Virtual Market 4 in VRChat

The Virtual Market is a highly popular VRChat event where Japanese anime avatars and accessories are bought and sold, and the hard work of thousands of talented independent content creators is presented.

Virtual Market 4, bigger and better than ever (with dozens of big name real-world corporate sponsors such as Panasonic, Audi, Netflix, 7-Eleven, HP, SEGA, Autodesk, and Ricoh), opened on April 29th, 2020 and closed today. But before they shut down, I had an opportunity to go on a field trip organized by Jin.

Here’s an eight-minute YouTube video that gives a pretty good introduction to what the Virtual Market is all about:

Here’s my current VRChat avatar, which I had created using the Tafi app:

We spent an amazing hour exploring the Nursery Rhyme world, where you leapt into a storybook on a desk in a child’s attic bedroom, and explored a weird and wonderful world filled with pincushion puppies, quarreling pine cone gnomes, and mushroom crabs! It all had a definite Lewis Carroll Alice in Wonderland feel about it.

The Nursery Rhyme world was full of wild and wonderful content
(this is just the entrance)

After that, we visited another world called World End Utopia, with a postapocalyptic yet somehow still utopian feel to it, overgrown by nature, masterfully designed and created like all the worlds we visited:

World End Utopia: a post-apocalyptic, yet utopian world

Throughout all of these specially-built worlds for Virtual Market 4, there were booths which displayed avatars available for purchase. Most of the signs were in Japanese and a bit of English, so it was not too hard to figure out what was for sale! Most booths let you click on an avatar display to assume a demo version of that avatar, so many of the people in our tour group were changing appearance quite often!

Much merry mayhem ensured as our tour group wandered around several Virtual Market worlds and endlessly tried on sample versions of various avatars for sale! Jin went and bought himself a sofa avatar from one booth, which he promptly wore, and two other avatars could actually sit on it, and be carried around! I just howled with laughter.

Before I left, I was invited to experience a special world built by someone I know well from the RyanSchultz.com Discord, 1029Chris, who had spent two weeks creating an amazing bird sanctuary with animated ducks, who milled about, and responded eagerly when I selected food items from a nearby picnic table to feed them! It was wonderfully done, and I hope to return soon for another visit.

1029Chris’ bird sanctuary: feed the ducks!

It was such a fun evening, and I want to thank Jin for organizing this tour. Jin actually led not one but two tours: one very late on Friday night, and the one I attended on Saturday. To get a feel for what it was like, here are links to a couple of (unedited) livestreams that Jaredmonkey filmed of the tours:

Friday’s Tour: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/615571376 (3-1/2 hours long!)

Saturday’s Tour: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/616408554 (4 hours long!)

Enjoy! And I very much look forward to Virtual Market 5, which will probably be held sometime in the fall of 2020 (of course, this is exactly the kind of event that is unhindered by a coronavirus pandemic!).

By the way, I blogged about Virtual Market 2 here, and Virtual Market 3 here.

A group shot Jin took of us in Nursery Rhyme (source)
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Looking Expensive: Vanity Fair’s Two Favourite Fancy Party Props

So it’s Sunday evening, and (as per usual) Vanity Fair is dressed to kill and standing at the side of the dance floor at Frank’s Jazz Club, listening to the music stream:

This gorgeous gold Mia gown was a freebie, by which I mean I picked this up for free using one of the L$500 gift cards Suna Designs makes available as free group gifts every so often. Now, you might wonder, so what does freebie fashionista Vanity Fair actually choose to spend her hard-earned Linden dollars on, if she’s so awash in free outfits?

Well, some of it went to the champagne glass with the (static) Bento hand pose, which is one of my favourite party props! I bought it as part of the Celebration Champagne set, which includes two of these poses as well as champagne bottles and buckets, at Hive for only L$250. I just love it!

But what I really wanted to show you is what Vanity is holding in her other hand: the Diva Cigarette Holder by Kunst, which comes complete with Bento hand and face animations as you see here:

Seriously, this is my new favourite thing in Second Life! The perfect accessory for any posh, snobby soirée (and there’s zero risk of lung cancer, either!).

UPDATED! Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: EXMACHINA Full-Body Male Mesh Avatar Giveaway!

I wanted to alert all you freebie fashionistas out there that, as part of a Stay at Home promotion during the pandemic, EXMACHINA is giving away ten of their brand new EVOLVE full-body (i.e.. head and body) male Bento mesh avatars for free every day for the next fourteen days! (You also have the option of just using the body, with a head you already own).

All you have to do is join the SL Frees & Offers group (which costs you nothing), then teleport over to the EXMACHINA store (here’s the exact SLURL), and click on the large giveaway sign there to enter. That’s it! If you are one of the ten winners selected that day, you will automatically receive the EVOLVE mesh body package the next day.

Yesterday was the first day of the giveaway, and I was lucky enough to win one! Here’s what the EVOLVE body looks like, right out of the box, with no adjustments to the sliders:

The included HUD offers seven different skin tones, as well as six different nail tones (the EVOLVE body also supports Bakes on Mesh). The package includes mesh eyes, with a separate HUD to change their colour to one of seven shades:

The EVOLVE avatar comes without hairbases, but there are a couple you can pick up for free (along with some chokers, a Celtic ring, and some Maori tattoos) from the gifts table in the EXMACHINA store (and the EXMACHINA group is free to join).

Now, one of the problems that you will encounter is that, compared to much more popular male mesh bodies like Belleza Jake, Slink, and Signature Gianni and Geralt, there are still not a lot of designers creating clothing for this body.

Here I am wearing a free gift from the SL Frees & Offers group, the Mercury pants (just click on the tophat full of red roses you see to the left in the first picture in this blogpost).

The shoes are the unrigged version of the Karmenov high-top sneakers from VERSOV, a free group gift (the VERSOV group is free to join, and you can pick up three other kinds of male footwear gifts there). Again, these appear to be custom feet, not compatible with Slink, Signature or Belleza footwear, so your footwear options are going to be quite limited (you can alpha out foot sections in this body, though).

Luckily, one of the free gifts from The Stay Club website is a coffee-themed T-shirt from IKR!, which comes in a size for the EXMAXHINA Davide body (the previous release to this one). Here’s what it looks like (and here’s the SLURL to IKR!):

The shirt comes with a HUD with four different patterns. Now, the bad news is that the EVOLVE upper body is just different enough from the previous Davide body that there are a few problems in the underarm area anyway (they’re almost impossible to see in this picture), so again, you are going to need to make sure that any clothing you buy specifically supports the EVOLVE body. And since it is so new, you are going to have difficulties finding clothing and footwear to fit properly.

Fortunately, the EVOLVE HUD has a good selection of alpha cuts, so you should be able to use them with clothing designed for other mesh bodies:

So, head down to EXMACHINA every day for the next two weeks, to enter that day’s draw! Who knows? You could be the lucky recipient of a free EVOLVE mesh body!

UPDATE May 11th, 2020: Yesterday evening, I spent a bit more time fiddling with the EXMACHINE EVOLVE mesh body. I found that the upper-body musculature and the chin and jawline were a bit extreme for my tastes, so I toned them down a little. However, I found that I could not adjust the mouth on this avatar using the Mouth sliders to remove his somewhat dour expression! And when you click on the Smile button on the Animations tab of the HUD, all you get is a grimace at best. So, if you want to have a happy-looking avatar, you might want to give this one a pass.

Here’s the face after I toned down the jawline a bit. This is the LEAST grumpy
I could make him (the mouth corner sliders barely work at all on this head!)

Also, I bought several demos of T-shirts and tank tops which were designed for the EXMACHINA Davide mesh avatar (the previous version of this one) on the SL Marketplace, and none of them fit properly. The upper arms, upper back and shoulders are just different enough from the Davide mesh body to be a problem. And, even worse, the only clothing that seems to be currently available for the EXMACHINA EVOLVE mesh body on the SL Marketplace (as of today, May 11th, 2020) are some pants by Modern Charm Man (again, you are strongly urged to try the demos before you buy).

And, amazingly, I did some right-click/inspecting, and there is zero clothing in EXMACHINA’s own small store that is actually designed for the EVOLVE mesh body! So, although you might like the look of this avatar, I am sorry to report that the clothing situation is even more dire than I first reported. There is a list of official EXMACHINA partners listed here in the store (at this exact SLURL), but that might just mean that they have clothing that fits the Davide or older avatars, not the new EVOLVE one. You may have to play a waiting game to get some clothing for this body!

At the moment, I cannot seem to find any T-shirts or tank tops that fit this avatar, even at EXMACHINA! (Of course, you can always pick shirts, sweaters, and jackets that cover the upper body more fully, and simply use the alpha sections on the included HUD, as pictured above. But it is rather a disappointment. You would at least expect the creator of the mesh body to have some clothing options designed especially for it!

This almost reminds me of the situation one finds at TELLAQ: a good-looking male mesh avatar with extremely limited clothing options. So, caveat emptor! (Of course, if you win a free one in the two-week giveaway like I did, that’s a different situation. You can just keep it packed up in your inventory until you can find clothing and footwear for it, or try your best to make clothing designed for other bodies fit.)