Learning Curve

Blender UI
Blender UI – you can master this in a couple hours, right?
Image Source: http://www.rivalcastmedia.com

As I was scrolling through my various feeds today, I came across a post by Nalates Urriah.

In it, she is discussing SL and ‘SL2.0’ and what will be different.

What does SL need to retain people and attract new ones?

How can the SL experience be made better/faster/easier?

This is a conversation I’ve had with various people many times.

I’m not a techy person – most of what I know I’ve learned because I had to.

How to reduce lag, how to set up my computer for best performance during shows, etc.

I’ve had to learn how to build in order to make sets.

But with the advent of mesh, I think the whole landscape of SL has changed.

Literally and figuratively.

What isn’t made of mesh in SL these days?

Clothing?

Mesh.  When was the last time you went to a shopping event in SL and saw anything for sale that wasn’t mesh?

Furniture?

Mesh.  Because you can get amazingly detailed and realistic items with mesh, AND they are low LI.  Everyone is subject to the LI limit so – mesh.

Landscape items – trees, flowers, gardens, gazebos, fences, walls?

Mesh.  Again, the LI limit is a factor, so – mesh.

Houses?

Mesh.

Avatars?

Mesh.  Mesh bodies are everywhere – TMP, Belleza, Maitreya, Eve, Lena, WowMeh, etc.

Mesh heads, mesh hands, mesh feet.

Mesh, mesh, mesh, mesh, mesh.

When I first joined SL, the biggest attraction was that you could join and start experimenting.

It didn’t take that long to learn how to build and texture using prims.  (Building ‘well’ is a whole other topic.)

Then making clothes – learn a bit of Photoshop and/or GIMP and you could make yourself some ok/decent clothes.

These days, nothing seems as simple.

Sure, you can buy a mesh clothing template, make a texture, and make some mesh clothing.

But then you need to make appliers, because who doesn’t have a mesh bod, mesh boobs, a mesh butt?

Ok, so furniture.

That should be simpler, right?

Except you have to know a 3D modeling program to build one (there are mesh templates for furniture, as well).

But then you need to know about polygons, vertices, LOD – how can you get the best performance for the least impact?

(I have no idea – since I don’t know how to use any 3D modeling programs.)

A statement that Nalates made in her post really made me pause.

She said, ” I and others do not want to go to college to learn how to play on the playground.”

I totally get that it is possible to learn a program like Blender.

I’ve invested many hours in learning Photoshop.

But Blender and other programs like it are never going to be something you can learn/pick up quickly.

Does that by extension mean that SL (and probably ‘SL2.0’) are never going to be something you can pick up quickly as well?

I think so.

Given that one of the biggest complaints about SL is the learning curve, what impact will that have on attracting new users?

If you had to spend 2 hours learning the UI for Halo or Modern Warfare or Battlefield or Call of Duty or even MarioKart, would you play?

I realize that is an over-simplification, but I think the point is valid.

One of the biggest draws of SL, for me (and many others), was that the possibilities seemed endless and open.

These days, there is a definite limit.

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2 thoughts on “Learning Curve

  1. “Because you can get amazingly detailed and realistic items with mesh, AND they are low LI.” Kudos to the mesh propaganda machine for that one, particularly with regards to landscaping items and buildings… oh and jewellery and clothing (see ARC). I’ve recently been considering a sim rebuild using mesh items as they’re mostly what’s available now, however, I’ve discovered that to convert my outdoor sim to a lovely landscaped mesh sim it will cost me dearly, not only L$ but LI. Rocks, for example, I have a huge variety of sculpted rocks and cliffs at the moment, varying in size from 0.5m up to 64m, each item is 1 LI, now when I look for meshy rocks I’ve found that similar small rocks cost me 4 LI, scaling the size costs more, even making them smaller can result in 6 LI, for a nice cliff face around the size of what I currently have will cost me 64 to over 300 LI. Each maker has their own texture on their items, I’d like my sim to “flow” ie, have the same rock texture throughout. If you’ve ever ventured outside in RL you may have noticed that you don’t generally get mossy granite boulders lying at the base of a sandstone cliff.

    I’ve also been looking at buildings, some have a reasonable LI cost some are silly, plus you have the added disadvantage of not really being able to modify them, yes you can replace certain textures but again you’re at the mercy of the creators vision for any particular product.

    I’ve made and textured sculpted items in the past, you can achieve good results if you take your time and texture sculpted items well, the difference with texturing mesh isn’t anything to do with the item being mesh, it’s about the new ways of texturing, materials enabled, etc.

    I’m not totally against mesh but when someone makes a mesh box or a flat mesh prim it is getting silly, why not use a regular prim? Oh, that’s right, because mesh is so much better…. but people still add regular prims to create walkable surfaces in buildings.

    I still see shops advertising products as being made from mesh as a selling point. Mesh has been around long enough now to be considered normal. Does it matter if the item is mesh or not? Apparently it does. SL isn’t the “your imagination, your world” place it started as, now most people are reliant on professional creators hopefully making something that they can use to sort of fit with the image in their head.

    Phew, mesh rant over…. for now

    1. That does seem a bit silly, that mesh rocks would be a higher LI than your current ones. I can’t be bothered to decorate (other than half-filled boxes on the floor), so I’ve never investigated the actual difference on prims vs. mesh. Interesting.

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