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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2011 7:06 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 11, 2006 5:22 pm
Posts: 1814
Location: California
We have had a number of debates here about modeling in Second Life (SL) and using it as a learning path. Those of us that play in SL and build Myst-Uru style areas understand the limits. Professional modelers have learned how to work around the limits of the SL system and have built some amazing places. See Svarga. (You need to have SL installed for the link to work right.) Older builds in SL on the Myst-Uru theme (web page with images).

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Those of us playing in SL know things are changing as SL is being upgraded. Other Uru fans don’t care so much. However, the big change coming is the addition of mesh, which confuses some people as all 3D worlds use mesh, including SL and Uru. But, the changes offer new opportunities.

The change in SL is in how one can manipulate mesh when building things. The Uru age building system, Plasma, has been and is targeted at professional builders. Plasma was the professional tool Cyan adapted for their use. The good news is that provided age builders creative freedom in a professional environment. The bad news is it provided all the freedom and professional tools making a mountain of a learning curve.

SL created a simplified set of tools that flattened the learning curve. It is the same 3D modeling mountain. But, the slope for climbing is flatter. Plus they made the tools work in real time, so people can work on the same building and see what each person is doing and talk about it. It creates a rather unique building and learning environment with real time feedback.

While all that is nice, many of the SL simplifications limit what modelers can do. For instance making a pentagon is child’s play for even an intermediate modeler in Blender. But making one in SL is a pain because one has to use tapered cubes and fit them together.

However, that is soon to change in SL. Previously there has been no way to import Blender, 3DS, Maya, or other modeling systems models into SL. Now that feature is being added.

A good article on the SL changes is Why is MESH going to change our experience of Second Life? #SL

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We now have Uruites that never thought they would ever be modeling in 3D worlds, teaching classes in SL. I believe SL provides an easier learning path to 3D modeling. I don’t recommend it for those wanting to be professional modelers. I think it is a good choice for those that want to be hobby level modelers.

Now that Blender, 3DS, and other modeling tools can be used for SL building several things become possible for fan ages. It is possible to build an age and have it on a MOSS server and an OpenSim server. I think it is likely we will see more cross world building in the coming year.

Don’t misunderstand. This isn’t build once use everywhere. We are not there. You can model once, as in arrange mesh and texture, and use in many places. The scripting and game specific programming, linking, particle and lighting systems, and most things other than mesh and texture have to be built for the specific game platform. But, what you learn about manipulating things in 3D space, creating textures, working with primitive shapes and distorting them, and then moving into Blender are skills you’ll use in age building.

There is support for the SL path on GoMa, OpenUru.org, and Devokan trust.

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