Since the v4 series bits have been so long in the making (for several months actually), this section has been made, so you can gather some information on how and why it is an improvement, and why you should probably upgrade. There are 3 sections detailed, one for internal changes, one regarding modding, and another for new features.
Back when v3 was developed, I believed it to be an ideal system. However during it's commercial use, certain problems have surfaced, and in the end, it was rather cumbersome to set up, and thus also prone to mistakes on my end, that would sometimes go undiscovered for weeks. There were other architectural issues that restricted what could be done with the bits, especially regarding the vagina and tailhole, and script usage, while greatly improved over the v2 series, was still higher than what it could be.
Thus, for the v4 bits, the big design rule was to centralize everything. Meaning that for every bit, there would be only one prim holding all the required scripting. This faciliates communication both within and between bits, and allows for more streamlined methods. Furthermore, since scripts only work from one central prim, I also worked on generalizing the way scripts work, and the way prims are handled internally, to get rid of a lot of special scripts.
The final architecture for the penis prims looks as follows:
- A control script handling all incoming messages and directing them
- A script storing the position, rotation and scale data for all prims
- Another script for the sculpt UUID data
- A script for the texture UUID data
- An automatic particle script, which requires no setup
The vagina and tailhole now look as follows:
- A central control script managing all functions
- The same particle script working in the penis
These measures will drop the average script count of penises to 5, and in some cases, 7 at most, due to SL´s script memory limitations. Other genitals will use no more than 2 scripts, thus severely reducing the resources they require and as such, the lag they cause. This will, in some cases, ease the issues some very populated adult sims may have, as well as possibly lightly speed up your teleports while wearing these bits.
So is there a downside to these improvements? Sadly, there is one. One minor factor is that the v4 HUD and the v3 bits arent able to communicate with eachother, and linking v4 and v3 bits together is also not advised, but shouldnt be necessary in any case. The more major issue for some people will probably be that there is sadly no way to transfer modifications from the old to the new system. The way data is handled and stored has changed radically, and as such, the conversion would be too difficult to pull off sensibly. However, re-creating even more complex mods will be easy to do and much faster than before.
One of the biggest complaints about the v3 bits was that the modding could be slow, cumbersome, and hard to understand for many. I have taken these issues to heart, and while writing v4, one of the core goals has been to radically improve the way users modify their bits.
The biggest change in that regard is probably the departure of modding scripts, both for penis and vagina/tailhole modding. Instead, all modding commands are entered via simple text commands now, which are efficient and easy to understand, allowing even beginners to get a basic understanding of customizing the primwork.
Texture editing has also taken a leap forward, switching over to a proper, notecard-based system, rather than what was admittedly a workaround hack at the last minute. Also, it is now possible to define custom sculpts for penis prims.
Modding in general has grown regarding to what it can do, allowing the use of the all-new tagging system to gain more control over your bits, as well as the option to define custom states entirely from scratch.
Furthermore, another new development is the possibility for third parties to offer texturing kits of various kinds, as well as prim accessory kits and other such pre-assembled mods, which require only minimal effort to set up and make work.
Most of this hasn't been directly related to the everyday user, so this section will detail the things that do.
Firstly, the big new thing will be a series of prim breasts, offering various sizes and proportions, with a simple option for creators to build and market their own clothing sets for them without hassle, and even the option for people to mod and convert their third-party outfits to fit, if the shapes allow for it.
On the HUD side, a few comfort features have been added, and the design has been reworked slightly to better fit all features into the compact space the HUD occupies. Some of the new features for the penis include a throb effect toggle, letting you control that effect separate from particle effects (the annoying throbbing bug when using the "stop fx" button has been fixed), as well as a "bulge" functionality, which will display a clothing bulge when the penis is hidden (and can be extended by third party creators or modders to feature a fully functional animated clothing option).
Furthermore, most bits now come with a particle intensity slider, allowing you to tweak the strength of the particle streams on the fly. Particles will also automatically scale proportionally with the size of your bits, so if you adjust their overall size, you wont have a disproportionately small or big effect anymore when using your particle effects.