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Monday, January 10, 2022


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It also doesn't help that Second Life avatars regularly push far more triangles in total than VRChat. Even allowing for the use of some triangles to mitigate limitations in Second Life (e.g. parts swapping due to lack of user morphs, shelling for multiple-layered textures), SL users regularly push far more triangles per avatar than VRChat reasonably allows, allowing for models closer to render-quality at the cost of terrible realtime performance especially in busier areas without mitigations like jellydolling of excessively loaded avatars.

VRChat also imposes lots of additional limits that many SL creators take for granted or don't have to deal with such as limits on simultaneous noise playback, polygonal usage on particle systems, or even flexible volumes that can be interacted with by other users in unpredictable ways.

SL's avatar approach is muscle-car. VRChat's avatar systems are more finely tuned for performance across the board. Which one is better depends on what sort of look you were aiming for and what you wanted to do with it.


One of the biggest reasons VRChat's avatars commonly use toon shading is because the most used and popular shader is Poiyomi's Toon shader, unlike in SL where the shader is predefined by LL (or the TPV's), VRChat offers you to use any shader for any object (or face, called material in Unity). For AAA games shaders are usually being handcrafted by the developers but in VRChat you commonly use what is available for free and that is in most cases Poiyomi's Toon shader. Most of the other big shaders available use toon shading as well, although Poiyomi, as well as several others do have a "realistic" mode available but said realistic mode sadly breaks very quickly and falls back to toon or straight up flat shading in many worlds due to the bad or flat lighting from world creators.

Personally i stopped using Poiyomi's and started using different shaders that produce a good, realistic look regardless of flat lighting.

The standard Unity shader is really bad for instance and has the same issue as Poiyomi's, i wouldn't recommend using it either.


Also SL has no cloth physics. I kind of liked "flexy prims", ages ago, and I admired what clever creators were able to do with them, despite all the shortcomings. However, they are rather basic, wiggle around, enter into your avatar, your skirt becomes like petals...
Now everything in SL is "mesh" with few exceptions. It looks prettier, but...

I have a load of wonderful outfits and gown in SL, but when you walk they look like gummy plastic.
Then I see in NEOS you can adjust your clothing in real time by using your hands, like you would do in real life.

It's since 2017 that I'm around VRChat and other virtual worlds, I'm amazed to see what their engines can do and they are enjoyable, but then they aren't as fun to dress up.
Conversely, in SL, a virtual world where fashion is so central and the market full of clothing, we have to rely on an outdated engine that not only lacks modern shaders and lighting, but it also lacks cloth physics. No clothing physics / simulation where it's most demanded.

It's a "who has bread doesn't have teeth, and who has teeth doesn't have bread" situation.

More avatar clothing in other platforms may happen, eventually. In Sinespace it is already happening, so I guess it's doable. Dressing gowns and skirts works pretty well there.

I don't know if SL would be ever updated or rewritten with a modern engine. On the off chance that this happens, I'd love that and it would also open a whole new market to fashion creators in SL.


VRChat doesn't have any ingame body adjustments like sliders and no possibility to change clothing. Can only toggle some clothing on and off. So it's pretty cumbersome to make any changes. Would need to go all the way back to Blender/Unity, make changes and reupload. Because of that many people just use what they bought. So often can see people looking exactly the same.
I may be wrong but I think the better looking and fancier avatars that are in the video could be creator/enthusiast. For regular user even the standard path of buy avatar on gumroad ($30-50) then import to unity then upload to VRChat is already expensive and difficult. So for many people the only choice is premade avatar from one of avatar worlds. And those are poor performance and pretty basic look comparable to SL starter avatar.
Additionally if you make a good looking avatar chances are that Quest users will not see you due to lower performance on Quest.


With the fun SL vs VRChat meme, it comes to my mind this Neos VR video with the "Survived Second Life" plaque in the background: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMjKE2yVlKk I don't know if NEOS will ever be as popular as VRChat. Maybe not, but they have good ideas and it's one of the very few virtual worlds with collaborative creation of user content like in SL.


I just go with a happy medium. My avatar isn't toonish nor full realistic. It's stylized to work for both, with proper shading, but not pushing into the uncanny valley mess.

Also, the argument about avatars not having in-game body adjustments... they were added last year as part of SDK3. Many avatars have these functions built-in and can be adjusted on the fly (no turnaround EDIT APPEARANCE posing required). In fact, in Neos and (if set up by the creator) VRChat, you can overdrive the sliders beyond the intended maximum if desired.

madeline blackbart

Depends. VRchat avies are better optimized for games in general by a lot. Which would make them better on a technical level. But on a features level I'd say they're inferior. I greatly miss the ability to just change my outfit when playing VRchat. Just keep one nice base avatar and wear a different shirt easily. As far as I'm aware that's just not possible. I think most VR social worlds lack that feature sadly. which is a real shame. Also of course SL avatar has an editor/sliders that VRchat lacks. It's a great feature that allows a layman to creator a unique look from another user even with the same base.
That said....MAN are vrchat avatars better optimized. There's something to be said for being able to load more then 2 people at a time and see their avatar. (exaggerating I suppose but you get the idea)

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