Freedom is a major part of the second life experience. Freedom to be who you want, do what you want and build what you want. Did it ever occur to some of us that being able to build what ever we wanted could be a major factor in why the grid struggles sometimes.
In the past i’ve spouted a lot of stuff about how mesh is amazing and will bring a better more efficient grid, and while i still believe mesh import is amazing I’m beginning to realise that efficiency is not guaranteed.
Like most user is Second Life my 3D modelling experience started with the Primitive building Blocks system. I became pretty experienced with what was possible with those restrictive blocks. In fact many of us pushed the primitive blocks system to its limits and beyond.
Truth might be that Prims are not all that efficient to start with. When you link a primitive cube to a mesh apparently it switches from an old prim calculation to a newer more accurate mesh calculation. If you link prims that are cut, have holes or just plain wonky to a mesh you suddenly get a confusing rise in land impact calculation. And don’t get me started on Sculpties again.
A 3Dmodeller from the games industry background could easily come into SL now and totally understand the finer points of efficient building from the amount of polys to the size of the textures to UV repeat mapping and Specular Mapping – Sheesh.
And while its awesome that the grid is now able to accommodate proper 3D models it is silly to think that creaters who spent the first 8 years of Second Life using prims are going to suddenly move to making efficient mesh. Firstly many including myself had never even used a 3D modelling programme and secondly most of us including myself have no experience in 3d game modelling efficiency.
So while its nice to be able to import any mesh model, wether the grid is better or worst depends on wether that mesh model is constructed by thousands of polys and has over a hundred 1024x size textures on it. But how are we to know and learn? we’ve never had to consider such things before with the Primative blocks system?
Which brings me to the final thought. If anyone new comes into second life and sees a beautifully detailed mesh object, how quick will they learn that creating something similar is just not possible with the primitive blocks system? Where once we had a system that everyone built as equals now we have a split. Either learn to build with inefficient cubes or find a 3D modelling course. I don’t believe Primatives are pointless now that mesh has arrived. I still use Prims a lot. But for new users i don’t believe the Prim as a building system is ever going to have that importance it once had to content creation. Yet mesh for all it’s potentially efficiency and stability is no where as accessible as the Prims system for content creation.