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).

Year Five is Upon Me


F our years ago today I created a Second Life account and downloaded the SL beta client. Public land was plentiful and you could fly across the entire world in a couple minutes. Oh, how things have changed. I was planning on a long diatribe on the state of Second Life to mark my 4th anniversary, but I just don’t have the time—real life is extremely busy at the moment. I do have a couple more tutorial translations to post, and I apologize to the authors for not posting them sooner. I will get to them this week.

My thanks go out to my Second Life partner, Caroline Apollo, whom I’ve had a lot of fun with over the past couple years. I’m sorry I’ve been so absent this past year—it’s not for lack of wanting to be in-world, hanging out, and having fun.

I’ll save my laundry list of criticisms for the way Second Life is evolving under the stewardship of Linden Lab. For now I urge you to visit project open letter and add you signature if you feel inclined.

Classified's Don't Work


The recently released statistical data on the SL economy are quite fascinating. (As an aside, I wish we could get better data for our in-world transactions. Right now the daily transactions a user may download from do not include Object Name, making them all but worthless for tracking sales data. C’mon LL just give us object name!).

Of key interest is the Sources and Sinks table which gives one a really great snapshot of the SL economy and helps complete the picture as to how LL will transition SL into a “platform” and away from a traditional MMO service. With stipends and dwell going the way of taxes (remember those?) the primary Sources of income for residents will be either purchasing straight from LL, purchasing from other residents (Lindex), or revenue from the sales of content and land.

Also of note is the amount spent on Classifieds during the month of April: L$ 3,824,573. Noteworthy because I think this sink is an enormous waste of money for residents using it. In my own personal tests over a few weeks with Larsen Shops I tried a couple different methods of trying to drive traffic with classifieds in an attempt to determine their effectiveness. We saw barely any difference in overall traffic and no difference between high-priced classifieds and low. Maybe someday Classifieds will be worth paying for, but at this moment in time, don’t waste your money. If you do want the slight benefit, buy an ad for the lowest amount. And make sure your keywords appear in the text of your ad.

A New Year


Happy New Year to everyone! Maybe this year, I’ll get off my butt and create some new content. I realized recently that I haven’t put out any fashion in two years now, and my current lines are definitely looking old — not a flexi-prim skirt in sight. Unfortunately I’ll be very busy this year with a new Web startup, plus helping my significant other with a new business as well.

I have worked on one big project this year in Second Life — designing an avatar for a customer, the process of which I documented for later recounting. It won’t be a full tutorial, more of a process guide for building a complete avatar from shape to skin to clothing and accessories. Hopefully I can get that up in the coming weeks.