Monday, September 8, 2008

Good News!

Thanks to certain events, I actually must move again IRL. It turns out my initial move to California was not meant to be and I am going to be going back to Chicago very soon.

Aren't RL's wonderful? -_-

Sorry guys, but expect more delays on various projects, screens, and reports. I wish I could give you more of a heads up but things right now have blocked up so much, it is really quite daunting to go after it all.


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Friday, August 29, 2008

Woof! A Wolf!

Hey, okay so I am back after a bit of a delay. I've had this product and review for a while now and intended to do a preview but instead have rolled both the preview and review together. Without further ado, the Anthro Xtacy Wolf! Another great addition to the AX line of avs. I must say, I was impressed with it for the most part but the wolf does have it's spots I'm afraid.

Well, I suppose I should begin with the avatar itself. It features plenty of standard extras and features that you would expect with an avatar like HUD, color changing left and right eyes, and moving muzzle for typing or voice, twitching ears, etc. It's all a nice and clean package. While there isn't a huge boatload of extra features and parts to swap in and out, the avatar can be assembled and likewise torn apart fairly easy, making for relatively easy modding.

The first thing you probably notice are the eyes. The AX line has recently some great eye effects. While sporting a slightly cloudy look, they look absolutely great in the dark and have a nice glowy effect. The muzzle, face and entire head is all well proportioned. No matter male or female, the wolf (and fox for that matter) look great and sport nice detailed hair, including a bit of a pony tail. Subtle but a nice touch. Of course there is also a very detailed jaw for muzzle talk if you opt to use it. However, the head is not perfect as it does have some noticeable lines where the sculpted prims meet and intersect. It sort of depends at which time and sky setting since at midnight the av may look one way but during the day it may have different lines hidden/shown. Usually however, these lines are minimal.

Like other AX avatars though, the wolf also comes with very detailed paws with little bits of fur and nails, they really do work quite nicely. Again, another something simple but something done well. Of course, it being an AX product, expect a ton of color schemes. One thing always appreciated in this virtual world! The tail is another nifty feature: a basic flexi tail made up of several prims but it really flows and bounce around nice and realistically. The tail hardly ever looks like it is just being blown around in the breeze and instead looks like it has some heft and weight to it. Very nicely done.

As for the legs however, I am not so sure about them. It can be a very troublesome thing to make some decent digi legs and still have them look great at any angle and pose. Unfortunately these are not the best I have seen. Here is a 'running' pose and both legs are extended backwards as if mid sprint. You can see how it just looks awkward.

Next we can talk about the extras with the avatar. For those of you whom aren't completely stoned right now, you notice the wolf carrying some kind of walking cane and harness. It's actually a pretty nifty sculpty spear that can be thrown in mouselook! That's a first. The leather harness also completes the look. They both actually look good too, though probably not good enough for the hardcore modders out there. However, I'm not complaining.

But if I must be a critic, I have to say the HUD is a certain low point of the av. While I generally am not a button pressing monkey and usually don't wear huds, these huds are just plain annoying. They are not exactly planned out well and take up a lot of space. The huds do have their basic functions and include some fun little emotes and gestures. Still, I cannot get over how 'O.o;' I felt when first wearing the av as the huds certain do take a nice bite out of the screen. 1680X1050 resolution mind you. >_>;

I really would not recommend keeping them open like that. But let's move on, after all, how often do you need to change your left eye's color? I'd like to finish this review bye giving AX a pat on the back for another great av that should make for some very interesting mods and being open to that. The avatar is considerably easy to work with, given it's small complexities. I'm sure with some ease that people will be able to take this av and turn it around into something very unique.

Final Thoughts: While AX is shaping up to be a big competitor in the avatars business, the wolf does have it's spots. Some people might be turned off by them and to others they may just not care, but if you like to play with huds then you might be annoyed by the large but functional AX hud. Extra emotes and gestures are also fun but aren't quite all polished that much and are subject to lag also. The good news is that people won't buy this av for the mouselook spear or the howl emote, so I doubt AX will hear any complaints. All in all, a nice av in the underserved Wolf (and over served Fox) market.

I give the Anthro Xtacy Wolf a solid 8.7 out of 10. It has the fun extras though they really are just novelty at best. The Avatar itself is solid and ready for some great modding. Even right out of the box, all the av needs is a nice pair of cargo shorts, a torn up t-shirt and your good to go. :D


Still Alive!

And you'll be smiling to see that I'm still alive.
And I'll try and improve your second life.
And I'll be blogging and be still alive.

Yes, Kyder did not get eaten by bear. Just kinda sorta dealing with a midlife crysis. I must say, I'm sorry and hope that people still pay attention to my blog, I am probably going to hurry up and get my other review out the fucking door already. I have the AX wolf coming up shortly and then hopefully one of the many Exterminatus Labs avs. Yes EXL, finally, I know, I heard your requests. Shut up. >:O


Wednesday, August 20, 2008


So yeah guys, I know I have promised a lot more content than you have seen. There have been several things pop up IRL that have slowed my progress and quite a number of other events that require a lot of time and attention. Let's see, car, health, family, internet connection blah.

However, I'll be trying to finish up my reviews: I have an Anthro Xtacy Wolf and LE Wolf Elemental avatar that have been needing some love. After which I will dive right into some Exterminatus Labs (EXL) avatars and their accessories-- thanks to a very helpful sponsorship.

I'll try and get my stuff finished and fully written. I've been testing out the avs and wearing them quite regularly, as well as talking to people how they like to mod and work with them, the task at hand is just putting it down onto paper.

Stay tuned!


Friday, July 25, 2008

More on the Horizon!

Hey there guys, sorry once more for not updating as much as I would like. I really do have a lot of burdens on me atm, however I am committed to having a better blog for all of us. I'd insist you guys check back roughly every week as I will hopefully have a new review every week or so. And with 52 weeks in the year, it sure means a lot of good reviews for all of you.

Coming up: More avatars from Aventity reviewed. While you've probably seen them around often, it's probably best to take them under the microscope to see if they are something you'd like to sink your teeth into.

Hopefully very soon though: I am getting a crack at the new AnthroX wolf avatars! There are two limited edition wolves available now for a short while so head down to the AnthroX mall to check them out!

Please go ahead and email any feedback to me @ luckycynic at gmail dot com.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Aventity Corvus

It's been overdue since a really excellent Avian avatar has been released. It's quite rare to see an Avian avatar with as much work in it as some of the more common and I think over-used Fox avatars from various designers, however Aventity has changed that with their Corvus. That's the reason why when I need some feathers, it's the choice for me!

The avatar itself has been out for quite some time and was based around an older Crow design that Keith Rawley, the designer had elsewhere. Due to business however, he had taken his design to Aventity and gave it new life. Rebuilding some parts of the old avatar and working towards a whole new creature featuring cleaner wings, better detailed plumage, and a splash of new color. While the avatar is a crow, (Named after a crow constellation) there really is no reason not for this avatar not to suffice for most other avian avatars. It is fairly easy to modify however and is a fairly clean and easy canvas to work with. I haven't done extensive modding on my side, but I have seen people really run with it and I think that it is a great example of how an av should let others be as they wish!

The avatar is actually quite simple in it's offerings. It doesn't have the intricate and handy HUD because it actually doesn't need it. The only thing that it can make use of is the moving jaw that movies about when typing and using voice, and the independent colored eyes that can be set up to choose from a list of 10 colors. It sounds rather limited, but each eye color has slight variances within itself that I would bet having simple custom RGB settings would simply not replace and make for a lack of details. The color I chose and the one in the portrait above is called simply 'sky.'

As for other details, well, there really aren't any that can be customized easily. Everything else will require some modding. The most common piece I see replaced however are the tail feathers. The ones that come with the avatar are basic and flexi, but they look detailed and I would prefer them over the more usual prim heavy tail mods I have seen.

I think the main draw of this avatar however is not it's extras (or lack of) but it's the fact that was set out to fill in a nitch and has done so very well. The entire avatar looks like a one whole piece that belongs. I really want to applaud the clean and well thought out creation. The avatar makes use of every prim attached to it, and does so with style. It's been a while since I have seen an avian avatar like this with this much detail with without being over the top.

Final Word: So while there not being much going on with avian avatars in general, it's good to see that someone has stepped up to the plate and deliver a fine current generation avatar. It would be nice to see some sculpties and actual wings incorporated with this av, but I think it certainly is worth the price for just style and ease of use and modding on it's own. I'd really like to see people incorporate more extras with their avatars, but I think in this case I won't slam the Corvus too much. For these reasons above, I think that the Corvus is one of the best avian avatars in SL right now-- though the lack of extra goodies is a bit of a bummer. Still, I wonder why more people have not gotten it. I give the Aventity Corvus a solid 8.0 out of 10.

You can find some Aventity vendors Here. And of course you can find the Flickr gallery Here.


Friday, July 18, 2008

Can You See the Signs?

I'm sure everyone here is familiar with ads, signs, posters, flyers, and other types of advertisement hoo-hah that nobody cares about. Well, you'll not see anything like that from S-A! We will incorporate more than just a silly "Visit my blog, lol" poster with a sort of game and some collectible fun!

I'd like to Announce a new type of Exploration game I'd like to challenge to you all. We all know SL can be a big and small place. While it can be so damn big sometimes, we all just keep finding ourselves coming back time and time again to different hot spots. Well, to help promote new exploration, instead of just putting up standard signs around the world that say "Lol, visit my blog" I will put up artistic signs promoting individuality, being unique, and exploration, both of self and world.

I will make 15 signs for now, just as a test to see how eager and fun this can be. Each of these will belong to a full and complete set which I am not calling 'Season 1'. Three of these signs have been unveiled below and will be the easiest to find. You may be wondering what is the significance of the signs. It seems to me that many folks like the concept I have come up with, featuring different and unique avatars like this, and others love having the gorgeous art to hang in their homes featuring their favorite avs. And frankly other people just like to simply collect stuff.

So with this, I am announcing that all the signs that I have created within the world will offer out two very special little limited edition, high quality, gourmet, fancy, fashionable treats. The first is a full size, full res texture of the art from the sign, minus all the commercial gobbelty gook! Go ahead, nobody hates free art, right? The second is a little collector's card, featuring the art of the Poster as a collectible little card. The poster texture can be used for whatever you want, even make your own posters out of them for your own home! The cards are just proof that you have been exploring to me. Both will only exist in the world for this one season only.

So here is the game: I will make 15 signs in world. They will appear in many different shopping malls, parks, clubs, wherever! Each one will feature new and unique art and a new avatar that will be reviewed here on the Blog. However, there are two catches, 7 of the signs will be unique to a certain area, store, mall, whatever. They will not be seen anywhere else and some signs may only exist in just ONE instance, meaning only the ONE sign will exist within ALL of Second Life! As for the other 8 signs, they will be rotated and swapped at random. These signs will probably be the easiest to find as they will be more common and in more common places, but be sure to check back to see if there is a new one available. Be sure to use your wits, land marks, and the group I made to work together and collect all the goodies.

First person to find all the signs and bring me their card will win a special unique uber prize that I have not announced quite yet.

Sounds like fun? I sure hope it will be. Now for some basic rules however:
+ Not all of the cards are finished yet since this will be a timely thing. As more reviews for the blog come out, so will cards. Unless otherwise stated, each review will be coupled by a card. Some cards may even be hints as to future reviews, (Hence the Crow below).
+ No, you cannot trade the cards between each other as they are all no trans and to win it is mandatory to have all of the cards on one avatar.
+ No, I will not hide signs in mysterious places. I will keep them for the most part in very public locales, like malls, and such. However, mind you some of these malls may feature Mature Rated content so please don't participate if you are scared of seeing a boobie.
+ Yes I have a bias towards the furry. These just happen to be the people and places I know best. Of course, humans and nekos are welcome as well; just don't be a jerk and be sure to follow any rules posted.
+ No I am not with any or all of these places that I put my signs. That doesn't necessarily mean that I'm not friends with the staff, but it doesn't mean that I am trying to advertise for any particular location, avatars, club, or mall.
+ I also reserve the right to change whatever I want to ensure a fun and fair game.

Soo, there we have it. So far there are only 3 cards in SL so far. They are available in 2 different locations. More avatars and cards to come very soon. Here is where you can get started. And IM Kyder Ling for access to the S-A Group!

I Gotta Have More Publicity!

So for a while now there has just been a steady stream of info but rest assured I am very intent on picking up the pace of things and including many other and newer designers. Expect some new stuff that you guys haven't seen yet.

And with this new transformation of the S-A blog, I want to introduce something new. I notice that many people just don't realize how cool or unique an avatar can be. Then there is also the problem that many people do not know that there is someone out there willing to help them find something cool, so I unveiling some new posters you may see around SL in popular spots. I am using the tagline of 'Discover:' because I think that Discovery is just something that embodies Second Life.

There is always something new around the corner and I want to capture that fun and imagination into an otherwise boring advertisement. So below I am revealing these three S-A Posters, with more on the way though you will not be seeing them revealed here on the blog. Even better, I aim to add a certain collectible value to them as well but you will have to wait and see as to what that is.

In the mean time, enjoy!


Thursday, July 17, 2008

I Gotta Have More Cowbell!

We all know and remember that famous Saturday Night Live sketch with Will Farrel and Christopher Walken, and when you rez this next avatar, you'll hear this hilarious blurb once more for I am reviewing Anthro Xtacy's Bovine avatar. A fun little treat-- However, you will not find the Bovine with other AX avatars. The reason? This one is the first from a fresh and eager designer, Willowbay Destiny!

For a first avatar, I must say that I am quite impressed with it. Willow has included quite a number of different color schemes which can make it hard to pick just one, or fun to collect them. The bovines actually do not feature too many extras unlike other avatars like the Crux but it would be quite unfair to a new designer to compare their first creation like that. I must say though, I found the bovine avatar one of the best around. The face and hooves are made up of neat prims including sculpties however they are not clunky looking. Instead Willow decided on a simpler and cleaner look.

The avatar keeps things simple and is very open and easy to customize. I have seen a few of her cows in a crowd occasionally but it seems people really like to run off with them and make them their own.

I managed to a hold of Willow who I have known for quite some time to share with us about her thoughts and feelings about finally releasing her first avatar. It seems that the lady is quite busy with her next projects! Here is our brief interview.

"First off, thanks again for doing this."
"I'd like to first ask you why you got into making avatars? Was it for the money, or to express your creativity, or just as a hobby?"
'Well I would be lying if I didn't say all three. Though for the most part it was because I enjoyed building something from the ground up and having others appreciate it.'

"Are you pleased with how your first avatar came out? Most people honestly are a bit embarrassed with their early creations."
'Yes, I had a mixture of happy, excited, and scared to death all wrapped up in one. I fear my husband will be scarred for life because of it.'

"So now that your Bovine has been fully released, are you going to be taking a bit of a break, or have you already another project in mind?"
'I jumped straight into my next project the next day. I have issues with sitting still to long. I get bored easily.'

"How big of a role in creating avatars did your friends and co-workers have? I'd imagine they helped out a newcomer out quite a bit, right?"
'Oh a huge role. I have put a thank you note in my avatar box thanking everyone who helped me. I appreciate all input I get. It really helps to shape something that everyone will enjoy.'

"And finally, what words of advice would you have to other people who may be sitting on the fence about creating avatars and clothing within SL?"
'It can be very rewarding but you have to be ready for long days of frustration when something doesn't turn out how you want it too. I think that most people look at an AV and take for granted how much work goes into it, I know that I did.'

Thanks again Willow for the interview. Be sure to keep an eye out on her, she is always busy away doing something. You can find a vendor Here.