Using 3D Tools to Model in Second Life


Recent news gives promise to the idea that one will be able to model outside the Second Life viewer in a more traditional 3d application and import to the grid. This has always been possible for at least a year with Jeffrey Gomez’ Prim.Blender and Blender, but while Jeffrey’s work is a technical achievement nonpareil, I’m not a fan of Blender and it wasn’t an easy process for complex models.

Recently, though, some projects have been quite encouraging, including, of course, sculptie prims. Even more exciting are some of the complex models that can be created using sculpties and a recently created uber sculptie exporter for Maya: qLab.

Also on the horizon is a new script from TU Delft that will aid in importing complex models from Maya.

The TU Delft Second Life working group has now written an import function for doing this from Maya. So now all technically drawn objects such as buildings or cars can be converted in one go into Second Life.

It’s not clear from the news release (English | Nederlands) if the imported models will be sculptie or prim-based; my sense is that it might be prim-based, which would be a great achievement.

Update: just saw this weblog post from last Autumn over at eightbar about a Sketchup importer. Looks like it’s only useful for very simple models and doesn’t appear to have been enhanced any further. (via Vint Falken).

Creating a Mannequin in Portuguese


Many thanks to Tom Reddevil for translating one of my tutorials into Portuguese. I realized in putting together Tom’s translation that my tutorials are a bit out of date having been written over 2 years ago. Some of the keyboard shortcuts have changed, for instance. I’m thinking of taking my PDF tutorial and making it available in HTML, I just need to set aside the time to do so. Where to find the time!?

If you would like to translate one of my tutorials, please send me an email. Tom did a great job mirroring my layout in Microsoft Word which made it super easy to cut and paste.

Twitter for Second Life


! (Twitterrific)! The inimitable Ordinal Malaprop has created TwitterBox, an object for sending and receiving tweets from the Twitter service. A couple of prominent SLers are Twittering already including Mark Wallace of 3PointD and the never dull Prokofy Neva. The icon is from IconFactory’s awesome Twitterrific (Mac OS X only).

Year Four


Three years have come and gone, and Second Life appears to be doing quite well. Twas not always the case. When I paid $160 for a lifetime account back in June 2003, money was tight at Linden Lab. That $160 was considered a bit of a risk. But I know all lifetime account holders felt it was worth it, felt there was something special about our little (see Fig. 1) virtual world. I don’t want to spend a lot of time reminiscing about the “good old days” because either you remember them or you don’t, and if you don’t, you probably don’t care. Suffice it to say that first year was special, and I’m sorry most of you didn’t get to experience it. There was a sense we were a tight-knit creative community building a world together free from the inevitable commercial interests. I didn’t do much socializing after that first year — indeed most of my Calling Cards are pre-2004 and I’m always happy to see how many oldies are logged in, even if we haven’t spoken in ages.

The truth is I rarely spend any time in-world. The bulk of my Second Life experience takes place in my imagination, my sketchpad, and Photoshop. I like being a content provider as opposed to consumer. Enhancing someone else’s virtual experience is very rewarding. My biggest thrill nowadays is when I receive an IM from a stranger saying how much they like my creations.

What will the future bring? Hopefully with LL’s rapid growth we’ll start to see some more features and a revamped client user interface. Given Linden Lab’s track record so far, it’s safe to say I won’t be holding my breath.