News on the mesh deformer, but not from within Linden Lab

Ever since mesh was implemented (however it was implemented) in Second Life, practically every content creator (especially SL fashion designers) has pointed out that rigged mesh clothing would be a lot better if Second Life had a mesh deformer, i.e. a system that would deform the mesh to fit an avatar’s shape. Currently, we’re basically stuck with the “standard sizing“, which, at least to my eyes, is a stopgap measure and, if we’re to be honest, many creators of apparel for our avatars make items that don’t exactly conform to it, so, even if you adjust your avatar’s measurements to fit any particular size of the “standard sizing”, there’s no guarantee that the clothes you’ll buy from a particular designer will fit your avatar.

On 24/11/2011, Qarl Fizz (formerly Qarl Linden) proposed and documented in STORM-1716 a mesh deformer that would do exactly what was requested. Fast forward to July 2013 and the mesh deformer still isn’t implemented in Second Life, which has given rise to numerous conspiracy theories; I wrote about them last month.

Now, we have some more news on the deformer, but not from Linden Lab. Last Saturday (6 July 2013), Qarl announced that InWorldz hired him to integrate his mesh deformer into their viewer and improve it. He proceeded to do so and he offered a patch which, according to his calculations, makes the deformer run 21 times faster. I believe this patch is intended for use in Second Life TPVs.

Please note that, although this development will certainly fan the flames of anger at LL’s tardiness to implement the mesh deformer, I do not expect LL to speed up this implementation. SL has a userbase that’s infinitely larger than any other virtual world out there, and they don’t want a “preliminary” mesh deformer out there that will then be superseded by a newer one that could probably break content, so they’re biding their time until they’re satisfied that they’ve reached a solution they can consider “definitive”; not to mention that, with the enabling of SSB/A that is scheduled for tomorrow (9 July 2013), they’ve got their hands full and there’s simply not enough personnel for them to do anything.

For what it’s worth, I’ll wait until tomorrow’s simulator/scripting user group meeting to see if any of the Lindens have any estimates on this, especially w.r.t. potential differences between their upcoming (yes, it will come) implementation of the mesh deformer and Qarl’s proposed mesh deformer (either the old one presented in STORM-1716 or the newer, faster one).

So yes, Qarl’s got news on his mesh deformer; no, I don’t believe that this will bring the mesh deformer sooner to SL. So, patience, young padawan.

UPDATE: Less than an hour after I posted this article, Exotix (Inara Pey) posted a poignant piece on the recent developments around the mesh deformer, especially w.r.t. how this may or may not affect LL’s moves and TPV developers for Second Life. I highly recommend it.




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