Maxwell who has a presence in both Cloud Party and Second Life is a very accomplished content creator and the Cloud Party setting is very much a picturesque build to get lost in your thoughts and admire the scenery.
However whereas the above builds are Mesh Maxwell has now started to play with Cloud Party’s inworld voxel building tools as he explains in an interesting post over at SLUniverse. Maxwell is downloading his Voxel build (which is a nice feature in Cloud Party), importing it into 3DS Max and then uploading the build to Second Life as a Collada file.
This process isn’t without minor challenges and Maxwell explains how he had to convert the downloaded obj file to FBX before it would play nicely in 3DS Max. However there are also benefits to this process.
Gaia Clary has announced in the official forums that the latest version of Blender, 2.68, now has improved weight painting tools. I’m not familiar with these sort of tools, so I don’t know how much of an improvement they are, Gaia, who does know about these matters seems pretty impressed. Gaia also helps to develop these improvements, so deserves much credit. I’ll embed Gaia’s video explaining the improvements at the end of the post, but this video is aimed at those who already have a knowledge of weight painting.
Gaia and fellow colleagues have worked on development with Blender to make it more useful for the Second Life community, for example they have been instrumental in seeing that Collada support is maintained and their work also saw options mentioning Second Life, coming to the Blender client.
However they don’t do this alone and Gaia thanks the main devs too for their assistance, so it seems there’s a very good working relationship at play, which is positive for Second Life going forward.
Version 2.68 also has other improvements over previous versions of Blender.
After their call to bloggers earlier in the year, Linden Lab made a more quiet call to specific artists regarding images for their website. Strawberry Singh being one of those asked to produce work for Linden Lab. This created a small ripple of damned if you do or damned if you don’t when there was some criticism of the nature of this call for assistance not being open to all. However the results were widely greeted in a positive light.
I’m seeing Second Life adverts in my Google Adsense stream again, I haven’t noticed these for a while but it looks as if Linden Lab are utilising adsense again in another marketing campaign, which is good to see. However this post is about the forthcoming release of Blender 2.64 and new features that have Second Life in mind.
Gaia Clary, who has been working hard with others to ensure Collada support in Blender is improved and maintained, brings us news on the official forum of new features in Blender 2.64. Collada is the format we use to import Mesh objects to Second Life, Blender were talking of dropping support for Collada as it was a buggy format, but Gaia and others have risen to the challenge of helping to improve it.
Blender 2.64 isn’t officially released yet, but the new improvements include:
Geometry data is now again named similar to the Object names (Object names are preserved).
The order of export for objects can now be sorted (avoid LOD matching problems).
Apply modifiers is non destructive. You no longer have to apply the modifiers before exporting. This works also with Mirror Modifiers and Shape keys.
You can now export a rig with stripped control bones as long as the deform bones define a complete SL Skeleton.
The reimport of exported collada files to Blender is still not fully fixed. But for static meshes it now works reasonable well (not so important for Second Life users though).
Back in January I reported that there was talk of Blender dropping support for Collada. This was a tad concerning but as I pointed out at the time, not the end of the world. Collada is the format used to get Mesh into Second Life, so in Second Life terms it was important but you can happily use older versions of Blender to create content. Blender 2.62 hasn’t ended this discussion, but Collada support is not only still there, there’s now a mention of Second Life with the addition of a compatibility option for exporting armatures, which you can read about here.
There is also a mention of the issues with Collada and Blender there too:
“There has been much discussion about the state of the Collada integration, it’s not currently working very reliable yet, and this needs to be solved somehow. A new team now started working to improve Collada support to get it more useful for integration with external tools and game engines, improving the existing OpenCollada based I/O module.”