Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I just feel this sense of mission

Alice Cooper's released a new album! Just in time for the coming Hallows season, the long-awaited sequel to "Welcome To My Nightmare" hits stores now. (And the first single? I'll Bite Your Face Off. Hee!)

In more local news...

Burn2 opens to the press (this year, that includes me) tomorrow! I'll do my best to snap a ton of pictures and post them; it opens to the public October 1st.

Last year's Bad Sex Award was handed to Rowan Somerville for writing what may be the worst sex scene in a decade of the Literary Review giving out the award. If your stomach's strong enough, you can read an excerpt of why he won.

We're still waiting for the 2011 winner, but don't get your hopes up--it will likely be easier to read than Mr. Somerville's contribution. Nocturnal sniffing nipples, indeed.

The Real Tuesday Weld has some new songs and remixes they're offering to the public. Or, you could skip directly to the chase and buy an album.

Why not to put socks on cats. (Seriously--that feline is now PLOTTING YOUR DOOM.)

Rather than continue the JLU analysis (though I'm sure she'll get back to it when more solid information surfaces), Axi Kurmin is now taking on mesh and the tyranny of size. Why "tyranny"? Well, it's a good word, insofar as the mesh clothing item in question won't fit, if your shape doesn't match the designer's. If the Lindens ever wanted a cookie-cutter world, they're going to get it with mesh, if with no other advancement on the grid.

But there's worse in store--I highly recommend reading the article, but I want to pull out this quote in particular:
"But since the userbase is strongly divided on who can see them at all, some sim owners are choosing to ban mesh from their sims, rather than run the risk of people seeing things improperly. In some cases this is not really so far fetched, as with mesh clothing, a deformed mesh can lead to an avatar looking as though they are wearing no clothes at all, risking sanctions depending on the rating of the region."
Remember that huge fight that raged on blogs, on forums, on the grid, and with the Lindens during office hours when Ursula was proposed, right up through the renaming to Zindra, and the popping of the new, all-Adult continent? Part of that was the Lindens "firming up" their language on what constituted ratings, as far as SL goes. The breakdown of that...well, it's still pretty broken, but here's the short version.
  • General (formerly PG): No sexually explicit content. No violent content. No nudity of any kind (including skin and shape shops). No sexually-oriented equipment, poseballs, animations or gestures are allowed to be rezzed out anywhere, at any elevation (aka, even at 3000 meters you're not safe on your sex bed if a Linden wanders by), or sold in any shop (again, no matter whether that shop is on ground level, or 2000 meters up). No cursing. No Adult/sexually-oriented/threatening/abusive gestures. No Adult group tags, either. [Note: where PG previously was interpreted as the movie rating, that is, some Adult concepts are allowed, the General rating restrains that concept level to none.]
  • Moderate (formerly Mature): Dance clubs are allowed, as well as dancers (burlesque with non-revealing lingerie on, not full stripping), though "theme nights" cannot include nudity or Adult-designated concepts. Stores, malls, galleries (without nudity), music venues, beaches, amusement parks, essentially nearly everything in SL is allowed under Moderate, with a few codicils: no Adult search tags must be used in advertisements for the businesses, no publically promoted Adult activities can be hosted, no Adult group tags can be seen. No escorting. [When Mature was the rating, the general understanding of the native population was that that included everything that PG didn't. This is not the case.]
  • Adult (no former designation as it didn't exist in the former ratings structure): I'll lift from the Maturity Ratings page for this one: "The Adult designation applies to Second Life regions that host, conduct, or display content that is sexually explicit, intensely violent, or depicts illicit drug use." So places like Hard Alley, the Crack Den, or the Horror Rape Asylum? All Adult. (And yes, all real places.) Essentially, if there's anything on the sim (and note, Adult is the only designation that requires the sim-wide rating) that hosts, promotes, or uses search terms for the sim or business that depicts "death, torture, dismemberment or other severe bodily harm, whether or not photo-realistic", or "sexually themed content, spaces or activities, whether or not photo-realistic" (oh, and the on-the-ground definition of what does and does not qualify, while generally clear, can change depending on the Linden viewing said content), or photorealistic nudity (and yes, this does mean skin and shape shops are, by default, Adult by this designation, even though so many skin shops complained that the Lindens relented on that for some regions). In addition,
    "Groups, event listings and classified ads that reference these themes or content must also be designated Adult. Linden Lab will enforce these rules but cannot monitor all ephemeral content and conduct within Second Life. Therefore:
    Regions, groups, and event or classified ad listings that employ search tags plainly suggestive of adult behavior or content require the Adult designation, and will [be] viewable only by Residents who have verified that they are at least 18 years old."
    Oh, and any sim designated Adult must be either on Zindra, or on a private estate that is rated Adult by the sim owner. This means what you think it does, no mainland spaces are allowed to be Adult-rated.
The point of quoting all this is simple. Where mesh is concerned, if you can't see it, it's not like a sculpt that just doesn't rez in and remains some grey covering shape. Since mesh has so many different ways to make it, and save it, some will show up as splinters, some will show up as translucent triangles or prisms, some will show up as knifelike darts in the air--but for all of it, if the sim owner can't guarantee that people will be walking into their sim fully clothed, they're opting not to take the risk.

Why? Because anyone can AR someone for being nude in a General sim. Anyone. For any reason, which includes, now, "not being on a mesh viewer so not seeing what mesh-enabled viewers can see". For them, they could be walking in on someone actually naked. And yeah, some people flip out that easily.

Then the Lindens get involved. And if there's too many ARs for one business/sim, the Lindens generally choose to kill first, ask questions later. Poof, there goes the sim. Poof, there goes the account. And fighting to get the sim, or the access, back is a lot harder than it looks, and believe me, it's never looked easy.

So some sim owners are choosing not to take the risk. This further hampers mesh adoption by the rest of the grid.

Another quote I want to pull out for specific comment:
"The thing about mesh when it comes to things you wear, or things you attach to your avatar, is that it is not like a traditional attachment. You cannot alter its position. You cannot resize it. You cannot recolor it. You cannot do anything at all with it other than wear it. In SL, where anyone can take on any shape or size they wish (often changing it at a whim) this lack of flexibility is problematic."
"Problematic" is a word for it, yeah. I've actually demonstrated this personally, after hearing about this on multiple blogs (most notably Dame Ordinal's commentary on the topic). Essentially, what it comes down to is rigging--the act, in making the mesh file, of specifically mapping it to defined skeletal points, so that a set of pants will move with the waist, hips, knees and ankles, and a top will move with the shoulders, elbows, wrists, and torso.

Now, on the plus side, this creates items that move with the avatar, instead of clipping through arms and legs like flexi prims or sculpts can do. And that's a good thing, that's a very good thing--there's a steadily growing business in slinky mesh gowns, and the beauty of mesh is, with even a halfway decent texturing job, the items look nearly effortlessly good.

If you have the right body type. And if you can see mesh at all.

Admittedly, people are just taking their first baby steps with mesh constructions, and as time goes on, it will get more popular (that happens with everything, generally). The big problem goes back to the viewer issue for me (though for Miss Kurmin, I think she's right on target with the creeping tide of "sizism" that mesh also represents). If your viewer does not see sculpts, you're out of luck, and that used to be where it stopped.

But now, if your viewer cannot see mesh, you cannot see mesh clothes properly, which is an AR waiting to happen if you're highly excitable. And if you wear mesh clothing, or a mesh avatar, and someone else cannot see you--well, you're now an AR waiting to happen. As sim owners are discovering, who needs the hassle? And right now, with as many different viewers as are in use, many of them not mesh-enabled, this is a very big problem indeed.


Rhianon Jameson said...

That sex scene was hilariously bad from beginning to end. Unbelievably bac. Well, I guess award-winningly bad. Pinned like a butterfly indeed.

Emilly Orr said...

I was discussing this with friends last night, and my basic take on it was, if there is anything in any sexual encounter that makes you think of skewering dead beetles, someone has the wrong idea about what sex is.

Also, they are quite likely doing it wrong, start to finish.

But then, with a partner who has sniffing nipples and a navel you can slide half a hand into? You're having sex with an alien, anyway.