I’ve largely backed away from covering the mesh deformer of late because Nalates Urriah is doing a good job of reporting back on the Mesh Content User Group where it gets discussed, and I don’t really get the time to attend the meetings myself.
On June 11th, Nalates provided a summary of the most recent meeting, which includes some interesting excerpts from the conversation on the deformer. Of particular interest are a couple of comments from Nyx and Oz Linden, notably:
Nyx Linden (replying to a comment from Ellie Spot that the deformer is now in LL’s hands & is a matter of “Fixes to make it work for more extreme shapes“): The issue of extreme shapes is definitely an issue that needs to be discussed.
Oz Linden (later in the conversation): We’ve given Qarl some feedback. In its present form, it’s not quite good enough, but I don’t think we should get into details. There are problems with the avatar, and there are problems with the deformer. It remains to be seen whether or not we can fix the avatar problems (I’m looking into it from a couple of angles). But, we hope that it’s possible to make some progress on the deformer even without those fixes.
As Nalates points out, Nyx’s comment is open to a number of interpretations, some of which could be positive (and given Nyx’s nature) fare more likely) while some might be potentially more negative; as no real expansion on the comment was given, it comes down to a matter of interpretation / speculation on the matter.
However, in this week’s Metareality podcast, Qarl does comment further on the matter, in a discussion commencing at 34:10 into the podcast:
[36:04] Qarl: Now I have to say that he’s like one of my favourite Lindens, so I doubt he was saying anything bad.
Oz’s comment – and the fact he would not be drawn into saying who at LL is working on the deformer or what the overall priority for the project is within the Lab – drew further comment from Qarl:
[38:22] Qarl: So I’m dealing with “Linden X”, who I also like a great deal and is a very nice guy. And … I think we’ve come to a place where we have agreed – I think, although he didn’t respond to my last e-mail – I think we’re agreed on what needs to be done before we can ship. One of those ideas is to … is similar to the standard sizing business that everyone is talking about, but instead of having a fixed set of sizes – small, medium large – encode the actual avatar parameters into the mesh itself, so you can have any base or any avatar shape as your base, because linden Lab wanted to have a stick figure base, and I’m like, “Well if you encode the parameters, then you guys can do that”. … So assuming there’s enough room in the mesh asset for that, then I think that’s what we’re going to do. And then the other issue is that the vertex matching needs to be tweaked a little bit - for our tech listeners – to take into account the normals. So its going to look at both the position and the normals when it chooses the matching spot.
Qarl’s comments prompted special guest Eclectic Wingtips to ask:
[39:48] Eclectic Wintips: So how much work is this going to be for those of us who make mesh? … If there’s multiple sizing, are we still going to need to do multiple sizing in the 3D programme [used to create a mesh item of clothing] to bring it in?
[40:01]Qarl, Oh! no, no, no. You can totally not use that at all. You just leave all the parameters the same, and it just uses the default avatar and blah, blah, blah … BUT, if you want to make an outfit that fits really well on … an anorexic model, so you tweak it for the super skinny or something, then you can set those parameters to be like “fat”, and it matches the bases of extra, extra, extra, small.
[40:36] Gianna: But you’re setting those parameters within your 3D content?
[40:39] Qarl: within your 3D content … So the issue then becomes the GUI, because you have like a thousand parameters now you have to enter … what I think … what we’re going to default to is, you’ll have like six radio buttons for those sizes … but with very little extra effort, the Third-party Viewers will be able to expose that stuff, so you’ll be able to do anything you want; just so long as it’s in the protocol, you can open that later.
Qarl’s explanation – assuming this is what happens with the deformer – seems to offer the most flexible solution to the question of base shapes and sizing. To hear the discussion in full (and the rest of this week’s topics), be sure to listen-in to the podcast itself.