Update on the mesh deformer project, 11/11/11:
Karl has begun working on the code and was contacted recently by LL in order to facilitate development of this feature. He will be working directly with LL from this point forward to supply them with code as the project moves forward, allowing them to check the feature with compatibility for the official LL releases as he progresses so that when it is done it can quickly and easily be included without weeks of additional testing. They contacted him directly to expedite the process and work together from the start of this, which means it will be working correctly and will make it a lot easier for TPV's and other grids to implement once it is done!
This is great news and in addition to the comment Charlar made about further development with open source features is indicative of some serious new possibilities for development. Kudos to LL and Karl for being able to come to the table together for the good of the SL community. This is a best case scenario for this project, and indicates a strong willingness on LL's part to adopt and implement this new feature that we have wanted since July.
This project would pay for the software development of a "parametric deformation" system for polygonal mesh clothing attachments in the virtual world Second Life. A developer will be paid to create the software utilizing the Snowstorm open-source code for Second Life. A system of algorithmic functions and UI changes in the user client, This software would allow for mesh clothing to automatically deform to the avatar shape of an individual. The developer, Karl Stiefvater (formerly Qarl Linden) is a well renowned game developer and was responsible for creating the majority of the original coding involved in this project as a former employee of Linden Labs and he has graciously agreed to do this project. Karl has worked on Riven the sequel to Myst, the Matrix 2 & 3, as an instructor on CG Society and is the founder of Lume, Inc. You can find out more about Karl on his web site: www.qarl.com
This project came about as a result of a request for these features to the developers of Second Life, which was embraced by over 800 members who supported it with votes using the JIRA sytem. Unfortunately, the JIRA was downgraded to a "someday/maybe" status recently so that the developers could focus resources on stability and other issues for future releases. This was this initial impetus for searching out Karl and privately funding him to do the work, since the developers of Second Life who support such projects within the Snowstorm open source codebase, were unable to pursue the matter.
Please take a moment to review the JIRA and the many comments on it. The live JIRA document requires an SL account, but can be located here: https://jira.secondlife.com/browse/SH-2374
The deformer system would alleviate a variety of problems which occur during the creation process and also in the use of those products by individuals; It would automatically adjust the items when worn to fit the size and the shape of the person. This would allow them to retain a personal identity they have created which is a primary psychological motivator in virtual worlds. Currently, clothing items do not fit, they change you to fit them, adjusting your size and shape. A deformation system would eliminate a significant amount of technical and operational difficulty for creators and consumers within SL.
When completed, this will be a single mesh deformation layer. It will not be a multiple layer hierarchy or a full set of mesh adjustment sliders. As public domain, this code will be the basis for others to implement a wide variety of additional changes but will initially serve the basic purpose of a single mesh deformer: To eliminate the need for rigging, weight adjustment, alpha maps and multiple sizes of clothing. For the consumer of mesh clothing this will result in purchased mesh clothing items fitting to your shape automatically without the need for alpha maps and re-sizing of your avatar shape. The ability to adjust the cage deformer via a slider may or may not be able to be implemented at this initial stage, though the existing sliders will continue to work. Additional funded projects will be considered to add functionality such as a layered hierarchy after this initial goal is accomplished.
What We Need & What You Get
In order for this project to be completed, we need to raise the funding goal to pay for the development fee. 100% of the proceeds of this project go to the developer, Karl, and to pay for the fees associated with this site.
The code and any resulting user client would be available under the snowstorm open source codebase for Second Life to anyone who wished to use it. Generally, this code is used for the development of third party viewers. When completed, this code would be public domain, available to those residents of second life who are either software developers, creators or consumers of mesh clothing and attachments. It is our hope that the developers of Second Life will adopt this code to include it into the official client releases as well.
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