Friday, August 21, 2015

The “Wingless” Free Avatars (2009)


The following first appeared in Second Life Newspaper in August 19, 2009

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By Bixyl Shuftan

When I first came to SL, alongside the newbie human avatars as choices for one’s first look was one nonhuman, the old ringtail avatar Luskwood donated to Linden Labs. I did find a few free furred avatars in my newcomer period, but aside from the purple kitty avie, nothing seemed an improvement until I had the cash to buy a better avatar.

 Later, I heard the newbie ringtail had been done away with as an option. So where could a newcomer go to get a furred av, particularly one with a quality look?

It was about that time I found out an answer: the Wingless Avatar package, a collection of quality avatars once sold, now free for the asking.

The Wingless Avatar package is a gift to the residents of SL from the avatar designer Wingless Emoto. He once sold his avatars through a retailer, but a dispute occurred and the business partnership dissolved. Unfortunately for Wingless, the contract signed stated he could not sell the avatars in the deals w ith him through anyone else. So Wingless decided to make them freely available, people able to grab a package at locations, or transferable from person to person. Some carry them not to wear, but to pass to newcomers to SL or those around for a while curious about furry avatars or wanting a different look. Some locations have individual Wingless avatars up for sale for 10L. But this is against the wishes of Wingless.

And the package has an impressive variety of avatars. There are many varieties of both wolf and fox-type avatars, cannids being a popular furred av in SL. There are also a few hyena and horse avs in the package. Rezzing the box on a sandbox and unpacking it, one gets a folder filled with each avatar, boxed. One has to rezz and unpack each avatar.

The avs come in both male and female skins. Highly modifiable, each av offers a choice of either plantigrade (walk on the heel like a normal human foot) or digitgrade (walk on the ball on the foot) lower legs. The latter looks more exotic, though someti ¥mes one can see the shadow of the invisiprims, and long pants worn end up looking cut off with a ring of fabric around the ankles. There is an option for small or large hands/paws. For the wolf avs, A Customization HUD gives you the option of showing canine teeth or not, and choosing the color of eyes, paws, claws, and the inside of ears. Another HUD, “Control,” allows for options for twitching ears, wagging tails, blinking eyes, and blushing.

It should be noted one doesn’t *have* to wear the whole avatar. I have seen some kitsune-style nekos who told me their ears and tails came from Wingless avatar parts. As there are several styles of hair that come with the av, this means a few
free hairpieces. A good place to look if you need one in a hurry upon getting a av with no hair.

The Wingless Avatar Package can be found in some freebie locations, though in any place in SL with some furs, it shouldn’t take long to find someone who has it and get a copy.

A truly great package of free avatars.

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Six years later, the Wingless avatars are still around. Despite that they're free, they're not worn as often as before. It seems most residents who prefer a nonhuman look whom get a set of them replace them with a more recent avatar as soon as they have the Lindens. There are also other avatars available as freebies, either legitimately such as the AX avatars at Northstar, or copied without their creators' permission and made available as free packages, such as Avenity.  Still, the avatar does have it's place in Second Life. It comes in a variety of colors that remain unmatched by some other lines of avatar. Plus with some clubs having script limits, some residents will find their favorite avatars will have problems getting them in. But with it's smaller number of scripts, the Wingless will have less trouble doing so. And if one runs across a resident interested in a nonhuman look but doesn't know where to go, one can just hand over a package of Wingless avatars.

*Addition* With the InWorldz grid becoming increasingly popular, a collection of Wingless Avatars was imported there as well. So now the avatars are available now in two grids. 

Bixyl Shuftan

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