More Versatile Clothing Layers Jira :
Second life would benefit immensely from a simplification of the clothing layers. Modern SL clothing is cut using alpha maps, as the built-in sliders for trimming the clothing leave messy edges and are not really usable. The functionality that is worth keeping is the ability to change bagginess in various areas. Beyond that, there isn’t really any reason not to put all clothing on meta layers. A meta layer would be a single clothing article with 3 texture spots which would be by default a transparent texture. The 3 texture spots are of course legs/feet, torso, and head. The meta layer could then be applied to the avatar on a new set of clothing layers marked simply from 0 to 10, or 20, or whatever it is deemed necessary to fully outfit an avatar.
The benefits of this sort of change are many, beyond just the verastility of being able to put your undies on over your tattoo, or your shirt on over the bra that only came on the shirt layer because the designer was apparently high. For example, it is common practice for ambitious designers to put their clothing items on all layers – to allow for the kind of versatility of this new system (although it falls short). This means that for a single shirt, for example, you’ll have 3 inventory items: an undershirt, shirt, and jacket version. This means 3 assets the server needs to keep track of. A designer who uses this as their standard will generate about 2.5x as many assets to create an outfit as one who don’t offer items on all layers. This could be massively reduced, much to the relief of overstuffed fashionista inventories, asset servers, and sim servers the metaverse over.
Existing clothing might be able to be ported to the new system, although it would require experimentation to determine for certain. Lots of (ancient) clothing that does depend on the sliders to trim the clothing would wind up breaking if those sliders were no longer effective, since it is impossible to translate the sliders to a system that include shirt and glove components together. Thus it may be necessary to allow older clothing to continue using the old system of shirts, socks, underpants, etc.
Unfortunately this would mean that the new system would need to be flexible enough to allow people to create their own layer ordering to be able to put new clothing items under or over the older clothing layers, however this creates another opportunity to improve the versatility of older content. Since it would be necessary to create a layer organizer to allow people to choose the order in which clothing items stack, it would be possible to wear several shirts at the same time layered on different strata, allowing older clothing to be just as versatile as newer meta layers. This would also allow people with overstuffed inventories to go through and delete unnecessary duplicates of items that were created on all layers.
An additional feature allowing people to update their clothing to meta layer clothing might be worthwhile, though permissions would need to be investigated to ensure abuse is not possible.
It could be possible to leave the layer limit as a very high value (like 50) if the clothing layers were not broadcast to the server until fully baked, like Emerald does when clothing layer protection is enabled.