December is the most wonderful time of the year—for freebie fashionistas in the virtual world of Second Life! This month heralds another edition of the popular Holiday Shop and Hop shopping event* (running from December 1st, 2023, to January 1st, 2024), with a gift at every participating vendor booth. We can also expect another iteration of the annual LeLutka Holiday event (dates as yet unknown), where you can pick up free male and female LeLutka heads, as well as many other freebies from a variety of creators supporting LeLutka, such as LeLutka EvoX skins, hair, and cosmetics. There will be sales and freebies galore all month long!
But the biggest reason why December is such a great month for freebies is that so many stores have an Advent calendar*, or a Twelve Days of Christmas calendar, where you can pick up a gift each day until (and sometimes, including) Christmas Day!
Various Second Life stores, groups, and organizations are still putting the final touches on their calendars and lists of calendars, but one that is already up and running is TeleportHub.com’s Advent Calendar Store List.
UPDATE Dec. 1st, 2023: Fabulously Free in SL (or FabFree for short) maintains the December Advent Listing of 24/25-day calendars and 12-day calendars. They also helpfully subdivide each section into free (or free-to-join group) calendars, and calendars where you have to pay a group fee to pick up each day’s gift.
Remember that these lists are updated often, so bookmark them and check back regularly. As I hear about other lists of Advent calendars, I will add them to this blog post! And please feel free to leave me a comment if you know about a store Advent calendar (or calendar list), thanks!
Volunteers (like me!) will try to post pictures of the gifts from various calendars to these Discord channels, but it will be somewhat hit-or-miss. Please see the next paragraph of this blogpost for another way to stay on top of the avalanche of Advent calendar gifts in Second Life!
Bookmark this list and check back daily; this is probably THE easiest way to actually see each day’s calendar gifts without teleporting all over the grid, collecting and unpacking items! (Please note that you do not need to set up an account on VKontakte; if you click on an image, and it asks you to sign in, just click on the X icon in the upper-right hand corner of the pop-up window—see image, right. The image will then load in full size.)
To get around the language barrier, I usually have the VKontakte list open in one browser tab, and Google Translate in a second browser tab, and just cut and paste the Russian text into the translator. As I said, this is a very useful hidden resource for us seasoned Advent calendar plunderers! 😉
Bookmark this blog post and come back often for the latest updates! I will do my best to keep this blogpost as up-to-date as possible throughout December, and into the new year (yes, a few stores do have New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day gifts!).
Happy freebie shopping!
* I regret to say that, as I did last year, I will NOT be doing a daily round-up of Advent calendar gifts every day, either here on the blog or in the RyanSchultz.com Steals, Deals, and Freebies Second Life group (although I will still try and post some fabulous freebies and bargains to the latter, as I come across them). I’m sorry, but it’s simply too much work for me this year, and therefore I will leave that task to others. I have already posted my picks for the best 2023 Holiday Shop and Hop gifts to the group notices of my group. Happy holidays to all!
Please note that I will be updating this blogpost as I hear about other major Second Life mesh head, mesh body, and skin stores (or lists of SL stores in general) that are having Black Friday sales. I can’t promise that I will cover them all, though!
Black Friday comes up on the Friday after American Thanksgiving (which is always the fourth Thursday in November; we Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving in October, because by the time American version comes around, we are knee-deep in snow!). Black Friday never used to be a thing up here in Canada; we followed the British tradition of Boxing Day sales on the day after Christmas instead. However, over time, Black Friday weekend sales have crept north of the border, and now it seems as if every store throws a huge sale with significant discounts at this time of year.
The stores in the still-popular virtual world of Second Life, much like real life, also tend to throw Black Friday sales. In fact, some sales have already started!
For example, the wonderfully creative womenswear store Web Dew is already having a 50%-off sale in their store, running from Nov. 15th to Nov. 30th, 2023. You pay the full price of the item, and are automatically refunded 50%. I decided to splurge and treat my medieval/fantasy roleplay avatar, Scarborough Fair, to this beautifully detailed cyan Marquise dress for half price! Web Dew makes such wonderful historical costumes that I simply could not pass up this bargain.
Always check the official groups for the various brands of mesh heads, mesh bodies, avatar apparel, and accessories, for announcements of the dates and details of sales (and, of course, follow your favourite Second Life bloggers…like me 😉 ).
You should also monitor the following lists of Black Friday sales (please note that these lists are subject to update and change, so re-check them often):
Black Friday is also the time when most Bento mesh head and body creators have sales. If you’ve had your eye on that pricey mesh body, this is the time of year to buy! For example, the mesh body maker Inithium sent out the following notice to their group (the Inithium group is free to join):
Enjoy a 50% discount on Kupra, Kups, Khara, and Kario for a week! Seize this fantastic opportunity, available for a limited time only. Both at the main store and at The Inithium Event. The Inithium group tag is mandatory to get the discounted price.
With the 50% discount once you join the free store group, the prices for the various Inithium mesh bodies are as follows, for one week only:
Inithium Kupra: L$2,000
Inithium Kupra Kups (Kupra with smaller breasts): L$2,000
Inithium Khara: L$1,750
Inithium Kario (male body): L$2,000
Likewise, you can expect that Maitreya will be having a (usually unannounced) half-price sale on the ever-popular Maitreya Lara female mesh body, as they have in previous years. Usually, the Maitreya sale runs from the Friday through to the Monday of the Black Friday weekend (November 24th to 27th, 2023). Word gets around, and the Maitreya store is usually jam-packed that weekend, and next to impossible to get into, but keep trying!
Remember that all purchasers of the Maitreya Lara 5.3 body will receive a free upgrade to the hotly-anticipated LaraX mesh body (and there are some rumours flying around that Maitreya might even release the new LaraX mesh body in time for Black Friday!).
UPDATE Nov. 20th, 9:14 p.m.: Guess what? The rumours were true! Hit the redelivery button on your Lara HUD to get the new LaraX body, starting tonight! Also, you might want to unpack and look carefully at everything in the LaraX package before you go out and buy any Velour body skins (see section below).
UPDATE Nov. 23rd, 7:10 p.m.: It has now been confirmed that Maitreya will, as they have in previous years, have a 50%-off sale this year! Vendors will be set to the sale price, and you can use the 50% discount when gifting other avatars. The Black Friday sale will take place at the Maitreya mainstore, between Friday, November 24th and Monday, November 27th. The half-off price for the Maitreya Lara mesh body will be L$1,375, and the package will include both Lara 5.3, and the new LaraX body—that’s right, you’re getting two bodies for L$1,375! Now that’s what I call a bargain!
UPDATE Nov. 23rd, 2023:Meshbody has announced a 50%-off sale on their Legacy line of mesh bodies, running from Friday, November 24th to Monday, November 27th, 2023. These expensive male and female mesh bodies rarely go on sale, so now is the time to buy! The prices for the female Legacy, female Legacy Perky, male Legacy, and male Athletic bodies will be L$2,500 instead of their usual L$5,000.
UPDATE Nov. 21st, 2023: Belleza has announced a Black Friday sale running from today, November 21st, to November 26th, with “up to” 50% off mesh bodies—but note that the popular Belleza Jake male mesh body has been “50% off” for a long, long time already, so at L$1,500 it’s not any cheaper than it was before the sale. However, it’s still the best bargain among the Big Three of male mesh bodies (Belleza Jake, Signature Gianni, and Meshbody Legacy). Other Black Friday sale prices are:
Belleza GenX Classic: Lite L$1,550, Regular L$1,750, Premium L$2,750
Belleza GenX Curvy: Lite L$1,550, Regular L$1,750, Premium L$2,750
Belleza Freya, Venus, and Isis: L$625 each (of the three, Freya was probably the most popular, but keep in mind that many designers have stopped creating for all three of these older bodies)
Skins, cosmetics and clothing seem to be 50% off throughout the Belleza store.
UPDATE Nov. 21st, 2023:eBody Reborn‘s Black Friday sale also started today, and it runs until November 28th; everything in the store is 30% off. The popular eBody Reborn female mesh body is on sale for L$2,400.
UPDATE Nov. 23rd, 2023:Signature is having a 50%-off sale on all their products, including the Gianni and Davis male bodies and the Alice female bodies. The sign in the Signature store is very confusing, because it states that the Black Friday sale runs from 10:00 a.m. Second LifeTime (SLT)/Pacific Time on Friday, November 24th to 12:00 p.m. (noon) SLT Tuesday, November 28th, BUT the prices on the mesh bodies appear to have already been set in the in-store vendor displays as follows:
Davis male body: L$2,500
Gianni male body: L$1,950 (one of the “Big Three” male mesh bodies I mentioned earlier)
Alice female body: L$1,745
Please note that not a lot of Second Life creators make apparel for the Davis and Alice mesh bodies, but the Signature Gianni body is popular and well-supported by creators. Signature also sells a line of male mesh heads, and male clothing for Davis and Gianni, all of which appear to have already been marked down 50% in-store as of this evening, when I paid a visit.
UPDATE Nov. 24th, 2023: The Kalhene Erika female mesh body is on sale for 50% off (L$1,495), running from Nov. 24th to 30th, 2023. This is quite a nice body, adjustable to create both slim and curvy looks, and more and more designers are creating clothing for it. Also, the Erika Mesh Body group is free to join, and you can pick up a number of group gifts, including a large breast add-on, for free!
The Erika Zero X body is a free, limited-feature version of the full-priced body, which you can pick up if you join the Erika Mesh Body group, which is free. It’s perfect for newbies, people who cannot afford a pricier female mesh body, or those of you who just want to test-drive it for a while before buying. More information here.
UPDATE Nov. 25th, 2023: The Anatomy unisex mesh body by Malediction is on sale for 60% off (L$1,800), along with everything else in the store. The Black Friday sale runs from Nov. 24th to Dec. 1st, 2023. The Anatomy mesh body can be used with male or female heads, and can be shaped in masculine or feminine ways, so you can express your gender however you please! You can read more about my drag queen adventures wearing this body here.
UPDATE Nov. 23rd, 2023: The Prima female mesh body is on sale for 50% off, from November 22nd to 28th, 2023. Likewise, everything at the Star Mesh Body store is on sale for 50% off, running from November 20th to December 5th, 2023. Please note that relatively few creators are making and selling apparel for the Prima and Star Mesh bodies, compared to the Big Three of female mesh bodies (Maitreya Lara, Meshbody Legacy, and eBody Reborn), or perhaps we could make it a Big Four if you include Inithium Kupra, which a lot of designers also create clothes for.
We are slashing our prices by 50% on all our heads from November 22nd, 00:01 SLT till November 27th, 23:59 SLT. You don’t want to miss this, so go get your demos before the sale starts. Looking forward to seeing you there!
Like Maitreya, you can expect the LeLutka store region to be absolutely heaving with avatars, so plan accordingly! As they suggest, please pick up your demos before the sale starts, try them on at your home or another location, then come back to buy. The half-off sale price of LeLutka male and female mesh heads is L$1,995, which is quite the bargain!
UPDATE Nov. 19th, 2023:Akeruka is also having a 50%-off sale on all its EvoX-compatible Bento mesh heads. The sale runs from Nov. 19th to 28th, 2023.
UPDATE Nov. 20th, 2023:Genus has announced that they are having a Black Friday sale, running from today, Nov. 20th, to Nov. 27th, 2023, with women’s heads and skins 50% off, men’s heads and skins 30% off, and older female skins (version 1.0, the non-4K ones) selling for 75% off. Hurry on down!
UPDATE Nov. 24th, 2023:Catwa (which used to be the leading male and female mesh head maker until they were dethroned by LeLutka) has announced that they are throwing a half-off sale from Nov. 24th to 29th, 2023. The sale includes Catwa’s expensive HD PRO line of heads, and their first EvoX-compatible head, Reema.
UPDATE Nov. 24, 2023:LOGO is throwing a 50%-off sale on everything in their store, running from today until midnight on Monday, November 27th. All male and female heads are L$1,000 each, and three female heads are featured at the front of the LOGO store at only L$400 each! Note that LOGO is another one of those stores where you buy the HUD once, and it works for all LOGO heads.
Head and Body Skins
UPDATE Nov. 20th, 2023: Velour has just announced that they are having a 50%-off sale on everything in the store, except for their new line of Picasso skins, which are 30% off. Why is this important? Because so many head skin makers use Velour skin tones, and because Velour so rarely has their body skins on sale at all—let alone at half price! This is a major deal, folks.
I use the Venus body skin tones, to match with various free head skins I pick up throughout the year, and during Velour’s Black Week sale (running from Nov. 20th to Nov. 26th, 2023) they are only L$150 per skintone, L$400 each for the lighter skin tone fatpack and the darker skin tone fatpack, and L$650 for the super fatpack of all Velour skin tones! I can guarantee you that the Velour region will be absolutely jam packed with avatars once word gets out, so go go go!
UPDATE Nov. 23rd, 2023: Here are the details on a few more Black Friday skin store sales happening in Second Life (please accept my apologies if I have forgotten any):
Ives Beauty: 75% off sale at their main store, Nov. 20th-30th (L$200 per skin tone for women’s and men’s skins, L$60 for makeup)
Amara Beauty: 50% off sale, Nov. 20th-27th (and don’t forget that their body skins are free!)
The Skinnery: 40% off sale, Nov. 22nd-27th; no discount for store credit purchases
Nuve: 50% off sale, except for latest releases and new event releases; Nov. 23rd-30th (Nuve’s body skins are included with their head skins)
ALT3 Beauty‘s Black Friday sale runs from Nov. 20th-Dec. 4th. Details below:
ALT3 has TWO Black Friday deals going on – the first is exclusive Discord membership access to 75% off mainstore wide savings. Everything and anything is up for grabs using a promo code that starts today! The second deal is a universal user promo code that starts on the 24th, for 30% off. If you would like to get the best savings of the entire year – join the Discord and get the exclusive promo code! Join – discord.com/invite/sWxS99eNRz
Clearance Sale on LAQ Mesh Heads and Skins
UPDATE Nov. 18th, 2023: Technically, it’s not a Black Friday sale (it’s more like a a clearance sale), but another Bento mesh head creator, LAQ, is having a 99%-off sale on everything in their store! All their mesh heads are now only L$15 each!
Apparently they are clearing out in preparation for a new line of heads. In a note posted to their group, they state:
After 4 years in the making, Era2 is now about to take off – and we want to make a special celebration only for our group members. We invite you to a pre-party with the entire collection marked down 99% as we prepare for the new arrival!
The celebration will last for the rest of November, and the store is exclusively open for our group members. Your friends will need to be invited to the group in order to get into the store during this time.
Please note that you will first need to join the LAQ Updates group for free before you can teleport into the store. Also, please note that the heads on sale are not EvoX compatible (but apparently, the new Era2 line of heads will be). The heads all come with skin appliers (sold separately), and you can also use Bakes on Mesh skins with them if you get the free BoM relay in the store (see red arrow in picture below):
I do have the LAQ Vivien head for one alt, and I am quite happy with it! So I might take advantage of this 99%-off sale and pick up a few more heads and skins for my small army of alts… 😉
You will need to buy the HUD once (also 99% off, now L$15), and it will work with any LAQ head. Matching body skins are available on the opposite wall, also on sale for L$15 for each fatpack (Maitreya, Belleza, Slink, Legacy, and Omega). LAQ also sells eyes, eyelashes, hairbases, makeup, and other related accessories (such as a cute motion capture, bubble gum blowing-and-popping animation, now on sale for only L$3!).
Here’s a look at the LAQ Zahra mesh head. Total cost for everything—the Zahra head, the Zahra head and body BoM skin 1.0 package, the HUD, the BoM relay, plus a set of version 2.0 tattoo-layer body skins for Maitreya Lara mesh bodies—came to only L$43!Now that’s what I call a real bargain.
And here’s that L$3 bubble gum popping animated attachment I mentioned earlier:
And One Last Black Friday Gift… (NEW Nov. 25th)
Semotion Libellune, the animation and animesh attachment store, is having a 50%-off sale on selected items in their store (SLURL), but to sweeten the deal, they are giving away a group gift if you join their store group for free: a rideable unicorn!
I mean, c’mon, how could you pass this up?!?? The unicorn comes with a HUD with three different sets of stand/walk/run animations. The Black Friday sale (and presumably, this wonderful gift) is on from now until November 27th only, so hurry down!
There’s a brand-new virtual world/social VR platform I want to tell you about! It’s called Resonite, and it is the product of a hard-working and super-talented team of software developers at Yellow Dog Man Studios.
Resonite runs in both standard and virtual reality modes. While it does not require a VR headset to enjoy, it certainly is a lot more fun if you have one! Any virtual reality headset supported by the Steam ecosystem will work (I use a Valve Index at home, and an HTC Vive Pro 2 at work).
Last weekend, I downloaded and installed the software at home to use with my Valve Index, and I was quite impressed with the new user orientation! It reminds me a lot of the former Sansar Social Hub with its airy, futuristic vibes.
Also, all new users receive a beautiful new cloud home, as their personal home base in Resonite, to decorate (or add on to!) as they wish. Oh, and I forgot to mention, you can also easily transfer over your avatar and any other personal files (and homes/worlds) from Neos, if you wish.
Here’s a recently-released mini-trailer to give you a small taste of this product:
And because I expect that I will be writing a lotabout Resonite from today forward, I have set up a new blogpost category called Resonite, which I will be attaching to this blog post, and to any future ones! Stay tuned for future news and events!
For many months, the Neos Development Team has been engaged in negotiations with Mr. Karel Hulec, attempting to resolve the conflict that has been at the center of the current development freeze. Unfortunately, today we are here to announce that the negotiations have failed to produce an agreement satisfactory to both parties.
Mr. Karel Hulec has recently listed on the Neos Wiki several members of the Development Team as contributors to a new project titled the “Neos Foundation”. None of the listed team members were contacted at any point concerning the listing of their names on the Neos Wikis, nor have any of them agreed to work with Mr. Karel Hulec in the Neos Foundation or any other project.
Following the negotiations, on April 24th, 2023, and due to increasing difficulties in establishing the trust necessary to continue his partnership with Mr. Karel Hulec, Frooxius resigned from his position at Solirax LTD. We no longer see a path to successful reconciliation, so the remaining Development Team, including the leads of the moderation and quality control teams, the content team, and the support team, are now officially resigning from our roles as part of this community.
We understand this has been a period of intense frustration for some members of the community, as the lack of updates and communication from the Development Team led to uncertainty about the future of your projects and Neos as a platform. We apologize for our silence, it was due to legal advice we had received, and our attempt to keep the ongoing conflict resolution as professional as possible. Unfortunately, an understanding could not be found that would allow us to continue to work with the Neos community. The disagreements we had with Mr. Karel Hulec were too far-reaching and too significant to allow for a compromise. His conduct and lack of professionalism soured opportunities to resolve our differences. We hope you will continue to make wonderful projects in the future, wherever those future efforts lie.
We understand you may have many questions for the Development Team, but as we are removing ourselves from our positions within the Neos community, we will be limiting our presence on this Discord server going forward. Any questions for individuals formerly on the team will need to be sent through direct messages or other personal channels.
On October 7th, 2023, Veer posted:
Hey everyone, as there is no longer moderation administration present in this unofficial discord, we’ll be locking down the channels from further communication. This is to prevent the server from becoming unsafe to users, any projects or brands, and other entities due to unmoderated discourse.
I take this to mean that the NeosVR Discord is now officially closed, and indeed, no more messages can be posted in any of the channels. (I hope that this Discord remains, if for no other reason than historical purposes.)
This marks the end of a decade-long era, and the conclusion of a long period of uncertainty as to the future of the project. Many people might not realize that the roots of NeosVR date as far back to 2014, with a project named World of Comenius (you can learn more here, in part one of what was originally intended to be a multi-part series of blogposts about the history of NeosVR, which unfortunately I never got around to completing due to my full-time paying job as an academic librarian).
I wish all involved with NeosVR success in their future endeavours!
I leave you with a 20-minute YouTube video by VR pundit ThrillSeeker, done last year, which goes into some of the details of what went wrong with NeosVR: