Thoughts on PBR
As most of you know Linden Lab has been working on a new rendering system using PBR which is an "industry standard" used in many video games. I haven't downloaded the preview viewer or ventured over to the beta grid to test things since I have no plans on updating my oh so many products and using PBR.
But today I had a project that had me looking more closely into how PBR might work in Second Life. I say "might work" as many of us remember the ups and downs and changes as EEP came onto the grid. My research gave me some ideas and since most of you won't want to do all the reading I will give you my impression in Cliff Notes form.
Most importantly if all goes as planned many of the items we already own will still look good, fine or maybe even better. We had PBR in Sansar which I pretty much ignored by putting in grayscale textures in the slots provide (yes, almost always a rebel). Still, the same items I made in Second Life looked BETTER in Sansar -- so that is a promising note. There was a richness and a seemingly "other layer" to the look of things. Hopefully some of that will show up in Second Life.
The wiki explains that items made with baked textures and 3rd party texture systems will likely work just fine in our new world but the folks who have been using lots of materials (specular and normal maps) may find their works not working all that well. The uploader will have some changes also which could (might, likely) cause problems. So in some cases mesh would need to be uploaded again (time and money figure in here of course).
On the plus side folks that are still building using inworld tools (prim builds) will have new options for a better look and that might encourage some new users to become simple creators. There was definitely something --well just GOOD -- about building out on the sand box starting with a cube.
Those that don't update their viewers to a PBR compliant version will have a pretty ugly look. Some of you remember when BOM came in and we had yellow and blue people and clothing with a smattering to white text here and there. OR if you didn't have a mesh viewer when mesh came out -- nasty.
The world changes and sometimes we are forced to change with it. Hopefully the end result will be a plus.