UPDATED Editorial: Moving from Avatar 1.0 to Avatar 2.0 in Sansar—A Look at the Gains and Losses, and Why I Think Linden Lab Has Made A Mistake with the New Default Female Avatar 2.0

Let’s make one thing very clear: I am not a happy camper. My first two blogposts I made very early this morning about the most recent update to Sansar (here and here) were bouquets to Ebbe Altberg and his team for a job well done, but this third blogpost is about a major beef I have with the new Avatar 2.0 system, specifically the new female avatar.

I first had inklings that something was wrong when people were complaining about the female avatar proportions on the Sansar Discord. I wrote up a blogpost about it, Cara Linden responded and I posted her response, and then I promptly forgot about it.

But today. TODAY….

I decided to load up my Vanity Fair avatar to see what kind of impact the move to Avatar 2.0 would have on her inventory. I already knew that I would lose all the old custom avatars, as well as any rigged clothing and hair, but I wanted to see what I was left with, and how I could work with what was left.

The change was actually pretty wrenching for me. I hadn’t anticipated that I would lose EVERY. SINGLE. FUCKING. PAIR. OF. SHOES. I had ever bought! I was left with one pair of tan boots and that was it. I would have thought that at least shoes could have been carried over from Avatar 1.0 to Avatar 2.0!

And, as expected, all my old hairstyles were gone, replaced by the six default female hairstyles, none of which I liked. *sigh*

Another very unpleasant surprise was that Linden Lab removed all their previous default clothing from my inventory, except for the futuristic Nexus top, pants, and shoes I was wearing! What the hell, Linden Lab?!?? Couldn’t you have offered us some NON science-fiction outfits? Are we supposed to be an all-science-fiction, all the time, now?!??

I am not a fan of any of the preset face shapes, or the choice of skin tones and eye colours. Would it have killed Linden Lab to give us a few more options in these areas, especially since we have to wait for custom skins and eyes? This is the best I could come up with on short notice, without touching any of the sliders or the face deformation buttons:

Vanity Fair, Avatar 2.0

A little boring, but a perfectly serviceable starting point.

Now to get to the main reason I am so upset. The default basic female body shape is absolutely ridiculous. She’s too elongated, her shoulders and hips are too narrow, and her arms look like they have no muscles at all! I honestly cannot believe that we have been given such an unrealistic starter female avatar. What the hell was Linden Lab thinking?!?? I consider this to be a definite step backwards, and the sooner that Linden Lab implements proper body sliders and body deformations, the better.

So now it’s time to try on some of the Marvelous Designer-created clothing which survived the transition from Avatar 1.0 to Avatar 2.0, to see how well it fits and how much adjusting is needed. The first thing I tried on was a simple white top, which by default fit far below her actual shoulders:

Using the new Transform Item button on the Worn Items window, I tried to adjust the top to fit my new, overly-elongated body:

You can now edit clothing using tools which will be familiar to users of other virtual worlds such as Second Life: translate, rotate, and scale:

The fourth button allows you to adjust all three at the same time:

So, after a bit of fiddling, here is what I was able to come up with:

So yes, the tools are there for you to be able to make your old clothing fit the new avatars, but you are going to have to do a lot of fiddling and tweaking and adjusting. Even worse, you are going to have to do all that fiddling and adjusting all over again if you take the item off and then put it back on from your inventory, because when you put it back on, it will automatically go to the same spot on your avatar body.

It also means that any clothing originally designed for Avatar 1.0 avatars will be a pain in the ass to use, because it will not fit the new avatars well by default. Most clothing makers will probably land up just removing older items from the Sansar Store completely, since they won’t fit as neatly and automatically as any new clothing specifically designed for Avatar 2.0 avatars will.

At this point, I’m a really very glad that I have so few items in my store on the Sansar Store, since I now am pretty much forced to redo them all. And yes, I am angry about that.

And keep in mind that this sort of fiddling, tweaking and adjusting of old clothing designed for Avatar 1.0 will be a major stumbling block to new users of Sansar, who will not understand why their clothing “doesn’t fit right”. I can only imagine how much work that somebody has to do now, who has already put dozens, or even hundreds, of items of clothing on the Sansar Store, in order to make them work better for the Avatar 2.0 avatars. It’ll be like starting over from scratch. This is very clearly NOT going to be the smooth process that was originally promised by Linden Lab. If I were a clothing maker who invested a lot of time and money into making clothing to date, I would be furious at Linden Lab for making such major changes to the avatar. Why was such a drastic change necessary? Why wasn’t an effort made to keep at least some sort of backwards compatibility?

And finally, and most damning of all…

I put on my VR headset and looked down myself as Vanity Fair, and I was HORRIFIED! My forearms look like toothpicks, and my hands are much too small! I look like someone with a wasting disease or a small child, not a grown woman!

The difference between Avatar 1.0 and Avatar 2.0 is so jarring that it is immersion-breaking. It’s also a complete deal-breaker for me. This is just a truly horrible default female avatar and at this point, I don’t think I will even bother to design clothing for it until it is replaced or improved. I’m that unhappy with it.

What the hell was wrong with the much more realistic proportions of the default female Avatar 1.0? Why did Linden Lab fuck this up so badly?? What were they thinking?!?? Let’s do a direct comparison, wearing the same outfit, between Avatar 1.0 and Avatar 2.0:

Vanity Fair, Avatar 1.0: This is what a real woman looks like
Vanity Fair, Avatar 2.0: Way too tall, hips too narrow, too thin, hands too small, looks like a Barbie doll

If you can’t see that there is something seriously wrong with the default female Avatar 2.0 just by comparing them side by side, then I give up. There were clearly drastic design decisions made that were NOT communicated by Linden Lab effectively to the users. This is NOT what we asked for. This is NOT what we wanted.


UPDATE: O.K. I’ve had a chance to calm down and think this over.

I think it is highly unlikely that Linden Lab is going to roll us back to Avatar 1.0, but I really disagree with the direction they decided to go for the female avatars. Landon Linden reported from the official Sansar Discord in response to this blogpost:

We’re working to get body morph in before the end of the year. It is a top priority for us, too.

And this is a bit of comfort. I keep forgetting that this is a beta, and that things like this will happen. We all take part in the beta knowing that something could come along and break everything for us, and we have to start over again. That’s part of the deal. I made the assumption that things would not change, and when they did change, and that change potentially impacted an avatar clothing business that I would very much like to get off the ground, I got upset.

I’m sorry.

SECOND UPDATE: Market forces to the rescue! We now have some good interim solutions to the new default female avatar proportions, and I’m much happier!

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2 thoughts on “UPDATED Editorial: Moving from Avatar 1.0 to Avatar 2.0 in Sansar—A Look at the Gains and Losses, and Why I Think Linden Lab Has Made A Mistake with the New Default Female Avatar 2.0”

  1. I was disappointed as well when I logged in. I mean, I liked to sculpt the face parts with the mouse, that’s great and fun, but then I shared your same feelings. You are right, those are Barbie proportions, and not just that: my first thought was “this looks like a plastic doll”. Maybe better skin, eyes, hair, freckles… will be made eventually, you can also adjust the neck length, but for sure it isn’t a good first impression. I can imagine newcomers…
    I was not too much worried about the clothing – I knew the old inventory was going to poof – but I ended up in frustration when I tried to wear those made with Marvelous Designer. Eventually I gave up and I just put on the default outfit. I suppose new outfits will fit like that one. Meanwhile, making everything obsolete and the old MD outfit a pain, they essentially killed the current marketplace, that has to redo all.
    Besides that, accessories are still there, so I still have the funny wind-up key *phew* 🙂

    The first person view in desktop mode is a step-back too. Before it was okay, now, with these Avatars 2.0, I look down into my neck. In real life your eyes aren’t right above the center of your neck (from a side view), but a bit forward and when you look down, your head tilts down and your eyes are even less above your neck.

    Then there is the Nexus. I’m not sure if it is a good idea. Every time I’d look for new places, instead of simply opening the Atlas, now I have to go back there to the Nexus and enter a portal.

    And, dunno, I felt something has been lost. There in the Nexus it was like Sansar now, rather than social, felt more like just a game, except a not so interesting one.

  2. The thing is that they don’t seem to understand and is an issue in SL too is that body morph is great and all but people will design based on the default. So if the default has out of wack proportions so will the majority of average players. This is why the default shape needs to be an average human like shape so that people will design around that.

    Then when body morph comes in people will make their characters tall or short or stylized based on what an actual human would look like, instead of taking an already stylized body and morphing it further.

    It’s so frustrating to see them make the same mistakes of the past all over again.

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