I received a note in my inbox the other day to tell me that Vista Animations had just released a new AO (Animation Override). Now, if you don’t know what one of those is, it’s best described as a scripted attachment which replaces standard animations (walk, jump, stand, run, etc.) with animations created by residents. (Torley Linden has a pretty self-explanatory video posted here which tells you all you need to know.)
I haven’t worn an AO in an age, primarily because I keep forgetting to put one on, but they really do give your avatar an extra boost of reality. They can also make them much more entertaining to watch when you’re in conversation, or exploring a sim.
Vista Animations have a reputation for being one of the best AO creators in-world, and when I discovered that this new release was called ‘Feline’, well, how on earth would I be able to resist?
Answer: I couldn’t, so I noob-strutted my way over to their store to investigate. It’s crammed to the rafters with AO’s for Male and Female avatars,and it’s easy to waste serious amounts of time hopping on and off all the demos on display.
I wasn’t the only one testing out the ‘Feline’ charm either. There are four test stands at the store with each one holding various AO components, when I visited it was very busy with female avatars of all shapes and size eagerly waiting their turn.
Business must be good! Anyway, patient Kitty that I am, I waited for my turn..and then hopped on a pad to test it out!
My problem with AO’s is that they always seem overwhelming with the amount of animations that they invariably offer so many sits for a start. I mean, I have two sit poses that I use in real life; one multi-tasking sit pose which enables me to sit at my desk, drive my car and read my Ipad on the bog, and the other I use to look very graceless and un-ladylike on the sofa of an evening. Why do I need more than two? The answer is of course that you don’t, BUT this being Second Life it’s de-rigueur to have a multitude of poses for every occasion, and Felina has them in spades. (And of course, you can de-activate the ones that you don’t want to use, but why would you when they’re this much fun?!)
Felina features 22 stands, 9 walks, 6 sits, 5 ground-sits, 2 runs, 2 crouches, a crouch-walk (whatever that is, for some reason my brain conjured up an image of Peter Crouch in distress on the football field but I think it’s more likely to involve super-heroes on rooftops) and 8 dances. That’s an overwhelming amount of movement crammed into a single AO package and when my turn came I eagerly jumped upon one of the platforms to test it out..
Felina is evidently aimed at the role-playing crowd, at least that’s what the adverts in store suggest, but from experimenting with the poses I can tell you that, like Catwoman, Felina is VERY adaptable. (See what I did there? Clever Kitty!)
The walks in particular are excellent, with the sideways shuffle (crouch-walk?) being very effective. There’s also a fast-paced, assertive stride which is just an essential purchase for bloggers on a mission at an event or sale. All of the sits work a treat, and I was impressed by the weighting of the animations making the running movements look realistic and fun. There are some Matrix-style leaps and bounds which are perfect for fighting bad guys, and I was surprised and impressed to see swimming movements included too. The included dances are slinky and smooth and just what I have been looking for in Second Life for a very long time too. (Catdance07 in particular is a nice, seductive dance, best conducted at the side of the dancefloor while purring!)
It’s never easy testing out a new AO when you’re in a busy sim filled with its own distractions (I was perplexed and bemused by a semi-naked avatar jiggling her boobies on a dance pad with a pet rabbit at her heels…yup, entry #267 in the ‘Things That You Only See In Second Life’ book), and it can be difficult to get a genuine feel for how an AO will work with your avvie, but Vista have tried to address that by publishing a YouTube video featuring Felina in action….
Note: I probably wasn’t dressed in the right attire for mood-setting for a new AO. Readers will know by now that I’m a bit of a Catwoman obsessive, collecting comics and figurines in real-life as well as owning many a latex suit in my Second, but I didn’t have time to get the talcum powder out and squeeze my virtual flab into something sexy so opted instead to wear my fabulous onesie from Collab88 (which I haven’t told you about yet, see the next post on the blog!!)
I’ve spent almost an hour in-store playing about with this AO and I’ve come to the conclusion that Felina is a really special AO indeed. It’s totally drowning in feline presence but in a stylish, seductive way. It’s bold and really makes your avatar stand out in the crowd. This isn’t in your face Neko posturing and pretending to be a cat; Felina is totally human, in fact I’d go so far as to say that this AO is how Selina Kyle would move and act in RL, which for me makes it a winner. (I’m basing this on my regular reading of the New 52, rather than any recent movie incarnations.)
My only issue was that I found it a little confusing to purchase in-store. There’s some sort of loyalty-scheme in operation, but I struggled to figure it out due to my being small of brain (and also due to being distracted by some over-exciteable avatars next to me typing Cyrillic into their keyboards like it was going out of fashion!), so I’ll need to pop back and read up on it when I’m feeling less intellectually-challenged.
However I’m happy to tell you that this AO is available from the Marketplace and is currently priced at an incredibly reasonable L$1900. (Alas, I’m skint until pay-day so I hope the promotional offer sticks around for a wee bit longer, as I think this may have to be my signature AO!)
Finally, when I was looking for the official Vista Animations Felina video, I came across a few others that seemed home-made but worthy of a peek for illustrating the benefits of this AO.