Penny Patton

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About Penny Patton

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  1. If LL said this was the plan, and had a history of following through with such long term development goals, I'd be all for it. But do you honestly believe this is what will happen? If LL were that sort of company then none of the problems that shape my view on this matter would still exist in SL. Remember, since the introduction of mesh LL has had four opportunities to introduce a legacy-content-friendly solution to performance killing draw weight in SL by attaching a draw weight cap to a popular new feature and LL has declined to even consider the possibility all four times. As far as I can tell, they have no plans to address this problem in the future and even if they did they may not have an opportunity to do it in a way that would not affect legacy content. They recognize it's an issue. They seem to realize inflated hardware requirements and SL's reputation for bad graphics and low framerates are an obstacle, but they have apparently no intention of ever addressing the problem. They have had one chance to address SL's obscenely high texture use, which is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, performance issue in Second Life, and declined to do so. Every time they have an opportunity to address these issues, they decline. As a result, the problems get worse and worse.
  2. As far as I'm concerned LL should leap on any opportunity to encourage better optimized content because it is, in my view, one of the three biggest problems that is hurting SL's ability to draw in and retain users. (The others being the lack of tools to create more interactive/engaging content, and the perceived cost of land.) Not including materials support for this feature entirely negates its potential to allow users to create better optimized content/avatars and since LL flat out refuses to update the system avatars they're actively pushing their entire userbase towards using framerate killing content. THAT is why I see a need for this feature to include materials support.
  3. Do you see how my avatar's last name isn't "Linden"? I don't have to do any of LL's work for them. That said, I get where you're coming from, that it's more helpful to make detailed suggestions than just point out the problem. Fair enough. I think we've already established that I'm very happy to share ideas, thoughts, suggestions, and potential solutions to problems. If me from 12 years ago was sitting here, hell even me from 7 years ago, my second post in this thread would probably have been a full blown design doc on how the process for materials baking could work, probably including mockups for the UI. But I've been here for 12 years. I know how this goes. If LL has already decided how they're going to proceed I know that someone could code the viewer with the feature fully developed and ready to ship and LL would probably still ignore it. If LL does change their mind, it's not going to be for several years. THEN they'll start looking at what the community has already done. Even with all that, if you honestly want to discuss how such a system would work, and you didn't post all of that just to point to and say "See? Look at all these things that would have to be figured out! That's way too much work!", then alright, I do have some thoughts and I do enjoy talking about these kinds of problems. For example, if the system is using actual system clothing layers then yes I'd add channels for the materials and a toggle for whether or not the clothing item would bake with materials or simply use the materials for the layer beneath. If no material is used I'd have the item default to bake blank, matte materials by default (rendering how non-material surfaces look now) and this is how existing system clothes would work by default with the option to add materials or change the toggle so long as the item is modifiable. This preserves the legacy content in the state it already existed. If the item is no-mod it would use the default and if that doesn't work for that clothing item, well this is just one of many reasons why you shouldn't buy no-mod. You cannot future-proof something that cannot be modified later. Nothing new there. And yes, all of this would take work. The real question is "would this succeed in making SL less resource intensive and easier to use?" I think the answer is yes for both, with the caveat that there are of course many other issues LL needs to address when it comes to how content impacts performance. You have to start somewhere.
  4. When I see any new feature announced by LL I ask several questions which include: What is the purpose/focus of this feature. How well does what LL is doing accomplish that goal? Is LL accomplishing this in an intuitive, user-friendly way? If not, are there better alternatives? Is LL missing an opportunity to address an existing SL problem? A few weeks back I was at a content creation Office Hour where this feature was discussed and it really seemed to me, based on comments made during that meeting, that the purpose of this feature is to address the performance impact of onion-skin mesh avatars. Like Theresa points out, mesh bodies already tend to use 1024x1024 textures, and those textures tend to be spread across at least four layers, each layer being a complete body mesh model so we're getting far more polygons on top of the additional texture load. This also contributes to draw weight, which LL has been trying to reign in with the introduction of the "Jelly Dolls" draw weight cap. Not taking that extra step to support materials means that we're left with a feature that can only be used to combine skins with tattoo layer textures, and only those tattoo layer textures which won't look off combined with the base body materials. In short, this will work fine for tattoos, freckles, blush and most makeup, somewhat less so for dirt, shading enhancers and scars, and not at all for blending skins with textures such as fur, scales, etcetera. Clothing is also obviously out. Like I said before, this is clearly better than nothing. It adds new functionality and that's great. It will potentially help, a little, towards the performance issue by allowing people to bake multiple textures together so you can combine makeup with blush and freckles into a single texture along with the base skin. However, and the reason I say it will only potentially help performance, since some tattoo layer textures will not work with this, one of two things will happen. Either mesh body makers, oblivious to this problem, will ditch their tattoo layers altogether and diminish people's ability to customize their appearance, or they will keep the tattoo layer, including its default textures, in addition to the baking features meaning mesh bodies won't see any optimization benefit at all. That is why I take issue with not including materials support, which would allow us to do away with onion-skin avatars entirely. I hope we can all agree that unoptimized, inefficient content is a huge problem, arguably the biggest problem, facing SL and one of LL's biggest obstacles in making SL more appealing and profitable. If so you should be able to at least understand where I'm coming from on this.
  5. I wanted to point out the reasoning behind this. The larger an object in SL is, the larger distance it will keep it's highest LoD settings, meaning it will have a larger impact on rendering performance. One of many reasons why it's good to build to scale. People in SL tend to be overprotective of their textures, to a fault, but some creators have realized they benefit more by providing texture files directly to their customers and even letting them resell those textures in a way that adds value to and increases the sales of the mesh items those textures were originally created for. A piece of mesh clothing for a Kemono or Snaggletooth avatar might have dozens of third party texture mods and people will often buy the original clothing specifically to use it with one of those mods. I think what ChinRey is saying is that a solution was found to the problem Prok describes, and more and more content creators are creating content with that solution, but if this is true there is still a lot of mesh content out there that suffers from the problem. I know I experience it myself on a regular basis. That's one of the obstacles SL has in being accessible, when a solution to buggy content is found it doesn't make the old buggy content go away and it doesn't necessarily stop uninformed creators from continuing to create buggy content.
  6. That is a very good point, yes. I agree that Land Impact is useful but not perfect.
  7. I know, that's why I tried to make it clear that I understood this is what you meant. I apologize if that didn't come off properly.
  8. I know this isn't the main point of what you're saying, but I did want to single this out and go into more detail on the land impact issue. Simply doing away with Land Impact, as Open Sim does, is not a good solution to anything, because prims have varying levels of impact on performance. A prim as rendered by your videocard is a mesh model, for all practical purposes, your videocard does not make any distinction between a mesh chair or a chair made out of prims. The reason you can make a mesh chair for one Land Impact, while a nearly identical looking prim chair is going to cost more, comes down to how many vertices each version of the chair uses. If the mesh chair is well made and down to one Land Impact, it is in all likelihood using far fewer vertices, making it far easier for your videocard to render. All else being equal, if you make two identical looking environments, one using prims and the other using mesh, the mesh one is going to give you the higher framerates. An alternate approach to this issue would be for LL to investigate next-gen building tools, similar to EverQuest Next, which allows people to build using basic prim shapes, then bake those shapes into a single mesh object (removing hidden vertices/faces) and applying a softening feature to edges to round them out for more organic shapes. This would allow for the simplicity of SL's in-world prim tools, but still let you create content comparable in look and Land Impact to mesh content. Now, content made in external tools will always have an edge in that you have more direct control, more options, etcetera, but advanced next gen tools could make creating inworld fun and practical again. And that's an important point. It used to be a lot of fun creating inworld. It made the creative side of SL more social and engaging, particularly for those who aren't already 3D artists. LL's mistake is believing that the creating side of SL was never that important, that it could be offloaded to external tools and relegated to importing, when a big part of SL's early popularity was in that you could log in and create. The quality of the content was only part of the equation, the engagement factor creating that content had was huge, but it's no longer as much a part of the SL experience as it used to be. Not in the way it used to be. Today, Minecraft better captures that aspect of early SL than modern SL does.
  9. Ok. No, they're not, because I made it clear from my very first post that the biggest benefit of this feature would be in getting rid of onion skin avatars and their associated performance hit, and that benefit is what would be lost if materials were not supported. That is the point I am making, that is the point you should be discussing if you're arguing with me. If you're ignoring that point then you've either misunderstood me or you are just shadow boxing with your own straw men. What does this have to do with the price of eggs? I think you misunderstood me again. Have you seriously never seen a humanoid avatar with non-human limbs using a system/onion-skin layer texture to blend the limb to their human body and skin? It's pretty common.
  10. I never said people were leaving because they couldn't mod their outfit or head, I pointed out that the ability users have to personalize their avatars has been diminished and suggested this is one of multiple issues contributing to SL's troubles in drawing in and retaining new residents. Another issue is the added complexity. For example, there are currently three different kinds of rigged mesh because LL really didn't want to do rigged mesh right the first two times, so now every new user to SL needs to learn this and the differences between these different kinds of mesh, before they go shopping or they will end up even more aggravated and confused. There was that long period where LL started new users with fully mesh avatars which could not be customized in any of the traditional means. These new residents were dropped into SL with an avatar where they couldn't use any of the appearance editor features the tutorial was still telling them to use. They couldn't change their skin or clothes and they had no idea why. There are other issues, of course. I'm not saying mesh is bad, just that there are better ways LL could have handled it. I'm definitely not saying that LL should have kept SL stuck with 2005 era prim content. And with regards to being able to edit, you can edit mesh content so long as it's set modifiable. Sure, you can't move every little piece around individually, but you can retexture, apply custom materials, add/remove scripts, again only if it is set modifiable by the creator. There is no reason we shouldn't be able to enjoy the benefits of mesh and the creative freedom we enjoyed before no-mod became so prevalent. Speaking of the benefits of mesh, mesh should have made SL run a lot better for most people. There are things LL did and failed to do which made the opposite happen, pushing SL's hardware requirements higher and higher. To be reiterate, I don't think SL should go back to how it was years ago. Change isn't necessarily bad, but LL could have handled certain things a lot better.
  11. You made a snarky comment about how freckles and tattoos wouldn't affect materials anyway and when it was pointed out that you were ignoring most use-cases for this feature you made it abundantly clear that you think the only people who should have any comment on how LL goes about developing features are people who can code the features themselves if they don't like what LL is doing. The other arguments you made have been things like "well, no one uses layer clothes anymore" which really isn't true and then doubling down on this ridiculous "if you can't code the features yourself then shut up" attitude. That is not backing up your arguments with actual points and you can make your arguments without that attitude. I am telling you, as a designer and content creator, and as someone who spends most of their SL time these days customizing their own avatar, that if the baking feature only works for diffuse textures and doesn't support materials that is a problem for the following reasons: If you have a body with materials, those materials will be visible over your baked on clothing. Beyond clothing there are other uses for baked on textures, such as fur for non-human arms and legs, used for avatars such as catgirls and minotaurs and fauns and other fantasy creatures. These are often used to blend the body to replacement non-human bodyparts but will also be rendered useless by the lack of materials support. On top of that, appliers for individual materials will be useless. Let's take the most common example, regular human skin and clothes. Let's say the skin, shirt and pants each have their own materials. The baking system not supporting materials means you can only use the materials for one of these, even if the material is added via appliers like you suggested. Even if only the skin has materials and the layer clothes do not, you won't be able to apply the clothing to your body without having the skin materials appearing over the clothes. So you're right back to an onion skin avatar. Do you see now why the only solution you proposed makes no sense? This is certainly better than nothing, it will have its uses, but it remains so limited that it won't have much of an impact on reducing the performance hit created by onion skin avatars and, if I recall correctly from the Office Hours I attended, that was the main goal.
  12. You seem to have a narrow view of what "contributing" means. The same narrow view that led LL to decide they only needed to hire programmers for development. Sometimes, frequently, to properly develop a piece of software you need people with skills other than coding. When Adobe, Autodesk and other developers of creative software are developing their programs they hire people like me in addition to the programmers who actually do the code. When videogame studios are creating software very similar to what LL provides, they hire people like me in addition to their programmers. That's why their products end up being a lot more polished than LL's. I've been a designer since before Second Life was a glimmer in Philip's eye. I know how asset optimization works. I understand how content creators will use or dismiss certain features and why. I can build a sim that looks better than anything you've ever seen in SL while also giving you the highest framerates you've ever had in SL outside of an empty sandbox. I can take a tiny mainland parcel and build a fully featured RP area that is larger and more detailed than any full-sim RP area you've ever seen in SL. I know things about the LL appearance editor that I'm fairly confident no Linden realizes and my camera settings are probably the most popular custom SL setting that isn't standard in any viewer. What's more, I share all of this freely. I can say with the utmost confidence that I have contributed more to SL than you and anyone else who has ever told people "you're not contributing unless you code your own features and do LL's job for them". On top of that, I have backed up everything I've ever said about SL with actual in-world results. You want to talk about things that don't help, it's someone who isn't contributing anything at all complaining about how people who know more than them just aren't quietly accepting every bad decision LL makes. No one forces you to read my posts. If you disagree with something I say and can back that up with actual points, great, we can have a discussion and maybe we'll both learn something, but going out of your way to derail a conversation with this incessant whinging "why can't everyone just be happy with what they get?" and making snarky, ill-informed comments? That really doesn't help.
  13. Let's keep this in perspective. No one is asking for a special feature just for them. LL announced a new feature they intend to add to SL. This feature has a specific purpose, to allow content creators to stop making laggy "onion-skin" avatars by letting clothes, tattoos, etcetera all be baked directly to the mesh body's surface as a single texture (or set of textures, as the case may be). The problem some of us pointed out is that materials are such a standard feature it's inconceivable that anyone would be willing to forgo having them on their mesh bodies. This is going to limit the usefulness of this feature towards its intended goal . Either people will not want to use the baking feature because they want their skin and clothes to have materials, or they will have to stop using materials because your clothes are going to look really strange when your body's materials are rendered overtop of them. If LL goes forward with this they will feel pressured by the community to fix the issue, in which case they can either do what they did with rigged mesh and spend a whole lot of extra money and effort fixing their mistake, or they can do like they did with pathfinding and let the feature die on the vine. Even if this were completely correct it misses the point entirely, or do you honestly believe SL has not benefitted at all from Fitmesh and Bento? I know it can get irritating seeing people complain all the time but some of us actually do understand how certain aspects of SL work and can see when LL is doing something detrimental to themselves and the userbase. If we stayed silent on that you wouldn't have Fitmesh, Bento, avatar masks, alpha masking, or a host of other features you directly benefit from even if you aren't aware of it.
  14. Looks like unrigged or pre-fitmesh feet with a blend layer . Unfortunately, unless the creator made a fitmesh update there's not much you can do. Your best bet is probably to stick with shoes made specifically for your mesh feet.
  15. Like Fluff tried to explain to Theresa, the whole entire point of this feature is to make it so people stop making onion-skin avatars, which both add an extra layer of complication to mesh avatars, and are obscenely inefficient for rendering. You want to talk about things that hurt framerates, there's a big one right there. Well, here's my view. When LL introduced mesh import they had no intention of adding rigged mesh at all, because "can you imagine how much more work it would take to develop something like that?". But content creators insisted, and did not let up. So LL decided "ok, we'll give you rigged mesh but we really doubt anyone will actually use it, so we're not going to let rigged mesh use the full shape sliders, just the basic skeleton. Because, can you imagine how much more work it would take to develop something like that?" So we got the initial version of rigged mesh. A lot of us complained at how crippled rigged mesh was because of this. Some people said "Well, if you don't like it, go make your own virtual world because we should never call LL out for doing something wrong. We should just be happy with what we get." But we persisted, and thanks to that persistence, LL finally relented "Ok, we don't think anyone will actually use this, but we'll do a new version of rigged mesh called fitmesh." We said "Great, but it should also allow for facial/hand animations." To which LL replied, "No, because can you imagine how much more work it would take to develop something like that?" So, as time went on it became clear that fitmesh just wasn't cutting it, people insisted we get proper rigged mesh, finally. Eventually, after some years, LL relented. "Ok, we'll give you what you asked for in the first place." And so now we got Bento. By now LL has put a whole lot of extra work and money into developing rigged mesh, well beyond what it would have cost them if they'd just done it right the first time. On top of that, SL now has 3 different kinds of rigged mesh, and whenever a new SL user joins, they have to learn the difference between all three kinds of rigged mesh. A lot of people are going to join SL, see this for how stupid it is, and just leave. This is just one example of how, year after year, LL spends a lot of money and puts a lot of effort into making SL that much less attractive to new users.