Look, Ma! I made mesh!

I’ve been trying out a recent purchase, and oh my god it is fucking awesome.

It’s Mesh Studio, and it’s an inworld mesh-creation tool. I’ll leave you to check out that Marketplace link and, when your eyes have stopped watering at the price, I’ll show you why it’s worth every Linden buck.

That giant chest that I’m sitting on is one single prim of land impact. And yet, when I originally made it, it was 11 prims. What Mesh Studio allows creators to do is make something in prims, do some texture-editing (more on that shortly), chuck in a single script, set the LoD (Level of Detail) they want, click the object, and instantly download a .dae file that they can re-upload to SL, with all faces and texture repeats etc set, ready for re-texturing.

Here’s my original Large Golden Chest (no, not a pair of suntanned Lolas…) Note the land impact of 11.

Unfortunately, the only thing that doesn’t seem to work well with Mesh Studio is planar texturing. The golden edges of those panels, as well as the beveled edge of the top are planar textured and, on re-uploading and re-texturing, two sides of each came out perfectly, the other two were screwed, and I couldn’t figure out a way to get them textured properly. So, in the end I changed the texture to a simpler wood one.

Here is my final, re-textured, re-uploaded one-prim  chest:

Okay, so then I had to start trying this out on more complex objects! This is an old set from my Verne  Gentleman’s Study series: a leather blotter with a pen and old letter.

The original weighs in at a five-prim land impact (Mesh Studio calculates it at ten, as that’s how many prims are in it; I used convex hull to halve that):

The hovertext you can see in the screenshots is generated by the Mesh Studio script, which is in the item. And here’s the one-prim mesh version as it’s just been uploaded. As you can see, the initial upload is all-white, so I’ve enabled shadows so you can see a bit more detail:

And here it is, re-textured:

Five prims, down to one!

The procedure is very, very simple.

  1. Make your item and texture it. Get all the texture repeats etc exactly as you need them. No sculpties; it has to be all legacy prims, but you can cut, hollow, etc as much as you like. This really does bring us full-circle to the days before we had sculpts and people got creative with the only prims we had. Some incredibly-complex things were made back then, and you would never guess – if you saw them today – that they weren’t mesh, until you inspected them.
  2. Link the item together, then set all faces to 100% transparency. That’s right; everything’s now invisible.
  3. Use the CTRL+ALT+T (or Mac equivalent) command to view transparent prims, and select all the visible  textures (that is, everything that will show) and set those back to full opacity. If you’ve made, for example, a simple table out of a tall cylinder with a large flat cylinder on top of it, then the bottom and top faces of the tall cylinder aren’t even going to be seen, so you don’t want to waste mesh vertices on them.
  4. Once you’re done (cam around the object and double-check that you’ve not missed any visible textures) put the Object-2-joined-mesh script into it.
  5. For the next bit (sorting out your LoDs and making a physics shape for things such as furniture and buildings) I suggest checking out the official Mesh Studio website, which has a lot of great tutorials and is easy to follow. I just went for the default LoD on both, and made a very simple physics shape for the chest.
  6. When that’s done, click the object and select ‘Mesh!’ from the menu. Wait a few seconds, then you’ll be given a link in chat (it’s an object IM, so only you can see it). Click it, and a new browser tab or window will open, and you’ll have the download to a .zip file waiting for you. Save it on your computer, unzip it, then go right back to SL.
  7. Go to upload a Mesh Model (you can only do this if you’ve completed the Linden Lab IP Tutorial; find it here, or look under your account on the SL website for Mesh Upload Status). Browse for your .dae file, give it a name, set what the model represents (building, static object, etc), use the physics tab to add a physics shape if you have one, then click Calculate Weights and Fee.
  8. It’s a good idea to perform your initial uploads on the Beta Grid, if you have access to it, as they won’t cost you anything and you can perfect each item before uploading to the Main Grid. You can always use an alt for this, so your main avatar can stay on the Main Grid and tweak the original object for re-downloading until you’ve perfected the upload on the Beta Grid.
  9. Once the model is in your inventory, rez it and re-apply the textures. Voila!

Best thing I’ve bought in years.


Chucking prims together: the Victorian skybox

I’ve had this sitting on my main building platform for weeks now, but I finally got the inspiration to finish it yesterday. It still needs a few tweaks, and I have to go through all the rigmarole of getting it out for sale in various arenas, but it’s just about finished.

The Victorians were renowned for cramming together stuff willy-nilly, including patterns and textures. There was nary a Victorian parlour that wasn’t jammed with objects, so in furnishing the main room I bore that fact in mind. Above is one view, and this is looking the other way:

I’ve left the hallway relatively bare, except for some wall lighting, a sideboard, and an old settle. I may add some more bits and pieces here, maybe not. I love  this wall texture, though. Again, completely OTT and crazy on the patterns, just as was done back then:

Lastly, the study. I am so  pleased with how the curved bookcases came out. Slightly less pleased with the desk texture (I can’t find one that works to my liking, so I’ll still be fiddling with that for a while, methinks).

Incidentally, at the beginning of the post I mentioned ‘all the rigmarole’ of getting a build like this out for sale. This is my own personal rigmarole:

– Rex Faux the build & test-rez to make sure it works
– Pack into a box
– Take high-res snapshots
– Create ad images & upload
– Load boxed build into Caspervend dropbox
– Set up Caspervend vendor
– Set rezzed version out as ‘rezzed build of the week’
– Change teleports etc in store to new rezzed build
– Load into holovendor (not yet fully in use, but loading everything new for now)
– Write group notice & send to update group & Subscribe-O-Matic
– Send build etc to Marketplace
– Write up Marketplace listing

Dear Diary: Weekend headaches suck

Dear Diary,

Weekend headaches suck. They really do. I’ve been nursing an absolute stonker between my eyebrows for the past couple of hours (so what do I do? Yep; I get online to bitch about it, while looking at a bright LCD monitor. Smart move, Skell). Painkillers and Pak Fah Yeow should help, though they both take a while to work.

The main reason why I’m waiting for this headache to abate is that I need all available braincells to box up, put out in the store, and write the Marketplace listing for my latest item. I wanted to put something out (so the world at large doesn’t think I’ve fallen down a big hole, because it’s been a while since I released Interessovat) so I took a look around the GB City build that I put together and realised I could sell some of the empty store shells. The first one out will be the Gorean Medieval store: a giant warehouse with grunged Japanese souko textures. I’ve renamed it Chew’s Warehouse, and if you know your movie references that one should be easy ;-)

Couple of teaser pics:

In other news, I’ve been freaking out over the quality of Apple Fall’s upcoming Arcade Gatcha items. Honestly, I swear I’m going to bankrupt myself trying to get everything that’s been teased on Flickr over the past week or so. So far, I want the reclaimed dresser (all variants), the backgammon board, the chair, the plants… um, basically everything. My wallet is doomed…

I’ve also been getting to grips with CasperVend. A few weeks back, I bought the massive fatpack of everything, and I’ve slowly been going through the options, figuring stuff out and getting items loaded into dropboxes. It’ll be a while yet before it goes live in the store (seriously, we’re probably talking around Christmas!) but once it does you’ll be able to gift items, redeliver, and also use a rezzer to see and walk around anything that catches your fancy.

Ugh. My brain is practically out for lunch. Here, have a couple of pics of me sitting in our office at GB City. I love this place (and yes, I’m blond today). I’m off to find something to eat, in the hope of poking said brain back into relatively-full functionality.

Dear Diary: Ch-Ch-Changes

Dear Diary,

Well, here I am on a Sunday morning with a headache. Mainly because I stayed up until after 3am this morning, working on something new and huge, and for some reason I woke up just five hours later.

Tomorrow is Skell’s sixth rezday (*balloons!* *party streamers!* *virtual booze!* *virtual hangover!*) and, usually, I treat myself to something special on that day. My first rezday gift to myself, way back in 2008, was a brand new skin. Back then, at about L$1500, that was a large outlay for me, but now? Pfft! That’s nothing ;-)

It’s getting harder and harder to find things that I want to buy or have room to rez. I’ve seen several beautiful homes, both inworld and on Marketplace, that I’d like, but we already have… several homes (it’s something of a giggle between us, just how many we have) and I don’t know what I’d do with anymore! (Having said that, every year Daros manages to find the absolute perfect thing for my rezday. In the past that has included a building which, after saying I don’t think I could want any more buildings, is so absolutely, achingly gorgeous, I have to rez and furnish it!)

So, the big ticket items for this year’s rezday will probably be something to build with. Maybe a pile of gorgeous texture sets, or a builders’ package of… something. I don’t know yet. I spent rather a lot on textures yesterday, but I’m sure I can find some more ;-)

The reason why I stayed up until after 3am is that, every couple of years I get a bit antsy about the mainstore and want to re-build it. As our stock of items for sale has expanded (along with our building skills) we’ve slowly increased the floorspace of what we’ve always called the GB Mall (it’s actually one big store with several departments, each one of which is owned by either Daros, me, or our dear friend Rannon). I looked back over past screenshots to see if I could find any with images of the stores we’ve had so far.

The first incarnation of it was a little sky mall, probably no bigger than about 30×30, featuring 10×10 stalls, into which we placed our ad boards. I found a few old shots of us at Halloween (with our pet dancing skeleton!) on my Flickr stream:

The second incarnation of the mainstore was a much bigger grungy building (which I later remade and stuck out for sale in both incarnations: with lava, and without lava – but not including the ‘work area’ shown in this image).

The most recent incarnation of the store is two of Lost Dawn’s fabulous old warehouses, rezzed one behind the other. It was the only way we could fit everything in, as back then the land we owned in Jindalrae was limited and the parcels slightly awkwardly-placed. Since we now own almost half the region, it’s time for a change.

Daros’s old Beggar’s Day grunge and skater clothing store. Now he can rez that all out again!

The new build is big. I mean really BIG. I ended up rezzing megaprims over all the land we own (on the ground) then sending them up into the air so I have a base to work on and can see where the ‘holes’ (parcels we don’t own) are. There are only three main ones, and I’ve blocked those out with tall trompe l’oeil buildings, so it looks as if you’re in a city. Then, with the aid of some fabulous new textures, and some (unbelievably cheap and free) modifiable buildings, I got to work.

Here’s a preview of what I got done in just a few hours:

Yes, this is a candy store in the second pic. I want this to be as much a photo op location as a store location. Hell, people could probably even roleplay there, if they wanted to. We might! And yes, there will be more stuff going up behind me in this shot.

I won’t be using all the mapped-out land (I’ll block it off with more trompe l’oeil) but it’s good to know that we can expand if we want to. The one thing I’m dreading is changing all the LMs, but I’ll get to that when it’s done.