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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Blue World Notes: How Danielle Eber Imported Her Blue Mars Mesh Skirt Into Second Life

Last week I announced a challenge to mesh creators: Could they import a mesh object made for Second Life into Blue Mars, or vice versa? Here's the first attempt I received, from Danielle Eber, a successful Blue Mars fashion entrepreneur who also creates content in SL. Here's a gold skirt she made for Blue Mars, and what it looks like (without texturing) after she imported it into Second Life:

"I used a UV Map test pattern on the SL import because I was checking if the UV mapping had transferred properly," she explains, "and SL cannot do the metal shader and reflection map like we can in Blue Mars." To do the SL import, she didn't need to change the model in 3D Studio Max. "I only had to export using the Autodesk built-in Collada exporter instead of the OpenCollada exporter I usually use for Blue Mars. The SL version is static (does not deform when the avatar walks) because I have not learned how to rig the model to be animated yet."

While it would be possible to also give the SL version of the skirt a shiny gold color, Dani tells me they would not look the same: "The Cryengine2 [graphics engine] that Blur Mars uses has two main features that the SL graphics engine does not. That is, using multiple texture maps per surface, and a range of 'shaders' to choose from." So in this case, the mesh import is not a 100% faithful translation, though the basic form is the same.

If you're up for this mesh import/export challenge too, send me screenshots of the same object in each world, via email to me, hamlet at bluemarsonline dot com, or Tweet it at me @SLHamlet, or Plurk it to me at Hamlet_Au. I'll display the best examples here.


  1. What is at issue here is definitely a question of available materials/shaders. As in blue mars allows many, and second life has but one.

    However, the pictures displayed here are like those of late night info-mercial before and after pics. You know the sort, where the subject is frowning and unhappy before their nifty new facial cream product is applied and all smiles afterwards.

    I bring this up because the pictures here make up about all of the substance of the post.

    Mainly, I'm pounding on you here because in the Blue Mars pic, the skirt is by itself, un-worn. But in the Second Life picture, the skirt is attached to an avatar, horridly textured, with a leg sticking through it.

    Had the dress been properly rigged to the avatar and textured nicely, the difference in the *appearance* of quality would be far reduced.

    What I'm getting at is it seems to me that this post doesn't seem all that objective. But when you're being paid by one side of the argument, I guess that shouldn't be all that surprising.

  2. this is not news. I tested Blue Mars to SL in the early days of mesh. They obviously both support Collada very well.

    1. Second Life getting mesh is only good things for Blue Mars.

    2. Danielle could have done better - of COURSE a mesh fitted to the Blue Mars av is going to look like little crap on an SL avatar without a proper baked texture and fitting to the avatar shape. They are nothing alike.

    3. LL definitely has materials slated for future development /after/ mesh is out the door. It's not a fair comparison yet, as mesh is not even yet out the door.

    4. it would have been more fair to have an inworld pic of an avatar wearing a custom morph and the skirt in Blue Mars. (yeah, and sometimes these things glitch there, too)

    Adam and Eve already has a store in Blue Mars and in SL - I'd expect more to do that frankly and I suspect we haven't seen anything yet. Instead of the silly competitive penis measuring, folks need to welcome the fact that the metaverse is bigger than Blue Mars OR SL alone.

  3. Yeah, I didn't think the point of this was to make comparisons at all, odious things that they are. So the question of 'fairness' seems irrelevant to me. My guess is that Hamlet just thought it might be interesting to see a few items passed between the two worlds. Of course, if someone wants to make a controversy out of it, more hits for Hamlet!

  4. This was merely an experiment on my part. The challenge as posted was "can you import a COLLADA mesh", which was answered yes. At this stage of the SL beta (very early) there was not any point of me going beyond that to try and make a finished item of the skirt, so I didn't.

    I have also tried the reverse, exporting my SL avatar mesh to use to make a Blue Mars shape. That is not a 1:1 conversion, since the Blue Mars body has three times as many polygons. I have been asked many times "can I bring my SL avatar to Blue Mars", so that was another experiment to see what can be done. Result was it can be done, but it's not easy yet.

  5. "My guess is that Hamlet just thought it might be interesting to see a few items passed between the two worlds."

    Yep, I think that would be interesting, and for developers who work in both worlds, I think it would be *really* interesting. The point isn't to say one is better than the other, but to write about how the translation works. Reed, if you'd like to create a more equivalent SL/Mars mesh, please send it to me!


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