The development which has had the greatest impact on my Second Life this year was actually introduced in 2012!
Mesh finally came into it’s own the second half of 2013 and the difference has been dramatic! For the first time I bought a house rather than making it myself from prims. The level of detail and complexity of shapes simply could not have been made from prims and the land impact (LI) is several times lower than any crude prim equivalent, even using convex hull!
The real surprise came when I furnished it. Even loaded with mesh furnishings, knick-knacks and houseplants and fully landscaped it barely tips 1000LI! This effect is accelerating as creators get better at making more complex yet efficient stuff. I recently saw a cupboard, fully loaded with dishes of various shapes and sizes with a LI of 1. Smaller individual item are showing up in marketplace quickly now (any bets we are seeing homework from students in graphic design?).
The only down side I can see is that some people with lesser graphics cards have difficulty, often lagging even with very low draw distances. Only the inevitable march of hardware obsolescence will fix this.
I miss making most of my own stuff (Blender totally befuddles me), but that happened with the introduction of sculpties, mesh just takes it to the next level. The quality and low LI of what I can buy compensates my ego though.
I look forward to this trend continuing into 2014. It could get exciting.
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
Arthur C. Clark