What I am stating here, I know for sure, is for many of you no big news. But still I feel the need to address this topic.
Unless you dont want to change the basic appearance of your avatar, besides by changing the shape, you might encounter a big problem with the choice of clothing, skins, appliers and so on for a specific mesh body. This applies to the majority of the available bodies in SL.
Mainly, at this time, the majority of designers are supporting Signature Gianni, Belleza Jake and Meshbody Legacy. Those are the top3 on the market, Gianni and Jake almost equally sharing the crown while Legacy is on the fast lane to transform the throne to a three seater. The world is entirely open for you if own one of those 3, you will get everything you wish for.
Slink Physique and Signature Geralt are still supported, but especially if you are looking for newest designs, its getting lesser already.
All other bodies on the market, you will need to search more or less to find enough stuff. They surely have their userbase, they most certainly have people saying those bodies are the best for their liking. But at the end they suffer from limited support from the entire market, which causes a big problem for anyone using this body and wanting to get stuff for it.
Sure, with clothes for example, there are many ways to get everything wearable with the body you own.
Alpha masking either with the body hud or with pre-made alpha masks, sometimes delivered together with the purchased clothes. Some meshbody designers even came up with creative ideas, as for example ExMachina, having a user database included with their hud, where users could save their alpha settings for each cloth and make it available for all other ExMachina users. So the next time another user added that certain piece of cloth to the body, it fitted automatically. Or Meshbody Legacy created the so called fit-deformer, a tool that changes the shape of the body so it might fit into older clothes.
But honestly….is it your intention to always play with the alpha settings of your body to get rid of all the clipping? Even if there are save slots, or the mentioned database, its troublesome and an annoyance to do that all the time. Secondly depending on how detailed the alpha can be adjusted by the specific bodyhud, it might happen that certain parts cant be hidden. You might have a visible black patch within your body, or it doesnt prevent all the clipping. And third, mostly it looks awkward, it destroys how you want your avatar to look, it destroys the shape of the avatar, for example the pants look too bulky, or your chest or arm part are totally different from what you have shaped. When using alpha masks you literally take over the shape of the clothes and usually that doesnt look the same as the shape of your body unlike when you use fitted mesh clothes. Also the fit-deformer, actually a good idea, makes no sense at all. Customers shape their body as they want to let it look like, and then de-shaping it, just to fit the clothes doesnt make sense for a regular use. Its okay to have it, especially when still wanting to wear older clothes, but its not something you wish for using all the time.
So, NO. This is not what someone wants when owning a body. Tediously altering the settings to fit a body. In RL noone would want to buy clothes for himself and manually sew or change the look of it to make it fit. No, it has to fit from the first moment on. And that can only be done by fitted or rigged mesh.
Sure, there are other ways. You can also try and look for BOM. While that might work for skins, tattoos and everything cosmetic, this actually doesnt work for clothes because they usually look like being painted on your body. Well, bodypainting is kinda trendy but its not someone runs around the whole time with.
What to do? If you want to walk around in style, want to wear and to apply whatever the market offers, you can only choose to purchase one of the 3 meshbodies I mentioned above: Gianny, Jake, Legacy.
That is easily to understand. Content creators need to make money, they need their business running and for sure they want to have a reward for all the time they invest creating content. Altering their designs for a body cost even more time and its a waste if hardly anyone is purchasing those designs for that specific body. And the smaller and the newer a designer store is, the harder it will be to design for a not so popular body. Its actually a niche and usually wont help being succesful.
Its a vicious circle for a not so popular body. Designers dont create for it as long as there is no significant chance of selling their products, customers dont purchase the body as long as there is not enough products on the market for it. Body owners are encouraged to contact designers creating stuff for their specific bodies, but as long as the designers dont get enough „food“ by customers they usually wont jump the train. So at the end customers change to the popular bodies and actually the situation become worse.
For newer bodies on the market, the situation is critical. They need to get a quick growing customer and user base while the creator needs good connections to content designers convincing them to design for that body not knowing if it will be worth it or not. A lot of heavy advertising is needed, also perhaps to sell the body for a reduced price or give it away for free in the beginning. No matter what, pre-market launch, market launch itself and the time after it, will be an expensive and exhausting attempt. And it doesnt promise success.
ExMachina for example, despite a good quality of the body, and despite all efforts, giving it away for free or offering for half price, didnt make it on their approach of marketing the Evolve body 2 years ago. Only a few designers took Evolve into their portfolio, and many of them started to drop it again within the first year. I guess quite a few customers have Evolve body in their inventory but changed already to another more supported body and so the spiral turns down.
Legacy, on the other side, formerly TMP, now offered by TheShops, a very fine designed mesh body, had a good start and rocketed into the top positions and many designers books. It got very heavily advertised, teasing for the product they gave and still give away the Classic meshbody for free, showing of what Legacy is capable of. Customers got hooked by Classic and went for Legacy. Also certainly, the creators of that meshbody, regarding their long time experience and connections they had under the label TMP, had a good influence on the major content designers to convince them getting stuff done for that body.
Now, I am directing my sight at Heracles from Invictus. Wondering if that body got the chance to come close to the top 5. As Legacy too, it is a very nice created new body, aimed for a audience looking for strong and muscular bodies. It gets also massively advertised. There is almost no male shopping event where it wont jump into your sight. Yet, people designing for it, can be counted with just a few hands, but if Invictus can manage to convince both customers and designers of this body, it might be a contender in the future. Looks promising for now, but it cant be foreseen.
Until then the body choice for customers stays limited to Gianni, Jake, Legacy and perhaps Slink, if you are looking for a body where you have all options to choose from without any hassle.
I mean, its okay, the top mesh bodies offer amazing value and usually customers know what to expect before they decide to purchase a body of their liking.
And also there are enough examples of market situations similiar to that in RL too. Android/iOS in smartphones, Microsoft/Apple in Home computing, Intel/AMD in chipsets, Nvidia/AMD in graphics, only to name a few.
But seriously, wouldnt it be nice to know there are more contenders out there to choose from? Being supported by a good amount of designers? I would say yes, hoping for more competition.
Just a hint if you own one of the not so well supported bodies, you can find clothing designers for your very own body here: Clothes