Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Kattoan Avatars

I haven't been inworld much, playing Minecraft and other games and all, but when I heard that Kinzart Kreetures had a new variety of Hyena out (Kinzart being one of the places I avatar shop often at), I came across something... unusual. Something I hadn't seen before, and after being on Second Life for five plus years, anything unique or that stands out is rare for me.

Enter the Kattoans. These are small avatars that look like, well, a mammal, at first look. I wasn't quite sure what they were. They're mesh avatars with a wide variety of colors. I grabbed a lime green one and was referred to as a muppet, so I grabbed an almond-color one as well. I was impressed with the avatar overall, and could actually envision a tiny civilization of these guys elsewhere. They're only a little bit bigger than the largest of the Meeroos, and I could -easily- see them as befriending the 'roos for companionship.

I tracked down the avatar creator, one Athau-xan, also known as 1000 Carlos, and we sat down to a brief interview.

Xymbers Slade, "These are some pretty neat avs, 1K. Where did you come up with the idea? (smile)"

Athau-xan, "Most of my inspiration came from Spiral Knights, mainly. I also threw together a couple different art-styles from around the N64-era."

Xymbers Slade, "Can't say I've heard of that... sounds like an anime. It's still very unusual and it was enough to draw my attention away from the hyenas I was after for the time being. Were they difficult to create? I hear mesh isn't the friendliest thing to work with."

Athau-xan, "They weren't too difficult to make. How long it actually took me to make them is hard to say, as I just worked on them a little bit whenever I had spare time. I purposely kept them really low polycount because, artistically, it looked better, and I wanted them to use as little resources on the sim as possible."

Xymbers Slade, "What exactly are they supposed to be, besides a very unique race? Kind of like... I don't know, a groundhog or something? Or a fuzzy rodent of some kind, perhaps?"

Athau-xan, "I'm not quite sure myself really, something like a mix between a rodent and a mole I guess."

Xymbers Slade, "Is there anything you wanted to do with them but couldn't thanks to Second Life, well... being Second Life?"

Athau-xan, "I would've liked to make the body separate pieces, which I could. but unfortunately SL likes to make really bad seams where parts are split, and I didn't really want the avatar covered in seams."

Xymbers Slade, "I don't know a thing about building, so I'll take your word for it. I see over there the sign for the 'Republic of Kattoa.' Do you have a grand design for them in mind or are you letting the incoming community build on its own?"

Athau-xan, "I do have my own future plans for the Kattoans. Such as perhaps an entire sim dedicated to them in the long run. I'll eventually release a builders kit when I get around to it so the community can create their own ideas for them."

Xymbers Slade, "Do you also do commissions? I know I'd like to see, say, a set of knight's armor, or something."

Athau-xan, "I am currently not accepting commisions, and I don't expect to start in the forseeable future, but I do have a knight set planned, among plenty of other outfits."

Xymbers Slade, "Ok, is Okarthel the only spot you have these available, or have you got a main store somewhere?"

Athau-xan, "Currently Okarthel is the only location to find Kattoans. I do plan on getting my own simulator for them eventually, but I cannot say when that will happen."

Xymbers Slade, "Sims ain't cheap, but I'll get behind this if one does pop up."

I could see these critters clearly in my head in their own little civilization running around. It is very rare that one can see something just "spring to life" in one's head like that. These guys are small enough to even ride the My Little Pony avatars I did a piece on a while ago, and I can see several potential possibilities in my head that this could really take off and give other avatar makers a run for their money. At about 350 $L, plus the cheap cost of outfits, they're far cheaper than most avatars I've come across. They come in a wide variety of colors and currently four mesh outfits are also available as separate purchases. One of them, the civilian outfit, being free.

Four Dragon Hoards out of five --- only because I want to give it room to grow and see where it goes. This is something I can really get behind. They can currently be found in a corner of the Okarthel sim.

Xymbers Slade

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