Hyenas aren’t exactly a popular species in Second Life as of this writing. Sure, there are some freebies, some modkits, and a small handful for sale, but on the whole, they’re not exactly popular. As such, it’s always nice to see a new one pop up. However, these Hyenas – yes, spotted and striped – are also a bit of an experiment, created with a relatively new medium and having a brand-new update system.
Also, hyenas are not canines; they are in fact more closely related to felines (suborder Feliformia, family Hyaenidae). That’s why they’re not listed under Canines in the vendors, but instead listed under Mammals.
|First KZK avatar with AIO+AUC
Male+PG Female+M Female skins
Solid + Flexi tail options; both wag
Individually posable eyes
Four muzzle states, brow states, etc
Tintable eyes (x3), nose, mouth, pawpads, claws; fullbright+glow toggle
Posable hands w/custom slots
125488 (Solid tail)
127332 (Flexi tail)W/all fluffSCRIPTS
23 + 603KB (With HUD, Pre AIO)
19 + 395KB (Without HUD, pre AIO)
11 + 210KB (Without HUD, post AIO)Mod, Copy
Skin and Textures
On the whole, the texture work on the Hyenas is very good. The fur comes across as soft, with fur texturing very evident throughout the avatar. The stripes and spots are not simply painted on and left as-is; they’re furred over. There is some notable clipping throughout the avatar both on prim-to-prim and prim-to-avatar seams, but they’ll be discussed in more detail later. The avatar also comes with female mature skins (LINK: MATURE).
There is a lot of extra body fluff prims for the Hyenas. It is all optional, but it’s worth noting that when wearing all of the extra fluff, it has a tendency to clip through itself, and sometimes through the fluff on the cheeks. This is alpha clipping, and not much can be done about it, but it’s worth noting. The solid tail’s fluff, which is the largest part of the tail, has a tendency to clip through itself and other alpha prims, which may push some users away from that tail in favor of the flexible tail, which doesn’t clip as badly.
Another observation of note is that some of the bolder colors on the Spotted Hyenas, like indigo, blue, pink, green, and so forth, have a lot of color burn on their backs. As a result, the neon tones can be a little hard on the eyes. Thus, if you are sensitive to strong color burns, definitely check the vendor images closely or ask to see it inworld before you purchase.
As stated before, the Hyenas are KZK’s first full-release avatars with mesh attachments. These attachments are not rigged, which means they behave as the sculpted parts did and you can edit them as such. Although you do not get the body-matching movement of rigged mesh, you get the benefits of being able to remove sections of the body like you could before (removing digi legs and keeping the feet as opposed to having to wear different attachments entirely) and being able to easily edit the attachments, especially while wearing them.
That being said, the overall build of the avatar is very good. As expected, there is no wrinkling or “glitches” with the mesh parts (aside from some clipping, as mentioned above). The textures fit their assigned prim excellently.
Now for the body shapes. Those familiar with the hyena’s stature would know that they have stocky bodies with relatively skinny legs. This avatar’s body shapes are modeled after real hyenas, with a thick body and contrasting skinny legs and arms. The body shapes are mod, so you can edit them should you not like the defaults.
In-Depth Body Summary
The foot-paws are fairly standard canine-esque paws. The claws are long, pointy, and non-retractable. The pawpads are smooth, but give the impression of real, used pawpads with their texture. They blend well with the rest of the underside of the foot, owed to the dark border around both the pads and where they meet the foot itself. Both the claws and pawpads on hands and feet are recolorable through the HUD – the pawpads react better to recoloring than the claws do; the claws do not blend well with the rest of the toe tip. By default, they’re colors that match the overall coloration you chose.
The joint between the footpaw and the digi leg is fairly normal. Again, the avatar is mesh, but not rigged; these attachments behave as sculpt attachments would.
That being said, the legs themselves appear muscular, but otherwise, fairly standard. The area where the system knee joins with the digi attachment does clip noticably. This appears to be more of a texture problem than a build problem, though, with the end of the system leg being darker and the top of the digi leg being lighter.
As mentioned before, the solid tail is also subject to some serious alpha clipping problems. When the tail does behave, it’s a nice tail – short, fluffy, and simple. This tail is scripted, having up/down states and wagging abilities. The flexible tail fares much better in the way of alpha clipping. It’s textured similarly to how the V4 Wolf’s tail is textured, with solid, fur-like textures as opposed to simple blended textures. This tail is scripted as well, but can only wag from side to side.
There are around four optional back fluff prims – head, neck, back, waist. These aren’t necessary, so you can remove them if you want, but they are a nice little detail. They do have fits with alpha clipping, though, especially around the neck.
The hands, as with past avatars, have posable fingers and three custom pose slots. There are also a handful of preset hand positions, with a few new ones, like another relaxed pose, a hold pose, and a reach pose.
These hands are more hand-like than paw-like. The claws here are similar to those on the feet – long, non-retractable, and recolorable. The pawpads are also similar to the ones on the feet, but they’re positioned interestingly. The tips of the fingers have little round pawpads right under the claws, which, given the overall shape of the hands, may look a little odd to some users. That’s a matter of personal preference, really, but it was worth noting.
The hands blend well to the body shape wrists, with little clipping or abrupt texture changes.
In-Depth Head Summary
The head is where there is some noticable clipping of both prims and textures, so that’s what I’m going to start with.
On the seam between the eyes, where the muzzle and skull prims meet, there’s a visible area where it looks like one prim clipped under and then clipped over. On the sides of the muzzle, there’s another clipping area, although not as noticeable. When the jaw is fully open, there’s a part by the corner of the mouth that’s simply solid when using Smirk or Smile, difficult to avoid noticing. Some of the cheek fluff appears to be floating depending on your viewing angle. There’s a small area above the eye where the textures mismatch, probably from a few vertices mismatching.
Probably the most noticeable issues with the head is visible when you zoom out. A very noticeable line appears straight down the middle of your head, from skull to muzzle. This isn’t visible when zoomed in, but it’s very noticeable when zoomed out – it looks like a line of stray pixels. There is no build seam where the line appears, so why this shows up is unknown right now.
Let me repeat what I said at the beginning of the review. This is the first full retail mesh avatar from this company, and there will be flaws. These flaws, we expect, will be addressed in later updates. I am simply pointing out things that I notice on this version.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s look at the head beyond those flaws.
Striped hyenas and spotted hyenas do have some marked differences in their head shapes. The Hyenas are modeled more after real-life spotted hyenas, with a little bit of striped mixed in to achieve a “happy medium”. The ears are short, like spotteds, but pointy, like striped. The muzzle is short and stubby, like spotteds, but has a noticable dip between forehead and muzzle, like spotteds. This general shape is the same between the Striped and Spotted avatars.
Also, through the two avatars, the general head texturing is the same – there’s a lot of long fur clumping effect here, as there is elsewhere on the body.
The muzzle is broad and deep, with some intimidating teeth tucked away inside the maw. The gums and tongue are tintable via the HUD under the Mouth setting. The tongue can be toggled in/out via the HUD.
The muzzle has four states – frown and smile, plus two new states, smirk left and smirk right. The nose is big and flat, with realistic texturing. The nose is also recolorable via the HUD. It’s inherently dark-shaded, so it takes better to darker colors than to lighter colors unless you turn full bright on.
There is some fluff on the cheeks similar to the optional prims on the back, only textured to better match the face designs. The cheek fuzz appears to be hovering when you move your camera the right way, but this is so it doesn’t clip through the solid prims. This cheek fuzz can be removed manually; it’s not an attachment.
The ears are posable as a pair via the HUD. They also have options for random twitching and type turning, which can be toggled on or off. The inside fluff on the ears is on a few relatively flat prims, and only on the very front, which offers somewhat of a lack of depth to the fuzz.
The eyes are recolorable in three different zones, as opposed to the two zones available on most previous avatars. As a bit of a tradeoff, you can no longer color each eye individually; if you want to do that, detach one eye, color it, detach it, attach the other eye, and color that eye. You can control eye dilation through the first page on the HUD.
Something interesting about this avatar’s eyelids is that you can adjust them individually as opposed to changes affecting both at once. You can have one eye half-shut and the other entirely open, one eye lidded and the other closed, or whatever other combination you want. This is controllable via the HUD.
Features and Heads-Up Display (HUD)
The Hyenas are the first avatars to come with the Automatic Updating Controller (AUC) and the AIO Stripdown features. This warrants its own mini section to very briefly explain what exactly this is and what it does. You can read the official .PDF format documentation here: http://www.kinzart.com/support/AUC%20Documentation%20-%20Initial.pdf
The AUC is basically a streamlined way to update your avatar. Rez the box, click it, and the AUC will check to see if there are any updates. If there is an update, you can apply it automatically. The bonus to this is that you don’t have to replace any body parts for this – everything is done automatically. If you’ve modded a body part, you don’t have to replace it to update it.
Modders can also use this AUC to apply mods. More information on this is included in the documentation.
The AIO Stripdown feature allows you to remove non-essential scripts from your avatar, such as coloring scripts. This can help lower your script memory usage. Notice that pre-AIO Stripdown the avatar with the HUD has 23 scripts and takes up 603KB of memory. That isn’t really a lot, but a lot of places are really coming down hard on script memory usage. The same avatar, after the AIO Stripdown, has 11 scripts and 210KB script memory. The stripdown will not remove essential scripts, just scripts that could be safely removed once you’ve finished customizing your avatar.
Future avatars will have this system in place for streamlined updates, easier modding, and removal of unnecessary scripts for those of us not exactly script-inclined (or for those of us who hate digging through prims and removing them manually).
The HUD is the simple three-page format that most of the more recent KZK avatars have used. The first page lets you toggle various features on and off, adjust your eyes, tail state, and so forth. The second page controls your jaw openness and hand poses. The third page controls various color, glow, fullbright, and so forth customizations. The HUD can be safely removed.
The Hyenas are mod/copy, so you can mod them to your heart’s content. As always, keep a backup in case something breaks!
The AUC lets you keep whatever mods you have made when you update the avatar. Updating the avatar once you’ve modded it is no longer a headache.
The avatar’s head is somewhat humanoid, so most third-party hairs should fit, although they may clip through the cheek fuzz. As always, make sure the hair you intend to purchase is moddable and you try the demo first. Rigged mesh hair will NOT fit your avatar unless it is specially made.
The pawpads, nose, mouth, claws, and three different eye zones can all be recolored via the HUD. This allows you to customize those body parts without having to specially retexture them. This can be very good for those with little modding experience or those who just want to tint their body parts a little bit but don’t want to go through the hassle of modding textures.
The creators have included UV maps for the various body parts, so if you wish to make a mod kit, you are free to download and use those UV maps as templates. This is essential now, because mesh does not follow the same texture rules as sculpted prims.
These UV maps are not labeled beyond their file name. You may have to guess at what part is represented on the map, or you can apply a test texture to the body part you want to retexture and match that to the UV map in an external program.
The Hyenas have a lot of new features and changes in them – the AUC and utilization of mesh being the big ones. As such, they have their fair share of flaws, as anything created in a new medium or having brand-new relatively untested features would. Do your part to help creators improve – submit constructive criticism and feedback. Beyond that, these hyenas would make an excellent addition to your collection – hyenas are still a relatively rare species, you know.