Why Modify…

Why No-Mod is Hurting your Business and SL..

I’ve said repeatedly…. SL’s primary product is Artistic Possibility (and yes sex).  SL has created this fantastic space where EVERYONE who participates is an artist.  Whether you’re a designer, blogger, sim owner or just a casual user, the entire SL experience is CREATION.   Designers create fantastic skins, clothes, makeup, furniture, houses which users in turn use to create fantastic Avis and Sims, which in turn photographers use to create fantastic photos. A single bit of mesh that some one has created can be sold to a furniture designer who combines it with animations from another creator and textures from another and makes it all into a piece of fabulous furniture… which is then sold to a Sim owner, who combines it with other furniture and decor to create this fantastic community space with it, and fill it with visitors who’ve created their own avis with items from a dozen different creators before a blogger comes by and takes a photo of a scene that took literally dozens of artists to create.

So what does this have to do with Modify? Designers tend to think of their creations as end-products… not to be tampered with. Pieces of art that stand on their own… but they forget… they’re just one step in the long artistic process that is SL. That item you made is not the finished product… because there  IS NO SUCH THING as a finished product!

This is especially true for Mesh Bodies, which by their nature are even LESS finished products then they are canvases for peoples creativity….no one buys a mesh body, put’s it on and then declares “All done”. A Mesh Body Purchase is just the start of a new Avi Creation process. That’s why they put out Dev Kits and set up complex huds for manipulating the Mesh…. so why pretend it needs to be no-modify when the goal of a Mesh Body is to be a Modifiable canvas?

Lets get the Elephant out of the Room first…

No-Modify does NOTHING to protect Mesh.

It’s a common misconception in SL that making your Mesh No-Mod protects it, or your textures from theives. Let me put this to rest right not… When it comes to permissions, the only Permissions that Matter are Copy and Trans. Make sure your mesh is not both of these things!

Don’t believe me? Check out this Article on Copybotting by Caspervend.

Infact.. here’s a quick little guide on keeping various things safe in SL.. from least safe, to most safe..

Product Security Guide

  • Notecards:
    • General Users: Never safe with or without modify.   Notecards are NEVER safe from anyone.  You can make them less convenient for unskilled users to peek at by making them no-copy/no-mod, but there is no protecting from anyone with the correct knowledge.
    • Copybot Users:  Never safe with or without modify. See General Users above.
    • Best Bet for Protecting: Avoid leaving sensitive info (like UUIDs) in NCs and if you must, set to no-copy/no-mod.
  • Textures:
    • General Users: Not very safe…
    • Copybot Users: Never Safe…
    • Best Bet for Protecting: Sorry folks. There are MANY ways to grab textures…. these tips can cut down, but not eliminate your risks:
      • Never pass textures to users regardless of permissions or use.
      • Make sure scripts that have your UUIDs are set to no-mod before giving them to users.
      • If the applier gives you the option to delete a config script or Notecard, do it.
  • Prims:
    • General Users: Slightly Safer w/o Mod. Prims are the only item in SL (other then scripts) where Modify actually Matters. Prims left modify can have their parameters copied and reproduced. That being said, the complexity of good prim items means it’s generally not worth anyone’s time to try and reconstruct a prim object by peeking at it’s parameters. Even once you’ve painfully reconstructed an item bit by bit… you’d still need the textures…… No-Mod can prevent that peaking, but it is essentially like locking up the trash can your shredded documents go…
    • Copybot users: Not Safe with or without Mod.
    • Best Bet for Protecting: Make your prims either no-copy or trans. No-Mod can grant a slight boost in security at the cost of a great deal of flexibility for users.
  • Sculpts: 
    • General Users: Safe with or without Mod.
    • Copybot Users: Not Safe with or without Mod.
    • Best Bet for Protecting: Make your prims either no-copy or no-trans.  No-Mod provides no boost in security.
  • Unrigged Mesh: 
    • General Users: Safe with or without Mod.
    • Copybot Users: Not Safe with or without Mod.
    • Best Bet for Protecting: Make your prims either no-copy or no-trans.  No-Mod provides no boost in security.
  • Rigged Mesh:
    • General Users: Safe with or without Mod.
    • Copybot Users: Kinda Safe with or without Mod.  Currently, when models are ripped, they’re usually ripped WITHOUT rigging. As a result, anyone wanting to steal someone Mesh has to re-rig it themselves…. and then find scripting for it…. This is further complicated if the mesh has alpha-cuts. (all of which will need to be rigged together in order to appear normal)
    • Best Bet for Protecting: Make your prims either no-copy or no-trans, make sure your scripting is secure, and make sure you have enough cuts on your mesh to make it s a REAL pain in the ass to reassemble in blender!   No-Mod provides no boost in security.
  • Scripts:
    • General Users:  Never Leave Mod.
    • Copybot Users: Never Leave Mod.
    • Best Bet for Protecting:  Scripts are the ONLY thing in SL truely safe. even from Copybott Users… as long as you remember to keep them no-modify. So Just keep them no-mod, and then either no-copy or no-trans and you’re good. 🙂



No-Modify hinders outfit creation….

You can’t Layer Splice.
Tatt lovers will tell you, there’s never enough layers for tatts. You can easily use up all three of your bodys tatt layers with tattoos. With a Modify Body with Alpha Cuts however, there is a easy… although involved work around. By applying each of your tattoos to a different bodys tatt layer, you can then unlink those bodys, discard unneeded bits and rebuild yourself a tattoo layer with 3, 4, 12, 30 different tattoos on it, so long as you can get them to fit without overlapping. Want a different tattoo on each arm? Totally doable!  If you’re careful about relinking your body together, you can even maintain the alpha functions on most bodys.

You can’t set yourself up for RLV/Outfit Fun

Mesh Bodys and the Outfit UI is kinda a messy arrangement. Sometimes it’s nice to simply separate your mesh body’s layers after you’ve textured them and wear them like mesh clothing. (Protip: Get rid of the bits your outfit doesn’t need to cut down on your rendering impact!

You can’t set parameters not accounted for by the hud..
Ever want to give yourself a Glowing Tattoo? Or maybe hide bits of a tattoo you don’t care for? It’s not possable on no-mod meshes!

It keeps scriptwriters from creating products for your mesh.
Omega has developed ways to get around No-Modify, because we’re stuborn and hit mesh makers over the head till they give us their channels. However for most scripters,  No-Modify is a death knell for any product they may have made for your mesh.   What products could your customers be loosing out on?
  • RLV Controls
  • Outfit Organizers
  • Choreography Tools
  • Better Clothing HUDs
  • RP Scripts
  • and who  knows what else I’ve simply not thought  of.

It’s downright inconvenient

You can’t Rename your Meshes…
If you’re like me, you like to make one copy of your mesh for each Skin. Or you may even like to do it for each outfit! Being able to rename your mesh is REALLY useful for keeping all those copies straight!

You can’t reduce your Rendering Impact…

Rendering Impact is a real issue. One that could be partially addressed if folks could remove the pieces of mesh they don’t need for an outfit. Unused Layers still take system resources!

It’s harder to debug…

Modify gives your customers trouble shooting options they would not otherwise have.

Things like this are only possible with Mod Bodys:

Sometimes, no matter how well you script things…no matter what sleek perfect hud you’ve given your mesh…shit happens, and they can’t figure out how to fix it via your menus and huds, either because it’s not possible, or because they simply can’t figure it out.

Ie, I had a toddleedoo the other day…the creator of their tango applier obviously did not anticipate it being used on mesh bodys, and there were these giant smears on her shoulders. On a No-mod mesh, this would be unfix-able. Toddledoo however is mod, we simply selected the affected faces and turned them transparent.

This issue really shouldn’t have happened, but it was fixable because the mesh she wore was  mod.

It’s harder for Designers to work with
Modify means creators can work on Textures for your mesh using Local Textures instead of repeated uploads, or relying on another mesh to stand in for yours!

It encourages copy-botting

Mesh bodys are complicated enough items, that it is rarely worth the time to re-rig, re-script, rename and reset-up a copy botted body just to save $5-10, especially since it appears no one knows how to steal scripts. However, it IS worth it to some to rip a no-mod mesh so they can modify and use the mesh how they like instead of having to use the existing HUDs and scripts.  Most folks in this camp aren’t out to steal from you…some however will get annoyed enough that after doing all the necessary work, they’ll pass it to several of their friends…no-trans if you’re lucky.

It annoys your customers

A large section of the SL community considers themselves modders… artists even! Not all, but many. Especially among the RP and Furry communities. For them, no-mod items are a huge annoyance that squash their creativity and are to be avoided at all costs!

While Modify protects your customer’s investment.

In a Second Life where DMCAs run rampant and RL happens, meshes can and do disappear from the market. Even if they do not, sometimes their creators simply disappear.

Phat Azz, Cute Azz, Implant Nation, Wowmeh….all gone now.  But you know what they have in common? They were left modify..(well most of implant nations) which means now…despite some of them being gone long before Omega even appeared, they all are still getting Omega Support and their customers are still able to find and wear clothes for them.  In the case of Wowmeh and Phat Azz, there are even improved layer scripts and HUDs available.

If your mesh is Modify, that means that even after your gone people can update your scripting and keep your mesh usable even if it’s no longer supported or for sale.

Some Food for thought

-Chellnne Bailey
Omega Solutions – Home of the Omega System


Update: Mona Eberhardt has an insightful blog post on this subject here.