Even as busy with building as I've been (my apologies for the dearth of recent posts) I still try to keep up with news, with particular attention to Apple products. Most newsworthy of late is the Safari 4 Web browser βeta (Web) and the interesting technologies that I really hope Linden Labs® (SL) sees. A number of features Wowed me and have already made Web surfing a better experience but what really impressed me with respect to my virtual life is this 3D on 2D Canvas demo (Web). This makes the Second Life® "flexi" feature seem like late 20th Century kludge.
Generally I'm pleased with the flexi feature in SL though I hardly use it. Having something like this feature would certainly encourage me to explore using flexi in more of my builds. I bet clothing designers would kill to have this feature and simultaneously kill themselves at the prospect of rebuilding their entire lines.
A better flexi option would likely have helped some of my recent builds, but the thought of active shadows based on light sources in a build -- Dynamic Shadows -- kept coming to me while I was working. I've had to use more prims to re-create shadows than I would have liked and to have given everything a shadow would have used an enormous number of prims. In addition to the shadow option, I'd like to see Environmentally Conditional Volumes (ECV).
ECV would allow a region owner or manager to define a space then fully control all of it's environmental aspects, such as time of day, sun position, sea level, gravity, etc. Sort of a region within a region. Except for gravity, all these settings can be changed on a region-wide basis. But ECV would enable a portion of the space within a region to act like a separate region. Thus a "skybox" could be created with genuine Linden water and a fixed sun to simulate land at twilight, for example, without effecting the environment in the rest of the main region. Combine this with Dynamic Shadows and imagine the possibilities.