SineSpace is adding 4K materials support in the client app, beginning with 2019.1b48.Users on more powerful machines with lots of video memory will be able to see more detail than ever before – certainly better than any previous virtual world. Ultra HD 4K in SineSpace is 4096×4096 pixel texture maps. Four times more detail than we’ve been able to use in SineSpace, and 16-64 times more than we could use on our creations in Second Life and other previous generation worlds! And we’re going to get to share that with people!
Updated 14 February, 2020: dozens of additional items added to the 4K list
Won’t This Cause Lag?
Users coming from previous generation worlds might hear about ultra HD 4K materials support and assume that this will also mean lots of lag and lots of users crashing. That is true in those previous generation worlds. Their design makes higher resolution content difficult. Creators would assign textures to their models and components, and then those textures would be served up to anyone in the same virtual space. Everyone was served up the same thing, regardless of connection speed or machine’s capabilities.
Designers could make content at higher resolutions, but in doing so they run the risk of overwhelming the capabilities of lower end hardware. As a result, just a few users wearing a few pieces that made use of 1K (1024×1024 pixel) materials would lead to slow performance. Users with less powerful computers would crash when all their graphics card’s video memory was used up.
SineSpace Is Built For The Future
I’ve said this a few times in other posts, but it bears repeating. SineSpace is built for the future. It’s built on the Unity game engine. It is powerful, modern, and also constantly updated and improved by hundreds of engineers at Unity. Where a previous generation world might have dozens of staffers working on developing viewers and client applications, Unity has dozens of staffers working on specific features or technology projects.
As a result, SineSpace can have fairly advanced progressive texture streaming and mipmapping. That means textures load as quickly as possible, at the highest resolution possible for that user’s specific machine and internet connection. So if a user has a slower computer with less video memory, or is on a slower connection, they get lower resolution textures that will not overwhelm their machine or cause it to crash. If another user has a big fancy gaming computer or high end workstation, 4K materials support means they will get stunning details and ultra HD graphics.
SineSpace is a virtual world that lets content creators make AAA quality goods. As a designer, that’s really exciting.
With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
Next generation technology and features can exist all day long, but if the creator is just porting their content from a previous generation world, it is not going to look that great. Unfortunately, the SineSpace Shop currently has a lot of ‘shuttleware’ content. It was brought over from a previous generation world, and so it isn’t optimized for best quality or performance.
I think it’s okay that Sine Wave allows this kind of content. More advanced content requires more time, energy and also more powerful software. I see it as being like when a new PlayStation or XBox console comes out. There are some really great flagship games, but there are also a bunch of ports of classic titles that don’t really add anything, but helps fill out the catalog. As more quality content arrives, the shuttleware will fall by the way-side.
BlakOpal 4K Materials Support
When BlakOpal and I arrived in SineSpace in 2016, we decided early on that we did not want to port any of our SL creations. In a few cases we’ve used the same outfit names, but these are all ground-up new designs that draw inspiration from the original.
Before we even got together, we were each artists and designers. We were used to working at higher resolutions than a project needed. Great minds think alike! 😀
Most of what we’ve been making for SineSpace since we started was designed at 4K (or higher) resolution. That means that right out of the gate, we’re able to add 4K materials support to a lot of our items. There is no magic ‘enhance’ button that will automatically update all our items. We take the time to re-render and test out each piece, so we are working through our catalog as we get time.
Free Automatic Updates
The good news for customers is that they get free automatic upgrades on BlakOpal Designs and Trilo Byte Design items. Subsequently there is no need to go visit a kiosk in-world, or have us send out new versions manually. And you don’t need to dig through your inventory to find and delete old versions. Once the update is ready and gets released, you get the update.
Below is a list of our items with 4K materials support. As of this writing, we have more than 250 individual pieces with 4K materials support!