Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Come Visit the Freak Show!

Today I discovered a really exceptionally well-done sim in Second Life called Freak Show, complete with all kinds of wonderful details and dozens of circus freaks of every kind and description (please see this Encyclopedia Britannica article for some historical background on freak shows).

Freak Show has the biggest collection of freaks (avatars, animesh, and static mesh) that I’ve ever seen in Second Life—which, if you stop and think about it, is quite an achievement 😉 Please do NOT derender avatars or set “view friends only” in your SL viewer, as the circus freaks will be derendered as well! There are some really inventive ones here to see.

I was stopped in my tracks by a two-headed conjoined twins avatar, and I actually had to pull out my handy free What Is She Wearing HUD? to scan her to see what parts made up the avatar! (A very handy tool, and highly recommended whenever you discreetly want to see what another avatar is wearing.)

I was wondering who sold mesh avatar attachments that would give your avatar two heads! It turns out she is all one mesh component. (You can pick up an updated version of her here on the SL Marketplace if you’re interested. It even comes with an add-on AO for the second head!)

Here’s a picture of the owner, Uri Jefferson, who (appropriately enough) is a six-armed circus freak himself!

I decided to dress up for the occasion. This is one of the ten Halloween costume hunt prizes from Brii Underground Wear, the Mary Salem outfit, which comes complete with the gown, wrap, and jewelry—even a matching top hat! Find pumpkin #2 and it’s yours for only L$6:

This avatar is wearing:

  • Mesh head: Cleo Bento mesh head by Akeruka (a former L$1 group gift; the Akeruka group costs L$150 to join)
  • Mesh body: Juliet mesh body by Altamura (a former Valentine’s Day group gift; Omega-compatible; more details here; the Altamura group costs L$50 to join)
  • Omega skin applier: (included as part of a package of body skin appliers that comes with the Cleo mesh head; you can pick up the Omega applier kit for Altamura mesh bodies for only L$99 at the Omega Solutions store at this exact SLURL)
  • Hair: Hurrah hair by Ade (a free gift from the recently concluded 2019 Hair Fair)
  • Outfit (Except Shoes): Mary Salem outfit (L$6 Halloween hunt prize from the pumpkin hunt at Brii Underground Wear)
  • Shoes (Not Shown): black flats (part of a free sample pack of Slink-compatible shoes from Garbaggio, available on the SL Marketplace; Altamura mesh bodies have Slink-compatible feet)
  • Animation Override: Chubby Girl AO by [ImpEle] (free from the SL Marketplace). This is a nice, simple, calm, free AO with no crazy movements. 

TOTAL COST OF THIS AVATAR: Only L$306!

See you at the Freak Show! Here’s the SLURL.

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Second Life Bakes on Mesh: Designing Nicky Ree

One of my favourite Second Life avatar fashion stores in the pre-mesh days was Designing Nicky Ree, who had a real talent for creating beautifully-textured women’s wear:

Unfortunately, Nicky Ree never fully embraced mesh fashion (almost all of the clothing she sells consists of system layers and prims), so she eventually fell out of favour with shoppers. Which is a shame, as she designed some truly beautiful gowns, such as the Peony Flower gown I am wearing, which is available in ten different colours:

Here’s a closer look at the gown. The embroidery details are exquisite!

Nicky Ree explains in a notecard included with the package:

This design was the second design I sketched as a possible Ms Hong Kong Costume Gown for Miss Virtual World 2011, the other being DNR Phoenix. Ms Serene Faith chose the DNR Phoenix in the end for the costume for the the contest and went on to win and was crowned Ms MVW 2011. Now, since I had already prepared and drawn all the flower embroidery for the “Peony Flower” I decided to complete this gown and release it in time for the Chinese New Year for 2011…

Designing Nicky Ree is one of those stores which I hope will enjoy a bit of a renaissance with the advent of Bakes on Mesh. I think it’s well worth browsing through her large, two-story store to see if anything strikes your fancy! Here’s the SLURL. You can find this fabulous Peony Flower gown on the second floor, at this exact SLURL (just open your map and follow the red arrow).

Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Halloween Hunts!

October is a busy time in Second Life, with many Halloween-themed hunts and events. It’s a great time to pick up some free and inexpensive items for your wardrobe!

Let’s start with a casual outfit with a couple of Halloween hunt freebies:

The T-shirt (which comes in a wide variety of sizes to fit both male and female avatars) is one of two free gifts hidden away in the truly maddening Halloween maze at Haunted Frolic, stop number 48 on SL’s Top Haunted Places Tour and Hunt.

And the sneakers are a free hunt gift too! The web chuck sneakers are a gift hidden at the Petite Mort/Oubliette booth at the Trick or Treat Lane event, running from now until Nov. 1st:

There’s also a Halloween Hunt going on at Brii Underground Wear, with ten easy-to-find pumpkins, each containing a different Halloween outfit. Here’s one of those ten prizes:

The Mary Salem outfit includes this elegant black strapless gown and the matching wrap, as well as some gothic cameo jewelry and a top hat, both of which I did not include in this picture. As you can see, this beautiful formal black gown can be used for more than just Halloween parties! Find pumpkin #2 at Brii and it’s yours for just L$6!


The last freebie isn’t a Halloween hunt gift, but it is free. This lovely strapless satin cocktail dress comes in black and pink, with an optional black or pink ribbon at the neck, and it is a free gift from C!L Boutique to mark October as Pink Ribbon Month for breast cancer awareness. You don’t need to join any group to pick it up; just teleport to this SLURL and click on the panel on the wall:

Happy hunting and shopping!

Sansar Avatar Clothing: Are We Going to See a Repeat of What Happened in Second Life, With Designers Having to Create Separate Versions for Multiple Brands of Mesh Avatar Bodies?

This red ballgown by Nicky Ree Designs is all system layer clothing with a flexiprim skirt, worn on a classic, system avatar with a Catwa Bento mesh head and Slink hands. Bakes on Mesh now allows you to wear this outfit on a fully mesh avatar like Maitreya Lara.

In the early, pre-mesh days of Second Life (before 2011), avatar clothing designers had it pretty easy. All clothing for the classic, system avatars was applied on overlapping layers, with extra prims for features like sleeves and collars and flexiprims to simulate flowing clothing like skirts and cloaks. It was simple, everybody knew how to use it, and best of all, it worked with any combination of avatar body sliders: fat, thin, muscular, short, tall…

When mesh clothing started to make an appearance, around 2011, it was still mostly designed for classic, system avatars. With the addition of an alpha which removed the parts of your body covered by the outfit, it still worked well. Clothing creators pretty much adhered to the agreed-upon five “standard sizes” for classic avatars, which meant that if your avatar was one of these five sizes (i.e. adjusted to fit a specific predefined set of body slider numbers), your clothing pretty much fit you perfectly. A more complicated system, but still fairly easy to understand and use.

However, with the advent of mesh avatar bodies, avatar fashion designers faced a much more daunting task. Clothing makers now had to learn how to rig their outfits for an ever-growing, seemingly endless number of mesh bodies. Even worse, clothing rigged for a specific mesh body might not work with a different mesh body!

Strawberry Singh used to run an annual mesh body parts survey, and the results of the 2018 survey showed the most popular options at that time:

Women’s Mesh Bodies

  • Maitreya Lara
  • Belleza Freya, Isis, and Venus
  • Slink Physique and Hourglass
  • Abar eBody Classic and Curvy
  • Tonic Fine and Curvy
  • Altamura
  • Kemono
  • V-Tech for Maitreya
  • Ocacin Standard and Voluptuous

Men’s Mesh Bodies

  • Belleza Jake
  • Singature Gianni and Geralt
  • Slink Physique
  • EXMACHINA Davide
  • Altamura

That’s a whopping 15 options for women and 6 for men! Most avatar fashion designers decided to deal with this situation by restricting the mesh bodies that they would design for.

In most cases, for women’s clothing, this has meant rigging for only six of the most popular mesh bodies:

  • Maitreya Lara
  • Belleza Freya
  • Belleza Isis
  • Belleza Venus
  • Slink Physique
  • Slink Hourglass

(An increasing number of designers are now also creating clothing to fit the new Legacy avatar by The Mesh Project, in come cases dropping one of the “top Six” mesh bodies listed above to incorporate it.)

Obviously, this situation in Second Life is far from ideal, either for creators or consumers. Newer mesh body creators like Altamura must feel like they’re bashing their head against a brick wall trying to get designers to create clothing specifically for their bodies.

Linden Lab wants to avoid this nightmare in Sansar, by eventually releasing a completely adjustable human(oid) avatar on which all Marvelous-Designer-created clothing will fit. However, at a recent in-world Product Meetup, it was revealed that Marvelous Designer clothing is limited in how much it can be adjusted. For example, while it can be easily scaled (resized), it will not be possible to make just the sleeves of shirts or just the legs of pants longer, for example.

At the moment, we are all in an uncomfortable interim situation with human avatars in Sansar, waiting for the full body deformation capabilities that Linden Lab tells us is coming within the next 4-6 months.

In the meantime, we are already beginning to see some Sansar avatar fashion designers start to make multiple versions of clothing for different popular custom avatars (which are non-adjustable/static), like this Harley Quinn outfit from Daisy Winthorpe:

In addition to a version for the new Avatar 2.0 female body, Daisy has released versions for Fabeeo Breen’s Daphne custom avatar and Cora’s line of Alina custom avatars:

Frankly, until Linden Lab releases the final version of its human avatars with full body deformation features, I am reluctant to buy any clothing from the Sansar Store. There is also going to be a trial-and-error period where we figure out what works and what doesn’t with these upcoming avatars. Hopefully, incorporating Marvelous Designer clothing will still prove to be a satisfactory solution for most people.

Linden Lab is working hard to try and save avatar clothing designers from the problems that have occurred in Second Life with multiple competing brands of mesh bodies. However, it might still happen that we will see the same problems happen all over again in Sansar. Only time will tell. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best.