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Monday, September 09, 2019


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It's interesting to see you use the term, "Oligopoly." People have been saying this for years in SL and it's nice to hear you coming around to understanding its hindrance to diversity and uniqueness.

The major 20 brands in SL drive the look and feel of all that is the grid. Smaller and more original brands try to challenge but are quickly shut down and lost in the fray. It's the sad truth in the world today as well...people will choose Applebees over a wonderfully run local restaurant with far better food.

At least in RL there is a vocal anti-establishment and a sentiment that thrives on uniqueness and artisanal passion. In SL it is far less so and most are drawn to the largest brands, many of whom don't even mesh themselves but just sit on social media for 10 hours a day while using cheap mesh labor in India to do 80% of the work. Or worse, buy from Turbosquid.

Meanwhile, the true artisans who can challenge the avatar "ideal" are all alone quietly creating, meshing, texturing, and preparing for 14 hours a day and thus have no time or ability to break through the noise. They are without the time to comment on Facebook every followers recipe or dog picture so as to build an idolized god like status of "designer." What we are left with instead are one-dimensional brand managers. Who have good meshers in India. The result? Girls with low cut butt exposing pants and tank tops where everyone has the same body and face.

montecore babcock

I don't think people have clear memories of early SL. There was little choice in skins, hair, and outfits. Clothing painted on gave little 3D appearance, and any add one like cuffs or collars looked awkward. I appreciate old SL for what it was, but also understand it's limitations as well.

Penny Patton


I think you're downplaying the variety of content that was available in the pre-mesh era. Sure, if you go back far enough what you say would be accurate, but between 2005-2010 it couldn't be further from the truth.

I would agree that mesh has opened up many new possibilities and made things look, generally, nicer, but it's not an either/or. The reason there are fewer choices today has more to do with how LL failed to update the system avatar and handed the keys to the kingdom over to multiple mesh body creators, fracturing the market.

Before mesh bodies, a content creator was creating for the entire SL userbase. Now in the age of mesh bodies, creators need to choose which bodies they will put the effort in to support. And, unfortunately, most of the popular mesh bodies were created by paranoid people who never understood nor cared for "your world, your imagination", so they locked everything down.

A new system avatar that was visually on par with modern mesh bodies would go a long way towards bringing back the wealth of creativity SL used to play host to.


Many sliders became "outdated" year by year. In the early years our customization creativity in-world was free to adjust even your hair length and style and much more with just sliders.
Then "rigged mesh" constrained the customization furthermore, with the classic avatar already. Yes, no longer multiple attachments required for a shirt, they also did bend nicely when you move and sat down, without pieces sticking out funnily. On the other hand, the outfit didn't adapt to your shape. You had to adjust your shape to the outfit instead. It was a pain to do that for each outfit, so creators came out with "standard sizing", but that constrained your creativity as your shape sliders had to match precise numbers.

Even worse, the body replacements: mesh feet made with just one size for everyone. Before that, we had prim / "sculpt" shoes (and later, unrigged mesh) that usually required a feet size set to 0, but you could still resize the shoes, if they were mod or had a resizing script.

"fitted mesh" in 2014 gave some slider freedom back. You could even make resizable shoes, in theory, but in practice we were already under a vendor lock-in regime. Some shoe designer tried to make their own rigged feet for their own shoes but with scarce success: almost all of the shoes were already made to fit a single brand of feet (which wasn't fitted mesh). If you found that feet ugly, you had almost no other choice.

Then that brand of feet became also one of the top 3 popular fitmesh body brand. And the current most popular fitmesh body maker was a shoe maker before. All paranoid as Penny said and an exception with fitmesh feet was even more paranoid, to the point that it backfired.

Result: 5 years later, we are still essentially stuck with unresizable feet.

...and the most popular body with a breast that doesn't look so natural when resized and even uncanny armpits


The point is, the creators of virtual worlds seem to be oblivious of the fact that the way the average user, player, whatever you want to call them, we who “play” need to feel that we have some kind of input in the world. In a straight up game the input is obvious, you play to win, and your scores reflect your standing in that world. But in a Virtual world that seeks to be more than a game, the Avatar is the score. Sansar, and many other virtual worlds that are not straight up games, seem to me to imagine themselves as a galleries, where nondescript avatars are supposed to wander around enjoying “experiences”. This is trying to impose the Game ethic on to none game worlds. SL is still alive and kicking only because of the seeming infinite possibilities for customisation of your Avatar, only secondarily, the ability to take selfies of your personal creation, your Avatar, in attractive virtual worlds. There is of course one other great use of SL and that is for role play. But even then, the look of the Avatar is all important. I build virtual worlds for none games. But after the pleasure of the actual building process has ended, I am now quite happy to see myself as a provider of hopefully beautiful backdrops for the display of beautiful Avatar selfies.

Riannah Avora

There are a lot of very creative people in SL, they're just not being supported very well. It seems that a lot of the appreciation for creative imagination has left and the ones replacing them are primarily more interested in keeping up with the crowd. And creators that just want to turn a buck as quickly as possible are very happy to provide it.

3D art is alive in SL, but not many people are aware of this. Just the end of last month a great place called LEA (Linden Endowment for the Arts) shut down all of their sims that provided a free place to create art and to learn. The actual passion for creating anything in a 3D environment is not being supported very well these days. More now, most only see $$.

Designing and styling avatars, clothing and accessories is an art form... It's all in the Walmart phase now. Did you expect any less? LOL!

It takes a lot of time and effort for anyone to learn the tools of their trade. And it costs money to do so. Without the support of SL, the independent 3D artists will not survive.

The best thing I can suggest for people who do dare to be different is to support the small, struggling creator and their art.


All I can say is I have been here since the beginning of time and things have changed it’s called progress a lot of people don’t like progress I’m sorry but that’s life you have to have a decent system to utilize second life now. You have to buy new bodies and head but they are adjustable your body and head so everyone doesn’t look the same. The problem here is this writer wants to stay a noob forever in second life and that’s fine it’s his choice, doesn’t mean the rest of us have to stay in his world. This writer need to find a real job writing For a News company but maybe he already has tried and didn’t cut it. So he’s trying to be a second life writers that we are really don’t need.

Phillip Beewing

Anyone who claims all avatars look alike have never ventured outside of a tutorial area in Second Life. I have several original lookes for my Avatar.

montecore babcock

Theses days, system avatars are either used by the sailing community for their low lag, used by those who don't want to spend money, or just don't want to learn new things because they think it's too hard. That's my feeling. If you could look really good with a system body, people would never have adopted mesh.

Dave Gaffer

In all my 11+ years, I never had a problem making my classic avatar look good. Didn't take me long to get out of the n00b phase. By using a variety of skins and tattoo layers, attachments for hair, I did ok. Later mesh clothing helped, to be sure. But the core of my body was always the system avatar. I wanted a look that was "me," Most recently, my avatar was a middle aged man, gray hair, yet athletic. Very hard to do for a male avatar. I refused to buy a mesh body when all I could find were pouty frat boys or muscle bound Greek gods. Now, in addition to the male problems, all the good mesh clothiers are designing for mesh bodies only. It's getting harder to find anything for classic avatars anymore. I have actually changed to a quad cat avatar as my day to day so I can just be in SL and not worry about what I am wearing.

Ephemera Crawford

@Dave Gaffer Yeah! I've taken to using animal avatars too when I'm burned out on Shopapalooza for my mesh human body. Sometimes I just want to log on and dance. So now I just hop into my Dinkie and no worries. Love playing a cat.


My system avatar used to get comments from people when mesh heads & bodies came out asking me what brand of head and body I was using. As others have mentioned, it takes time to learn how to create a look that is unique to yourself, whether that's from a body shape, styling or accesorising. Creativity isn't just building or designing. It comes in all forms with your own style, photography in SL (just take a look at Cajsa's featured pics each week) all enabled by the content of others. Now that I'm using a mesh avatar instead of a system one, I in no way feel I'm a clone of anyone else. There are 100's of people that are happy to have the default shape provided, just as there are those that buy "off the rack" in real life. Then there are others that spend hours endlessly adjusting and tweaking to get a unique look.
As for Sansar? Right now it feels like they took my options away and limited every choice I had, removed a bunch of clothing that I'd paid for because it's no longer compatible with the new Avatar 2.0 and forced me to start from scratch after I'd already created a look and style I was happy with. Not to mention many of the remaining clothes in my inventory no longer fit properly no matter how much I fiddle around with them. I know of one close friend who gave up and uninstalled Sansar because of it!

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