2016 SL project updates 37 (1): server, Bento preview head videos

Vintage Romance; Inara Pey, September 2016, on Flickr Vintage Romanceblog post

Server Deployment: Week 37

On Tuesday, September 13th, the Main (SLS) channel received the same server maintenance package previously deployed on the RC channel in week #36. This comprises “minor internal logging changes” which may help with some of the problems occasionally seen with estate bans; at a minimum the Lab will be able to gather more information on them.

There iss no planned deployment or restart set for the three RC channels during the week. RC deployments will resume in week #38. This may involve further serve-side updates to reduce certain griefing vectors.

SL Viewer

The VLC Media Plugin viewer updated in September 13th to version This viewer replaces the QuickTime media plugin for the Windows viewer with one based on LibVLC.

In addition, and as indicated in my TPVD meeting notes, this version should include changes for exception handling in the viewer intended to ensure exceptions are better handled and recorded. These may not prevent crashes occurring, but should provide the Lab with better data on the exception throws and catches. Overall, they are describes as “fairly small, widespread changes” to the viewer code.

The remaining viewers in the various pipelines remain as per the end of week #36:

  • Current Release version: (dated August 8), promoted August 11 – formerly the Maintenance RC viewer download page, release notes
  • Release channel cohorts (please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
    • Visual Outfit Browser viewer,  version, dated August 30 – ability to preview images of outfits in the Appearance floater
  • Project viewers:
    • Project Bento (avatar skeleton extensions), version, dated August 25 – avatar vertical position update; SLM files are by default not created or used; show bones display uses colours differently; animation of collision volumes fixed
  • Obsolete platform viewer version dated May 8, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

Project Bento

Following my last Bento update, Matrice and Gaia have been working on Avastar 2, which has now reached Alpha 10, supporting the current version of the project viewer (

Demo Heads

In that update, I also blogged about the AK Bento preview head. On September 13th, Catwa offered some bloggers a preview look at an upcoming Catwa head, as  well as a preview video. – Doubtless, more heads will be appearing in the near future.

An important point to note with Bento heads is that while they will offer considerably more options for customising your look that “conventional” mesh head, it won’t simply be a case of buying Bento head, wearing it, and having it conform to your existing facial features – you will obviously need to adjust many of the head / facial sliders to get a close / approximate look, and even then, just how close a look you can achieve will depend a lot upon the base mesh of the head itself. So careful testing of Bento heads to find one which bears some initial resemblance to your desired look is likely to be required, and it may be that multiple heads are still required to achieve all of your desired looks.

Strawberry Singh has produced a video based on the AK Bento preview head, demonstrating how it currently works with the sliders.

As Whirly Fizzle pointed out to me, on the day Catwa issued preview copies of her Bento head work, fashion blogger Daeberethwen Arbenlow also put a video together running through the capabilities on that head as well

A further point of note with Bento mesh heads is that the degree of customisation available will depend on which bones of the face and head a model is rigged to, and the weighting assigned to it. An example of this is the nose division, mentioned in both videos. This can potentially be  more prominent, providing the head is rigged to the mFaceNoseBase bone and has a suitable weighting applied.

As Cathy Foil, developer of MayaStar, and one of the core members of the Bento development team points out:

Each mesh head designer will have to decide what sliders they want and will have to experiment with different weighting. It will be very exciting to see how face weights will evolve over the next few months and years.

Which again underline the need for careful comparisons when selected Bento heads as they become more and more available once Bento moves past RC status, and more Bento products start to appear.

SL Wiki

The Wiki remains locked to the majority of users for editing, no news on when it may be unlocked, or what might be done to address the current issues.


3 thoughts on “2016 SL project updates 37 (1): server, Bento preview head videos

  1. can someone explain what happens if you use a bento viewer, adjust the mesh head, and then switch back to a normal viewer? does the mesh head keep its shape? or revert back?


    1. The Bento mesh will not display correctly & will be deformed when viewed in any non-Bento viewer, whether you are wearing the mesh yourself, or seeing someone else wearing a Bento mesh. It may not even position itself correctly on the top of the neck, but appear buried in the body.

      As with all other Bento-specific mesh parts, you require a viewer with the Bento code in order for it to render correctly & ensure it appears correctly positioned. Obviously, once the Bento code reaches RC status, this will start to be the case with maintained TPVs as well as with the official viewer.


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