Bye Bye Bunny…

You know, what with the recent drama and all it would be very easy to dismiss Ozimals Bunnies as being completely over. The virtual craze of 2010 now replaced by mewing cats and kittens in fact, but hold on. Ozimals may be down, but they’re not out just yet and have managed to retain a core of solid supporters to whom, let’s be frank here, they owe their virtual lives. We’ve all heard about their failings so I feel no need to repeat them again here, but it says a lot about Ozimals perseverance that at a time of crisis they are opting to ride out the tide of controversy and dissent by releasing new products to tempt and tease the faithfully bunny-addicted. They’ve just done it again, with the promise of new Elite bunnies, more on that later, but also they’ve played a blinder in the PR stakes by generously handing out a years supply of bunny food to a small band of early adopters. That’s pretty amazing, don’t you think?

I confess, I very nearly placed all my remaining bunnies in my inventory and just walked away from the whole deal. I know many people who have done just that actually; they’ve been so dismayed by various events that they’ve given up on the hoppers completely. At one point I had..gulp..over a hundred rabbits that I bred and adored. I’ve reduced that number gradually; allowing each bunny to retire into my inventory once they’ve attained elder status. I can’t even tell you how many Elders Of Euphoria there are in my inventory, a lot I think, but there they must remain. It’s not cheap to rear breedables, as many people realised when the market madness overtook them and bunnies began to take over the grid in reams.But back to my point, I didn’t give up on bunnies entirely and the reason was simple, I hadn’t attained the goals that I had set for myself. I wanted to create gem-eyed versions of certain breeds, and once I had done that I then wanted to breed the same, but with lop ears. For me this was a great hobby and I was creating my ideal bunnies. By the time I finally did get my stunning Silver Martin Black with Peridot eyes and lop ears the bunny market had practically evaporated, but by then I was beyond breeding for a small profit, but for pleasure. For me there’s just something rather special about a gem-eyed, lop eared bunny, and once the Twilight, Moonlight and Sunlight shades appeared I was again in bunny heaven. But even this was a brief respite, and sadly I’ve come to realise that there will be a parting of the ways between myself and Ozimals in the very near future, purely because I don’t like the new shades or eyes. I haven’t had an Acorn shade bunny yet, but the brownish tinge it offers leaves me feeling cold.

The Sunrise and Sparrow eye shades don’t have the sparkle or the fire that the gem eyes had, and not only that, but the gem eyes were always rather stunning to behold as far as texture and colour went, whereas by contrast the sunrise eyes look, well, I’m sorry to say it, but they look dead to me. I’m not a fan, and the bunnies that I have bred which feature these attributes I’ve sold because they just don’t appeal to me. I’ve held out though, only to see Hydrangea and Iris shades become the next big thing, but sadly not for me. I don’t think it’s a lack of ideas on Ozimals part by the way, it’s obvious that they do have ideas aplenty, but they just don’t work for me as a breeder.

I confess that all this disillusionment on my part has left me out of the bunny loop. Once an active poster on the official Ozimals forum, I’ve left it behind to become more involved with the cat breedables, being a beta tester for both Wildwoods and Kittycats, and somewhat poignantly, I haven’t missed spending time in my barn with my bunnies at all. I’ve still held by my non-bunnyburying values (but then again I don’t see the point of doing that anyway because as far as I’m aware bunnybury is still not live) choosing instead to place all my retired bunnies gently into a ‘Sleeping Bunnies’ folder that resides in my inventory.

It leaves me feeling sad moving them there; even though these aren’t fluffy balls of fur but just a bunch of pixels on a screen. The emotions that I have attached to them are very real.

Last night I was moving another bunch of newly retired bunnies into this folder, when my friend Vere pinged to tell me about the latest round of Ozimals Elites (special bunnies that can only be bred within a specific timescale and are by no means guaranteed) Vere is a complete breedable addict, and completely demented about her bunnies, and horses, and cats..and, well you get the picture. To be honest, I wasn’t madly enthused about what she was telling me because every single time I’ve tried for an elite in the past I have never gotten one, so what would be the point of trying now? That said, I did have an especially nice nest that I was going to kindle to sell, a Rhinelander Blue lop with Peridot eyes in fact, so there was no pressure on me either way. If I got one it would be a bonus, if I didn’t no worries. I’d still have a great bunny with which to hopefully make a few Lindens. I clicked the nest to kindle, then got back to the task in hand – reducing my flock with a heavy heart.

And then an hour later I noticed a tiny scarecrow with bunny ears was hopping round my barn….(click to enlarge)

Oh it’s hard NOT lo love Ozimals when they get it right, and they really have gotten it right with the styling of these special bunnies. Credit where it is due then, because, one of their successes has always been their Elite hoppers and as this Scarecrow bunny proves they still make the right decisions with regards to texture choices. I’m totally in love with this little ‘Worzeletta’ as I have named her, but will I be keeping her? No. I need the Lindens and I’ve already decided upon the bunnies I will continue to keep as pets once my breeding programme finally comes to an end.But here’s a point to ponder, am I the only one looking to a future without the bunnies? Obviously there’s the whole Amaretto Vs Ozimals court-case looming in the middle-distance, but what about Ozimals themselves?

The reason that I ask this question is due to a photograph posted on the Official Ozimals website, under a post called ‘The Other Side Of The Yellow Brick Road’.

It’s an intriguing photograph, featuring a creature surrounded by fungi in the foreground, looking skyward as various constellations shine down. It’s hard to determine what the creature is; it has an almost Pikachu-like quality to it but one thing is for sure it has large ears, so large in fact that this particular critter’s tabs seem to be sporting icicles! Go and take a look and see what you think. I think it looks like some sort of fox, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be some sort of fantasy-type breedable of which we’ll see many more appear on the grid during 2011.

I must warn you now however that a new breedable venture from Ozimals will not be warmly received by everyone upon the grid. The hardline bunny enthusiasts, of which there are many more than you may think, will no doubt use the posting of the photograph as further evidence that the priorities of Ozimals have shifted perhaps resulting in promised developments being shelved. But look at the bigger picture. It all comes down to the profits of course, and if Ozimals aren’t making the dollars they used to with the bunnies then of course they’re going to move onto a different breedable creation. They’ve proved they’re capable of delivering the product and let’s be fair to all concerned here, the bunnies are an incredible breedable game. The issue that Ozimals MUST address in future is how they relate to their audience, and in future they must take care that they are more cautious in their approach when it comes to making promises, that for whatever reason, they cannot keep. For some reason most avatars have the memories of elephants, and couple this chat logs aplenty and you have more than enough headaches for Candy and everyone at Ozimals HQ to deal with, so effective PR is a must for 2011. We’ve already seen them taking steps towards this (see the first paragraph to this article) which is a good thing in the long-term, and I am pretty sure that they are working hard behind the scenes to ensure that they don’t fall into the same traps that they did during 2010.

But when it comes to the bunnies they are without a doubt one of the most endearing things to ever come out of Second Life, and for that alone they should be proud. Alas, for me the time is fast approaching when I will be bidding a fond “Adieu” to my floppy-tabbed furballs.

120 bunnies at my peak. Now down to 12.

Many of these are on their final generations as well, so by this time next week that number will be reduced even more. Once all my bunnies are retired, I plan to resurrect a few particular favourites from my inventory to keep as pets because a life without virtual bunnies would be a sad one.

But I am resolute in my decision to move on. That said, I have enjoyed every minute of my Ozimals adventure, and even though I’ve gone as far as I can with it, I know there are still more avatars out there on the grid who are persevering with the hoppers and hoping for great things.

To those concerned I wish you all the very best of luck, and can say that even though I am bidding a gradual but final farewell to these beautiful virtual objects, I will always be grateful to Ozimals for bringing them to Second Life and allowing me the chance to attain some amazing virtual goals via these wonderful creations.

Note to readers: I am accepting offers for the following bunny:

Elite: Scarecrow Bunneh 2010
Fur: Rhinelander Blue
Eyes: Peridot
Ears: Lop Ears
Shade: Classic
Elite: Scarecrow Bunneh 2010

Please IM in world with offer if interested! ( Bear in mind this is a Rhinelander!)

Shameless Plugging Alert! Bargains at ‘Blessed Breedables’

There are TONS of bargains at Blessed Breedables this weekend!

*ALL Sunlight, Moonlight and Twilight Gem-eyed bunny nests are  on sale!

*TWO FULL FERVOUR stallions up for grabs at L$1500 each. Ready to take home and get busy!

* THREE bundles, TWO with Diamond Heartshine and Upright Mane..and ONE RED ARABIAN

All priced to sell-don’t like the prices? IM with an offer!

Here’s your taxi!

And then there were…DOGGIES!

Beagles and Huskies to be precise.

Amaretto have teamed up with Blood Mubble who was developing ‘Hypermutts’, and just opened up a new location featuring models of their two launch breeds in various poses to enable closer inspection.
I was blind-sided by these dogs; I thought we were going to have to wait a while longer, but an Amaretto announcement landed in my lap and I had to go and investigate.



First impressions are good too; these dogs are, just like Wildwood Cats, beautifully textured and the poses on display in the showroom are totally doggy perfect as I hope my photos illustrate. I  love the scratching pose, and the Beagles with their tongues lolling out have captured that slightly crazy look perfectly. My only criticism is reserved for the eyes on both breeds; they don’t look ‘alive’ enough for me and are a bit on the beady side. If they can be improved, and I’m pretty sure a lot of things will be set to change prior to launch (as is the nature of these breedable beasts) then I’ll definitely be interested.



I can’t tell you if you can cross-breed Beagles and Huskies and I don’t know when these will be released for sale but they’re certainly a very exciting addition to the grid.  Make no bones about it (Ho ho!) breedable fever has definitely taken over the metaverse, and 2011 promises to be a VERY exciting year.




Battle Of The Breedables: Enter The Wildwood..

It was always inevitable that when breedable animals hit the grid cats and dogs were going to be at the top of the list. In fact, when you consider the success of Neko in Second Life, it was always fair to assume that cats would be amongst the first ever breedable pets.

But they weren’t. We’ve had chickens, turtles and then the hugely successful Ozimals bunnies, who are still immensely popular despite recent issues that have impacted both the popularity of the product and the perceived capabilities of the Ozimal management structure, issue that I’m happy to report Ozimals appear to have embraced and addressed. Indeed, they seem to have entered a plateau phase, and with the recent Linden Lab tie-in new blood has been brought into the bunny-fold.
But make no mistake, the glory days are indeed over…for now at least. There aren’t as many breeders, nor are there as many sims solely dedicated to this highly-addictive hopper. In fact the sims that do remain resonate to the clatter of hooves and the whinnying and neighing of the Amaretto horses, 15 prims of breedable happy fetching huge sums at auctions but already their market is showing similar signs of a potential crash. The problem with both the horses and the bunnies is the breeders couldn’t reign in (please excuse the pun, I can’t help it) the breeding and as a result the grid, in just under a couple of moths is now swamped with horses and prices on the secondary market are plummeting…

But still no cats? Was it the knowledge that bringing a cat breedable to the grid would have the potential to turn Second Life into Second Cat? Or was it just too difficult to embody the elusive cat in a bundle of pixels and prims? Cats are hard enough to get to grips with in real life, doing the same in Second Life would surely be an impossible feat.
Well, as readers of my blog will know, just a few weeks ago the first breedable cat WAS unleashed on the grid, and guess what? There’s already another staking a claim on the virtual catnip.

Those Krazy Kitties, small crayola-coloured spiky bundles of fun that are still in a beta phase. It’s been hard work for the team, but they have proved themselves a dedicated and worthy bunch, listening to the beta testers and putting their ideas into practise. Many updates later, there’s no release date as yet on the Krazy Kitties, but the fundamentals seem solid enough. It’s the issues with scripts that are going to cause the main discomfort for this brand, and ultimately the actual appearance of the kitty itself. When I first talked about the Krazy Kitty I mentioned that, to be frank, their appearance was going to need some work to ensure mass audience appeal. The kits are lovely and plump, but their backs are slightly spiky (presumably to affect the appearance of fur) and their features ill-defined. The textures are, sadly, not great. Primary colours don’t tend to blend in well with the décor of most Second Life residences, and the fact that the kits don’t yet have discernible or different coloured eyes is a cause for concern. Breeders like traits in their breedables, but the only traits thus far in the Krazy Kitties are the techni-coloured coats which are actually staying for release. You have to BREED to gain an authentic looking kitty coat, something that would make such furs expensive to attain and highly desirable on a secondary market. But will the Krazy Kitties be popular enough to generate such a market? A couple of days ago my answer would have been an unwavering affirmative.

Then this guy appeared…..

You know, when I first saw the Wildwood Cats my initial thoughts were of total sympathy to the Krazy Kitties brand, because as appearances go, Wildwood have nailed it. Why is it that good ideas don’t tend to come alone, they tend to come in pairs. The rotten part is, they often hit different people at the same time, such is the cruelty of the Gods.The Krazy Kitties crew are a great team, available to help with issues 24/7 and always open to suggestion, so to see another breedable cat appear on the grid now, let alone one that looks as stunning as this must have been a cruel blow. You can only feel sympathy for them-but let’s be honest here; ina beauty contest who would win?

Wildwood have applied the the same attention to shape and detail that Amaretto and Ozimals before them have deployed on their products which is one of the contributing factors to their success. In fact I will stick my neck on the block here and say you will not see a better looking breedable on the market than the Ozimals bunny, and if you needed further evidence of that then the elite releases at Halloween should have allayed any doubts you may have had. Appearance is all; a product has to be aesthetically pleasing for you to want to buy it and persevere with it, and believe me when I say these pussies are totally glorious to behold.

But looks can be deceiving, it’s the total product that matters, and when word began to trickle through last night that Wildwood was about to start its Beta phase I knew I wouldn’t have long to wait until I saw what these pretenders to a throne already Krazy Kitty inhabited would have to offer.

And the fact is dear reader, right from the offset I can only say these are a great product. Not only that but Wildwood have taken a very trusting and civil approach to their Beta programme. The Beta box that arrived jam packed full of goodness in my inventory not only contained instructions, food and toys but also COPYABLE cats. This of course means that Beta testers can populate the grid willy nilly with Wildwood cats during this testing phase, which of course is a totally tempting but daft thing to do. A beta is a testing phase and that means things will break, settings will corrupt, scripts will stupify and more often than not the darn things just won’t work.But sometimes you get a feeling about a product, and this one certainly had my ‘witchy sense’ tingling. Straight away I knew Wildwood had potential because of the amount of ‘stuff’ that came in the Beta box; not just physical objects either; an FAQ, Manual, more note cards detailing instructions to testers and most impressive of all, a wearable instruction booklet that fits onto the HUD centre of your screen. This booklet, and in fact all the writing in the package, was totally straightforward to understand. Even if you don’t come from a Breedable background it’s not going to be difficult to get to grips with operations when you have your information presented in such a beautifully illustrated and entirely comprehensible way, so bonus points for that then.

The food and the array of peripherals will seem familiar to bunny and horse breeders and includes such items as treats for happiness and enhancements for breeding as well as ‘Pet’ or ‘Breedable’ foods. I was disappointed with the way these looked, and hoped that these wouldn’t be a reflection upon the cats themselves. A quick IM to Zilar,  Wildwood team member,  allayed my fears..these extras aren’t supplied to testers in their finished form ( they’re going to be a surprise on release day) so it was on to the fun bit, unleashing the kits!They arrive in baskets very similar to the bunnies, and you birth them in the same way. So I took a deep breath and ‘birthed’ Almost immediately a very active and perfectly formed kitten appeared, and I zoomed in for a closer look. Readers they are so very pretty; beautifully crafted with cute faces and if you zoom up really close and go inside you’ll see that each one has inside them a skeleton fish! ( If you didn’t know inside each bunny is a heart; horses have horseshoes) Each cat is a perfectly acceptable 13 prims, and actually they move really well. With movement on I watched them trot around my lounge, lay down, stretch and interact with the environment. There is no running on the spot or poofing, issues that have plagued the poor Krazy Kitties since release. That said, they were floating above floor-level, but this I believe is a fault of Second Life and not the breedables themselves ( I’ve seen a similar issue affect bunnies too)

The menu for each cat is easy to use and features terminology that’s applicable to pretty much every Breedable on the grid. In fact the menu is practically an amalgamation of the bunny and horse menus. Of course you need to set a home location, a range and name your cat, but you can also opt for movement and animations to be on or off, as well as sound. Like Krazy Kitties, Wildwood Cats are a noisy lot, and the wowing and purring met with my real-life cats seal of approval. ( Well, actually it didn’t, my cats looked alarmed and looked around for the intruder in their midst)So far, so good. And even harder to believe, thus far I’ve not had a single issue to report back to the test forum. NOT ONE. For a Beta release this is unprecedented, but we’ve not quite hit 24 hours since release. Still, it bodes well for Wildwood. The real challenge will be when cats reach breeding age at 7 days old, then we will see how long pregnancy lasts, and if multiple births are an option too. At present there aren’t any scripted holds in these cats, but on release they will be totally huggable, something to look forward to.

My first impressions are, well, beyond good.

Ok, I’m TOTALLY in love with them, they’re gorgeous and fun and EVERYTHING you need a breedable cat to be.

In fact, this has all been handled so totally professionally it makes me wonder if the creators behind the product have had past breedable creation experience in Second Life; I’m almost certain they have. The whole Beta release feels almost superfluous to requirements because these cats are working so well already. Of course a BETA is still a necessity, but Wildwood have evidently been working their butts off, researched the requirements of the market and they’re going to hit it with both barrels come release day, and believe me when these critters hit the grid you will notice.

I actually think these cats in particular have the potential to be bigger than the bunnies and the horses combined, and that is both a blessing AND a curse. We’ve seen how the secondary market has been left to run amok and impacted the Ozimals and Amaretto brands, so it’s essential that Wildwood learn from both these examples and ensure that steps are taken to ensure that whilst a secondary market will exist it won’t become crippled after a few short months of manic buying and sky-high pricing. There’s also another element to consider; Wildwood could potentially help both the bunny and horse markets too in a rather unprecedented way. They could attract those left disillusioned by happenings in the bunny and horse business, and find a niche for themselves in this new cat world. This in turn could enable the existing markets to breathe and attract even more new followers to the ranks to foster new growth. You know, we could yet see a return to the glory days of the Breedable business, but in a slightly more sustainable and healthy way. Wildwood could contribute to this in a number of ways, eg by limiting the amount of breeder or starter packs per avatar on release day. Such an idea may horrify you, but an initial limit on purchasing will encourage breeders to breed and resell their own stock amongst their peers. Wildwood will still make a terrific profit on food and cat essentials as well as future releases. Taking baby steps like this at release could guarantee a healthy start to what could be an enjoyable business in-world. I really hope Wildwood make a move similar to this one; within days of the horses going on release there were sims already bursting at the seams with foals, and already the horse market is starting to struggle just a matter of weeks after release. I’d hate to see the same mistake repeated, but such is the nature of Second Life.

But what of the Krazy Kitty? Well, don’t lose hope yet, although these were the first to emerge and have been heavily impacted by scripting issues they have a foothold already in the market, and because they operate in a different manner are sure to acquire enough followers to sustain their growth. Krazy Kitties have a lot of great features; they show imagination and humour ( Look, they bonk to get pregnant, what more do you need?) and are, despite their disco-bright colouring, uniquely cute with some great animations. I’m not abandoning them just yet, although I fear their journey is going to be a tad more fraught than that of the Wildwood Cat. Personally I hope for a Second Life of peace and harmony where the two of them can co-exist together, but then again I’m an old hippy at heart.

One thing’s for sure, the gloves are off, and neither are going down without a good scrap.

Let the cat fight begin, and trust me when I say we won’t have to wait long for round one…