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Tuesday, February 08, 2022


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Janet Halley

Who sneers at noobs..you? I don't. I think SL is fun. I like the variety.

Dividni Shostakovich

The heck with the sliders, my favorite and much missed part of the early avatar shape system was the "Random" button.

Luther Weymann

What we SL Residents want to be enhanced and what the investment company that now owns SL will enhance are too many financial worlds apart to comprehend. What really has been improved with SL since 2003 that rivals the considerable product progress and product enhancements that other serious software companies have accomplished with their product over the past 18 years? Very little. Phil is back. I think this is the third time. So what? He will leave again soon enough. He always does. And that investment company that owns SL, don't hold your breath for some game-changing improvements. The whole point of an investment company is to maximize financial returns, not pour capital down a virtual hole. Expect very little, receive probably less.

WestPenn Power

This is going to boom the future!

Laben Core

Linden Lab’s decision to not go with Qarl Linden’s crowd funded solution which began as a campaign by Maxwell Graf is still keenly felt to this day.

Under that system, clothing and whole avatars could be imported completely skinned with only two clicks. Instead LL chose collision bone rigging proposed by RedPoly, who had an agenda of his own - all done to spite Qarl Linden whom LL unceremoniously fired.

The result is the torturous rigging that all clothing designers have come to know and hate. The failure of Linden Lab to follow up with an updated avatar created a vacuum which was filled by a handful of developers. The mass adoption of these bodies has segmented the entire avatar body market and has created gatekeepers for clothing designers. So, not only do you have to repeat the tortuous rigging process for each brand (which may have multiple products in multiple categories) but you must also register for approval to receive the rigging kits necessary to accurately weigh your clothing to their product. This means 4x the work for only a quarter of the profit. One particular popular body developer is known to have a high rejection rate for applicants. Thereby, shutting them out of what is supposedly 50% of the body market for female avatars.

This is the mess that we are left with today courtesy of Linden Lab’s disdain for Qarl Linden. Yet, the Lab refuses to address this several years after the fact citing that we should let the market be the market. Little wonder why the market is shrinking and consolidating into just a few large brands as small businesses close up shop.

Valentina Kendal

I am constantly thankful that anyone still designs for SL with all the variables now. Yes, there is money to be made, but she perfectly points out the headaches for content creators. Clothes and bodies have gone through several 'paradigm shifts' over the years, when things get confusing and complicated for the user, let alone creator. Right now things have settled down for the end user, but what a nightmare to make 7 different versions of every sweater. Imagine the tidal wave of creativity that would be unleashed (and you could make money off of on the Marketplace LL, hint, hint) if it was *easier*.

Eleri Ethaniel

I *like* my 2005 avvie, with its simple to fit clothing, its hair that doesn't jack my avatar complexity to the roof, and its actual unique shape. I went shopping for a mesh body and skin once, and it was such an amazingly complex chore, that I never did it again.

And I still look 1000 times better than a Meta avvie.


I totally wish a well made new default body. With a reworked skeleton and more flexible, even better.

I'd add that in the early days you could also make your own hair style and skin and makeup by just moving those sliders.

However, you can't have your cake and eat it, too. Everything has its pros and cons. If you want feet morphing into shoes, you have flipper feet, but then you can't have better looking feet with toes. If instead you want more details, you can't have that flexibility. But you can have a good one.

What you choose and how you balance it depends on what you want:
Roblox? Lego-style parts and limbs are fine.
Cartoonish 2003 SL? That was fine and fun.

But if people want more realistic avatars? I suspect the adult side contributed, see also bouncing boobies and butt cheeks, that was implemented before fitmesh. And now people enjoy to be pretty and to take selifes for Flickr.
Anyway, already in the early days at one point eventually we could also upload better skin textures, but doing so you couldn't customize them as before. Then they made prim, then sculpt, then mesh hair and every time you had something better, but also you had to give up something nice. Prims hair allowed more styles, but then you couldn't use sliders to customize your hair anymore, you had to edit and move every single of those 200+ prims. Complicated and heavier. Mesh hair look much better and all, but then still no sliders and they aren't flexy and don't move unlike the prim ones.

Applier for mesh bodies were a further complication with many limitations and downsides. BOM at least brings back the textures layers you had.

I helped an oldbie just recently: he didn't purchase a BOM-ready body and head, so the difficulty was to explain him how to navigate the HUDs with many options and to enable it. If he had them BOM ready, it would have been much easier. Indeed, once BOM was ready, I told him now he could just put on his old texture clothing layers like he used to do and he did and was happy. He has a better looking avatar and as easy to wear with texture layers as his old one.

As for going with collision bones I think it was easier to implement, since they were there already, also Oz said it was performing slightly better than Quarl's mesh deformer, but that was a workaround (also collision bones weren't originally meant for that) causing these other issues later and complicating rigging further.
Quarl himself knew that and he was right:
I remember his deformer had some issue and it was taking a while, but I liked it better.

Now if they could also make a serious mobile client, that would be another opportunity for introducing a new base/classic/default avatar 2.0.
I don't expect too much... but I'd be happy if they surprise me.


There's a lot of fields in which we need LL's governance for the sake of updating SL to modern standards, but it'll mean death for entire markets. We could have proper system foliage, but it means that all the environment artists have to look for a new job. We could have proper weather effects, but it'd mean the same for them particle people, and so on and so forth. Whilst I'm 100% on board with the idea of getting rid of inefficient stuff, I can feel sorry for them people who've been doing their thing for years, regardless of how trashy it is.

Allegory Malaprop

I could have been more coherent and less rambly, but rambly's what I do when I just let it run, so there you go. (Also, of course, that was more or less focusing on just that one technical issue- there are more, plus social and economic sides, aka that was only a sliver of rambling.)

Re: sneering at noobs, assuming you were even being serious at ALL- I could say "what rock are you living under?" but in truth, SL is like RL, there are all sorts of groups and tribes and cliques and they choose different ways to define themselves and if you've never been around one of the groups that values "pretty" mesh avs over default avs (there's a lot of overlap with people who value curated estates over mainland- and mainland may have huge areas of meh but mainland also has huge areas of AWESOME), good for them! But then realize that there are groups in SL you don't know about and yes, those exist too. It's an awesome thing about SL, it's got a huge range of diversity of interests just like RL! It's like the wacky subculture highlight episodes in procedural crime tv shows (why do the procedural crime shows tend to be the ones that focus on subcultures/niche groups? I don't know, I guess the whole "we're following this core group but they have to deal with all these new random people each week how do we make the same exact story vaguely entertaining for 12 years?" but they tend to, CSI even had that SL episode) that show "the masses" tiny limited windows into things they never knew existed. Often bad distorted windows because the writers don't get any of it from the outside either- but for good or ill, now they know furries exist.

Yes, rambling.

But the point is: it is absolutely a thing that people, large groups of people, "look down on" the classic avatar. Large sectors of the SL economy run on people buying the newest hotness to dress up their smooth pretty Barbie dolls- and while you can easily get by in SL without spending a single penny, LL relies on that churning economy to keep the lights on. There are also people who look down on those who wear "boring human" avatars. Everyone's got their thing, and a lot of those things often come with being kind of a dick to people who aren't into your thing. You may be able to be a dragon in SL, but you've still got your human prejudice running your brain. Humans can be great...they can also be awful. But it's what we're stuck with, and don't pretend it isn't.

Re: Deformer...that is MY unicorn if you go back to the tldr on the original comment. That unicorn is also well and truly dead, barring a miracle. Qarl was 100% a ****ing genius and if anyone could have made that work (and I am also still bitter he got the boot), he would have BUT even I also looked at that and really seriously wondered how it could EVER possibly scale functionally in SL. It requires a lot of backend calculation stuff (not as much as the "real" clothing physics option but that's REALLY out there) that made me a bit skeptical it was going to ever be a viable option- collision bones are hacky in their own way, but they don't require as much "active" thinking on the computer's part. Plus ESPECIALLY in problematic areas, try auto weight transfer on pants and...there. Aside from "how can the viewer/server handle that load and still let anyone move" that's basically it, and while it never got into real implementation enough to see how good it was, it also didn't get far enough to see how good it wasn't. If you don't weight paint: it's awful and entirely broken to let the computer guess, because it can't differentiate targets close to each other in one pose but not another, as points attach at random to the wrong leg, so you have to go in and fix it. There are some examples in that linked JIRA in Nadeja's comment above showing off exactly that issue and with a diversity of clothing styles (baggy pants...anything not close to skin tight really...suit jackets even) those are the BEST case scenarios, not even approaching the issues that would come up. Automated trusting "smart" computer calculations makes life way easier (and that would have made life SO MUCH EASIER if it had worked it would have been AMAZING AND WONDERFUL AND YES I AM STILL REALLY BITTER) and can do a lot of great things, but it means relinquishing control, and it can do things wrong and then...well...&$%#@&$@#(&0! and also good luck fixing a thing that will not let you touch it. (At least Automatic Alpha Masks can be fixed explicitly when that breaks.)

But they moved in another direction anyway, so we'll never know if that would have worked.

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