Linden Lab, Inc. has announced that Second Life ® (SL) will support Geometric modeling, also known as computer aided geometric design (CAGD), as a Public Beta already this year.
With 3D programs like Maya, 3ds Max, Google SketchUp, Blender & Co. complex high-resolution 3D data can be created and uploaded into the virtual world as a Collada file, an open source XML storage format. More realistic simulations in Second Life will be possible, when combined with the new physics engine (Havok 7). In contrast to sculpties, the 3D Mesh models use a more realistic collision model. With so-called bounding boxes, various object properties can be added.
Polygon meshes will make the creation of content more efficent and prim-saving. It will also be possible to put reflections and other visual effects to the meshes in Second Life soon.
The movement and the appearance of Second Life avatars will be comparable to game characters and their gait animated with the latest games engines. Furthermore, avatar meshes can be combined with bone models, which makes the movement and appearance of the characters even more realistic.
3D meshes are expected to be Public Beta in the end of 2010.