Monday, May 19, 2014

Sinister Lovecraftian Formlessness

First, a little update: Land Baron contacted me last night with an actual apology, so fair play to him for doing that.  He also told me he was winding up his operations, so my "hunkering down" strategy has paid off, or will come the end of next month.  This may leave me as a single island of habitation in a sea of abandoned land... well, we shall see how things go from there.

Anyway.  Last night, the talk at Oxbridge was mostly of the new mesh avatars, which are (as previously noted) not entirely an unmixed blessing - especially from the point of view of the tutors, who will have to explain to baffled new people that their avatars do not actually look like them, they are merely piloting human-shaped skin suits like the Slitheen in Doctor Who.  I foresee confusion arising.

One part of the conversation turned to making more and better (and more ethnically diverse) mesh avatars, and in that context, Tali (who is brilliant and well-informed and I would say that even if she wasn't my girlfriend) brought up the MakeHuman program ( ), an OpenSource project for creating human-shaped meshes.  And I sat in the lecture hall in unwonted silence and stillness from then on, because I was downloading this thing and having a go.

And, actually, it is pretty darn nifty... and it includes several features which are meant not only for creating avatar meshes, but for uploading them as wearable rigged objects into Second Life.  My reputation as a mad scientist positively demanded that I try it out...

... and shortly thereafter, I appeared in the Oxbridge plaza as a cloud of shapeless protoplasm the size of a bus, the only distinguishable features being a pair of shoes.  As Tali put it, "a shoggoth in bathroom slippers".

Well, these setbacks will happen.   It may be a problem with the tool - it is still in early stages, officially a Version 1 release, and the Second Life compatibility tools may not yet be proven.  On the other hand, a mesh expert I am not, and it might be somewhat hubristic to expect a perfect result based on one evening's playing around.  So, I may persevere with this.  (If nothing else, I'm sure I can export the mesh product into Blender, and I should be able to rig it from there...)

In fact, the more I think about this, the more I am tempted to utter those words which, spoken by people like me, make sensible people blench and hide their breakable items before running for the hills: "Oh!  I think I see what I did wrong...."

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