Friday, September 30, 2011

Reader Submitted: A Few Notes on Mesh

10 Gooson sent Second Life Newser a few notes about her experience with Mesh, "I've tried to explain what meshes are, what is still unknown, the in's and out's for 'almost-noobs' to explain some more about meshes."

*Addition* 10's original article had been delayed, so she sent over an updated one which reflected her more recent experiences.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
* There are prims, sculpted prims and mesh-prims, well known as the avatars as we all are inworld. yes, an avatar is called a mesh. A 1 non-linked object that can move, you can bump into and walk over! that has flexible (mesh)clothes and can be textured with a Template or officially called uv-Map.

* Till this summer the avatars are the only existing Meshes in SL, but that has changed forever! by the implementation of meshes in SL.

* A mesh is a 3D object that can not be created or build in SL itself like ordinary prim builds as we're all used to.

* Like Sculpted prims they need to be created outside SL with 3D-software programs. Unlike sculpties, meshes can move with the avatar's body if they are 'rigged' (= attached to) properly to the bone-structure of an avatar. So 'flexible clothes' is possible, because they are made out of meshes instead of sculpties, which can not be made flexible or attached to a bone-structure of avatars.

* Mesh objects/3D-objects can be of any kind, a complete house or castle, avatars in any shape you can think of, trees, you name it. You can walk through them, on top of them etc, what can not be done by sculpted objects. (Sculpted prims are impossible to walk on or through if not made phantom guided by invisible helping prims, can not be made flexible, even if attached.)

* Mesh objects can be downloaded from the internet and be uploaded in SL gridwide. This will cause lots of copyright infrignements. Real life 3D designers will feel the effect of ignorant SL-residents who upload these mesh-3D-objects they've found on the internet, without paying any respect to license-agreements etcetera!!!

* Meshes can only be textured by using the UV-maps or Templates made available by the designer of the meshes and are not easy (impossible) to texture without any knowledge of graphic programs.

* Till now (end of september 2011) meshes imported to SL for the use of avatar-attachement (clothes and accessories) can not be resized and have to be sold in a few default sizes as Small, Medium, Large and extra Large. An extra big bum will be impossible to use with a mesh-skirt worn!! So for mesh-clothes residents will need to resize their shape and not much residents will be willing to. Their biggest complaint about meshes so far!!!!

* The forout spoken advantage of meshes primcount is unsure and still a big mystery (time of writing end of june 2011) while LL has tried to bring the implementation of meshes as being a prim count advantage. As a sculpted prim object, the shape can be 2 prims, imported as mesh-prim it can be 4, 6, 8 or 2 prims as well, even less as just 1 mesh object having a Prim Equivalent of 1!! So the only advantage till now is the incredible Level of Details for every 1 prim Mesh Object and for each 1 prim Mesh Object 8 texture faces. (A default prim Box has 6 texture-faces)
If a mesh-object is resized as a huge prim, it will be multiplied in primcount and still the primcount calculation isn't sure. If you add a script, the prim count will go up!! To script and or animate a mesh object, it is best to delink the scripted(mesh) prim and add it separately and use it as unlinked (coalesced) object. What will be difficult for mesh-clothes (again) and for the average user of SecondLife.

* Upload existing meshes not specifically build for SL means the following; LOD factor (Level Of Detail) needs to be adapted for the use in SL. The creator of the mesh needs to have adapted his mesh for the use in SL, this means the creator has to create 3 or 4 different meshes to establish 1 good mesh object inworld. From every distance such good meshes will be loaded properly by SL itself. If not, the object will look terrible from a small distance even if the standard LOD-factor is set to 4 or higher in your viewer's preferences. This is NOT known by the average user of meshes, creators of meshes or people who upload good looking meshes not specifically made for the use in SL. Only the 'happy' few are aware of this fact and it takes a lot of time and skills to create meshes with the good LOD-factors for the use in SL.

* The problem is and will be the coming months, is that, even in the Beta grid, nothing is sure, no conclusions can be drawn and it is all 'wishful thinking' for LL, skilled designers, business owners and residents who hope for good improvements...

*****Current experience:
Mesh-clothes are a huge disappointment for most creators and users! The resize-issue is an important part of the disappointment.

Big mesh-objects as rocks, caves, complete islands, trees etc have a prim-count problem. Even when the mesh is 'low-poly' (less tris as they call it) LL has decided to keep this stupid bug-like mistake and gives such bigger objects a primcount of a few hundred!!! or more. So the advantage of walking on or in such bigger builds without helping prims being 1 mesh object is gone and a huge disappointment for landscapers (ask Luna Bliss or Lilith Heart, Jubjub Forder). They look smashing but unable to use!!

So what's left?? Normal mesh-avatar-attatchements that don't need to move with the body of avatars, for example belts, helmets, armory, bags, etc etc. They behave the same as sculpted attachments, but again; much more room for details in the shapes themselves AND the multiplied texture-face-space meshes have compared to sculpties that have only 1 texture-face!!

For us, my hubby, it means we focus on furniture. Already awesome sculpted furniture, mesh furniture is 'fantastic', very very very good in quality and my experience; much more easy to texture because of the extended texture faces per mesh-part of a build!
I'll send you some of our own.

Only the SL-viewer 3.0 and higher and the Phoenix-Beta viewer Firestorm V3 are supporting meshes. (last is extremely slow)
That means the 90% of SL-residents who use Phoenix or other third party viewers don't even see meshes as they are. Here some examples:

(pick taken with SL Viewer 1.23)

(pick taken with SL Viewer 3.0.3)

Well known is; Phoenix is working hard to support meshes, i assume (dangerous) that other viewers do the same.

The crow is a sculpted avatar, the cat is Sparky-me AND a mesh avatar!

*All stated above is written by mesh-noob herself, involved by an average 3D designer who is trying to involve himself into mesh-for-SL-use for 2 years. That the SL-mesh-forum is filled with questions, complaints, frustrations and unanswered questions will be confirmed if you visit all SL-mesh information sites available. It is all very technical, but even for the designers themselves no clarity is given or available.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Steelhead Participates in the Hunt Steam 5

The steampunk hunt, Steam 5, began September 1 and continues throughout the month. It has with over 200 residents officially signed up to participate. Since the Hunt is free and doesn’t require any special gear to play, there are probably more residents who are hunting informally. Approximately 190 stores are participating.

Since I had recently visited Steelhead and liked it, I decided to visit the shops that are located there. The first shop I went to was Peterman Ltd Dry Goods, located at Steelhead (88, 214, 25). Peterman’s are “purveyors of 19th century clothing, hats, and objects d'art.” Like all great general stores, they carry a little bit of everything. In this case that includes oil paintings by Pacific Northwest artists, Victorian, Edwardian, Western, and of course Steampunk clothing and items. This cog was easy to find, and the gift was a unique outfit.

Next I strolled around Port Harbor to find Cedar Bay Home Furnishings. This store is located at Steelhead Harborside (159, 15, 25). Many of the stores in the Hunt, especially the larger ones, leave a hint near the sign. The hint at Cedar Bay was great. It read, “Avast ye scurvy dogs! Hoist th' mizzen, fire th' guns an' prepare for plunder!” As you can see in the picture, the clue was as good as a treasure map. The treasure at Cedar Bay is a tea set that tells fortunes. I hope it predicts that I’ll find all the hidden cogs.

The third shop on Steelhead that I visited was Luminous Designs. This shop advertises that it carries “clothing for the elegant brat.” The store, located at Steelhead Shanghai (68, 13, 56) is a tall cylinder shaped building. An easy-to-use teleport system zips you quickly from area to area, or you can use the ladders to go at a more leisurely pace. Luminous Designs (LD) carries everything from elegant evening gowns to historically accurate outfits. This cog was harder to find, but probably because I was window shopping as much as hunting. They gave out both a men’s gift and one for women. Foxettes, I decided, were allowed one of each. I can’t wait to wear them.

The last two shops were smaller, but they gave out very unique prizes. Froobert’s Furthest West is the smallest of the participating Steelhead stores. It is located at Froobert's Furthest West , Steelhead Shanghai (153, 32, 49). Their gift included AOs for both gents and ladies, a pose stand and more. St Helens Dry Goods, located at Steelhead St Helens (73, 146, 39), gave out a revolving dance gear.

If you are a Steampunk fan or like the challenge of a hunt, Steam 5 is a great way to visit new sites and have fun in Second Life.

Grey Lupindo

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Designing Worlds Leaves Northpoint

The unique DRUM troupe performed before an emotional crowd of Designing Worlds’ staff and followers on Saturday, Sept. 3 at 2PM SL. The gathering was a celebration of one of's most popular SL television shows moving their studios to a new location after three years at Northpoint. Designing Worlds is a show about designers and builders in virtual world.

Among the celebrants were Elrik Merlin, Saffia Widdershins, co-hosts of Designing Worlds, Texas Timtam, management and Angie Mornington, executive producer at They shared memories and texted how much they were going to miss the place. SL productions are a labor of love and that was clearly evident in the remarks voiced in the crowd.

But this isn't the end. It's a new beginning. The team has to do things a bit differently but will carry on doing what they do best: entertaining, education and having fun at the same time.

While DRUM was still performing, I interviewed Elrik to learn about Designing Worlds’ future. I'd attended a session during SL8's birthday party and admired the show and Elrik's hosting abilities.

"Well, the sim goes tomorrow (Sept. 4)," he explained. "The new season starts Sept. 19, all being well. We have our own production team now and we supply the show complete to Treet. They will basically handle the broadcasting and distribution, so we are now an independent production company essentially and we provide a program to network."

Elrik said the shows will go out on the Treet network at 2PM SLT on Mondays, as before, and they will have viewing parties at the new headquarters. The shows just won't be live.

"The fact it isn't live means that the audience will not have to wait around while we fix a problem or deal with something unexpected," he said. "The more difficult bit is that I have to edit up the show and prepare the master for Treet."

But, no problem. Elrik says he's pretty quick at editing. All the shows will continue to do their own production, which he says several were already doing. He added that Treet will be able to develop other aspects of the distribution and archiving system, which they were eager to do for a long time.

Designing Worlds has a production team of 2-3 camera staff per show. Elrik's camera work will cover the interview aspects and provide him with a continuous bed for each scene that he can drop the other camera work on top of.

Dressed in an elegant violet gown, Saffia Widdershins danced throughout the program.

She told me that they were celebrating Northpoint and the great time they've had here and to pay tribute to the builders.

"A lot of people helped to make Northpoint special for us," said Saffia. "Jeremy Ryan
built the studio; Dellybean North did the cafe and the seating and Anhayla Lycia did the landscaping. There were different builds at different times. For example, there was the
Fab Fashion show and the Tonight Live studio."

Saffia said they are planning on having a new studio, which will be discussed later. There should be a sneak preview for the opening show on Sept. 19.

At 4 PM SL, Funkyfreddy Republic took the stage entertaining all with his unique style.

Netera Landar