A look at the new “Classic” avatars for Second Life

secondlifeReader Besedka gave me a poke about the Lab releasing a new set of Classic avatars for Second Life on Friday, November 6th.

The release, which came with a blog post from the Lab, see the avatars which use the default avatar mesh and system layer clothing completely overhauled and replaced with a new set of very modern looking avatars (in terms of their dress and style).

In all there are 16 revamped avatars, which sees the set make use of fitted mesh items and presents them with looks many might find not only an improvement on the older “Classic” avatar looks, but also on the mesh versions launched in May 2014. That said, having tried several, I do feel some are perhaps oddly proportioned; “Shawna” in particular came over as a tad elongated when I tried her.

The new
The new “Classic” avatars, featuring mesh attachments, are available to new users signing-up for Second Life …

The avatars are available to those signing-up to Second Life on the avatar picker when setting-up their accounts, and from the Choose and Avatar option of the Me / Avatar menu option in v3 viewers. Once you’ve obtained one of them, it will appear in your Inventory under the Clothing folder and identified by the name assigned to the look.

Avatar Complexity reveals the avatars to be reasonably lightweight
Avatar Complexity reveals the avatars to be reasonably lightweight

A further update with these avatars is they dispense with the infamous duck walk, replacing it with something that works reasonably well, together with a series of male or female AO poses which appear to be “built-in rather than reliant upon a HUD. They work reasonably well, although I found the female one a little jerky in the transitions between some poses.  They also avoid the hiccup made when launching the fully mesh avatars: these new avatars are properly modifiable.

The Lab’s blog post refers to these avatars are being “more performant”. Checking some of them out against the Quick Graphics RC viewer’s Avatar Complexity capability revealed that have reasonably low ratings, so they shouldn’t offer any major hindrance to those viewing them on lower specification systems.

The demographic represented by the new set remains fairly typical – they all appear to be relatively youthful, perhaps no older than their mid-30s. However, given the general age range of new users signing-up to Second Life, which the Lab has in the past stated has moved more towards the 20-somethings in recent years, this isn’t that surprising. And while it may sound ageist, It also means the avatars have a level of attractiveness around them which is perhaps more enticing to people signing-up to SL that offering a much broader range of ages.

My “Crash Test Alt” finally gets a fresh look (left) – the “Shawna” avatar, with my skin and shape. Now actually looks more like my twin 🙂

All told, it’s good to see the “Classic” range of avatars updated in this way. The looks are fresh and clean, and – dare I say it – streets ahead of the mesh avatars in overall appearance, none of which I found particularly appealing in either looks or apparel.

These new avatars however, look pretty sharp (speaking as someone yet to swap to mesh bodies, etc). So much so, they they’ve finally encouraged me to give my Crash Test Alt a change of clothing after seven years! She’s now using the “Shawna” outfit and hair (but with her own shape and skin), and looks pretty good.

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7 thoughts on “A look at the new “Classic” avatars for Second Life

  1. I had to investigate the possibility of new built-in animations but in fact the AO is a scripted prim attached on HUD Center 2, offset to far below the bottom of the screen. The AO script is by Silent Mole, the male animations (just 3 stands, a walk and a run) are by Shaman Linden, and the female animations (a pretty complete AO set) are by Pico Mole.

    Here’s a little mystery, though, at least to me: In the editor, the Female AO prim shows Shaman Linden as Creator, but in Inventory Alexandria Linden is shown as creator of each part of the avatar. Another example: “Amy – Lashes” are by Button Mole, but like everything else Alexandria Linden is shown as creator in Inventory. I have no idea how that’s done, nor why.

    As always, I wish more of the avatars were modifiable, but at least the shapes are.

    In passing: It’s interesting that much of the male avatars use one main attached “outfit” mesh, plus (rather good) shoes, as opposed to separately attached shirts, jackets, pants, belts, etc. The female ones seemed to use more conventional, separate attachments for the clothing items.

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    1. “but in fact the AO is a scripted prim attached on HUD Center 2, offset to far below the bottom of the screen”

      Yup… I’d missed the HUD object in the inventory folders for the avatars I tried while writing the article and only twigged they were there after I’d published. I had intended to add an update when marked the discovery, then got sidetracked (which isn’t that hard where I’m concerned!) and forgot!

      Interesting on the creator aspects, something I didn’t bother looking closely at, being more interested in how the avatars looked and behaved 🙂 .

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  2. I had to try one of the new avatars after reading your blog post, which was of course an opportunity to experience the current new user experience too.

    These new avatars are a vast improvement over the mesh set. I was able to modify my shape, change to a new shape & skin, wear a new hair, a hair base, and new clothes. I was using the Gabriel male avatar, and liked his outfit & AO well enough to keep them as is though.

    The new user experience still leaves much to be desired. Once one teleports through a portal at Welcome Island, it’s easy to feel lost & confused. Assuming that a new user will not know how to use Search effectively, it’s nearly impossible to find good freebies for modifying one’s avatar or fun activities and places to explore. If one tries to go through the Adult portal, one finds they can’t go there with their current settings. This is a necessary limitation, but might make a new user feel confused & cheated in some way, like offering a cookie & then saying he can’t have it.

    I was happy to see the old Memory Bazaar is still functioning to help newbies get the hang of SL. I think it’s smart of the owners to have inexpensive apartment rentals right across the water from it too. The rest of mainland that I flew over was not so great looking, and I often ran into ban lines, which would undoubtedly annoy a newbie. If I didn’t already know how to find things & places in SL, I might be unlikely to keep wandering around that confusing & odd-looking mainland area. Thank goodness LL is planning to have gateway communities soon, run by the likes of the Firestorm team.

    Yesterday, I made a notecard of a few places where new male avatars could get free or inexpensive skins and clothes. While doing so, I saw how many shops had shrunk or disappeared. The thought occurred to me that SL business owners need new users just as much as LL needs them, because us old-timers have so much inventory already that we don’t need much and we know how to get many of our things discounted, free, or to make them ourselves. The new avatars and gateway communities are steps in the right direction for this goal, but why does it always seem like LL is doing too little, too late?

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    1. It’s a tough nut to crack; what makes people “stick” in SL is hard to define, because people find so many different reasons to stay. Discoverability is key here, and as you say, hopefully the new gateway programme will help in this, once it is up and running.

      In terms of the central gateways provided by the Lab, I’d really like to see more done. Better use of experience tool capabilities, for example, more informative signage for incoming new users to discover and – most basic of all – having the blessed HOW TO guide open on first-time log-in. The latter provides more than enough information to get people started on the basics of movement, communications, etc., and a fair amount of effort went into producing it. Yet, despite that, it remains an obscure button on the toolbar.

      I’m not sure it’s a case of too little, too late; the problems of getting people into and retained as users has been around since day 1, and no-one, Lab or resident, has actually cracked the issue sufficiently well enough to overcome the perceived problems.

      What didn’t help was the 2010-2013 period when the Lab largely withdrew into itself, cutting off almost all interaction with their users, ceasing things like the old gateway programme etc., killing general communications, etc. So I’d rather think that what we’re seeing now is the further re-opening of the doors and windows and the Lab making the effort to once more get to grips with things. Obviously, I’d rather the withdrawal hadn’t happened at all, but that’s now water under the bridge. All we can do is keep encouraging them to move forward (and listen!).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. How can i try one of the new Avis from my Singularity Viewer? The menu tabs are a bit different, so I can’t go to “ME” Preferences etc……

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    1. I’m not a Singu user, and have not had cause to load or view it for a while, but I believe you can access the avatar selections via World > Default Avatars. Not sure if it will work with the new API tho.

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