no mesh for me


it’s no secret that i am not a mesh fan for virtual worlds. i don’t mean in general, just for me. i used to use Blender regularly but am not interested in doing it for OpenSim. there’s no doubt that beautiful things can be created with mesh but, for me, part of the joy of OpenSim is having my little avatar build things “live”. i can fuss with a few prims until i get them just right and that’s part of the escape for me. i’ve been resistant to doing mesh but lately i realise that the biggest reason is this one-stop escape that OpenSim provides for me

it’s about as low hassle as 3D creation can be (Minecraft is even easier and maybe that speaks to its popularity). OpenSim creation is just complex enough to allow me to tune out the rest of the world but not so complex as to be aggravating. as far as realism goes, i am very happy with what prims can create. i think that the level of graphic detail that prim-only builds have is just as valid as more detailed worlds like Unity-based ones


detail cheat - wifi flow metering means no gauges!

prim-only builds hold just as valid a place in 3D worlds as South Park or Shrek do on the screen – both very graphically different and both successful

it also depends on what you do and, fortunately for me, prims do well and may actually be better. too much detail can be distracting in some situations. there are times when i do wish i had a real mesh to work with, like yesterday when making a natural gas meter. the blockiness of the prims seemed too harsh but i got over it and you know what? the gas meter will work just like a line drawing does in a textbook!

Round_Home_001editsince i am illustrating science topics, i was thrilled to find a real world “net zero” house that i absolutely love. i had built myself a house almost two years ago that i liked very much in design – circular Googie architecture – but never finished because i wasn’t sure how to make it something that could also be used for science

i had the rough idea of solar panels and water cisterns but lacked the motivation to sit down and carefully plan it out (that darn thinking wears me out!) =)

the net zero house i fell in love with is the zeroHouse by Specht Harpman Architects. it’s small at 650 square feet but one look at it screams out

build me with boxy prims! =)

i wish i could say i was original in stealing being inspired by their design for use in virtual worlds but someone beat me to it in The Sims (that Rod Humble gets around!). the design is so blocky that even the architects who came up with it built a Lego version on their blog!

it’s an all around win – i like it, it’s already net zero, there’s lots of online resources as far as referencing it in subQuark’s educational workbook, and it’s ideal for prims! =)


the real one

rendering of the real one

totally self-reliant/off-the-grid

cozy off-the-grid living


30 seconds into the build . . . =D

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written by Ener Hax

June 4th, 2012 at 9:37 pm

posted in OpenSim,virtual worlds

tagged with ,

12 comments to 'no mesh for me'

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  1. I’m a potential consumer of mesh — I can see myself having mesh clothes, or mesh furniture. Frankly, since all I use is V3 viewers these days, I probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between mesh and sculpts. (How DO you tell the difference?)

    But I like to build with prims because it’s at my skill level, and it doesn’t break immersion. There’s a very visceral feeling of satisfaction in building something with my own two hands.

    And if I need mesh or sculpt pieces — stairs, window sills — I just head over to or, more likely (since I can never upload sculpts right) to her in-world stores on OSGrid.

    She moves them around, but right now two regions to check out for her stuff are the Village Market region and on the Turia City 3 region on OSGrid. (Many other grids have her stuff, too:

    My main problem with mesh (or sculpts, for that matter) is that I can’t draw. I can happily stack blocks on top of each other, or torture spheres, but if I have to do something freehand, I fail miserably. If I need curved lines in Gimp, I use one of the built-in deformation tools instead of trying to draw them freehand.

    When I see other people doing it — sculpting or drawing things — it looks like magic to me.

    Maria Korolov

    4 Jun 12 at 9:51 pm

  2. don’t downplay your skill level because of your medium

    were Plato’s writings simple? were Leonardo’s drawings simple? are Tolkien’s stories low level?

    as with anything, it’s what is being conveyed and it’s ability to resonate that matter

    Picasso couldn’t even draw eyes in the right place! =)

    Ener Hax

    4 Jun 12 at 10:27 pm

  3. I’m not a builder at all, never did more than the absolute minimalistic stuff like dancefloors, walls, columns … and only when I needed them and wasn’t able to find them in any store or on marketplace. But still I could feel the immersive effect of putting virtual lego blocks together. That’s one thing I think is going to be missed from SL in the future: The hands on building and tinkering with stuff. Live and in colour.

    Same as the shopping experience the building process is done offline now. And wasn’t that exactly one of the features that made SL what it is, that made SL so great? Nowadays shops are closing, the grid becomes emptier and emptier, the life is disappearing from SL. With the modern technologies LL are working hard at killing their own product … yet again ;/

    Orca Flotta

    5 Jun 12 at 2:22 am

  4. I’m with you, Ener, in preferring to build with prims. But let’s face it, mesh is here and it will stay. I’m not likely to learn how to make mesh objects, but I will be using them.

    Sarge Misfit

    5 Jun 12 at 6:46 am

  5. For what you do Ener like science stuff, prims is good enough. I seen you make some neat stuff on your blogs.

    Plus prims is an easy way to initiate one-self into the world of 3D builds, texturing and perhaps eventually go advance in 3D modelling.

    Eros Deus

    5 Jun 12 at 8:55 am

  6. I do like the Enclave Harbour approach of simplified 3D colour block diagrams, I think of it as an equivalent to text book diagrams, and it appears to work very well. Full marks on the Ener design philosophy. Somewhat like text books with working models, who’d have thought it ?

    I expect ultimately mesh is the way to go. There are some awkward shapes which I think need designing outside the package, and an industry standard like Collada should be a good thing. Nonetheless there is so much possible within the OpenSim one-package-does-it-all free download, there is no need to hurry into it.

    Aside from anything else, OpenSim runs on some fairly challenged computers, as design tool and as server and via the viewer, and for now, unless you are willing to restrict yourself to people with specialised computers, KISS is a good design philosophy too.

    Not sure about sculpties, very handy for complex shapes, but often they seem to be done on the “only one prim” principle, which is really a hangover from the SL billing system, and doesn’t seem to have much practical benefit in performance terms.

    Minecraft – very interesting because it runs easily on tablets, and presumably on low spec PC, and it’s surprising what people are doing with it. I expect it’s a good fun thing and a good teaching tool. Haven’t really got into it myself though, just tried it briefly on Android.

    keith selmes

    5 Jun 12 at 9:39 am

  7. Same here, I am not into Mesh until I learn more about sculpts and prims. Anyway I think mesh is a great thing but I am not into it right now.


    5 Jun 12 at 3:12 pm

  8. I prefer prims myself but the obvious problem of prim only builds is the limitations on how many prims are available. It’s less of an issue on OpenSIM but on the main Second life grid, it’s an issue, even if at this point it really just feels like an artificial “scarcity of resources for legacy reasons”. I’m sure when SL was new and fresh years ago, the limit was meaningful, but the physical technology today is definitely superior so the argument that “a 512 plot of land only gets you ~100 prims” is kind of stupid.

    Josh Miller

    6 Jun 12 at 8:04 am

  9. Sorry to put some water to the wine:

    Savin energy starts with a reduction of outer surfaces; A sphere would be optimal; something with lots of corners is bad bad bad…. :-)
    Reason of course: less surface against the environment – less transmission losses in warmth aka heating energy. Boring but unfortunately true… ;-)

    Stu Art

    6 Jun 12 at 11:33 am

  10. doh Stu! you suck! raining on the cubic architecture . . . but, you are 100% correct! surface area to volume is less with spheres and that harkens back to the geodesic dome

    my old home was round, so maybe you can toss me a few points for that but it’s easier for me (aka, i’m lazy) to copy that cube house and point to the real online info about it than to completely crate my own from scratch

    i’m actually a fan of using shipping containers for homes (i even bought a book on it, i’m one of maybe 30!)

    square is here to stay for a while since it is easier for people to work in that way both as a result of historically making things as square and the available materials

    a dome is more efficient but attaching planar solar panels to it is a challenge. the answer, of course, is to rethink how we create all our materials and move to a more sustainable approach

    Thanks Stu for pointing that out, i am always pleased with the level of people who comment here and add to the conversation =)

    hi Josh and welcome as one Miller to another (my last name too irl). prim limits are really low in Second Life and as you mention, those limits may have been okay 10 years ago irl, but servers have gone through at least 5 upgrades in that time plus the server code has become more efficient. if LL simply increased prim limits, even by 20%, i think you’d see a bit of growth

    xpontaneus, that’s a good attitude to have – you are open to mesh but simply don’t have a need for it at the moment =)

    keith is my new favourite person! what a nice endorsement and that means a lot to me! thank you =)

    great point on OpenSim being able to run on older machines (like my XP!) and there is a lot to be said for that. interesting point on the one prim approach, i had never thought of that but that is the typical approach

    thanks Eros! i’m hoping it’s good enough and i think it is because the context of subQuark’s workbook is for a student and not a virtual world enthusiast. if this was for use by the caliber VW person like yourself, then it would need some heavy texturing and lots of scriptiong. as it is now, there aren’t many scripts and really don’t need to be – these are 3D drawings in effect that the student can walk around in

    well Sarge, i think the context and the intent of the environment are what matter most. like in your role play – a prim-based environment is just as good (better since it renders faster) as a fancier environment. the “play” aspect is what creates the excitement, not the eye candy

    Orca, that’s one of the things that made me get in SL so much – being able to build in-world. as you say, it’s just not the same and buying shoes and hair from a website as opposed to in-world is simply not the same experience. at least inSL you could go with a friend to look at stuff together and that’s an important part of SL and other VWs

    Ener Hax

    6 Jun 12 at 2:09 pm

  11. I agree that its the environment that matters, Ener, and not just for RP, though its a huge factor. I have no plans on building whole structures from mesh, but an alien artifact? A sword engraved with glyphs of power? Mesh is best for that. And even eye-candy helps with setting the ‘atmosphere’.

    Frankly, I’d rather use sculpties for such things, but there is a real lack of them out there, as I have discovered over the past months. And there’s a huge amount of mesh objects, as I have been discovering over recent days. Many of which will add so much to the environment yet are simply impossible to make with prims or sculpties.

    Its a trade-off, I guess. The pleasure and pride in building something yourself versus the enhancements and enjoyment of the over-all build.

    Sarge Misfit

    6 Jun 12 at 2:22 pm

  12. that trade-off is a hard thing to decide on – good luck!

    Ener Hax

    12 Jun 12 at 7:58 am

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