Total Shift Productions Dimetrodon
In this review, we’ll look at Total Shift Production’s contribution to the under-stocked market of reptilian avatars: the dimetrodon. Contrary to popular belief, the dimetrodon is not a dinosaur, but actually a type of pelycosaur, a creature more closely related to mammals than reptiles. Regardless of its historical origins however the dimetrodon is a unique addition to Second Life’s ever-expanding set of anthropomorphic avatars.
Out of the Box
From the first moment of rezzing the dimetrodon’s unpacking box (a disembodied tail in the color of your dimetrodon, complete with flesh and bone), it’s clear to the user that they will be in for a unique avatar experience. The default shapes for both the male and female dimetrodon are stocky, muscular, and a little squishy around the edges–an uncommon shape for an uncommon avatar. If you are unfamiliar with dimetrodons and do a quick search on google, it will reveal to you that Total Shift Production’s pelycosaur looks exactly like it should. From its pointed “sail” (the ridges and fins lining the dimetrodon’s back) to its curved, toothy skull and lengthy tail, the avatar is a fantastic interpretation of an anthropomorphic dimetrodon. While only the black/white and brown dimetrodon colorings feature distinct “markings,” all of the dimetrodon color variations include faint, swirled markings on their backs, tails, hands, and toes to keep the skins from seeming overly plain.
One of the greatest strengths of this pelycosaur lies in the fact that reptilian and dinosaur-esque avatars are a semi-commodity within the Second Life community. This means that the dimetrodon is currently the only avatar of its kind available in-game. While there are other dinosaur avatars currently available on the marketplace, the rounded shape of the dimetrodons head sets it apart from them, giving it a very one-of-a-kind appearance. Another strong suit of the dimetrodon is the interesting approach Total Shift has taken on its skin: the avatar includes a single, unisex skin. Upon first glance, users might find themselves weary of the idea of a unisex skin–after all, such skins are often unflattering on one gender or the other. Owners will not find this to be the case with the Dimetrodon, however. The unisex skin fits both the female and male shapes perfectly, easily creating the illusion of male and female-specific skins that
look fantastic on either gender. Dimetrodon owners will also appreciate the balance between simplicity and detail taken with the avatar’s skin, which is versatile enough for both realistic and toony characters. The detailed markings along the avatar’s “sail” also add a nice touch to the pelycosaur. One
final, great bonus to the dimetrodon is that there are very few scripts weighing it down. Users won’t have to worry about changing avatars when entering traffic-heavy sims or sandboxes because the dimetrodon, without its HUD, uses only 2 scripts and 128 kilobytes.
While the low script count is a great bonus for those looking for a simplistic, low-lag avatar, some users may find the lack of customization options on the Dimetrodon frustrating. The miniscule amount of options becomes very apparent upon attaching the HUD, which features only three buttons: “closed,” “open,” and “wide.” Although the HUD itself does not specify it, users can guess that these options correspond to the Dimetrodon’s jaw position, allowing users to set it to one of three angles. Unfortunately, this is quite literally the only thing the HUD does for the Dimetrodon. While the HUD itself features rather fantastic dimetrodon-themed art, it’s a bit big and also doesn’t minimize. Many users may simply opt to only wear the HUD when jaw movement is necessary, but for those who prefer to keep their HUDs on, this is an infuriating feature (or lack thereof). Beyond basics such as changing shape or adding parts from other avatars to the dimetrodon, the only other portion of the avatar that allows for the customization is the eyes. However, the lack of scripts is also apparent here, as the eyes are only tintable manually. Because the eyes do feature a glare/lighting layer around them, users will have to zoom in and fight with the avatar to actually get the eyes themselves selected for tinting.
The Dimetrodon is clearly a unique avatar simply by nature of what it is: a dimetrodon. While the avatar doesn’t feature any particularly creative or innovative customization options, the variety of colors that Total Shift’s pelycosaur is available in allow for a lot of different looks and fun options. The colors are made even more exciting by the knowledge that, honestly, no one really knows what colors these ancient creatures were–meaning that even a purple dimetrodon could, technically, be historically correct. This concept means that users can feel free to play around and have fun with the avatar without worrying about being “unrealistic.” The shape of the Dimetrodon also adds a very special flavor the avatar! At the moment, many avatars are being released with similar shapes, but the Dimetrodon steps into the marketplace with a large, husky shape that won’t tolerate anything less than pure individuality.
Users looking for a uncommon avatar with a heavy dose of its own brand of attitude will not be disappointed with this one. Although it lacks in customization features, the Dimetrodon makes up for it with individuality. This unique anthropomorphic take on an ancient creature is well worth the cost for anyone in the market for a fun new avatar.