Today, we review the Steambot Energy Company’s Micro Fox avatar. This avatar is advertised as a fully articulated miniature fox tiny built on the NotSoBIGAVs micro-deformer. An end result has been the production of many, many different third-party modkits, accessories, clothing, furniture, and even houses.
Out of the Box:
Build and Skin Quality:
- This avatar is described as being a fully articulated micro fox avatar, and it lives up to this description. There are a number of different approaches to tiny/micro avatars, some going with a simpler approach where users have much more limited movement. This avatar goes for the more complex route, with separate prims for all of the major joints of the body. This way, despite any movement or animations that the user plays, the avatar will manage to conform neatly. A strength of this avatar is that it works in conjunction with any old Animation Overrider; any sit, any animation you can throw at it. Of course, the more ‘dynamic’ the pose is, the higher the chance that the avatar won’t look as nice, so try not to do anything too exuberant; sticking to simpler, neater animations.
- This avatar is fully made up of prims, which makes the construction and the composition of the avatar all the more important. For the most part, the avatar was designed well, in both of its male and female forms to allow maximum movement. Sometimes the textures might not line up perfectly; but that’s because of the focus this avatar has on having articulate body parts. This is more than made up for because of how well the textures are done, and because of how well jointed the body parts are.
- The textures themselves are good, presenting themselves as fuzzy fur. In the photo above are the three different colouration of foxes that come straight from out of the box. There’s a good bit of shading here and there to give the body some more visual dimension, which always goes far with pretty much any kind of avatar. This fox comes with a spotted version as well, which shows off the potential for this avatar to wear more complex skins on such a small body while still looking aesthetic and presentable from any angle or distance.
- The avatar comes in both male and female form; with the users having to choose which gender they want for the 2 prims that make up the trunk of the body. The female skin has a more curvy look with a flared pelvis, while the male has a more square shape. The textures have been adjusted for both, and the user should find themselves happy with either sex.
- As we’ve mentioned before, the construction of this avatar is fairly simple, but well done. The best way to describe the design of this avatar, other than the articulate body parts, would be that it is somewhat “chibi” style in its implementation. The avatar doesn’t even stand as tall as a 0.5m default cube as much as measuring less than a mere 0.4m tall. As such, this is clearly a very small avatar that can be very easily missed if it weren’t for the name-tags way above the user’s head.
- This avatar comes with simple digitigrade legs that are linked to petite, chibi footpaws. The underside has well textured black footpads. The digitigrade legs themselves feature a subtle bend in the leg, then merge well with the thigh prims.
- The thigh prims themselves are relatively simple in their own right, forming the knee joint at one end, and meeting with the pelvis attachment at the other.
- The pelvis attachment is modified according to the sex that the user chooses to wear, with a more flared look for the female version as opposed to the male. One interesting thing about the pelvis attachment is the focus on the rump-cheeks, which stands out a bit for a micro avatar, but definitely adds a little bit more shape and realism to the avatar’s appearance.
- The avatar comes with two different versions of a flexible tail. They’re both equally fluffy and make up a significant portion of the avatar’s “mass.” The difference between the two is the addition of ‘wrap’ around the tail with a little symbol on it.
- The torso portion of the avatar comes, like the pelvis in a male or female form, with chest texturing to further differentiate between the two.
- The arms are the most articulated parts of this avatar, with an upper arm portion, a lower arm portion, then a hand attachment. This way users can do a whole bunch of upper body movements without a problem at all. The hands are the most notable; despite being on a very small avatar, the creator has still managed to produce a hand with fingers similar to those of a human hand.
- We’ll take a moment to mention that the avatar torso part comes with the option to wear a collar with a little bell on the front for both males and females.
- Finally, onto the head. This avatar’s head is fairly simple in terms of features, with the only two features being the sculpted blinking and the ability to change the eye colour through the HUD.
- However, the head makes up for any lack in facial features with it’s appearance. In a way, the head reminds one of a toy-like, cartoon animal, with large, brightly colored eyes, and a small muzzle close to the face topped off with a shiny black nose.
- The face is rounded out on each side by a little bit of translucent fluff prims and a selection of large ears. Users can cycle through ears A to E, each with small differences in shape, size, and texturing, and mix and match to their personal taste.
- Additionally, the avatar comes with a choice between three hairs; each with a distinct personality that they bring to the avatar.
- In the end, this head comes across as rather cute and lively, truly at home on the small body that the avatar sports.
Features and Heads-Up Display (HUD):
- The HUD for this avatar provides all of the functionality and the features. For the most part, the design is user-friendly, though some functions are better learned by experimenting with some of the buttons and seeing what they do.
- Keep in mind that the HUD itself is retractable, as is the eye texture-switcher and Colour/Glow Changer. The Eye texture switcher allows users to easily add their own custom eye textures by placing them in the contents.
- One of the bigger features of this avatar has to be the camera options. Using camera parameters from two test-and-true HUDs, the user is able to have the camera follow them at 3 different angles/closeness, which allows for the user to explore or live in very small houses and environments, or sit in tiny-sized furniture.
- Finally, another part of this avatar is the included animation overrider. While essentially simple in it’s implementation, the animations suit the avatar well, and are sufficiently unisex; with a few walks, sits, and stands.
- A very useful option that is included with the avatar is the ability to change the height at which the avatar itself will be positioned in relation to the surface it’s standing on. That way, depending on whether you’re sitting or standing on various objects, you can move the avatar to suit the pose or height.
- This is a fundamentally huge part of this avatar. The actual fox itself is versatile, allowing users to easily modify it to their tastes and liking. In the photo below, we show some of the different ears, hairs, tail-versions, and even the included collar.
- At the same time, the avatar has spawned a large, vibrant community of modders quite unlike one that I’ve seen before. We see people creating creating the usual third-party items like clothing from time to time, but there seems to be a huge amount of it available as leg-warmers, earrings, scarves, jackets, pants, and more. Additionally, there are complete mod kits; I’ve seen someone turn the SEC Micro Fox into Alf™, that snub-nosed alien from an 80s sitcom. In a way, this avatar is driven by it’s ability to be modified, as well as the eagerness of it’s community to push it an extra mile by using it as a platform for expression.