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Qie Niangao

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Everything posted by Qie Niangao

  1. Kinda. The thing is, MOAP enables all kinds of control and display capabilities for scripts that simply can't be emulated with existing prims (including pushing a lot of programmable in-world interaction out of LSL and into javascript)... but hardly any of that enabled functionality is available in products, which instead only expose functionality that can be approximated without MOAP. Why? Because there's no market for MOAP-only content because nobody can see it because no products dare rely on it because there's no market.... Another possible interpretation is less encouraging for scripters: Maybe SL is all about lining up one's pretty avatar with other pretty pixels and taking pretty pictures, as opposed to actually interacting with a scripted control surface to make all those pixels do anything. Mesh is a case in point. It has extraordinarily limited scriptability compared to normal prims, neutered differently but to about the same extent as the nearly inert sculpties. The sinking feeling for scripters is that in fact this may be about right, and that our obsession is of interest to a small and dwindling share of SL residents.
  2. MOAP can be used for much more than just displaying web pages in SL. As a prim itself can act as a web server it is possible to do interesting things like using text box forms for enering text, display scripttime generated text in all maner of fonts, etc. Can it? I thought it only is able to stream stuff from an external server into SL? Yeah, it has a very unfortunate name. It is an essential feature of a whole new generation of scripting. Incidentally, such scripts are by no means limited to text output; as a simple example, I'm using the SL MapAPI for an automatically updated click-to-TP map of the Zindra continent at 2048x2048 resolution, and one of the Kama City monorail system. But "chicken and egg" is excruciatingly apt. Almost nobody sees MOAP currently, so my maps have separate layers of MOAP and static-textured surfaces, plus a touch surface because of one of many bugs in MOAP itself. Because nobody is seeing MOAP, there's been almost no progress in resolving all the jiras about it, and some of us have just quit filing new defects on it. A long-promised security measure, domain whitelists, has also shown no progress for a half year or so, creating another good reason for folks not to enable the feature, even if they're using a viewer that supports it. As a result, MOAP is practically dead. It was very exciting for scripters at first, but if nobody can see the products, and no bugs are ever fixed, there's not a lot of incentive for scripters to put out products using it -- and hence little reason for users to enable the feature, nor for Lindens to fix it properly. It remains to be seen if Mesh will be the same, but I think not: there are a hell of a lot more 3D modellers than there are scripters, and it's much easier to understand the breadth of Mesh impact whereas most folks still think of MOAP as YouTube worn by griefers.
  3. Yes, there is too much diverse functionality all packed into the current "Group" feature. Keeping the full-functionality Group limit at 25 and adding another 25 "landless" Groups would have less risk of hitting the lag wall. It's been asked several times: what happens if under the new limit we fill up beyond 25 Groups and then the limit rolls back? It may be wise to have a contingency plan for that, and it will take a bit of development. So here's a suggestion: Every Group gets two new Roles: "Social Only" and "Inactive", mutually exclusive with each other and the "Everyone" Role, and with every member able to move at will among those three Roles. (Eventually Groups should be able to remove the existing "Everyone" Role, and become a social-only Group.) Members in the "Social Only" role still get notifications and chat and appear on the member list, but the group is not among the limited number that have to be checked for land access permissions, etc; for all purposes related to land, it's as if they're not a member at all. They can still choose that group to be their "active" group (so llSameGroup() will allow them to operate group-only stuff). Members in the "Inactive" role have no group permissions at all, except for the ability to reactivate themselves at any time and have their old roles and abilities restored. They don't get group chat, don't see notifications, and cannot make that group their "active" group. If this seems viable, I might turn this proposal into a jira. Oh, and, while I'm jira-ing... Does anybody else think the "homepage" profile slot for individuals is needed even more for Groups?
  4. Yeah, I got the same permission violation. Was going to vote because I got the same avatar deformation when trying out a rigged avatar mesh. Among other problems... Which raises the question: Where might one productively post questions about this stuff? There's this thread, a whole forum for Mesh, and some posts popping up on both the Building and General Discussion forums (and I suppose theoretically Second Life Answers if one can bear it, although I don't see any posts to the Mesh category there, thankfully). I've been making up random disinformation on the Mesh and GD forums to try to get some answers out there, but it would be helpful if there were some place we knew to go that might get some attention from the closed beta participants, or Lindens, or really anybody who actually knows something.
  5. Can you post a link to an example of these "faces", with the 8 different texture maps so we can see it? That's easier then words sometimes. Good point, but let me try to use an imaginary extension of Jennifur's barrel example above, because I'm too lazy to create my own. Imagine the modeller had made the rusty metal bands around that barrel as separate polygons from those that make up the wooden staves. Then it would be possible to assign a different material to the polygons that make up those bands -- which is kind of intuitive in this case, because they're metal and the rest of the barrel is wood. So now, those polygons could be projected onto a separate UV map, textured separately from the wooden part of the barrel. And one could change the textures separately: oak vs pine staves, rusty vs shiny bands, etc. To scripters, this is a big deal. Well, to be honest, it's the only half-way interesting thing about Meshes that are exposed to scripts, but scripters are pretty much over that disappointment now and are casting about for anything clever we can do with those UV maps -- which as I mentioned are treated in a script as if they were a "face" or "side" of a normal prim. Anyway, so yeah: each of the eight textures that can be applied to different parts of a Mesh can have its own resolution -- and all the other attributes of textures, such as repeats and offsets (and glow and etc). In the terrain example, I would think the tricky bit will be to leverage the resolution available to those eight possible UV maps without lagging texture downloads. So, one would want to tile repeating textures, not just project a single non-repeating image the way one would normally make a clothing texture. But to get multiple terrain textures (sand and grass, say) to blend into each other naturally, they'll have to be carefully crafted, and aligned at the edges -- keeping in mind that these are repeating textures, so that in turn constrains the design of the UV maps themselves. The point is, it opens some very exciting possibilities for terrain texturing, but bringing it to practice may involve some tricks that aren't part of standard 3D modelling. (For all I know, however, it all may be old hat in game graphics.)
  6. Yeah, I tried to warn that there was something special about "faces" with the scare quotes. Perhaps "face" is too much a scripting term of art. Those eight UV maps are separately addressable by script, using the same functions as we use for "faces" in standard prims (where each of those "faces" may consist of multiple polys). Maybe I should have said "side", but that seems even more apt to be confused with "poly"--and indeed you used "eight sided" as a counter-example. I guess I could have said "UVW maps" to be technically correct, but then neither scripters nor casual readers would have the first clue WTF I was talking about.
  7. Yeah, I do think that sculpty terrain is dead after Mesh except for some very special applications, but it's a bit complicated: Meshes probably won't work at megaprim scale. Details are sketchy at the moment, but best guess is that mesh max size on any dimension will be 64m, so it would take 16 meshes to fully tile a region (which isn't always the objective). Each mesh object can have 8 "faces" (specified with something like "material ID" in the modelling program), so that means 8 possible texture maps per mesh. That opens up a huge opportunity for terrain appearance -- and a new level of complexity in actually generating that appearance. (It's not as if those textures will just fade into each other automatically, as with Linden terrain.) To match complex visual appearance of the terrain model would require a relatively complex physical model, too. To partially sidestep that, one could first terraform the Linden land mesh to some approximation of the desired terrain physical model (lacking caves, etc), and then omit or greatly simplify the mesh's physical model. (I would presume this is how most sculpty terrains work now.) Also, big meshes are assigned high primcounts (that of the highest LOD, because they're always seen at the highest LOD). So if one isn't careful, a sim could have no prims left after mesh terrain is in place.
  8. General reply here; I think changing the tier for educational and non profits; sends a clear message to educators and non profits; and that message is obviously that LL no longer wishes to support your efforts. Other grids would be very happy to have all of you; even if LL isn't. Happy enough to discount their rates by 50% ?
  9. Although I could only stay for an hour, I was reasonably encouraged by the generally constructive, problem-solving orientation of the meeting at Rockcliffe yesterday. Returning to these comments this morning is rather less encouraging. (I even started writing "A Reader's Guide to FUD" but screw it: Everyone's a grown-up and capable of reading past the surface text of blog comments.) At the Rockcliffe meeting, I was struck by some things that are probably painfully obvious to most people. In particular, I was disabused of the mistaken idea that educators and non-profits in SL are a monolithic community with common interests (beyond the discount, of course). They come to SL for a wide range of reasons and have widely varying uses of the platform. I expect that these differences will motivate different responses to the discontinued discounts. At one extreme, some rely on the population of SL residents as part of their mission. They may use SL residents to influence RL outcomes, such as an organization that drives RL donations (or membership, or other desired behavior) because their SL presence and activities gain increased awareness among residents of SL. Or they may seek in-world donations from residents, or rely on residents as volunteers, a ready-made audience, experimental subjects, etc. These organizations are either in SL or they're not in virtual worlds; for the foreseeable future, there's nowhere else to go with a comparable resident population, and the "hypergrid" remains mired in... well, it's not going anywhere any time soon. These groups also must be very careful about how and what they communicate publicly (on any topic, but specifically w.r.t. the new prices), lest they alienate their resident audience. (See "Beware of the Just World Hypothesis," below.) Other groups gain synergy by interacting with other in-world communities as part of their virtual world activities. If, unlike the first group, they don't rely on SL residents, they can say any inflamatory thing they want, as long as it doesn't alienate other communities with which they interact. They are, however, constrained by the "network effect": to retain the benefits of inter-group cooperation, to leave SL they would have to move all the groups at once. If any of those networked groups also relies on the SL resident base (above), they can't move. (This is why Facebook can do whatever the hell they want with user privacy: nobody can leave because they'd have to convince all their friends to leave, and the friends of those friends... and maybe Kevin Bacon's second cousin doesn't want to move. Any suggestion that Marketing Linden attended the Mark Zuckerberg Charm School is purely coincidental.) Finally, some groups function as standalone pre-existing communities or exist as technology experiments, using SL as a 3D conference hosting site or sandbox. There are no strings attaching these uses to SL; these groups can go wherever the functionality is adequate to their needs and the price fits their budgets. And, of course, they can say anything they want to anybody, including other groups. I've mentioned constraints on what different groups might say publicly. Some prominent organizations have been conspicuously silent in their public response to this. I think I understand why: their mission requires that they retain the support of SL residents, and not all SL residents are going to rally to the cause of affected non-profits and educational institutions. And that's not because those skeptical residents are jerks, but rather because there's no narrative explaining the rationale of LL's decision. The brain abhors a vaccuum in cause-and-effect, and devises its own rationale for events: Beware the Just World Hypothesis. In the absence of another explanation for misfortune, people ascribe fault to the victims. The "logic" goes something like: Bad things happen because of bad behavior--it's a "just world"; somebody suffered a bad outcome, so that person probably deserves it. In this case, maybe the discounts were abused (I raised this myself, in an earlier post). Maybe those who got the discounts were more trouble than they were worth. Maybe they didn't hold up their end of the bargain for good PR, attracting and retaining residents, or whatever. There was more than a little schadenfuede at the fate of those herded to Zindra. They deserved it, right? They were smutting-up the whole platform. Well... one step of "just world" recursion and we're at "what goes around comes around," this time to the non-profits and educators. It doesn't matter whether any of these explanations are valid or even plausible--what matters is that they fill in a missing link in the chain of causality. My point is to suggest that some responses may not have the intended effect. Trying to rally the general SL resident population to the cause of retaining the discounts may not work, and may even backfire. And emphasizing the positive contribution of communities with discounted sims may help -- but not if accompanied by an appearance of entitlement.
  10. Yes. (Well, probably. #2 would be almost as difficult as... oh, say, moderating a discussion forum.)
  11. Dean: "So buy a server and talk to I.T. about support. On your three-year replacement cycle that's a lot cheaper. Get one of our in-house grants to attend a training class on running this OpenSim thing." Hmmm. Considering what I've heard about the accounting practices in education and non-profits, I can see that actually happening. But it certainly wouldn't advantage the institution as a whole. It's very expensive to introduce a new and idiosyncratic application, running on standalone hardware, with heavy network demands, unspecified security needs, frequent updates, and "support" by self-serve source code inspection. Way, way, way more expensive than the undiscounted LL fees. But if a department can hide its real costs in some other (IT) organization's budget, it very well might, assuming that IT organization is dumb enough to take it on. So, what are the options, really? I can think of four: Pay the undiscounted fees for the same service. Not a very popular choice at the moment, but it's an option. For all but the most specialized non-profits, even the new SL fees will be buried in the noise of the institution's operational budget. Undoubtedly, however, many projects involving SL are specialized enough that it's a non-trivial budget item; those projects may not be viable with the new pricing. Switch to self-hosted OpenSims. As outlined above, I personally think this is almost never the most cost-effective solution for most non-profits. On the other hand, one can imagine individual educators (and grad students) taking on the care and feeding of an OpenSim server hidden under a desk somewhere. Use an OpenSim hosting provider. To me, this seems fraught with peril. Historically these come and go even more frequently and abruptly than SL rental Estates, so picking a provider that will last through a funding cycle won't be easy to do with confidence. (I'd be especially suspicious of any that start up now to serve this market, or those that sell aggressively into it now with plans of rapid expansion. It's just a too-perfect set-up for the unscrupulous to take the money and run.) Find creative ways to scale back use of SL resources. Like the rest of SL, most non-profit sims sit nearly idle nearly all the time. Is it really necessary to maintain full sims, all the time, for all the organizations who currently use them? It seems to me that an organization with an established reputation (e.g., Non-Profit Commons--although they appear to be scaling back themselves) could coordinate scheduled access to a core of full-primmed sims for large gatherings, with satellite Homesteads owned by individual non-profits. This won't work for everybody, of course, but it may be an option for some, and may even benefit the constituent organizations. It's probably obvious that I find the fourth option most interesting, inasmuch as there's at least the hope of some silver lining there. There are surely other alternatives. This would seem a good time to constructively explore creative approaches to dealing with the new situation.
  12. Like Nika, I'm puzzled that the price hike for non-profits wasn't communicated in any form to larger customers in advance of the public announcement. Perhaps that's an idealistic approach -- everybody learns at the same time, a level playing field -- but it's an unusual way to do business. (Pro tip: Reserve good news for surprises; bad news should never come as a surprise.) It's possible, I suppose, that this is advance warning of some more dire turn ahead. We may all look back and think: "Those lucky non-profits, they got out while the getting was good." Surely this wasn't an overnight decision. The announcement has very little rationale for the decision, so the reasoning behind it is left to our imagination. (Your World. Your Imagination.®) So, one might imagine: Perhaps the discounts were always too deep. Is this true? I honestly don't know, but they seemed incredibly generous, to an outsider. Do all suppliers of non-profits typically provide such attractive discounts? Still, though, if the discounts were just too big, why didn't LL merely scale them back to an industry-standard level (whatever that may be)? Perhaps the abuse was just too widespread and too difficult to control. It may be hard for "good non-profits" to get their heads around this, but there's a dirty little secret: not all non-profits had clean hands in all their SL dealings. In general, there are 501©3s exploiting some gaping "art", "education", and "research" loopholes in the registration criteria. Add to this the SL-specific practice of having paying tenants of non-profit sims. Even some of those "good" non-profits had such tenants, on the premise that rent payments were just donations to the non-profit. That may sound reasonable, but consider the reductio ad absurdum: for-profit tenants and non-profit sim owners in fact could be the same person. Corporation as "alt" in legal real life. This kind of nonsense had been going on for a long time, deeply distorting the SL market. Perhaps it was spreading. ("You're paying full price for your sim? Are you crazy? Let me show you how to save a fortune!") Perhaps it was bad enough to jeopardize whatever advantages LL was getting from the discounts. But this is all speculation. It would be nice if LL could clarify the reasons behind the change.
  13. ... or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
  14. Kwamey I read someplace that the Open Beta testing will only be for a few weeks. Something like 3 or 4 weeks before Mesh Import will be available to everyone on the main grid. I dearly hope this is not correct. Not because I don't want to see Mesh on the Main Grid, but rather because I don't want Mesh to be another charlie foxtrot of Viewer 2 proportions.
  15. Dari, while it's hardly a substitute for proper documentation, the last part of this video demonstrates the most basic possible rigging to the avatar skeleton, done in Blender. This can become much more complex, rigging a mesh to as many as four different bones (if Nyx recalled that limit correctly).
  16. Thanks, Nacy. This should keep me busy for a while!
  17. Hmm. I'm guessing you mean Domino Marama because I was linked to his website from some other Mesh-related post somewhere, but I haven't found the AV model anywhere there. Undoubtedly it's just hysterical blindness on my part, but if anyone could direct me, I'd appreciate it.
  18. It would be best if comments were closed on this ungainly thread. For anyone who may have missed it, Jack has a new blog post announcing the open beta, to start 13 October.
  19. Has one of the beta testers yet made available a "stock" rigged human avatar model, for experimentation? There's really no need to wait until the beta is open; a downloadable .dae would give us all something to fiddle with in Blender between now and when the floodgates open. Speaking of which, I hope there are growth plans for Aditi. Once the open beta starts, I'd expect more than the usual number of users on that grid -- by about three orders of magnitude.
  20. Thanks for that information, especially the rendering of Physics Shape metadata. What I was rambling about was an uploaded physics shape, not one created (semi-)automatically at upload. It appears those can differ quite a bit, but there may be constraints... and there probably should be. One such constraint that I can imagine is that the models' bounding boxes must all have the same center point. (In fact, I believe I read that somewhere, and that the collada model origin is not preserved at import, but replaced by the center of the bounding box.) If the physics model can differ too dramatically from the mesh appearance, one might devise all sorts of nasty tricks. Imagine, for example, the new landowner's confusion when she can't get anywhere near her property despite there being no visible encroachment. The ability to render Physics Shape might come in very handy in such circumstances.
  21. I'd guess that LL plans for the Mesh physical model to be adequate for physical vehicles, but I'd also guess that they're still tweaking the details of doing that efficiently and adjusting the physics "cost" formula accordingly. A related question, however: Are there constraints on how dramatically a Mesh physics model can differ from the Mesh appearance model? For example, can one "simplify-out" the wheels and undercarriage of a ground-based vehicle Mesh, or indeed make the whole thing effectively phantom? That way, one could link in standard prims with known physics behavior if, worst case, Mesh physics turns out to be inefficient or otherwise problematic. (I'm guessing that the bounding boxes of the physical and appearance models must at least intersect... otherwise this could get "interesting".)
  22. Jennifur and Qui and a few others will be HUGE WINNERS in SL in selling some amazing meshes. Eep! Assuming "Qui" is me, I should clarify that I wasn't in the beta group, and am still only pulling together what I can learn from what beta testers have said and what Lindens have answered at office hours. So please don't take anything I say about SL Mesh as coming from personal hands-on experience: I don't have any. I guess, inasmuch as the NDA is gone, LL shouldn't object to my admitting that I was invited to be a Mesh beta tester. The invitation itself was supposed to be kept secret, independent of signing the NDA, and it was the NDA that kept me from participating. (My view of NDAs is about the same as John Dvorak's.) In case anybody wonders why I'd get invited despite having never sold a sculpty and having quit making them for myself, it was probably because I was a member of the Battery Street Irregulars testing group. (Yeah, this was way back before the axe fell on BSI.) There's no way LL could have known that in a former life I was on a standards committee for CAD/CAM product data exchange. @Fenrir: Again, let's go back to sculpties. I remember someone writing a patch for the viewer which allowed you to create sculpties using a raytracing bake system. I believe there was another that allowed direct manipulation of the vertices. Neither were popular or made it into the final viewer code, despite a lot of positive response. Linden Lab didn't seem to be interested in going down that Swiss Army knife road. Those who already had external methods for creating sculpties were using just that -- Blender or Maya or what-have-you -- and they had no need for a built-in basic sculpty creator. It would be a waste of LL's time to put one in SL as only a very small percentage of its population would find it useful. Right, so this is one model of SL: a marketplace of content between creators (the "very small percentage") and consumers (everybody else). That's a popular model, and growing more popular. Maybe it's the "correct" model for attracting lots of social networking participants, and therefore the correct model for LL. Judging by remarks here and elsewhere, it's certainly the model held by most beta participants with anything to say on the matter -- and that's not surprising when you think about it. But that's not my model of SL. To me, it's not the lack of pretty pixels that limits new sign-ups. To me, a new feature such as Mesh is only interesting to the extent that it gives people something to do in Second Life. Something to do with their time, and then their land. Something that makes more compelling the experience, not just the view. We won't get viewer-based mesh editing because LL developers, feeling sorry for themselves, have rationalized that it's a waste of their time (see Nyx's office hour) because third-party tools are better than what they could build. Fine: they're betting everything on the pretty pixel premise. Watch. Concurrency will drop slightly as a result of Mesh. The economy will stay more or less flat, with more L$s sloshing toward mesh for a while, but the overall pool won't grow because of this. The only thing that will grow the economy (and concurrency, and LL revenue) is more to do in Second Life, appealing to more people. Mesh, as planned, is a net-net no-op.
  23. Not to mention the standard hand animations, which are buggy as hell. Unfortunately, the best scheme I've heard so far for animating meshes under script control will involve some pretty unintuitive legerdemain in the model itself, and certainly won't look natural. I still think that the much higher shape detail and especially texture resolution with attached mesh will inevitably replace standard human avatars -- except head and hands, which will still get normal skins from the same people who will sell the skin textures for the attached mesh avatars. And their clothing. Mesh clothing for all but the loosest garments will have to be custom shape-matched with the avatar anyway, whether the avatar's shape was set by slider or in an attached mesh model.
  24. As for the mesh beta SIMs, I *think* they are still closed until they roll out the open beta. But, you could ask Nyx Linden to be sure about that. I could be wrong. Aren't Mesh testers also using a special viewer? FWIW, I wikified a transcript of Nyx's office hours from yesterday and linked to it from the Mesh article, which is now being very actively reworked by the doc team. I commented on highlights in the Building forum thread. (Jive handles forum threads differently: in "flat" unthreaded view, it splits them into pages, so reloading doesn't take forever and consume a ton of bandwidth. I suspect that's why we keep having problems with expired tokens, eating our posts here.) (Also, apropos emails from here: unsubscribe only works until you post another comment, as long as you have the default "on" setting for Your Stuff / Preferences / Email Notification Preferences / "Automatically receive notifications for blog posts I comment on." Hey, it wasn't my idea.)
  25. @Toysoldier (and others): There's a thread in the Building forum which may be of interest. I've gotten responses to technical questions there that just got buried here, so if you need details you can't find in the various Mesh blogs or elsewhere, that's another source. From comments there, it appears that a very great deal is still TBD, including what I should think would be pretty fundamental aspects of the implementation. In that light, it's likely impossible at this point to really know such pure "economic policy" things as scale limits, upload fees, prim-equivalence constants, account restrictions, etc. On IP infringement: The state-of-the-art in automated detection of copied content is a lot higher than I appreciated. Google has implemented some truly amazing ability to detect YouTube copies of degraded snippets of video streams -- even to the point of routinely finding 15-second clips of week-old network TV broadcasts, partially obscured and at an oblique viewing angle, shown in only part of the frame. (Think about that for a moment.) So, I'm now thinking: Bring it on. Let the sleazeballs copy everything on the web. Let LL's lawyers finally face the fact that they're in exactly the same business as Google is with YouTube, and have exactly the same legal obligations. And they can use available technology to protect SL content creators just like they'll have to protect external content. (Yes, there are economic implications of fully legal importing of content. That's just not what I'm talking about here.) About who's more 1337 than whom: First of all, just because you don't recognize sophisticated prim builds, or don't know how to make them yourself, doesn't mean they don't exist. And if you think it's easier to wrangle prim geometry after the fashion of Siefert Surface than it is to unwrap a UVW map from a modelling program, you're deluded. Moreover, if you think anything will prevent amateurish Mesh content from appearing in Second Life, you better pray you're wrong or SL is over and it's time to turn out the lights.
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