And so it begins, our first ‘mesh’ avatar review! Water Horse have released their deer onto the grid as a mesh-bodied quadruped avatar. With some interesting features and variations to discuss, there’s a fair amount to cover.
Out of the Box:
|Features||Permissions and Statistics|
Build and Skin:
The deer comes with a default black skin; the reason for this is that the basic form of the avatar is completely covered with a mesh body. The variants for this deer are:
White Tailed Deer: Greyscale
White Tailed Deer: Rainbow
These variations can either be purchased separately, or as a set of four for a reduced fee.
Whilst the deer avatar is predominantly comprised of one single mesh, there are a few extra attachments to help to complete the avatar. The separate pieces attachments are kept out of the main ‘mesh’, which allows for independent animation and variation, so the user can still modify the overall look of the deer with minimal effort. The textures on these pieces are well done, and stay true to the photographic quality demonstrated on the main body.
The mesh portion of the avatar consists of one complete head to toe texture. All aspects of the build are to a high standard. There are no instances of wrinkling, asymmetry or overstretched areas in the avatar.
The deer comes with a HUD which allows the user to cycle through different colours, which are set as texture groups, as opposed to tinting the base mesh. This provides a much more natural effect (and some unnatural ones too, for those with the rainbow version), and no detail is lost in this process.
As previously stated, the bulk of this avatar is in the wearable rigged mesh body which attaches to the spine. This, coupled with the provided AO instantly created the appearance of a quadruped deer.
The toes are long, angular and separated, rigged to move with the hands and feet respectively. The animations allow for the ankles to move smoothly and with no unnatural bending, save for some instances in one of the dance animations, but this is negligible. The legs bend perfectly, following the correct and highly researched anatomy found in this cervine species.
The legs join the large, well formed body easily. For the most part, the torso portion is not animated, but is modelled to a good quality and overall accurate shape. The muscles are symmetrical, and follow the skeleton of the avatar and AO perfectly. There are no unnatural or otherwise irksome movements. The torso flows into the large, animated neck and head portion of the avatar.
The deer also has a tail attachment, it is scripted to switch from side to side in an idle state, but still sit bold upright when the user runs.
The head remains true to the natural anatomy of the deer, it’s small, sloped and has moving attachments in the form of twitching ears. As far as I can tell (correct me in the comments if this is not the case), the ears move entirely of their own accord, and there are no extra controls. The eyes are simple and spherical, and alter according to the chosen colour/shade chosen by the user.
The antlers are a rather iconic aspect to the avatar, in that they are comprised of a mesh which is treated more like a sculpted prim. They are large, highly detailed and can be added to the deer head. There is no real transition between the skull and antlers, and as far as I can tell, their texture does not change to ‘match’ the rest of the avatar in the same way as the ears and eyes. The mouth is not hinged to open in the same way as the previous Water Horse avatars, but this isn’t a heavy loss.
Features and Heads-Up Display (HUD):
The AO is simply laid out, with as few words used as possible. For the most part, aspects are symbolised through a series of small diagrams that show the main aspect of each animation. This HUD also includes the option for a selection of realistic, and entertainingly charming deer sounds. The colour HUD uses shades for buttons in a similar, wordless manner. The third HUD, detailing the AO, walk speeds and other animations uses verbal descriptions. Overall, it’s very user friendly. This can be useful for users who only want to use the ‘gesture’ animations on the deer, and not constantly be overly cluttered with options for shades or the AO for the rest of the time.
The AO is certainly the main aspect of this avatar, with the animations provided creating the necessary spark to bring this creature to life with movements ranging from resting to eating and dancing. These animations are controlled primarily via the provided HUD, but are accompanied with a few automatic animations, such as those set aside for walking, running and jumping. The idle states for standing also provide some entertainment, where the deer looks around and tends to its rear foot on occasion.
Customisation for this avatar is made possible initially via the option for different colours/shades depending on the avatar purchased, and the selection of antlers possible. Users can attach parts to the avatar, but due to its natural nature, this is likely to be unnecessary.
So there we have it, one of the first rigged mesh quadruped avatars to hit the grid. Overall, I feel that his has been very well executed, and no detail has been spared in the build quality or the movements. Despite the ongoing debate on mesh at this stage, this is a great standalone avatar, and a brilliant update on the current range of Water Horse quadrupeds.