To Mesh or Not to Mesh?

It's a jigsaw puzzle, right?
Isn’t mesh great?!! ;-P

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.

WTHI’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. 😀

What’s Your Maturity Rating?

Censored
Image Source: en.wikipedia.org

There has been quite a brouhaha over the last few days regarding an article about Second Life.

The article, written by Eric Grundhauser for Atlas Obscura, was a great piece about some historic locations in Second Life.

The brouhaha came when New World Notes published an article saying that the article by Grundhauser was misleading.

Now, I don’t want to get involved in the whole mess – if you’re interested, read the articles (including the comments).

But after reading the NWN article, I was left with questions.

The article contained a graph showing the top 25 most popular Second Life sims.

I’ve seen graphs like it before, and almost always, regions marked as ‘adult’ are at the top of the list.

Which leads people (including the article’s author), to assume that sex is the biggest draw for Second Life.

I think we’re all aware that sex is present in Second Life, just as we’re all aware it’s in RL.

But does a rating of ‘adult’ mean that sex is the ONLY thing happening on that sim?

Honor McMillan had the same questions, and actually visited a few of the sims on the list.

Her blog post reports a few of her discoveries – none of which included sex.

Maturity Ratings

So what do the maturity ratings for sims actually mean?

I went researching and found a page in the Knowledge Base with the definitions.

There are several reasons a region must be labeled ‘adult,’ but the one that caught my eye was if it ‘hosts, advertises, or publicly promotes photo-realistic nudity.’

I go to a lot of dance shows, and many of them are ‘burlesque’ or ‘cabaret’ shows.

Some of them have dancers who strip to full nude.

While the maturity ratings information says ‘burlesque’ dance clubs can be considered moderate, the definitions for ‘adult’ are ‘broadly defined,’ according to the Knowledge Base.

Given that violations of the TOS could result in loss of your club, parcel, sim, and banning of your account, some club/sim owners may choose to err on the side of caution when choosing the maturity rating.

So perhaps the number of adult sims has more to do with the lack of strict definitions than it does with the amount of actual pix sex taking place?

The Numbers

In looking back over the NWN article and the graph of sims, of the top 25, only 13 sims are labeled as ‘adult.’

The other 12 sims (48% of the most popular sims) are rated as ‘moderate’ or ‘general.’

If you only look at the top 10 most popular sims, 5 (50%) are ‘adult,’ the rest are not.

If you narrow it to the top 5 sims, only 2 are ‘adult’ (40%), 2 (40%) are ‘moderate’, and 1 (20%) is ‘general.’

Conclusions

It seems that while sex is popular in SL (just like in RL), it isn’t the only thing people are interested in.

Given the purposely vague definitions of ‘adult’ and the possible consequences of violating the TOS, simply rating a sim ‘adult’ does not mean that it will contain ‘extreme violent and sexual content.’

For myself, I have chosen to be able to access sims of all maturity ratings.

If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to access ‘adult’ sims which produce high quality dance shows that happen to sometimes contain ‘photo-realistic nudity.’

It also means that every search on Marketplace will likely have male genitalia as some of the ‘most relevant’ hits for me.  -.-

At the end of the day, the whole affair seems like a ‘storm in a teacup.’

I’m sure it got the author some nice traffic stats, though. 😀

What’s your take on maturity ratings?

Saturday – Party Time!

Celebration
Image Source: madamsabi.wordpress.com

Saturday is finally here, and I am rushing around like a chicken with its head cut off, as my grandpa would say.

Actually, he probably would have said, “You’re busier than a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest!”

Grandpa was a hoot. 🙂

Anyway, I’m still busy cleaning and getting ready for our big soirée tonight, but I wanted to remind you that there are some great dance shows on this weekend.

Breezes Dancers are doing a show – I saw their Christmas show and it was wonderful.

Fusion Dance Crew is also doing a s show – Ric and Feli are amazing, so if you haven’t seen this group before be sure to check them out.

And of course there are the regular weekend shows – hop on over to my calendar page for dates, times, and SLURL’s. 🙂

After I’m done with my crazy weekend, I will be trekking around the grid to animation vendors to see if there is anything new out there.

I know there have been a few new AO releases, so I will be checking those out as well.

I was actually excited to see the release of a new mesh head.

I don’t generally care for the look of mesh heads, because they seem too stiff and lifeless, as well as all looking pretty similar.

However, the new mesh heads from Rowne actually look pretty good to me.

I’m not jumping the gun, because the heads do not currently use appliers, which means I would have to switch skins to wear them.

I just switched skins a month or so ago, and I’m not looking to outlay another load of L$ for a mesh head AND new skins. :/

It’s back to work for me.

Enjoy your Saturday!!

It’s Thursday!

Image Source: www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk
Image Source: http://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

Well, it’s Thursday.

That means I’ve almost made it through the week – yay!!

Last night there was a lot of nasty weather around here, and so some activities got shuffled around.

Today’s to-do list includes cleaning the house (ugh) in preparation for a party this weekend.

I have a few last-minute errands still, but mostly it’s housework and paperwork left.

I am ready for summer to start – I need a few days to relax!

Year of Change

I was discussing various issues with a friend yesterday, and it seems 2015 is indeed the ‘year of change’ for many people in SL.

New venues opening, old ones closing, friends leaving, people shuffling around – it seems every time I log in, something has changed.

Lots of people seem to be reflecting on their SL lives and making changes, sometimes making changes in RL as well.

There also seems to be a shift in the dance community from ‘burlesque’ to ‘performance art.’

Perhaps ‘burlesque’ was too narrow a term to encompass what people want to create in dance in SL?

It will be interesting to see what the rest of the year brings. 🙂

New Dance Stuff

I am happy to see some new shows coming up – Fusion Dance Crew is doing a performance on Saturday, as are the Breezes Dancers.

The dancers over at Paramount started a new show – more intimate and a little more risqué than their regular Saturday shows.

They have their regular Saturday show this weekend, and then the new ‘Night Players’ show next Tuesday.

I also saw an ad for a new show by a group called La Femme – I’ll have to try and check it out.

New Other Stuff

Some of you may have noticed the new look of the blog.

So far, I’m digging it.  😀

I’m still making small changes here and there, but I think it’s looking pretty good.

I was also feeling the need for some change, so I changed my gravatar picture.

Let’s see if anyone notices! 😛