This is a short introduction mainly aimed at creators who are not familiar with Blender and Avastar but want to provide their developer kit for the Blender/Avastar community.

How a Developer kit looks from a user point of view

Avastar provides an area in the user Interface where it lists all developer kits which have been integrated by the user. And when clicking on one of the listed items, a new character plus its Armature are created from the related Developer kit, ready made for usage with Avastar.

Furthermore the user can integrate more Developer kits at any time (see the button Add more Devkits… in the image). Of course this needs some input from the developer kit Creator. We get to this further down.

Very important: We do not distribute Developer kits together with Avastar. And we have no plans to do that at any time in the future. Any integration work is only done by the user. But we have made the integration of a new Developer kit a matter of a few clicks as i will show below

How a user typically works with a Developer Kit

When the user clicks on a Developer kit button as described above, then the kit is added to the current scene. And whatever was in the scene before will remain at its place. What exactly the user will get added to the scene is fully controlled by the developer kit creator. Here is an example:

When the user clicks on the appropriate developer kit button…

the Kit is added to the scene.

The Basic adjusting

The very first thing the user will do is adjusting the attachment to the model. This is mostly a matter of using appropriate modelling techniques to get the attachment to match with the Developer kit.

I will not get into detail here. The image just shows how it might look after doing the basic adjustments.

The binding

In the next step the user will Bind the Attachment to the Developer kit Rig. With Avastar this is a matter of a few clicks, where the user decides from where the attachment shall get its weights (from ‘Meshes’ means the weights are copied from the developer kit) and then call the Bind to Armature Operation.

The weighting Workflow

Once the model is adjusted and bound to the Armature, the user will proceed with checking the weighting and adjusting the weights where necessary.

We have provided a Workflow panel from where the user can select the Skin&Weight Workflow. This workflow prepares the Blender scene such that the user can select the bones, add/remove weights as necessary, and rotate the Bones to test if the weighting is good.

Posing and Animation

Once the weights have been set up and tested, the user might also want to go into posing and animation.

In this case the user will switch to the Pose&Animation workflow where he/she can use all animation features from Blender to create still poses or animations as they like.

Avastar provides a decent panel for controlling which part of the Rig shall be displayed. The Rig Display panel is probably one of the most used panels we have.

Here the user can also change the display style from Shape to Octahedral or Stick.

Appearance Sliders

Avastar provides a full emulation of the Secondlife Avatar Appearance system. The Appearance sliders are all located in the Appearance Panel and can be used at any time during a user session for checking if the variations of the appearance sliders work well with the user attachment.

How a user adds a Developer kit to Avastar

  1. The user needs to get the Developer kit from the developer kit creator. The developer kit either comes as a blend file or as a collada (dae) file with a model and Rig ready made for Secondlife.
  2. The user also needs to get a couple of customization parameters of the developer kit from the creator.
  3. The user opens the Developer kit Configuration panel in Avastar, specifies the file location and the custom parameters.
  4. And finally the User creates a new Developer kit Prefix. The new Prefix will show up in the Developer kit listing, which i have shown you at the very top of this article.

What the developer kit creator needs to provide

The developer kit creator needs to provide some technical information about the kit. Best is to add the information to the developer kit documentation. We suggest that creators create a textfile named after the brand and kitname. This file shall contain the info as a set of parameter definitions. Aside you see an example definition file. The developer kit user will need this.

Please also read the remarks below. The Avastar documentation contains a very detailed document about how to create your own devkit

Filename: brandname_devkitname.config

devkit_brand = "brandname"
devkit_name = "devkitname"
scale = 0.01
rig_type = "SL"(1)
joint_type = "POS"(2)
is_male = False
restpose_type = "other-pose"(3)
is_bindpose = True(4)
is_edited = True

(1): Can be “SL” or “AVASTAR”

(2): Can be “POS” or “PIVOT”, we recommend you always work with the PIVOT Rig

(3): Can be “t-pose” or “other-pose”

(4): If the developer kit restpose type is not the T-pose and if the restpose was created only by rotating the bones, then the rig is most probably good for using the bind pose option.

If  the developer kit is mostly non human and comes with a heavily edited rig with bones moved around (translation) to other places, then we recommend to not use the bind pose option to avoid issues in SL.