MESH in SecondLife and Open Sim


MESH is coming soon!

Polygon Mesh Dolphin

What is Mesh? It’s a way of making very detailed textured objects, instead of more limited prims with “painted on” textures.  It’s also known as “polygon mesh” graphics. Think of it as prims or sculpties on steroids.

Though the average resident probably won’t be using mesh anytime soon, it’s a great design tool for builders and  machinima/filmmakers.

According to Maria Korolov, meshes  “can also be useful for manufacturers who need to import files from computer aided design systems. Advantages of meshes go beyond importing buildings and widget prototypes. They would also allow more realistic avatars, clothing, and hair.”

Most nice video games (Crysis, Far Cry, etc.) already use Mesh for characters and objects. Second Life (SL) and Open Sim virtual worlds are catching up. Yes, Blue Mars is ahead of most of them!

When do we get it?
Mesh Beta starts Oct 13th 2010 in Second Life. More info here. Upload fees and prim “cost” in-world is not set yet, but SL should be letting us know by the end of 2010. During the Beta, it will probably be free to upload and play around with Mesh in-world.

See video at:

Technically, Mesh support has existed in Open Sim for over a year, but only in special releases that public sims don’t use.  OpenSim core developer Justin Clark-Casey says OpenSim will have mesh support for the public soon, although the implementation might not be exactly the same as in SL.

You can’t make mesh items in-world; instead you use a 3D design program on your computer, then import to SL/OpenSim.  The software can cost hundreds of dollars, but Google Sketchup and Blender work, and are free (see MESH SOFTWARE list below).

Mesh is NOT easy or quick to learn, unless you already have some 3D design skills. However, it will bring a lot more “beauty” to virtual worlds, and might be worth the time investment for serious creators. If you have not mastered prim building and have no idea what a sculpted prim is, you are already waaaaaay behind. (No worries, I’m there myself!).

A good summary of the latest Mesh news:

Next steps for mesh in SL:

Mesh demo videos:

Nice links from a free notecard by Wordsmith Jarvinen, Caledon Oxbridge University, Second Life:

SL Mesh YouTube page:

Sand Castle Studios: The Status of Mesh Support in Second Life

Dusan Writer: Mesh In, Wisdom Out: How Second Life May Inform the Next Generation of 3D Content

Machinimatrix: Preliminary Tutorial on Meshes


Google SketchUp


JASS-2 Blender Package (includes sculpty scripts & Python)

3ds Max



Collada (digital interchange file format)

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written by DreamWalker

September 29th, 2010 at 7:14 pm

10 comments to 'MESH in SecondLife and Open Sim'

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  1. wonderfully written Dreamsterama! =)

    i heartily recommend Blender 3D. it has a ginormous user community and loads of tutorials and great forums. the possibilities are endless with Blender

    the learning curve is very, very, very steep. it is almost entirely keyboard driven but once you learn it, it is very fast to create models. i have no idea what you need to do for second life import, but i thoroughly enjoyed my time using Blender

    now SketchUp is awesome and specific to making architectural models but can be used to make anything really. it is not as powerful as Blender, but in the right hands, it can make incredible models. i would think it might be harder to export models ready for virtual world import. i only say that because of Unity 3D. that’s the game engine for making browser-based virtual worlds. models from sketchup have to be cleaned up with other tools like lightwave for use in Unity

    if “people can be imported, well they for sure could be to make mannequins, try using MakeHuman which is intended for making people (like Poser) for use in Blender

    it would be pretty cool to shop in stores in-world that used real mannequins (oops, there goes a low paid and exploitive SL job)

    wait till Prok figures out that one! she is all freaked about mesh imports ruining the economy! lol, but what do i know, i am too colourful and dim witted anyway =p

    (referring to Prok taking the time to bash me and botgirl and dusan as being stupid people or something) =D

    Ener Hax

    29 Sep 10 at 7:38 pm

  2. Great overview, thanks for the resources!

    I want to add that OpenSim’s implementation of mesh will probably be different on the back end than that of SL — since all of OpenSim is different on the back end — but will and act the same from the outside.

    That means we’ll be able to use the same viewers to see the same meshes in OpenSim and in Second Life, and move objects back and forth.

    — Maria

    Maria Korolov

    29 Sep 10 at 8:22 pm

  3. so Maria, is it possible to have both normal prims and the new meshes together? will the viewer render them similarly to how sculpties are now? i have never seen a modrex module in action

    i was wondering because when i turn on shadows, lighting becomes very harsh and reflections wash out a bit

    Ener Hax

    29 Sep 10 at 8:51 pm

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mal Burns, Maria Korolov , Ener Hax, Rich Newbold, fox and others. fox said: RT @malburns: "MESH in SecondLife and Open Sim" […]

  5. Well, with meshes (like sculptys) we can pre-render a scene with light effects and will look awesome (like Epic Citadel), also will be lighter for the client and a netbook with ‘shadows’ will rock :)


    30 Sep 10 at 12:45 am

  6. Mesh isn’t going to replace prims completely.
    Here’s why:

    While mesh beats prims for e.g. lowering render costs for things like buildings, my understanding is that it’s (a lot!) easier to use flexi-prims for e.g. hair than it would be to create flexi-hair.

    Take a look at the mesh hair available on renderosity. It looks so 2007.


    30 Sep 10 at 3:45 pm

  7. On another note: in ye “olden days” there was quite a lot of chatter on the net about how to convert mesh to prims so it could be uploaded to SL. This is technically difficult and the basic workaround is to re-create some version of SL in your (insert name) favorite 3D modelling software, build your “mesh” with that then export to SL. Of course this isn’t REALLY mesh import….

    Anyways, here’s a brilliant idea:
    Go the other way.
    Build your model with prims inworld and run some tool which will convert the linked prim-set to mesh.

    The mathematics of this is MUCH SIMPLER than mesh->prims and there would be a HUGE demand for such a tool.

    It would, for instance, immediately shut up the whiny little bitches in SL who will be complaining that they are losing business to mesh-builders because they (sob, sob) don’t know how to create mesh (as if they are the only ones with a right to make money!!!).

    Anyways: any takers for my prim linkset to mesh convertor?
    I give away the idea freely open source.


    30 Sep 10 at 3:51 pm

  8. now that is innovative thinking! and it would help keep meshes efficient i would think. it’s real easy to quicckly increas the number of polys in blender. i don’t know what that means for in-world use, but for blender, the more polys, the longer the render

    your tool ideal would be a huge success and give a smart way to build. making the rough shape in-world would get the size and scale right and then you would do all the fine deatil work in whatever 3D program you like!

    great idea! (ps – great jab at the mesh-impaired one who shall remain nameless!) =D

    Ener Hax

    30 Sep 10 at 7:33 pm

  9. @Ener Hax:

    Turns out somebody has *already* done it (i.e. wrote a tool/script to convert standard prim linksets into a mesh).

    Here’s the youtube video:


    1 Jun 11 at 1:39 pm

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