Mesh support was formally announced at last year’s Second Life Community Convention (SLCC). Since then we have learned more details about mesh, and Linden Lab officially began rolling out the feature to the main grid in July, with the promise for it to be completed by the end of August. So, it was fitting that Charlar Linden opened this year’s SLCC mesh presentation by declaring “The future of mesh is now.”
During this presentation Charlie Hite/Charlar Linden and Dave Parks/Runitai Linden made several key points:
1. Traditional prim count vs. the newly introduced prim equivalent
Charlar explained that there is really “no relationship between prim count and the actual impact that objects have.” As an example he said that a torus has more impact than a cube even though they are both one prim. Therefore, to help residents better understand how an object will impact performance, Linden Lab have introduced prim equivalent (PE) as a easy way to display the computational/resource weight of an object in terms of traditional prims. All mesh objects (and all objects with a physics shape type) will have a PE weight that will be subtracted from a land parcel or regions prim capacity.
PE is automatically determined by the highest weight of 3 performance factors:
- download weight (how much bandwidth is required to download and view the object)
- physics weight (the complexity of the object’s physics mode)
- server weight (the impact an object has on Second Life’s server resources)
To better help you understand here are some in-world examples:
This Buddha statue created by our own Reed Steamroller is only 1 prim, but because of the detail it is equivalent to an object made of 72 prims, therefore, it is 72 PE.
This adorable boat created by Bunnie Mills is 20 prims, but 133 PE because of it’s hidden details and scripts.
Charlar addressed concerns of content being pulled from sites like Turbosquid and brought into SL in the masses by assuring the audience that this is unlikely because these meshes would “not look good” in Second Life. Charlar further explained these meshes are often not efficient, result in bad performance, are missing physics and LODs which are then auto generated by SL making the objects look like “crap” when you zoom out, etc.
Charlar emphasized that content creation is “a craft and an art… it’s not magic” He said creating mesh objects requires work and skill. Charlar also pointed out that the Lab has put several other features in place to protect against theft by requiring uploaders to have payment information on file, complete a quiz, and pay additional upload fees for mesh objects.
3. Prims vs. sculpties vs. meshes
Charlar also reassured concerned content creators and artists who are afraid of prims being replaced by meshes that the Lab still loves the idea of prims and in-world tools (CEO Rod Humble echoed these same sediments during his keynote address, even stating they were interested in adding additional in-world tools in the future), he did however state that they would be encouraging residents to use meshes over sculpted prims because meshes offer several advantages:
- custom UV mapping
- custom LOD
- physics support
- rigging to the avatar skeleton
- more control
You can view the entire “Future of Mesh” panel below:
What do you think of the Mesh panel, PE, theft, and the other announcement by this team?