My experimenting continues with my avatars new body shape. I managed to create something that seemed to move well and deform well but at a cost.
For a decade we’ve been making clothes and accessories for the Second Life Avatar, a rigged mesh shape that has not changed since SL was released. We were given templates for layering textures over the top of these mesh avatars and the ability to attach prims to parts of the avatar skeleton and thats how its been and still is. Even in an age where we can import mesh, we are still using that same avatar mesh introduced over a decade ago, but simply attaching another mesh onto of the old.
You have to give Linden Lab credit though, as they have allowed us to customise the old avatar mesh in almost every way possible. But I’m starting to feel it’s getting real messy in the avatar market space as more and more people send feedback saying their clothes don’t fit, have spikes, look like plastic, look flat, don’t look like the picture, look stretched, won’t load, body pokes through…… and on and on. The simplicity of buying a shirt and wearing it has gone, but the quality of the products has dramatically increased.
So many factors seem to change how users see SL these days, it is hard to create something that everyone will see the same resulting in people leaving negative product reviews. Basic shaders, Atmospheric shaders, Advanced lighting model, hardware skinning, having just one of these things switched off in your graphics settings can greatly effect how you see Second Life. I’ve even had people come to me saying they see all my stuff as if its made of plastic only to find the third party Firestorm viewer has even more graphical options with regards to advanced lighting and materials.
Then there is the onset of Mesh Avatars which unless they are based very closely to the original decades old mesh avatars won’t be comparable with a lot of mesh clothing created in the past three years regardless of the fitted mesh feature.
Linden Lab is aware of this mess though, this is why they introduced some icons to try and categorise what fits with classic old avatars and stuff that fits with new User created avatar brands. This is probably where I’m heading with my own avatar because my new body shape was built from the ground up and joint rigged in a manner thats not the same as the original SL avatar. The advantage is i can create clothing that fits perfectly with my avatars body shape, but i can’t use clothes i created for the old SL avatar. Not only that, but the clothes i make for my new Mesh Shape can not be used by people wearing the old avatar shape.
If i decided to sell my new mesh shape for others to use, it will lead to a situation where i have to make a shirt model for my new avatar and a shirt model for old style avatars. How much work this will end up being for me i’ve yet to figure out. How confusing this will be to customers depends on my marketing skills, but eventually Second Life Users will have to change the way they see Second Life avatars in general. Not as one default shape, but a collection of competing avatar brands, each with their own official fitted clothes that may or may not be able to mix and match.
This maybe how it will end up being in the new upcoming virtual worlds where there is no real ‘standard’ for avatar sizes and shapes so perhaps i should embrace this new and chaotic way of things.