Mesh Is Great, But Mesh Clothing…?

Second Life’s recent and exciting feature (the ability to import COLLADA Mesh objects) is a game changer within the virtual world. It has the potential to replace the basic building tools used to create objects in Second Life. While mesh support is exciting, currently there’s a few limitations to its implementation. While, these limitations don’t seem like large stumbling blocks for most items (such as: buildings, automobiles, props) they are limiting enough that makes me question the newest trend in mesh, Mesh Clothing.

Mesh clothing does have a few benefits, opposed to prim based objects (i.e. flex or sculpted objects). Unlike prim based objects, mesh seems to wrap around the avatar’s body, thus preventing arms and legs from peeking out of a skirt, sleeves, or jackets. Mesh clothing has the ability to provide a higher quality of clothing, especially for dresses.

Mesh clothing is a bit problematic for me, because of the current limitations of mesh. As noted above, one of the big problems is the inability to adjust the size of COLLADA based objects, like it’s prim based counterparts. I’m sure, in the future, this would be a feature that Linden Lab implements into the Second Life system. However, at the moment, the workarounds aren’t the best. If your avatar doesn’t fit within the constraints of the designed outfit, you’ll have to adjust your avatar, thus adjusting your look. While some designers are counter-acting this issue by creating different sizes of their outfits, my question is a bit broader then having “small”, “medium”, and “large” versions of the same outfit.

Opposed to creating a full mesh outfit, I don’t get why designers just create the needed accessories. They’ve been doing this for years with prim based objects, why change the formula that has worked so well? Combining the clothing layer, along with a mesh based object makes more sense and flexibility to avatar sizes, than creating a full meshed based outfit that will fit a certain type of avatar. If a designer is creating a dress, why not just mesh the bottom of the outfit?

In time, I’m sure that mesh will become the standard for building and creating within Second Life, and hopefully push major changes to the current building tools. I’m sure the limitations of mesh will be fixed, and adjusted, in time. I just wonder about the current execution of the new feature by content creators.

Photo: “untitled” / Joe Balbozar / flickr

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