Friday, May 16, 2014

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Body Snatchers: Second Life's New Mesh Avatars May Do More Harm Than Good to New Players

Second Life Library Mesh Avatars (2)
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Second Life's new fitted mesh starter avatars are here, and they're the talk of the community. The avatars appeared in users' Library folders and in the Avatar Selector yesterday, and they're intended to give new players a few quick, appealing, and up-to-date choices when they first log in.

In reality, however, these all-mesh characters might actually be setting new users up for a very rude awakening. Here's how:

Let's Talk About Compatibility

Second Life Library Mesh Avatars (5)

No, that lovely white hair and that lovely white dress aren't part of these mesh avatar bundles. My goal from the instant I started trying these avatars on was to make them work with my own virtual wardrobe. That's what a new player will eventually want to do, after all; they will want to try new things, change up their look, and slowly transition to something else, one piece at a time.

Unfortunately, these avatars fail tremendously on this front for a couple reasons. First, they are fitted mesh but only allow a handful of actual shape adjustments, which undercuts a key part of the early customization experience compared to past starter avatars which were, with a few exceptions, all based on the standard Second Life shape. Second, unlike just about every mesh body available on the virtual market now there is no way to hide certain parts of the body to make it more compatible with mesh clothing. This means that if you want to avoid any clipping you'll be wearing items several sizes higher than usual, and even then it still might not work.

Furthermore, although Linden Lab met with designers and asked them to make clothing for the new avatars, they have not made a dev kit (with models, UV maps and so on) available to them. This means that any designers who who may actually be interested will be working almost entirely in the dark, and that demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of how the mesh avatar enhancement business works. If you want people to support your product and increase its appeal, you need to give them access. I can't paint your kitchen for you if you won't even let me into your house.

Let's Talk About Intent

On the other hand, it's important to realize that these avatars aren't intended to compete (or even really compare) to mesh bodies, heads and so on like WowMeh or SLink Visage, so maybe that choice is understandable. Some users have also been disappointed about their lack of nipples or genitalia, but considering that these are being deposited freely in everyone's inventory (including younger players and student accounts) that's pretty understandable too. This isn't supposed to be a free high-quality mesh augmentation, but rather a quick and easy way to look almost as good as everyone else does.

Let's Talk About Quality

Second Life Library Mesh Avatars (6)

... Except most of them don't look that good at all. Many of the supernatural avatars are remarkable and have already become player favorites (the zombies in particular) but the plain old humans really just aren't that great. In a vacuum they would be absolutely fine. Totally passable. But in a world that takes avatars as seriously as SL does, they just don't hold up. The texturing on the bodies themselves is lackluster and frankly reminds me of the quality level that Second Life skins were at when I first joined back in 2006.

The hair and clothing are also substandard -- just about every piece is ill-fitting and (to put it in layman's terms) isn't "double-sided". That means it only has a textured surface (a "face") on the outside of the item and not the inside, and when you catch a piece of mesh with no inside faces from an inside angle you'll see right through it. It looks bad, and that's why it's a problem most of SL's mesh clothing brands learned to avoid a long time ago.

Second Life Library Mesh Avatars (8)

And then there's the feet, the hideous flipper feet nearly as gruesome as those on the standard SL avatar, designed purely to fit into their shoes and likely to be one of the first obstacles new players need to wrap their heads around. They will probably not be able to just buy new shoes and put them on, and they will not understand why everyone else's "mesh feet" look so much better than theirs. 

Oddly enough the vampire hunter avatars do at least have individual toes, but they also have much roomier boots to match. I want to be sympathetic, because making a foot fit into a shoe without any alpha layers can't be easy... Except that's exactly what Second Life's most popular mesh feet do. SLink's mesh feet are also designed to fit into shoes perfectly and still manage to look phenomenal on their own. It's a missed opportunity. Why make mesh avatars in the first place if you're just going to replicate one of the most visible and hated flaws in the original SL avatar?

Let's Talk About Reality

You know what? Let's rewind a bit and put ourselves in that new player's place right now. Imagine we've just joined this MMO we've heard a lot about. It seems kind of weird (wasn't there an episode of CSI about it or something?) but maybe we've seen pictures of peoples' avatars on Flickr or Tumblr and we're impressed with how flexible the world seems to be. So we join.

We pick out a starter avatar we like. We fiddle with our shape until it better suits our tastes, though most of the sliders don't seem to actually do anything. Weird. Oh well! We decide to go shopping. We see clothes and accessories and skins and all manner of things, and maybe we start buying. Maybe we have no idea what a demo is, because very few new players do. In most other virtual worlds, games, MMOs, etc you simply don't have to worry about things fitting or not fitting your avatar. Short of being the right level or class, adjusting yourself to fit an item or vice versa is inconceivable. Things just work. Not in Second Life. In Second Life, we can't wear most of what we buy. Nothing looks right because of out avatar... But we don't even know that much. To us, everything probably just seems broken and buggy. Things ask us to wear "alpha layers" to hide our body and improve the fit, but they don't seem to do anything. Skins, eyes, tattoo layers... Nothing seems to affect our avatar at all. 

Eventually an irritated but helpful store owner tells us that to wear or change just about anything about our avatar in this highly customized world, we have to completely remove the avatar we know, peeling it away to reveal a far uglier one beneath... One that's probably an absolute mess thanks to all those "broken" sliders we were trying out earlier.

What a ride.

Let's Talk About Compatibility (Again)

Here's the cherry on top: None of these avatars work in SL Go, OnLive's Second Life viewer developed with LL's help and designed for mobile platforms and low-end PCs. Here's everybody's favourite zombie girl in the official viewer:

Second Life Library Mesh Avatars (1)

And here she is on SL Go:

Second Life Library Avatars OnLive

SL Go currently doesn't seem to have support for fitted mesh, which causes these avatars to break spectacularly. Fitted mesh still provides very little actual customization in regards to these starter avatars, so for something that dramatically limits viewer compatibility in exchange for so little, I have to wonder if these really needed to be fitted mesh in the first place.

It comes down to this: While established residents might have the experience to look at these prepackaged sets more as complete costumes than as foundational avatars, most new user don't, and they are going to be incredibly confused. Compare it to character creation/selection in any other MMO and that confusion seems very understandable. At best it will prime them for the idea of mesh augmentations and avatar enhancements (a rather small piece of the puzzle all said) and I can't say that it would even do that very well. They'll certainly learn the hard way to pay attention to who or what every individual item is for in the increasingly complicated add-on oriented landscape of avatar customization... If they even stick around that long.

I'm not sure I would.

Mixed reality iris 2013Iris Ophelia (@bleatingheart, Janine Hawkins IRL) has been featured in the New York Times, and has spoken about SL-based design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan and with pop culture/fashion maven Johanna Blakley.</

Comments

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R. Crap Mariner

... but you must admit, Rick and his fellow survivors would completely lose their **** if they ran into THOSE kinds of space-warp zombies.

-ls/cm

A.J.

My initial reaction to these mesh avatars was anger.

I understand that new user retention is important, but it's really way past time to to start paying back the faithful users with a new modifiable solution to that old broken avatar that we're trying to piece together with mesh surgical replacement parts.

I know it's complicated, but they're being paid the big bucks to figure it out.

These new avatars feel like a smack with a giant carrot right in the face. It's a taunting with something that nobody can really have.

Linden Lab, once again, uses it's resources to give us something that is completely broken right from the start.

The only thing this teaches new users is that learning and growing in SL is a race to the bottom filled with hurdles,hoops,ugly seams,and a jigsaw puzzle of body parts and clothing.

Ajax Manatiso

It seems like for the past few years LL has been working hard to reduce the number of people who join SL and return to SL and they have done a remarkable job here. This is sure to frustrate newbies and make them believe SL is far more limited in it's avatar capabilities than it actually is.

Ajax Manatiso

Oh, and has anyone tried to do a couple dance animation (slowdance) with one new mesh avi and one old avi? I am curious as to whether LL borked that too.

Tracy RedAngel

I don't see how any new player would ever stick around Second Life without the help of a friend or asking another resident for help.
I think a lot of residents are very nice to new players and willing to help them out, and I wonder if LL just assumes that's always going to be the case. "Eh, they'll figure it out". No, they'll get impatient, irritated and move on to something else.

And yes, to echo A.J.'s sentiment, WHY, after 11 years hasn't LL fixed the old avatar? It's not just the outside that is horrible, the entire skeleton is terrible. I'm not convinced they couldn't do it. The could create a better default mesh (not just a costume, but the actual avatar) with detailed hands and feet. Yes it would cost money, but it's a worth investment. They wouldn't have had to go and make zombies, vampires, etc, they could have just modeled one basic female and one basic male with full slider control. Maybe add updated and new facial expressions.
Oh well. The zombies are kind of funny. I have a 'dress-as-a-noob' party to go to tomorrow, and that zombie avi should be pretty fun.

Pussycat Catnap

A lot of comment on the new avatars in various places.

The proportions though, are finally good. Properly human.

Put one on. Notice how far your arms go down the hips on them. Then go back to a 'classic avatar' as they are now being called and look at the same thing.

That will help people trying to improve their shape - try to copy the same length on your "classic" avatar... While you can't, the closer you can get, the more natural you'll start to feel (but at first it will look weird... takes a day or two to get used to).

It would be nice if the shapes for the new ones were mod so this wouldn't be a guessing game.
I'll hold my peace on other criticisms.

Carl Metropolitan

Iris' review is spot on and matches my evaluation. A major failure she missed (and it may have just been there were so many she didn't have room for it) is that the clothing and shoes are not even interchangeable among avatars of the same sex.

On the other hand, I do give Linden Lab credit for trying to increase the diversity of their starter avatars, even if that's not always obvious at the size they are presented at on the start-up screen.

I rant further on this missed opportunity for LL at http://goo.gl/bVdCOL , if anyone is interested.

Pussycat Catnap

I'm also happy that they have more realistic heights.

But this is almost required in ordered to have realistic proportions due to the limits of the shape sliders

Jaqua

LL is probably holding out for HiFi to allow everyone to port in their own choice of full mesh avatar, a tech that is at least a decade old as par Poser. You could go to Renderosity.com or Daz3d and get a HD photorealistic avatar with full mesh and autoconforming fashion to fit you mesh size, when I read about these updates that you guys go through I can't help but thinking "how late and primitive"

Uccie Poultry

Also of note, unlike many components from the previous series of starter avatars, none of the bits on the current crop can be modified. Hair is the best example of this. The bodies can't be animated beyond an AO, either ... no facial expressions nor hand gestures. It's a nice start and hopefully some creator will find an opportunity to make a few buck with tailored clothes, hair, and accessories. I'd also like to see a return of Damien Fate's quadruped starter avatars with a mesh update.

Ravyn Rozensztok

Second Life is so strange. I understand it's a tiny little company with limited resources but they always seem to do things completely borked. This is just more of the same.

The new user experience is a hilarious mess. Even the official New User Guide hasn't been updated since 2011 and is completely out-of-date. http://community.secondlife.com/t5/English-Knowledge-Base/Second-Life-Quickstart/ta-p/1087919

I honestly don't understand how they're still in business.

Account Deleted


I think they did a great job & know i might be one of the few with that view but these are just temporary avatars! folks the goal is to get them to fit in somewhat more with less people harping new residents for looking 'noob' on day one to help reduce social anxiety

The other flip of the coin is getting them involved in the economy and the way to start will be having them out buying a replacement avatar but in meantime during their first few days they will not feel so much out of place or look so out of place.

The high quality of the avatars can be the work of only one person that would be damien fate it has his handwriting all over it but i could be wrong. but who ever made it realised
it was more then creating a pretty face but ensuring the avatar would focus on the world around them first then the normal vanity later on.

Props to Ebbe

Brace Coral

Between this and Carl's article on the new mesh avatars, pretty much everything is covered.

Just wanted to thank Linden Lab for yet again, adding another burden onto those who work in New Resident help and education.

Did they even ask in-world content creators to be the ones to make these? Nope, outsourced again, I gather.

There are some spectacular - and visibly diverse - mesh avatars out there that DO conform to the standard sizing.

At the very least they could have broken off a little something something and had some of those folks consult/advise the avatar makers.

Oh Well.

Teddy

And another bullet to the head of the content creators still paying for land to run avatar design (skin, shape) stores. As if the Marketplace craze (full of copybotted items and economy crushing 'promos' at the top of relevancy/best-seller listings) hadn't already made it hard enough, now noobs are given no mod mesh avatars that do not work with traditional skins.

Do Linden Labs detest their content creators and are they determined to destroy in-world commerce? They're doing everything in their power to force people into closing their shops.

Iris Ophelia

@Jaqua: High Fidelity is Philip's project, something he's doing with developers outside of LL. Linden Lab are listed as investors, but to say that they're waiting for High Fidelity to do anything rather than doing it themselves is a stretch. High Fidelity is not *their* product.

@Drift Monde: "The high quality of the avatars can be the work of only one person that would be damien fate it has his handwriting all over it but I could be wrong." You know, I could maybe see that with the supernatural avatars, but when it comes to the casually dressed humans I'd be a little insulted if I were Damien. That set in particular absolutely aren't up to the standards set by his own brands. Damien's mesh clothes are double-sided and have been for some time. That just isn't a corner he cuts. His textures are also typically much less crunchy, much less blurry, and very polished compared to the texturing on these clothes... And ugh, the faces. Like I said, I'd absolutely believe he'd done the zombies, the werewolves, but the plain humans are worlds away from the calibre of the items he typically produces.

For the record, he also thinks these avatars a bad idea (http://www.plurk.com/p/k0xkw6)

Shug Maitland

Ebbe's first epic fail!
Confusing to the Newbies.
Poorly done.
Not customizable.
Bad interface with content creators.

Best to forget about it and get to work on a true upgrade to the avatar we have now!

Vic Mornington

As expected, came straight over here to see what the reaction of hammy the has been's blog is to the new avatar and guess what?

THATS RIGHT! Full of doom and gloom. This blog is slowly turning into the AlphaVille Herald....

If the starter avatars was TOO good you would all bitch and whine that it would put vendors out of business, the avatars aint too good so you all bitch and whine that they look horrible...Linden Lab cant win with you lot.

Kitsune Shan

What surprises me more is the lack of knowledge on people doing critics on comments.
Aside of these avatars not being so customizable, this is NOT an intent of making a new SL avatar. So I dont know why people complain about them not working with all sliders. No custom avatar in SL does! The bad move here is introducing them as new standards when they are just custom avatars only made for the clothes thei wear and nothing else unless you have the luck to fit something there. I am sure that LL intention was just to provide a better looking avatar from the begining. Of course, this isnt a big success for the reassons that have been covered already in the article. I guess they didnt have that into account or they may just want as much people as possible to join so the little percent that keeps on SL and doesnt give up is enough for them. They dont think "big".

It also made me laugh that comment about Linden Lab being a small company lol. I dont think is so small. But they maybe should take a look and see if they really need around 200 employes where only between 10 or 15 are really programmers for SL. The rest are just lost in all paraphernalia that doesnt help in any way to grow a company that depends solely on their user base.

I have been a lot of times on the mesh and content creators office hours and is really "funny" to hear how the main programmers of SL and the experienced people often tells you how "hard" or "impossible" is something to do for SL. It makes me wonder of their profesionality and knowledge. While some indie companies makes games from scratch, LL needs 2 years to introduce a new interface even when people dont need or want it at all. I am not sure how much you get paid to work for LL, maybe the salary is so small that you dont even care on putting any effort in your work. Or maybe the requirements to be hired there arent so important at all.

A good way to see how they work is just looking a bit to the near past. Materials were introduced because Exodus Viewer developers wanted to make a material system and they were the one who did most of the job. Fitted mesh is a bad joke when you see that LL arent even able to provide you with correct weighted examples of the avatars. And this, again, is another "stolen" idea from another user (Red). Plus it doesnt even fit at all lol...

I really hope for the day that they come with a great good new idea by theirself and stop modifying the interface and doing silly changes for what they needs over a year or more.

Hell, even the guys at cloud party were able to introduce meshes, materials, custom bones and a lot of more features in that silly small world in less than two years while LL needed 2 years just to reject Mesh Deformer after people submitting and contrubuting with a lot of meshes and works for it (not to mention the amount of money that some people paid for it).

Sigh... I think if they at least could let the comunity to work a bit more on all aspects of SL to improve every viewer it would be nice. But you know... now even third party viewers cant add new features that affects too much to the "user experience". They just bury theirself.

We can just hope for a better future and see if Ebbe can really change the ways of this slow progress.

Account Deleted

@ Iris Ophelia

I should have looked closer logged into and tried them on to really made a better guess on creator but i do not think lindens failed on this the reason is this was done by the urging of the community and unlike past they tried to listen and even if standards are off that does not mean they cannot go back and fix that's why its not a failure.

Only failure at this point would be to leave as they are but instead they could have someone go back in and do touch up work to correct the big flaws and update permissions.

Really only way to do it is a bunch of creators create them then get together and offer them to Ebbe most likely best way.
otherwise they have to use inhouse staff to design who are not clothing designers or moles who are not clothing designers / or possible past linden contractors like damien fate or his alts
to redesign them.

Account Deleted

@ Vic Mornington

Also i think this huge public blow back will not be productive if everyone could see from their view point no matter what they do they will always be wrong.
The people who made them thought the new avatars were good it was simple human misjudgement not linden lab making a huge error.

Ebbe has only been in office a few months i think really he has not had the time its going to take yet to go thru 11 + years of mismanaged choices thruout the organisation so far from everything i have seen he has been improving things but he has not won me over yet.

He gives good vibes.only other lindens that ever gave vibes like that were Cory / Eric
& Molly Linden. Really things went to hell after they left.

A.J.

Huge public blow back is productive in the face of stupidity and Ebbe Linden owns these little mesh trolls. If he hasn't been there long enough to first do no harm, he's been there too long.

Just think about the logic here for a moment. Linden Lab is afraid that the default avatar is too ugly and complicated and may scare off new customers. So they create an unrelated mostly unmodifiable mesh paper bag to cover it up. What does that say about it's new users? It says "hey sucker come here. I wanna sell you some land".

What does that say about it's faithful users? It says "ugly and complicated is just fine for you. Keep paying us for it."

It's an epic fail and Ebbe owns it.

Vivienne Daguerre

There is an opportunity here for a good mesh avatar maker in Second Life. Make a better mesh avatar, with a free outfit and hair. Distribute it widely, giving it away for free in as many places as possible. In the package you give away for free, give away the UV Map for the avatar, a freebie shape to get slider settings to a good start point for people to play with. And of course include a landmark to your in world store and a URL to your marketplace store to buy clothing specifically made for that avatar. Make a series. Offer rental stalls to other creators who are designing for your avatars.

I am not a mesh avatar maker, but this could be an opportunity for a new market niche.

A.J.

This would also be a great opportunity for Linden Lab to come out with a default avatar 2.0 with separate mesh for male and female. It could have more refined lines and more realistic body proportions. They could call it a Premium Account and justify the $9.99 a month charge they so desperately want. Designers would go crazy for a new market, bloggers would blog their little hearts out, and anyone who wants to get laid in SL would send in their credit card info for that revolving fee that would never stop.

It's just that simple.

irihapeti

i hope someone one day is going to work out how to solve the shoulder strap problem. Like in the pic. Is a pain that

Canoro Philipp

if they took the time to move around triangles to make a more realistic and detail avatar, couldn't they spend that time moving the triangles of the default avatar, instead of making a cover? if they know how to work with mesh, why is impossible to move a single triangle of the default mesh avatar?
if they would have refined the default avatar, everybody would have benefited, the alpha layers and the system clothes would be working, all your clothes would be guaranteed to work.
it seems like in some way, the folder in the servers where the default avatar is, got password protected and nobody remembers the password.

Ravyn Rozensztok

Ok, since I spent yesterday on another website providing helpful links and advice to people who were asking whether Second Life is still worth checking out, I'll try to be a bit more positive here too (that's when I realized that the outdated Second Life Quick Start Guide makes reference to Help Islands that no longer exist, which is quite frankly, astonishing. No company I've worked for would ever allow that to happen. It's like Linden Lab is deliberately trying to drive new users away).

Anyway, back to the positives: the base designs of these avatars are very well done, especially the bodies and faces. I like the fact that I can finally see noses that look realistic - I've never been able to shape natural looking noses with the sliders, so some of the downturned noses are a refreshing change for the male avatars.

The texturing on the faces and upper bodies are very well done and as mentioned body shapes and limb proportions are nicely realistic. I also like the fact that they're attractive, but not all fashion model faces. They look like regular people. That's a bonus.

I appreciate the diversity, though I do wish there was a black male human available. But the two vampires are just so cool that's a minor complaint. The whole 'Vampire' collection is very well done actually, and of the humans I can see myself walking around in a few as well - especially the hipster dude.

I think Linden Lab has made a conscious decision to give new players starter mesh avatars that are of a similar quality to their non-mesh versions. Nice, but not perfect, not cutting-edge or up to the standards of what are actually available on the market in order to prompt new users to want to seek out higher-quality, resident-made options.

Looking around and seeing others not doing the duck walk, with non-system hair, with decent skins, etc. is exactly what prompted me to want to dive into the in-world economy and figure out how to upgrade.

Similarly, these slightly-borked mesh avatars will provide the impetus for today's crop of new Second Life residents to start exploring better options and begin participating in the marketplace.

iam

@Ravyn

Diversity means more than having black avatars. I'd like to see some Asian ones ,Native American ones, just more than black or white. Diversity means more than that.

Account Deleted

@ Ravyn Rozensztok

"Quote
I appreciate the diversity, though I do wish there was a black male human available. EndQuote"

This all ties into the fact for SL to get back to mainstream they need big endorsements and with black guys why not offer a Snoop dog(lion) or Dr Dre avatars for new residents ?

Offer choices like being part of wizard of oz or starting out as mickey mouse with maybe an official disney world region sponsored by disney they could start out in.

Thing is people really want to live fantasy's and linden lab needs to look into bringing the big brands back in SL and promoting again with a sure fire way is endorsment's & since the lab is not far from hollywood they should consider trying to tie things in real business deals.

Ebbe really needs to work on bringing back attempts years ago that was to bring big brand sponser's to SL

People will whine they will have no interest in SL the average person because SL is old with old tech well its bullcrap if the average non internet nerd discovered SL they could 2-fairy shits how the place is created but they will think its cool.

Ebbe needs to rebrand Secondlife to "SL Online"
to distance the name stignma also a new inspiring website interface and looking into putting the entire grid in the cloud including a WebGL viewer
and all this soon.

Where will they get the money? where did they get the money to go on past buying sprees? had to be from somewhere.

Canoro Philipp

@ Drift Monde
they should offer more variety of avatars and cultures, more generalized ones instead of focusing on a specific culture, because the target audience is global, I would suggest some with a fairly middle east characteristics, some with north European folkloric culture touches, some avatars that could represent something recognizable for the different audience that Linden Lab wants to attract.
maybe Linden Lab could find some iconic figures from various parts of the world and portray avatars with similar characteristics.

Tesla Miles

I don't see why Linden Labs don't just introduce a new avatar 2.0 and keep the old avatar as well. A brand new avatar with a new skeleton might not work with many of the current products, but it will do one big thing, and that is STIMULATE the SL economy, which is what SL needs right now... think of all the new jobs that would be created, the demand for avatar 2.0 products would lift SL out of it's dire economic state.

Wolf Baginski

Ebbe Altberg had admitted that some mistakes were made with are going to be corrected, amongst them the No-Mod shapes. The mesh bodies and clothes are all Fitted Mesh, but with a No-Mod shape a new player loses a bridge to the skills of adjusting an Avatar

What has become apparent to me is that there are some awkward features of access to Library files, and how the Inventory and Appearance windows hand these new files. All the new Mesh items have Alpha Layers to hit the underlying avatar, either the whole body (for which you only need the one Alpha loaded) or the partial Alphas usual for clothing items.

Getting an outfit onto an Avatar is all or nothing, which means superfluous Alpha Layers. At least server side baking copes with that.

If you want to use a clothing item on a standard AV, without the mesh body, you would use the individual Alpha for that item. They're not great items, like the old texture-based clothing they're at the chain-store pair of jeans level.

Using these Alphas, and only these Alphas, through the Inventory system is broken. You don't get the offered choice to Add them, which means only one Alpha at a time. Alphas from other sources, no problem. The actual mesh items, no problems using Add.

You can work through the Appearance Window and do the same job. You find the items in some outfit or another, Wear or Add them as desired, and eventually create a new Outfit.

It's possible, but without subfolders you could soon have a huge number of outfits to manage, scrolling through a long list.

When did subfolders come in? MS-DOS 2.11 had them, as I recall. Linden Labs sometimes seem a bit behind the times.

Anyway, it looks like a half-finished UI change, with nobody checking the still-available old UI is working.

And this is for New Residents, who will be asking us how to do something, and what we are maybe used to isn't working.

Wolf Baginski

I don't know if I just saw some creator talking big, but over in the LL forums somebody was claiming that the creators had decided not to use Fitted Mesh.

It does look like more work, more testing, and it might not be worth it for everyone, but the Fitted Mesh items with these new AVs do look OK. Like some of the pre-mesh garments for other Library characters, they're the chain-store jeans of SL fashion.

It does seem hard to find Fitted Mesh in the marketplace. And if the combination of Fitted Mesh and Avatar Physics is discovered by some residents, there are going to be a few self-inflicted black eyes on the beach...

Wolf Baginski

On the diversity issue, I agree it looks bad, but I am not sure I would recommend that a new resident present as non-White. There are some people who would get obnoxious. I've also seen it with apparently female residents. It's not a good thought, I know, but why add another obstacle for a new resident?

Learn how to build your own specific AV first.

I've also seen signs that a female AV may be at a disadvantage getting help. Choose a neutral account name, and don't set a Display Name just yet.

I know, I'm making SL sound bad. But it doesn't take many rotten apples to be hanging around where new residents might be.

irihapeti

it do point to where LL is going. Is not going to be any other Avatar 2.0. We looking at it already

is a good thing this I think. Where next we going is LL will enable custom bones (add/remove/extend bones as you like) and LL will enable morphs: face, hands, hair. Hair morphs will be quite good. Will be able to use the editor to fit mesh hair to your head. Move strands away/closer to your body properly. Stuff like that

when we get it dunno. but I think is coming. bc it dont make any sense for it not to come

Account Deleted

@ Canoro

"Quote

they should offer more variety of avatars and cultures, more generalized ones instead of focusing on a specific culture, because the target audience is global, I would suggest some with a fairly middle east characteristics, some with north European folkloric culture touches, some avatars that could represent something recognizable for the different audience that Linden Lab wants to attract.
maybe Linden Lab could find some iconic figures from various parts of the world and portray avatars with similar characteristics."

asian magna already ready incorporates many of these global cultural references

Well first thing why would linden lab want to use obscure northern euro folklore ? the real markets are not in europe or north america or in the middle east but emerging markets in Asia & South America all flush with cash.
Linden lab closed its office in europe and also is forced to charge residents vats taxs with a declining euro market population due to lower birth rates and population replacement with arab muslims who have religious mandates against online virtual life (freedom of expression) (intolerance against women)

Linden lab would do well to do as i already pointed out celebrity endorsements and corporate sponsorship's is the road back to mainstream popularity that would include new resident celebrity inspired & endorsed avatars.

If cola cola put info about SL on every bottle of soda it sold worldwide for 6 month SL would explode its growth overnight from 45000 online to 250000 online and with asia having over 3/4 the worlds population this refound popularity would not slow down over night.

Anyways my point you missed was the new avatars are fine as a starting point but further steps should be taken with them including new avatars being used as part of a broader advertisement campaign.

Everyone believes their ideas are the right idea to save SecondLife


Ravyn Rozensztok

@ iam

Did I say there should only be African American avatars offered as an alternative? I don't think I did.

There are new Asian, African American and Indian avatars in the new batch - as there should be - considering that Second Life is available to every country on the planet.

I just noticed the lack of African American males that aren't vampires. But I'm not bent-out-of shape about it. I just thought it was a bit odd. Maybe Second Life's demographics don't warrant otherwise.

@ Drift Monde

??? An african american male avatar doesn't mean it automatically needs to be a hip hop musician. A black avatar could be anything: a professional, a teacher, a veteran - even President of the United States.

@ Wolf Baginski

Do you really think people would be hassled if they began with a non-white avatar? I started SL with an African American av. Nobody gave me any grief about it.

Not everybody behind the keyboard is a white dude or chick. I'm sure a few of them may like to enter the world with an avatar that represents themselves. The new batch does a rather admirable job of providing options in this regard.

Ravyn Rozensztok

Actually, now that I think about it, the fact that the only black male avatars in the bunch are scary monsters is kind of troubling.

I was initially charmed by how well designed those two vampires are. But to see a group of figures presented where the only black males are threatening figures - that treads uncomfortably close to the 'scary black man' stereotype.

Why couldn't Linden Labs made on of the human regular guy avatars a black dude?

melponeme_k

I'm pretty particular how I shape the basic avatar and despite its drawbacks it offers more options than mesh. As of now, none of the mesh avatars on offer are any good. If you buy a creator mesh, you end up looking like everyone else wearing it.

However I don't see a huge problem with these new basic mesh avatars from SL. I see them as an example of what can be offered in SL. They can't be so fabulous no one will ever want to buy from people in SL and they can't be so hideous they are insulting. I think the new avatars are just about right, they look on par with the basic avatars that I saw in Cloud Party and Blue Mars. And anyone bringing up those avatars as superior to SL needs to get coke bottle glasses to correct their vision.

Account Deleted

@ Ravyn

Get real you cherry picked what i wrote to make it an agenda for race ?

You missed my point and if your here to push political correctness well your in the wrong neighborhood.

Anyways my point you missed was the new avatars are fine as a starting point but further steps should be taken with them including new avatars being used as part of a broader advertisement campaign.

Yea black hip pop stars sell and sell well did you not know?
Sends you a copy of ebony magazine.

Account Deleted

@ Sings to melponeme

I fully agree 100%

Ravyn Rozensztok

@ Drift Monde

Yeah, sorry, I re-read your comment and realize didn't quite understand what you were getting at the first time.

I do agree it would be great if Linden Labs could leverage the popularity of recognizable celebrities or pop culture media properties like those owned by Disney, but I rather imagine the copyright issues involved would be a legal nightmare.

I don't quite get your political correctness comment - but then I don't often understand the viewpoint of people who use that phrase as a negative.

Dean

I could never get my face or look I want which is why I reject these avatars and slink's head for example. Plus I have spent 1000s of dollars maybe on mesh clothes in SL. I don't want them to all become irrelevant with a new mesh avatar. it's depressings. The slink heads though are just some creators idea of beautiful. I think they look hideous no matter what appliers. The base nose, the eyes, the chin and stuff and the teeth worse of all. I just can't get my look out of that. It's not terrible just not what I want.

2014

let's be perfectly honest, did we expect anything less from LL?

Rose Mackie

My first thoughts

All those designers who were worried about the free mesh content have nothing to worry about.
For the “human” avatars, the men are slightly better than the women.
Most of the skins are ho-hum.
Yay for more realistic sizing.
Linden Labs appears to have used an in-house designer rather than a known (and successful) Second Life content creator. It shows in the quality.
After wearing the new mesh, I had to relog to get a regular non-mesh avatar to show up. Using the “Undeform Your Avatar,” “Force Appearance Update,” or “Reset Default Male/Female Avater” did not work. Some bits and pieces of the mesh avatars did not remove themselves.

Were I a newcomer, I’d wear these avatars for about a day before moving on to something I could modify and for which I could find better hair, skin, clothing, etc.

Pussycat Catnap

@Kitsune Shan: Not to excuse anything specific - but in a general sense one reason LLs claims complexity in fixing things or adding things is the desire to not break existing content coupled with a desire to ensure what changes won't lock in future content and a third desire to not push up system requirements much.

Just recently they finally stopped supporting Windows XP before SP3... so... your 13 year old OS has to have had a free patch installed within the last 6 years... And even this got backlash.

Most software these days looks at XP and just laughs. And has done so for some time.

LLs is very conservative with breaking backward compatibility and moving system requirements up.

Everything we all want, they could do very fast, if they just bumped the windows side requirements to Windows 7, and then kept it at "as far back as any version of Windows replaced within the last 4 years" - meaning that in 2016 they SHOULD retire support for windows 7...

If they did that, we could have our cake...

But SL has way too many users on low end systems for... reasons...

Pussycat Catnap

@ Wolf Baginski:
"but I am not sure I would recommend that a new resident present as non-White. There are some people who would get obnoxious. I've also seen it with apparently female residents. It's not a good thought, I know, but why add another obstacle for a new resident?"
*********************************************

Because why should I be forced to present as somebody else's race and not my own or the one of my choice?

I present as black in SL. I'm actually mixed from mostly other sources. But I am not white.

I do agree with you that some people, in fact quite a number, give attitude because of this.

My ability to make friends went down a LOT when I first made my avatar brown skinned (Native Presenting at the time), and has gotten worse the darker her tone goes.

(At the same time, it has opened up some avenues both directly among fellow Afro-centric or Africa-curious folks and indirectly among people who simply enjoy avatar exploration or thought I had a stylish theme going.)

I've tested with alts so I know this is NOT my reputation (as a few people who dislike my pointing out their racism have claimed).

But look at it like this way:

"you gay people need to stop presenting as gay."
"you women need to stop presenting as female."
"you white people need to stop presenting as white."

- Say any of that, and wait for the flames to deservedly come in...

Likewise for just:
"you people need to stop presenting as gay."
"you people need to stop presenting as female."
"you people need to stop presenting as white."

So I say "how dare anyone suggest that a new resident have to be white."

"White" is not normal or default. It is just one of many varieties. If you actually want normal and default - its Chinese Male age 20-40. Probably followed by Indian Male in the same age range. Then Indian Female... then some stuff, and eventually Chinese Women in the same age range.

"White as default" is a racist assumption.

But anything other than Chinese Male is also a racist assumption... and Chinese Male can only get that pass under one test: global human population, largest identifiable block. It'd still be an insult to presume it as a default.

Pussycat Catnap

@Drift Aryan:
if your here to push political correctness well your in the wrong neighborhood.
...
Yea black hip pop stars sell and sell well did you not know?
Sends you a copy of ebony magazine.
*****************************************
Yeah, take your Confederate flag and move along boy.

@Ravyn Rozensztok:
I don't quite get your political correctness comment - but then I don't often understand the viewpoint of people who use that phrase as a negative.
*****************************************
Agreed yeah... Trying to insult someone by calling them morally better than you is... not a winning argument.

Account Deleted

@ Pussycat Catnap

Sorry not down south / white or a male nor do i use a Confederate flag and find that very offensive you saying those things creep

i have seen posts for a long time your a reverse racist who makes all people of color feel ashamed of you because you talk without the history. you walk without the shoes.

you think the only way to climb up in the world is by bring others down with your ploy to make them feel guilty.
What you have been told and experienced are 2 different things.

Not one time in my life did i use my status to push a point or agenda with a reward or no reward whats you excuse?
Your the kind of person who sues your employer for just looking at you wrong.

Giving you the drama your looking for.

Pussycat Catnap

You've just listed off a laundry list of the usual conservative attacks against minorities and those who stand for respect and rights.

Bothered by people that have self respect, treat others with dignity, and expect the same back? Which is what political correct stands for.

And then your 'hip hop' comment, which seems to think 'hip hop = black'... you can't make that comment and then accuse others of being the racists for calling you out...

Account Deleted

What i wrote is above anyone can read what is written so it will be hard to rewrite what i said not what you twisted.

Conservative? you only think that you know what you know not anything that you know didn't you know?

Please tell me you have no children if so please leave them with an elder so they get a real chance.

Yeah, take your Confederate flag and move along boy comedy gold for certain child i have not laughed so hard since richard pryor set his balls on fire.

Going to ignore you for now on you lost any credibility for certain
Real advice lets keep somewhat on the hosts topic not your uneducated agenda.

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