The next in their string of avatars, Luskwood takes a shot at updating one of their most venerable avatars. The Luskwood wolf has been around since 2005, so it was only fitting to give it a refresh and make it relevant, as was done with the Big Cat update. In this review, we take a look a the updated Luskwood Wolf.
Out of the Box:
Script Time with HUD
Script Time without HUD
Avatar Rendering Cost
- Blinking and Colour Changing Eyes
- Colour Changing Hair
- Smile/Frown Plus Tongue
- Twitching Ears and Tail
- Muzzle-Talking Function with Talking Animation Override
- Scripted Tail States
- Flexible, Sculpted, Semi-Flexible
- Scripted Swap between Digigrade and Plantigrade leg stances
- Howl Animation and Sound
Build and Skin:
With this wolf, Luskwood maintains their improved textures that we’ve seen on the last few avatars. The fur is decidedly cartoonish, which reflects on the style of the avatar. However, cartoony doesn’t mean that there is a lack of detail. There is a good quantity of gradients and fuzziness in the textures which makes the skin have some depth and helps avoid looking flat. With a combination of fur striations, shadowing and highlights over the back and the front, we can say that the textures do well to give the skin definition and tone. The sculpts on this avatar are all well constructed; one will not find any kind of sculpt wrinkling over any of the attachment surfaces. The avatar comes with male and female avatar versions sold separately, with the major difference between sexes being shape, hair, and the eye textures.
The feet and the legs come in two forms; both plantigrade and digitigrade, with the option to switch between one or the other available through the HUD or by command. The digitigrade (Brown wolf in above picture) version of the legs are the best out of the two; with the most detail in the paws and the leg attachments themselves. The footpaws are 4-toed and tipped with blunt claws. The soles of the feet are flat with convincing pawpads, while the toes are relatively thick and tall. The digitigrade leg meets with the rear of the paw to make a smooth visual transition. These legs suit the style of avatar because they are shaped and appropriately sized to support the avatar’s body weight. Luskwood has taken a strong initiative in making good feet and legs for a while now.
Before I forget, there is the chest-fluff fur that rests between the pecs/breasts of the avatar. Compared to the normal ‘torus’ type of prim fluff, Luskwood has opted for a sculpted fluff that looks full and artistic.
The hand-paw attachments are very similar to the feet; with 4 fingers in all, which makes each digit thicker and altogether more paw-like. The hand-paws are thick and meaty, like we’ve found on other avatars that choose to take on the 4-fingered approach. There is division enough between the fingers to make these attachments hand-like enough and visually seperate them from a ‘full’ paw. Because the hand-attachments are relatively large, attached just above the hand are wrist-prims to smooth the transition between the body shape and the hand-paw attachments. The wrist-prims do the job well, but unfortunately not intersecting ‘flush’ with the hand-paws, making for a slightly awkward-looking lower arm.
The tail comes in three different forms here; sculpted, flexi, and semi-flexible. Instead of using semi-transparent textures to give the tail shape and a fuzzy appearance, this wolf uses sculpted fluff to make up the majority of the tail, keeping in theme with the rest of the avatar. The tail underside uses some flexi-prims to give it a little extra depth and some extra fluffiness. The semi-flexible tail is pretty much an array of flexible prims made up of pointed cylinders. The result, then is a tail that borrows some oft he detail you see in full-prim/sculpted tails, yet with some of the flexibility of flexi-tails. You can swap between the semi-flexible and the sculpted tail through the HUD or commands. The full-flexible tail, on the other hand, comes as its own attachment. The textures across all three versions are solid and maintain the same level of quality as the rest of the avatar.
At last, we reach the head. Anyone who is familiar with the wolf avatar of old, from Luskwood, can see the resemblance to its predecessor in this update. The personality that was present in the prior version remains exceedingly intact in this new avatar, but with modern skills and techniques applied. The head is wide, and the muzzle is thick, giving considerable credence to wolf head proportions. The broad muzzle tapers to a dull point with a neatly textured nose. The shape overall is smooth and contoured, allowing for a slight overbite which shows a bit of the front teeth and wolfish fangs. In short, the muzzle remains one of the strongest features of the head; shaped and textured very well. The interior of the muzzle is simple and effective, with the usual tongue the user can stick in or out (when they type in chat).
The main head prim contains the eye texture and cheek ruffs. The eyes are similar to the preceding Wolf 1.0 avatar, but the rest of the head has been revamped with solid texture-work over the front of the head. The result has been that there is no ‘flat’ colours as much as artistic renderings of fur. The eyes are brightly textured and different expressions are available through the included HUD and commands written in the included notecard. Each side of the face has fur ruffs that round out the face with prim fluff. The fluff prims on the cheeks give way to tall, sideways-facing ears with well detailed, fur-lined insides.
As a whole, the head reaches its goal of updating the Wolf 1.0 to modern Luskwood standards. The Big Cat was another successful update to another venerable part of their avatar line. However, the only real criticism that could be afforded to the head could be size and proportions. That is, the width of the head is reasonably large, which causes for a slight visual disproportion between the head itself and the body shape. The design of the head overall is great, but the size and execution of the main head-prim (the prim that hosts the eyes) works against it.
Features and Heads-Up Display (HUD):
All of the features of the avatar are controlled by the HUD, but also managed by text commands included in the provided notecard.
The following is controlled by the HUD:
- Eye Color
- Eye Expression
- Mouth Expression
- Tongue Position
- Articulated Jaw Status (Muzzle-Talking Function On/Off, etc.)
- Hair Color
- Ear Twitching
- Tail Position/Type and Wagging
- Digitigrade/Plantigrade leg/feet type
- Howl Animation/Sound
The aforementioned howl animation/sound is one of the masterpieces of this avatar. Once activated, the avatar bends down to one knee, closes their eyes, and throws their head back to let loose a well-sampled audio clip of a lupine howl. The animation is excellent, and coined with the sound sample makes for an impressive high-point for the Lusk wolf 2.0.
It’s not difficult to modify this avatar as it comes with modifiable, copiable permissions. Users are able to make all the changes they wish to the avatar with no real difficulty, though finding a third-party hair to fit the head may require a good bit of searching and/or fitting.
The Luskwood Wolf 2.0 remains true to its predecessor in a powerful way. The difficulty in doing updates to an avatar is to maintain the traits and personality that users liked about it in the first place, while bringing the avatar into line with the present skills and techniques. The Wolf 1.0 was incidentally my first avatar that I bought and used as my main appearance for a long time. It is very appreciable that Lusk has taken the iniatiative of keeping the spirit of the original in this new, updated form. Thus, the wolf becomes another successful update to their older avatars despite the head-size issue. It will be interesting to see what Luskwood will release in 2010 and beyond with their growing skill.