Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Consequences of Mesh

Upgrading a mobile phone once meant a complete change of hardware and re-entering your entire phone book. SIM cards came along and one could easily swap phone books and other settings from one piece of hardware to another. With so-called Smartphones the need for software upgrades enters the picture even if a hardware upgrade isn't required. I, for one, miss the days of a simple hardware upgrade. Now refrigerators, automobiles, televisions, and more have gone "smart" and require various upgrades.
Zyx doesn't look very different after completing the upgrade. She looks like she's has 10 fingers on her left hand, but that's an illusion that relogging fixed. And if I want to change her ears, now I can.

Avatars in Second Life have become comparable with the advent of Mesh. Particularly, the "Petite" avatar system developed by Yabusaka Loon. You've seen them, the wee tiny fairies and elves and pixies and the like. My Zyx Flux "character" bought the Fallen Gods version on Day One, thrilled to finally be the size that I initially envisioned her to be. Then almost immediately there was a change that allowed the basic shape to have digi-grade hooves so owners could be fauns or demons or whatever. This meant that the clothing templates had to change. Then a whole new version arrived, v1.2, that required replacing the body so make-up options could be applied. That meant that all the Saved Outfits I created had to be changed. Not too big of an issue as I had but four at the time, but it was a bit of a nuisance as I had to recolor all the bodies as the originals had been customized.

Yesterday, v1.3 was released. The avatar's heads are now interchangeable —pointy ears, human ears, or no ears are all options — and all my Saved Outfits have to be upgraded once again. This time, I have a dozen to change. When I modified the shape of my Uccello "character" I knew I'd have to make some clothing adjustments as well but I developed a strategy: put on the "old" outfit then swap out the outdated shape for the new version. A couple attachments needed to be tweaked, but the whole process was quick enough that I could easily update all my couple dozen Saved Outfits.

This is more complicated with the Petites update. I found it faster to start with a saved nude version with all the HUDS and mods (like my custom eyes) and then add the bits from a previously Saved Outfit: clothes, shoes (if any), hair, jewely, etc.. Nearly the same process and not quite as fast, but fairly workable.

By workable, I mean "as long as the upgrades aren't frequent its workable." Completing some updates today reminded me why I hadn't changed Uccello's shape in so long. Changing an avatar can be time consuming and Mesh avatars mean even more work. It really makes me wonder if I should try to adjust my SLink pixy ears from Zyx's "regular" sized avatar to fit Zyx's Petite avatar now that an earless head is an option. Maybe, but it would mean more work come any future upgrades. Ahhh, the consequences of Mesh.

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