Mesh is here and here to stay! According to Charlar Linden from the January 30, 2012 Content Creation/Mesh Import User Group meeting (http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Mesh/Archive/2012-01-30) 70% of SL residents have updated to viewers that let them view Mesh.
Like the adoption of any new technology growing pains are to be expected. After the hurdle of simple adoption the next on the list is issues with rigged Mesh. Rigged Mesh is a special use of static mesh where parts of the Mesh are associated with the bones used to size and animate the SL avatar. One use of Rigged Mesh is the creation of 100% replacement avatars that move just like the default Avatar. There are already many examples of amazing new avatars that would be hard if not impossible to make without rigged mesh. The other major use of rigged mesh is in the creation of clothing.
Rigged Mesh clothing moves with your Avatar in ways not possible with other types of prim clothing. The issue with Rigged Mesh clothing is that it only moves and sizes with your bones. Avatar girth (Fat and Muscle settings) are not taken into account causing sizing issues across the diversity of SL avatars. Currently 2 solutions to this situation are being looked at. The first is Karl Stiefvater’s (A.K.A. Qarl) Mesh Deformer project; currently in Alpha. The project changes or “Deforms” rigged mesh to take into account Avatar girth. You can view a demo of it here… (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoOywmSKG2k&context=C31014deADOEgsToPDskL3EhbvDblEk2t6upcQKzA2) Unfortunately with a project this complex it will be many months before it is ready and adopted by enough viewers to be considered a solution. The other solution involves coming up with a range of sizes.
To this end, on Feb 5th 2012 I announced the start of my “Open Sizing” project and started taking Girth numbers from ANY avatars that cared to give them. Number collection is still going on; you can send me, "Roblem Hogarth", your mod shape(s) in world, a notecard with numbers or submit your numbers to one of our online surveys.
Numbers collected will be used to create statically balanced sizes representing the wide range of avatars both male and female. These sizes will be released for free for anyone to use as they see fit. Sounds like a great idea right? Well…
Overall my efforts have been well accepted in the spirit that I thought they would be. Of course a vocal minority doesn’t see it that way. There is another size range in place known as “standard sizing” that includes a woman’s sizes XXS-L, and… that’s it. You can get the sizing set for free on the Linden Marketplace here. (https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/Standard-Sizing-Package/2894727) How creating a different system for designers to use that covers larger sized female avatars as well as male, when there is nothing in place for them now, could be considered a bad thing is beyond me, but there it is.
I have been told that creation of my “Open Sizing” system will cause “consumer confusion” when right now, 75% of avatars are not addressed by the other system, many stores have resorted to creating their own systems, and some clothing is only available in 2 sizes while others have put out as many as 11 sizes. I still like to think one open unbiased system will be of use to designers even if it is used only to supplement other systems already being worked on. Again all sizes will be made available for free for anyone to use as they see fit, once they are finished. Hopefully this clears up a few technical questions as well as any ego/drama questions. (ok I don’t think the drama will end, LOL)