I must admit that I was impressed when Linden Lab released the new mesh avatars, they looked better than the very old ones we used to have and looked pretty decent.
However we soon realised that there are a few big problems with them.
One problem was that the faces were stuck like a Beverly Hills ex starlet who’s had too much botox, they couldn’t speak, smile, nothing.
But a bigger problem was and unfortunately still is, that new users find it very hard to figure out how to change these avatars.
Because there really isn’t that much you can change about them and changing your avatar, customizing it to look just the way you want it to look is one of the best features of Second Life.
It is the first thing most new users want and try to do and as I’ve written before, I think that letting new users do this easily helps them bond with their avatar and understand the appeal of Second Life sooner.
I was reminded of this problem today when I spotted one of those brand new avatars in 1920s Berlin today.
Poor chap, turned out he was a 3D creator with years of experience, but Second Life offered quite a challenge when he was asked to change into 1920s clothes for his visit to my sim.
He didn’t quite manage it, ended up wearing part of the free 1920s outfit we offer combined with the modern mesh outfit he got when he joined SL.
Eventually he had to go into his library folder and replace his complete avatar with one of the old ones, it was the only way he could change his outfit.
I fear that this is making things even harder and unwelcoming for the new visitors to Second Life, add this to the horrendous welcoming island experience and its a wonder people still join Second Life.
Luckily the chap in question was so excited by 1920s Berlin that he didn’t think of leaving.
Nevertheless this is turning out to be a serious problem that is damaging SL every day a little bit.
I would consider taking the mesh avatars offline all together and bring back the old ones, although better looking perhaps.
At least till mesh avatars can be improved and made easier to adjust.
I feel that getting new users an avatar they like, they’ve customized and have a bond with is an important part of making them stay in SL a little longer.