Wednesday, February 08, 2012


What is it that we in the SL busty community all wish? That we could go to any store we wish and buy and wear any dress that strikes our fancy. Can we do it? Right now, alas, no... but Rygel Ryba and Pixel Paradigm have set out to make breasts, "Pixel's ParaBoobs", that are as easy as possible for clothiers and skin makers to support. In their words,
"With the ParaBoobs system, you just make everything as you normally would - and then paste a UUID into a script, lock it up so it's non transferable and secure and you're done. (Well, actually, there are three lines to change - but it's EASY)."
A brief aside: Icon Allen has made mesh breasts since November 2011. ParaBoobs are mesh. I've got to train myself to stop saying "prim breasts" if I want to be inclusive. To refer to all these things that make it possible for us to live our busty dreams in SL, I will start saying "attached breasts". If you have a better term, I'd love to hear it.

What makes it difficult to support attached breasts? It goes back to cartographers.

Pre-mesh Second Life clothing is mostly painted-on textures, and to make the clothing look right--or as right as it can; let's not go there now--there has to be a flat map. Not of the Earth, but of the avatar or a portion thereof. Those have already been created; the Second Life Wiki's "Clothing Tutorials" page  has a link to the "Linden body and clothing templates", which are maps of the head, torso, and the rest of the body. The majority of creating clothing in Second Life is like making a detailed map with features painted on the parts of the map that correspond to where they are on the avatar, just as on a map of the Earth you'd draw in cities, mountains, and rivers in the places that correspond to where they are on the Earth. In computer graphics, it's called "UV mapping".

ParaBoobs are designed so that the map that works for the breasts on the stock female avatar will work for them, i.e. so that if you create a map showing the "geographical features" of one, it will serve as well as a map for the other.

Now, that's handwaving a bit. If you go to the store and look at the model ParaBoobs on the wall, you'll notice that they include a bit of the torso, namely, the region around the clavicles and top of the sternum, so it's not just the breasts. Also, ParaBoobs are bigger than the stock avatar breasts, stretching the texture in non-uniform ways, so that, to use Ryba and Paradigm's example, buttons that start our round may end up oval. Stretching textures, since they are raster graphics, also blurs them. (If you ever studied topology, ParaBoobs and the corresponding piece of the avatar shape are homeomorphic.) We'll have to see how many clothiers and skin makers take advantage of the opportunity and how good the results look.

This design decision has a consequence. When you get your ParaBoobs, you will want to scale them to work with the settings of your avatar shape, but that size is the one that works for you. At a different size, they won't match up with the avatar shape where they join. For that reason, ParaBoobs don't support dynamic scaling. If ParaBoobs prove successful, the makers plan to come out with different sizes and shapes, but if the ability to grow your breasts or let someone else make them grow continuously over time is important to you, these are not the breast attachments for you.

I'm not mentioning a lot of ParaBoobs features--you will want to take a look at the documentation on the makers' web site. In particular, they're intended to work as part of the LustBaby project, which, if I understand rightly, is a project involving hypnosis as an aid to immersion in erotic roleplay in Second Life. For me, the important thing is the length to which Ryba and Paradigm are going to encourage mainstream SL clothiers to accommodate ParaBoobs users. No, that's not the whole busty community, but it's a start. I wish them well, just as I wish all those who do amazing things to let us fulfill our well-endowed dreams in SL well.

UPDATE: Saying two things are homeomorphic really doesn't say as much as you might think, or more to the point, I might have thought; after all, as the saying goes, topologists are mathematicians who can't distinguish a donut from a coffee cup. There's a stronger relation that holds, but I'm not sure how to characterize it.

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