Second Life, Project Bento, and Large Wolves
Over the past year, Linden Lab, the company that runs and develops Second Life, has been working on a new skeleton for their virtual world, dubbed Project Bento. The goal being to add more bones for popular items like wings and tails, but also to add fingers and facial bones for avatars to be more expressive. The end result has become so much more.
Not only do we get all these new bones, but with a few tricks we can reconfigure the rig to follow any skeleton one can think of, including spiders, centaurs, and dragons. Hind bones, which are those 2nd set of legs, were added and gives an extra set of limbs to do whatever we want with. Just below is an example of using the rig in a completely unconventional way. I'm using a control rig to get the ears and trunk to move in a way more suitable for an elephant.
Wait! Bento's not done yet!
Our meshes, especially the face, are now affected by a good number of the body shape sliders. In Second Life, we have Body Shapes. The Shapes gives us access to sliders than can change parts of our bodies and parts of our face, meaning bigger eyes, or longer nose, and so on. So, with Project Bento comes complete customization of mesh avatars. In my opinion, this is HUGE! It's a game changer. As a creator in SL, I could not be more geeked. As a consumer, who doesn't love customizing their avatars?
As you can see, the range of wolves that can be created is quite wide.
This brings me to the point of this whole blog, which is to announce my first Bento product!
YEP!!!! Giant Talking Wolves!!!!!!
It comes in a range of colors, and I give you the textures. The mesh has different SL Faces, so you can mix and match the textures to create any combination. The wolf also utilizes Bump map textures, as well as Specular map textures to enhance the look of the fur and overall realism.
I use more than 50+ animations to control the wolf, many of those being short and looping but combine together to form random ear, tail, and facial movements. The wolf is quite expressive, and I give 4 or 5 expressions to trigger from a HUD. Speech gestures allows the jaw and face to move as you use voice in Second Life. This feature alone really does help to sell the feeling of the wolf really being you. Combine this with the shape customizations that are possible, and now we have something very compelling for the people of Second Life.
Pick up 1 of my MEGAWolves on the Marketplace and give it a whirl. Comes with eyelashes too, for the ladies. Be sure to use a Bento compatible viewer, or you will not see the wolf properly. Bento hopefully goes live, meaning in all the viewers, soon, so if you are reading this months from now the viewer won't be an issue. Links are below! Have fun!
P.S. If you are a creator looking to make Bento Avatars, I'd suggest picking up an add on or a plug in to help you along. Many are being developed for different programs. I'll post the links to those below when I find them.