Friday, May 11, 2007

Speculations on Sculpted Prims

Written 9 May, 2007

Speculations on Sculpted Prims

When I got to the Beta grid, Sweetie was playing with sculpted prims.

She doesn’t yet have the software to prepare them off-world, but she had discovered that some textures work as maps for the sculpted prims. They instantly jump into convoluted and often jagged shapes.

I straightaway discovered that any snapshot would work and on my first effort made a raggedy shape that Sweetie thought would make a good wing. She took a copy and so did I—but it did not come with us to the main grid—nor did the 43+k lindens I had in my account in the beta world.

I wanted to make a couple of points about the effects sculpted prims will have.

I don’t yet know their limitations, so I may be entirely out of line, but…

How cool if sculpted prims can replace the textured prims that make up so many building facades, fences, foliage, and complex multi-prim objects like prim statues and 1966 Mustang convertibles. How much less cartoonish the world will look!

How neat if they can form intricate shapes that now take large numbers of prims. Perhaps that Mustang’s body will soon consist of only one prim instead of 19. And think of the effect on prim space. Perhaps there will finally be enough prims to make the lush landscapes so many of try to achieve on our paltry 117 prims / 512 square meter parcels.

And think of the incentive for builders. Everyone will want to replace their prim houses, living room sets, cars, shoes, hairdos, trees, and weapons with more realistic-looking objects made from sculpted prims (and with a far lower prim count).

I’m predicting a LOT of commerce around these new items. It will be like transitioning from 8-track to cassette or Beta to VHS or LPs to CDs or Commodore 64s to the Macintosh. The consumer mentality of most of us will lead us to replace most of what we have with the new objects.

Pretty soon old prims will look outdated. And then they’ll be rediscovered, and there will be high-end retro prim shops that specialize in the non-sculpted prims no one is using any more.

And in the far future, some Second Life anthropologist will find a 185-prim waterfall or a 43-prim couch and go WTF? and a museum will be opened to showcase her finds.

Maybe someone will invent a rezzer which will replicate our expensive multi-prim objects with sculpted prims.

One can only hope.


Aldo Zond said...

chey, you're right with your thinking on sculpties but there are a couple of limits.

There is a limit of around a thousand vertices per prim. A vertex is a corner roughly speaking so even very complex items are possible with a single prim.

The Arbitary limit of 1024 vertices is there so that the sculptie isnt any 'heavier' on the sim than the torus.

You also cant have holes in things it drives the rendering engine potty.

So initially complex things like the hot rod cars wont be single prims but perhaps only 4 or 5.

That'll still represent a shift of light years in relation to existing prims.

The block prims will stay for large buildings and regular forms but people will stick sculpties into positions where the maximum effect can be achieved.

They'll be real world type scuplture parks and the organic forms in buildings will be amazing.

The only hassle will be creating the texture maps using external software. Yet something else to learn!

But If the Lindens are listening - And we know they do - this is such and influential blog! - BRING ON THE SCULPTIES NOW!

Cheyenne Palisades said...

Wow. Now I know way more about scupties! Love the term!

Thanks for the kind words about the blog. But I think only about a dozen people read it.