Singerman Marquette (audience): will the deformer be a setting in the uploader window or will it be something we’ll need to set up in our modeling program?
QF: In the upload window. It’s already there if you use the experimental Viewer … there’s a “use the deformer” check box and in the future there might be a bunch of radio buttons for sizes and / or avatar parameters. But, yes it’ll be upload time.
Qie Niangao (audience): Is there any chance that Blue Mars owns prior intellectual property that will conflict with the Mesh Deformer? (I guess LL must have plumbed that in advance.)
QF: I didn’t do any patent searches; but I know Poser has similar technology to, maybe Poser has patents on it. Yeah, that would be a bummer … but I think somebody would’ve noticed by now.
Vivienne Daguerre: When I first heard about it, I thought “But what if LL does not agree to implement it?” Was that a concern to you going in? I don’t think that if we fund it, the Lab has to accept it, thinking of similar projects.
QF: It wasn’t a concern for me, because I was perfectly happy implementing it either way. It should have been a concern for the people who were funding the project, and I think we made it pretty clear in the funding page that there’s no guarantee Linden Lab will accept it. That said, we were just talking about the avatar physics and the multiple attachment points and given that we raised that money so quickly and there is such a huge interest, I don’t think the Lab could have ignored it. Regardless, we will never be in that situation again because they’ve changed their Third-party Viewer Policy. Now you have to get permission to do these things, so that does change the nature of these projects.
SW: Say there was something practical like the mesh deformer that there was a general swelling of feeling that it would be great to have; have we got any way of pushing the Lab towards it in a way the kickstarter did for the mesh deformer? What way have we got to say to the Lab, “Hey, this is really important”?
QF: The kickstarter is a great way if people are willing to put forward money – put your money where your mouth is kind of thing. But honestly, I don’t know how to get the Lab to do things. I couldn’t get the Lab to do things when I was inside the Lab. So, I’m at a loss. I think that’s why I like the Third-party Viewers and the new grids because they can experiment where the Lab won’t. The Lab is afraid – and I guess I can understand them because any time they change something, there’s a 50/50 chance people are going to be very angry – so they’re afraid. But it’s just a shame.
Isabelle Weiser (audience): on your [Metareality] podcast you said that you thought LL was specifically targeting you and the deformer with that policy, do you still feel that way?
QF: Yeah I do. I can’t ever prove it, right? And I’m very aware that it makes me sound kind-of paranoid; but it came out in the middle of my project and it targeted my project perfectly and I have yet to hear of another project or another situation that is affected by the policy. Everybody else is like … “Oh am I affected?” “Well you would be, but we’re going to give you a pass.” or they’re, “Oh no, you wouldn’t be affected.” But when I asked, they said, “Yes, you are affected.” So, there’s that. I think … it is kind-of scary for them to be pushed around by the community. We do outnumber them, and we do have more money than they do, so they’re trying to stop it. I think that’s short-sighted.
SW: I think we’re finding out pretty much what the community can do…
QF: Seriously, I mean Second Life isn’t Linden Lab; it’s us, right? If Linden Lab shut down Second Life tomorrow, Second Life would still exist, because we would all move to the grids or we would all move some place else. We’re not going away. We like this place. We might have to rebuild it but…
Singerman Marquette: Is there a timeframe on this?
QF: It’s up to Linden Lab and they have explicitly stated they will not give any estimates.
Ana Stubbs: What about men who use female base shapes, how will this affect them clothing wise?
QF: It will work for them. It doesn’t use the avatar’s gender … one of the betas does, but in the final version it won’t matter … it’s going to look at the shape you’re using, male or female.
SW: Child avatars … quite often for the boys, they are wearing female shapes to get the sort of sizing right … Of course there are some fantastic child mesh avatars coming out so that some kid avatars could be entirely mesh themselves.
QF: You know the deformer can be used in strange ways. You could make an entirely new avatar mesh and let it deform along with Linden Lab’s mesh; so you have a really nice … whatever … but they you can still change the breast size. So that’s an application that maybe people are not thinking of.
Samantha Ohrberg (audience): What is in the future for you Qarl? What plans do you have down the road?
QF: I’m still looking for something to catch my passion. Second Life is just one of the projects I’ve worked on in the past, and I’m just biding my time. Meanwhile I’m teaching classes. If any of you are software developers in the graphics industry … (laughs) you can take my classes and I’ll teach you all the secrets. It’s at cgisociety.org – somewhere in there are my classes, and it’s not just good for – we use Maya and RenderMan – it applies to all the real-time stuff as well.
This ended the discussion per se, although there were further exchanges on testing the deformer on a giant avatar and repeats of the question as to when the deformer would be “live”.
Many thanks to Qarl for taking time out for the Q&A and to Saffia for hosting it.
Note that Qarl will be back at the auditorium at 13:00 SLT on Thursday 21st June, when he’ll be recording Metareality with Gianna Borgnine.