Ahead of Animesh: Efficiency

There has been a lot of talk, recently, with regard to what is and isn’t possible within the platform when it comes to content creation and detail. We see this complaint come up commonly with all content, but more recently this has become more of a touchy issue with the coming of Animesh (animated mesh) objects, which are currently being tested on the Beta grid.

As things go, Animesh is currently limited to 20Ktris per linkset, which means that content creators have to be very cautious about the complexity of the models they intend to use.

The most immediate use case being presented are full scale animated NPCs based on existing mesh content (bodies, clothing, hair). Additional use cases include accessorizing of rezzable pets, customization of vehicles, and more.

However, the efficacy of Animesh in terms of accomplishing those goals is questionable.

As things stand, the current limitations (20KTris per linkset, minimum 200LI cost for animated mesh objects) are deliberately conservative so as to accurately assess graphic and server load under heavy use. These limitations are likely to change, but some of the suggestions as far as to what degree have been quite far-ranging. At recent user group meetings, we’ve seen suggestions anywhere from 100-500KTris per linkset so as to accommodate clothing, hair and body mesh.

This might not seem like a lot but for the moment let’s argue that the average fashionista might themselves average between 250-800Ktri range. Today in SL, this is only just manageable in a room with multiple such avatars because we can now elect to filter out performance-heavy individuals by using Avatar Complexity filters. (If you frequently allow your viewer not to do this, chances are you spend a fair amount on a new video card every couple of years. Not everyone can afford that!)

There is no immediate indication that we will have any similar functionality with Animesh. Apart from the polycount restriction and LI, there is also no immediate restriction on how many animesh can be drawn by your camera. As such, placing multiple such linksets in a given area may well create a negative experience for a large portion of the SL userbase, who may not have the most up to date equipment for enjoying Second Life.

It begs the question of content creators – Notwithstanding any easement of these restrictions, what can we as content creators do to create more efficient models for use as Animesh (or even for daily use on our own avatars)?

 

Design with efficiency in mind.

There are many workflows out there. Some of us are working with Blender, Maya, 3DSMax, SketchUp, ZBrush or even Marvelous Designer.

I am hesitant to point out any one workflow as being ‘bad’, but frankly some of these workflows are designed for higher-detail applications and not for immediate use in gaming.

Does this mean I think they shouldn’t be used?

Not at all, however it’s important for content creators to understand what kind of issues they are introducing to the viewer experience when they present un-optimized content to the consumer market, what the repercussions may be and how to mitigate them.

For example, Marvelous Designer allows designers to create garments based on traditional patterning and to see how those garments will fall on an avatar, but even with the recent addition of its quadrangulate functionality, it produces mesh with counter-intuitive edge flow. Additionally, the common practice with MD is to simply export a high-poly mesh to include fine details and call it a day, without regard to how that might impact the viewer in SL.

We have similar problems with ZBrush, which can handle millions of vertices at a time and which does have a means of retopology (making something less complex), but which still requires a lot of tweaking to create something with good enough edgeflow to work well in lower poly situations.

You can work from low-poly to high or high-poly to low based on your preference, but it should be noted that the average avatar doesn’t actually *need* Pixar-level graphic fidelity in their everyday SL experience.

Wyvern material comparison
Most people think this wyvern comes out to around 50KTri or more – in actuality, with the use of normal maps, it is far far less (at 14KTri), and the final product may even be less depending on final refinements.

Rather than importing garments to SL with every possible nook and cranny modelled in geometry, designers can (and should) make use of the tools afforded them by advanced materials! This can be done by baking down some of the details from their higher-poly models to diffuse maps but also by creating normal and specular maps that will take advantage of textures instead of geometry to create detail.

Normal maps can make a huge difference when it comes to conveying details! This blouse is under 4KTri,, animates cleanly and still has subtle seam and cloth fold information which some would otherwise model out in geometry.

With this sort of workflow in mind, a 20KTri blouse could easily be reduced to 4-5KTri with minimal detail loss.

Even more savings can be had if animesh are designed and modelled with these restrictions in mind, rather than cobbled together from multiple sources.

With a custom designed animesh human, for example, there is no need to include a full mesh body – only those parts which are visible need be included. Clothing, hair, accessories – all of these can be developed with efficiency in mind to fit the criteria for Animesh limits.

Level of Detail models are also helpful with reducing viewer load at a distance, given the fact that Animesh do not currently become imposters at a distance (even though they express sped up animations just as avatars do).

 

Balance

Of course, it’s helpful not to think of SL purely in terms of efficiency. We could all just wear stick-figures or rez them and call it a day… but if the visual element were removed what would be the point?

Instead, I’d love to see limitations on these resources to encourage both more efficiency as well as stylistic choices that deviate from the norm. There is a vast niche of style that continues to go untapped within the platform and I’d be really interested to see more interesting art styles rather than a constant push towards photo-realism, personally.

The Driders Are Here!

Just in time for Halloween, the Driders have made it to Wilds of Organica!

This avatar is a lower body, Bento-rigged attachment designed for use with both male and female shapes! Six coats are available and each package includes the avatar body mesh, an alpha layer, and animation overrider. The avatar is mod, copy, no trans, with some no-mod scripts for updates.

Full, most up-to-date documentation can be found here!

Please note! This avatar uses hind, wing, and tail bones! It may be incompatible with other Bento-enabled products – please try a demo first, as I cannot give refunds (other than for duplicate purchases).

Available in store or on the Marketplace!

 

New Azalea Bonsai at Organica

A new set of bonsai are now available at Organica!

 

These flowering trees will brighten up any household or garden. 8LI at packaged size, they have individually articulated flowers and foliage for great closeup detail, all the while maintaining efficient geometry to promote viewer performance. For best results, view with Advanced Lighting Model (Materials).

Eight varieties are available separately as well as a fatpack. Mod, copy, no transfer.

Each variety is available for purchase here at the Organica shop as well as here on Marketplace.

Wilds of Organica at Fantasy Faire 2017!

If you’ve been following WoO, you might have been wondering what I’ve been up to. A preview of a new offering was put up on my Flickr feed a couple weeks ago, and now I’m happy to announce that two new freebie avatars are now available at Fantasy Faire from any of the region landing points as low ARC options for browsing this or any other event.

An added bonus is that other colours are also available from my shop at the Faire, located in The Spirit Pool region, as part of a gachapon vendor! Two rares are available and there are ten non-freebie coats available!

Additionally, the long awaited centaur avatar is also being introduced at Fantasy Faire! Four coats are available for general release, while two additional (purple and pink) are offered as donation items for the Relay for Life. The avatars are made for both male and female shapes (although some modification may be necessary for a natural fit) and require Bento & ALM functionality to be viewed. All animations are custom made and include some facial and hand animation support for those who wear Bento heads and hands. Additionally, while this release does not include applier functionality, additional coats will be offered soon, after the new applier system is implemented (watch Wilds of Organica subscriber notifications closely for this announcement!).

Be sure to drop by the [ WoO ] shop in The Spirit Pool from April 20-30 for Fantasy Faire to try a demo or check out all the other new things that are now available!

New Bento Wings from Wilds of Organica!

New this week at Wilds of Organica are these Bento-enabled webbed wings! They work great as bat, dragon or demon wings and come in eight different colours, sized for both smaller and larger avatars. Each set also comes with a basic wing AO HUD, which includes both normal overrides as well as specific standard poses.

Please note: Due to an existing bug with system animations not resuming properly, it is highly recommended that this product be used alongside your favourite human animation override, as unexpected results may otherwise occur. 

These wings & HUD are mod, copy, with some copy-only scripts.

They’re available right now at Wilds of Organica!

Additional news of note:

A complete update of the vendor system being used by Wilds of Organica’s non-gacha items has been done. This allows all shoppers of *both* Organica and Wilds of Organica to spend and apply loyalty credit wherever they wish between the two shops. So if you have shop credit from Organica but want to pick up something at Wilds of Organica, you can do so by left-clicking the appropriate vendor to initiate this process.

With that said – please note that this does *not* apply to the Gacha machines, which will continue to operate separate as they have done in the past. 

Remaining WoO gift-card holders should contact me directly to have their remaining credit applied to the new system prior to attempting gift card redemption.

Happy Shopping!

Wilds of Organica at Enchantment

Wilds of Organica is participating in the current round of the Enchantment event!

This round’s theme is Cinderella, and based upon Perrault’s version ( Cendrillon ), here is Wilds’ offering:

 

Tap in to your reptile brain and transform yourself in to a Lizard Footman!

This is a moddable mesh head and arms with footman costume. All parts are materials optimized and the head and fingers are Bento-animation ready. Costume can be detached with basic editing and the arms can be edited in sections to adjust visibility under other garments.

Mod, copy, no transfer, free updates.

 

Visit Enchantment from February 11 thru 28 at http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Nymphai/51/127/2728 .

See you there!

New Bird Buddies for The Arcade, September 2016!

Hi Everyone!

I’m pleased to announce Wilds of Organica will be participating in this month’s round of The Arcade.

Assorted TitsA couple of boobies

 

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This time you can play for up to 10 different passerine or pelagic static birds that would go great with the special exclusive reward item, which is a bronze birdcage!

The birds are static models but four poses for each bird are available if exchanged (rez your transfer-only prize in the blue circle listed in the accompanying notecard for automated exchange).

Please note! While this gacha will make its way to the Wilds of Organica main store eventually, the cage itself will be exclusive to the event and is a mod/copy (with some copy-only scripts) item given out after 25 plays of the machine!

If you’d like your chance at it, be sure to visit The Arcade during the month of September to play the machine!

Birds are 1-2 LI each, cage is 4LI.

The Arcade returns at 12AM, Sept 1, 2016! See you there!

Wilds of Organica at Fantasy Faire!

Wilds of Organica has a fantastic spot this year at Fantasy Faire’s Breeze sim and there are two new releases available:

This new set of cyborg heads is rigged, Materials-optimized mesh available in eight unique looks. These are mod/copy/no transfer and each comes with a version for both male and female shapes, plus appropriate alpha layers. 100% Proceeds from the Vital Violet and Unapologetic Pink versions will go to the American Cancer Society as part of the Relay for Life.

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Additionally, all proceeds from this stave set will go to RFL/ACS. These staves include a slight particle effect, but are otherwise unscripted. By default, they will attach to your left hand, but since they are unrigged, you can attach them to any part of your avatar if you wish. Mod, copy, no transfer, includes 4 textures.

These and many other Wilds of Organica items will be on sale at Fantasy Faire, including many previous years’ RFL exclusive offerings!

Fantasy Faire runs from April 21 thru May 1 and Wilds of Organica can be found here.

Grass Tops, Hyacinth and Morning Glory now available!

Grass Tops

This newest offering from Organica has been a long time in development. Back a few years ago, I released a couple of Erosion sets, which serve to create transitions between higher and lower terrain, offering opportunities to create a terraced effect between land & land as well as land & water. At the time, the greatest aim was to create such items such that LI could be kept low. With those goals in mind, the erosion sets have gone on to do very well.

With that said, I’ve since received requests for similar items with grassy fringe, which would create a better blend between the top texture and the rock texture, so I’ve taken some time to create and test a new set of grassy top items, as follows:

GrassTop-vender

These pieces range from 1-9 LI at packaged size – This is a bit higher in some cases than the original erosion sets, however with the increased degree of geometry, it is unavoidable. (If LL offered the opportunity for content creators to apply an alpha mask to a material separate from a diffuse texture, we would be able to make further LI savings, however that appears to be outside the scope of potential tool development at this time). These items feature baked soil/rock texture and the usual leafy texture that is offered with the original erosion pieces by default. All pieces have a tapered edge for easier blending and placement. As with the erosion sets, you can also apply your own terrain texture if you wish. Six shapes are included to give you the most flexibility while landscaping. Check them out in-world here or on Marketplace here!

Additionally, two new types of flower are now available!

Hyacinths

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Each package offers both potted (3 plants per pot) and unpotted (individual plant) items and there are ten different colours to collect, mix and match, both separately as well as in a fatpack! 1 and 3 LI each, Mod, copy, no transfer, available both in-store here and on Marketplace here!

Morning Glory

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Featuring signature trumpet-like flowers, these vines grow around an intricate wrought-iron trellis and grow from a beautiful, ornate planter! Available in four varieties, materials optimized. 7 LI each, mod, copy, no transfer, available both in-store here and on the Marketplace here!

Armadillos make their way to The Arcade this month!

YourArguementInvalid
I am a purple armadillo riding a red velociraptor (JIAN Dino Buddies – Fast Biter – Red by Kalia Firelyte), lugging my worldly belongings (PFC Vagabond Hat & Vagabond BNB Bag by Pucca Firecaster) across the Post-Apocalypse! (The Wastelands). Your argument is invalid.

 

As the title suggests, Wilds of Organica makes its way back to The Arcade this March with the following avatar!

It’s .5m tall, comes with controllable eyes and tail, and also comes with both a biped and quadruped AO.

Materials optimized, transfer-only, with optional mod/copy exchange.

Check out the Wilds of Organica gacha machine here from March 1-March 31st, 2016!

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