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.
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.