I guess one could say we girls are spoilt for choice when it comes to clothing, shoes, hairstyles, jewellery, and all sorts of accessories and trinkets in Second Life. Well, compared to what the guys have to make do with, I guess it’s true. There’s a wild variety of styles, mostly derived from Real Life (RL) fashion, available for us, and about three months’ worth of average Jane salaries is more than enough to stock a female avatar’s inventory to the hilt with hairstyles, clothes, shoes, lingerie, and so on.
However, it’s when you start looking at what is actually available that the wares on offer by SL vendors and content creators that you realise your options aren’t as many as you’d have liked. Today, I’ll talk about jewellery, and ankle and foot jewellery in particular.
In recent years, I avoided wearing jewellery in SL. It’s not because I don’t like jewellery; I love it. In fact, when I go for a boho kind of look in RL, I wear a fair number of rings on my fingers and toes, and I also have a few piercings in RL. The problem is… Well, there’s no polite way of putting it: The vast majority of SL jewellery designers offer pretty crappy stuff, and they even price it ridiculously. Even these days, we see necklaces, bracelets, collars, rings made of tortured prims, which drive up your complexity through the roof and, with their full bright textures and bling, make you look like you escaped from the worst visual nightmares that 2006-era Second Life had to offer.
Some designers have managed to graduate to the geometrically wasteful lagmonsters that are called sculpts – and they’re pretty determined to stay there for eternity. Also, the jewels are loaded with all sorts of scripts; especially wedding and engagement rings, which have various rather pointless and stupid scripts to locate your significant other(s) on the map – as if you haven’t already given them map rights already – , activate or deactivate full bright and bling, make obnoxious sounds etc. And don’t even get me started on the complete lack of elegant, understated, engagement and wedding rings in SL, but that’s another story.
Mesh jewels are rather rare in SL. Rigged, fitted mesh jewels for mesh bodies like the ones that are currently popular (Belleza, Maitreya, Slink, The Mesh Project, etc) are few and far between, so users of these bodies are essentially penalised. And the ones that are available aren’t always the best you can find. I’ve seen a certain creator whose fitted mesh intimate jewellery doesn’t really have any texturing to speak of, and still uses default shininess.
The situation is even more pathetic with ankle and foot jewellery. Good luck finding ankle and toe rings that are mesh, fitted, and elegant. Most of what’s available is sculpted and, even if it’s mesh, it’s merely positioned rather than fitted. Not to mention the “barefoot sandal” bandwagon that’s everyone jumped on; yes, I like barefoot sandals myself, I have a few pairs in RL too, but I want to find nice, realistic-looking anklets and toe rings in SL that don’t try to make me look like a third-rate knock-off of a Bollywood star and don’t look like an idiot’s first attempt at goth styling. And many anklets are designed to sit so high above your ankle that you wonder if they were glued there, because no amount of friction could counteract gravity in RL.
So, here’s what I hope to see w.r.t. SL jewellery:
- Mesh. And by mesh, I mean properly designed in a real 3D graphics application, not prims that were converted to mesh with Mesh Studio or something like that.
- Fitted. Yes, go out and acquire the dev kits for the most popular bodies. Then learn how to rig the jewellery for them. In fact, when it comes to anklets and rings (finger and toe rings) in particular, here’s a strategy you can follow. You can provide a package that will include:
- All of the rings of the pack, fitted to the hand or foot;
- Each individual ring of the pack, fitted to the hand or foot;
- A box with individual, non-fitted rings, for those who still use the “classic” avatar.
- Realistically-sized textures. People, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you don’t need 1024×1024 textures for diamonds and gems. In RL, gems are really small things and there’s no way in hell you can justify using such high-resolution textures for them. No, you’re not giving us “quality” by splashing such textures on gems whose diameter is a paltry 2mm. You just make our avatars ridiculously laggy and you also make yourselves look like idiots. Always remember the RL size of what you’re trying to depict.
- Use materials. The default shininess has become obsolete now.
- No full bright, or bling. Period. These things weren’t cool even in 2006, what makes you think they’ll become cool now?
- Meaningful scripting. We don’t want green spam from your jewellery. We don’t want our jewellery to announce we belong to xXTonyaMorriganXx Resident, we don’t want mapping scripts; if we really think xXTonyaMorriganXx Resident or .:xXXXSugarDaddyPimpXXXx:. Resident means anything to us, we’ll give them map rights and they’ll be able to spot us through the viewer, there’s no need for you to add extraneous lag with such stupid scripts. Likewise, we don’t need scripts that’ll make the ring or other jewel light up or announce anything to anyone if other avatars of our household are in the region. Just give us a colour/texture-changing HUD and a resizer that supports resizing per individual axis, and we’re happy campers.
- Quit trying to imitate the blingiest, flashiest, bulkiest crap you see on TV. Harry Winston’s stuff is only for showoffs, and it’s overrated. Give us elegance. In fact, if you want, I can point you to numerous gorgeous RL designs that you can draw inspiration from.
- Let’s go back to rigging: Be prepared to provide fitted and Bento-fitted versions of your jewellery; three months after the Bento-capable release of Firestorm is launched is a good time to launch Bento-capable jewels and update earlier designs.
- Quit jumping on bandwagons.
- If you’re going to design intimate jewellery (i.e. body piercings), then it must be mesh and fitted.
OK, that’s it for today. See you again later!