Bento: extending the avatar skeleton
The following notes and audio were taken from the weekly Bento User Group meeting, held on Thursday, September 22nd at 13:00 SLT at the the Hippotropolis Campfire Circle. and chaired by Vir Linden. For details on the meeting agenda, please refer to the Bento User Group wiki page.
Note that this update is not intended to offer a full transcript of the meeting, nor does it present the discussion points in chronological order. Rather, it represents the core points of discussion, grouped together by subject matter were relevant / possible, whilst maintaining the overall context of the meeting.
The Project Bento RC viewer updated to version 126.96.36.1999893 on Thursday, September 22nd, 2016. This update contained no functional changes to Bento, but merged it with the current release viewer code (e.g. the addition of the visual Outfit Browser code).
The Lab’s focus on the viewer at the moment is seeing how more widespread testing goes (in general use terms, rather than Bento-specific, although this is still of interest), whether issues or regressions arise in the viewer as a whole and watching the crash rate. The latter has been high, but it is hoped the merge with the current release viewer will reduce these. If not, it may be that there are some Bento-specific issues still requiring deeper investigation.
A further preview demonstration of the Catwa mesh head rigged for Bento
Sliders and Bones / Joints
Avatar Sliders Wiki Page
Matrice Laville has put together documentation on which bones in the avatar skeleton are affected by the various appearance sliders when editing your shape. This can be found on the Avatar Sliders wiki page. The tables list the affected bones per slider, and how they are affected (translate / scale / both). The eyebrow slider is also included, although this is actually a part of the hair wearable.
The was a general discussion on sliders and joint positions, which I’ve attempted to break down by topic point for ease of reference.
Locking Scale with Sliders – Proof of Concept Viewer
At the start of September, Vir produced a proof of concept viewer adding the ability to override the scale as well as position for joints in uploaded mesh models. A joint with both position and scale overrides would be effectively “slider-proof” – no sliders that affect the joint would have any effect on the model. This might be useful for those wishing to produce (non-human?) avatars where it might be preferable to have certain parts of the body locked from slider-driven changes to prevent distortions / conflicts arising, without necessarily locking in the entire mesh against slider changes (e.g. the face could be “frozen” to prevent distortion, but body height or tail length, etc).
There’s been little feedback on the option to date,so anyone who is interested in the option or has views on how it works / should work, to try this version of the viewer and provide their feedback through the forum ASAP, otherwise the option won’t be included in the Bento RC.
Sliders and Custom Joint Positions
At one time it had been possible to use sliders with custom joint positions. This is not longer the case, due to inconsistencies in how avatars would appear to themselves and one another (and changes would revert following a re-log). As the option wasn’t an intended feature for Bento, and given it can lead to inconsistencies (some of which can be fixed using Reset Skeleton, although this doesn’t work in all cases), the decision has been made not to allow sliders to operate on custom joints.
Locking Sliders / “Partial Shapes”
The above discussions flowed into questions on whether it might be possible to just lock individual sliders at upload, rather than disabling their impact on a joint basis. This is viewed as not being possible, as it would require a more extensive overhaul of the avatar system and permission system.
Paralleling this idea was a question on “partial shapes” for Bento heads, raised by Elizabeth Jarvinen (polysail). The idea here is that many shape creators sell their shape as No Modify, but if such a shape is used with a Bento head, it defeats the idea that the Bento head can be modified via slider.
Again, there is no real means to achieve this without an extensive overhaul of the avatar system. There are also the points that if people are buying No modify shapes as they are unsure of using the sliders, they are unlikely to want to fiddle with the sliders with a Bento head, and those wishing to modify their body will likely use their own shape anyway, removing the problem of No Modify shapes (although re-creating a No Mod shape by approximation or XML export / import – via Develop > Avatar > Character tests > Appearance to xml – might be a hassle, with the latter requiring a suitable TPV for re-import). A further side to this is that a number of shape creators are already supplying body shapes intended for use with the various mesh bodies already on sale, as which are supplied Modify, which could be used with Bento heads.
Gestures and Outfits
As I noted last week, gestures – such as for speech – can be stored as a part of an avatar’s outfit in the Outfits folder, allowing them to be automatically activated / de-activated. However, this has to be done by copying a link to the gesture into the required folder, as the Save Outfit function currently ignores gestures. Replacing outfits should then trigger gesture activation of those being added, and de-activate those gestures associated with the outfit being removed.
This is not an optimal solution, but changes to have gestures made a part of the Save Outfit function are outside the scope of Bento, and Medhue Simoni has indicated he’ll raise a feature request on the idea for future consideration.
Avastar Version Numbers
Those using the development versions of Avastar 2.0 may have noticed a recent change in version numbering. This is because people were getting confused between the technical release number and the public incremental “Alpha” version numbering.