Metareality podcasts

Metareality is a weekly podcast by Kimberly Winnington of Sand Castle Studios, whom is perhaps better known in-world as Gianna Borgnine. Each week the show covers a range of topics, mostly focused on SL. The show is a mix of conversation, comments, insight and humour which features regular guests as sounding boards for topics Gianna has selected for discussion (although some come from the guests themselves).

I’ve been a semi-regular listener to the podcasts for a while now, and can recommend them as generally being a good listen.

This week’s podcast features Qarl Fizz (formerly Linden) of the Parametric Deformer fame, and Crap Mariner, adroit and wryly-humoured observer of SL who should be featured a whole lot more; so if you haven’t tuned in before … go – listen!

Mesh Deformer update: release from Qarl, request from Oz

Qarl has updated the mesh deformer. speaking in the Metareality podcast today, he states:

[57:15] I’ve pushed another version of the deformer today. It does male and female avatars; so that answers people’s questions who are upset about that. And I would say that we’re getting pretty close to the final product. If you … haven’t been following it closely, waiting for it you should check it out. 

He goes on to comment, in response to a question about what people should be looking for in using the deformer, “I don’t think regular people should check it out. Content creators should check it out, I should say that …. Because in order to use it you need to mark the mesh as being deformed, and the only way to do that is to create your own mesh and upload it.”

The update is available in a Linden Lab test build.

This may sound like, “Well, duh!” information, but the fact that the deformer is still in development and at this point really only applicable to content creators, is worth pointing out. It also leads-in nicely to the next piece of news.

At the same time, OZ has updated the mesh JIRA with the following request:

If you are a clothing designer interested in getting the mesh deformer integrated into all SL viewers, you can help both make it better and get it integrated more quickly:

We need a collection of test garments that we can use to evaluate this feature, and to form the basis of an ongoing regression test of it once it is integrated. These need not be “good looking”, and in some cases should not be (so we’re not asking you to give away your best commercial work). What we need is deformable mesh garments, based on either the unaltered “new shape” (female), or that shape changed to male; the garments should be designed to explore the limits of the technology as well as to showcase the normal easy cases.

Some examples I can think of (but I expect that you as designers and fashionistas can think of more and better):
a full length garment (ball gown, trenchcoat, kaftan)

  • garments designed to be close fitting around problem areas like the shoulders, breasts, and butt (or whatever areas you think are problems)
  • garments designed to stand away from the body in some areas (capes, high collars, flared or puffed sleeves and pants, hoop skirts)
  • very small garments that cover limited areas (gloves, shoes, scarves, shin and thigh pads)
  • garments designed to layer with each other (a close fitting shirt with a jacket to wear over it)

It would probably be useful for these test garments not to be textured for normal use — instead, give them simple high contrast patterns like checks or stripes that make it easy to evaluate how textures are altered by the deformations.

If you’d like to contribute items for this effort, please:

  • Upload them with the current version of the official Project Viewer for the Deformer. You can find a download link on the test build wiki page, and record the full version number of the viewer you used (from the Help > About Second Life floater).
  • Put a copy of the garment (no-modify is fine, but please allow copy and transfer) into a Notecard that describes what the garment is intended to demonstrate or test. Links to images of what you think it should look like would be useful; be sure to include the version number from the viewer in the Notecard.
  • Send the Notecard to Oz Linden
  • Optionally, attach the mesh file to this issue

I’d like to get Contribution Agreements from anyone submitting garments; contact me for details on that if you need them.

I will establish a way anyone can pick up copies of the test garments that we incorporate into the test suite.

The deformer itself has given rise to much debate on the current SL avatar – Nalates Urriah provides some solid insight into this; which has also lead to debates on “standard” sizing I’ve touched upon here. Part of this debate has also ranged on the JIRA – although there is a JIRA dedicated to matter of the avatar itself (STORM 1800) and Oz has requested that discussions pertinent to that aspect of things be carried out on that JIRA.

Related Links

With thanks to Pete Linden & Gianne Borgnine.

Whither Exodus? Why, heads down and busy!

There have been questions and comments on Exodus floating around in various places, with people wondering what is happening and when the next release might come out. As an Exodus user myself, I fired-off an e-mail to Clix and the team recently to see if they’d be willing to shed a little light on what’s going on.

While the reply was a little shorter than I’d hoped – but then I did ask a couple of questions on releases that the team may not want to commit to, date-wise – Clix did provide a little update:

The team has been busy with personal projects and real life commitments. Naturally this has slowed down production. In addition we have been submitting code upstream to Linden Lab that has been accepted and rolled out in the most recent official viewer release.

Exodus is being actively worked on and will feature a wide range of fixes, performance improvements as well as some neat new features. Our next release will address any and all license concerns. We will continue to produce the best TPV for gamers and visual artists in Second Life. Stay tuned for new feature announcements!

The license concerns mentioned potentially refer to J2C / KDU usage issues. Whether or not this is the case, it is fairly clear from comments passed elsewhere that there has been strong cooperation between LL and the Exodus team in sorting any problems out, which has to be seen as being a good indicator when it comes to LL / TPV cooperation in general, something that has been grumbled about by some commentators following changes to the TPV Policy recently.

One thing is very certain: given the popularity of Exodus amongst users, that the Viewer is being actively worked on will come a good news to many, so keep an eye on the Exodus blog page.