After another weekend filled with dance shows and people complaining about floating heads, I thought I would take a few minutes and share some thoughts and suggestions.
SL is a very technical, tricky, and many times just downright frustrating place. We keep coming back because we love the magic and wonder of it.
The advent of mesh was/is seen by most as a huge improvement to SL. You can get more detailed items for less LI (usually) than you can with good ‘ol prims. Your clothing moves with your avatar in a more natural way (usually). And it makes everything prettier (usually).
But that darn ‘usually’ sometimes sneaks out for a quick smoke break and screws up our viewing royally when it’s gone. 😛
These days when you go to a dance show, you probably see more mesh items than not – mesh bodies, heads, hands, feet, clothes, props, etc. Which is fantastic – until you can’t see them.
I have a pretty good computer rig and a great internet connection. And I still sometimes have problems with mesh. Just this weekend, I had 8 avatars, all dressed in the same outfit. I saw all 8 avatars (not mesh), but 3 were missing jackets (mesh). Why? Beats me.
I wasn’t somewhere super crowded or very laggy. All 8 avatars were wearing identical costumes, as I said. So clearly the textures for the costumes were loading/loaded, because I saw 5 of them completely. What happened to the other 3? No idea.
I’m sure there’s a technical explanation as to why this occurs. However, it wasn’t a huge deal to me – I knew they were dressed identically, so I just shrugged and went on.
When you are attending a dance performance, however, and all of the dancers are wearing mesh bodies and appear only as dancing heads, it can be all sorts of frustrating.
Some dancers don’t care whether the audience has issues and will continue to wear their mesh bodies. Some will shrug it off, saying that people should upgrade their computers. Some will think, well, I can see it, so if they can’t, it must be their issue. Nothing wrong with that – SL is a place for you to do whatever you want, so if they don’t care, they don’t care.
Some dancers, however, will be heartbroken that the dance they spent hours creating is effectively ruined for some audience members because they appear as floating heads. Other dancers fall somewhere in the middle.
Whatever your stance on wearing mesh bodies to dance, you have options.
Option 1 is to not wear a mesh body. The system avatars have gotten a bad rap, and I admit, I prefer a mesh body. However, if my choice is to see a dancing head or a system body, 100% of the time, I will choose a system body. The purpose of a dance is to express something using your body. If I can’t see your body, I’m not getting anything out of your dance.
Option 2 is to wear a mesh body. I confess, I have worn a mesh body to dance on many occasions. However, sometimes things just don’t work out the way I want, and I will use my system avatar for some dances. (Appliers aren’t always available for some costumes, and sometimes using those appliers with a mesh body can be a hassle because of the inherent alpha conflicts when using multiple layers.)
As a dancer, you should already be doing things to avoid lag – lowering your draw distance, de-scripting everything you can, including set pieces and costume pieces, turning off/de-rendering unnecessary things like sky, terrain, etc. if you can. Don’t neglect to do these things with your mesh body.
I don’t know about all mesh bodies, but mine is copiable. So I will make a copy (or sometimes copies) for a dance, set my appliers as I need them, and then delete all the scripts out of them.
If you are a venue owner, you should consider putting a policy in place regarding mesh bodies. Are you going to allow them or not? If you allow them, you should consider capping your show attendance. The more avatars on a sim, the more lag – especially when many/most of the audience may be wearing mesh bodies themselves. Help your dancers put on the best show they can by helping to limit the lag.
I’ve heard a lot of complaints recently about people seeing floating heads. It’s a real turn-off for the audience and unhappy customers are usually the most vocal.
Mesh is fantastic, I love it, but learn to use it wisely when you dance. 😀