Friday, June 27, 2008
Mutation Industries: Crux
Hey there everyone, for a first review I had decided to review an avatar that would have a lot to it and a lot of possibilities. It wasn't shortly there after that I came across a perfect starting point: The Mutation Industries Crux avatar! Loaded with extras and expertly crafted, I must say that of all the avatars I have bought from a vendor, this is in a league of it's own.
The Avatar itself is actually genderless, though I'd imagine how you behave with it will speak volumes of which you probably are. There are 17 different color schemes available at the vendor, all of them have a dual color scheme and each of the colors is muted. You'll find a deeper navy color, instead of a standard blue for example. Each avatar also has a unique rune on it's chest also, another subtle detail.
First, I would like to begin with the head. Sure you might think this critter looks pretty cute, but Mutation really took the time and effort to put in some very impressive expressive emotions and faces. The head is made up of several sculpty prims and in addition to them blending in together very nicely, there is also different versions of parts like the muzzle and brow which is something I haven't really seen before. So if you want to make a really creepy Crux, you sure can by first narrowing the eyes, sticking out the tongue, and then giving him an extra perverted glare by raising his eyebrow.
There certainly are a lot of on the fly customization options to be had through the HUD which is one of the best I have seen considering the number of options it has to juggle. Within the HUD you can alter the ears, muzzle, tail, jaw, brow, tongue, eye shape, iris (Left and right), and eye background (once more, left and right). Even better is the option from the bookmark at the top of the HUD that tucks it away to the corner of your screen until you click it again in which it brings it back up. Another nifty feature is that it has it's own creepy ambient soundtrack. A nice subtle touch. However, the HUD is not without it's flaws. Be careful not to move it or you might mess up the bookmark that tucks it away and it might not behave quite right. Another issue is that it is rather large I think. I have a fairly huge resolution, but it can easily take up a quarter of my screen... though not a biggie as you can always tuck it away!
I must mention, for the $1,200L asking price, this avatar I think is a damn fine deal and comes fully loaded with a ton of extras. In addition to the avatar itself, it comes with 10 gestures/emotes, an AO, some basic clothing to help outfit your new Crux despite his unique shape, and even the option of having a flexi tail instead of the more detailed but static sculpty tail.
The tail option itself is a nice courtesy offered by Mutation, I certainly appreciate it. The AO looks quite nice in motion though some animations could use some work. Namely the jumping and landing emotions which hold their pose for a second too long I think, but I think the AO has some other more common animations that pull the entire av together and animate it in a way you would expect this fellow to look. There is also a third folder offered which has muzzle chatting animations that go along with the standard typing animation. Unfortunately my microphone isn't working so I couldn't test out if it worked with voice also, though just another neat feature that keeps the avatar lively and animated.
I think however out of all the extras, the gestures are quite the most welcome. There are 10 of them in the Extras folder as gestures, though they actually are a series of /commands that load up fairly quick for when you need to shoot someone a toothy grin. 7 of the gestures are just static face emotes, but that doesn't mean that they are any less entertaining! Check out the Flickr gallery I have to see some and the Youtube video I also have. The other remaining three however have sound and actual body animation, making for an even more delightful emote. The /noway command makes the Crux stick out his tongue in disgust and shake his head nervously. The /yesyes command makes him grin and nod eagerly, while the /scare command makes for a fun little quirk. Each of these three have their own sound too, adding yet another layer of detail!
For more advanced users, I'm sure after reading the in depth note card for a while, they can create their own gestures and faces by doing the same thing Mutation did, just string together a chain of /commands and there you go!
Of course lag and system resources are sometimes a concern when buying avatars. And with the way people often outfit themselves with even more attachments and scripts, there really can be a performance hit for your computer that has to render all the avatars and objects. Thankfully compared to other avatars the Crux is fairly decent. Of course in order to get the sculpty prims to look their best you will have to slide the Object slider all the way up under preferences, but the avatar itself actually is quite efficient I would say in it's use of polygons in the wire frames. (Well, as far as Second Life Avatars go...)
And now for you tech people, I have 2 screens that will interest you. The first is a run down of how the avatar color that I bought looks within Windlight's standard times, starting with sunrise through to noon, sunset, and midnight.
And this screen below shows off what the avatar looks like first in normal viewer settings, and then viewing the invisible prims, and then finally the wire frame mode within the SL client. It looks like a lot, but actually it really isn't made up of that many polygons, compared to other prim avatars. Definitely some nice work!
EDIT: Due to sloppy cutting and pasting it seems I missed the personal complaints paragraph, whoops! Well, here it is. ^^;
--As for the only troubles I have had with the avatar itself, well, there really haven't been any. The only real complaint I would have is that for people who haven't had the avatar cached, meaning the first time they are seeing it, the avatar may appear to be a bunch of 3D ovals until it begins to rez. That usually only lasts for about 5 seconds. I doubt there really is much we can do about that however...
Well, I think that about wraps it up for this avatar. Over time I may add a bit more to this review as updates come out, but as it stands, this really is one of the finest avatars I have seen to date. Because of all the additional support Mutation Industries includes with the avatar, you really are buying a full package. The way I can make it move and react to things as well as show off really impressive expressions, it really raises the bar. I must confess, the Crux felt to me like one of the firs true 'avatars' I have purchased. As opposed to what often feel like some gloves and a hat like other vendors, the Crux seems to come to you like a whole piece, not as parts in a box. I am eagerly awaiting any other Mutation Industries avatars and hope that they run wild with these little guys!
Here is a link to a Mutation Industries vendor and Here is my Flickr gallery with more photos.
I rate the Mutation Crux as a 9.5 out of 10. The way they make the prims fit together to look like a whole is one thing, but the additional extras that make the whole move and behave how you would imagine it to really pushes it above and beyond. It's not perfect, but I think it is damn close.
Posted by Kyder at 12:03:00 PM