Adam spends Q&A time with New World Notes

blues singer banner.png

During the 'Ask Adam Frisby Anything About Space, His New Virtual World', session,  Adam fielded a series of really interesting questions, among them was this one about Landmark's voxels.....




Q: "Why no great voxel build tools like in Landmark? are you stuck on the idea that only imported content & a marketplace can generate the best revenue stream? did not those ideas have a double edge sword effect in Second Life/OpenSim?"




Best tools for the job - I'll get back to voxel based tools in a moment, but mesh based build tools are the cutting edge still. We tend to look at what AAA video games are doing for what we should be doing - we're actively reading papers from SIGGRAPH, GDC, and so forth - and polygonal modelling isn't going anywhere.


Now, that's said - voxel tools are cool; Landmark's tools were written by someone I had a chat with a few years ago; I've even written some myself which are similar. There's a couple of problems:

  • Instancing and batching. If you have lots of materials with different shaders on them, Voxels really hurt the GPU. You also can't really efficiently texture voxels in a precise manner.
  • Storage and transmission; they're not efficient. You can compress them to a degree (and there's a lot of innovative ways people have come up to do that with). This also means streaming the content is kinda rough - it can be done (Landmark proved that), but if you also stream in textures and everything else, it gets kinda heavy - especially as you increase the spatial resolution
  • You can build with those already through some Unity add-ins that are compatible with space. There's one called Voxeland which a few of us have been using. (I built a neat tropical island with that tool: a while ago)
  • Animation. Voxels can't be animated easily. One of our big features is anything can be easily animated on a timeline visually, within the editor. Voxels are great for static content, not so great for anything dynamic.

Getting a voxel editor like the one I authored a few years ago, into the inworld build tools would definitely be cool - but for now, I think they're still pretty niche in the types of content you can make (great for terrain, with some really sophisticated tools you can kinda do architecture, but not much else); so I don't want to rely on them being the backbone of our tooling.

For reference, the old system I made:


Here is the link to the rest of the Q&A: