When SL fashion designers can’t be bothered

It’s no secret that, for what amounts to centuries in SL, the Maitreya Lara mesh body has maintained a competitive edge over the Slink Physique, because its proportions accommodate a wider variety of avatar shapes and because it’s a lot more convenient and cost-effective than the Physique. The HUD has always been easier to navigate, you only need to purchase one applier HUD for body, hands and feet, and, finally, the autohide/autoshow kit really makes a customer’s life easier and adds value to both the garment and the mesh body itself.

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Am I the only one who’s annoyed by half-assed offerings by SL fashion designers? Click on the image to go to its full-size version on Flickr.

These are precisely the reasons why I’ve made the reluctant switch to Maitreya and haven’t looked back ever since, even though the elbows and shoulders on the Physique work much better, even though I like the Slink hands and feet much better, and even though Slink offers a “kitten” heel option for its feet, which has sadly been lost on the SL fashionistas.

The idea behind the autohide/autoshow is simple: Instead of wearing the garment(s) and then hiding or showing individual parts of the body via the HUD or recalling presets that make it necessary for you to write notecards to remember which setting is for which garment, you just don the garment and you’re good to go. The designer has seen what bits need to be hidden, he or she has already checked the necessary cuts for you, has added the script and, all things being equal, all you need now is to put it on and take it off: the script will take care of everything for you. Right? Wrong. You see, many SL fashion designers think otherwise.

I’ve seen several respected designers who don’t add this functionality to their garments at all. Even though they were aware of this functionality, they simply didn’t add it to their products. I don’t know why. Do they think that adding it to their clothes’ versions for the Maitreya Lara will give them an “unfair advantage” over other bodies? I don’t think this holds much water, because most of the mesh bodies available now do offer this functionality. So, you have to dig out your HUD and recall presets or do it manually, ad hoc. Others offer this functionality in a half-assed implementation: Their garments are autohide only, so, when you take off your dress, shirt, coat, whatever, the parts of your body that were covered remain invisible. So, you have to once again dig out your HUD and click on the “Show All” button. Others go the extra mile to offer this functionality in a half-assed and idiotically inconvenient implementation: Not only are their garments autohide only, but the script isn’t included in the garment itself – it’s in a separate attachment that you must wear after you’ve worn the garment it controls, and then you take it off (the scripted attachment, not the garment). Of course, when you undress, your once-hidden body parts are still invisible and you have to show them again manually.

Now, I’ve been around in SL for a very long time. As of 11 Sept. 2017, I’ve been using – on this account and my previous one – in-world for a total of eleven years, so I’d be inexcusable if I didn’t know my way around the viewer’s build tools. So, I’m perfectly capable of customising the stuff I’ve bought. It’d be child’s play for me to add the autohide/autoshow script to garments that don’t have it, if the creators were considerate enough to sell them with copy/modify permissions. Sadly, that’s not the case. Gripped by the copybot prokanoia, they make them no-mod, although this has never stopped any copybotter from ripping meshes, textures etc. I don’t know what idiot spreads around the belief that, if you make your stuff no-mod, you’ll be safe from copybotters, but I know for a fact that this is simply not true.

And what’s more, it removes power and rights from the customer. In RL, I can do whatever I want with my clothes. I can make cut-outs in them, I can add patches, I can make them narrower or, if there’s enough fabric provided inside for this, wider, I can dye them, I can change the buttons, the zippers, I can do whatever I please. In SL, I can’t – and this really means that, unlike my RL clothes, I don’t own my SL clothes, because I don’t have much power over them.

Let’s call a spade a spade: Not only is this attitude by SL fashion designers unpleasantly cavalier, but it shows a certain degree of laziness. I can’t believe that someone who spent two or three weeks designing an outfit, optimising it to reduce its geometrical complexity while maintaining enough triangles in the more awkward joints of the avatar’s skeleton so that it won’t look like shit when you sit on your knees, making fancy promotional photos, and sending promo copies to his advertisersbloggers, can’t spare five minutes to add the autohide/autoshow functionality.

Furthermore, most SL fashion designers don’t stand by their products. I’ve never seen a designer who had released a non-modifiable, non-autohide garment for the Maitreya Lara send out an update with the script. Never. And do you know why? Because they don’t care.

But you know what? This is hardly surprising, because very few people talk about it, and the ones that do (such as Penny Patton) are treated as “misfits”. SL fashion bloggers simply won’t talk about it, because informing and offering honest opinions, pointing out the pros and cons of each product, isn’t part of their job description. And finally, many content creators are very thin-skinned and, as a result, don’t take kindly to any kind of criticism – and you can rest assured that, if you tell an SL fashion designer that no-mod isn’t a good practice, he or she will immediately call you a copybotter, and the burden of proof won’t be placed on the designer making the allegation.

So, without anyone to speak for us, the buyers, we have to use our virtual wallet as a weapon, and we have to be outspoken. Only if the designers who can’t be arsed find themselves starved of income, and if the buyers send out a clear message that this constant restriction of their rights is unacceptable, only then will we see better products and greater respect for us.

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Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2pUmX-Qo

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4 thoughts on “When SL fashion designers can’t be bothered

  1. I can not agree with you on the Maitreya choice of body.
    I use Belleza Isis, by far in my opinion the best mesh body in Sl.
    But that is at a personal level.
    The reason why i can not be quiet when you speak about Maitreya is due to their impositions upon creators and how they decide who is fit to build for them,
    One of the requests they made is, NON MOD ITEMS.
    I never intended nor did build any for wearing with a mesh body so i’m not speaking on my own behalf, but where Slink, Belleza and other body creators made rules that allow ANYONE to build for those bodies, Maitreya DOES NOT.
    So, even if i fully agree with you on the stupidity of doing non mod products and glad i use a body that allow creators to release mod versions of clothing, the fact that you endorse Maitreya as your body of choice and as a blogger made me in need of saying all the above, regarding the dictatorship of that brand towards creators.

    1. I suspected that Maitreya demands that others’ clothing for the Lara be no-mod, which is a demand that goes too far, and doesn’t really make sense, as Onyx provides a free auto-hiding kit for designers and consumers – if the latter can’t mod their clothes, why does she bother providing it in the first place?

      I don’t endorse Maitreya, if we want to be exact and not put words in others’ mouths: I made the switch, because far too much stuff out there is now Maitreya-only and because I got sick and tired of buying separate appliers for body, hands, and feet, and I got sick and tired of keeping a different copy of my Slink Physique body for each outfit to avoid fiddling with preset listings (and, likewise, a different copy of the HUD itself for each group of ten outfits). It cost me too much, it bloated my inventory, it was inconvenient, and there came a time when I said enough is enough. Plus, the skin texture for the feet never matched the legs’ entirely seamlessly, and I’ve observed this with skins from all sorts of different designers, so it has to do with the body design itself.

      I do miss the ability to do whatever I want with the clothes for the Slink Physique body (retexture them, rename them to keep things organised in my inventory, rescript them, whatever). And I also miss the shapes of the Slink hands and feet, as well as how the Physique’s geometry behaves in the shoulders and the elbows, which are a weak spot for the Lara.

      And, let’s face it, there was too much FUD surrounding Belleza when they were hit by that abusive DMCA – abusive DMCA reports have taken down other brands before, mind you.

      But my problem isn’t Onyx LeShelle, or the Maitreya Lara itself. My problem is twofold: On one hand, it’s the fashion bloggers, who are entirely uncritical of content creators’ policies, decisions, and designs. On the other hand, it’s the fashion designers who don’t stand up to any mesh body creator simply because that creator happens to be supported by some big-name bloggers and vloggers, and don’t bother making things as convenient for the end-user as possible.

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