More on meshes – hooray!

As if my wish had been answered, today Linden Lab announced that meshes will indeed be coming to Second Life, contrary to earlier fears. We don’t yet have a timescale but, despite the massive layoff of staff whose efforts must have contributed to this work (e.g. Qarl Linden/Fizz – Karl Stiefvater), somehow LL have managed to keep the idea going as a practical concern. Prokofy Neva has typically trolled the comments page at length, posing ridiculously as ever as the harbinger of doom that small content makers will be driven out. Too many such predictions about the end of SL as we know it have been made before, and all have been proved unfounded. I simply do not believe it. As ever, content creators will rise to the challenge, and they will excel.

This can only be a good thing. With ModRex waiting in the wings, you can bet that OpenSim will be on the case: in fact, they were ahead of the game on this one. LL realised this, as I said they would, and do not want to be seen to be lagging behind their competitor and spin-off imitator, which already has other significant functionality that SL lacks. To be behind in something so fundamental and obvious could kill SL and send people running for OpenSim. But SL has the advantage of being first at the party, and LL naturally wants to keep it that way rather than surrender to the many new grid providers running the OpenSim software on their servers across the Web.

By the way, OpenSim 0.7 now fully supports the Linden Viewer 2.0 codebase. If, as expected, meshes are only available in the 2.x branch and not the 1.x branch, the third party viewer developers will have to play catch up. But this is something that they have done before with Snowglobe in double quick time, and I would put very little past their ingenuity and determination where it concerns keeping up and surpassing the Linden viewer code. There is also the alternative of adapting the existing GPL code used in the RealXtend viewer that can already display meshes, although this was written for the 1.x codebase.

As I said in the previous post, it is meshes that will allow both SL and OpenSim to continue to compete and outperform the other virtual worlds, to remain modern in terms of attractive, industry standard graphics capability, to provide ever improving content creation, and to attract new users.