Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: There Have Been Major Changes at the Free Dove!

I discovered today (while visiting The Free Dove looking for outfits and shoes to wear on the latest freebie version of the eBody Classic mesh avatar body) that the proprietor, Palomma Casanova, has made some significant changes to the layout of the venerable Second Life freebie store!

Here is a quick summary of the changes:

  • Almost all of the old freebies have been replaced with brand new items! And all the new items are modern, mesh clothing and footwear (there are no system-layers-and-flexiprims outfits to be found, with the exception of one ballgown I did find);
  • Instead of grouping items strictly by category (menswear, womenswear, jewelry, etc.), there are now many smaller tables with freebies from a single store/brand, both men’s and women’s items shown together;
  • The number of men’s freebies has increased, but you will now have to wander throughout the whole freebie store to find them all;
  • There appears to be slightly fewer free jewelry gifts than before, and definitely fewer freebie hairstyle options to choose from (but it’s still the single best collection of free hair at any SL freebie store on the grid);
  • And the lag is still absolutely terrible 😉 …so be forewarned!

For example, here is one table of free items by KingBal, both men’s and women’s freebies (including a very nice pair of hiking boots in sizes to fit various men’s mesh bodies):

This display of women’s freebies by AvaGirl includes clothes, shoes, and jewelry:

Vanity Fair paid a visit today, and here are just a couple of the outfits she was able to put together:

This schoolgirl outfit consists of three separate pieces:

  • the Emily plaid schoolgirl dress by Poème;
  • the Alice shoes with ruffled socks by Paper Sparrow; and
  • the Rina braided hair and hat combo by Lara AC.

Here we have:

  • the silver Melody ballgown by LUXE; with
  • the Lacrecia updo hairstyle by Firelight Hair (comes with a HUD with three different shades of brown).

So if you have not been to The Free Dove in a while, now would be a great time to come down, browse the new merchandise (all still free, of course!), and snap up some fabulous, fashionable outfits for yourself.

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UPDATED! Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Free Mesh Heads and Skins from Genesis Lab, and the Free eBody Classic and Curvy Mesh Bodies with Bakes on Mesh Support

One of the Second Life vloggers I follow is Cat Pink SL, whose videos are in Spanish, but have English subtitles, so it’s pretty easy to follow along. She covers hunts, events, and freebies, and in a couple of recent YouTube videos, she talks about the free versions of the eBody Classic and Curvy female mesh avatar bodies (which now support Bakes on Mesh), and the free mesh heads, skins, and cosmetics from Genesis Lab:

I had talked about the three free Genesis Lab static (non-Bento) female mesh avatar heads before here (scroll down to the Genesis Lab section), so I am not going to repeat all that information here. But what I did not know is that the Genesis Lab group is once again free to join; there is a small black panel on the Group Gifts wall in the store (SLURL) you can click on to join the store group:

So I decided to experiment a little with one of my alts, using the Kenna head from Genesis Lab (still my personal favourite static mesh head, which comes with a HUD with lots and lots of options), paired with the eBody Classic mesh avatar body. As you can see from these pictures, she turned out looking really good!

I did have one problem: the Genesis Lab Cream skin I applied to the BoM eBody avatar did not work on the feet! However, this is not a serious problem when wearing a long ballgown such as this, and you can get around it in other outfits by using boots which replace the eBody feet completely (they are a separate attachment, along with the hands). I am not sure if this was a problem with the eBody mesh, the eBody BoM relay HUD, or the skin appliers I used (I tried several from the Genesis Lab group gifts, all with the same result). It’s a weird bug.


UPDATE Jan. 20th, 2020: I have now found the cause of the strange white patches on the feet of the eBody mesh avatar. It was the result of a classic, system shoebase I applied to the foot. You can get around this problem by removing any shoebase that causes this, and using the avatar hover height instead when wearing high heels. You can ignore my complaining later on in this blogpost about not being able to wear certain types of shoes; any Slink-compatible shoes should now work!


This avatar is wearing:

Mesh Head: Kenna by Genesis Lab (includes the mesh eyes shown here; free group gift; group is free to join)

Mesh Body: eBody Classic from the eBody Shop (pay the vendor in the store L$1 and it will automatically be refunded; these mesh bodies do not have Bento hands, and they only have “thick” alpha selections on the included HUD, which means you have to be somewhat careful what you wear with them)

Skin Applier: Cream skin by Genesis Lab (part of the Lakki skin package from Genesis Lab; free group gift; requires the eBody Bakes on Mesh relay HUD which you can get from the eBody store, just pay the vendor L$1 and it will automatically be refunded)

Gown: Holly gown by JUMO (a recent Advent gift which comes in a size specifically for eBody Classic mesh avatars)

Shoes: black flats by Garbaggio (part of a free sample pack of Slink-compatible shoes from Garbaggio, available on the SL Marketplace; eBody mesh bodies have Slink-compatible feet)

Hair: Bella by Alli & Ali, an elegant updo with a colour-changeable comb in the back (a freebie I picked up at a recent virtual conference; it pays to check conference sims in Second Life for any freebies provided for presenters and attendees to outfit and style their avatars!)

Animation Override: Chubby Girl AO by [ImpEle] (free from the SL Marketplace). This is a nice, simple, calm, free AO with no crazy movements. (Note the freebie versions of the eBody do not come with Bento hands, so you don’t have to worry about animating them.)

TOTAL COST FOR THIS AVATAR: FREE! (All you need is L$1 to pay the vendors in the eBody store to get the eBody Classic mesh body and the eBody Bakes on Mesh relay HUD, which is automatically refunded.)

Note that I do not know how long you will be able to join the Genesis Lab group for free (they used to charge for it), so if you are interested in picking up their free group gifts, I recommend you don’t wait to do so.


UPDATE 6:20 p.m.: You know what? I am actually going to do something that I’ve never done before on this blog: I am going to NOT recommend (un-recommend?) a freebie. And that is the latest freebie version of the eBody Classic and Curvy mesh avatar bodies. They are dreadful. The problem with the feet not taking Bakes on Mesh skins is bad enough, but it gets even worse.

I went over to The Free Dove freebie store, and picked up a few outfits that said they came in versions designed specifically for eBody, like this minidress from Hilly Haalan, and even the eBody stuff doesn’t fit properly!

Look:

The previous version had slightly more workable “thick” alpha sections than this new one, especially in the chest/bust area and the back, and it’s a absolute pain in the butt to find something—anything—that works with them, short of a gunnysack where you can alpha out your whole body (and I’m not even sure about that anymore, either!). I also tried adjusting the body sliders to get rid of the skin breaking through, but to no avail.

The brutal truth is that even the Holly gown I showed you up top had some problems with certain poses in my freebie AO, where some skin would break through at the sides of the gown, a problem that the included alpha sections on the freebie eBody Classic mesh body can’t fix.

Perhaps the paid-for eBody version (with the full complement of smaller alpha sections) would fix the problem, but I don’t think that even that would fix such issues as I found with the Hilly Haalan minidress above. I am discovering to my dismay that many “eBody” versions of garments simply don’t work as advertised, particularly for the freebie version (here’s their HUD showing you the alpha sections; the top part is all greyed out and cannot be used):

(Note: I do have an alt with a paid-for version of the eBody Classic avatar, and I might just go back and try all these dresses from The Free Dove on again with that body, to see if they work out any better.)


UPDATE Jan. 11th, 2020: I tested the Hilly Haalan minidress I mentioned above on my paid-for full version of the eBody Classic mesh body, and it fits perfectly, without any issues! So something is up with the latest freebie version.


The best I could come up with was this outfit, consisting of the Faythe dress by GeMyles, paired with the Lita Lolita shoes in ochre, which include the socks and allowed me to completely alpha out the feet:

There was only one other pair of free shoes I found at The Free Dove that I could wear with this mesh body, the Paper Sparrow Alice heels which also came with socks (worn here with a free red minidress from eBody, which I had picked up in December as an Advent gift at the eBento event):

Here’s a better look at them in a place that’s not all black-on-black:

So, after over an hour on unpacking and trying on garments and tossing them aside in frustration, I found exactly two mesh dresses and two pair of shoes that I could wear with the freebie eBody Classic mesh body (and one of those dresses was already in my inventory). Every other dress specifically designed for eBody that I picked up at The Free Dove would not work properly with the “thick” alpha sections.

Nope, sorry, pass. Consider the freebie eBody Classsic and Curvy as demos only, not for actual wear.

However, if you are looking for a nice static (non-Bento) mesh head, I can certainly still recommend the free group gifts at Genesis Lab, especially if you are down to your last Linden dollar!

HEMOSY and Project Polis: A Brief Introduction—And a Reader Survey!

One of the things that I would not have predicted when I first embarked on this two-and-a-half-year blogging odyssey is that, instead of me having to go out and hunt for stories, the stories would start to come to me.

And so it happened that I got the following message via the Contact page of my blog, from a young Swiss man named Emmanuele Leggio:

My name is Emmanuele Leggio and I am the head of a startup project called Polis, the city with infinite space and zero distance. We aim to build a Virtual Co-working / event space. Yes another YARTVRA*, But I do have a peculiarity and that is the VR helmet I patented the Hemosy. This helmet captures the face of the user and projects it in a virtual reality environment. We can do the same [as] the other co-working [apps], but we make sure you can see the real face and emotion of the people around you.

The reason I contact you is because I would like to ask you if is possible to run a questionnaire or pool from your readers. I wish to test my theory that seeing the real person in front of them is worth buying a VR headset.

*Yes! I finally got someone else on the planet to actually use the acronym I had coined, YARTVRA!

So, I took a look at his website, which outlines a proposed project involving two components:

  • HEMOSY (HEas MOunted SYstem) is a VR headset which uses cameras to record and transmit the actual facial expressions of the user; and
  • Polis, a social VR platform where HEMOSY-recorded video is projected. Among the possible uses Emmauele suggests is a campus for online university courses.

And this ambitious, even audacious, plan is more than just an idea; Emmanuele has already filed for—and received—a patent for his helmet (text is in Italian).

So, suitably impressed by this young man and his bold plans, I agreed to help him by asking you, my blog readers, to fill out an online survey that he has created. (Think of it as market research. I am also quite curious to see what the results of his survey will be, and I will share them with you when it is complete.)

Emmanuele says:

Hello My name is Emmanuele and I’m the founder of Polis, a start up (www.startuppolis.com)  that wishes to bring face-to-face meetings to VR. We are in the early stages, and we would like to test same assumptions we have.  Here is a quick questionnaire:  

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BMMV5PF 

In case you have questions for us, or you wish to communicate with us, please use this link: https://startuppolis.com/contatti/

We thank you deeply for all your feedback. 

So please take a moment to complete Emmanuele’s survey. Thank you!

A New Social VR Events Calendar Website!

This was probably inevitable, but Robin K. Wilson is the first to do it: a calendar of events happening on the various social VR platforms, all in one handy website, vrevents.io:

At the moment, it only covers events on five platforms: AltspaceVR, Bigscreen, Echo VR, NeosVR, and Sansar. But I can see the utility of this idea as more platforms begin to post their events here, either automatically or manually. I think this is a great idea!