Bento project reaches RC status in Second Life

Bento: extending the avatar skeleton
Bento: extending the avatar skeleton

OK, I admit I wasn’t expect this until next week, but on Wednesday, September 14th, the Lab  announced that Project Bento is now officially available as a release candidate viewer – version – which can be obtained through the Alternate Viewers wiki page.

And just in case anyone has missed all the Project Bento news, the best way is to catch-up through the official video. In short, Bento adds a wealth of new bones to the basic avatar skeleton (30+ to heads / faces and to hands alone!), making a wealth of new avatars (humans and non-human) and mesh wearables possible.

The reason I wasn’t expecting the viewer to get promoted just year is that the Lab also has a proof-of-concept viewer being tested, so I assumed any push to RC would come after a decision had been made on incorporating those changes (if they are to be adopted). So, not for the first time, I’m been wrong 🙂 .

The move to release candidate status doesn’t mean the project is at an end. There is still further work to be done as remaining bugs are fixed, etc  (so updates such as the slider locking in the proof-of-concept might yet arrive in the viewer). What it does do is three things:

  • Makes the viewer available to a wider audience through the Lab’s RC distribution mechanism, thus allowing any unforeseen issues in merging the Bento code into the current release viewer code (and which may be outside of direct Bento testing) to be identified and fixed
  • Potentially makes the viewer more widely available to content creators who may not have so far tried the viewer
  • Means that TPVs can now officially start incorporating the Bento code into their viewers (in fact, Cool VL Viewer has had Bento in its Experimental branch from some time, and Firestorm have also been working to merge the Bento code as well – but this shouldn’t be taken to mean there will be a new release of the latter in  the near future).

In keeping with the status of the Bento code, the Lab do ask people – particularly avatar content creators – to give the viewer a go,  and to file a JIRA against any issues found.

As noted above, Bento offers a range of opportunities for mesh wearable and avatar creators – you can see a couple of video exploring the AK and Catwa preview Bento mesh heads in my SL project update. Also, back in August, Vista Animations produced a video illustrating the potential of finger animations:

Then, of course, there is a huge range of non-human avatars: centaurs, “rideables”, winged creatures – all of which can be achieved a lot more efficiently through Bento than has previously been the case.

Teager's Bento Raptor using Bento bones
Teager’s Bento Raptor using Bento bones

So – get ready for the Bento Revolution!

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4 thoughts on “Bento project reaches RC status in Second Life

    1. Bento is only just reaching a point of stability, viewer-wise (and with support tools like Avastar) such that many content creators might now start to feel comfortable in putting previews / demos of their models out for people to view / try – although this is obviously down to individual creators. But this is the point from which we’re liable to see more Bento-enabled content starting to appear going forward.

      That said, Bento could still have a way to go before it reaches a full release status, depending on how the viewer fares in RC (are there non-Bento bugs / regressions lurking inside the viewer; what are the relative priorities for RC viewer promotions; are there any further nips and tucks needed to the Bento could in addition to the current bug-fixing and tweaking, etc); so it might be that even now, some creators may opt to take a softly-softly approach to putting Bento-enabled content out there for a little while yet.

      I’ll certainly be doing my best to highlight Bento avatars, etc., as they start to appear.


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