Less than a week before Christmas 2010, I was given an unscheduled Caribou/Reindeer from the creator at ~Water Horse~. While I couldn’t guarantee that I could get the review out for Christmas Day, as a friend of mine said, “Reindeer have to live the other 364 days of the year too!” Hence, we review this fine cervine in February!
Out of the Box:
Build and Textures:
- This avatar is a fully sculpted avatar without any of the body shape visible under all of the prims. As such, the avatar depends largely on a deformer to get the job done of turning a bipedal shape into a quadruped avatar.
- This avatar effectively pulls off the fur coat of a Caribou with fur that looks very real; almost photographic in fact. From antler to tail, the textures match up perfectly with the sculpts and maintain a continuous quality.
- Build-wise, the sculpts are clean and clear-cut without any wobble in the sculpts. The creator has also managed to have the prims fit together nicely enough to avoid seams and enhance the avatar’s look when the Caribou is in motion.
- This avatar comes in both a male and female form, with the biggest difference being that the male version of this avatar has a white ruff on the neck, as well as larger antlers than the female version. Both avatars effectively come with a whole gamut of little extra features, both Christmas-like and others more winter-themed.
- We’ll start at the limbs of this avatar. There’s not much to say other than that these were well designed and put together. The feet are well cloven and very much anatomically correct. Otherwise, we’ve got our rudimentary limbs with an articulated knee-joint to allow the avatar some grace and flexibility in movement. As is to be expected, the rear legs have more powerful-looking, thicker thighs.
- The trunk of the body is fairly barrel-shaped, ending at the back with an occasionally twitching, rounded tail.
- At the neck, we’ve got the transition from the stocky torso to the much smaller head. As mentioned before, the creator has worked in the dimorphism between the two sexes of this avatar, shown by the white fur on the neck for the males.
- Now onto the most detailed part of the head. The head from all angles speaks strongly to its influence from the Caribou. The shape is somewhat conical from the neck down to the tip of the muzzle.
- The interior of the muzzle is relatively simple with the bottom jaw housing a row of ungulate-like, flat teeth. When users speak, the head bows, and the muzzle moves as if talking.
- The eyes themselves are separate prims from the main head, but still feature an effective texture blink animation. I think the eyes might be based on photos of equine eyes, but surprisingly believe that this works well for this avatar because it gives it the Caribou the kind of emotive character that horses exhibit.
- In a few words, the ears rest in the right location on the head, pointing perpendicular to the muzzle, occasionally twitching of their own volition. Users can change the state of the ears using the included HUD.
- Finally, the antlers. Males receive two versions of larger antlers which are very similar, but have fairly significant details in their arrangement (The Two Antlers on the Right). The textures of the antlers are also quite good at portraying the original form of Reindeer antlers. Before we wrap our discussion of the avatar design, we’ll point out that females receive 3 different antlers, one is medium sized, while the other 2 are much smaller and more nub-like (The 3 Antlers on the Left).
Features and Heads-Up Display (HUD):
- This avatar comes with three different HUDs, one that manages the 12 ‘special’ animations, as well as the ear states, eyelid states, breath particles, as well as the male/female sound gestures. Another instead focuses on the avatar’s animations; controlling the gait/gallop of the avatar as other options pertaining to its regular movement. The final HUD is the Deformer Toggle Buttons. The HUDs are somewhat self-explanatory as shown through the photos.
This avatar comes with a good bundle of accessories. To start, for Christmas 2010, the avatar came with complete with harnesses and halters for the avatar, as well as a Santa’s sleigh of red, gold, and green & gift sacks. However, being after Christmas, new purchases will come with a more generic winter sleigh. The quality of the sleigh itself holds up, but is nowhere near as well-made as the avatar itself. However, the Harness is well made, and when the user walks with the harness, you hear the jingling of bells. As well, the halter for the head comes in 7 different colour combinations. Users will find other tools to help with the construction of their own carriage and posing stands to modify or model their avatar within the same folder.
This avatar comes with a fully featured animation overrider, featuring multiple idle stands, walks, runs, sits, and more. Users are able to roll on their backs, thrust their antlers forward as if in battle, and even dance rather humorously. The animations are fluid and well thought out. When users change the ‘gait’ of the avatar, the animation adjusts, and the avatar’s speed increases or decreases thanks to a scripted speed-boost. The system is very effective and even affects the jingle of the Accessory Halter when you speed up. Altogether, very well done. Do keep in mind that a tiny little third HUD controls the Deform and Undeform Portion of this avatar.
This avatar comes as both modifiable and copiable. Therefore users are more than able to change and/or modify the textures and their tint on this avatar.
While SLARF apologizes profusely for the lateness in getting this review out, we believe that late is better than never. In the near future, we’ll be taking a good look at ~Water Horse~’s non-seasonal avatars. The Caribou is a strong avatar on its own with it’s photographic-quality textures and very fluid animations. We look forward to seeing what ~WH~ has to offer in future reviews.