If you make clothes for #SL avatars you know the problems with the SL Avatar 1, the one we have now. Making bikini bottoms, panties, and shorts is difficult as the texture mapping blurs sharp lines on some parts of the avatar. Shoulder straps jog around rather than run straight, so one has to jog the design to get close to a straight strap. It is a pain. So, the idea of a better avatar has been coming up for years. Are we going to get one?
The answer is yes and no. May be a more accurate answer is; some day. The Lab would like to build Avatar 2.0. However, their effort is going into getting general mesh ready for the main grid. (5/23 Reference – Nyx Linden) Any work on a new avatar by the Lab won’t start until after mesh is out and stable.
There is also the problem of clothes and skins. Some well known modelers have tried to make a compatible Avatar 2.0. I’ve written before about the problems of creating an avatar that would use a compatible UVMap. My speculation was a clothes-compatible-avatar would be counterproductive and difficult, if even possible. That seems to be what the modelers are finding.
The point of having a new avatar mesh is to improve the appearance of the avatar. Making it compatible reduces the quality for the sake of compatibility, which defeats the point. Dropping compatibility means we can have the best avatar possible. But, it can’t wear existing clothes… well… it could but they would be bizarre looking.
You probably know that mesh creators are making replacement avatars now. They require special clothes, skin, and facial emotes do not work. It is possible to make hybrid avatars allowing parts of the existing avatar to show, but that is less than optimal.
So, alternate avatars will be possible with mesh. Some are considering these alternatives to be the real or practical Avatar 2.0. We may find someone designs a really good avatar and the population starts to adopt it to the point the Lab adopts it at some point, but that is speculation.
The Lab is going to be working on mesh for some time, even after the release. There will be problems as residents find things the designers never thought of. Plus there are other features to be added that will not be released as part of the initial mesh release. One of the features is a new skeleton for avatars, think 6 or 8 legs. Any new skeleton will likely also be used with the human avatar. So, we could have different attachment points, better movement, more sizes, and may be get pasties to bounce with the nipples… probably not that last one.
There is also a desire to add mesh deformations. These allow one to animate mesh and will eventually lead to a mesh face being able to emote. Once these foundation pieces are in place only then is it likely the Lab will look toward creating a new avatar. By then we may think of that avatar as Avatar 3.0.