It would seem like breedables, especially of the feline kind, are like buses. You wait around for ages, and then FOUR come along, seemingly all at once! Of course, that’s not the case, but the latest cat to be released in Second Life has just started beta phase and I was lucky enough to be invited to participate. Having beta-tested Krazy Kitties and Wildwoods previously I’d like to think I know a wee bit about what makes for a great breedable cat product in Second Life, so hopefully my observations will assist the creators in their goal to launch even more moggies onto the grid. (Perhaps Second Life should be re-named Second Cat?)
Before I progress I have to point out that although I am a totally committed Wildwood cat breeder ( cut me and I bleed Wildwood blood) I am pretty good at retaining my objectivity when it comes to products such as these, so I intend to be pretty unbiased in my verdict. You also need to know that I’m a Virgo who just adores beautiful packaging as much as the products inside, so when I saw the Kittycats beta package I started to get a warm fuzzy glow that made me think that we could be onto a good thing here…
I always say that when someone takes the trouble to make the box look good you can be pretty much assured the products inside will be just as good. We all know Wildwood make fantastically packaged products, and I’m happy to say that it looks as though Kittycats will be too. As you can see I received a wee sack with an ickle paw protruding out of it, as though beckoning me over to reveal the goodies inside! Great huh? (For a fleeting moment I confess my brain did make the grim association between cats in sacks and fast-moving water and I did feel tempted to start singing ‘The Drugs Don’t Work’ by The Verve, but fortunately that urge rapidly subsided!) Inside were cardboard boxes, instructions and foodstuffs for the kits…I set out my grub and started the birth-ball rolling. It took an hour but that was OK, I busied myself with my bunnies and horses (remember those?) whilst I waited.
So, these Kittycats..what are they like? Well, I’m just getting used to them and so far I am really liking what I see. First up I have to say that these cats are textured beautifully. How best to put this; they’re as beautiful as the Wildwoods, but in a different way, if you see what I mean? The quality just shines through, you can tell that hours have been spent working out the shading on the coats and you can even see individual hairs as you zoom in. The coats that I have seen thus far are real show stoppers; for example the change in colour gradient on the paws and faces of the point breeds is lovely. The coat work is just divine, no two ways about it. But better still are the eyes-holy moly, these are a sight to see! The eyes are just totally breathtaking, no exaggeration. They have a depth and a sparkle that make them especially attractive, and teamed with the slow blink animation that these cats perform makes for a winning combination.
Yes, you read that correctly-these cats SLOW BLINK. In fact, all the animations that I have observed so far have been pretty much made of win. Reader, these cats wash, which means that they stick out an ickle pink tongue and it is so saccharine sweet that it may make you gag! ( Which is often what my cats do after they’ve had a wash, furry beasts that they are. That’s usually followed up by a enormous fur-ball, but don’t expect such common behaviour with these Kittycats, these are cats with class) The head positioning and the transition between animations works very well and there’s one particular, slight tilted-head pose that made me physically exclaim in real life because it is pure cat. At this juncture I want to mention that beloved passed me and also commented on how amazing the cats were..coming from someone who doesn’t populate Second Life very often (well, practically never if I’m honest) that’s high praise indeed.
There are of course differences in coats, eyes, tails and ears, as you would expect. Please don’t be thinking this is because they are copying any of the cat breedables that are already out there on the grid, because that would be a rather daft assumption to make. The creators are merely replicating the many breed traits that exist in real life, so therefore it’s fair to assume that we’ll see bobtails, curl and fold ears and features that you would see in any regular ‘Spotters Guide To Cats’ Already I’ve observed two tail shapes in the betas that I am rearing.
The actual shape of the cat is very different to Wildwood. Wildwood cats are quite lean, which makes them appear a tad more masculine than these cats, who have more girth, longer bodies and more defined feet. If I’m being brutally honest here I’m going to say that I’m not mad about the body and foot shape, BUT it’s pretty unfair of me to focus on those fixtures at the moment because these are Beta cats so are subject to change. I’ve also not mentioned menus or further specifics in case they change. Suffice to say I like the menu-styling and I also really rate the symbols used in hover-text above each cat, but of all the things that may be subject to change then these are usually t he most likely, so not much point dwelling on them at present) Oh, by the way, these cats have necks, which may seem an odd point to make but such an addition means that you’ll be able to accessorise them with collars in future. (Seeing as the promo pics featured diamanté collars it’s fair to assume that’s why the neck was built into the body shape) And this leads me right on to my next point. If the Wildwood Cats and the Kittycats were in Rome, then the Wildwoods would live in the Colosseum, whereas the Kittycats would probably be sat licking their paws in the windows of the newly opened Versace boutique.
In fact, even though it’s early days I can honestly see both these breedable products co-existing nicely because they cater to slightly different markets, which in the current breedable climate is a darn good thing. Of course Wildwoods are stunning and fashionable in their own right, but they aren’t so overtly feminine that they exclude male breeders. Kittycats by contrast won’t seek to alienate male breeders, but their very design and decoration lends them more feminine appeal.
In fact I’d say that Kittycats are aiming to be a more sophisticated, fashionista-orientated brand, and such a manoeuvre, in my humble opinion, is no bad thing. It means (hopefully) that both of these fabulous felines can co-exist happily on the grid, which is what I’d like to see happen. But we’re a long way off from that, with the Beta cats very much still a work-in-progress, but in my mind at least I’m already forming the opinion that Kittycats have been built on such solid foundations that they are sure to be a success.
What this means for Brightpet Cats and Krazy Kitties is unclear, but in all honesty I can only see two breeds dominating the market share, and it’s neither Brightpet nor Krazy. I shall keep you updated on these pages about the progression of the Kittycats through their beta testing but so far it truly does look very promising indeed.