OpenSim and what’s left of Second Life

I recently went back into Second Life and discovered that it basically looks the same only smaller than it ever did. Regions have vanished and everything looks like 2010. People are maintaining a presence but it looks dead.

All the developments that you would have expected to have occurred in Second Life have happened in OpenSim. This is exactly the position that us staunch defenders of OpenSim wanted to see but, since we kind of gave up banging on about it, it’s happened anyway while our backs were turned.

Now there are new “closed garden” grids, clones of Linden Lab’s Second Life with the same commercial ideal that will work for some but not for many of the creative types that keep the 3D metaverse going.

Fortunately many of the loonies are long gone. OpenSim is now where it’s at, even though the graphics is dated. There are still improvements, developments and news stories. When was the last time you heard one about Second Life? Yeah, about 2007 probably. OpenSim carries on very much as Apache carries on. It’s not headline news but it’s established and always growing. If you want the 3D web, others come and go. OpenSim and its various grids remain.

Mesh clothing is better, but needs fixing

See this excellent blog post by Tateru Nino on why Linden Lab have failed to implement mesh clothing properly. Please vote for the JIRA request to fix it. Female avatars could try out the excellent mesh demos at JANE (see her store here in the Marketplace), of which there are some pictures of some of the items here and here (maxi skirt, summer dress and trousers). Check out A consumer’s guide to Second Life mesh for a low-down on the issues. The main problems that you will run into are the need to wear alpha layers, which is caused by the failure of mesh to deform to the shape of the avatar, and the fact that many people who do not yet use Viewer 3.x based viewers such as Firestorm Beta Mesh will not be able to see more than a doughnut shape instead of your clothes, so you may appear semi-naked or, in you have alpha layers, bits of you may be missing. If Linden Lab implemented deformation of mesh clothing it would solve all of these problems. The main advantage is the end of those appalling flexi skirts that point down through your chair when you sit: mesh does at least deform, for the most part, in the direction that your avatar bends, just not to its size and shape. It is more like natural clothes, but as has been noted by Tateru Nino, the deformation problem that was previously faced and solved by Blue Mars needs to be addressed. Linden Lab have indicated in the JIRA request that this is not a priority. Clothes are so central to the business of SL that this appears to be a massive oversight and clear failure to improve SL in the ways that matter most to the customer.