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Well, the open beta is open for business, but you already knew that. So a few things will probably happen from here.

First up, the beta grid is going to be awash with the curious, who largely just want to see what mesh objects look like in-world. The poor old beta grid has already been straining a little at the seams.

That shouldn’t last too long, though. Interest in mesh objects will probably diminish pretty rapidly, except among the few hundred people who are actually intending to use it routinely.

Many of those will probably learn just enough to make simple pieces and components, which will doubtless take some of the rough edges off of a lot of prim-based content (so to speak). A few will go the whole hog, and get involved in more detail.

Building with prims is almost trivial by comparison to 3D mesh modelling, when you get down to it. Even so people who actually create more than the most simplistic prim-objects in Second Life are a relative minority. Scripters are rarer, and texture artists are rarer still. The least populous grouping are those who work with sculpties.

3D modelling is an even more rarefied skill. Some users who currently work with sculpties will probably make the jump to working with meshes, and some won’t. While pretty much anyone can learn to do it (in much the same way that most people can learn painting, welding, or electrical engineering) most people won’t learn to do it.

As with any skill, we assess the cost of acquiring it versus the perceived benefits. If the benefits don’t seem to noticeably outweigh the costs, we’re just not going to try. That’s how people work. The learning curve of 3D modelling is a steep one.

All of that said, it’s a feature that is actually fairly well in-tune with Second Life’s top content creators. While males generally develop 3D spatial reasoning that is useful for navigation, females tend to develop 3D spatial reasoning that is more useful for 3D modelling than their male peers. With Second Life’s top content creators trending primarily towards women, the learning curve for them is likely to be somewhat less steep than for the boys.

There are a couple of potential advantages though. Pulling meshes for prim-based objects out of the Second Life viewer is not egregiously difficult, which could give some prim-based creators a head-start in developing more finely detailed and clean composite meshes based on their existing work.

Even so, I’m not expecting prim-based products to disappear in a rush when the whole shooting match goes live. More, I’m expecting simple mesh components to become a part of prim-based content, alongside a smaller number of mesh-only products.

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