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Big change in 'Second Life' design tools

Now, so-called "prims" in the virtual world will feature curved edges, and will let people import textures and models directly from 3D modeling software.

Designers of Second Life objects have some good news to cheer about this week, namely the implementation of what are called "sculpted prims."

A prim is the basic building block of Second Life, a virtual world that lets anyone create just about any kind of content they want. Until now, all prims began as cubes. You could stretch them to be bigger or smaller or more rectangular, but it was always a cube.


Kind of a Lego of sorts.

"A sculpted prim is a prim whose shape is determined by texture--its 'sculpt texture,'" Second Life publisher Linden Lab wrote on one of its official wiki pages. "Sculpted prims can create organic shapes that are not currently possible with Second Life's prim system."

This is big news, because it means professionals can design organic-looking textures and models in 3D modeling software and import them directly into Second Life.

Now, prims can have curved corners, and that's likely to result in much better organic shapes, a design improvement that could well mean more people will be able to design better content for the virtual world.