– The Avatar 2.0 and mesh body dvelopment history –

Looks like you guys do like to read and enjoyed the last history lesson, so heres another one.

This article is primarily focused on the history of the Avatar 2.0 development, but it will also cover all the other mesh bodies that came out of the project one way or another, like the Kemono and Rikugou avatars, so grab some tea or snacks and lets begin.

So since day one of me joining Second Life, i was really disappointed being locked to using only one, default system body. Not only was it really limiting on what you can do with your avatar, the default linden body was really poorly modeled and the rigging was even worse. The face looked like nightmare fuel in most lighting, no matter how much you played with the sliders, you needed either a good face light or a full bright sky setting to hide the god awful shading caused by the god awful modeling in the face area, which they supposedly “fixed” at some point but that didnt make it all that better, it still looked like an old hag face in most lighting.

linden face 2

The rest of it was just as bad, like the weird flat duck feed with toes just drawn on it and all distorted, weird knees and shoulders, the weird way everything was bending , like, the torso didnt bend, it broke in half and stretched out the texture in between the 2 halves.

duck feet

And finally, the UV was just maddening when it came to dealing with seams, not to mentioned the mirrored arm thing.
I always wished i could upload my own 3D models to SL, instead of being forced to use the LL body model with a bunch of prims glued to it and call it an avatar, so you can imagine how hard i shit my pants, making me fly through the roof, when LL announced the mesh import beta.

– The mesh import open beta –

And so they opened the gates to all the starry eyed content creators and 3D modeling enthusiasts, pissing themselves like overly excited puppies, seeing their 3D models in front of them on SL, and indeed it was kind surreal at the time. The beta grid was a huge and exciting, randomly thrown together jungle of random models, space ships, animals, vehicles, buildings, random anime girls. Everyone and their mom was ripping MMD models and test uploading them, trying to figure out how to rig them and wear them as avatars, the mesh beta grid was just like what VR chat is now.

01bf90d8168dfaffd58ba098273ce7c7

And of course i had to jump on that MMD bandwagon myself, uploaded a few MMD models to play with.

– The origins of the Kemono avatar concept –

My friend Yuffie came up with the idea of making a furry avatar, using the MMD Alice body, that we were playing with at the time, as a base for this avatar. She threw on some random sculpted prim furry body parts on it, the body didnt have legs so so she used the Kawaii Legs on it and it looked pretty cute. But now it needed a good skin and textures for all the body parts, so i got to work on sketching out how the final thing would look like and got to making the textures.

yuffiething

The tail and ears she used on it were made out of a million different sculpted prims and were impossible to texture, so i had to make my own, but the Kawaii Legs were simple enough so we stuck with them.

blackandgold kemono

The whole project was a fun distraction but it was time to get back to work on a mesh body that would replace that god awful Linden body (Skip to – The Kemono avatar – part further down this wall of text if you are only interested in the further development of the Kemono avatar)

– Avatar 2.0 before Avatar 2.0 –

The very first body i worked on was supposed to be THE Avatar 2.0, the avatar to replace the Linden avatar, but it was a little bit of a disaster. While it looked good in T pose, the shoulders were too wide and manly when arms were down, the whole body was too low poly and didnt look too good in SL’s lighting, as well as the very specific shape ment it needed to use joint positions, which just screwed with everything because joint positions were broken back then and LL wasnt in a hurry to fix it, making the avatar look different on every person’s screen, and sinking into the ground (I think they only managed to fully fix joint positions around the time they implemented fitted mesh). A very specific shape also ment that it would never work with any mesh clothing.

body1

By the time mesh went out of beta and was finally implemented into SL, it was clear that this avatar was a dead end, so i scrapped it and using everything i learned from it, I started over. This time i wasnt going to use joint offsets for its shape and instead try to match the LL body proportions as close as possible to be able to use mesh clothing made for the LL avatar, while trying to make it not look too bland or ugly. I also doubled down on the poly count so that it would look nice and smooth from all angles, and so the Avatar 2.0 MB2 was born (MB2 stands for Mesh Beta 2 since the first one was a fail)

– The Avatar 2.0 MB2 –

AV2 sketchav2 prototype

The very first Avatar 2.0 MB2 versions had only 5 hidable areas due to the 8 face per mesh object limit, the remaining 2 faces were used on the eyes and eyelashes that were part of the model. The skin tight clothing were just simply drawn on the skin and there was only one, very yellow skin. It also still technically used joint positions, since its eyes were not in the same position as that Linden goblin head.

skates skateshoes

The skate shoes that came with the avatar used to be actual roller skates, but i had to remove the wheels for the final release because the eye joint positions fucked with the avatar’s shoe platforms (that we used back then to adjust the avatar’s ground offset, there was no hover height adjustment back than) making the avatar’s feet sink into the ground after logging in or changing outfits, having you detach everything and re-log every time to fix this.

 

 

 

 

 

I called it a beta because the avatar wasnt quite there yet compared to how i envisioned, it was an ongoing project and I kept updating it, making small incremental changes to its shape and adding new things to it, so calling it beta made sense. Over time the word beta started taking on a new meaning as the Avatar 2.0 has become a technological test bed of new techniques and Second Life features, that i later implemented into my other products.

I gave away the model of the very first test version of the MB2 body to my old partner Anahi who is using it as a base for her .:U&A:. Noko avatar, as well as a base for her .:U&A:. anime male body.

UNA

Another byproduct of the MB2 project was a chubby body that i made for my later partner Kaori, it was our personal body so it never saw a commercial release.

BQ shirt burger queen
kaori2

– The Rikugou avatar –

The first byproduct of MB2 that would see an actual release was the Rikugou avatar.
rikusketches
wipdetail

While it doesnt really have much to do with the avatar 2.0 other than sharing the same hands and Rikugou lite feet, its an entirely new mesh that was supposed to address some of the shortcomings of the Avatar 2.0, like the ass not being big enough.

riku shot 2

The Rikugou avatar had a mixed reception, a large number of people expected it to be like Avatar 2.0, a naked body that you can dress any way you want, and were really dissociated when they found that they were unable to fully undress it.

I didnt wanna creatively limit myself again and make another bland homogeneous body that works with mesh clothing made for the linden body. I wanted to have nice curvy body proportions, and more importantly, my vision for Rikugou wasnt just another second life dress up doll, it was a completely different approach to avatar customization, a weapons platform.

The inspiration for Rikugou’s modular add-on design came to me from one of my childhood’s favorite TV shows called the “Centurions”


It is about these 3 dudes that have these cool ass exo suits with mounting points for attaching combat equipment for any specific situation they encounter.

Never the less, Rikugou Lite was made to address those complaints, which just crated a bunch of new complaints about how nothing they tried wearing worked, because duh, different body shape, the original reason why you couldnt undress her lol. Still it was a pretty neat addition to the Rikugou line, further expanding the customization possibilities.

examples

– The Alpha HUD –

Seems like such a no brainer now, but in the beginning, neither the Avatar 2.0 nor any other mesh bodies at the time came with a HUD, you had to hide body parts manually, and other mesh bodies at the time didnt even have areas that you could hide, making them kinda useless. But the Avatar 2.0 body caught up with the normies, and normies dont know how to use the build menu or read instructions, so joining forces with my new scripter friend Kourtnee, we came up with a simple body part hide HUD that made everyone’s lifes easier.

av2 old hud

Back in the day we used to have this – CCD – thing which was a community maintained list of mesh clothing items that worked with Avatar 2.0, but even with that, dressing the avatar was still kinda problematic because the little you could hide on it just wasnt enough. Lucky for me, thanks to a bug in the mesh uploader and me trying to find a workaround for it, i accidentally discovered a trick that lets me seamlessly join separate rigged mesh parts, bypassing the arbitrary 8 face limit per mesh by splitting the avatar into separate pieces. This greatly expanded the selection of clothing that you can use with the avatar and made the CCD impossible to maintain and pretty much useless too.

newhuds

This basically gave birth to the way every mesh body out there does their alphas now days as every other mesh body creator jumped on this idea and made their own alpha hiding HUDs for their bodies.

body alpha huds

– The Kemono avatar –

With everyone and their mom making their own mesh bodies now, so did the furry community and furry bodies flooded the market. But just like normie bodies before them, the furry bodies were not very usable, with lack of areas you can hide and lack of general support from their own creators afterwards. One of the very first Kemono style, and one of the best mesh furry avatars back than was the Bunny Puzzle VISS avatar.

futabunny

I really adored that avatar and i was really into the Japanese furry artwork style (called Kemono), but even the VISS avatar had some problems, it had a weird fat neck that was hastily rigged to the head, wearing rigged mesh hair was tricky, you needed to increase the size of your head in the appearance editor, but that broke the eyes and neck so you had to move the head around trying to match the hair and the vertical eye bone position, than move the eyes back into their sockets and than find something to hide the neck with. It also had that same alpha problem, the only things you could hide was the lower leg and the the entire arm. Legs were fine but the forearms were not to my taste and hands didnt have enough fingers on them, triggering my OCD and I couldnt really do anything about it, other that hiding the whole arm.

bunnyneckand arms

I did what i could with it but In the end i got fed up with not being able to do anything else i wanted with it, and so i pulled out the good old mesh beta MMD/SL frankenstein Kemono concept and did some more work on it, slapped the Rikugou head and hair on it and made a few new textures and the end result looked so fucking cool :O

pinkkemono midnakem

I knew i had something with great potential on my hands and it was kind of a shame for this concept and all the work go to waste, but i couldnt just sell it as it was, mostly because the body wasnt mine and the legs werent mine either. So i had to make my own body and make it more detailed while im at it too because the Alice body was too low poly to deform or shade smoothly.

I started closely matching the proportions of the MMD Alice body with my model to get the shape just right, the hip area was the most important part for me.

kemonobody wip

The Kawaii Legs didnt have a model i could reference from, so i took some screenshots and use that as reference instead. This caused quite controversy in the furry community after the release of the avatar.

kemonokawaiilegs

The body was shaping up nicely but now i needed a head, I started looking up kemono style reference material and started modeling it.

kemono style

The end result was pretty neat.

kemonostyle3
(Pictures by Rei-Tuki)

With The scripting side taken care of the my old faithful pal kourtnee, making it as flexible and feature rich as it is, the avatar was a huge hit, not only in the furry community but the anime community as well, uniting the two together.
Everyone loved the shit out of it but there was also that Kawaii Leg controversy.

Frick, the creator of the Kawaii Legs didnt care to contact me and didnt care about drama, but that didnt sit well with her rabid fans so they took it up to themselves to cause one on tumblr. All the furry hate mail i got for it made me a bit apathetic to it, and the little guilt i did feel over it was washed away, seeing all these these superficially cute and cuddly people make such huge asses out of themselves in the notecards they send me.

Either way, the Kemono was doing good and was widely adopted and made a whole lot of content creators rich over night. I will never forget when one of them, a single mother, told me how creating Kemono mods solved all the real life financial problems for her and her kid, that made my cold black heart feel all warm and fuzzy inside :C

– The Avatar 2.0 Renaissance, or something like that –

Anyways, while the Kemono avatar was gaining lots of traction and all the content creators were jumping on board to make a quick buck, the Avatar 2.0 didnt see much love and was slowly falling behind and something needed to be done.

The problems at the time were still that dreaded joint position, eye popping, feet sinking bug, more and more rigged mesh hairs became a thing and all these hairs clipped or looked really goofy on the Avatar 2.0, since they were made for the linden head shape. There was also no such thing as fitted mesh at the time and people wanted different boob sizes. Finally, there were no good ways of applying skins to it, so not many skin creators wanted to make skins.

The first thing i did was reshaping the head, this part pained me to do the most but it had to be done, i had to reshape the head to remove the dreaded joint offsets because it was clear that LL doesnt give a shit about fixing this bug, as well as make it work with rigged mesh hairs. I had to reduce the shape of the skull, which made it look like a monkey the first time i tried it, later on i gave it another try and shrank the face to balance out the monkey head and it sort of looks ok now but still no where as pretty as the old head shape.

Edit: I did the head reshaping before the Kemono avatar came out, i realized this only after i finished writing this lol.

av2monkey

Next, the default boob size was clearly not enough, some people wanted bigger boobs, others wanted smaller, so i had to create a few different boob size version of the upper torso, which i later combined into one avatar with the ability to select boob size from the newly added options menu in the HUD

boobsizes
newhud3

The avatar needed skins as well if it was to be seriously considered as a mesh body, so the applier system was created

appliers

Another long standing goal i had for the avatar was face expressions, this is where the M3 system came in handy.

facehud

As well as hand positions.

updatepromoE

Avatar 2.0 was getting back on track with support from awesome content creators like Asami Imako, Krankhaus, Rei’s Stuff and Torchi. Then Bento was implemented and i thought its a good opportunity to reduce the render weight for the avatar by using bento bones for fingers and face, eliminating the need of 934759 invisible meshes, (also the Avatar 2.0 hands have way too many polygons because i was lazy and dumb and used subdivision when making them) all of those invisible meshes had most of the render weight.

gngsighns

hudbento face

And finally, it was long overdue but i have rigged the lower body for fitted mesh, i was reluctant to touch fitted mesh for the longest time due to what a pain in the ass it was to make fitted mesh things, with no good way of previewing your changes without uploading the model every time and the Avastar tool being a confusing mess at the time. I had no choice but to rig it eventually, because avatar 2.0 had skinny legs and i couldnt make a nice thick juicy shape. So at fist i thought i will be clever and just rename the leg weights to fitted weights, but it just didnt look right when the legs were thick but there was no ass to go with the thick thighs, so i gave in and rigged the whole lower part of the body.

av214vp

And now we are in the present day and theres not really much left on the avatar 2.0 to do list. All thats left now is an LLUV version, LL clothing layers and that is pretty much it for the avatar 2.0, or at least for the MB2 project, because the avatar 2.0 is not really a specific avatar, its an idea, and that idea will live on in my future products.

Here’s a change log for Avatar 2.0 if you are interested in more details of what has been changed over the years https://pastebin.com/bJgdduqE

And that is it, hope this wasnt too long or boring, i have no idea what to write about next so maybe you have any ideas on what i should cover next? leave me a comment.

Advertisements

About utilizator404
What is this for?

10 Responses to – The Avatar 2.0 and mesh body dvelopment history –

  1. Praxithea says:

    Totally love these! Such a good read, and it’s nice to know about all of this history in your developments! I actively play VRChat, so it’s nice to know how it can be compared and to get a real Idea of how things were with regards to MMD’s in SL.

  2. Zazi says:

    Yeee loved reading this was such fun. Its really interesting for me to see how things came together bit by bit and how parts of one project lead to things for other projects. Especially as I’ve always wanted to do High-Fantasy-Sci-Fi stuff, primarily starships but also everything that goes in with that, furniture, hardware, clothing, avatar accessories/bodies etc..

    Unfortuantly I honestly don’t know what features/tool sets I “need” in a product to do what I want to do which makes it incredibly difficult to try and fight a “suitable” one, I’ve tried Blender a few times but find its really.. just not “noob friendly” and I’ve looked for plug-ins that might make the UI more friendly only to find that the makers themselves seem to refuse to do anything about it.
    One friend suggested Z-Brush but it has no actual proper scale, its arbitrary units, no 1ZBU = 1m its 1ZBU = nothing from RL and while it looks like it has some hard surface support I’m such a nooby that again I don’t know what features/tools I need beyond wanting really good grid/scale support and the ability to do both hard surfac looking things, ship panels, armor etc, and soft stuff, cloth, organics etc.

    Wanted to comment on few things you said so gonna quote em:

    “But the Avatar 2.0 body caught up with the normies, and normies don’t know how to use the build menu or read instructions.”
    ^
    This lmfao remember soooo many of my contacts asking for help cuz they were to lazy to fk’n read the manual or bother learning the edit tools themselves.

    “All the furry hate mail i got for it made me a bit apathetic to it, and the little guilt i did feel over it was washed away, seeing all these these superficially cute and cuddly people make such huge asses out of themselves in the note-cards they send me.”
    ^
    I’d only heard a small passing quip about this honestly, and even at the time with not knowing the “scope” of how much stink some were making it seemed ridiculous to me. Like sure it’s similar in style but you can’t really say/argue it’s ‘identical’ with the changes/refinements made and further trying to argue that point is like trying to argue no one can make ears a certain way cuz so and so did it already, or you can’t make a Kimono (the JP clothing) with that pattern/style cuz this person has one.. if that was the case creativity & innovation not just in SL but in RL would’a hit a wall so fk’n long ago.

    Anyway thank you for the peek into what brought around the bodies :3

    • hey, thanks, glad you liked the read, blender isnt very noob friendly but it used to be a lot worse, and trust me zbrush is worse too. what you should do is look up some beginner tutorials on youtube, something that gets you familiar with the UI and try making something really simple, like a chair or a cup till you get comfortable enough with the tools.

  3. Zayin (Matteste Elton) says:

    Glad to see I am not the only Centurion fan around here. And also nice to see some of the concepts for the Rikugou avatar, the far right one looked especially sleek.

  4. Tomosuke says:

    VH1: Behind the Music

  5. Rikki says:

    Thanks. This was very interesting to read. This really has been an amazing journey. Also thanks for the peek at things to come, LLUV. Very interesting indeed. (^_^ )

  6. xdarkmercuryx says:

    i enjoyed reading this.nice to see background developments.

  7. anon says:

    I don’t know how I missed the part about avi2.0 getting LLUV ♥ do want :3 if it were done would it come with a blank texture like the normie or have some kind of default?

    very excited for all the new stuff planning to be released.

    I was wondering your thoughts about VRchar I messed with it some and wondered if you had any as to why the anime thing seems to be thriving much there?

  8. tempest1408 says:

    Very cool! I haven’t been on SL for super long but this was an awesome read <3 Thank you for sharing! I also adore Kemono with the M3 head ^^

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s