The advent of Bakes on Mesh has led to some interesting developments in the mesh body market in Second Life. I have written about a few of them before, such as the highly-recommended Anya and Alexa mesh bodies by Kalhene, which are fully compatible with apparel and footwear designed for Maitreya Lara:
Bakes on Mesh allows mesh body makers to focus on the actual mesh of their products, without having to worry about providing support for skin appliers, or even a HUD with alpha sections (although the Kalhene Anya body does include such a HUD). After all, BoM bodies can use the clothing alphas that often come with clothing. If you should need a set of alphas to use with clothing that does not come with them, you can pick up a free set from Little Black Dress at this SLURL (just click on the bag on the floor).
Very early this morning, unable to sleep, I dragged my weary ass out of bed and paid a visit to the Freebie Megastore on the London City sim, just to see what was new. While there, I noticed an advertisement for a new, Bakes on Mesh, Bento mesh body called Eden, by a company called Rebirth, which I had never heard of before.
So, I popped into the brand-new Rebirth store (here’s the SLURL) to check it out.
The Eden body is a unique proposition in the Second Life mesh body market: one body that can take you from child to teenager to adult, and from male to female to transgender! There are three options for sale at the Rebirth store:
- a male version of the Eden body, which includes starter shapes for child, teenage, and adult male avatars, in ten skin tones, for L$2,790 (head not included);
- a female version of the Eden body, which includes starter shapes for child, teenage, and adult female avatars, in ten skin tones, for L$2,790 (head not included); and
- a transgender version which includes both male and female starter shapes and skins for L$4,890 (the base mesh body is the same regardless).
Now, I have seen a lot of mesh bodies in SL, but never before have I seen a single mesh body that offers you such a wide range of ages and genders! So, curious, I paid my Linden dollar to obtain the demo version of the transgender package, and I put it through the paces.
Now, remember that this is a Bakes on Mesh body, which does include ten different body skin tones as tattoo layers, plus matching neck fades to work with your own mesh head. Of course, you will probably opt for a Bakes on Mesh skin which works on both the head and body, and for the following pictures I used as my base skin one of the lovely skins which came with the Limited Akeruka head (a recent group gift).
The starter shapes are just that: starting points, and I suspect you will have to do a lot of tweaking to get something that you will be happy with (my personal pet peeve is avatars with arms that are way too short!). Here is the default adult woman shape with the Akeruka Limited BoM skin (the underwear shown in these pictures is included for all possible shapes and breast sizes):
Here’s the default little girl shape, which I used with one of the included flat body skin tattoos (because the Akeruka Limited skin is intended for an adult woman, and frankly looks really disturbing on a child avatar!).
Here’s the default male teenager body shape with the included male body tattoo (again, the underwear is included):
And finally, here is the default adult male shape, again with the included male body skin tattoo:
After futzing around with the body sliders, here’s what the adult female shape looks like, paired with the Kalhene Bakes on Mesh Bento head and a skin from 7 Deadly S[k]ins called Elvira, in the maple skin tone (an Advent calendar gift from 2019):
All in all, not a bad result (although I’m not a big fan of the shape of the hands):
Here’s a look at the HUD for the Eden body, which does not include alpha sections for the body. You do get settings for four feet heights, four different breast sizes (flat, small, normal, and male), and the ability to tint your toenails and fingernails.
So, what’s my overall verdict on the Eden body?
This is definitely a very malleable body, where you can adjust it using the body sliders (and the included HUD to adjust the breasts and feet) to allow you to express virtually any gender you wish—male, female, or anything in between—and any age. A sign in the Rebirth store (see image below) says you can take this body from age 8 to age 25, and my experiments with the demo version confirm that.
However, this very malleability also makes it hard to recommend the Eden body if you are only interested in one of the many possible looks: male, female, child, teenager, or adult. For example, if you’re only going to present as a female avatar, you are much better off with one of the many female mesh bodies on the marketplace (and I would therefore recommend the Kalhene Anya mesh body as a reasonably-priced alternative which even includes a Bento head, given that everybody and their dog makes clothing to fit Maitreya Lara mesh bodies). If you want to be a child avatar, and only that, then I would probably recommend one of the child mesh heads and bodies such as the ToddleeDoo, which will have much better designer support.
Which brings me to another problem: there’s a lack of clothing for the Eden bodies. Although there is a clothing store off to the side of the Rebirth store, containing a small but serviceable selection of different outfits for male, female, and intersex avatars, I don’t think there’s a lot of other designers making clothing for this body yet (and there’s a rather large sign in the store next to the entrance, pleading with apparel designers to pick up a devkit for this body and make some clothing for it).
This is, sadly, a problem with all new mesh bodies; designers tend to focus on the best-selling models of male and female mesh bodies, which means it can be next to impossible to find apparel specifically designed for them.
But, if you are a true chameleon, who likes to change their age and/or gender on a whim, the Eden mesh body might be absolutely perfect for you (provided you also get an appropriate Bakes on Mesh skin and Bento mesh head to match whatever look you’re going for).
However, the extreme malleability of this mesh body—its major selling point—also means that purchasers have a duty and a responsibility to NOT create offensive results. For example, if you mix and match an adult skin, an adult head, and a child’s shape, you could well land up in Frankenstein territory (and reap a swift and permanent ban for breaking Second Life’s ironclad rules against ageplay).
While I was in the store, I saw an avatar shopping in the clothing section, wearing what appeared to be a combination of an adult, system head and an Eden body in a child’s shape, and it just creeped me out completely. I wonder if the creators of the Eden mesh body realize that they may have opened up a Pandora’s box here.
Therefore, I am somewhat concerned at the potential for abuse of this product (but I also realize that some people are going to go right ahead and push the boundaries of decency and good taste in Second Life anyway, just like they always do… helloooo, Tiny Things! That last link is completely safe for work, by the way…).
O.K., it’s 5:30 a.m. and I am going to go back to bed and try to get some sleep before my workday starts…