The Gospel According to Bloodsong: Planned Obsolesence of the Second Life Avatar

Second Life has been around for 6 years, so it’s pretty old compared to all the new grids. Now, the new grids think they have the advantage- they are younger, stronger, and can learn from their predecessor. They can avoid all the mistakes Linden Labs has made. They can engineer things to improve on the original design.
So sure, Second Life has some kludgy baggage. But what it really has is Presence. Presence with a capital P. Six long years of collected content. When you go to whatever grid to check out the new Utopia, its like, well… there’s no custom avatars! No quads, no Furries, no Tinies. No hair, no cool clothes! There’s not a huge landfill of just old, junky freebies. There’s… well, not much. There’s plenty if opportunity to corner markets of all types. There is PLENTY of opportunity to do things right the first time.
SL has a mountain of content it is silting on, looking out like a god from Mt. Olympus. On the other hand, all that Presence could also be called “Baggage.” All kinds of kludg that it just cont Shake off its boots, like the permissions system. No matter what improvements can be made there (and there are plenty that have bun suggested!) the big problem is making it compatible with this mountain of existing content.

One thing that needs a major overhaul is the SL avatar itself. I mean, these things are dorkier than the Poser 2 models (and Poser is up to version 8 these days). The morphs are crap – try making a nice-looking figure with the sliders. Or try this: hit “randomize” on all the parts and see how long it takes you to come up with something human-looking. While extreme variety is good, most settings really ought to fall within the realm of normalcy. What IS “pop eye” good for anyway? Does anybody use this? Honestly. If you want a big bulging eye, try using a prim one!
And let’s not forget the UV map. Not only of the skin, but for the clothing layers as well. It is atrocious. There is one arm, there’s NO crotch. Im not saying we need the ability to paint detailed female genitalia up there, but a map where the crotch isnt halfway down one thigh would be SO useful!
Okay, so brand new avatar, a nice model with good morphs and mapping. All the skin and clothing makers will have 1-3 reactions.
1: Hallelujah! Work will be so much easier and things will look a ton better without so many glitches to look out for.
2: O-M-G!! My entire line of over 1,000 outfits will become obsolete overnight!
3: (only for really evil corporate folk) Oh no, all my secret techniques I’ve developed over the years will also become obsolete, and everyone will start on a level playing field.

Users will have about one reaction:
1: AUGH!!!! After I spent thousands and thousands of lindens on skins and clothes – all my favorite outfits will be GONE forever!?!

Hey, I feel for you. Okay, most of my avatars don’t wear clothes, and I’ve never bought a skin in my life. But I do have a modest collection of Bare Rose outfits that I would hate to lose.
Maybe we wouldn’t have to go cold turkey. Maybe, in the appearance editor, we could have another checkbox – and be able to select “old-style” avatar. Eventually, we would all evolve into the switch, just as even the Poser Luddites eventually gave Posette the back seat and embraced Victoria. (Yes, I mean me. Though I’m actually partial to Stephanie.)
And, it would not be impossible to convert old-style clothing textures to the new layout. I have seen (though having never witnessed it in action I cannot speak to its effectiveness) skin converters for Poser. These are sets of Photoshop actions that slice up, move, and stretch old Poser figure skins to fit the newer meshes.

So all need not be lost, and all need not become obsolete. There’s a brighter, better-looking Second Life coming our way, and it’s about time those clunky humans got an overhaul.