The Mesh Project (TMP), which now seems to be calling itself The Ultimate Meshbody, recently held a contest where you could win the mesh avatar body of your choice (which usually retails for L$5,500, a price that I find rather expensive for a body that still doesn’t support Omega appliers, or have lots of designers creating clothing for it yet).
Well, the winners of the contest were just announced, and guess what?
I won! I was one of the 100 First Prize winners, who each receives the mesh avatar body of their choice, plus four gift cards or fatpacks from various Second Life designers.
After giving the matter some careful consideration, I decided on the Legacy male body as my prize, since I already have male avatars with the Belleza Jake and Signature Gianni mesh male bodies, and it would be useful to be able to compare all three. (I already have extensive previous experience with the Maitreya Lara, Belleza Freya, eBody Classic, and various free and paid-for Altamura female mesh bodies, so I didn’t really feel the need to add the Legacy female body to that mix.)
Also, I had quite liked the look of their predecessor (TMP) male mesh avatar, of which one of my alts had the freebie version, which was trim, fit, but not overly-muscled. The overall look of the Legacy male body demo appealed to me in a similar way. I will even go so far as to say that it’s probably the best-looking male mesh avatar body on the market right now (although Belleza and Signature would probably beg to differ with me!).
Here are some pictures I took of the demo version of that body, taken in The Ultimate Meshbody store. I decided to pair the body with the Akeruka Clay Bento mesh head (a relatively recent Akeruka group gift):
I tried to match the skin tones of the head and body as best I could, but there is still a detectable neck seam. However, The Ultimate Meshbody does provide a complete set of neck shaders to make this seam less noticeable. Here’s a look at the full body, and I must say that it’s quite impressive:
In particular, the detail on the hands and feet is just insane!
We have clearly come a long, long way from the hands and feet of the classic system avatars of 16 years ago!! I mean, I can see veins on the Legacy feet!
Then, I patiently waited for my prize to arrive…which it finally did today!
The Legacy male mesh body package includes:
- An information card with a frequently-asked-question list;
- Version 1.1 of the body (hands and feet are not separate);
- Nine different body shapes;
- Two versions of the EDIT HUD, which controls skintone, nailtone, alpha sections, etc. (one larger and one smaller);
- An Advanced Material Editor to add a custom texture, bumpmap, or specular, or to adjust full-bright/glow on your Legacy body;
- A package of fit deformers, which apparently allow you to wear clothing originally designed for other models of male mesh bodies, including the older mesh clothing using Standard Sizing (I haven’t tested these yet, so I can’t say anything about them);
- A set of neckfades in 36 different colours, which are textures you apply to your avatar’s head in order to reduce the visible seam between the mesh head and the Legacy mesh body (a corresponding neckfade is applied to the body using the EDIT HUD);
- A Create package, which “includes all the necessary in-world tools needed to make content for Meshbody” (including autohide scripts to drop in items of clothing);
- A Premium Outfit: black briefs, four tight and four loose cashmere sweaters in four colours each, five pair of chino pants in different colours, and suede oxfords in four colours. It’s a basic, colour-coordinated capsule wardrobe to get you started (a thoughtful touch, especially since most starter mesh body packages just give you underwear).
The only problem I encountered when setting all this stuff up for the first time was trying to use the neckfades. According to the notecard included with the 36 neckfade textures:
◦ First, choose a neckfade that closely matches your current skin using the [EDIT] HUD.
◦ Next, choose the same skintone number in the unpacked folder ‘[LEGACY] Meshbody (m/f) Neckfades’.
◦ Once you’ve found the corresponding texture, apply this texture to your head by dropping the texture onto a custom slot your mesh head allows or by creating a supported applier your mesh head allows.
And I must confess that I have absolutely no idea whether or not my Akeruak Clay mesh head has a “custom slot” (I don’t think it does), or if I know how to create a “supported applier”. Seriously, this is the best you can do, guys? And given that Legacy currently sells no heads to go along with these bodies (and, as far as I know, no Omega appliers in the Legacy’s twelve skintones to use on other brands of mesh heads), this is a rather kludgy workaround. Basically, the store dumps the problem into your lap instead of trying to solve it themselves. Not impressed, especially for what you pay for this mesh body if you were to purchase it: approximately twice as much as any other male mesh body system out there on the grid.
I may just decide to live with the slight neckseam—or invest in some turtleneck sweaters! At least, more and more designers are now creating clothing specifically for the Legacy bodies, both male and female. And I also received some giftcards and fatpacks as part of my prize to get me started!
Anyway, other than that, the quality of this mesh body is truly excellent, absolutely top notch. Here is my avatar, wearing the default starter shape with no adjustments, ready to hit the beach, after I tried for an hour to find the very best match between the 6 included skintones on the Akeruka Clay Bento mesh head, and the 12 skintones that come with the Legacy mesh body:
I am quite pleased with the way he looks! Here’s how my little stud muffin looks with some clothes on:
I suppose one thing I could do is investigate to see if there are any skin appliers out there which support both Akeruka mesh heads and Legacy mesh bodies. I could also decide to open up my wallet and spring for a Catwa head, since there are very clear instructions provided in the Legacy package on how to install the neckfades on a Catwa brand mesh head. But I just don’t feel like spending another L$5,000 at the moment, not when I have a whole set of Akeruka mesh heads in my inventory that I have picked up as free group gifts over the past two years. (It offends the freebie fashionista in me!)
So, would I recommend this body?
Yes—provided the company works out a better solution to deal with the inevitable neckseam problem you will have. Yes—provided you can live with a smaller number of designers creating clothing and shoes for this body than the competition (Belleza Jake and Signature Gianni and Geralt). Yes—provided you don’t need or want to use Omega appliers (which have become sort of a universal standard in Second Life).
If you can live with all those current limitations, and if you have the cash burning a hole in your pocket, then I say yes, go for it. But there are certainly cheaper male mesh bodies out there, with better designer support and Omega applier support, which you might want to carefully consider first:
- The Jake Belleza mesh body will set you back L$2,999 without head.
- The Signature Gianni and Geralt mesh bodies cost L$3,500 each, without head.
Frankly, I don’t see a lot of extra oomph for the Legacy body sticker price of L$5,500 (although I admit the capsule wardrobe is nice). You could take your savings and put it towards a nice Bento mesh head, from Catwa or Akeruka or any other vendor. Or put it towards a very highly realistic-looking skin applier from Birth or Stray Dog. I still don’t think that The Ultimate Meshbody is the best value for your money (although I certainly can love it as a contest prize which I won for free!).
So, if you’re still interested, here is the SLURL to take you directly to The Ultimate Meshbody store, called The Shops (and yes, they have improved their previously horrible shopping experience somewhat). And, in a note to those who are haters based on their past experiences with The Mesh Project, they say:
Why should I support your content?
Well, first, we just hope you like it! We spend a lot of time, care, & love on trying to make things both beautiful, and functional but still high quality. Doing this, is truly is what we love to do, and we’re so passionate about making beautiful things for you. It is genuinely hard work, especially when we try to be perfectionists. We hope that you’ll consider supporting our work so that we can continue to spend as much time as we do on our products and keep delivering you the best. We are so sorry it took such a long time to deliver this series of bodies but with it we learned a lot and we feel more comfortably confident that we can deliver great products to you in a much shorter time period now that we’ve learned from experience. Thank you so much for those of you who have supported us since the beginning, we won’t ever forget it and we’re so thankful for your continued support & patience.
UPDATE Jan. 13, 2020: Somebody suggested to me something which I had completely forgotten about, which is that the Legacy body and Akeruka head both support Bakes on Mesh, so I suppose I could go that route if I really want to get rid of that pesky neck seam. There are more and more high-quality BoM skins out there! Here is information on the Bakes on Mesh capability of Legacy mesh bodies from their website.