For folks who don;t know…
Next year, probably around February, a new way of presenting clothing “layers” to the viewer will start. Right now and since SL started, clothing layers (non mesh or sculpt, actual clothing) have been presented to the viewer as a texture layed on the avatar itself.
This meant that in busy sims, sometimes people just turned up grey, rebakes didnt work.
Next year, clothing layers will now be “baked” to the avatar.
What does this mean? Well…”baking” a texture onto a mesh object means that the texture information is relayed and hosted ON the server, and not downloaded into the viewer. Once this goes live the second an avatar’s shape loads…the server side baked on clothing layers will be relayed to the viewer.
No more ghosted particle avatars, a massive reduction on grey avatars, and much, much less bandwidth on your connection.
However…it comes at a price.
There has to be a new viewer for this to work, old V1 style viewers (like Phoenix) will now be consigned to the scrap heap. If you go inworld with a non baked clothing ready viewer avatars will simply looks like grey blobs, they will not load AT ALL.
I said halfway through this year that LL will find a way to render those ancient non mesh viewers totally obsolete…now they have. V2 and current V3 viewers will also be obsolete when server side baking comes out. Linden Lab has already released the baking code to TPV’s so when it does go live Firestorm etc etc will be ready for it.
http://www.sluniverse.com/php/vb/alternative-sl-clients/79248-server-side-baking-countdown.html for more indepth discussion about the topic.