Thursday, March 21, 2013

More Avatars

Earlier in the week I bought a new avatar for another of my alts, Rei Sin.  This is the Utilizator Rikugou B avatar, an anime robot girl avie.  Like the Avatar 2.0 it's a full mesh avatar, but specifically designed to be an anime robot girl.  There are only a couple of costume options, I picked up one of them.

I'm not really sure how much I like it, but I wanted to try it out anyway.

I had a weird sort of dream that I was thinking about over the last day -- kind of a Second Life dream where, once you die, you are uploaded to a computerized world.  But you start out with a very generic avatar, and upgrading you avatar is very expensive, and if you can't find a job you are kind of stuck in a Generic Avatar Ghetto life.  At first I was dreaming about Avatars with very plain looks or even grayish, almost stick-figure bodies, but later it changed to a situation where everyone started out as a 3-foot doll, and you had to pay money to get a full-sized, realistic human avatar.  In either case, the best and most realistic avatars were incredibly expensive, so that only rich people could afford to look good.

So I was thinking about this dream and I decided to make a doll avatar in Second Life.  I know there are a lot of places that do these sorts of avatars, but I wanted it to be doll-sized, or at least in the range of about 3 feet like in my dream.  This Curious Kitties Broken Ball-Joint Doll Avatar fit the bill perfectly!

I found some "broken doll" poses on the Markeplace from Fruct0se, so I was able to pose my doll in a realistic (non-alive) manner.  ^_^

That was my experiment for the evening.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

How I Spent My Free Money

This is ShinobuEden Resident, the new "freebie" character I created back in late Decmeber.  I haven't been doing much with her, I kind of abandoned my newbie experiment after a week or so, but one thing I had done is collect my free 1,000 lindens from back when Second Life was giving them away on Amazon (for a few short hours).  I had done nothing with the money though, until today.

Shinobu Eden was my invulnerable super-strong brute in Second Life.  She was the twin of Sailor Shinobu, my invulnerable energy melee tank.  Basically she was a young girl in a sailor suit with antenna hair, somewhat similar to Sailor Moon.

Having played with the Utilizator Avatar 2.0 the last week, I decided to buy an anime-style avatar for ShinobuEden Resident with my 1,000 Lindens.  I checked out a lot of different anime avatars, but all of them were more expensive than the Avatar 2.0.  Even some of Utilizator's own anime avatars are more expensive.  The Avatar 2.0 is a beta version, it's still being developed.  Also, a lot of the available anime avatars are based off the SL body -- you get a skin, a shape, an anime head. etc.  I liked the idea of a full-mesh avatar, and I only had 1,000 Lindens, so I bought the Avatar 2.0.

I found a few more mods for the Avatar 2.0 in my search, so the picture above is with a modified skirt and corset top -- Utilizator doesn't sell these in pink.  This was just two textures for 50 Linden that you had to apply to copies of the Utilizator products.  I also discovered how to edit the stockings that Utilizator sells to make the feet invisible, so that was good to learn.

I spent 300 Linden on the avatar, 200 Linden on the outfit, 50 Linden on the mod, and I think 100 Linden on the boots and 100 Linden on the stockings.  I also bought blue open-front shorts and a blue short hoodie.  That reduced me to 69 Lindens, so I think I did pretty well.  ^_^  Sadly, she doesn't really look like my CoH character, but at least a bit closer than she did before.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Racer Girl

One of the outfits that I bought for the 2.0 Avatar is a kind of race girl outfit.  I really like it -- this is what I mean by a very short mesh skirt that never looks out of place.  And I don't mind saying that the 2.0 Avatar makes it actually worth someone's time to peek under the skirt -- unlike the default SL avatar where the area between the legs is a geometric disaster.

I liked this outfit so much that I spent several hours today trying to find a really good place to take pictures of it.  I wanted to pose myself leaning across the hood of a sports car, but I wasn't able to find a handy sports car with such an animation, or in an area where I could rez an object to sit on for poses.  I wound up buying my own sports car, a BWCC Vortex coupe.  Then I spent more time finding a place to rez it for photos -- my own land didn't have enough prim space.

Mission accomplished!  Wasted the whole day doing this, heh.

Adventures In Avatar 2.0 Clothing

I found Utilizator's blog for the 2.0 avatar (linked to the right) with suggestions for clothing options from other designers.  I spent some time buying things and checking them out.  Bear in mind that none of this stuff was designed to work with this mesh avatar, so the results are mixed to say the least.

The DECO mesh jeans for her were recommended as one of the best options.  With the legs hidden (the 2.0 Avatar has a hud that will hid legs, feet, upper body, arms. hands) the jeans look fairly good.  Please ignore that I didn't remove my boots in this picture, they stick through the jeans but obviously you could take them off.

Unfortunately because the jeans do not match the avatar precisely, and because the HUD hides all of the legs, rather than just the important part (as a good alpha layer would), you can see there's a gap and no body to be seen just below it.  I find this disturbing, to be honest.  I know nothing's ever perfect in SL but not seeing all of me is weird.

I bought a bunch of things from Simplicity.  These are advertised as fitting the 2.0 Avatar perfectly.  This is sort of true and sort of not true -- the maker has gone to a bit of trouble to include textures that allow you to adapt the item for your avatar, but it doesn't always work that well, and it's kind of a pain to accomplish.  But when it works, the above pictures show you want you get.

The problem is that you have to rez a copy of your avatar in-world, then drag copies of the correct alpha texture (not the alpha layer itself, but the texture used to create it) onto the body.  This allows the texture to hide only that part of the body you want to hide for this clothing.  Then you have to wear that version of the body with the clothing.  I renamed my alternate version bodies and moved them to the clothing folders before altering them so I could keep track of everything; once altered you can't change the name.

But I found that sometimes the alpha-textured body makes the clothing vanish where it sticks out.  Sometimes this happens when I put on the outfit, sometimes after I've teleported.  Removing the body and rewearing it (IE, putting on the alpha textured body after wearing the dress) made it work again.

The good news is that Simplicity's stuff is cheap, so it's worth experimenting with.  I bought a siamese furry skin from them that I haven't experimented with yet, and a set of shimipan (striped panties) that were just textures to apply to the default panties that come with the avatar.  Once I'd made copies, renamed them, rezzed them in world, and applied the textures, I had panties that I could use at any time -- but it seems silly to force the customer to do all that work.

The technique that Simplicity uses to add alpha textures to a copy of the avatar 2.0 body would likely work with lots of mesh clothing that normally comes with an alpha layer -- but most sellers don't provide you with the actual textures, of course.  I bought a couple of other things that mostly work with the default body, but overall I'm not very impressed with the options for adapting normal clothing to the 2.0 Avatar.  I don't think I'll be working very hard to find more almost-but-not-quite adaptable clothing.

The flip side is that the clothing built for the avatar works better than any clothing in SL, because it's designed for a specific size and shape.  A mesh skirt can be very short and very tight and never have part of your body bleed through it.  I like that aspect of the avatar 2.0 a lot, and if more clothing appears for it I'll be even happier.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Anime Girl (UTILIZATOR Avatar 2.0 Beta)

I bought a new avatar today.  After all, that's one of the things that I do in SL.

This is not technically my first full-mesh avatar, since that's basically what petite avatars are, and what some of the newest furry avatars are (pretty much).  But this was the first time I bought an avatar that is basically intended as a replacement for the default Second Life (female) body.

There are some downsides to this.  You can only wear mesh clothing and pretty much only stuff designed for this specific body, although some other things might work.  Mesh shoes and boots with alpha layers probably can work fine, prim or mesh skirts can probably work if you play with them, that sort of thing.  Pants and tops, not very likely, but I suppose it depends.  UTILIZATOR has several clothing options so you can make a nice anime-girl avatar, but beyond that your clothing options are almost non-existent at the moment.  Also, you get the one skin, which can be lightened or darkened, but no other options right now.

The advantages?  This body is very beautiful, with none of the weird bumps and strange artifacts of the default SL body.  It's designed to look good sitting or bending as well.  I had a really good test for this too:  an animated stand that I'd bought several years ago which had my avatar stretching and turning this way and that before bending over.  It always gave the old Second Life avatar fits, twisting up the waist and looking very ugly.  How would my new avatar fare?

(Old Second Life Avatar -- the animation really messes it up.)

(New Avatar 2.0 looks beautiful!)

Unfortunately the only way to truly appreciate the beauty of this new avatar is to see it naked, because that's where you see some of the biggest flaws in the Second Life avatar.  ~_^  But hopefully these swimsuit shots will give you some idea.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Surfing Teahupo'o

Here's a few pictures of me trying out the waves in Teahupo'o.  This is a pretty set of sims (four at least, from what I saw).  They claim to have the longest waves in SL, which I took to mean waves that you could ride the longest, but on reflecting they may have meant the widest waves.  They have two large waves side by side so that may well be true.  They have spray that kicks up from your board, a nice touch, but the waves make no noise, something that I don't like at all.

But overall it seemed like a very good surfing sim.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Surfing T'ai

I imagine the waves here in T'ai are the ones called "fluffies" which are not super-challenging for the pro surfers... no pipes, just a big wave.  But I find those to be the more realistic ones also, and this one comes with sound so it's very realistic.  The whole sim is incredibly pretty, nice place to visit!

Before this I tried to surf at Cape Marina, but I was unable to rez a board there, not even in the square where you're supposed to rez boards and not even the freebie board they provided.  It's probably set to a group but you can't freely join the group, I think I'd have to be invited.  So no surfing at Cape Marina!

T'ai was a prettier zone anyway.  I really like this place.  I could hang out here all day.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Surfing at Pirate Point Break

Pirate Point Break has waves that move sideways to the beach, rather than coming in straight at the beach.  These waves are not very realistic looking, but they provide a longer wave to surf and a ride that also lasts longer.  There's also sound -- the waves at Kona Beach were silent, I like having the crashing surf when a giant wave is coming in.  Overall I liked surfing here better.

This place has been here a while, because I remember being here before, a couple of years ago.

There isn't much else here.  There's an island with a few shacks selling swimwear and surf boards, but most of the sim is taken up with the waves.   That's a good thing, that's why it provides such a good surf experience.

Second Life Surfing: Kona Beach, Woodbridge

A couple of years ago I met a guy in Second Life who encouraged me to surf.  He ran a surf shop and published a low-quality magazine full of girls in bikini's, and I think at least a third of the reason he talked to me was to hit on a female avatar, and a third was to convince me to buy from his shop, but he also clearly liked to surf and enjoyed surfing in Second Life and wanted to encourage other people to try it.

So I did.

I surfed half a dozen beaches over the course of about two weeks, and I took a lot of pictures, but this one was my favorite, taking ad Bundoran Reef.  It almost looks like a real surfing photo.  That surfboard is the one I finally picked out for myself after doing some shopping -- I like it.  ^_^

Recently I was thinking I'd like to get back into surfing a bit, so today I looked for a good spot.  I found Kona Beach in Woodridge.  I'd heard that physics in SL had changed and older surfboards might not float any longer, but mine seemed to work just fine:

There was also hang gliding from a cliff, and a typical assortment of tropical beach items:  places to lie in the sun, hammocks or beach towels, books to read, cozy places for couples, underwater reefs to explore, and shops selling tattoos and bikinis.  There were several rezzable surfboards, sailboards, and boats, so you don't need your own to have fun and ride the waves.

I'm not an expert on this, or even that experienced, I just do it to have fun.  ^_^  I'm going to try and hit a few more SL surf beaches over the next few weeks or so and blog about them as well.

More Photos of New Outfits

I really like this outfit from Feathers -- I like a lot of their stuff, very cute Japanese styles.

Top:  Feathers, 1-dot white cami
Coat:  Feathers, Red Flower Bolero
Skirt:  Feathers, Red MSK skirt
Tights:  Feathers, white stockings (came with a Red Tweed Outfit)
Boots:  lassitude & ennui, Assassin Boots Black
Skin:  Pink Fuel Kumi Peach
Necklace:  lassitude & ennui Queen's gambit gold and purple
Hair:  DRLife natural hair Leila set to chocolate

The Feathers Tweed Set, Red, that I mentioned above.  This was a complete set, only I've matched it with the lovely Assassin boots again.  Skirt/dress, Furred bolero, Turtleneck Sweater, tights, were all part of the same outfit purchased as a single unit from Feathers.