Thursday, February 26, 2009

Amazin' 3D

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.

No comments: