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The Future of Second Life looks… shaded. | VintFalken.com
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VintFalken.com

The Future of Second Life looks… shaded.

June 13, 2008 2:38 pm

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Signpost Marvin compiled an experimental branch of the Second Life Viewer - the so called shadow-draft branch and lookie, behold, a comparison between the normal and the experimental client:

Neat, no? Of course, as Gwyneth Llewelyn points out in Shadowy Details, this is bound to raise discussion:

Can my computer handle this?

No, probably not. Mine won’t. But they are still working on it, and computers are evolving. Wait for your turn? Until then, let’s make work of decently shaded textures. And if you are a builder or designer and think ahead, you may to give people the option to turn those shadow textures off and replace them by normal ones?

Rendered ft. baked shadows

Region / Estate Menu (RC 1.20 client)Yep. But this is the glimpse in the future we’re getting here. Don’t worry yet, and consider the option in the paragraph above. Also, if you are used to build whole sims, what about the override time on sims? You can either set sun position and stop it from moving, or make that your estate follows the sun position as it is on the ‘mainland’ and create your textures accordingly. If you have your sun moving, then why don’t make a few different textures, and let them cycle, according to the mainland time and the position of the sun that follows from that?

Virtual shadows: Good thing? Bad thing?

Do I personally think if this is a good thing? Oh yes! Anything that allows us to compete with those top notch game engines is ‘total awesomeness’. But what confuses me, is that all those top notch games only render shadows for some items - most of the time the moving stuff (avatar, enemies, vehicles, …). As you find yourself in a certain ‘game scene’ with fixed time & environment settings, lots of the shadows may be static and thus baked textures. An example: Play ‘Iron Man the Game’, in the first level - yeah, yeah, did not get further than that - you will see that the grass is shaded to the ground. Stand on that shaded part of the ground. The shading will not reflect on your game character, thus the shading is baked to the ground texture. But move your character, and that character will have a moving, rendered, shadow. Why do they do this? That’s simple, to safe resources.

Shadow wish-list

So if Lindens would give us - together with nice shadings - a ‘do not render shading for this object’ button which does not only stop your client from showing them, but also from ‘doing the math’ for shadows on those objects, we’re all set for the future and nobody needs to be scared? ;)

18 Responses to “The Future of Second Life looks… shaded.”

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[…] bedenkingen par moi, Gweneth Llewelyn and Tateru Nino over de shaduwkwestie. Zitten er ook aan te komen: lip-syncing, […]

stephen venkman wrote a comment on June 13, 2008
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This is cool, but yea my pc is already groaning with every log in and it’s not that old.

Smiley Barry wrote a comment on June 13, 2008
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Sweet! Could you please ask Signpost Marvin to send me his compiled viewer to my email address in this comment? And, you can use it if you have a Geforce 8 or 9 graphics card. I have 6 and 7, but, i’ll challenge them and see if I see a normal world with no shadows, a rainbow-colored world with one black avie, or one with pretty decent shadows. (The second option happens when the GPU crashes due to either misunderstanding commands - shadows in this case - or due to overload.)

Either way, I hope Vollee support it once it gets out on their mobile client. (SL for your mobile phone, currently supports WindLight and all other options, runs at 3-4FPS on my phone. Sweet, eh?)

P.S.: Baked shadows aren’t really used on PlayStation 3, as it got 8 variable-usage processors. (In simple words: it just has 8 processors, no GPUs, sound cards etc., it assigns one for graphics, and if it needs more power, it assigns another. The same with sounds. This is because the console uses mathematical calculations for everything like a normal processor. :-D) So, no need to save up on power! Yet, Sonic the Hedgehog 2006 runs awfully slow at some points up to a crawl of 1-3FPS due to very annoying bugs. The major one is that the physics engine sucks, in both ways: it’s bad and it uses more processing power than it should, causing a lot of load.

P.P.S.: I need to learn to summarize my comments, lol.

Smiley Barry wrote a comment on June 13, 2008
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I forgot to say - shadows ARE possible on Mac OS X. Katharine Berry compiled her own release and is now using it. (See her Flickr photostream)

Botgirl Questi wrote a comment on June 13, 2008
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I’m hoping for a film noir version.

VintFalken.com » Blog Archive sent a pingback on June 14, 2008
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[…] « The Future of Second Life looks… shaded. […]

Corbett Howard wrote a comment on June 16, 2008
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Well, I was able to get a compiled version of the Shadow Viewer and gave it a try this weekend.

I run a 8500 nVidia 512 card, a 2ghz Pentium D with 3.5 gigs of ram. And for me, it was really laggy. I could walk around the sim I was in at that given moment…but try to TP crashola. Also, Image Capture using the SL Viewer doesnt seem to be supported as of yet.

These things take time, of course, but it was nice to get a taste even if it was still only the doe :) Thanks for the heads up on this Vink :)

Smiley Barry wrote a comment on June 16, 2008
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@Corbett: Hey, where’s my credit for giving ya the link? ;-) By the way, try upgrading from 2.0Ghz to more. 2.8Ghz is a minimum for me, though I got 3.6Ghz Dual-Core Pentium D. :-D 3.5G of RAM is sweet, enough for SL + shadows etc., and a Geforce 8500 GPU seems OK, I think.

I wanna test it too. :-( But, when I buy my new computer i’ll laugh at you ALL. :-P Though, if any one of you gets a chance to buy a computer worth US$2,000+, PLEASE buy a Geforce 9800GTX, that GPU is so powerful it can run Crysis twice at the same time, both at 60FPS at least. (Ha, geek joke reference! ^.^) Also be sure to buy 4/8GB of RAM, Windows XP seems to be gobbling up my 2GB already. Just by running Second Life, iTunes and Safari at the same time it shouted in a balloon “Not enough physical memory available”. I guess it ate 1GB.

Ian wrote a comment on June 18, 2008
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I have always wonder why my pc can play Half Life2, DOOM3, QUAKE4 beautifully but it’s always not good enough for SL.., Gaww..!! :(

nimil wrote a comment on June 20, 2008
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@ian i feel the same way… i can run tons of games smoothly and with all the gorgeous graphics but my computer refuses to even allow me enough fps in SL to walk with basic shaders on :(

i don’t ever think i’ll be able to see shadows…

what in the world is sl using that makes it so much more harsh on computer hardware than other games?

Kuria wrote a comment on June 26, 2008
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I wonder if there is any way I can get a compiled version of the viewer mailed to me…. as of yet I dont know how to compile thing (I am however in the process of taking computer classes, so im sure its soon to come) Just seeing it, and I would love to try it out.

Smiley Barry wrote a comment on June 28, 2008
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Correction: It’s impossible on OS X, Katharine was using Windows emulation.

And addition: I got a new GPU: Nvidia Geforce 8600 with 1GB VRAM, so now, I can use the shadow draft! YAY! :-D

Smiley Barry wrote a comment on June 28, 2008
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Euhm, new correction: She was using Linux emulation. :-/

Vint Falken wrote a comment on June 29, 2008
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Well, I’m on a 8600 nvidia geforce and it does not work for me. *sobs*

Smiley Barry wrote a comment on June 29, 2008
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@Vint: It should work… What does it say/display to you? :-S
@Kuria: I have the shader files, if you’d like them. Send me a FlickrMail message. My Flickr url is flickr.com/people/smiley-barry-tsl/

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[…] news on the ‘Shadow Draf’ of the Second Life Client first came out, I was thrilled beyond normal Vint-levels. But… it did not work for me. Regardless what I […]

Skate Foss wrote a comment on September 11, 2008
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Will there be a viewer for Mac’s?

Smiley Barry wrote a comment on September 11, 2008
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Well, technically you can just use a Linux or Windows partition on a Mac to run. (Linux preferred, since you can use Damn Small Linux which is a mere 64MB (minimum) and not have to install a 2GB Windows installation.) But, I think it’ll get to Macs. The problem is an OS issue, not a hardware issue, so definitely some time not far. (I don’t think they’re not going to build a solution for the Mac community in SL. It would get them bad publicity and will cause anger.

Care to comment?