UGS Materializes in Second Life


Last night I surfed through Chris Kelley’s blog (Link) and learned that UGS, the PLM/CAD company for whom he works and a company I sometimes mention in my posts, had decided to rez into Second Life and was opening a virtual outpost. It’s not the first CAD vendor to do so; Autodesk entered some months back. However, Autodesk doesn’t appear to be pursuing PLM (product lifecycle management) applications which, for me, are closely related to something like Second Life. So I logged into SL to see what UGS was doing and wound up chatting with both Chris and another UGS representative.

There’s not much to report other than a) they’re interested into linking their JT file format with Second Life’s 3D system, and b) Linden Lab has indicated to UGS that they’re working on a more “open” data file format. I’d like to see both, but I’m not expecting either.

The JT format may offer some advantages over other formats, but I suspect those advantages aren’t helping too much or UGS would already have a good idea for a solution; their questions to me suggest they don’t. I hope they figure something out. Even so, I don’t currently have a way to translate data into the JT format, so unless I write a standalone translator myself, I’ll have to hope that someone else provides it.

With regard to LL working on the 3D side of things, I recall hearing a couple of years ago that they were working on adding more shapes to the toolbox. That’s not happened and I don’t believe it will {Update: Open mouth, insert foot; LL appears to have a solution and some upgrades coming}. If Linden Lab is, in fact, working on a new format, that further supports my half-baked theory that LL intends to open source the current Second Life implementation and release a new, upgraded platform which uses the same basic Second Life backbone.

We’ll see. I’d like to be surprised, and perhaps UGS can pull something off.

4 thoughts on “UGS Materializes in Second Life

  1. Csven – I would really like to work with you to figure out the data import thing. This is something I have had 15-20 requests for from customers since we launched last week, so it appears to be even hotter than I anticipated. From all your posts it seems you have a pretty good handle on how to make this work. How can we get started?

  2. I think you’re giving me too much credit. Appreciated, but unfounded.

    FWIW, a couple of years ago I did do some research into the person who developed SL’s 3D system, learned a bit about the math behind some of his ideas (though maybe not the same techniques he used in SL) and found that I could map most of them over to Pro/E’s tools. I didn’t try everything and some “tortured” prims proved challenging enough to leave me stumped at the time. At that point, however, I hit a roadblock with Pro/E that required significantly more time than I was willing to give. I didn’t have a compelling reason to pursue it; getting the data out doesn’t really do me any good and there really isn’t a market for that service. So I put it on the back burner.

    In the meantime, however, I’ve been considering learning Maya’s MEL to map them over to NURBs. Just received a couple of MEL books for that purpose.

    What I’d suggest is getting a group of people together interested in solving this problem. Most will be much more capable than I am or likely ever will be, but I’m happy to throw in my user-centric thoughts when appropriate.

    If you’d like, I can put out the word and we can go from there.

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  4. Sounds like a plan. All I know is we have published JT, there are 300 TB of JT data out there in our customers hands, and they want a way to get some of it into SL. Any help you can give is appreciated.

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