Monday, April 28, 2014

Avatar Review: Orange Nova Sergals

By Theonlyjohnny Resident

Sergal, the very mention of the name confuses a lot of non furries. However, when mentioned to furs, the first thing that used to pop in their minds, was KZK. The original makers of the Sergal Avatar.

However, recently, a new set of Sergal avatars have been created, and placed on the marketplace. Now, I know that they have every right to make an avatar and sell it, however, it's not the same when you make an avatar, that is already in SL, and call it the greatest.

Comparing the two Sergals, it's clear which one is best. Some people will tell you that the newer Orange Nova Sergals are best, while others will tell you that the older KZK Sergals are best. To find which one is better, I looked at both of them, and this is my conclusion of which is better.

First, look at the price. At Orange Nova, the avatars cost a whopping L$1,900 per avatar. A bit of a steep price considering what you really get. KZK wins this round, since their Sergals are actually affordable, at L$800, a whole L$1,100 less than the price of the Orange Novas.

Next, we will look at body shape. While the Orange Nova Sergals are taller than the KZK sergals, this was achieved by distorting parts of it. The neck is stretched a bit too much, and the mesh legs are stretched to the point of more comical than what most people look for. The point for this, also goes to KZK, due to their sergals having a more realistic shape.

The overall look of the avatars is what we will look at next. While they advertise it as being gorgeous, and high quality, the Orange Nova Sergals are more cartoony than furry. By this, I mean it looks as if they were meant more to be in a squash and stretch cartoon, than in SL. KZK wins this round as well, since their Sergal actually looks like a furry, and is not too detailed, but not too little detailed either.

Overall, KZK is the store to go with, not the Orange Nova, dare I say it, knock offs. If you don't believe me, then get both avatars, and have a look for yourself. If you really want a sergal, then like I said, go with KZK. They are cheaper, yet they are better looking.


Monday, April 21, 2014

Avatar Review: Seawolf Dragon

By Theonlyjohnny Resident

When most people hear Seawolf, they think of an awesome, apparently affordable dragon avatar. Well, that's not entirely true. While it is a dragon avatar, and some aspects of it are awesome, overall, it's not as great as most people think it to be.

Firstly, the avatar is above most people's price range. While there are 3 of these dragon avatars, giving people the choice of a cheaper smaller version, over a large, and expensive version, the cheapest of these is still L$ 1200. While some people would gladly pay that much for an avatar, that looks this cool, it's still asking for so much, to give the buyer, so little, compared to the amount the buyer pays.

While you do receive two dragon avatars, in the juvenile, they are not really that different, in fact I will be talking about that soon. Also, you don't really receive very many attachments, and variations. You really only get a small bit, after paying a large amount.

Like I said before, the two avatars aren't really that different. Actually, looking closer, you can see that almost all of the biped parts, are simply parts from the quadruped avatar, just moved around. The few parts that aren't from the quad avatar, include the hands, the tail, the head, jaw, and the neck. The rest of the parts, were just moved around, stretched, and rotated to fit. You basically pay 1200 L to get the same avatar, twice.

When in flight, the wings always flap, however, they aren't that great of wings for flapping. There is really only 2 parts, on each wing, that actually rotates with the flapping. The part that connects the wing to the body, is the first part. This part ends before it passes the first claw on the wing. The second part is the rest of the wing, which starts where the first part ended. This makes the wings flap as if they were hitting a box, on their way down.

Flying doesn't look so good on the juvenile avatar either. I understand that they are supposed to be young, and learning to fly, however, that does not mean they bounce around as they fly. It gets a bit confusing to a lot of people, while flying in mouselook, since they're bouncing around too much.

However, there are good things about the avatar too. They do look like dragons, which is something, considering most dragon avatars don't even resemble dragons. They have mouselook breaths, which makes them good for use in roleplay sims. They also have a color change hud, which makes it possible to get more colors, than other avatars have.

Despite the fact that these avatars have many cons, they are still some of the best avatars in Second life. All in all, these avatars are on a class all their own, when it comes to greatness.

Theonlyjohnny Resident

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Look at Horror-Themed Sims

By Theonlyjohnny Resident

Second Life is full of sims of all types. There are clubs, stores, rp sims, and many more. There are even horror sims, for people looking for a good scare. This reporter is one of those people, looking for the best scare I can find.

However, there is a bit of a problem out there. Most "Horror" Sims, aren't truly horror sims. Out of 50 horror sims I have visited, very few of them can be called horror sims. Of those few sims, only a small number, are actually up to their potential. The others, of these few, have not met their potential yet. The rest are either sims that have horror in their description to get more visitors, or sims that need a lot of work before they can truly be called horror sims.

Two of the great horror sims are, Toxian City (of course), and Larisa Incident. Some would argue that Siden be in there as well, however, Siden is more of a survivalists sim, not a horror sim. Of Larisa Incident and Toxian City, we can really see how genre doesn't matter. We have Sci Fi/Horror (Larisa), and we have Rural/Horror (Toxian City). Both sims have not only met their potential, but have exceeded it as well.

A trip to Toxian city is filled with mystery, as one doesn't know what might come out of the doorways, if anything. It is also expertly designed, for rural horror, with a dark air around a falling apart city. This sim is one of the very few true horror sims.

On the other side of the hand, we have Larisa Incident, a horror RP sim based around science fiction. Just going into the cargo hold, makes one feel scared. Not only due to the dark air around them, but also due to the quietness. It gives even this reporter the shivers, thinking about what might jump out and attack.

Some sims advertise horror, and might be trying, but either aren't trying hard enough, or are trying too much. Take a look at *The House on Haunted Hill, a superb ghostly haunt*. This sim even says it's superb in the title, so one might assume it truly is. However, I am sorry to say, they are a bit mistaken.

While the sim does have potential, they tried too hard to make it scary, and ended up making a house with so many scares, it borders on comical. In fact, in one bed, they have enough scares to fill a small room. Not to mention, in that same bedroom, they have another piece of furniture that moves, as well as a demon (or ghost) in the wardrobe. If they remove quite a few of their scares, they would be able to say it is superb, but right now, it's not true.

All that is needed to make a perfect horror sim, is a vision, a computer, and the knowledge of what is too much, and what is not enough.

Theonlyjohnny Resident

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Philosopher’s Stone

 By Gemma Cleanslate

“Philosophy is written in this grand book, the universe which stands continually open to our gaze. But the book cannot be understood unless one learns to comprehend the language and read the letters in which it is composed."... part of a quote I found in the bottom of a lovely interactive build of Pixel Sideways. I will let you find the rest.

Being a student of philosophy in Second Life for several years, I was thrilled to see the new LEA 17 presentation. At the entrance you will find directions for making your visit the best for lighting.  Pixels Sideways, along with Georg Janick have gathered a group of fifteen  marvelous builders to create a tribute to their favorite philosopher, loved or hated. When you arrive at the entry you will be on the ground where Pixel has made some architectural builds reminiscent of the olden days of the Greek temples. Wander there to see them and interact in many of them. The main part of the exhibit are above in the sky on  hovering isles. The Urn at the entrance will take you to any of them you choose.  Each artist is telling a story of  their view of that philosopher. 
There are many interesting philosophers represented in the installation beginning with Aristotle , Descarte, Hume, Marx.  Some are elegant, some playful, some soulful, which is nice to see. And all are thought provoking. Philosophy is not dull when demonstrated in this way.  I was thrilled to see art by Feathers Boa, who has not been creating art in Second Life for a while. Ub Yifi has an interactive build that is very lovely. 
One I found very poignant was that of Winter Nightfire. She admits that she did not create the components of her display but her meaning is her own when she describes her philosopher, Hannah Arendt. Winter says, “If we could practice using our minds to IMAGINE what it's like to be the woman we're about to persecute, blame, cut down, or slander, then could we create a society where women lift each other up instead of tearing each other down?  Could we have a more stable, peaceful society?  The only way to find out is to begin inside ourselves.”
There is one isle with notecards on each artist. I am only giving you at taste of what you will  find.  Be sure to read the thoughts of the artists in creating their view of the philosopher they are representing in their build. Some are very extensive, some a few words. You will begin on the ground.
Gemma Cleanslate