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Fmeh Tagore

Rant: Mesh marked the end of SL, in my opinion. And it looks like Sansar is going to be mesh-only.

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This is just my opinion and nothing more.  I'm writing this because I've been disappointed in what I've heard about Sansar, where I was originally very excited about it.

I stopped regularly logging into SL after mid 2013, and every time I log in now, everything fun about SL has just sort of disappeared.  All the interesting places are gone, and it seems to be a sea of avatars that look like everyone else.

When I log in and go to a place that's decently populated (which is hard to find since LL got rid of the good tools for finding places that currently have a lot of people at them) I can wait 5, even 10 minutes and still half the people have missing torsos, and once they eventually appear, they have the same shape as everyone else because mesh clothing doesn't conform to the proportions of your avatar, you must conform to the proportions of the clothing.

Most people stopped bothering to build things once mesh became popular.  Sure, some people remained and learned the separate software and the skills needed, but it's only a niche audience who have been willing to do that.  Being able to build things within SL was one of the biggest draws to SL.  The way it is now, if you use regular prims to build things, you're looked at as if you're using Minecraft.

I certainly gave up creating anything after it was basically required to use separate tools and import them into SL in order to make anything that looks decent and doesn't make people think of Minecraft.

Once mesh came into place, people stopped having fun in SL.  Most of the people who I used to see regularly, stopped logging in.  I mean, sure, really dedicated people obviously make things in mesh, but that pretty much cuts out everyone else, and it became more of a fashion show of who can spend the most money in-world to buy expensive creations.

Doing interesting things with mesh just isn't possible either.  To my knowledge you can't apply visual scripts to textures on mesh other than just changing the textures altogether, no animations, no scrolling textures (and if you did scroll it would look totally messed up), clubs/stores/places that have mesh buildings look more and more like what you'd find in real life--boring.  Sure, much more realistic, but still boring.

The newer lighting engines bring the FPS to a crawl, they're not very optimized, and most people are still basing their builds on the old lighting engines.... so mesh just seemed to be the big thing, which very few people except the very dedicated actually bother with.

And now I'm reading that Sansar isn't even going to have any real in-world building tools other than how to place things somewhere.  I've not even read if they're going to have sliders for one's avatars (shapes, skin color, hair, or whatnot), or whether you have to choose from pre-made shapes and everything else.  If that's the case, what fun is Sansar supposed to be?  Is it simply going to be more of this "Ooh look, I can spend lots of money, aren't you impressed?" or "I just spent 80 hours creating this avatar shape in Blender and it still looks like crap and it still does no good when I put clothing on it becuase the clothing won't conform to my avatar."

I mean, what good are these virtual worlds when in order to make anything yourself that looks decent, you have to put that much work into it?

And as I said--most of the cool places are gone.  Want to go somewhere to listen to music and hear hundreds of "Hooooooooo!" and getting spanked by scripts where nobody actually talks to each other except in private messages?  Choose from a select set of genres, don't try to look for anything new, or for DJs that try to expand people's horizons, just choose specifically from top 40 (of today or of specific decades), rock, blues, country, "romantic", hip hop and rap, edm, edm, edm, edm, or edm.  If you're a DJ and you want to play something other than sticking purely with one of those genres, you're out of luck finding anywhere to DJ at unless you go to furry clubs and then look out of place because you have a human avatar.

Honestly, it seems only the furry hangouts have people that actually know how to have fun in SL anymore.  Or even at some of the infohubs where it's the 4chan/8chan SL equivalent where you have to deal with bullying and childish behavior.  But at least they have fun...  I guess...  I personally do not like hearing racial and sexual orientation slurs constantly, or people making fun of other people's intelligence, and so on.

Sure, there have always been and will always be people who primarily go on SL to have a house that they can continually redecorate, make the walls a different color, get new furniture for, and not really share it with anyone else because simply redecorating your house is, for some reason, a whole lot of fun for you.  If that's fun for you, excellent, I'm glad you're able to find something interesting to do in-world.  Personally I don't get the idea of redecorating in SL constantly without trying to share it with a lot of other people.  But people enjoy what they enjoy--who am I to judge?

But then some of you who do this get pissy and have always gotten pissy that people can, oh no, cam into your house to look around, or they might actually bring their avatar there as if SL items and furniture is somehow a personal reflection of what you do in your real life personal life and the privacy of those things is as important as the privacy of your real life home or as important as homeland security in the United States is to the U.S. government, and you want to get people's accounts terminated over it.  That's always made me groan and laugh a little bit, as if you redecorating your house is serious enough to terminate other people's accounts over, yet you claim it's fun.  Whatever.

I digress. 

Since mesh has been implemented, it seems that those kinds of things (redecorating, and ooh look, I spent lots of money) are what people seem to find the most fun.  As I said, there aren't really any conversations in local chat that happen in clubs or really anywhere anymore.  There's hardly any individuality in SL anymore because you can't do anything with mesh items, you buy it and use it the way it was designed and that's that.  Sure, things look more realistic than ever, but that's not what made SL fun.  Realism isn't what made SL fun.  What made SL fun was the almost limitless possibilities without having to have the skills required to create your own games in things like the Hammer engine.

I mean, if the scripting engine and the physics engines in SL allowed for reasonable gaming, like an FPS or a decent RPG that actually limits your experience on different pieces of land so you must follow the rules of the RPG (instead of relying on people reporting that you're not following the rules), that'd be a little different.  But you can't even make a decently-operating car that steers and accellerates right, it's all very antiquated, like a poorly-written game from 1997.  Even things like chess require so much scripting and links to offworld servers that it slows down the SL server you're in.  Chess of all things!  So what's left?  Well, it was creating your own fashion, your own buildings, your own hair, your own club, your own whatever---but since mesh, none of that is worth it unless you acquire the skills needed to literally be able to make your own game on almost any game engine (or you can be satisfied with people looking at you as if you're playing Minecraft).  I mean, once you have those kinds of skills, you could easily go on to make things for other games.  And sure, there are definitely some side benefits to acquiring those skills, but does that make SL a fun place to be?

So... what good is Sansar going to be if it's ALL based on having those kinds of skills?  As I said, it will probably be more of that same mindset of, "Look at me, I spend a lot of money in order to have pseudo-individuality!"

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How dare SL not look like Tron or some other 80's CG effect!

I disagree that there is no individuality in SL, or that people stopped making content for it. If you spend 5 minutes looking at the number of options available, you"ll see how easy it is to build a unique looking avatar using the far better visuals offered by properly 3D modeled items.

Yes, you require skill to make quality products, but mesh hasn't changed that. You still needed decent graphics skills to make good loking textures for items, and you needed some degree of modeling skills to make a prim object that didn't look terrible. There were people who surely got very good at these things, but there comes a point where the work you are putting into a video game should be even the slightest bit transferable.

And I fail to see how the introduction of mesh suddenly translates to a need for programming knowledge sufficient to make your own game engine. Creating objects in SL has nothing to do with scripting, programming, or designing physics engines.

Based on what you have said (I had to skim it, since I don't have a half hour to read a wall of text), I feel like you have missed the point of SL and whatever Sansar is entirely. The point of Sansar is to use transferable skills to create video game content. And the point of creating better content in SL is so that the game doesn't look 20 years old. System clothes tent to look terrible, making decent prim objects requires a set of skills that can't be used anywhere else, and scupted items really just seemed like a stepping stone. Why shouldn't SL be using the same extrernal software and skills that other forms of media and production use? Why should SL stay in the 1990's?

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Mesh brought a lot of improvements to SL realism, but so many people have gone mesh mad, with mesh everything, like baggy socks with so many polygons they look the same in 'wireframe' as they do in normal view!

I think landowners should be given the option of limiting the draw weight of individual avatars accessing their land.  That would make a lot of clubs less laggy.

I daresay that people made the same complaints about the impending demise of in-world creation when it first became possible to import textures to SL! 

 

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LOL  Well, learning Blender or paying for Maya is not really a reasonable thing to require for a world that's supposed to be something anyone can create in.  People with no 3d modeling skills at all could actually create things in SL--now anything they create is looked at like a joke because LL didn't bother to add more options in the viewer itself to create more types of prims.  That's what should have happened, but they took the pathetic lazy route.  Sculpties shouldn't ever have happened either--they should have simply put more options in the viewer itself.

And stop doing the hyperbole stuff by saying "20 years old", don't be ridiculous.  

And if one requires the skills to make content on professional platforms in order to make content in a world that's supposed to be for EVERYONE to be able to create content in, it's sort of lost touch with what the online world/environment was created for in the first place.  If it requires those skills, why go on SL when you could make content for other games that have better engines and actually have real online gameplay?

You also strawmanned my argument:  I never talked even a single time about people creating their own game engines.  I talked about people working with existing complex game engines, like games that use the Hammer editor.  I guess you didn't know my reference so you made things up instead.

And if you're not willing to read a page and a half of text, which was all my post was unless you're using a very low resolution on your screen, that's your problem, it means you're a lazy reader, yet act like others are lazy for not wanting to learn how to use Blender or Maya just to make content for an online world that's supposed to be about creating things.  You're reminding me of Linux fanboys who claim that it's "easy" to type 20 word commands to do simple things that should have a visual interface.

Why can't LL make a NEW avatar engine (or whatever avatar engine they're going to have in Sansar) that lets people do a lot of things with sliders, and then if people aren't satisfied with that, they can have other options?  There are plenty of great 3D games that give you an insane amount of options for your avatar without having to purchase products that don't give you any options other than that purchase.  Claiming that going out and buying things to change your avatar instead of being able to move sliders to customize it yourself is as stupid as Apple claiming their pro lines are "upgradable" because when you first buy them, you can ask for a better built-in video card.  That's not an upgrade, that's spending more money to get something you can't change.

Try having a fat avatar.  Go for it.  Tell me about all the options for that.

If you actually think SL hasn't went downhill (in participation, in good places to go, in places to hang out) since late 2012, I have a bridge to sell you.  The Narrows Bridge here in Tacoma is going for a good price, that'll be 500 bitcoins please.

There's a significant correlation between the time mesh got introduced to SL, and people's participation in creating things and people doing things in SL dwindling. 

Just because you can find nice items doesn't mean the platform hasn't went downhill in participation and places to go.

If it wasn't people not feeling they could create anything reasonable, what do you attribute to SL going downhill so much?  Or are you going to be like I was in the mid 90s with the Amiga, thinking it was still a great computer platform even when it was so apparent it was not anymore.

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I have a high level of concurrence with your theory Fmeh, but I wind up at a slightly different ending point than you. If you don't mind, I'd like to explain a bit more.

The introduction of Mesh was an attempt to update the platform, bring it closer to current technology while at the same time giving it a boost in realism. Providing 3D designs access into SL created a level of detail hitherto unseen. In and of itself, it did not begin the downslide in creators, but it did inspire a change in the personality of Second Life.

Human beings are routinely mired in the definition of class. Careful people choose the class to which they belong. It helps them negotiate the obstacles of real life. Fashion and skill are two values that figure into a class, and those not possessing the fashion or the skill .. don't get to belong.

What Mesh did was create a whole new class. Prior to mesh the creator community had to be satisfied with the same prim blocks and, when really pushed, sculpties. But because of their ready availability to everyone, the class distinction between those truly skilled with torturing prims and those that just merely toss them around some was fairly small and blurred. There are amazing artists with prim only creations, but the vast majority of us are .. functional.

Mesh suddenly established a new upper-echelon class of really artistic and dedicated creators. True to human nature, there immediately sprang up those wanting to belong to that upper crust class too. Of course the only way to ensure you are in a class is to separate yourself from those NOT in the class. Thus arose the ages old battle between the Ins and the Outs.

My perception is that the two distinct classes are finally beginning to merge again. As the fanatacism of the first meshies wears off, and as mesh as a technology becomes more prevalent, I think we are seeing a slow return to stability and normality.

But I will stress again, the return to normality is not because the population as a whole has become more skilled or has been drug up by the bootstraps in entirety. No, I believe it's because we have simply pushed the top-end up further while still embracing and allowing the bottom-end to exist. We are seeing prim-only creations not only holding their own, but being born anew and still bringing marvels to the market.

Where I align with you is my concern over Sansar. I am very concerned that LL will chop off the bottom end, all in the name of extending the top end. I fear they have forgotten that it is the entire range of skills that appeals to new players .. new customers. By expecting them to have a specific higher level of skill or even compute-power, they will from the very start artificially limit themselves to a market that will not provided sufficient sustenance.

In other words, have we forgotten again that the biggest complaint about SL is ... it's too hard to play for newbies?

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Conifer Dada wrote:

I think landowners should be given the option of limiting the draw weight of individual avatars accessing their land.  That would make a lot of clubs less laggy.


That's pretty much a viewer function now as far as allowing individuals to choose what avatar complexity should be rendered.

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Fmeh Tagore wrote:

Want to go somewhere to listen to music and hear hundreds of "Hooooooooo!" and getting spanked by scripts where nobody actually talks to each other except in private messages?


When you hear people tell you that conversation all happens in IM, think "you can't see it because it's invisible."

Because it's BS.

Nobody is talking because nobody is actually there. These are bots.


Fmeh Tagore wrote:

Or even at some of the infohubs where it's the 4chan/8chan SL equivalent where you have to deal with bullying and childish behavior.  But at least they have fun...  I guess...  I personally do not like hearing racial and sexual orientation slurs constantly, or people making fun of other people's intelligence, and so on.

Is this your current experience, or are you relating this from memory of the past? If you know of any place where conversation still happens, even if it's griefing, please let me know. I can't find any. The welcome centers and info hubs I used to hang out in are now completely silent.

It used to be that when you asked people where to go to hang out they'd mention the same, old, few pubs and newbie centers, and if you went there you'd find avatars but nobody was talking. It's like people recite the same old things but haven't themselves tried what they are suggesting in recent years.

 

 

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Anya Ristow wrote:

Nobody is talking because nobody is actually there. These are bots.


Or more likely afk "friends" of the DJ. Bots cost money, a long friends list doesn't.

 


Anya Ristow wrote:

If you know of any place where conversation still happens, even if it's griefing, please let me know.


Even if it's griefing? Hmmm, still tricky - even Barbarossa seems to have gone awfully quiet recently. Sandbox Island is probably your best bet these days if you want to be harassed.

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Well, there is no denying that mesh has evidently not given SL a big boost, especially considering the huge amount of time and effort that has gone into learning, say, Blender. It may have even slowed its erosion. There is no real way to know. I just know that when I heard mesh was coming, I assumed that meant that a ton of ready made content would be imported from the Internet, which it has. So now SL looks better at least.

The other thing about mesh tho is that it really cuts LI. People do not have to pay for as much land. I was filling up almost a sim a year for a while, but that stopped when I began replacing things with mesh. 

 

Like with most things, there are trade offs.

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ChinRey wrote:


Anya Ristow wrote:

Nobody is talking because nobody is actually there. These are bots.


Or more likely afk "friends" of the DJ. Bots cost money, a long friends list doesn't.

So, who's triggering the gesture spam? You're telling me gesture spam is automated for actual, human-controlled avatars? In every single club? They're programmed to be chatty while they are AFK, all the thousands of them...but they're human? What program are they running to accomplish this, if not a bot client?

I'm afraid I just don't buy it. I looked for human activity in clubs for years. I even had a blog about it. If those are humans, they are the rudest SOBs ever. And there are a *lot* of them. Ignoring actual humans in chat, and in IM. Every single one of them. In every club. For years on end.

 

 

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Fmeh Tagore wrote:

 

LOL  Well, learning Blender or paying for Maya is not really a reasonable thing to require for a world that's supposed to be something anyone can create in.  People with no 3d modeling skills at all could actually create things in SL--now anything they create is looked at like a joke because LL didn't bother to add more options in the viewer itself to create more types of prims.  That's what should have happened, but they took the pathetic lazy route.  Sculpties shouldn't ever have happened either--they should have simply put more options in the viewer itself.


In Second Life, building isn't done in the viewer - it's done on the servers and the viewer is only an interface. When you create a prim, it is actually created on the server simulating the region and all you're doing from the viewer is manipulating that data on the server over a two-way communication channel. Because of this, the build tools have to be limited in such a way that you can't accidentally or deliberately overload either the comm channel or the server itself, especially as the server is trying to do several other jobs at the same time. In other words, the in-world building tools can never be as powerful as an offline program.

Now, you could make a viewer that had a more robust building engine that would build in-viewer and just send the information to the servers after the build reached a point that it was out of the danger zone. However, what's the point of making what would essentially be a new offline building program written by people who aren't specialists in this sort of program when there are already a variety of other ones out there that are made by experts?

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So no mesh, because it should stay easy to build? No thanks, I rather have a pretty looking avatar and I never cared for building anyway.

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Yes, building stuff in SL was fun and I made a lot of stuff including the Egotherapy Club as it stands today, all made from prims.  I did learn the basics of making and importing simple mesh items, but never got beyond the experimental stage.

In real life most of us buy stuff made by other people to go in our homes and that's the way SL might be going as it gets more sophisticated. I imagine even professional mesh creators don't have time to make everything they want in SL, and so buy ready-made stuff for some aspects of their Second Life.

Creativity in SL might increasingly become a matter of arranging carefully chosen acquired objects in a space, with maybe the odd home-made object here and there.

 

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Let me share my story, from the other side of the fence.

I'm a mesh creator. I spent the better part of a decade in the RL 3d industry, working on banal projects for stupid clients. I would work insane hours to meet deadlines, to receive a fraction of the value my labor was charged out at.

I was never a very good cog in the machine. I loved my craft, but hated cutting corners on quality to meet deadlines. It didn't matter that no one would notice my obsessive attention to detail, it had to be right for me to be satisfied with my work. Worse was fixing the mistakes of other people in my office, suffering stress and sleepless nights because they didn't care about the quality as much as I did.

...And it would ultimately be for a developer to open a new mine, or build some enormous new shopping complex (my role was to create visualizations to show people that, hey, its not going to look that bad...).

 

My sister-in-law had been in SL for years, and when mesh was introduced she encouraged me to get involved. At first, mesh was very much a niche product, so I attempted to learn prim and sculpty building techniques as well. It was like trying to sculpt clay with oven mitts. I gave up in frustration, found a banal job, and life went on.

A little over a year later, after losing that job (due to what I later recognised as pretty severe depression) I came back to SL. At this point, mesh was much more accepted, and I could ignore prims and sculpties entirely.

I rediscovered my love of the 3d craft. I was able to create things that interested me, to my own deadlines, for people who actually appreciated the hard work I put into it. Sure, I don't make a lot - especially compared to what I could earn as a cog-in-the-machine - but the sense of satisfaction I get makes up for it. A customer will give me positive feedback, or show me something they've made with my products, and it makes my day.

For many 3d artists, there is little artistry in what they do. The job title is actually somewhat misleading, especially if the work is TV ads or architectural visualization. In SL, I can be an artist, and that's worth more to me than I can put into words.

So that's my story. While the change in SL hasn't been welcome to you, its one of the best things that ever happened to me.

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Agree with the alpha's issue on mesh avatars, I though my viewers were the only ones having that problem,  in my case I find the realism of mesh kind of cold and depressing, I get that feel in mesh homes, skybixes etc. no matter how beautifully crafted.

LOL! the decor bit is so true, I got that bug recently but money and prim limit kept me in check, otherwise I would be redecorating to the nines every few days, and as you said with no one popping over to see it.

Thats what I find most strange when people are in their homes you look at teh map and its just one green dot or two at the most, even in elaborate properties, dosent anyone host parties etc. in their houses? 

 

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I don't think current SL residents are the target market for Sansar.  Sure we are welcome there, but I get the impression that world will be geared towards other kinds of markets and LL won't lose any sleep if only a part of the SL populations makes the transition.

Their target market seems to be businesses and other organization and people that just want to log into a virtual word and be entertained.  They seem to be looking for professional or advanced content creators to create the 'experiences' to entertain the masses.

As far as building in SL and the effect mesh has had, I agree with you that a lot of people that used to build for fun and occasionally sold something find it discouraging now and have stopped building all together. But, just as a RL architect doesn't manufacture the parts for the buildings they create, you can buy full perm mesh parts and do a lot more than just 'decorate' over and over.  You can still design buildings and objects using these parts and market them.  If I gave the same folder of various mesh parts to each of 10 creative builders and told them to build a house using only those parts, I'd get 10 different results.  So the opportunity to be creative is still there.

Of course you do have to buy the parts, and not everyone can afford to do that.  So I agree, the casual hobbyist with a minimum to spend in SL has been left out in the cold when it comes to creating things for sale. While they may have never made much money doing it, many depended on the occasional sale for their pocket money or even the rent on a modest home and since they don't have that income stream, they either left SL or cut way back on what they buy here, if anything.  There is probably a connection between this and the amount of land in SL that has been steadily decreasing.

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I think Syo Emerald's reply is the best so far because it illustrates so well the difference between the "new" and "old style SL'ers - and gives me a good excuse for some blatant stereotyping. ^_^

I bet Fmeh never thought about clothing when he mentioned mesh and I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't occur to Syo that mesh is used for other things than clothes and avi attachments too.

And that's the difference in a nutshell. For the stereotypical old school SL'er the avatar is a vehicle to socialize and explore the wonders of a virtual world. For the stereotypical new school SL'er Second Life is just a backdrop for the avatar. (Me, I'm somewhere in the middle btw, Dressing up my avtar is one of the fun things I do in SL but it's certainly not the only one, and not even the most impotant one.)

These new avatar fixated users aren't doing much good for SL, apart from contributing to the MP sales of course, but they're not doing much harm either. For Second Life as a whole they're simply irrelevant.

Except for one crucial detail: these people aren't going to stay for long. Right now the inflow of new avatar fixated users is almost enough to compensate for the loss of traditional ones so the number of active users doesn't drop very fast. But avatar posing is boring in the long run - even more boring than redecorating your virtual home once a week. Most of them will be gone in a year or two and then we'll suddenly see how precious few there are left of the traditional Second Life users. That's going to be quite a shock for many people both in SL and LL.

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Amethyst wrote: 

So I agree, the casual hobbyist with a minimum to spend in SL has been left out in the cold when it comes to creating things for sale. While they may have never made much money doing it, many depended on the occasional sale for their pocket money or even the rent on a modest home and since they don't have that income stream, they either left SL or cut way back on what they buy here, if anything. There is probably a connection between this and the amount of land in SL that has been steadily decreasing.

 

I think you hit the nail on the head.

 

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Amethyst Jetaime wrote:

I don't think current SL residents are the target market for Sansar.  Sure we are welcome there, but I get the impression that world will be geared towards other kinds of markets and LL won't lose any sleep if only a part of the SL populations makes the transition.

You're right there of course. The fact that Sansar will be mesh based hardly matters here because it isn't really meant for the kind of people who build Second Life anyway.

 


Amethyst Jetaime wrote:

But, just as a RL architect doesn't manufacture the parts for the buildings they create, you can buy full perm mesh parts and do a lot more than just 'decorate' over and over.

Yes, but it's not really the same, is it?


Amethyst Jetaime wrote:

Of course you do have to buy the parts, and not everyone can afford to do that.  So I agree, the casual hobbyist with a minimum to spend inSL has been left out in the cold when it comes to creating things for sale. While they may have never made much money doing it, many depended on the occasional sale for their pocket money or even the rent on a modest home and since they don't have that income stream, they either leftSL or cut way back on what they buy here, if anything.  There is probably a connection between this and the amount of land inSL that has been steadily decreasing.

Hard to say for sure. Mesh didn't accelerate the depopulation of SL, it's been going on at a steady rate ever since 2011 and the introduction of mesh didn't change that. It is of course possible that the arrival of new user groups masked the effect mesh had but look at the alternative grids. There are lots of places in the hyperverse where you can build with prims just like in the old days and they're all empty. The only alternative grids that can show anything even remotely resembling success are the ones that try to emulate the current SL, focusing on the user as consumer rather than as creator.

I'm afraid I'll have to post a rant of my own here now - got so many and sometimes conflicting thoughts about this.

One problem that hasn't been mentioned here yet is what we got instead of the old prim twisters. Mesh isn't easy. You have to understand how it works to use it properly and, just as important, you have to understand how it works in Second Life. And no matter how good you are, getting it right takes time and unless you're making avatar thingies for the "new SL'ers", there is very little money in it. There are only a few hundred mesh makers in Second Life who have enough skill, patience, will and sheer stubbornness to do it right. There are thousands of unskilled mesh makers who don't realize their limitations. And a few who don't care. A well known SL creator who has a big fan base here and also apparently works professionally as a 3D modeller outside SL once told me quite openly and honestly that yes, he knew what he sold on MP was rubbish but there wasn't enough money in it for him to do a proper job and people bought his stuff anyway. Oh well.

I have a lot of places in Second Life I love to visit just to enjoy the view and admire the skillful work the creators put into them. Only two of them, Berlin and the Amazon, are mesh based and neither is anywhere near the top of the list. That may not be all about mesh though. Running a public place is probably the most thankless and least rewarding task you can take upon yourself in SL and it's possible it just means that hardly anybody are making such places anymore. But I can't help feeling that most mesh based builds I've seen are dull. If you've seen one, you've seen them all really. And of course, since so much of the content usually is made by people who don't know how to make mesh, there are usually serious lag and LOD issues to detract from the enjoyment too.

As a builder I'm first and foremost a mesh maker of course. But I often wish I wasn't.

Making sculpts is a fight but it's a fun fight! I just love the challenge of beating those obnoxious vertices in that ridiculous material into submission. :D

There's something deeply satisfying with working with prims. Those seven basic shapes seem so simple and even crude but once you start playing with them, it's absolutely amazing what they can do. I can spend hours twisting prims just for the sheer joy of doing it. Today I even found a new prim shape nobody seems to have thought about before. To me that alone is enough satisfaction to last for weeks. ^_^

There's nothing enjoyable about working with mesh. That is, I can be very happy with the result but the process to get there is just work.

 

Much of the allure of mesh is its seemingly endless possibilities. Unlike prims and sculpts you can make any shape you like with it. There are two very big dangers there. One is of course that it's tempting to overdo things. It's so easy to add a little bit here and a little bit there and soon you're so lost in details you forget the big picture. And of course, in a virtual world there will always be limited resources. Mesh has a reputation for being laggy and overcomplex meshes are a very important reason for that. Good virtual reality content creating is all about making the most out of the available resources and that is very easy to forget when you work with mesh.

But perhaps even more important, endless possibilities is creativity's biggest enemy. Jubjub Forder once gave me a really good illustration of this: give somebody a blank piece of paper and a pencil and ask them to draw something. Most people will just stare blankly at the paper, not knowing where to start. But give them a pencil and a piece of paper with a circle on it and you don't even have to tell them to draw something, they'll start elaborating on it right away.

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Well I can't really say I have noticed much change. Clubs I went to when I started out were always full of people gesturbating and others mostly AFK whilst they shop on marketplace and listen to the music.

I actually see much less of that nowadays because I rarely go to clubs and instead go to events with djs and people chat at them and don't gesturbate.

There is a time and place for both and thinking about it, it seems to me that balance and dynamic has probably always been there and it doesn't bother me in the slightest. I don't always want to be involved in chats when I just want to listen to music.


Pamela Galli wrote:

Well, there is no denying that mesh has evidently not given SL a big boost, especially considering the huge amount of time and effort that has gone into learning, say, Blender. It may have even slowed its erosion. There is no real way to know. I just know that when I heard mesh was coming, I assumed that meant that a ton of ready made content would be imported from the Internet, which it has. So now SL looks better at least.

The other thing about mesh tho is that it really cuts LI. People do not have to pay for as much land. I was filling up almost a sim a year for a while, but that stopped when I began replacing things with mesh. 

 

Like with most things, there are trade offs.

It is only really after the first few years that I got involved in building anything, and that would be post mesh. First with prims, then using sculpt generator thing, and now using mesh studio. A friend makes motorbikes from prims in world and then meshes them. A 30 land impact bike he makes is often the result of 2000 or more prims. The tools are still there for in world creation, it takes time to make complex builds, but it always did. It may cost to buy mesh studio but the savings on land impact, as Pamela states more than makes up for that.

As for no good vehicle scripts, I really wonder if the op has used any of the scripts designed for that over the years.

If SL is in decline for the reasons the op gives then it is sad because the reasons aren't valid. Anyone can build with prims, and do much more with them now than ever before.

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I don't know if there is some restriction to using animated textures on mesh, since I have never looked at it that much or had any desire to, but I do have mesh objects with animations SDS Distortion planes for example.

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Aethelwine wrote:

I don't know if there is some restriction to using animated textures on mesh

There aren't any. Animated textures work exactly the same on mesh as they do on prims.

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am not really getting your point FMeh

to make something oldschool from scratch in SL then

- use a 3rd party tool to create the textures
- use a 3rd party tool to create sounds
- use a 3rd party tool to create animations for avatars that will interact with the model
- use the SL Code Editor to create effect scripts
- use the SL Builder to create the model by torturing triangles

then combine all to create the finished thing

+

to make something newschool from scratch in SL then

- use a 3rd party tool to create the textures
- use a 3rd party tool to create sounds
- use a 3rd party tool to create animations for avatars that will interact with the model
- use the SL Code Editor to create effect scripts
- use the a 3rd party tool to create the model by torturing triangles

then combine all to create the finished thing

+

the torturing of triangles part is the same. Only the tool used for this part is different. The rest is the same as it ever was

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Aethelwine wrote:

Well I can't really say I have noticed much change. Clubs I went to when I started out were always full of people gesturbating and others mostly AFK whilst they shop on marketplace and listen to the music.

When was "when I started out?" If it was 2011 when you joined this forum then you've never known a time when people talked in open chat everywhere on the grid, because that started to decline in late 2007 and by mid 2008 clubs were full of what I called "club chat", which is gesture spam and nonsensical, tiny snippets of random prerecorded comments. That is, bots.

No, they aren't AFK while they shop. They are brought in by the venue owner to make it look like there are people in the club. Multiple avatars are run by one person using a bot client, and the "chat" is generated by the client. The person running them can respond to chat or IM, but their own bot chatter can make it difficult to see that someone has walked into the club and said hello. That, or sometimes they're just watching TV, or too busy setting up bots in another venue. So, actual human visitors can be ignored.

 


Aethelwine wrote:

I actually see much less of that nowadays because I rarely go to clubs and instead go to events with djs and people chat at them and don't gesturbate.

And the trick is to find these events. I know of one because I found a club owner on another web forum and got in her in-world group, where she posts event notices. And I know of a discussion group that posts in-world group notices because I found them years ago through word-of-mouth.

Now, imagine you are running out of things to do because these groups and venues are closing up. How do you find new ones? When someone asks what there is to do in SL, this is the info they need, not a vague, unhelpful, "yeah, I still find things to do. I don't see bots at the events I go to."

If you have a strategy for finding these events, describe it. Describe it in enough detail that someone else, perhaps a newbie who doesn't have twelve hours worth of patience before they find their first event, can reproduce it.

If you know of a venue that has real events, name it. If the event it regular, name the time.

If you know of a group that posts event notices, name it.

I've asked many times over quite a few years where people are finding live humans at the keyboard, and these unhelpful responses account for almost all the answers:

1) A described strategy that no longer works, because the person is describing how they *used* to find things. Or it amounts to "check the events list", which only works if you have unlimited time and patience, and probably means you are describing a strategy you don't actually use, or that you can't tell the difference between humans and bots so the events on the events list seem real enough to you.

2) A named venue that currently has no live humans, because the person hasn't actually been there in years and they don't know that it is no longer active.

3) A named venue that *everyone* names (NCI, Shelter, Blarney Stone). Again, this tends to be from memory, not from current experience.

4) A named venue that is empty or has bots 166 hours per week. A more helpful response would be to name the update group where event notices are posted, so one can show up during the 2 hours per week there are humans there.

5) Most of the responses amount to "no, you're wrong, SL is full of human activity" without naming anything at all.

I don't mean to pick on you, Aethelwine, but I have years of experience asking this question and in all that time only a couple people have been helpful. Almost everyone else is just here to tell me I'm wrong, out of pride or something.

 

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