Meshing about

Good news for fans and potential fans of mesh, it looks like we will be getting a parametric mesh deformer in due course. i’m indebted to Tateru Nino’s blog for breaking the news, which is probably the most positive thing yet to emerge on the mesh front.

Unfortunately, the not-so-positives about mesh are still very much live issues – the more prevalent mesh becomes, the more disaffected those users persisting with V1 viewers will become, (incidentally – those of use who do use mesh viewers also get narked when we feel obliged not to wear our mesh outfits when in the company of non mesh-enabled users. So, double dissatisfaction and yet another good reason to avoid mesh like it was a used elastoplast in a public shower!). Even for V2 and mesh-enabled V1 viewer users, i’m afraid we’re going to be stuck with appalling framerates for a while yet. However, negativity aside, at least we can now grab hold of the crumb of hope that’s been thrown to us that promises the possibility of being able to wear mesh clothes without altering our body shape to suit – that’s got to be good news!

Of course, what we’d all really like to see with mesh is lower costs for importing mesh objects and a simple, in-world tool for mesh creation and editing. The former may happen if enough people refuse to use mesh unless the cost is brought down, and if Linden Lab can tear their attention away from all their new ideas and knuckle down to sorting out their last grand scheme to enmesh sl before moving on to new pastures. As for an inworld mesh editor… i think you’re more likely to see squadrons of flying pigs, juggling unicorn poop, whilst serenaded on bagpipes by the Loch Ness monster – in short… it’s not going to happen.

Now that’s bad news for everyone – bad for the vast majority of us who don’t have the time, inclination, patience or capability to create our own meshes and bad for those who can do it, because mesh is never really going to take off as long as it remains the preserve of the elite few and remains an inflexible and impractical substitute for good old prims. Last time i looked LL figures for mesh take up were at 16% – i’d be very surprised if they were no better in a year’s time.

Even so, i keep telling myself that i really should apply myself to learning how to create meshes… several times over the past year i’ve dabbled with sculpty creation, which in theory is pretty straightforward – unfortunately, in practice it rarely is as simple as it seems – not so much in terms of complexity, but more so because of the frustrating frequency with which you find that the software you’re using is incapable of producing something that will export to sl. Eventually you find a plugin that will do the trick – but it won’t work with the software version you have and when you get the up-to-date version, it’s changed beyond all recognition from the one you’re used to – not only that, but to install the plugin you have to go through some arcane and undocumented procedure that involves sacrificing bats over your hard drive and dancing naked under a full moon. Nevertheless, i fully intend, at some point in the coming months, to have yet another try at sculpties, (if only for the dancing naked under a full moon bit), and if that works i might consider having a go at mesh.

Opensim me... Don't i look different?

Techie things don’t scare me – they just frustrate the hell out of me. i’ve mentioned elsewhere that i run a standalone Opensim installation at home, which i’ve neglected until recently – a shame really, since it was a nightmare to set up in the first place, (they only tell you it won’t run on a 64 bit machine in the small print, and the workaround is in Cyrillic… ok, only joking, but it wasn’t straightforward!). i’ve been doing a spot of experimental building over Christmas and, rather than do it in sl, i’ve been using Opensim and importing the finished articles into sl as linksets.

The advantages of working that way are many – i have unlimited prim limits, unlimited space, no lag and no interruptions and there’s no way i can accidentally destroy something in sl by clicking the wrong thing! However, there’s always the worry, at the back of my mind, that i might lose the whole lot if my PC throws a wobbly – so i’ve been learning about OAR files. In simple terms, an OAR file is a backup of a complete region, which can include all the assets/objects in the region too, if you wish. SL uses OAR files to regularly backup regions and, if you’re an estate owner who’s ever requested a rollback – it’s the OAR file that LL use to do this. So now i have backups of my Opensim region safely out of harm’s way – better still, i can import OAR files into my installation at any time – effectively duplicating or creating a whole region in one fell swoop.

Flushed with success, i thought i’d take things one step further – why settle with 64 square km when i have a whole world at my disposal? An hour or so later, armed with new knowledge, i gritted my teeth and successfully managed to create a whole new region, set up teleport permissions between it and my existing region and import a whole new OAR – not quite as easy as you may think… since all the work is done using the console, (which looks a bit like DOS, only less forgiving), and by editing INI files… /me looks smug.

Quite what use this will be, i don’t know – but i’ve learned a heck of a lot, and i reckon if i can master that stuff, then i can sure as hell master mesh too!

S. x

I’ve learned more than you’ll ever know
Even at school I felt quite sure
That one day I would be on top
And I’d look down upon the map
The teachers that said I’d be nothing
This is the modern world that I’ve learnt about
The Jam – This Is The Modern World 

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