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Archive for October 26th, 2011

There are two pieces of good news to share today – the outcome of stories we have covered earlier.

The Parametric Deformer for Mesh

The Parametric Deformer for Mesh

Firstly, the Mesh project has reached its target!  You may remember that we have been supporting the campaign to crowd source development funding to create a parametric deformer to help mesh clothing fit avatar’s varying bodies.  You can think of the parametric defoprmer as an invisible cage that hovers just slightly around your avatar body by a very small distance, but with the same shape as you. When you wear an item of mesh clothing from your inventory, that item would “shrink wrap” to fit that cage around you, no matter what your shape happens to be. You can read more about how mesh and the parametric deformer work here.

The good news is that in a little over twenty days the target has been reached!

Maxwell Graf, the owner of Rustica, and the moving force behind this project said, “I think this shows the desire of the SL community to drive feature development here in spite of whatever resource or technical limitation that LL may have in being able to do so. This is the community saying, ‘No no, you work on stability, thats ok. We got this.’ I hope that it is setting a precedent.”

That’s an ambitious – and potentially an exciting – way forward.  Another crowd sourcing funding in still underway – supporting the Kirsten Viewer.  This is being hosted at Crowdfunder, and so far has raised 13% of its target (there are 52 days to go).

Personally, I think this is going to be a tougher one to gather funds for.  The beauty of the Mesh parametric deformer project that it was raising funds to pay for a very specific task – and something that, it seemed, no-one else was doing.  It was offering a specific (and popular) developer to write a specific piece of code, with a goal that anyone could understand – it will make your clothes fit.  And the price was not high, nor open-ended.  Once this code is delivered, that’s it – although more projects may follow.

The trouble with the Kirsten viewer project is that it is more open-ended.  It is to pay for sustaining development of the Kirsten Viewer over a year, so the sum to be raised is much more ambitious (£25,000 – which at today’s rates is nearly US$40,000).  The targets therefore are more loosely defined – there’s no ‘magic bullet’ piece of coding (even if the people backing the deformer are at pains to point out that this is only the first magic bullet); it’s ongoing work.  And although people who use the Kirsten viewer love it to bits and are passionately behind it, there are other, more popular viewers.  Keeping Kirsten going is not a make or break deal in the way that many people see the Mesh project.

Nevertheless, the Kirsten viewer is definitely one worthy of support – as the 86 people who’ve already contributed over US$5,000 clearly feel.  And I do wish them every success in reaching their target.

The second piece of good news is that Nexus Burbclave, whose woes with the Billing Department of Linden Lab we documented on the blog here yesterday, has been re-instated.  That’s very good news for Nexus and his partner (who was also banned for sharing his IP address), for his Mainland Renaissance Project, and for all of us at Designing Worlds, as we’re planning on featuring the Mainland Renaissance Project in a show shortly.

Once again, though, there is a worrying side to this. If you look at the comments on yesterday’s blog post, you’ll see that Nexus is not alone in suffering at the hands of the Billing Department. Like the support department, it’s really something that Linden Lab need to take in hand, urgently.

And I am hoping it was co-incidence that Nexus, after waiting six long days for a response to his filing of all the material that the Lab requested, was suddenly restored to his account the day he reluctantly decided to take the whole matter public.  It depresses me even to think that loud shouting as opposed to reasoned argument is the way to get things done.

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