you by default. You wont be able to wear your fancy mesh outfits, bodies and heads without being visually muted for everyone around you, you will have to go back to using the linden body and linden avatar body and its crappy body paint clothing layer. (It will tell you when you are muted though)

Current problem with render weight calculation is that it sums up everything, including the LOD for every object you wear(LODs that the game doesnt even use because of a rigged mesh LOD bug),  instead of what your video card has to actually draw on your screen. This calculation is horribly inaccurate, it doesnt tell you what actually makes you lag, and people just abuse the rigged mesh LOD bug to cheat the render weight count.
To calculate real render weight, the viewer would need to calculate it in real time and only the things your video card has to actually render, anything else added to that just undermines the whole calculation. You can look at a perfectly fine avatar low polygon avatar that for some reason has an absurd render wight and not lag looking at it, and you can look at an avatar that has an excessive amount of polygons but abuses the LOD bug that makes it have a low render weight, and it makes your viewer go 5 frames per second (People cheat render weight by using single triangles for all the LODs)

So here’s what i think should happen first before this feature is implemented.

  1. The rigged mesh LOD bug has to be fixed, currently the game doesnt use LODs and displays the same high detail model on all distances, this, apart from texture memory issues, is what they should be focusing on if they really want to fix the lag.
  2. The render weight calculation has to be done in real time and only count things that are being rendered, if this is not possible to do without rewriting the whole code, at least make the render weight calculation only count the high detail objects and not the LODs because its absurd, your wearing 1 object at the time, not all 4 different detail versions of it.

Btw one legit benefit of this jelly baby feature is that it would make graphics crashers impossible, instead of implementing this to the UI, they should instead just leave it in the debug settings menu but set it to a certain max amount by default so that it would still show everyone correctly but at the same time would automatically derender any graphics crashers.

 

– Nice troll LL, 10/10 well played –

Okay so, dunno if anyone seen the recent LL announcement, where they talk bout all the improvements they did to mesh and other stuff. It was like, WOW LL is no longer ignoring the important issues and is actually doing something to move this game forward, instead of pretending they are doing something, this is so amazing :O http://community.secondlife.com/t5/Featured-News/Check-Out-the-Latest-Improvements-to-Second-Life/ba-p/2895496

The thing in their announcement that got me excited the most was “We’re upgrading support for mesh import: an upcoming Viewer update will allow uploading models that have more than eight unique faces” This would open up so many new possibilities for mesh, it would let me optimize the shit out of the av2, kemono and M3, and remove all sorts of frustrating, dead end limitations on what can be done, it would make my work so much easier and let me focus on creation instead of figuring out ways around those limitations. I finally had my respect back for LL.

 

But then…..

 

The public beta notes came and “Using these new features, models with more than 8 unique faces can be imported. Gone are the days of importing complicated meshes in pieces with “some assembly required”. At import, these models are automatically split into pieces so that each satisfy the current face limits for a volume.”

This is fucking, pants on head retarded, this wont allow us to upload models with more than 8 faces, this will just automatically break them up into separate models, with you having no control over how its done, just like their lazy ass LOD and physics generation algorithms. And the part about “some assembly required” There was no assembly required! you could upload linksets of separate mesh objects in one go. You had full control on how your mesh in your 3D editor of choice and upload them as linksets, instead of giving it to a crappy algorithm that does it whatever random manner.  This new “feature” is just fucking stupid and meaningless and will only enable people who have no idea what the fuck they are doing, to hit up the game even more with their terrible, unoptimized wastes of polygons.

So yeah, well done LL, once again you did absolutely nothing and made us all think you are doing something to move the fucking game forward.

– Second Life 2.0 (for real this time) –

So i assume you all have probably heard about Second Life 2.0 by now. People often ask me what is my view on this, so imma give my 2 cents on this matter as well (and generate some copypasta for the next time someone asks :D).

Ok so SL 2.0, is it a good thing, is it bad, do we need a new sl? well I personally would wish that instead of spending all that time, money and effort on building a new game, they would concentrate it all on fixing this current one. On the other hand, this game is so fucked up beyond repair, that a fresh start might be the only way to fix it.

Theres some pants on head retarded rumours going around about how LL is going to pull the plug on SL after SL 2.0 is out. I wish people would stop listening to rumours and look for real information from real sources, like the linden labs blog that clearly states that they wont be killing or even phasing out SL any time soon or ever, if no one stops playing it.
Also shutting down the old SL would be a commercial suicide to LL, especially when SL2 is in its infancy. They need to have a safe harbor that they can return to in case shit doesnt go the way they planed it.

So ummm, LL hasn’t disclosed any specific information about how the game will work and what technology will it employ so its kinda early to say how eager i am to move to SL 2.0.

I would however be all for SL 2.0 if it had the following things in it:

Clothing and hair simulation.
IK targets (for stuff like holding guns right, no matter what shape you have, or your legs interacting with the surface you are walking on)
Custom bone structures (like ability to have finger bones or a tail or extra arms and all that stuff)
Morphs and joint morph targets (for adjusting the avatar’s shape and face, face expressions, hand positions, nice joint deformations and so on)(fuck fitted mesh)
A proper material editor maybe.
More useful script commands and no technical limitations like one particle system per script and so on.
A more informative compiler.
Special built in functionality in the client/server itself, for handling things like vehicles, weapons, sword combat, combat interactions with avatars(like punching someone would actually make the hit connect and move their avatar), scoring and other gameplay elements, to make games on SL perform like real games and not some disjointed laggy wtfisgoingon shit. Having this functionality built into the client/server instead of having to write complicated 54651531351 lines of script to do such seemingly simple tasks, that are impossible to do smoothly anyway because of all the fucking sim lag.
Proper key mapping in scripts, so you would be able to bind any keyboard key you want to a script without having to use gestures.
CUSTOMIZABLE CONTROLLS!
Creation tools that let you create meshes ingame.
User owned sims.
Bring back old sl features lost over time like water simulation, mirror surfaces destruction physics and rain.
A proper optimized client with a customizable UI and features.
Disallow third party clients.
A FUCKING LOG OUT BUTTON FOR FUCK SAKE!

But yeah, all of this is just wishful thinking, we would be lucky if even 1 or 2 things from this list would be implemented into the new game. And in general im a bit skeptical about SL 2.0, do you really expect someone as incompetent as LL, who takes 3 years to fix a bug, breaks 10 other things with their lazy fix and cant even do something as simple as adding a button to the UI. On top of that, a company that doesnt even understand its own product or its own userbase, ignores feedback, keeps fixing whats not broken, implementing shit that no one asked for, and keeps on making other pants on head retarded decisions, like shitting all over their front page and user dashboard with malware containing ADs, and keeps trying to take the game to directions that no one wants to go to.

And finally, remember this?patternshow well did that work out?

Now there is a rumor that SL 2.0 is just a codename because secretly LL has been funding Philip linden who is working on his own project called high fidelity. But i do not see high fidelity as a proper replacement for SL because 1. Philip linden is a childish visionary that is still hyped up with early 90s concepts of virtual reality and doesn’t understand that no one really cares about that stupid shit anymore. 2. His project is all about live expressive interactions between players through their their avatars, using expensive motion capture and virtual reality equipment that no one in their right mind would consider buying. His game is all based on recreating that real life face to face communication (I dont think he ever heard about skype video calls) and is not really in tune with what the current SL is about. In fact, Philip left LL because SL wasnt in tune with how he envisioned SL to be when he created it. I just dont see how this would interest all the socially awkward shut ins that are playing SL. Also his game looks like ass in its current state.

– A roadblock for the furry avatar project –

Okay so, the avatar is now done and is being scripted, but i have ran into a serious problem, Linden labs, you done did it again.

By adding fitted mesh into the code, they broke existing mesh functionality like joint offsets. Joint offsets are needed for non standard humanoid and non humanoid avatars to function, this bug makes these avatars break your shape beyond fixing, requiring you to relog, it also makes it impossible to use any other shape that isnt the default LL female avatar shape with such avatars.

jointbug04

read more about it in this bug report https://jira.secondlife.com/browse/BUG-5841

What this means is that not only does this effect this project, it effectively breaks all my previous work that uses joint offsets, like the Rikugou avatar, or anything else made by any other creator. The only solution to this problem right now is either going back to viewers that dont support fitted mesh or using the default female avatar shape.

Thanks Obama.

– Ads on SL and second life premium –

Okay so for a few days i was having this problem with all the SL web services, like the marketplace or the SL dashboard, the pages just went blank after they finished loading. I was too lazy to figure out whats wrong and i didn’t need to use them at that time and i thought that a simple computer restart will fix it so i left it alone for a while, today i needed to use the marketplace and looks like a simple restart didn’t do the trick, so i started googling and trying to figure out what is wrong, i launched IE and opened the marketplace there and noticed some really bizarre ads allover the place, so i went back to firefox and disabled adblock for a moment and tried loading the my dashboard again, and it loaded but… I started to think that i might have some spyware on my computer or something cuz it also loaded those bizarre out of place ads, they broke the website Layout and didn’t fit with the rest of the page style, i went to the forums to see if anyone else is experiencing this and to my surprise, everyone was. This isn’t some spyware, this is LL’s doing !?

whatthefuck

i went to check their blog and found this post http://community.secondlife.com/t5/Featured-News/Advertising-on-Second-Life-Web-Properties/ba-p/1927315

So they just slaped this shit on with no prior warning?  and they are going to expand on this bullshit by putting ads to our profiles and and other places and they say

“The placement of these ads is designed to be unobtrusive, as we don’t want them to interfere with your Second Life experience on the web, and we’re taking care to keep the content appropriate.”

Well they are doing a piss poor job because i have seen some really offensive and disturbing shit, like fake download links to fake software(spyware), creepy looking ads, cheep porn ads and all kinds of other shit that isn’t relevant to SL. I couldn’t understand their stated reasons for it, something about it being a great opportunity for spam agencies to reach out to us and advertise us vacuum cleaners and viagra?  but if i get this right, their main goal is to make SL users be able to purchase these ad spaces to advertise their products. This is all fine and dandy but don’t we already have a system for this? like all the marketplace ads that we pay LL to show our products and all the classifieds and other advertising in second life search and other places? i mean we already have all this so whats the point of adding another layer of this on top of this?

Whats pants on head retarded the most is that premium users cannot escape this either, it doesn’t matter if your premium or not, you will still see this crap, so than what am i even paying them for? what kind of actual benefits do users get out of premium?

– whats the point to premium anyway? –

There’s a lot of urban legends going around about the benefits of a second life premium subscription, things like better protection from false ARs or LS exchange limit increase. Im a premium user myself, i signed up for premium hoping it will increase my limits, but that didn’t happen :C so let me tell you what premium actually does and what it doesn’t doesn’t do:

It will not increase your L$ selling limits, even if your limit is zero, getting premium wont change that.
It will not give you any special rights, guarantees or protections, LL will treat you like trash regardless of your account status.
It will not give you any other benefits you might think of.

what it actually does is:

It gives you like 100L$ a month or something like that, the amount is kinda ridiculously small so i don’t even see the point(for that 15$ you could get far more L$)
You get a crappy looking house in a laggy cramped up sim where houses stand like 2 meters away from each other and you can see what your neighbors are doing through their windows, zero privacy.
You get live chat support (that you can reach even without premium if you go to the premium subscription page and click the ask a question button) that cannot really do shit about your problem, they are never able to give you any real help, their only purpose is to paste you links to irrelevent outdated SL wiki articles.
You get access to premium VIP destinations, all fucking 2 of them, one is this empty looking jungle sim that would have been kinda impressive in 2004 i guess, and the other one is this empty sandbox for builders.
You can “own” land.

So basically, the only real reason you would get premium is because it is mandatory if you want to own land(and owning land is a shit idea btw cuz youre going to get screwed over by LL really hard if youre just one day late to pay the rent (yes you still pay so you don’t really own shit so whats the point even), or someone did something bad on your land without you knowing it. read more about that one http://alphavilleherald.com/2010/02/historic-what-sim-for-sale-goons-go-back-to-baku.html

– The real motivation behind these ads –

According to one blog (that i cant find anymore), LL is doing this to combat their declining income from land tiers,  if that’s the case than what LL really should be doing, make your stupid shit cheaper you dumb assholes! Your astronomical land prices is the main reason that drives people away from buying land. A normal game server costs 45$ a moth, a sim on second life costs 300$ a month, no one simply has or is willing to spend that kind of money, this is ridiculous. Sure if you lower your prices, you wont get any momentary gains from it, but if you learn to pull your stupid heads out of your asses and look forward, you are going to make so much more money in the long run if everyone will be able to afford a sim of their own! Its better to have 100 paying costumers that pay you 45$ per month than just 1 paying costumer that is paying his last 300$ this month before he gets fed up with your stupid shit and just leaves the game.

Well anyway, i never ever bother clicking on random off topic ads in websites so i do not need to see them, i have found a way to kill the ads without breaking the website and i will keep it that way for now till LL gets their shit together, integrate the adds into their website better without breaking the design and make second life users be able to advertise their products in those ads, making them relevant to me, than i will stop blocking them.

– More third party content and the mesh deformer project –

Okay so here’s some more third party content created specifically for my avatars

I already mentioned this creator before but she came up with a lot more new stuff.

Check out Marrcia’s marketplace page for more https://marketplace.secondlife.com/stores/123733

Another new creator is Elly who made some hair textures for Rikugou B hair

 

 

– The  Mesh Deformer project –

Probably most of you have heard this already, but a former linden labs employee Qarl Linden is working on a new mesh feature, It will allow meshes to make use of the remaining appearance editor sliders like lets say body fat, or boob size. Not only that, meshes that are deformer enabled, will also react to hand poses and face expressions(this ones just my speculation based on the screenshots i saw). On top of that, one unexpected but positive side effect is that all the deformer enabled meshes will also react to avatar physics.

What this means for us all is that we will no longer need to have 5 different sizes of the same jacket or pants, we will no longer need male and female versions, we will no longer need different boob size versions and so on. But probably the best part of this to me personally is that, this will turn the Avatar 2.0 into a fully functional avatar with face expressions, blink, hand poses, ability to fully customize the shape and face using the appearance editor.

However, there’s one huge problem with this that im afraid of, if im right, how this works is basically it uses a process similar to bone weight copy in blender, to copy the morph maps from the standard SL avatar onto the mesh, this measn that the quality of the deformations might be kind of terrible. Shape sliders might effect the wrong polygons and when lets say, increasing your boob size, will also increase bits of your chest around your boobs, kinda something that the LL avatar does already to itself if you set the boob size to max, due to the terrible terrible weight weighting and morphs. A far bigger problem might be face expressions, if the the avatar opens its mouth, how exactly will the deformer know witch polygons belong to the upper lip and witch belong to the lower lip D: so yeah, im defenetly excited about this project but also kind of scared.

Of course, this all is just my poorly educated speculations, DO NOT take anything i said and run off with it spreading it around as fact. There’s already enough bad rumors, people without any idea what it actually is and what it does, writing in their blogs on how its gonna break all the mesh content created before, and than the idiots reading those blogs without any understanding what they are even reading, make up their own versions of what they just read and than go and tell it to all their friends. You know, the average SL community behavior, to misread something, to not look into it more and to go around and cause mass panic.
So yeah to address the rumor about the new deformer feature breaking existing content, use your brain, would LL really break 4765829244 items of already existing mesh content and cause a massive gridwide inventory damage? The mesh deformer WILL NOT break any prior mesh, the worst that can happen is that older meshes that where uploaded before this feature might not react to the newly usable appearance editor sliders, you will still be able to wear your jeans and jackets, you will just not be able to change their boob and butt sizes.

– An Introduction to 3D –

This article is a basic introduction of what is 3D and how Second Life utilizes it.

To understand what 3D is and how it works, imagine a map, the map is flat 2dimensional image or a 2dimensional space with pixels in it, 2D has only 2 coordinates for every pixel in it, it is X and Z or left/right and forward/back left and right right(example: 3 steps left, 4 steps forward or x-3 y4) .

Now add a third coordinate to the map, Y or up/down. You now have a 3 dimensional map or a 3 dimensional space with a 3d model in it.

More examples example of how the 3D space works.

Notes:

A 3D model is made out of points called vertices (ill talk more about those further down)

The coordinates of a single example point (represented by a yellow ball) in 3D space is x6 y6 z4. All 3 dimensions have a grid of their own that the points snap to, the points can only snap to a number like 1 or 2 or 3 but never in between them, its basic math, kinda like not being able to divide by zero. Good thing those numbers usually are 60000 60000 40000, your point can snap anywhere in between 60000 and 69999, one digit numbers like 00001 or 00002 would be already a nano scale and you would never even reach that scale so you don’t have to worry about it . Of course a lot of programs allow you to set up your own grid for precision modeling.

Note: a lot of 3D applications (like Second Life and blender) use Z as up/down and Y as back/forward, instead of Y for up/down and Z for back/forward. Some programs or game engines use their own orientations and have all 3 of the XYZ axis mixed up and changed places, it would be awesome if people came to a standard.

A 3D model is made out of points called vertices and lines that connect the points called edges, lines connected in a loop, make a polygon. There are 3 point and 4 point polygons(4point polygon are easier to work with but they are still broken down by the graphics card into 2 triangles on the rendering level, so in a sense, there is no such thing as a 4 point polygon. When exporting a model to SL, all the 4 point polygons are being split in half to make triangles, a process called triangulation), the inner contents of a polygon is called a face or a normal (imagine a polygon as a frame and the face as a picture in that frame), polygons that are connected with each other and share edges, form a thing called geometry, also called a wireframe.

3 point polygon only geometry is called mesh, mesh is mostly used in video games and other applications that use real time 3D rendering, such as Second Life.
4 point or quad geometry is mostly used in CGI movies and model editing, but it gets triangulated when exporting it to video games.

A 3d model file holds the XYZ coordinates of each point as well as some additional information like, what lines connect to those points, surface material and UV data. Most 3D file formats hold this data in a simple plain text format and can be opened and edited using notepad (i good way to manually repair corrupted files)

Here’s how a simple cube looks like.

These are the the point coordinates, they show how far away the point is from 0.0.0 witch is a reference point and the absolute center of the 3D space that the model is in.

Surface materials are groups of polygons that the model is divided into, each group can have its own color, shading and texture. In Second Life, materials are called faces(not to be confused with normals).

More advanced model and materials.

A UV map is a 2D representation of the surface of the 3 dimensional object, to understand how a UV map works, take a piece of paper and roll it up into a cylinder, you have a 3 dimensional shape, now unroll that cylinder and lay it flat on the table, you now have a UV layout of that shape. Each point and line in the UV map, belongs to each line and point on the 3 dimensional object.

A more advanced example of how the UV map works, would be a paper craft model.

UV maps can be cut up and arranged to make a better use of the available UV space, this helps to make the best of the given texture resolution, the more texture pixels a polygon will take up, the better image quality it will have in that particular surface area.

Now, moving onto SL

What are prims? A prim is short for a primitive, a primitive is a basic geometrical shape that you can start with, turning it into more advanced shapes. On Second Life, prims are also a set of simple geometrical shapes that you can shape into  more complex objects, combine and link them, to make advanced shapes. SL prims are already preset with different material surfaces, UV maps and advanced transformation handles. The idea of prims was basically to build houses from, the whole build menu in SL has a similar interface to a video game map editor, but people on sl figured they can just use it to build avatar attachments and other cool stuff instead of houses, using prims.

Notes: While the idea of real time 3D object manipulation in a game, to create content, is really neat in theory, and is one of the biggest selling points of sl, in practice, it has a  few problems because of the lazy and resource wasteful way it was executed. Prim builds being the main cause of all the frame rate lag on SL(not to be confused with network lag) is one of them, and here’s why. This example shows a cube made out of 162 prims (on the left) and the same exact cube made out of one single mesh(on the right).

Prim builds waste a lot of polygons in places where they aren’t needed to give the object its shape and aren’t even seen by the camera. Its hard for computers to process and render all this geometry and it often results in noticeable drops in frame rates, especially on older computers. It is not a good idea to use prims to make avatar attachments(20 avatars on screen with multiple 250 prim attachments all over their body, will lag you back to December) or anything else for that mater that isn’t a house.

60 triangles where wasted just to make this single corner of the cube, while the mesh version only use 1 triangle.

Prims are very inflexible and you need a lot to do the most simple things, and in the end, some shapes are just impossible to do. And this brings us to sculpted prims.

What are sculpted prims? Sculpted prims or sculpts are sphere prims, shaped using a sculpt map, into shapes that cannot be accomplished by using the normal prim transformation handles.
How it works is, you make a shape out of a ball or a cylinder primitive in a 3D program, your shape has to have a spherical UV map. When you are finished with your 3D shape, you generate a 64×64 color image called the sculpt map and export it to SL, the By using the UVmap, RGB values of every pixel on the sculpt map represents the XYZ values of every point in your object, a 3d map in 2d format. SL uses the shape information of the sculpt map to push every point of a sphere prim into the same position it was in your 3D program, giving it the shape that you made , therefore its kind of like sulpting a shape out of a chunk of rock.


Sculpt map method imposes a lot of limitations on the creator and challenges him to come up with creative ways to overcome those challenges. At the start you where bound to a 16×16(32×32 sculpt map) or a 32×32(64×64 sculpt map) segment objects to work with. later LL implemented the ability to create custom resolution sculpt maps to better optimize your shapes, you could have for example a 16×128 sculpt maps (8×64 segments)to make a better use of available polygons. But not all viewers supported this feature correctly and these kind of sculpts often rendered out broken in most third party viewers (just like everything else cuz TPVs always sucked)

When optimizing your sculpts, you also had to keep in mind how SL will decimate the segmentation of the sculpt to make LOD(levels of detail) if you want your object not to loose its shape or just turn to garbage when you zoomed out.


But even with all the optimization, sculpt maps are still very resource wastefully, since you cannot remove any of the polygons that the camera cannot see or aren’t necessary to give the object its shape, And since you still have a pretty much fixed amount of polygons and cannot do anything to it that would change the grid like topology of your object, witch in turn would break the spherical UV map, you still end up using multiple sculpted prims to make more complex shapes. Making sculpts is just really awkward, time consuming and frustrating process and people who think, making sculpts is easier than making meshes, and still do them long after mesh import was implemented, refusing to learn mesh(theres nothing to learn to begin with, if you know how to make sculpts, you are already a master of mesh),are just bat shit crazy.

Notes:

for the sake of demonstration, i took a gun that is made out of sculpted prims and striped it down of all the polygons that isn’t necessary to give the gun its shapes, and made a “mesh” version of it. But in reality, i would have to redo the same gun from scratch, because of the flawed nature of sculpted prim geometry, the gun still has too many polygons, it shouldn’t be more than 2k or 3k.

Click to see the full size image

Notes: Any experienced 3D modeler who isn’t familiar with SL and how it works, would have his mind boggled after seeing the blasphemous wireframes of prim and sculpted prim builds. And you know, in this sense, SL is really mind blowingly amazing on what huge quantities of polygons it can process and render on screen, along with real time shadows, lighting and DOF.

Anyway, on top of that, you get a really loose representation on SL of what you have actually created in your 3D program, since lots of fine detail is being lost cuz RGB values can only go as far as 255x255x255. That means that the resolution of the grid that all the points snap to, is very tiny. On top of that, most plug-ins out there dont really do a good job recording that detail to begin with and not to mention image compression (if you don’t know about stuff like lossless compression). As a result, you get bumpy and chewed up objects that sometimes look like potatoes and as one of my friends described it “look like they have assholes at the poles”. Most plugins are very picky and limited by themselves, adding up their own limits to an already limited method(primstar for blender is so far the best sculpt map plugin, since it has no limitations of its own and can make very precise sculpts without loss of detail, apart from the loss you get from the 255 grid). in the end sculpts are only really good for making rocks :|

Click to see full size images.

Notes: I dont get why LL went with the sculpt map image idea to begin with, you would get far better results if the xyz vert information was saved in a text format, without any loss of detail)

The name sculpt itself is rather confusing both to those who work with 3D and those who don’t know anything about 3D.
In the 3D modeling world, sculpting is literally carving detail into a 3D models using tools that can manipulate/add/remove/ polygonal detail to a model. But on SL, sculpting means using a special color image, to deform a sphere prim.
SL players that have no prior experience or knowledge of 3D often confuse programs ment for actual 3D sculpting with SL sculpt creation. they think these programs where created to make sculpts for SL cuz it says “sculpting” somewhere in their name or description. While some of these might actually have a plug-in that lets you sort of turn your creation into a sculpt map, most of the time they are the worst starting point for inexperienced users, that wanna learn to make stuff for SL, due to the complexity of those programs that are aimed at industry professionals and not simple Joe.

Both prims and sculpts are meshes just like everything else on SL. From the linden ground and water to the linden trees and avatar. Everything renderd on your screen in SL, is made out of 3 point polygons, and this brings us to mesh import.

Click to see full size image.

Mesh import is LL’s latest addition to SL content creator’s toolkit. Mesh import means that you no longer have to use all kinds of indirect and often ass awkward workarounds, such as sculpt maps and prim arranging scripts, to bring your creations to SL. You can now import your models straight from your 3D program, without having to make them in a specific way and than turn them into sculpt maps and hope that it wont turn into a jumbled mess when imported. It removes many of the limitations, imposed by the sculpt map method. You now have the full freedom of any topology you want, different UV solutions, materials, can even rig your meshes to the SL skeleton, and you have the full freedom to use any of the tools you want in shaping a mesh object, since you don’t have to worry anymore about the segmentation and not screwing up the spherical UV maps.

And so this wraps up the introduction to 3D, now, on to the tutorials!

– Wrong meanings and confusion –

Okay, so the first thing im gonna blog about, will be how Second Life redefines the meanings of terms. It is one of those things in SL that kinda bothers me, the weird, awkward and often misleading, misuse of words with a different meaning. It’s often due to a lack of any proper explanations of what it is by LL itself, resulting in people making up the meaning to the word themselves and it sticking, turning into a whole culture thing.

Here’s one of the words that bothered me from the very start, “sculpties”. Sculpted prims or sculpts or sculpties on sl are probably called that way cuz, you make a shape out of a ball primitive in a 3D program, your shape has a thing called UV map that your program uses to generate a 64×64 color image, called the sculpt map. you upload your sculpt map to SL and it uses the shape information of the sculpt map to transform the same kind of sphere prim into the same shape, that you made out of your sphere primitive in your 3D program, therefore its kind of like sculpting a shape out of a chunk of rock in its own sence. if you wish to know more about how this stuff works, im gonna write an article about the basics of 3D explaining all this stuff.

Now, the wast majority of people, including more than half of the SL’s content creators themselves, do not know any of this, and imagine the wildest things of what a sculpt could be. In addition, people with no prior 3D experience that decided they want to start creating content for sl, get easily mislead by the word “sculpt” and start off a completely wrong path. People downloading programs like “Sculptris” thinking its ment for making SL stuff, in some extreme cases even wasting huge amounts of money to buy commercial sculpting software. Not realizing that its has nothing to do with second life or sculpted prims and they wont be able to create content for SL using those programs. In the 3DCG world, there are special programs and plugins for sculpting, and sculpting is one of the many ways to give an object a shape. Sculpting literally means carving a shape out out of a ball or some other primitive, with different sculpting tools yourself  and not making a shape and than making a map of that shape and than uploading it to SL and using that map to deform another shape.

So how does this happen?

Here’s a very good example, LL announces mesh and how excited they are about this exciting new feature, but do they bother explaining what exactly this new feature is? no cuz they assume people that are creating content, already knows what mesh is and the average consumer doesn’t need to know all  this technical stuff right?

WRONG!

Everyone needs to know this, people are not cattle! But since they weren’t explained, they do not understand what they are buying and often get scammed or just disappointing in their purchase. While content creators get flooded with the most idiotic IMs from brainless consumers, having the most mind boggling problems and questions. Asking why this or that linden clothing layer isn’t working with the new mesh body that they just bought. By having this “the avarage consumer doesn’t need to know this” thing going on, Linden Lab is unintentionally dumbing down the masses, you get people thinking that meshes are some fancy type of sculpts or that meshes will lag everything and they will be forced to buy new computers or stop playing SL.

In fact, every confusing announcement LL made in their blog, caused a massive shitstorm in the comments section, and not a single Linden bothered reading or replying to any of those comments. Instead, LL just removed commenting all together.

What is mesh? A mesh is not some special sculpt, mesh is a type of 3D model is made up entirely out of 3point polygon geometry. Every single thing you see on second life, from the linden terrain, water, sky and clouds to avatars, prims and sculpts, are all meshes. All video games use this type of geometry and mesh itself in Second Life inst anything new, the whole game is based on it, a mesh cube is the same exact pile of triangles as a prim cube. What LL introduced was an easy way to upload custom meshes created outside SL(mesh import), that’s all there is to it. But just like sculpts, the word “mesh” has completely lost its original meaning and became a thing of its own in SL.

Of course no one knows that, some content creators who used to make sculpted prims, are having a crisis thinking they will need to find new programs and relearn everything they know to create meshes, not realizing that they already know everything there is to know and can start making mesh content right away, because mesh is what they where doing all this time when they made those sculpts. While others will try to scam the unsuspecting consumer into buying something 10 times more expensive “because its mesh!” to cash in on the whole mesh hype. There will also be talentless whores who will just rip and upload models they didnt make, from some popular video game like assassin’s creed, mass effect, crysis or batman and make some quick and dirty cash.

Bottom line is, people need to know what they are buying!

So yeah, that’s all for now. if you are interested and want to know more about prims, sculpts, meshes, uv maps and all that other 3D stuff, ill will post a basic introduction to 3D and how SL utilizes it, in the tutorial section.