UPDATED! Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Free Male and Female Mesh Full-Body Avatars from Altamura!

UPDATE Sept. 28th: For a current, up-to-date list of free or inexpensive options for mesh avatar heads and bodies for female Second Life avatars, please see this blogpost. For a current, up-to-date list of options for free and inexpensive male mesh avatar heads and bodies, please see this blogpost

Late last year, Altamura very generously gave the Jenny full-body mesh avatar as a free hunt prize in the Women Only Hunt, and the Robert full-body mesh avatar as a free hunt prize for the Men Only Hunt. Altamura has also given out free male (Max) and female (Valentina) mesh bodies at the freebie stores at Ajuda SL Brasil and Unihispana Crea. These are beautifully designed mesh avatar bodies, equal in quality to the much pricier versions available.

Well, the Men Only Hunt and Women Only Hunt are on once again, and this time around, there’s both a male mesh avatar head and body package (Tommy) and a female mesh avatar head and body package (Emanuelle) as FREE hunt prizes!

Altamura MOH and WOH Gifts 3 Aug 2018.png

To get the Tommy full-body mesh avatar, you have to find a black moustache. To get the Emanuelle full-body mesh avatar, you are looking for half a coconut. The hunt officially starts tomorrow, August 4th and runs until August 18th, but I was able to find both hunt prizes already today, Friday, August 3rd.

You don’t need to join a group to get the hunt prizes, but if you do get the Emanuelle female mesh avatar body, there’s also a free set of lipstick appliers, just for it. Just click the panel you see in the picture above the Emanuelle display (you’ll have to join the Altamura Design/Mesh Avatars group for L$50 to get the lipstick appliers).

As I have said before, I have found that clothing designed for the Maitreya Lara mesh avatar body fits the Altamura female body very well, with a minimum of fuss. Also, the Altamura female mesh bodies have Slink-compatible feet, so any shoe designed for Slink feet should work well (the female mesh body gift comes in three foot heights, selectable via HUD: flat, medium, and high). The bodies have Bento hands, and (in a nice touch) Altamura has included a hand AO which cycles natural hand positions, which you can use with your regular (non-Bento) AO. Both bodies also come with a facial AO.

Both Tommy and Emanuelle come with a HUD which allows you a complete set of alpha selections to make any clothes look good. However, you should know that, on the male Tommy avatar, you will not be able to remove the attached head to replace it with another head. However, on the female Emanuelle body, you can remove the head, eyelashes, teeth, and hair and use a different head with the body (like, say, that beautiful new Maia Bento mesh head you picked up for free from Akeruka). Also note that Omega skin appliers will not work with these hunt prize bodies. You are stuck with the single skin tone they have.

Here are a couple of shots of the Emanuelle mesh avatar body so you can see what it looks like (please click on each picture to see it full size):

Here’s the SLURL to take you to the new location of the Altamura store (note that the store has recently moved). If you haven’t bought a mesh avatar body yet because of the cost, this is your perfect opportunity to give it a try, for free! Happy hunting!

UPDATED: What Can You Do When Sansar Experiences Take a Long Time to Load?

Photo by Sonja Langford on Unsplash

One of the most common complaints I hear about Sansar is that the experiences sometimes take too long to load. I cross-posted my recent blogpost about the new Star Trek exhibit to Reddit, and I got the following comments back (which I anonymized):

Sansar feedback on Reddit 3 Aug 2018.png

Unfortunately, some Sansar experiences do take significant time to load, especially the first time you visit. Some popular experiences that have a lot of content, like 114 Harvest and the above-mentioned Ready Player One experience, seem to take forever to load. And right now, there’s not a lot you can do about it.

The single biggest factor affecting experience load times is internet bandwidth, which you can check using Speedtest or numerous similar websites. According to the Recommended System Specs page for Sansar, a 10 Mbps connection is recommended, with 5 Mbps a minimum. Ping time is also important (but see the update, below).

(The CPU, GPU and amount of RAM on your computer are lesser factors in Sansar experience load times. If you have a high-end gaming machine, but a lousy internet connection, you’ll still be waiting a long time.)

The good news is that once an experience has loaded, the Sansar client caches it so it loads much more quickly on second and subsequent visits.

Ebbe Altberg, CEO of Linden Lab, said on the official Sansar Discord server:

There is a lot we can and will do to improve scene loading times/experience. Progressive texture loading, CDN, load in background, stream, LoD, magic, better tools for creators to diagnose and optimize their content. Some of these are sooner and others are much later. I’m hoping for one of them to make noticeable improvement very soon.

Linden Lab’s Chief Product Officer, Landon, added:

Scene load time at least the first time a scene is loaded is almost entirely a function [of] bandwidth.

Not really anything in settings to improve them. (I want to make the experience great for everyone out of the box!)

The settings that Landon refers to are a relatively recent addition to the Sansar client, and they are intended more to adjust the graphics display settings to accommodate lower-end computers.  If you are running Sansar on a lower-end computer such as a laptop, you could turn off Shadowed Atmospherics and Ambient Occlusion and lower the Render Quality from High to Medium or Low to get better performance (however, with the setting on Low metal textures will turn black).

Settings 3 Aug 2018.png

But unfortunately, none of these settings affect experience load times. We’re all going to have to wait (some more) for Linden Lab to figure out ways to optimize experience loading. Ebbe sums up what content creators and experience builders can do in the meantime:

Textures. Textures. Textures. Smaller. Re-use. Re-use in clever ways still gets you variety. Smaller. Re-use. Fewer. Smaller. More re-use. Sounds. Smaller. Fewer. Always. Keep pushing. We will do stuff to make it easier to do it better over time. We will do stuff to make it faster over time. But a megabyte is megabyte, can’t change that. There’s always a line for you to cross. And careful with the triangles. Decimate. Cheers!

UPDATE Aug. 13th: In response to a discussion on the official Sansar Discord server about the impact of longer ping times (the reaction time of your connection, i.e. how fast you get a response after you’ve sent out a request), Ebbe Altgerg said:

Those [longer] ping times are not a problem. We will soon use a CDN where you will all download content from a place near to you. We’re also fixing our implementation of how we download assets to be more efficient. These changes will come soon. Hang in there and don’t worry about ping times.