On Wednesday, Linden Lab announced that their "Project Animesh" was now part of the main Grid. For those whom are unfamiliar with Animesh, it offers content creators to allow "independent objects," or NPC creatures that are not "bots" or accounts left along by their owners and controlled by scripts, to be fitted with mesh and animations.
Animesh, first announced a year ago (!), allows independent objects to use rigged mesh and animations, just as you see today with mesh avatars. This means that you can now have wild animals, pets, vehicles, hair, zombies …. The possibilities are in your hands! We’ve created a Wiki which outlines how you can begin playing with Animesh. If you are a Premium Account, you will be able to attach two Animesh attachments instead of one. Note: You will need to be on an Animesh Enabled Viewer to see Animesh objects work correctly; if you are using a third party viewer they can let you know when support will be available.
User Guide page for Animesh. It also mentions five locations where you see and test it, four Moderate sims, Animesh1, Animesh2, Animesh3and Animesh4, and one adult sim, Animesh Adult. They have an "Animesh Freebie Package," with three moving characters (with pathfinder scripts), a human named "Aditya," a teddy bear, and a raptor. When rezzed on the sims, they will move about, sometimes heading back to where they were rezzed. If someone wears the "raptor steak hat" included in the package, any raptors nearby may become curious and try to pounce.
There's also a new category on Marketplace intended for Animesh objects, though not limited to them: Animated Objects.
Comments in VirtualVerse (the successor to SL Universe) are somewhat light, at least at the time of the writing of this article. In the SL forums, there's nothing in the General Discussion threads yet (though that may soon change), but there is an Animesh category with several threads.
Inara Pey stated one advantage of Animesh was for the ability to make moving objects without "alpha flipping," or a series of objects combined and scripted so only one is visible at a time to give the appearance of movement, "like a set of flip book drawings." As alpha flipping "can be render intensive, impacting viewer performance," it is hoped that Animesh objects will be a way to make objects that will be less laggy for residents.
Hamlet Au found this video by Medue about animesh in action. He commented that he'd been told by builders that they haven't been selling as much as they've been in the past and thought "Animesh is just the thing to boost the virtual world marketplace." He also commented on what it would likely lead to, "Multiplayer FPS games in SL where enemies no longer look like herky jerky puppets, mini-RPGs with highly detailed character interactions.... and, of course, inevitably, much virtual sex with NPCs."
What do you the readers think Animesh will lead to? Feel free to leave comments.
Source: Linden Lab, Modem World, New World Notes