In a SLARF first, we have the pleasure of reviewing an avatar from Blackout Industries. While they had released a husky avatar one before, they’ve stepped up the ante to release a Chimera. Complete with a legend, this avatar comes across as a unique species with a unique style.
Out of the Box:
|Features||Permissions and Statistics|
Build and Skin:
- The textures on these avatars are relatively simple, but by no means flat. This chimera comes in a variety of different colours ranging from blue, to zombie green to more natural tones like black or tan. The markings are somewhat similar to those of a wolf. Smooth transitions abound and the movement between colours have been brushed into fur-like transitions nicely.
- The avatar has no female form; instead coming with two male skins and shapes; one more masculine, and the other a bit feminine. The major difference lies in the shading of different areas of the body, providing more muscles to the masculine shape, smoother body definition to the latter. Overall, the textures strike a good balance of colour, shading, and fur detail from head to toe.
- Of particular note is the musculature on this avatar, which is muted enough to look as if it’s underneath the fur, yet bold enough to stand out. Folks with the disposition towards more muscular avatars will find some satisfaction. Either skin that one chooses will look very good.
- Build-wise, the avatar has minimal amounts of creasing, and no signs of sculpt wrinkling anywhere. Much like the textures, the edges and surfaces of the sculpts are clean and smooth. The avatar was designed and put together in such a way that it’s very symmetrical and easy on the eyes. It’s obvious that a lot of care went into making this avatar as polished in presentation as possible.
- The lower limbs come with two varieties of attachments. A digitigrade version, and a plantigrade version. As we’ve seen from a creator or two before, the leg and the foot come as one attachment. Because of this, the digitigrade leg ends more appropriately at the top surface of the foot rather than the back. The digitigrade leg merges well visually with the body shape, appearing proportional overall. The feet themselves make competent paws with canid paw-pads on the underside. Usually, creators shy away from making a digitigrade leg and the foot a single, whole attachment, but this is one case where it was executed well.
- For those who would rather wear long pants or whatnot, the avatar includes a box containing plantigrade feet. Upon unpacking that, a user would find the same foot-paws, but with a plantigrade leg attachment instead of a digitigrade one. You have to wear a different alpha layer though, so to find it, open the manual called “About the Feet of the Chimera” and receive the Plantigrade alpha layer skin that way. The plantigrade leg works very well if you’re going to wear pants of some kind, but otherwise, doesn’t look as presentable as the digitigrade leg/foot combination.
- The tail is your regular flexible-prim type of tail, with the usual tail wagging and tail position settings that we’ve seen from other creators. The textures for this tail are well done, maintaining the continuity of detail and colour over the rest of the body and the attachments.
- The avatar also comes with hand-paw attachments that look similar to the foot-paw attachments. The fingers are not posable, but as I’ve often remarked on other avatars, they don’t need to be. The pose of the fingers is a relaxed one, befitting just about any position or setting the avatar is in. With four thick fingers, the hand-paw attachments are a decent cross between human hand and canine paw. The undersides of the hand-paws feature painted black paw-pads.
- Finally, we have the fluff on the back of the neck and on the shoulders. This gives the avatar’s upper body a fuller, slightly more feral look. The style of the fluff adds a little bit of character and uniqueness to the avatar’s look, and fortunately, when you remove the fluff, it doesn’t take too much away from the avatar.
- The head for this avatar is a very unique one, with a style that I admittedly haven’t seen anything very close to in Second Life. The head comes across as being a cross between cute in a ‘derpy’ way, and the image of a rugged, masculine canine. Thus, the head easily suits the masculine and the effeminate skins and shapes that come with it straight out of the box.
- A major detail of the avatar is the muzzle, which takes up a fair bit of real estate on the face since it is rather long and broad. The nose at the end is very dark and prominent, and when looking at the avatar straight-on, the way the nose is positioned between the eyes gives off a puppy-like vibe. The interior of the muzzle is very well detailed, complete with a full arrangement of canine teeth, good textures, and a sculpted uvula. The jaws can open up very wide, allowing for a bit of extra facial emoting. Overall, the muzzle was very well done; the only small thing that could have made it better was the ability to stick out the tongue.
- Next up, we have the eyes. Users are able to modify just about any area of the eyes, from the pupil dilation, inner and outer iris colour, as well as the eye-white colouration and whether it’s full-bright or not. All of the options for this are available through the HUD, though there’s an included notecard with information on the commands. The eyeballs themselves are attachments, so they move according to the mouse position on the screen.
- A neat little feature that we’ll mention here is that the eyebrows are recolourable. Thus, in addition to the ability to choose between four different eyebrow textures, you can tint them to any which colour you’d like. This then ups the amount of out-of-the-box customisation that you get with the avatar.
- Given that this is a chimera of an alien species and wolves, one of the ways that this avatar differentiates itself from ordinary wolves is the addition of horns. They speak for themselves in the photos and do a good job of not being too subtle or too bold. Users can show or hide this through the HUD or text commands.
- Finally, we’ve got the ears which rest atop of the head neatly with their pointed, yet still concave shape. Users are able to choose one of three positions for each individual ear, as well as toggle the ear twitching.
Features and Heads-Up Display (HUD):
All of the features for this avatar are controlled by a rather simple, straight-forward HUD. The only criticism we can offer is that when the buttons are ‘darkened,’ that means it has been selected, rather than the vice versa. Otherwise, the HUD sometimes can be a tad quirky in needing someone to click a few times to get the buttons selected properly. For those who might not understand the HUD by fiddling on their own, Blackout has included a very well written duo of notecards to guide and assist you on the usage of the avatar. For those who like a little bit of lore and information about this made-up species, there’s even an entire story included in the “Chimera Info” notecard.
Above are a few shots of the head after a user tries out any number of options. Again, remember that ‘darkened’ buttons means that they’ve been selected. As the photos above show, the avatar has a certain amount of flexibility for users to have some fun with facial expressions.
This avatar comes as being both modifiable and copiable, so there is at least that basic level of customisation that comes with all avatars. Third party hairs require some work to fit properly on this head, but for the most part, the dimensions of the head prim allow a good range of hairs.
The Blackout Industries Lobosian is a successful release for the company, providing an avatar with plenty of personality, a neat story, and a good degree of customisation. In a virtual world with a fair few lupine avatars, this one stands out with its own style while carving a niche as a chimera. While the HUD itself for this avatar could have been a bit more responsive, the looks for this avatar more than make up for it. Users will likely have fun whether one wishes to make their Lobosian a flirty Effeminate or a rugged Masculine.