Jack Linden releases this update on collada mesh support in second life, including these videos made by their beta testers.
Nothing particularly new here so I suspect the announcement was just to keep the buzz going.
A lot of people have said they weren't that excited about collada mesh because the new meshes will have to be made outside of secondlife and imported in world, it detracts from the very novice friendly building tools available in world.
I understand their concerns, but point out there are many of these off-world programs are also very novice friendly and free, like Google Sketchup. Here is a video of someone creating a mailbox in sketch up and importing it into SL to give you an idea how easy it is..
While some collada meshes can add to download lag on one end, they render faster on most machines so they will reduce lag on that end, and many prim-built objects have unnecessary vertices that would be eliminated by the importing of meshes also speeding up processing and reducing lag.
Some things, like hair, which is now made using dozens and dozens of small prims will be replaced by a single mesh, which will render much faster and automatically adjust to any size head.
One tool I've thought about to bring collada creation inworld would be a system that took your linked set of prims and gave you an optimized collada mesh back. There are already similar programs like Sculpt Crafter that take your prims and give you a sculptie map in return so it shouldn't be very hard to do the same with collada. It might even be easier.
It might even be wise for SecondLife to seek partnership with a program like Google Sketchup which is based on the collada format. Such a partnership could be good for both companies. Sketchup users would have the opportunity to see avatars interact with their creations in real time and Secondlife users would have the opportunity to learn this great free tool. SecondLife already has a relationship with Google for their maps, so maybe this is an avenue to explore.
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