Note: Bento hands now come standard with most bodies. I’ve reviewed this post to ensure it is still accurate for 2020, however your body most likely already has bento hands included.
Static Mesh Hands
We’re all used to the static mesh hands by now. They can look nice, however they are stuck in a neutral position. Originally static hands came standard with the body you purchase, but they are almost entirely phased out on modern avatars. Some static hands come with a HUD to allow the user to change various details on the hands. This may include things like skin tone, nail style and color, or tattoos/markings such as freckles. Until recently Second Life hands were little more than an extension of the body.
So you’ve gone on your shopping spree and you’re itching to go show off. You look awesome, but you’re still using Second Life’s default animations. You’ve put so much work into your avatar, don’t cheapen it by skipping an Animation Overrider (AO).
Walk, Don’t Waddle
Due to their lack of fluidity, Second Life’s default animations leave something to be desired. The walk has the elegance of a penguin and the other animations aren’t any better. This is where the animation overrider comes in. It replaces the default animations so you can move like the sophisticated creature you are. Different animations give your character different personalities. You can sashay like a model or saunter like a criminal. You can be confident, sassy, curious, humble, anything! Many AOs even alter your basic standing animations. Your choice of animation overrider sets the mood for everything you do.
Avatar fashion is a huge industry in Second Life. Everywhere you go you’ll find people sporting their own style and individuality. The endless options make it easier to bring your dream avatar into reality. Make sure you still have that list handy from Part 1, you’ll need to know what’s left to acquire!
Demos vs Free Content
Similar to purchasing body parts and hair, demos are an important part of the Second Life avatar fashion industry. Demos are generally free or next to free versions of the product for sale. They tend to have a trait (such as incomplete textures or extra shapes floating around) that is visually displeasing to deter you from using it instead of the full priced product. While the price tag may look tempting, demos are not made for use beyond testing the product out on your avatar. Think of it as a sample taste of the final product. After all, you wouldn’t know if something fits without trying it on first, right?
Some products don’t have demos, especially low cost or free products. These products are commonly referred to as freebies, dollarbies, and gifts. As the names imply, freebies cost nothing and dollarbies cost 1L$. Gifts don’t have a set price, but tend to be inexpensive. Low cost products exist all over Second Life, however finding decent quality ones takes a bit of patience and hunting. If you’re interested in keeping things free (or close to it) I highly recommend browsing The Free Dove.
How you build your basic avatar depends on what you want the outcome to be. Selecting body parts can be a challenging yet rewarding experience! You’ll need the list you made in Part 1 so you know what type of items to buy.
Your Basic Avatar – Now In Mesh!
Mesh is the term used to describe 3D objects in Second Life. The game does provide default Mesh avatars that you can build off of, though they are very basic. If you want higher quality you can purchase mesh parts to use instead of the default avatar. Since the defaults are already made for you I’ll assume you’re not reading this guide for those and focus on the other options.
Whether your budget is tight or you have money to spend, avatar cost is a factor in redesigning your character. If you have the concept of what you want from your avatar you know what sort of things you need to get to build it in world. If you don’t have an idea what you want make sure to check out Part 1.
How Much Does An Avatar Cost?
When purchasing items you will need Linden Dollars (L$), the currency of Second Life. The conversion rate varies, so make sure to check the LindeX to see what you can afford. While they can be earned in game, they are more commonly purchased when large amounts are needed. Acquiring Lindens can be a massive post in itself (perhaps one I’ll make in the future!) For now you need the knowledge that for your dream avatar you likely need some Lindens.
So you’ve decided you want to make a new avatar. This can be simple or especially complex depending on the individual. Maybe you already have an idea of how you want to look, or you may only know that you dislike your current avatar. Perhaps it feels outdated in spite of having a style you adore. Maybe the newest products have caught your eye. But where do you even start?
What Type Of New Avatar Do You Want?
Imagine your new avatar. Don’t worry about how complex or expensive it may be just yet, we’ll handle that in Part 2. You don’t need to be too specific if you don’t want to be, we’ll get to the details later. Ponder over this list if you need a place to start:
What is it Bento exactly? Why is everybody so eager to see it in motion? And most importantly, why should you care about Bento?
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