September 22, 2015

Some thoughts on mesh avatars

Sassy Romano was wondering (in the Second Life Forums) why the enthusiasm for mesh bodies and also thinking that, with applier outfits, we've gone back full circle to system clothing which everyone has tried so hard to escape from. They're good questions so here's my take:

1. The mesh bodies I have (Maitreya, TMP and even Ohana) are much more realistic in shape than the system mesh. The breasts are much more natural (don't get me started on Lola's Tangos) and the hands & feet are just much better done. No more cankles either. You also get the option of wearing insanely high feet like Slink's for ridonkulous heels. Realistic, colorable and resizable nails & toenails too!

2. Paint-on clothing for mesh (aka system type) ends up looking more realistic because the layers are actually physically separated from each other. So clothing layer sits a bit further out than underwear which sits a bit further out than tattoo which is on the same physical level as skin. This actually gives 2D clothing some depth that it wouldn't have otherwise. I'm often surprised at how much more realistic an applier outfit looks on mesh than the same outfit looks when it's on a standard avatar.

3. All this goodness aside, mesh bodies are a royal PITA. I have to save each outfit wearing all the right body parts PLUS the appliers themselves AND if it's an OMEGA applier outfit, it also has to have the OMEGA relay attached too. Then you have to apply the clothing to the right layers. Oy.

4. Mesh bodies don't always work correctly with mesh clothing. Usually something is popping through and turning on the appropriate alphas for a mesh outfit is, again, a chore. Much easier to simply wear a mesh outfit with the standard avatar provided your shape is in-range and the designer has included a properly made alpha (many don't make good alphas).

Now for YEARS I've been screaming at LL to improve the base avatar. Seriously we have so much better hardware now that doubling the vertices and tweaking the sliders should be pretty straightforward. Make the layers do exactly what the mesh body layers do -- set the physical distance away from the avatar.

Another idea I've thought is that LL could provide a true ADULT avatar. One with more realistic bits. I'll bet a lot of people would check the appropriate over 18 boxes and pay extra for one.

Right now the load on the servers has GOT to be heavier with all these unoptimized and scripted monster mesh avatars running around. Wouldn't SL be better off with a much improved standardized avatar?

As usual, all comments and thoughts are welcome.

September 21, 2015

Cheap Mesh Applier Clothing (Part 1)

Since I bought my Maitreya Lara mesh body (which I love), my wardrobe has contracted a bit. All those system outfits with prim attachments don't work on mesh bodies and mesh clothing may or may not work depending on the shape, alpha matching and other factors.

Which means an excuse to go shopping all over again!

Now I've bought some very nice applier-based outfits but they've all been in the $300 - 500L range. This time out, I thought I'd see what I could do for under $100L.

Second Life Marketplace (The Horror)

The first thing I did was head to SLM. Now if you don't know how to shop SLM through it's very limited search function, SLM can be daunting. There is soo much JUNK there it makes browsing unpleasant.  Like 30 color-ways of some stupid system bikini selling for $1L. Or endless retextured halter tops. And don't get me started on DEMOs. 

The key to wading through it is to use the keywords NOT, AND, and OR when searching. Note the ALL CAPS. So I started with:

omega NOT demo

This immediately narrowed down my universe to (mostly) clothing that including "Omega" appliers and were not demo products. Next I further narrowed down the selection by picking prices under $100L and with 4 star & up reviews. Yes you may miss a few things this way but the sheer volume of SLM listings makes it a chore otherwise.

Next step was to browse through the results picking and choosing things I might like to wear or that I thought others might like.

My personal tastes

Please note that while I am no prude and occasionally like to wear something a bit frisky, I don't do Lola's Tangos or wear outsized shapes (butts or boobs). I'm also not big into outfits that put your bits on full display either. So my picks from SLM were things that looked good to me from the pictures and had decent reviews (at least 3). This led me to about 15 items that ranged in price from $99L to $1L and I'm happy to say, that I will gladly wear any of them. Uh well except one that I'd only wear for a special male someone lol. And so on to the outfits! I'll feature maybe 3 per article so let's see how things go.
!DC! Autumn Love

Except where noted ALL outfits are shown on the Maitreya Lara body with my standard SL ava head and SLink high feet. All the links in the titles go to the items on SLM as of this writing. You can also click on any of the photos to see them in full size detail.

!DC! Autumn Love ($10L)

This knit dress is deceptively simple. What makes it are the textures. They all line up correctly, it LOOKS like real knitting (or crocheting) and it will also work as a top by itself.

Even the one feature I don't like, a mesh panel to bridge the crotch and legs, works well enough and is barely noticeable when worn.

Autumn Love comes with a multi-applier that works with just about any mesh body system you can think of including Maitrey, Omega, SLink, TMP, Lola, etc.

Click on the picture to view in full size. 

Carie's Closet - Stacy Plum Kissed Top ($2L)

Carie's Closet - Stacy Plum Kissed Top
OK this is just a system top updated for Omega & Maitreya appliers but it works pretty well and it's only $2L. When I was making clothing, this sort of top was  typical of my own work so I can relate. :) It's cute and wearing it on the clothing layer of Lara makes it sit OFF the body slightly giving it a bit more realism than if it was worn on a system avatar. This is the sort of clothing that's almost impossible to do well in mesh.

B.D.R. (Beautiful Dirty Rich) - I'm Your Only Wish ($1L)

Now I actually have a number of BDR outfits lurking in inventory. Some undies, lingerie, tops as well as a few normal outfits. So when I saw this cute little lace babydoll I was like MUST OWN!

BDR - I'm Your Only Wish
And I was not disappointed. While it's an adapted system style outfit with one of those prim bridges across the crotch (that I hate), it works well and the lace details really come to life on mesh bodies. Sorry peeps, I blurred the bits on this one in Photoshop but trust me, you can see everything through it.

It is supplied in four different colors (pink, purple (shown), black and white) along with appliers for just about every mesh body and add-on under the sun except Maitreya but it including Omega.

Alma's Gift Lace Top ($1L)

Alma's Gift Lace Top
Finally, our last venture was a top that I thought was cute from the photos but didn't have any reviews. For $1L, I'll take a chance!

And the verdict is....winner! It's very cute, well detailed and while it's an applier only top, the illusion of going across the breast rather than being painted on the skin is very good when applied to clothing layer. I'd wear this with jeans shorts in a heartbeat! Yes, it shows a little peek-a-boo bottom boob but on SL, that's pretty tame. Comes with appliers for, Belezzo, Slink Physique & Omega. So who is Alma and what else does she make? As it turns out, mostly lingerie with quite a few 5 star ratings including some black lace panties for $1L with Omega appliers. Off to buy.

Do you like this article / series?

If this sort of thing is something you're interested in, please let me know in the comments or by retweeting the link. These things are a lot of work and I'd hate to be writing just for an audience of one. Tanx!

September 19, 2015

InWorldz goes open source

From the InWorldz blog...
InWorldz and Halcyon
Over the past year, InWorldz has released source code to the greater 3d simulation and virtual world community in an attempt to make quality solutions for common problems available to the masses. This has been done deliberately to raise the bar of expectations for users coming from larger more well funded companies to smaller grids like ours. 
Last week we released the core of the InWorldz simulator source code on GitHub. 
As well as being a community oriented virtual world, this release makes InWorldz an open source software company specializing in performance and stability oriented 3d simulation.
 I don't pretend to know what impact this will have on anything. That's for my techie followers and friends to tell me. :)

Link to complete article here: