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From SketchUp to Second Life 84

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the easy-shapes-made-easier dept.
writes "Roo Reynolds of Eightbar (an external blog written by some IBMers) has put together a tool to export Google SketchUp models and import them into Second Life. It only seems to work for fairly basic objects, and cylinders and non-rectangular surfaces 'are particularly badly hit.' Along with the Prim.Blender project, this sort of tool looks like it could make building in Second Life considerably easier, allowing people to choose their preferred tool rather than be constrained to the in-world editor."
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From SketchUp to Second Life

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  • Maybe it will get more people into 3D modeling. I wish more games did that, for stuff like your house, or a hat or something. There are definitely better examples; although they would need to be checked to make sure that somebody didn't import a giant phallus [wikipedia.org] into the game, and stick it on the front of their house.

    Still, this is a cool idea. It could make games more interactive, to the people who want to deviate a bit.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by GigsVT (208848)
      There are plenty of giant phalli. This doesn't let you do anything you couldn't already do. It's just helpful if you already are used to working with a certain tool. Or when SL is down, like right now (and about 20% of the time, lately).

      Of course you are going to be pretty constrained translating everything into constructive solid geometry without boolean (other than AND) operators, which is all SL supports.
  • "3d glasses have seen a resurgence in sales recently as 3-dimensional rendering in graphics programs becomes utilitarian and accessible to the masses. Says one 3-d reader, "It's like watching those movies back in the 80's all over again! I love it!' " On a more serious note, I would be interested in seeing how the vectoring works on stuff like this as Photoshop is the gold standard upon which vectoring is based, so if there are improvements to be made in the algorithmic calculations - design could becom
    • I thought Illustrator is the gold standard in vectoring, and that Flash is the gold standard in animated vectoring.

      Photoshop is a gold standard in rastering :P
      • It is, I mis-spoke, thanks. Was app-specific when I should have just referred to the vendor. You get the gist though...
  • I would love to see a Linux versin. Anyone know if one is planned?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Posting anonymously because I'm the Google employee working on porting SketchUp to LiGNUX. Expect it later this year. I'm not sure if the commercial version will be ported -- it depends on closed source libraries for exporting videos and such.
  • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Monday October 02, 2006 @09:43PM (#16286917) Homepage Journal
    I've found it a LOT easier to use than Second Life. Hell, if you're going to use external editors, you want something more powerful not something easier to use.. that's why most people use Blender or 3ds Max. Of course, if you're going to use an external editor, what point is there importing the stuff into Second Life? Develop an Open platform.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Telvin_3d (855514)

      Of course, if you're going to use an external editor, what point is there importing the stuff into Second Life? Develop an Open platform.

      What point is there importing it into Second Life? My guess is that this is aimed at people that are creating assets specifically for use IN second life. These aren't people who are creating stuff and then go looking for a venue to publish it. They know their venue and they are looking for better tools to address it. Really it's like asking what's the point of using Wo

      • Actually, he's asking why use some external character editor for WoW, and if you're going to use some external character editor to just play your own MMORPG.
    • by Moofie (22272)
      "Develop an Open platform."

      Great idea! I'll get right on it.

      Oh wait, I can't program. Now what? Guess I'll use tools somebody else has written. Hey! Cool! This Google Sketch Up thing is free of charge, and remarkably handy! Bonus!
    • http://www.opencroquet.org/ [opencroquet.org] is out there, but it has been at 1.0 Beta since April this year. The bug lists show activity, but what I can't seem to find is any public Internet 'island' servers for OpenCroquet, so I can't very well see how it works with more than one person. OpenCroquet has more promise for developers, but has many less people.

      Are there public OpenCroquet islands out there? Any links? I haven't found any yet.

  • ...get a life, is this what they mean?
  • by LordStrange (19871) * on Monday October 02, 2006 @10:02PM (#16287051)
    If you like building in SL but hate the tedium, you should check out Skidz Primz [slexchange.com]. It builds a intuitive UI around regular prims. Especially useful when trying to put many prims together.

    (Skidz is a friend and I couldn't resist pimping his tools. Dont hold this spam against him please)
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by John Hurliman (152784)
      While we are talking about related projects, we (the libsecondlife [libsecondlife.org] project) are working on a C# importer and exporter for xml prim data. The .prims format that prim.blender uses now has an XSD and primimport and primexport are both in early testing. A screenshot is up here [jhurliman.org]. Sometime in the next couple months we hope to have a completely open design chain for Second Life where you can model and texture in any combination of Second Life, SketchUp, prim.blender, or whatever comes up.
  • by Karma Sucks (127136) on Monday October 02, 2006 @10:15PM (#16287115)
    I still haven't upgraded... will this work with half-life?
  • by misey (996068)
    I really like this idea. It gets a thumbs up! I find that Sketchup is easy AND powerful. I actually just discovered it last week, and I really like making stuff. i really want to try this out. Thanks!
  • by gmezero (4448) on Monday October 02, 2006 @10:25PM (#16287167) Homepage
    Just friggin' link to the ACTUAL SOURCE [eightbar.co.uk]!!!
  • So where the hell do I download it?
    Nowhere in any of those articles does it say it's not finished yet...
  • by Gerocrack (979018) on Monday October 02, 2006 @10:46PM (#16287275)
    Gotta practice making boobies in Sketch-Up now.
  • by A*OnYourA** (946354) on Monday October 02, 2006 @11:35PM (#16287527)
    Anything other than exporting faces of cubes would be extremely difficult. SL prims are based off parametric equations and are incompatible with 3D models based on sets of vertices (Sketchup).

    If someone found an efficient algorithm to convert 3D models based off vertices into a group of simple parametric objects, they would be very, very rich. It would be the Computer Graphics equivalent of an alchemist discovering a way to convert copper into gold.

    What this guy did was paint a piece of copper with liquified gold, then wrote a blurb about how great it would be if this was pure gold. It's not, although it's good to dream. I'm sure a lot of alchemists made progress in chemistry just by trying to solve the copper-into-gold problem. I just don't think people should get their hopes up about a Sketchup to SL importer that does anything worthwhile.
    • by MORB (793798)
      I think they might aswell get rid of the parametric prims in second life and just store regular meshes. People seem to make so complicated things in that game anyway that I think it would be much more efficient (with client side caching of the meshes like they do for textures, and along with some form of progressive lod)

      Or perhaps a mix of primitive based stuff for simple objects like walls etc., and switch to a mesh representation for anything complex.
  • by martijnd (148684) on Tuesday October 03, 2006 @03:12AM (#16288569)

    I tried Second Life for a bit recently, they have a Linux version and I have a new graphics card. So I'd figure I'd give it a go. Its really quite nice, some of the graphics are amazing, and I had great fun playing with the various in world scripts. It is however constraint in its usefullness at the moment.

    My nags at the moment:
    • I want to run my own server, I don't feel like paying an increasing monthly fee to just build the world I would like to share with my friends, considering how many "islands" there are, quite a few people are keen to have their own place appart. But if I would like to build something massive, like an insane bookstore that would cost a fortune.
    • I want to write my own scripts, that can take data from other sources and generate objects accordingly
    • It is a social experiment in that its has its own currency and trading mechanisms etc, fun, but closed.
    • Closed source -- so its not going anywhere fast

    This feels a bit like the really popular early BBS services -- they are on to something here though. Instead of chatting in yellow text on a black background at 3am, you could be sitting on a virtual campfire with your chat friends next to a beach, instead of typing smilies, you set of fireworks. If this escapes into the real world, it could possibly be a similar step as from the BBS communities to the Internet

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I tried out Second Life a couple of months ago. It is a nice gimmick, but I just can't get into it.

      I played with the building tools, and then tried out the scripting, and then played with the physics and particles... and then ran out of interesting things to do. The physics engine is just too limiting. Once you realise that stuff like swaying trees and wind aren't that clever, and are a bit of a hack/trick, it loses its appeal somewhat.

      Even the chat isn't that interesting. Nice people on the whole, but ki

    • I want to run my own server, I don't feel like paying an increasing monthly fee to just build the world I would like to share with my friends, considering how many "islands" there are, quite a few people are keen to have their own place appart. But if I would like to build something massive, like an insane bookstore that would cost a fortune.

      I have had similar thoughts myself. It should be possible to get it working as a peer to peer system and it occurs to me that the network topology would be similar in

      • by misleb (129952)

        I have had similar thoughts myself. It should be possible to get it working as a peer to peer system and it occurs to me that the network topology would be similar in some ways to bittorrent. If you have open protocols you could ensure interoperability however there would be no guarantee about the behavior of an open source client. Centralised systems (WoW, etc) have DRM in some form to ensure that the players play by the rules.

        "DRM?" Are you f'n serious? A server that enforces certain game mechanics is n

        • by ultranova (717540)

          And a peer to peer game like that would not work. Note that with bittorrent you don't have a connection to every other person in the swarm, which would be required to synchronize game data.

          No. This is only required if each client needs to hold the whole gameworld. However, if you divide the gameworld into cells (the wolrd can still be one huge area, this division is purely an implementation detail), and assign each cell to a client, and make each client connect to the clients with neighbouring cells, th

          • by misleb (129952)

            You still need to specify behavior for when parts of gameworld crash, for example.

            Oh, gee, is that all? Seems to me that that is the difficult part. Not only do clients crash, but also disconnect, reconnect, etc. Any game with lots of players has clients connecting and disconnecting all the time. You're going to spend all your time repartitioning and synchronizing the game world. Not to mention all the game data that will be lost when a cell disappears leaving any player in it in limbo. At some point you

            • by ultranova (717540)

              Oh, gee, is that all? Seems to me that that is the difficult part. Not only do clients crash, but also disconnect, reconnect, etc. Any game with lots of players has clients connecting and disconnecting all the time. You're going to spend all your time repartitioning and synchronizing the game world. Not to mention all the game data that will be lost when a cell disappears leaving any player in it in limbo.

              I'm talking about sandbox games, not the kind where cheating matters - think cyberspace, not World

              • by misleb (129952)

                If you don't care about making the gameworld a single space, you could even work such events into the game plotline - maybe the universe collapsed, and the cells are the remaining splinters, connected loosely to each other with ever-changing connections and popping in and out of existence randomly ? The players would then try to survive in this post-apocalyptic multiverse.

                Ok, if the game plot/mechanics were specifically taylored to the nature of peer to peer networks, I imagine it could work. But given th

                • by ultranova (717540)

                  Ok, if the game plot/mechanics were specifically taylored to the nature of peer to peer networks, I imagine it could work. But given the limitations, you'd have a very specific type of game. What I think you would end up with is only a very loosely connected group of worlds rather than cells within a single, coherent game.

                  You can make either, but a network of connected worlds works better when cell servers go up and down - in a unified world certain cells becoming inaccessible will seem weird, to put it

                  • by misleb (129952)

                    Perhaps it could be the MMOG version of the Web - worlds with links (portals) to other worlds ?

                    "The web" was kind of what I was thinking. I think we're talking about a "game" in a very loose sense of the term.

                    Owning the server doesn't necessarily equate to "power" unless you are worried about cheating.

                    It does - you can force a locally running program to do whatever you want, or, using Real Ultimate Power, remove the plug from the wall.

                    So you move to another server with a maintainer that you like. Isn't th

    • by mwvdlee (775178)
      So basically you want all the work that went into making SL... but not pay for it?
    • by eggstasy (458692)
      Excuse me? You want to write your own scripts? Everyone can write scripts, all you need to do is click on the New Script button :)
      As for taking data from various sources, well, Second Life supports HTTP, XML-RPC and Email communications with external servers.
      You are welcome to bypass the "social experiment" as you term it. God knows there is no shortage of corporations developing project for other corporations in Second Life.
    • by reed (19777)

      * I want to run my own server, I don't feel like paying an increasing monthly fee to just build the world I would like to share with my friends, considering how many "islands" there are, quite a few people are keen to have their own place appart. But if I would like to build something massive, like an insane bookstore that would cost a fortune. ...
      * Closed source -- so its not going anywhere fast

      http://interreality.org/ [interreality.org] - come help actually make it.

      T

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I want to run my own server

      This is, and will continue to be sticking point for the next 9 to 12 months -- however the opensouce project libsecondlife, is in the process of creating a framework for unit testing client code which includes a server. This can eventually lead to personally owned and operated servers.

      I want to write my own scripts, that can take data from other sources and generate objects accordingly

      This is already possible with XML-RPC (from outside SL into SL), HTTP (Requests from insid

    • by elrous0 (869638) *

      I want to run my own server, I don't feel like paying an increasing monthly fee to just build the world I would like to share with my friends, considering how many "islands" there are, quite a few people are keen to have their own place appart. But if I would like to build something massive, like an insane bookstore that would cost a fortune.

      So you're not willing to pay $200 a month for an island, but you are willing to pay the $500 a month for a T1 line to run your own server? You do, of course realize

  • by syousef (465911) on Tuesday October 03, 2006 @03:48AM (#16288745) Journal
    When oh when will we have truely open and interoperable standards in 3D modelling. Imagine if every web browser, rather than just redendering differently or supporting a small set of different features that good web designers avoid, worked with completely different markup languages. I know there are tools to convert (though not for all proprietary 3D file formats) but this is ridiculous. I want to get into 3D modelling, but given the time and effort it takes to create a 3D model I'll be damned if I learn how to do it using one tool only to have it fall into obsolescence or have it yanked away the way GMax was.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by TheMoog (8407)
      There's Collada [collada.org], which is at least a step in the right direction for the industry as a whole.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by fongsaiyuk (35015)
      Not sure if this would be of interest to you, but the person who co-created VRML, Tony Parisi, has gone on to create the X3D spec. and a plugin for your web-browser.

      They've got a design studio that can import/export several different formats:
      From the site: "Imports and Exports a wide variety of standard 3D file formats using the Accutrans Translator."

      You can also programmatically add and control content within the rendered scene, in the web-browser, through AJAX. I was impressed with some of the sampl

      • by syousef (465911)
        To tell you the truth after investing so much effort into learning VRML 1, 2, and 97 and watching those standards die, I'm a little wary of jumping into X3D. Most people seem more interested in making money out of difficult clunky proprietary formats than enabling others with a standard file format.
  • by kahei (466208)

    As I understand it, Second Life is parametric solids rather than vertices -- much like POV. Is it possible to import POV files (that are mesh-free) into Second Life? It would be great if the existing body of POV objects could be used more widely.

    Incidentally 10/10 to SketchUp for what it does.
  • I've heard that this is extremely prim-hoggy, creating up to 36 prims for a single mesh, since SL doesn't support meshes.
  • The Second Life tie-in doesn't interest me that much, but speaking of Sketch Up ... does anyone have any more detailed tutorials than the ones which come with the software?

    I've muddled through it, but when it comes to actually trying to do interior floorplans and the like, it doesn't seem quite so obvious.

    Making boxes and the like is one thing, but I haven't yet figured out how to make an interior with walls and objects and the like. Then again, I have no background in this kind of stuff either, so maybe i
  • My next SL home is going to be New York.

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