Getting Bundles Approved

Notes on What We Look for in a Great Bundles
When we are reviewing Bundles, we are often asked what our criteria is for approving or turning down a submission.

In most cases our comments fall into only a handful of categories. We thought we would list some of the major things we look for, are most apt to ask developers to fix, or may cause us to not promote a Bundle:

The samples below have been pulled from the IMVU catalog for comparison purposes only. Many environments displayed with an "X" have sold very successfully to IMVU members, but they do represent examples of bundles we would be less likely to accept for future promotions.

One of the most frequently submitted Bundle types are CLUB themed rooms. Currently 4-5 out of 7 rooms submitted as Bundles to IMVU are Clubs, or residences that include Club-like components.

Because of this the competition for getting a Club Bundle approved is very steep, and some Developers wonder why their specific Club bundle was rejected when others have been approved.

Although in the past we have promoted Clubs with themes like The Green Club, or The Pink Room, merely having a consistent color scheme is often not enough to set your Club apart from others. Those Clubs that have a very specific theme tend to do better then those that only offer a consistent color palette.

Themes like Cowboy Lounge, New York Jazz Club, and Mardi Gras New Orleans, tend to do better than "The Red Rose", or "Blue Tiger", although there have been exceptions.

Notice the quality of light, subtle use of the reflective floor effect, without it being overwhelming

Photographs tend to look like photographs

It can be easy to find a wood grain photo or similarly cool image on the Internet and use it as a texture, but these are often the least effective for creating convincing 3D environments. Photographs can include shadows and other artifacts that work against the illusion you are trying to achieve.

A photograph of an architectural doorway, or window vista will never be as believable as a texture you have created yourself. Please work to create your own textures and if you are using photo reference, please work to make it fit with the other textures you are creating.

This hedge is textured with a photograph of leaves. You can see an obvious repeat pattern and shadows that don't help define what this is supposed to be.

Reflective Floors
Although this can be a nice effect, having the floor reflect the contents of the room is best suited to environments with complex architectural details.

Since the reflection illusion is created by flipping a mirrored version of the room’s geometry and placing it under a translucent floor layer, floor reflections can be expensive within your limited poly budget.

It is recommend that this not be used unless to very dramatic effect. Please avoid using a reflective floors unless it adds to your already dynamic environment.

Disguise the Edges of Your Skybox
Find ways to hide the edges of your surrounding “skybox”. All too often a room interior, or exterior environment, will include a very close, very obvious “box” with a sky texture applied to it.

If it is too close it can make your environment feel claustrophobic, and if the edges of the box, most specifically where the ground plane meets the walls, is visible, it will likely ruin the naturalistic illusion you are trying to achieve.

Also make sure that your sky texture tiles appropriately. All too often wrap-around sky textures can have a very noticeable seam. Be sure to do the work to soften the transition as a texture meets back upon itself.

Transparent Textures
IMVU has a problem, when viewing transparent textures through other transparent textures it can make geometry disappear. You have likely run into this, so it is important to build your environments with this in mind.

For example, if a Transparency Map (also called an Opacity Map) is used in an avatar’s dress, and that avatar stands in a telephone booth that also has transparent glass windows, the avatar’s dress will disappear when viewed through the glass. This can happen with hair, clothes, and any other geometry viewed through the glass.

If you are going to use transparent textures, do so carefully so as to minimize this unwanted effect. Another place this often happens is in Club spaces that include animated spot lights with beams of light made using transparent textured geometry. As the light passes over the dancing avatar, his/her clothing may disappear and reappear as the beam passes by or through their bodies.

Architectural Complexity is Good
When building or deriving from a 3D Room, try to make your environment complex and interesting. Avoid boxy, wide open spaces, in favor of spaces that include lots of little places to explore and visit.

Try to create multiple levels and interesting vistas for you avatar to experience while you explore the space. A simple box of a Room is likely to get turned down over a more interesting environment with lots of places to hang out and visit with friends.

No Copyrighted Imagery
If you do not personally own the rights to an image or texture applied to your bundle, please avoid using it. Also, please refrain from using photos of humans. We encourage Developers who wish to create wall art in their environments to do so from within IMVU. Attractively dressed and posed avatars are easy to create in IMVU and makes for great wall art. The same is true of labels on bottles, covers of magazines, and logos on billboards. If you don't own it, please don't use it.

Texture Variety is Good
It can be tempting to use a small handful of textures and apply them to many surfaces in your bundle. This makes creating lots of products fast and assures that your color palette is consistent. Unfortunately it can also make for a Bundle that is not that interesting.

If you use a texture on a wall, please do not then use it on the sofa, bar stools, and other furniture items. The same is true of a favorite image. If you have created a beautiful image of a Rose, please do not wallpaper it on the doors, walls, throw pillows, and carpet.

As a rule of thumb, try to use textures that help describe how a detail in the room's architecture or furniture is constructed. Applying a single texture to lots of surfaces is a sure way to get your Bundle rejected.

Repeating emblems, logos, or self promotion are inappropriate in a bundle and tend to draw attention to themselves and away from your theme

Avoid Self Promotion in Your Environments
The goal of your 3D environment is to transport your customers to the theme you are trying to create. Please avoid the temptation of applying names, logos, or emblems that are meant to promote your products. The quality of your Bundle will be advertisement enough without pressing the matter with posters or other promotional imagery.

Fonts Tend to Look Like Fonts
It is easy to create text in the computer, but often textures created using only a font and perhaps a drop shadow, do not look good. Think of how graphics and signage appear in the physical world. These often are made of physical materials like plastic, wood, metal, or neon.

Try to simulate these materials in your 3D signs and graphics, and play it safe by using more standard Font types. Fancy or overly playful Fonts have the effect of making an interior look amateurish, and they tend to draw attention to themselves.

Look to Other 3D Games for Inspiration
As a designer of 3D environments, take a lot of field trips into the virtual worlds created by other artists within lots of diverse video games. Think of yourself as an archaeologist and take a good look at how other 3D artists have used many of the same limitation you have to create convincing water, flora, structures, and skies.

Become a student of your craft, even if you have to defend yourself from werewolf attacks first, once you have cleared an area hang back and take note of the tricks being used by other artist to achieve looks you might want to reproduce in your own environments.

Dissect the Products of Your Peers
Another way to learn new tricks is by opening up Derivable products made by your peers and seeing how they achieved certain effects and illusions.

Rapid Scrolling Textures
Make sure that your moving, or scrolling textures are not moving too fast. A 3D environment can appear frantic if the water or sky textures are speeding along at an unrealistic pace.

Water surfaces can feel more like a conveyor belt, and the sky like you are standing inside of a salad spinner. Subtly is better then speed, especially since these surfaces are most often used as background or supporting details in context with the more important architecture and furnishings in your environment.

Examples of Some Current Bundles
We have put together a selection of high quality Bundles that we have promoted in the past. The links below each image will take you to their specific Bundle Store promotion page:

Royal Palace Bundle

Sunset Mountain

Punk Wonderland

Lover's Secret Garden

Haunted Hotel

Persian Harem
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