Second Life Bakes on Mesh: Truly a “Second Life” for Your System Avatar Skins and Clothing!

Not too long ago, I wrote a blogpost about how I deal with Vanity Fair’s bloated Second Life inventory of 240,000 items. And I said that one of the reasons I was so loath to part with anything was that they would probably be usable again once Bakes on Mesh was released.

Well, people, that decision is paying off in spades! Bakes on Mesh works beyond my wildest dreams, allowing me to wear system avatar skins, and all my older layer-based clothing that I thought, at best, I would only be able to wear with a system body, my Catwa head, and Slink mesh hands (which gave me a noticeable seam at the wrists, despite my best efforts to match the skin tones). So I rarely wore my old system-layers-and-flexiprim clothing once I switched to a Maitreya Lara mesh body and Catwa Kimberly mesh head a couple of years ago.

But I am having a blast digging old system skins out of my inventory and trying them on my mesh body with the new Bakes on Mesh system! Here I am wearing an old Exodi skin called Isolde Soleil (a hunt gift from many years ago), which I used to love to wear back in my pre-mesh days, along with one of my favourite system layer outfits, a black lace-trimmed gown called Look My Heart by Likka House:

I just love the soft, flowing skirt on this romantic gown, that gently sways as I move! A well-textured, well-weighted flexiprim skirt will always look more natural to me than a more modern rigged mesh skirt. This look is so elegant. Perfect for Frank’s Jazz Club!

The only problem? Well, I look great—if you have a Bakes on Mesh-enabled Second Life viewer. Somebody at Frank’s Jazz Place sent me a picture of what I look like if you haven’t updated your viewer yet:

*sigh* The price we pay for being one of the trendsetters, I guess! Note that both the standard Second Life viewer and the popular Firestorm viewer now have updates that support Bakes on Mesh.

And I want to share with you a great tip I discovered from one of NovataSecondLife’s YouTube videos about Bakes on Mesh for Maitreya: if you have a older system skin that doesn’t look quite right along the fingertips near the nails, there’s a full set of system hand tattoos that you can get for free from a store called League (here’s the exact SLURL):

It’s a package of both hand and foot fixes in a variety of skintones. I just added the Suntan nail base and it matches my Exodi Isolde Soleil system skin perfectly! (I’m usually wearing shoes anyway, so I didn’t bother with the foot fixes.) So if you are going to start wearing your all your old system skins on your mesh body, be sure to pick up this handy kit!

Bakes on Mesh has suddenly give me literally hundreds of skins that I thought I would never be able to wear again! And hundreds of older outfits that I can once again wear on a fully mesh avatar body. It’s literally giving a “second life” (pun intended) to my older inventory!

UPDATE 10:05 p.m.: I wanted to add that Altamura is another mesh avatar body maker which has released a relay for use with Bakes on Mesh (it’s available to Altamura group members for free at this exact SLURL; the Altamura Design/Mesh Avatars group costs L$50 to join):

Please note that Bakes on Mesh will only work with bodies actually purchased from the Altamura store, and not the free versions of the Altamura bodies available at Ajuda SL Brasil, UniHispana Crea, and the freebie store at the London City sim, or that you picked up at various hunts and events in the past. (However, if you were lucky enough to pick up the Romeo and Juliet full-body mesh avatars last Valentine’s Day, those are full versions on which you can use Bakes on Mesh.) Also, you do have to buy and install the Omega system kit on the body before you can use the Bakes on Mesh relay (it’s for sale for L$99 at this exact SLURL).

Altamura has thoughtfully included free male and female skins in the unisex Bakes on Mesh package, so you can test it out right away. This is the Venus female skin on the Altamura Juliet full-body mesh avatar, along with an old system-layers-and-prims dress from PixelDolls (remember them?):

UPDATE Oct. 5th: Here’s another good example of Bakes on Mesh. This is the Altamura Juliet mesh body wearing an older YS&YS Megan system skin. Again, I used the League sunkiss nail base tattoo to fix the fingertips near the nails to match the Megan skin.

SuperWorld and Stan World: A Brief Introduction

Recently, a corporate account called SuperWorld began following me on Twitter, and according to their Twitter account:

SuperWorld is a social and real estate platform in AR/XR, where users and brands can explore, connect, and build community in a decentralized environment.

So, curious, I visited the SuperWorld website. The company describes their platform as follows:

SuperWorld is a social AR platform company which allows users to build community in Augmented Reality. Users and brands can personalize the real world by adding anything anywhere in augmented reality with photos, videos, texts, and 3D objects, and share the AR experience with friends and followers. We are currently launched on iPhone.

As I have stated before on this blog, I do not consider cellphone-based apps to be true “augmented reality”. I prefer to reserve the term for actual AR headsets such as the Microsoft Hololens or the Magic Leap One, which are still considered highly experimental technology.

Basically, the premise of SuperWorld is that you purchase regions (called polygons) that correspond to real-world locations, such as the Empire State Building in New York or the Eiffel Tower in Paris:

Holding a SuperWorld AR Real Estate Token allows buyers to have ownership of the longitude / latitude dimensions purchased and where future AR posts and advertising will be placed. It’s like the game of Monopoly in Augmented Reality. The goal is to collect the best places of real estate in the world or places that you love and to be able to buy and sell that real estate over time, as you like. The purpose of the AR Real Estate Token is to serve as an incentive to lock-in users to our ecosystem.

Now, this is not the first such product; I have written in the past about similar blockchain-based platforms which are superimposed upon the real world, such as Mossland and Worldopoly (which has relaunched as Worldopo). The big problem will all of these projects is that they are being set up well before any kind of wearable augmented reality headgear becomes popular among consumers. According to the SuperWorld white paper:

Social media usage is very popular worldwide but does not align user interests with company interests. Ads are how social media apps stay alive but users do not always see the benefits of ads. Concurrently, content creators and influencers face a fragmented market when trying to start off their endeavors. Few platforms allow content creators to monetize and share in the revenue other than YouTube. We want to create an economic paradigm in which passive content viewers, content creators and marketers’ interests are all aligned…

We believe that in the future AR glasses will be widespread and the lens through which people see the world will be through their favorite AR apps. Currently, smartphones are more commonplace and accessible so we will be focusing on the SuperWorld smartphone app until the future of AR glasses arrives.

So, let me get this straight. You’re expecting people to download the SuperWorld app to their mobile devices, and point them at real-world locations, in order to see more advertising? Why would anybody bother to do this? Aren’t we inundated with enough advertising as it is?

Here’s an eight-minute promotional video for SuperWorld:

The first half of this video is taken up with an explanation of how to set up your MetaMask wallet and purchase Ethereum to use in SuperWorld, so you might just want to jump straight to the second half, just to see how underwhelming this product is. Even worse, when I tried it myself last night, I couldn’t get the map to load, despite several attempts.

Here’s another video, a year-old three-minute promotional video showing you how the mobile app works:

But when I downloaded the app to my iPhone SE to test it out, it was so buggy that it was simply unusable. In my opinion, this product is simply not yet ready for prime time. There seem to be all kinds of bugs and glitches in the implementation.

I do think that attempting to build a global augmented-reality overlay when we don’t have any kind of affordable, consumer-grade AR headset technology is a bit of a folly. There’s absolutely no guarantee that SuperWorld’s way of slicing up the real world is going to be accepted or adhered to by any other company.

Anyways, I idly clicked on the LinkedIn profile of the one of the co-founders of SuperWorld, Max Woon, to find that he has started not one, but two virtual worlds: SuperWorld, and something called Stan World.

(You know me and virtual worlds! For me, hunting down and reporting on all these social VR platforms and virtual worlds is like Pokémon: “gotta catch ’em all!” I take a great deal of pleasure in tracking these sometime-elusive creatures down!!)

So, I loaded up the Stan World website to take a look, and yep, all the standard buzzwords are present and accounted for:

There’s plenty of self-affirming text throughout the website, about building and enhancing community using virtual reality:

But there’s very little technical details on the implementation of Stan World, other than this very vague diagram explaining how all this is supposed to work:

And check out the promotional video for Stan World, which was just posted a couple of weeks ago on YouTube:

Now, I have no idea from where the company cobbled together this veritable mishmash of avatars and scenes from various virtual worlds, but nowhere in this video do I see evidence of an actual deliverable product! (In fact, I would appreciate it of my readers could help me identify where all these avatars and scenes were taken from.)

This is another one of those blockchain-based projects which seems to be selling the sizzle instead of the steak, and pinning all its hopes on earning money up-front via an initial coin offering (ICO) like Decentraland did, as can be seen in the following eight-second video taken from the Stan World website:

(Sorry, I was listening to Stairway to Heaven when I captured this footage! This is not the soundtrack to the website 😉 …)

Now, your guess is as good as mine as to what the woman in the bottom right-hand corner is supposed to be doing, wearing what looks like a very basic, cellphone-based VR headset! (Maybe hand tracking has come earlier than expected?) This all looks like third-party stock images to me.

But what really set off my alarm bells was this part of the website:

You would think that clicking on the iOS App Store button would take you to the App Store, right? Wrong. In fact, it doesn’t matter which of the three buttons you click on; all three do exactly the same thing, downloading exactly the same APK file to your hard drive. A little deft Googling revealed that APK is the package file format used by the Android operating system for distribution and installation of mobile apps and middleware. But the fact that…

  1. It downloads the APK without warning you; and
  2. It makes the download look like actual links to the iOS App Store, the Oculus Store, and the Google Play store;

…makes me seriously, seriously pause.

So, once again, I issue my standard warning, as I do for every blockchain/cryptocurrency product and platform out there. Please do every. single. shred. of your homework before investing in any blockchain-based virtual world. Read the white paper carefully and read through everything on the website, including the Terms of Service. Carefully and thoroughly evaluate what is being offered here in return for the investment of your hard-earned money.

Remember: Caveat emptor!

An Early Review of Oculus Link: Play Oculus Rift Apps on Your Oculus Quest VR Headset (And Will It Work with Sansar?)

Nathaniël de Jong (a.k.a. Nathie) is a Dutch YouTuber with half a million subscribers, who often posts review videos of the latest and greatest VR hardware and software on his channel.

Yesterday, he posted the following review of the Oculus Link software which allows Oculus Quest users to play Oculus Rift apps using a cable connected to a gaming-level computer with a good graphics card:

The review is esssentially a rave. The only complaint that Nathie has about the Oculus Quest/Oculus Link setup is that the headset is front-heavy (something which I can also attest to). However, there has been no shortage of headset modding advice posted to places like the Oculus Quest subReddit (for example, attaching a battery pack to the back of the headstrap, which not only redistributes the weight, but also lets you play for several hours longer!).

The Oculus Link software will be available in November 2019, and it will be free. You will need to purchase a USB 3.0 cable; you can buy your own, or you can wait until Oculus sells their own fibre cable for a “best in class” experience, for about US$80/CA$106.

I expect I will be among the first people to test Sansar via the Oculus Quest and Oculus Link, when it becomes available later this year. If it does work, it will truly be a game changer, allowing a potentially much larger audience for apps such as Sansar. And I’m quite sure that Linden Lab will be testing this out too, once Oculus Link is available.

But DON’T buy an Oculus Quest right now, expecting that it will automatically work with Sansar. It’s still too soon to tell; wait for me and others to test it out and report back before you buy. Better to be safe than sorry! Linden Lab is not recommending users purchase the Oculus Quest if they are planning on using it just for Sansar.

Please note that currently, the only VR headsets that Linden Lab officially supports for Sansar are the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive headsets. Some users have reported that they have been able to get Windows Mixed Reality headsets to work with Sansar, but it’s not officially supported (you can get help via the official Sansar Discord). While Linden Lab has reported some work on getting Sansar to work with the Valve Index controllers, it is also not yet officially supported.