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I say ‘incomplete.’ Even though the word implies that it falls short of an intended goal, I’ve no idea if the intended goal was to actually… well, mesh with Second Life as it is used. Second Life mesh clothing does not.

Couldbe Yue has a great consumer’s guide to mesh clothing – well worth your time, since there’s a whole bunch of caveats and gotchas.

For my money, chief among the issues is that the clothing can’t be made to fit the avatar. The avatar must be made to fit the clothing.

If you’ve got a female avatar in Second Life, or just one who wears good-looking shoes, the likelihood is that your avatar has ‘size 0’ feet – that is, that the foot-slider is set to zero, out of a possible 101 different settings. Due to the long-standing inability for a wearable to obtain any information about the avatar and limitations in the ability to adjust wearables, size-zero avatar feet were a mostly acceptable compromise – as long as it was just one body-part, though some wouldn’t tolerate even that.

Still and all, many wearables could be resized, or their positions adjusted to accommodate the unique features of an avatar. That is, we could fit wearables to our avatars, rather than having to fit our avatars to the wearables – except in the most extreme circumstances.

Mesh clothing, it appears, doesn’t allow any of that. As such, you’d think a parametric (or volumetric) deformer would be a given; a fundamental leg of the feature, allowing mesh to hang and cling to your avatar, well… not unlike the way clothes actually work. Without it… well, Blue Mars already learned the painful lessons of trying to deal with mesh clothing without this feature, and the results were terrible and frustrating. Once implemented, things turned right around.

A JIRA request for just such a parametric deformer has been considered by the Lab and marked ‘Someday / Maybe’. Now while that isn’t a ‘no’, exactly, it’s very close to one. Essentially it boils down to ‘maybe someday, but maybe never’.

Maybe Second Life rigged mesh clothing was never really intended to be more ‘complete’ than it is now. Either way, it gives the impression of a half-arsed job, with no sign of when the the other half of the arse might arrive.

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