– 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.

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– Year end update avalanche –

Alright, 2017 is about to end, and a lot of bug reports have piled up over the year, so its about time to kick and bunch of these updates through the door before we start 2018!

– Avatar 2.0 –

Fixed a bug with the alpha system hiding wrong parts of the body, for example, hiding the shoulder would hide a chunk of the torso.
Fixed an oversight in the HUD Skin tab – ADD texture button wasn’t working right in Lash|Brows|Hair modes.
Fixed alpha problems with 2 of the skins, they had an unused alpha channel that messed with things.
Fixed a problem with the included stockings not hiding right sections.
Finlay updated the nipples addon to work with the new avatar 2.0 hud, you can find those for free at my main store.

– Kemono –

Fixed a bug with the render weight in the kemono head, it should be back to normal now.

– Rikugou –

Heavy armor – Fixed a bug where the GM Riffle didnt point forward when in mouse look while crouching.
Temjin and Strike armors – The original problem reported was that the strike sit animation priority is set to 4 and it overrides the sit animations of furniture, but due to how SL handles sitting on prims now, the default LL sit animation will override the lover part of the body if the animation priority is set bellow 4, breaking the sit, so the solution is simply to turn off AO while sitting on furniture (witch is a common sense thing to do anyway). I also found that the temjin sit was set to priority 3 witch as i explained above was bad. Both strike and temjin sits are now set to 4 but i have also included sit animations set to priority 3 inside the HUD, they are marked with -pr3 for anyone that wants to use them instead of the priority 4 animations.
Rikugou A and B – Updated the heads with the FINE TOO talking mouth animation script by Cerise Sorbet as requested by her.
Heavy armor booster sound spam – We came up with a fix but we arent sure if the fix really fixed it, we dont know of a good way to reproduce the bug so its hard to test any fixes, so let us know if its still acting up, there is more information about this down bellow in the “Things that arent broken or cannot be fixed” part of this post

– M3 Anime Head –

Fixed the glow setting effecting the wrong eye layer, making the eye layers alpha glitch with each other.

– Clothing –

Fixed a problem with the Avatar 2.0 stockings hiding wrong sections, also included the animated texture versions of the stockings from the now discontinued experimental pack.
Fixed Avatar 2.0 socks not hiding any sections, and a naming error with one of the black socks being called white.
Fixed permission problems with some of the items in the S4 outfit pack.
Fixed the incorrect naming problem with the Avatar 2.0 medium and flat bikini tops.

– Misc –

Fixed a problem the Gantz and Audax Inc stores having incorrect physics shapes at AMH.
Updated my downloads section to include the missing school top textures as well as include the download links to the O.CA Armor and scarf, and school swimsuit textures.

 

— Things that arent broken or cannot be fixed —

 

– Kemono –

Wearing outfits from outfit folders messes up the alphas – This is a little something that cannot be fixed due to the way second life works. Normally, when adding a piece of clothing, a body part mod or anything else that needs to hide parts of the body, will send a hide command to the kemono body and it will hide the needed parts. Removing a piece of clothing or mod also sends a command to the body to show the parts that were hidden. The body needs to be added first and removed last, witch is not always the case with changing outfits. And this is where the problem is, things arent always removed or added in the correct order, For example, if you were wearing something that hides your torso, changing an outfit can remove the body first before that torso hiding item is removed, making that item send the show command to the kemono body that is no longer there to receive it, than putting the body back on will still have the torso still invisible because it never received that show command.

A workaround for this problem would be to use the outfit folders the way they were ment to be used, as outfit folders and not full avatar folders. For example, have a base avatar folder with just the naked avatar in it and save every outfit into its own folder without the avatar included in that folder, than simply use the “add to outfit” or “remove from outfit” buttons in the outfit folders to change those outfits. This way the alphas wont get screwed up and you will have a more tidy wardrobe as well.

– Rikugou –

Temjin and strike AOs, We are unable to reproduce the bug where it would get stuck in jumping animation, we know about this bug and have seen it ourselves, we just cannot reproduce it o demand, so we cannot do any testing to see if our fix worked or not.
Rikugou lite neck clipping with the neck part of the O.CA armor shirt, i cannot reproduce this clipping neither in game or blender, this might be specific to whatever animations you are using.

Heavy armor booster dash sound, the dash sound will randomly play sometimes when clicking on viewer UI elements with your mouse or WASD on your keyboard, this is a really bizzare bug that has more to do with the viewer than the booster itself. The sound somehow gets cached in the viewer sound memory and plays randomly on mouse and keyboard input (there is not a single line inside the script to do such a thing). Reproducing the bug is really difficult, it looks like it just happens when it feels like it, and without a good way to induce the bug, we cant do any meaningful testing or fixing for it, so if you know what triggers it or what this even is exactly, it would be helpful if you let us know.

– Clothing –

I had notes for problems with the following items but upon testing them i have found that i have already fixed them, but i have no memory of announcing those fixes so just in case i didnt heres what was fixed previously:

D2 skirt had incorrect faces assigned to meshes, mainly the belt loops and buckle.
Shorts and open shorts were clipping with skin tight pants and pantyhose.

Well thats it for now, there were other things reported that turned out to be either not reproducible or user error but we arent 100% and will need to investigate them further when we have time.

 

– New kemono spec map appliers –

I keep forgetting to mention this but Kurombo chan has made new spec map appliers for kemono  https://gist.github.com/nop-sled/e39eeb62b4e1257bc8ec36eb82b661cf

– New stuff from ABC ! –

Its been long overdue but ABC has finally released a bunch of new things shes been working on.

Clothing items:

Plush animal back packs:

The ABC fitted mesh boobs for Kemono have been updated to include puffy addon nipples, use your update cards to get it.

 

– Bento fingernails for Kemono by Haro –

Haro has Released finger nails that work with the Kemono bento hands.

pic1

– Avatar 2.0 and Kemono bento dummies –

Was going to wait till the bento version of Avastar gets all the bugs worked out (like ruining your rigs) and goes out of beta to release proper dummies but it doesnt look like thats going to ever happen and people just cant keep their pants on, nagging me to release the dummies, so here they are.

Kemono bento dummy http://www.mediafire.com/file/977xf08xuwvwn9u/Kemono+Dummy+bento.zip

Avatar 2.0 bento dummy http://www.mediafire.com/file/0cahr6jhngzd20f/av2+bento+dummy.zip

– Some bug fixes –

Fixed the clipping right glove and the right O.CA armor glove for Kemono.
Fixed a bug in the Avatar 2.0 and Kemono HUDSs that caused custom textures added through the HUD to load in other people’s HUDs (this bug did not effect appliers)
Fixed the mixed up hand position icons in the HUD

There’s also a fix for the avatar 2.0 and kemono stockings and kneesocks pack for a stack heap collision error.

– Bento update now live –

gngsighns

Rez your update cards cuz the following items are now bento compatible.

The avatar 2.0 now uses bento finger bones, to use other bento hand animations, set the hands to neutral position through the hud.
Kemono now uses bento finger and tail bones, for hand animations its the same deal as avatar 2.0, i have not tested the tail with other bento tail animations so i cant guarantee it wont look wonky, since i only rigged the tail to deform right using kemono tail animations.

The O.CA armor hands for avatar 2.0 and kemono and the modular arm glove kit for avatar 2.0 will work with this update too.

Also, haro is working on fingernails for kemono bento hands so keep an eye on their store.

 

– Bento2 and kemono wip –

So the hands and tail are pretty much done, just needs to be scripted now, but i ran into a road block with the avatar 2.0 face so that wont be coming out till march.

The joint position and bone translation problem

Not getting too much into technical detail, second life has one serious technical limitation that cannot be fixed without fundamentally rewriting the game code, and breaking a million other things when doing so.

Bento face bones allow you to not only animate the face of your mesh avatar, but also adjust the features of the face using the LL appearance editor sliders, creating your own unique faces. But in order to make full use of the bento face bones, mesh faces have to match the proportions of the LL avatar face(the whole derpy looking wide apart eyes and everything), but since the avatar 2.0 face has completely different proportions, it needs to use joint offsets to match the the face bones to its proportions.

faces
But the problem with joint positions is that The way Appearance editor sliders work, is not compatible with joint offsets, not all of them but the big majority of the sliders dont work with it.

Now one way around it would be offsetting the joints using a bone translation animation, same thing that the kemono body uses for custom joint positions, but that creates new problem.

If i use a translation animation to offset the joints once, you will be able to edit your face in appearance editor, but playing any kind of other face animation that has bone translations or reloging will reset those changes, while people who just teleported into the sim wont be able to see the face correctly either without the translation animation playing constantly, but playing that constantly would also reset those changes, so its a non solution in the end and we are back where we have started.

Someone in the Avastar blender group mentioned that Avastar will have new feature soon that does some attaching thing thats supposed to be an alternative to joint positions, so i gotta wait till the march release and try again, if that fails than im afraid the Avatar 2 wont be able to use all the sliders, witch is a huge shame but i already got a plan on how to make alternative face features by using bone translation animations.

So anyway, i will just focus on updating the avatar 2.0 hands for now, we already managed to reduce the render weight by 25k by just using bento hands.

– Kemono/venus appliers by Kurombo Chan –

Kurombo has made specular/normal map appliers for the kemono body and venus head, these are more optimized and doesnt require a specific version of the head/body to work (i think)

Kemono: https://gist.github.com/anonymous/1bf264e815c5b4222995fcb4ac0f35a7

Venus: https://gist.github.com/anonymous/1d4b56559cc3fb48448633a0021c8a1f