I was very skeptical that mesh would improve Second Life — and I still have the same reservations, mainly about the relative ease of importing ripped models, compared to say, sculpts, which only exist in SL. I also did not want to have to learn Blender — well, I wanted to, but had serious doubts about my ability to do so at more than a basic level.
It’s just that now, for me, the pros are outweighing the cons.
The first of these is the ability for everyone to cut prim count (now called Land Impact or LI) by 40% not only with mesh items but with unscripted items which are made entirely of regular prims (except torii/donuts) — and sometimes even with sculpts and/or scripts. How? Using a mesh enabled viewer, select the item, go into the Features tab, and change the physics type to Convex Hull. Try it first with two plain cubes – two linked cubes set to convex hull = 1 Land Impact (or Prim Count).
Second is that for the first time, I can actually choose almost any furniture design and not only make it with a reasonable prim count — I mean Land Impact! — but do a far better job of making it look exactly like I want. Artistically, mesh is simply irresistible! I never want to go back to trying to make sculpts and prims look like real furniture. Making mesh things is just too much fun (well, when not beating my head against the Blender wall), and my things just look way too good!
Mesh has done for SL content what Windlight did for the environment — and yes, unfortunately, some computers may not be able to handle it. And that is NOT because mesh is harder on viewers than prims or sculpts, because they are definitely not — it’s the viewers themselves that just seem to require more processing power, no matter what they are rendering. Hopefully later versions will be faster.
I don’t know if this honeymoon will last — how long before the grid is flooded with thousands of ripped models? But for now, I am glad that SL just got a big boost in quality. Here are some pics of some of my mesh sets: