Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Project Bento. Spread Your Wings.

Project Bento is now live on the grid.  After months of talk and beta testing, Bento is now available.
Bento is extensions of the standard SL avatar skeleton. Including 11 extra limb bones for wings, additional arms, or extra legs. 6 tail bones, 30 bones in the hands, 30 bones for facial expressions, 2 other new bones in the head for animating ears and 13 new attachment points associated with the new bones.
Mesh avatars came out in 2011 with much excitement and a lot of trial and error but that release has prepared us for Bento.  Why?  Most of us have worked hard on getting our shapes and skins perfected
and since the Bento is Omega compatible, many of your favorite skins and makeups can be used as well as your shape.
We tested several different brands using Bento from Lightstar to Catwa.  They all came with preset HUD choices such as skins, lashes, shine etc. and starter shapes that you can copy the slider spec's from your favorite shape.  When the Bento Mesh Head was added to pre-existing shapes, we found that the look was still somewhat different.  This is to accommodate the new "bones" for the facial animations.  Don't be surprised if you look slightly different with the Bento mesh heads then your regular mesh head. But since the Bento heads can be edited with the appearance sliders, you can easily get the right look.  There are empty slots in the HUD that you can add and save your favorite skins and makeup options.
The Bento Mesh heads also come with a facial animation HUD for basic expressions including talking but an additional HUD can be purchased for more advanced expressions.
The Bento hands work with an animation override so the individual finger's move as well as tails, ears, wings and other attachments.  Wings can be expanded or retracted with flapping movements when flying.  Bento animal avatar HUD's include realistic and random ear and tail movements among many animations.
Note:  System eyes will not work with the Bento Mesh Heads.  You need mesh eyes such as Ikon eyes.  A few of the heads we tried came with mesh eyes.  We had to do some tweaking to get the eyes right.  Zoom to the eyes and try the different animations to make sure they are correctly set in the sockets or the eye balls with stick out on some of the animations
You MUST have a Bento compatible viewer such as the latest Second Life Viewer release or Firestorm 5.0.1 to see the Bento mesh.  Also other's who do not have the latest viewer releases will not see you correctly.  As in just hair and a pair of eyes.
Also, It is very important that you try the demo's.  Not all Bento Mesh heads are alike.  Before buying, check that the Bento head is Omega compatible and then check that your favorite skin can be added to the Bento head via the Omega system.  This will save you time and frustration.
Be on the look out for innovative new creations using Bento such as attachable and ride able animals and shoulder pets, fairy wings, and full non human avatars.

Friday, December 9, 2016

More Prims!

Last year when ISL did a survey with 100 residents stating what they would like to see changed in SL, more prims was among the top answers. LL has heard you.

This week Linden Lab has rolled out the increased land impact for all regions,  What does this mean for you? For all of us that own full private regions, the prim allowance went from 15, 000 to 20, 000.    Response time is surprisingly fast.  For private region owners also have the option of increasing your prim allowance to 30,000 for an additional $30.00 USD maintenance fee. This is not an automatic upgrade.  Private region owners must request an upgrade by submitting a case through the support portal.  Go to the Second Life website, look under Land & Region then Land Impact Change Request.
 You can utilize these extra prims in several ways.  For instance, one of my regions is split into four 1/4 parcels.  With the prim increase to 20,000 prims that is 1,333 prims per parcel.  I could easily take that region and make 5 parcels now with each parcel having 4,000 prim allowance per parcel or I can increase the rent on the four parcels or simply say Merry Christmas renter's, extra prims!
I chose the 30,000 prims for the majority of my land holdings. One of my commercial regions is split into 14 rental parcels. In this case, it was easier to simply increase rent rates for the extra prims to cover the $30.00 extra maintenance fee.  Personally, I have not had any problem convincing my renters to pay a small increase in their rent for the extra prims.
I have a few of my older residential regions, that were my first privately owned sims and my first renters, that have been renting from me for years.  I sent a notice to each renter requesting a vote, giving them the option of the free 5,000 prims or a rent increase with an additional 15 000 prims.
They unanimously voted for the latter.

Prim allowance has always been the dark cloud above every resident that has ever owned a full region or even rented a 512 sq parcel.(which usually has a prim allowance of around 100 land impact)  This increases the value of your land, especially commercial sims.  More products displayed means more sells. Residential sims can add a few more parcels to rent, increase the rent or make your rental property's more attractive to potential renter's.  The SL reality business is very competitive, increasing your region's prims to 30,000 will give you an edge up on those who did not use this option.
Some region owner's are offering their renters the extra prims as an option with additional fee's to their rent cost.

If you rent a parcel from a privately owned region, you should contact the owner to inquire about how this change effects you as a renter.