MESH is coming soon!
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.
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: http://bit.ly/cwTEWG
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
JASS-2 Blender Package (includes sculpty scripts & Python)
Collada (digital interchange file format)