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March 6, 2018 @ 2:17 am

Lets talk about Bento.

Syl Says...

Okay so this has become a pretty hot ticket item and I’m honestly annoyed that I’m even having to write this, but I’m going to anyways with the hope that people at least understand my perspective, even if they don’t agree with it.

I joined Second Life back on the halcyon days of 2006, when all avatars were spheres and torus and flat textures. Then sculpties released, and revolutionized the avatar industry, with makers like Tokushi and Curious setting new standards for others to follow(And lets be honest, Kinzart too, but I know saying this will seem a little conceited. There’s no denying the impact Kinzart had on the furry scene in Second Life, historically speaking).

I get it, KZK’s not the big man on campus anymore and that’s fine. I had my days. I had my time in the spotlight. I continue to produce content solely to pay bills, and because I still enjoy just.. creating.

Mesh has been both a blessing and a curse to Second Life. When done right, its something to behold, but when done wrong, its frustrating.

But, Mesh has also presented new challenges and new avenues, allowing avatar creators to reach new levels of complexity and refine their styles. And as Second Life improves its pipeline and adds in hotly requested features like an extended skeleton and better tools, naturally people want the ‘hot new toys’.

Lots of av makers have made the shift to Bento, and that’s fine. That’s what they want to do, but it leads to the ‘Clone Effect’.

Years ago, during the glory days of Sculpties, you’d see a maker put an avatar out and a day later, some creative modder will have already torn it apart, salvaged it for all its neat little bits and bobs, and put it back together in a way that was both unique and original, resulting in the golden age of modding.

These days, a new rigged mesh avatars comes out and you can’t step a single paw/hoof/claw/tentacle into a furry club without seeing the army of clones. Sure, they might have different bodies, or different colors, but their base characters are largely the same, remained unchanged from the out-of-box variety.

First party dev files(like rigs, psds, ect) do help with alleviating this ‘clone syndrome’, but they can only go as far as the base model goes. Something that is rigged, cannot be hacked apart and put back together in new ways. What you see is what you get, and there’s no changing that beyond say colors, or whatever the sliders in the appearance window can actually modify.

And that’s fine for a lot of people.

But not for me.

I built my reputation on producing content that was as versatile as it was pleasing to the eye. Many people buy my content so they can hack it apart and add it to other avatars, and I’m happy with that, because it means that in some way, I helped them express themselves.

I sell canvases, not finished pieces.

When you buy a Kinzart avatar, you’re not buying something that is set in stone. You’re buying.. whatever you imagine that avatar being, without the fear of being just another face in the crowd (unless that’s what you want to be.)

There’s been lots of demand for Bento/fitmesh functionality in our products, and a lot of people have even gone so far as to say that KZK’s fallen behind the times, and perhaps they’re right, but I don’t care.

I’ve already told folks I’m adding extra fitmesh/bento parts to avatars, such as hands, legs and tails(and eventually wings), but There will be no bento heads on our standard avatars. That isn’t to say I won’t employ Bento features on a non standard avatar in the future(IE Western Dragon update), but for STANDARD avatars, I will not be using bento heads.

Those are often the most edited/sought after parts, and forcing them as bento would restrict users.

I already hear people asking ‘just make 2 versions!’

I already raised the price once to accommodate the extra features for the Husky. If i raise my prices again, it’ll make it that much more difficult for people on lower incomes to afford my products, and therefore limit my user-base.

I realize its already limited since there’s people who’ve verbally sworn off my brand since I don’t use the ‘new hotness’, but I’d rather take the lesser of two evils here. I’d rather not alienate the bulk of my community.

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