Soon after creating the Syn-Squee Gecko, the creator made up a little modification that turned the colourful little happy reptiles into a surly bunch of colourful big reptiles. While the basic avatar still remains very similar to the original Gecko, there is considerable enough changes to warrant a separate review.
Out of the Box:
- Detachable Horns
- 8 Facial expression combinations complete with numerous Tongue Positions and Eye States
- 3 Ear Positions
- Wings with Flying Animation Overrider
- 2 Eye States (Command Activated only)
- Blink On/Off Toggle
- 56 Eye Texture/Colours
- Moving Eyes
- Muzzle-Talking Function
|Script Time / Memory (With HUD)||~0.4ms / TBD|
|Script Time / Memory (without HUD)||~0.1ms / TBD|
|Avatar Rendering Cost (Scale Here)||~780|
Build and Skin:
Like the Syn-Squee Geckos from which this avatar is derived; this avatar comes with full complement of colour schemes. However, rather than going all out with intricate back patterns or body patterns in general, this avatar opts to apply a simpler, more subtle usage of colour. Hence, users will find the body covered mostly on the back, head, sides and tails with a ‘main’ colour or two, while the belly and parts of the limbs are a soft white colour. To this effect, the body textures remain very simple and segmented, but are clearly meant to be clear and cartoony. Transitions, shading and gradations in the tone give the body a little bit of detail, so the textures do not look flat. Users can also notice the shading such as between the shoulderblades, pecs, and navel.
The sculpts themselves are very much cartoony, but as usual, remain at the quality standard that Syn-Squee has set for itself. There is no wrinkle in the sculpts, and the exaggeration of body and facial features was done well. The Avatar Rendering Cost (ARC) is very low for this avatar while still managing to pull off the look of a Gecko/Dragon cross.
The feet for this avatar borrow heavily from the gecko foot structure; but with 4 toes, each with a large amount of space between each digit. As one would expect, the bottom of the toes and the soles are very flat, and feature textured details of the special structures on gecko feet (called setae) which allow them to adhere to surfaces they climb on. Here, we see the first of many dragon-like features, however. Rather than having curvy, bulbous digits, each toe is a sharp-looking semi-claw-like structure. In a way, they could perhaps be best described as talons. For all colourations of GeckoDragon, these claws are white.
Since these feet are still large and exaggerated, there are plantigrade leg prims included with the avatar which serve to smoothen the transition between foot and leg. like the feet, these are exaggerated in their size and shape, but really add to diminish the difference in proportion between the body shape and its foot attachments.
The most detailed part of the lower body is the tail; which is really a simple sculpted appendage adorned with dark spikes with a textured shine lining the ventral surface down to the tip of the tail. These spikes begin as two single units attached to the spine, while the rest are on the tail itself. The photos themselves are self-explanatory. A neat touch is the addition of the spade-like tail-blade and the two spikes which adorn the sides of the tail-spade. In this way, the extra details introduce an increasingly draconic element.
The hand-attachments are very close in appearance to the foot attachments. But rather than 5 digits, this avatar has 4. They both maintain the setae-textured undersides, but the fingers are decidedly more pointed, feral, and talon-like. The fingers are not poseable, but maintain static; resting in a neutral-looking position that suits any social situation or environment. The wrist prim smoothens the transition from the large hand-attachments to the shape arm. These ‘helper’ prims differ from the leg ones in that they have the beginnings of colour on them; transitioning with a fancy little pattern of circles on the waist. The spikes pointing back away from the wrist prims add a good touch as well.
On to the wings. They are a touch bit small for the avatar, but at the same time, kind of cute, adding to the overall look of the avatar. The structure is relatively simple, each wing having a single spine and a membrane that lines the bends to make up the semi-transparent wing-flaps. The wings come in two modes; closed and open, of which can be swapped between automatically (when flight starts) or manually through the HUD. We will discuss the animation override quality later in this review. For now, however, the wings go along well with the avatar.
Finally, the head. This avatar is not too far distanced from the Gecko in shape, but the way how different facial features are arranged and textured really gives the impression that this is something suitably different from the original. This avatar is hugely as expressive as the Gecko counterpart, with 8 creator-made facial expressions. Again, users cannot create their own facial expressions (other than modifying the eye-lid states), but the offered expressions really do help make up for this lack of customisation with their potential expressiveness. As a whole, the head appears to aim for a kind of mischievous, semi-crocodile-faced look.
The head itself is supported by a slim prim neck that doesn’t draw much attention to itself other than the spikes running from between the shoulders to the base of the head. The size, itself is small enough to not cause many, if any problems with animations the wearer may play.
As usual, the eyes are a major point of focus on the face. They are large and round, but with slightly slanted eyelids to give them the bright, but apparently mischievous look. Users are able to interchange the eye textures between round pupils, slitted pupils with eye whites, and slitted pupils without the eye whites. Each choice is bright and well textured. A little bit textured shine and whatnot gives the eyes a touch more detail. The eyeballs themselves don’t move, but the sculpted eyelids do, allowing for the smooth blinking animations.
The muzzle itself is set into a mirthy grin, with a rounded muzzle and very high cheeks. This gives the face a naturally jovial appearance, but the addition of the three-fanged overbite on each side of the muzzle adds a slightly dangerous-looking quality. The interior of the mouth is no different, what with the large series of sharp fangs alongside a brightly tinted Gecko Tongue. The bottom jaw opens to a considerable width, and the tongue maintains Gecko-like flexibility; meaning it can stick straight out, to the side of the muzzle, or arch up and lick the avatar’s left eye. This kind of addition adds a neat extra touch to the avatar.
Three other details mark the head; the spikes, horns, and the ears. The spikes that work themselves up the back of the next extend and grow taller on the back of the head before tapering away between the eyes. Behind the eyes, we get a pair of contoured, smooth-sheened horns which curl away slightly from the head. The horns themselves, while looking nice, could be considered overkill to some users, but the creator has kept them as a detachable part of the avatar, so such users can opt not to wear them. Finally, the ears are a long and sleek addition to the head; simple, but as brightly coloured as the rest of the head. Users are able to set them in 3 different positions by HUD or command.
Features and Heads-Up Display (HUD):
The HUD for this avatar is very self-explanatory, controlling every facet and option that the avatar features. A few options are only available through commands, which users can find in the included notecard. A photo reference of the HUD is included above. While this avatar is not ground-breaking in terms of features, it makes up for it in appearance and the power of its 8 facial expressions.
The avatar comes as modifiable and copiable, so users are able to change and modify the avatar’s appearance to taste. There isn’t as many options to personally customise the face as some may be interested in, but the featured facial expressions do go a long way to helping make up for that. Users should remember that as the head is of irregular shape, human-shaped hairs will not easily fit on the head; thus requiring some extra modification.
The Syn-Squee GeckoDragon is quite the interesting modification that produced an avatar that seemed to have the opposite personality to the more innocent looking Gecko. It isn’t unusual to see a creator re-use one of their avatars to make another, but this is one avatar where we have seen a fairly large difference between versions. The change in personality from one avatar to the next is very marked despite the subtlety and simplicity of the changes. That said, this cross of a Gecko with sharp, draconian features becomes a very unique and fun addition to the family of dragon avatars in Second Life.