Today, we’re pleased to produce our 100th review on SLARF. In this review, we cover one of Syn-Squee’s newer offerings. We look forward to covering the spunky Caracal species.
Out of the Box:
- Black/white claw changer
- Retractable Claws
- 3 Tongue Positions
- 3 Tail Positions
- 4 Eye States
- 3 Ear Texture Options
- 3 Ear Tuft Texture Options
- 4 Ear Tuft Style Options
- 5 Ear Positions
- 4 Nose Colours
- Big-Neck Fluff Attachment/Alternate, smaller Neck Fluff Attachment
- 51 Eye Texture/Colours
- Moving Eyes
- Optional Flexible Tail Attachment
- Muzzle-Talking Function
|Script Time (With HUD)||~0.7-2.0ms|
|Script Time (without HUD)||~0.4|
|Avatar Rendering Cost (Scale Here)||~1450|
Build and Textures:
Stylistically, the avatar aimed for a cartoon-y kind of persona, and met that aim very well. The textures are bright, aesthetically appealing, and designed to suit the body and attachments perfectly. In terms of the sculpt quality, the creator has done a good job of avoiding sculpt wrinkling. All of the attachments have a smooth surface with minimal dimples if there are any. One observation about the sculpt quality is that the different prims fit cleanly with one another. Creases between prims on the head are minimised by the avatar’s texture-work.
The avatar itself comes in two different groups of colourations; a normal palette and a considerably more coloured palette. The ‘Normal’ grouping of colours comes in shades of beiges, greys and more earthy tones, while the ‘Crazy’ grouping comes with several varieties of hues such as ‘acid. (See above)’ In all, the textures are bright, lively, and attractive. The shading of the avatar is simple, but the markings themselves are detailed to reflect Caracal markings. The creator has taken care to ensure that despite the cartoon-like quality of the avatar, the textures on the body and the attachments are not flat.
Male and Female avatars are sold separately, and the skins included are PG-only. Females receive a little extra definition around the breast in terms of shading.
The foot attachments are symmetrical 4-toed paws with retractable claws. Users are able to choose between black and white pre-made textures for the claws. The underside of paws are very feline-like, with thick, sculpted pink pads. The leg attachments are also well made, but the digitigrade legs are very tall. The length of the legs is a bit unbecoming for an animal of the Caracal species, but considering how the avatar is a stylised, idealised re-creation of the real world animal, it isn’t a huge issue. Correction: Real Caracals DO have long legs; in fact, they are often known as stilted cats. In that respect then, a little bit of exaggeration is more than welcome in order to keep with the theme of the avatar. Because the digitigrade legs are long, the avatar requires thigh attachments to make the connection between the prim legs and the shape torso visually smooth. The downside to the legs is that while it looks great, you need to use the thighs in order to have smooth looking legs. For those that do not mind this small set-back, the thighs do an excellent job of meshing the body shape and the digi-legs.
If you wish to wear shorts, it will be easiest if you buy shorts with sculpted legs. Normal clothing layer shorts will not work as well with the digitigrade legs unless you did a bit of shape modification. Syn-Squee also sells shorts made exactly to fit with this avatar (seen below, but sold separately). For those who want to wear normal clothing layers or do not like digitigrade legs, users can use the less aesthetic, but very useful plantigrade legs and feet in the ‘Extras’ folder.
The tail is fairly mid-length, but made out to look very fluffy. It comes in 3 Different positions (modifiable by HUD), including a curled one. Users can opt for the flexible tail instead if they prefer. The sculpted tail could have done with some flexible prims for visual effect when moving.
The avatar comes with two different attachments for ‘fluff’ on the upper body. The default one is large and covers much of the shoulders, a good portion of the front body, and some on the back. It’s good for visual effect, but can sometimes clip with the front of the face if the head is pointed slightly downwards. The textures and type of fluff match the body well. Users can also opt for fluff that only centers between the pecs/breasts. This is found in the Extras folder.
The hand-paw attachments are the regular paw-hand combo. The hands are static and unmoving, but with 4 fingers and claw-tipped like the feet. Both hands are set in a relaxed pose which suits whatever occasion the avatar is in. Additionally, the hands have been sized well to suit the avatar’s dimensions. Just above the base of the hands, there is a sculpted wrist-prim with fluff which smoothens the hand-paw to avatar body shape transition.
The eyes are slightly exaggerated and brightly textured. They give the head a direct focal point as well as give the avatar a lively, organic quality. Instead of being attached to the shape eyes, the eyes are scripted to move randomly, adding to the life-like effect. Above the eyes, the brows are pronounced and thick, creating a unique head-shape that suits the face well. Across the entire head, there are a number of thin flexible whiskers which aren’t too thick, but finely detailed. The muzzle is short and stubby, but thick from side to side. Especially noticiable is the big button-like nose that users can choose from 4 textures to decorate it.
When looking at the muzzle from a side angle, users should be able to see a good bit of curvature and varying thickness which gives the face more character. One of the most common comments I have received in regards to the avatar is that it reminds users of a fursuit with a larger-than-life personality. While a positive aspect of the avatar, being fursuit-like could be a criticism due to a slightly larger than normal head.
The pictures show the well thought details and textures over the muzzle itself. The inside of the muzzle is no different, with a very well textured tongue, and simple teeth lining the gums. Even though there are no mouth expressions, (only jaw states), the facial expression is always bright and interesting. Users can stick their tongue out in 2 ways; out in front or to the side. Both make for fun expressions. When the user types in chat, an automated gesture sticks the avatar’s tongue out for you.
The ears stand out as a defining feature of the avatar due to their tall, peaked, and yet slightly concave shape. Users can change the colour of the back of the ears, as well as the positions that they are in. Inside the ears, there is a good degree of prim fluff lining, but nothing attacts attention as much as the tufts at the tips. Here, users can choose from 4 different tuft styles, as well as three different shades of tuft colour.
Features and Heads-Up Display:
All of the avatar’s features are accesssible through the included HUD. There are commands in a notecard that allow users to change the ear position of one or both ears, the eye colour of one or both eyes, and the eye state. The HUD is very self-explanatory as is shown in the photo below:
Below is a photo that shows off some of the potential that the head has for customisation; particular as set forther as the HUD shown.
The avatar comes including alternative leg attachments (in plantigrade fashion), alternative chest-fluff, and a flexible tail in the Extras folder. These are shown in the photo linked to the thumbnail to the right. The plantigrade legs and feet are a great option for those who wish to wear normal clothing layers for their lower body, but pale in comparison to the work put into the digitigrade attachments.
Accessories (Sold Separately):
As mentioned earlier, the avatar has a unique pair of digitigrade legs which requires the usage of thigh prims. The creator has released a pair of shorts which fit to the avatar’s original body shape perfectly, creating an aesthetic look. These pairs of shorts cost 100L each. About the only thing that would have made these shorts better would have been more variety in colour choices. I have been told that more colours of the shorts are on the way. See photo to the left:
The avatar comes modifiable and copiable, so users can modify the avatar as they prefer. A number of third-party hairs will not fit on this head too easily thanks to its somewhat larger diameter and spherical shape. Users will need to be at a somewhat intermediate level of experience to attempt this and be successful. Additionally, the thigh and digitigrade legs are fitted to the shape that comes out of the box, as does the digitigrade shorts that come with the avatar. A certain amount of care would need to be taken while customising the body shape.
The Syn-Squee Caracal is a massive show of improvement and skill development that follows their earlier avatars, such as the Fruit-Foxes. While they have focused on bringing out a stylised, bright and cartoon-like persona to the avatar, this hasn’t stopped them from honing in on their sculpting skills as well as stepping up the features they offer. It is this cartoon quality that’s been given to the avatar which allows the creator to experiment with exaggeration of features, whether it’s head-size or paw size. The result has been an spunky and cute feline. It was a positive experience being able to cover this avatar for our 100th review. Here’s to another 100!