Playing with prims: the new 64m limit

We’re all aware that mesh is chugging down the road in Second Life. What some haven’t twigged to as yet is that with it is coming a new maximum prim size – 64m on a side.

Now, the ability to rez and size prims to beyond 10x10x10 has long been a feature of other grids, and the fact that we’ve not been able to do so within Second Life is simply down to constraints placed on the system by LL rather than any inherent issue with the grid itself. This has traditionally left us with the thorny issue of mega prims, which, as well as being the subject of much heated discussion over the years within the Lab as to whether or not they should be allowed, are saddled with limitations – as anyone who has attempted to stretch a mega will know.

So, what does the new prim size mean for mega prims once it is rolled out? Well, pretty much the same as it does now:

  • Any “legally cut” mega (i.e. those created using the exploit Linden Lab allowed a few years ago when building the likes of Nautilus / Bay City) that are sized within the 64m limit can be safely cut,  tortured and stretched as per a “normal” prim, without it demonstrating any “snap back”
  • Any mega over 64m along any axis can he cut and tortured, but will snap back to 64m when stretched, but can be resized to anything under 64m

Of course, it also calls into the question the need to continue to carry vast stocks of pre-cut megas between 10 and 64m on a side in your inventory (or indeed, within a repository external to your inventory) – which is also to the good.

Overall, the behaviour is pretty much as one would expect, and in some respects nothing to write home about. That megas coming in under the 64m limit can be stretched without snapping back does mean that those who have used them in builds shouldn’t need to go around replacing them all with freshly-rezzed prims if they don’t want to. However, be careful with mega prims created using any skew (usually 0.79) to achieve the final shape, and for some reason these can exhibit a .05 to .1 degree rotation when linked with “regular” prims that have been enlarged.

That said, there are potential benefits to revisiting and revising some builds that use megas. Often it is necessary to compromise in the use of megas and “regular” prims to achieve a desired result. Providing things can be kept to within the 64m limit, this is no longer necessarily the case, as the images below demonstrate.

Built with megas & “regular” prims: 633 prims
Revised with the new prim size: 134 prims recouped

Of course, there are still some limitations – you can’t hollow-out a prim beyond 95% and nanoprims still require a lot of cutting and slicing of small prims, but on the whole, this is a step forward for traditional building in SL. What is a shame is that there doesn’t appear to have been any upward shift in the calculation for determining the maximum prim linking distance.

If you want to have a play with the new prim sizes ahead of the mesh roll-out you can. If you join the Mesh Volunteer Group, you can access the main Grid mesh sandbox area (Surl), which supports the new prim size if you use a suitable Viewer, currently comprising:

Or you can try either the Beta grid mesh sandboxes or, if you know someone on the Main grid who has a sim involved in the Mesh/Live Volunteer project, you could ask them if you could use some space to fiddle with prims.

Objects created using the new maximum prim size *can* be rezzed elsewhere on the Grid – but cannot currently be resized in any Viewer. Regardless of whether or not the Viewer you are using supports the news prim limit, if you attempt to resize a large prim on a non-mesh enabled sim, it will snap back to the 10m limit until such time as mesh is fully rolled-out.

MOM: August

The August Month of Machinima kicked-off on Wednesday 3rd August, but way too late for me to get to the LEA theatre – 7:00pm SLT, so here’s a belated look.

Eleven entries are on offer this month, with the theme being: “Design and Architecture”.

The entrants cover a broad range of topics within the over theme, encompassing an examination of an international project encompassing students in the USA and Egypt, The Kansas to Ciaro Project #2; through homages to some of SL’s most innovative, quirky and/or thought-provoking builders and artists, AM Radio, Alambra, Off the Wall, Two Ways of Looking at You, What isn’t Underneath, presented in various forms from musical tours, to history-within-a-tale to storytelling; through to questions on the nature of perception, The House that Self Built. Along the way we pass the more esoteric with Relevant Search and Democracia Virtual Ya, and encounter the story of a wandering robot, Copy Design.

After my slight disappointment last month, the August collection makes for interesting viewing, although I admit to being somewhat lost with Demoncracia is concerned; I’m probably a little too literal.

As per usual, the films are all available for viewing at the LEA Theatre (Surl), or can be seen on the Month of Machinima YouTube channel. I’m also including my personal favourites for the month below, each of which demonstrate, in different ways, the power of Second Life.