We know how much work, value, personalization and emotional investment goes into a Second Life avatar, so we have always been careful when considering avatar changes. While we want to make improvements, we also want to maximize backward compatibility. Get ready for the biggest thing that’s happened to avatars in years …
Ever wish you could incorporate a tail, wings, or second set of arms into your avatar? How about having animations for facial expressions and finger movements? Yes, we know that there are some incredibly creative workarounds that give you some of these, but they can't leverage skeletal animation, so they have been very complex, often fragile, and very expensive in performance and resources both in your Viewer and the Simulator.
Introducing Project Bento
We are introducing extensions to the standard Second Life Avatar Skeleton that give you dozens of new bones to support both rigging and animation, and accompanying new attachment points! This extended skeleton, which is fully backward compatible with existing avatars, rigging and animation, gives creators the power to build more sophisticated avatars than ever before. The skeleton extensions include:
- 11 extra limb bones for wings, additional arms, or extra legs.
- 6 tail bones
- 30 bones in the hands (all 10 fingers!)
- 30 bones for facial expressions
- 2 other new bones in the head for animating ears or antennae
- 13 new attachment points associated with the new bones
We've developed all this in collaboration with many expert Resident content creators and with the developers of the most popular tools for creating avatars and animations, so there will quickly be versions of those tools you can use to help take advantage of these changes. You can view information about Project Bento in the Knowledge Base. To test Project Bento and provide feedback, please see Project Bento Testing on the Second Life Wiki. Demo content is available here.
We take care to balance improvements with backwards compatibility. This has contributed to a "deliberate" pace of important changes to what avatars support over the last few years:
- April 2011 - Avatar Physics
- July 2011 - Mesh
- June 2012 - Server Side Appearance
- February 2014 - Fitted Mesh
- March 2015 - Hover Control
- December 2015 - Bento
The avatar skeleton changes introduced by Project Bento are not yet final because we want your feedback, either in the Creation Forum or in JIRA. To experience the changes, you'll need to download the Project Viewer and upload any content using the new skeleton extensions to the Aditi Beta Test Grid (most regions on the Beta Test Grid will allow this; some may be in use for other testing and not yet have these updates). Once we have finalized the skeleton extensions, we will enable uploads using them to the main Second Life grid and the real fun can begin!