What I want for Christmas, at least from Second Life, is a scene exporter. Ok, maybe I won't get this for Christmas, but I would still be happy if I could get it sometime over the next year.
Lately I have been working on a design project in Second Life that got me wondering how I could use the end result in my real life work on a construction site without having to go into Second Life. I kept thinking that if I build a detailed model of something simple like a manhole showing all the pipe connections, it would be helpful to be able to capture that "scene" by establishing a given area around the site. And I mean in a way that is not just a "photo" like I can already do. What I want is the ability to capture it in a way that I can view it on a special "viewer" that allows me to pan, zoom, tilt, the exported 3D scene as if I was in SL. I don't need my avatar there – I just want the ability to view it in the same manner as I would in SL.
I realize that there are many who might suggest that regular CAD products could do this, but first, I think SL is best for building simple, yet dimensionally correct, 3D models in a fast and efficient manner; second, I want to be able to have the model placed in a realistic "scene" which is not easily created in a CAD program; and third, I need a construction worker to access this on the jobsite.
That is why I am convinced that SL is the best medium to create the scene – I just need a type of generic file format that the scene could be exported as and then viewed with a viewing software made just for this purpose. Then I could give the file to the contractor, and he could, at each manhole installation, easily access that file on his phone (which soon will evolve to allow this type of viewing) to verify that the installation is taking place as designed. To do this he would not need to have any knowledge of CAD.
Those of us in civil-related construction know that the plans are rarely consulted on the job. Sometimes the contractor does not even have them handy; yet he always has his cell phone. I want my 3D manhole detail on that phone!