If 2012 was the year of MEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSHHHHHH.... *coughs*... then 2013 will ultimatley prove to be the Year The Sculpts Died.
When i say "die" i dont mean totally wiped out, but it almost will be. As some of you know, Brunel Hall Hotel which is what I am spending most of my time on thesedays has seen a second full overhaul of the inside. The outside is already all mesh, the inside of the hotel, the furniture, tables, restaurant settings, picture frames and most of the detailing is already being transfered to mesh equivalents.
Brunel Hall is a featured destination guide, its been in several SL magazines, and recently featured in Prim Perfect's (Saffia Widdershins and Designing Worlds) December Edition and this month will be featured in the main Mesh Studio builder blog showcase. It was, and still is, the largest building in New Babbage (land based), the largest hotel in the steamlands and when it comes to restaurants is starting to make a few waves in the restaurant businesses of Second Life...
...but it was a lag inducing monster....
It wasn't server side lag, for its size Brunel Hall has very little script time, its usually the dance ball which makes up most of its script time...no, it was the sculpties. Before the building itself was overhauled to mesh most of that timber work was done in sculpts. The vast bulk of the 1800 prims used for the furnishings inside (yes, just under 2k prims just for furniture....damn) was also all sculpties.
In January of 2012...one year ago, i could walk into Brunel Hall and my framerate with a draw distance of 256 would remain at about 23fps. Then the main viewer started to get upgraded, and those upgrades carried into Firestorm. Thats when things started to change. Summer of last year seen the rise of mesh on the grid, and something changed in the way that the main LL viewer and then subsequently all TPV viewers rendered the world. I would walk into Brunel Hall which was predominantley made of sculpts...and the framerate would tank...about 5 to 6 FPS.
Nothing inside the hotel changed, nothing on the PC changed. What did change was the viewer.
Summer of last year, Brunel Hall, the entire building, was transformed to a full mesh build, my framerate rose to about 15fps.
Over the past week and a half i have replaced the vast majority of old sculpted furniture, sculpted decor and sculpted detailing of the inside of the hotel to mesh equivalents...my framerate is now back to 25fps.
The lab has changed something with the way sculpts are rendered in the opengl calls of the viewer. You wont notice it on avatars wearing bits of sculpts for their clothing and shoes, but when you walk into a large building that has a lot of sculpts, the impact is there, its can be seen, by the tanking of framerates. The mesh overhaul of over 90% of the internals of Brunel has caused the viewer side "lag" to all but vanish, things load a LOT quicker now too.
With server side baking of clothing and skins coming within the next few months, and the finishing of "Project Shining" which is the overhaul of the LL viewer graphics rendering, i think the days of large builds being mostly sculpted outside, and sculpted furnishings inside...are coming to a close, especially if viewer framerates continue to tank the way they did with me.