Dark Spot Designs continues to mature as an avatar creator, having found a style which identifies each avatar as DSD’s. Their third creation, Dark Spot reinterprets the look of the African vulpine in a way that injects personality and customiseability while staying true to the species.
Out of the Box:
- Both Male and Female variations
- Talking Jaw
- Moving Ears and Tail
- Eye Expressions
- Different Eye Colours
- Blinking Eyes
- Dilating Pupils
- PG & Mature Skins
- Male Genitals for both Male and Female Avatars
- Dog Muzzle and Collar
- Head and Ear Piercings
- Tail and Ear Touch Action Dialog Box
- (e.g. “<Someone> grabs <Your Name>’s tail… maybe time to worry…”)
Build and Skin
Starting with this avatar, Dark Spot has taken the initiative to release this avatar with both the male and female skins and hairs. As such, users can mix and match the two default hairs and play with the Male and Female PG and Mature skins.
Starting with the skin, there is a good use of shading to make the skin look smooth and fuzzy. The textures are of good quality, with no artifacts. A notable part of the skin would be the belly-button, which is extremely well textured, clear and well placed, but seems a bit too prominent for a surface meant to be covered with fur. Soft and sometimes subtle differences in colour tone across the avatar’s skin also gives the impression of thought to un-flattening the textures.
The foot-paws are unique and well designed. They connect well with the base of the legs, which makes them ideal for use with an ordinary pair of trousers/pants, and negates the need for plantigrade attachments. As expected, DSD has sculpted their avatars to avoid wrinkles or malformations in the sculpts. A good touch with the textures on the hands and feet were the shaded details to give definition to each ‘bony’ part of the fingers and toes, palms and foot. The hand-paws are very similar to the foot-paws, but are arranged in a way that represents more of a paw-hand with articulated fingers. The digitigrade legs are well proportioned and sculpted, with similar texturing to the feet and legs.
As usual, the tail is scripted and made up of flexible prims textured to the same quality level as the rest of the avatar. There is the dialog menu function where another person can click the tail and get a box that lets them do an action like “Solex tugs Forepawz’s tail.!!! O_o so cruel!!” The tail can also swish at different speed settings, and be set to ’stiff,’ ‘flexible,’ ‘lowgravity,’ or ‘antigravity’. The settings for all of these can be done by way of the HUD. A nice add-on feature is the ability to change the ‘fluffiness’ of the tail to more or less fluffy with the HUD.
Finally, we discuss the head options. The head is smoothly contoured and feature prominent Fennec-ish ears. Because a solid attempt was made to keep the head’s size similar to that of the shape head underneath, the ears were sized the way they were to make sure they weren’t too large or too small. A prim on the inside of the ears helps make them look fluffier through a semi-transparent fluff texture. The ears also feature the same dialog guided “action” menus where, for example, people can pinch or nibble on ears. These ears will fold back when one speaks; this option can be toggled on and off.
As usual, the eyes on the Dark Spot Avatars are made of prims and move with a sculpted blink. Alongside being properly aligned, the size of the pupils can automatically adjust to the levels of day/night light in the sim, or set by the user themselves. Additionally, there are a number of settings that allow the user to set the ‘emotion’ state of each eye separately, which lets people make more emotions of their own. While someone talks or uses voice with this avatar, the eyes squint slightly, a cute little expressive addition to the avatar.
Finally, the muzzle is well done, with the mouth opening and closing during conversation. What else is new for Dark Spot is the ability for the user to stick their tongue out. Additionally, through the HUD, people have the ability to preset the jaw into 3 savable slots. Before I neglect to mention this, the ears also offer the ability to create three preset options for their positions through the HUD.
This is, all around, a well made head, but there are a few small criticisms. For one, while the head is sized to easily make it possible for the user to apply hairs made for human avatars, the back of the head protrudes a slight bit too much which means that the user has to do a good bit of fiddling to get it to fit properly. Hence, from a front and side angle, the top of the head seems almost too large. However, users are easily able to fiddle with the head sculpts to bring a custom hair tighter to the scalp. The final criticism of the head is more an opinion than an objective matter, but it may have been beneficial to offer the ability for people to toggle the glossiness of the eye-texture.
Take Notice: The pictures under this Features Section are rated Mature.
The features that the avatar includes are listed under the “Out of the Box” Heading earlier in the review. The different options will be included in photos . Like the previously released avatars from Dark Spot, there is an entire assortment of attachments with piercings, (i.e. head, and male genitalia). It seems that with each successive avatar, Dark Spot has become more creative with how they supply their customers with piercings. The avatar comes with a leather muzzle that straps the mouth shut. A new addition to Dark Spot’s accessories are the futuristic goggles with green lens.
Finally, there are leg-warmers, and Mature Skins for BOTH males and females (females receive textured genitals while the males get sculpted male genitalia. As we are an avatar review site, we will not go too in-depth in regards to these accessories other to list and provide pictures.
On a quick note in regards to the avatar’s genitalia, they are uniquely designed and likely usable for whatever anatomically correct interests users may have. The HUD may be somewhat difficult to get used to at the start, however, as there are not many words on the buttons to show you how to use it. However, there is a short guide that accompanies the genitals; With some practice however, dedicated users may achieve their goals. (To see accompanying male genitals and HUD, click here.)
Heads up Display (HUD)
The HUD that is included with the avatar is versatile and offers the ability to gain quick access to the features of the avatar. While designed in the same style as the previous avatars’ HUDs, this one is much more orderly and user-friendly, with settings split into four subgroupings. Shown in the photo on the right. Users can then control all settings pertaining to the ears, the eyes, the mouth and the tail. These settings include movement speeds, presets for the ears, action dialogs, blink control, muzzle open-ness, etc.
However, something new from Dark Spot Designs, is that in the tradition of other creators, the eye colour HUD comes separately, so that not only could users change the eye colour, but also the pupil size, and type, as well as eye brightness. This HUD is self-explanatory. The last review of a Dark Spot Design avatar had suggested the use of a slider to choose the eye colour, and it would appear DSD has delivered with the increasingly popular colour selection method.
This avatar is fully modifiable and copiable, so it should not be difficult for people to make changes to it. The only issue in this regard could be that while the head is well sized, the top is a little large. Some modification and tweaking will be needed to make custom hairs fit to the head.
A third avatar from Dark Spot Designs, the Fennec represents the continual development of this creator’s style, and the end result has produced an avatar that is unique and clean-cut with an organised feel to it. Features are easy to access and toggle, while the avatar itself has personality that brings it to life. Thoughtful accessories give the user some more room to customise their avatar straight out of the box, which add to the well-roundedness of this avatar.