Overlooked as an potential avatar species, Luskwood took it upon themselves to create an avatar in the fashion of Wildcats and Lynxes. In this review, we take a look at the Luskwood Wildcat through their Iberian Lynx variety that has been on the market for a while now, yet still remains a presentable avatar.
A quick note:
This avatar was built in 2007, so it lacks some of the features that Luskwood and other creators use today, such as the usage of a talking jaw.
Out of the Box:
- Changeable Eye Color
- Eye Expression
- Facial Expression
- Fangs In/Out
- Claws In/Out
- Ear Expression and Twitching
- Tail Position and Wagging
Build and Skin:
The Iberian lynx skin is very spotty, with a symmetrical array of dots and stripes all over the body from the head to the toe. The spots are plentiful, but fortunately, the creators have avoided an overload on the eyes by putting variations in spot size and location over the body. Given that this avatar is less recent, there isn’t as much shading over the body or the prims compared to Lusk’s more recent offerings like the Red Panda or their Hyena. Regardless, there is a degree of shading; particularly around the areas framing the chestfur and just between the legs.
Build-wise, Luskwood made the attempt to convey ‘fluffiness’ through the usage of torii (i.e toruses) rather than the usage of partially transparent textures. This avatar maintained the tradition of ‘toon’-type furry avatars that Luskwood ushered in the early years of Second Life. The foot attachments are large and the bottoms flat, simulating the real-world animal’s adaptation to redistribute their weight on snow. The footpaws come with leg attachments which helps to make the connection between the avatar shape’s leg and the relatively large foot attachments. The hand and arm attachments are rather similar to their counterparts on the legs and feet. The tail is short and stubby, but has enough prims to make the bobtail characteristically soft and furry and all the more cute when it wiggles. Last, but not least, the avatar comes with an array of ‘floof’ not only on the chest, but on the shins, ankles, and shoulders. These additions complete a toony impression of an absolutely fuzzy animal quite well given the limitations of the Second Life client at the time.
Finally, we reach the head. A highlight would be how the only use of transparent textures were for the imitation of fluff on the tips of the ears. The head is relatively spherical, but framed by an array of cheek-fur prims to emulate the cheek ruffs of a lynx. Depending on the version of lynx that one purchases, the face, (like the body) will have different markings. In the case of the avatar on display, the stripes match those of the Iberian Lynx, found in regions of Spain. The hair itself is simple and attached to the head since this avatar was created before many creators decided to make hairs a separate attachment.
Features and Heads-Up Display (HUD)
Luskwood is often credited with the invention of the modern avatar HUD; which, starting as far back as 2005 with their Fennec, allowed the user to control specific options through a clickable interface rather than through the memorization of text-based commands or gestures. The HUD allows people to change their eye colour with a RGB sliding mechanism (which was ahead for its time), eye expressions, facial expressions, fangs toggle, claw toggle, ear-expression and twitchiness and tail twitchiness as well. Additionally, users are able to save a preset default for the avatar and recall it whenever they wanted.
This avatar is readily customisable in that as usual, Luskwood avatars are copiable and modifiable. For those who want to replace the default hair, it will require the manual de-linking of the hair-prims. The usage of third-party hairs will require a little bit of modification as the head shape is fairly spherical.
From its release 2 years ago, this lynx was no doubt a very solid avatar that was, and continues still is fun to wear. Some peers have pointed out to me that the avatar lacks sculpts, so it’s therefore ‘old-school’. However, it should be pointed out that 2 years later, the avatar remains aesthetically pleasing even without the usage of sculpts (which didn’t come until over a year after its release). All this aside, in the end, this short feline pays homage to its real-world counterpart while remaining a unique creation unto itself.