Monthly Archives: September 2013

Back in June, I wrote a piece on Philip Rosedale’s (and others’) illusion that Linden Lab’s virtual world Second Life would become the next worldwide web, according to statements he made to the Guardian in May 2007. Of course, 6 years on from then, i.e. from the era when SL was the darling of the media, we all know that Second Life and the other virtual worlds are certainly not considered mainstream. It’s true that SL is the most prolific and popular virtual world platform, but it simply doesn’t have the number of users (or the image, but that’s another issue entirely) to make it “mainstream” in any generally accepted sense of the term. Mind you, none of the other virtual world platforms that were spawned from it have fared any better – in fact, some have even gone under.

If you try to look for explanations and theories for this failure of virtual worlds in general to become “mainstream” and fulfill the promise and the hype of yesteryear, the internet is full of them, but most of them concern Second Life only, which I personally find expectable, as it’s the most prominent target for criticism and scrutiny – even on this blog, there’s an older post that tried to approach the matter, albeit I now think my then-limited understanding of the technical and conceptual aspects of virtual worlds affected its ability to get to the core of the issue. Skim through any of these explanations: you’ll see people constantly complaining about lag, griefing, complex viewer software, content portability and tier cost. While it’s true that these issues are important to many, some are largely specific to Second Life and, in reality, they are not problems, but symptoms: they are manifestations of underlying problems, as I have explained before, and I think it would be beneficial to reiterate this particular point if we are to have a meaningful discussion of the subject at hand.

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One of the hottest discussion topics in Second Life during the past two years is the mesh deformer, which Karl Stiefvater, a.k.a. Qarl Fizz (formerly Qarl Linden) proposed on SL’s JIRA as STORM-1716. Ever since then, the fact that it has not yet been implemented has been an axe that practically everybody has been grinding, touting it as “proof” that Linden Lab is somehow conspiring to displease its user base by not merging a technology funded by “the community” with the main viewer, a technology that is considered to be the silver bullet, the panacea that will magically solve all the problems of LL’s implementation of mesh clothing – such as the need for the introduction of the standard sizing system and the fact that it “dictates” human shapes that actually look human.

Now, I’ll have to tell you that there are still no news on the mesh deformer. Work has not commenced on it yet, but Oz Linden confirmed that, when he goes to LL’s HQ in San Francisco, he’s going to try as hard as he can to get a team together to work on the deformer. That’s all the news I have on the matter. Now, much is being said about the mesh deformer and those involved and, as is the case with a lot of SL-related topics, there’s a tonne of misinformation – intentional or not. I’m going to try and set the record straight as best as I can.The recent ballyhoo about the deformer was initiated by a recent comment Qarl posted on STORM-1716, which I paste below:

Qarl's comment to Oz Linden on the STORM-1716 JIRA

Qarl’s comment to Oz Linden on the STORM-1716 JIRA

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Yours truly…

Due to the fact that I was on vacation in mid-August and the ensuing need to play catch-up with just about everything after I returned (not to mention a flurry of chaotic activity at work in RL), I was unable to blog about these two episodes of Draxtor Despres’ much-acclaimed series “The Drax Files”. So, to make up for this, I’m going to give you a (terribly belated) double feature this time. Now, there are only two ways for someone who runs an avatar in Second Life to not know about Draxtor Despres and his series of videos; one is to have given up on SL completely; the other way is to lead an extremely limited in scope SL, caring only about very few things that keep them oblivious (sometimes blissfully so) to what’s going on in and around SL.

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About two weeks ago (on the 14th of August), Inara Pey reported that Singularity 1.8.1 had improved its content import/export capabilities. Gwyneth Llewelyn welcomed this development and, about a week ago, Inara also reported that Kokua 3.6.2 had adopted Singularity’s object export functionality as well.

This functionality allows people to export the objects they created as COLLADA .DAE and Wavefront .OBJ files, which gives them the ability to process them with external applications and re-import them to Second Life and other mesh-capable virtual worlds, taking advantage of the reduced LI that mesh can provideif done right.

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