It has been confirmed that Linden Lab will be publishing a timeline for the roll-out of Mesh at the end of May.
Note this is not the actual roll-out of Mesh itself; it is the timeline on what will happen when. It’s a good move on LL’s part: people have been hungering for Mesh for a long time, and all that has been happening on the Beta grid had increased overall levels of excitement / curiosity / confusion / demands to see it “now”.
Mesh is potentially one of the most revolutionary new aspects to be introduced to SL in a long time – at least in terms of content creation and technology. It will possibly completely redefine entire market sectors in terms of both the look of objects, how they are created and the skill sets required to produce them. It can be applied to almost anything – objects, building shells, vehicles, so the impact is potentially huge, although there do appear to be some limitations as to precisely what can be achieved – and how much will be modifiable – within mesh objects.
Take just one market sector, the one I’m most familiar with: buildings.
The potential here is mind-boggling: beautifully sculpted exteriors to buildings that mimic their real-life (or fantasy!) counterparts, and for the equivalence of a few dozen prims, and fitted-out inside with traditional prim-made floors, etc.
Avatars are another area where mesh could revolutionise things. While our current avatars are themselves mesh creations, they are somewhat limited; augmentation currently requires the use of prims and sculpties – both of which can be cumbersome. Mesh imports allow avatars to be massively altered / augmented – so the potential here is massive, although there are allegedly some initially limitations as to what can be done with such rigged meshes.
Given the sheer scope of impact mesh represents, then defining a timeline / roadmap leading to its roll-out is undoubtedly a good move. While there is much about Mesh that probably won’t become apparent until after it is “live” – precisely how popular mesh designs will be, what they will do to the market sectors where they are principally used, precisely what the initial limitations will be, how these will be overcome, and so on, there is still a need for people to have as much information in advance as it is possible to give. This can only be achieved through full and proper communication and avoiding the desire to give into pressure to simply “get it done”.
We’ve waited a long time for mesh – kudos goes to LL for dealing with its arrival sensibly and in a step-by-by manner that has fully engaged with the user community on the Beta grid, and which look set to continue now on the main grid. Hopefully, the new timeline will do much to clarify where everything stands with regards to mesh, and in the coming months, we’ll see even more engagement between users and Lab as we move towards it’s arrival.