There is currently some discussion about aspects of the new avatar bones being used in odd ways. The third party viewers in some cases have adjusted some things in the upload code to allow use of bones and joints in ways not completely support by the Lab.
As the discussion goes, those aspects may be blocked at the server soon. That would mean things like weighting mesh to the attachment points would no longer be allowed. We do not know whether the Lab will or won’t decide to block such use. So, don’t panic. But, if you have a good use case for your uses, get it into a Feature Request as soon at the JIRA’s new Feature Request channel opens up.
I am not done with my testing of the new avatar yet. But, so far there is no model avatar I can find that is in use in Blender that can be imported to SL and behave as the SL avatar does. The supposed exact same avatar is not an exact copy nor do the sliders affect it in the same ways. It is close, but not the same.
Technically the avatar is an organized list of numbers and associated numbers and labels. I can see no reason why an exact copy of the list would not behave and work as the original list does. So, I am of the opinion that the current models we have are NOT exact copies. In some ways they are incomplete… or so I think.
To compensate for those differences designers are attempting to find better ways to make Fitted Mesh behave as the avatar’s skin/mesh does. One of those ways seems to be weighting to attachment points. There are also some things being tried with joint positions that I don’t understand.
The problem with using unsupported features is one never knows when the Lab may change things or decide to block them. If that happens with these unsupported Fitted Mesh aspects, the stuff already imported to SL is not likely to be affected. The block will only be on bringing in more unsupported stuff. So, a block would not affect the average user like a removal of these items from the grid would.
Unless there is some significant problem with unsupported items it is more trouble than it is worth to remove the items from grid. So, we can reasonably expect anything already in to be left alone. Sort of like Liquid Mesh was not and is not supported. But, Liquid Mesh is being left on the grid and it still works. Uploading new Liquid Mesh will never be banned because it is pretty much a sub set of Fitted Mesh. But, that may not be true for weighting to attachment points.
Liquid Mesh was better than what we had. Now Fitted Mesh is better then Liquid Mesh. But, it is still a small step in the direction users want to go. It seems to me getting an exact copy of the avatar mesh as it is weighted in the SL Viewer would give us a much better understanding or how things work and allow designers to make their clothes work as well as the avatar mesh does.
For now we are trying to guess at how the SL Avatar mesh is weighted and duplicate it for the files we have. A program was posted in STORM-
1716 1800 that was written to extract the avatar, mesh, and weighting from the viewer’s files. I am looking at using it to get a copy of the avatar that I think could be more complete. That may take awhile. I haven’t worked with C++ or the Visual Studio in a long time. So, I’ve got a lot to relearn and setup. I am hopping someone else more familiar with C++ and Visual will take it on.
My hope is that if I can get all the various weighting information, I can avoid needing to figure out how to work around the problems we have now. Especially as that appears to me to be a trail and error process.