The Wildwoods are here!

And like most breedable releases, it wasn’t without its fair share of hiccups. Vendor faults aside, the Wildwoods launched and the vendor locations were, as you would expect, deluged. Many people had waited all day in chat, eagerly anticipating release, so when the stores were opened it was met with huge relief. The anticipation was huge and the crowds were massive and rightly so. But it never fails to amuse me how supposed adults can act like whiny children in group chat. Second Life really does bring out the dark side in some people.The beta gifts were exceptionally generous, and every single Wildwood pack has been packaged beautifully; so beautiful in fact that these are permanent additions to my Christmas collection in world.Chat is, as one would expect, VERY busy. So far it seems that the blue pelt has been the most common and like many others, I found myself a tad deluged with them. I’ve managed to swap a few around successfully, which I’m pleased about, and already there is a market for people wanting different starter coats. Not only that, but as we were informed during Beta, Wildwood have indeed included a few surprises such as different poses and animations. They’ve also totally re-modelled the food, as well as providing a vast array of new peripherals to boost your cat stats. It’s a great product, make no mistake.It’s interesting to note that I’ve been accused of bias by a poster in my comments section re:one of my previous Wildwood ramblings. At this point I want to state that I was a Beta tester for BOTH Krazy Kitties and Wildwoods (Not Brightpets, didn’t know about them until release day but then they did seem to come out of nowhere..)I have evaluated both products and for me, Wildwood fits my desired breedable profile to a ‘T’. Fact is, both Krazy Kitties and Brightpets are not what I am after, but that doesn’t mean that I am right about which breedable pet is *the* one to buy, and I don’t recommend that anyone else should take my word as gospel (Heaven bloody forbid!) and not have the nous to go and see for themselves exactly what they are all about. In fact, if you want a breedable cat, I’ll go so far as to make your job incredibly easy for you. Go along to Herdy’s where you can see Brightpets, Krazy Kitties AND Wildwoods all in one place, and make an informed decision as to which breedable cat to buy. There are plus points and minus points on every breed; for example Brightpets reputedly have masses of breedable traits, Krazy Kitties have multiple births, and so on. Plus you need to take into consideration that people enter the breedable game with different motives and breeding objectives. For me, I want to create a virtual cattery that represents that cats that I presently own in real life, as well as the beauties that I have loved and lost too. Wildwoods, with their fabulous textures and eye colours mean that I stand a much better chance of attaining that goal.I’ve got myself 8 breeding pairs and I can honestly say that I am genuinely delighted with the Wildwood product. It’s early days, and past experience with horses and bunnies suggests to me that there will be ups and downs along the way. I think these cats will flourish because of their features and the scope that they offer, and also because so many own cats in real life. I think when you already have a vested interest, you’re going to be passionate about a product that caters to that. I have no doubt that there will be JUST as much enthusiasm when the dogs are released, and the next breedable after that, and that…. Oh, and in case you weren’t aware, there’s going to be ANOTHER breedable cat release as well:

I can’t tell you much about these ‘Kitty Cats’ at all, other than a few pictures I’ve been sent, but they certainly look very cute from what I’ve seen; more kitten-ish in their aspect with their rounder faces.  Can the grid cope with FOUR breedable cat varieties? I seriously doubt it and I think we’ll see the grid dominated by perhaps two brands max.  What they will be remains to be seen…A final thought. I cannot bear immaturity in real life, let alone Second..can you? There’s plenty of scope in-world for different species of breedable pet, but someone really does have it in for the Wildwoods. I wonder who that could be? I’m not going to lose any sleep over it that’s for sure, but it’s been very amusing to me when reading my comments to see that they’ve originated from the same place. ( Note to a dear reader, when IP addresses point to the same location, changing your name doesn’t hide that fact….)

Krazy Kitties Launch In Second Life

It’s been a rocky road for Krazy Kitty’s, but I’m pleased to say that they’ve finally ended public beta and are preparing for imminent release. ( UPDATE!!! JUST RELEASED!!!) Whilst not the most attractive cat on the grid, they have a unique quirkiness to them that has lots of appeal, I mean, the cats actually BONK folks! Add to that one of the nicest support teams on the grid, who have worked tirelessly to launch a somewhat beleaguered product and you have a resilient wee breedable that has the potential to offer a lot of competition to its peers.

I think it says a hell of a lot about a production team when they take the time to not only fully acknowledge the input gained from their beta testers, but to reward them also. To that end Krazy Kitties are being exceptionally generous; All Beta Testers will receive FREE 1 Krazy Kitty Breeder Pack containing – 5 Level 1 males, 5 Level 1 females, 20 Large Milks in Auto Dispensers, 10 Katnips in auto dispensers, 2 Beds, 1 toy and 5 Medical Kits. In addition they will also receive a pair of 5 day old Kittys, therefore making the Betas ahead in the game.(Kitty Pairs will be sold for L$200, although aged Kittys will never be available to the public)

The company has also stated that they will only be selling Level 1 Kittys for the foreseeable future, meaning any Kitty other than Level 1 can only be purchased from a breeder, Again, this means that Beta testers are at an advantage as they should always be amongst the first to reach the new levels and breeds, seeing as they have been gifted with a headstart.

Believe it or not, prior to the close of beta there were, get ready 7000 kittys on the grid with very few reported issues. This proves a continual learning curve ( after problems following Beta launch) and also it proves that these spiky haired, crayola-coloured cats have indeed garnered a huge following already. Will the growth be sustained when Wildwood’s launch? Krazy Kitty’s seem to think so, believing that they have successfully designed their product to have the widest appeal possible, with an emphasis on simplicity and focus on new breeds being added in due course.

So, as an ardent Kitty lover will I be pursuing an interest in Krazy Kitty’s?  As much as I think they are endearing, and loved their animations, my heart has been taken by Wildwood. I’ve fallen hook, line and sinker for those cats, and am already dreading December 1st, when Beta 2 comes to an end.

That said, I would like to wish the Krazy Kitties production team of Big Cake, Ziggy21 Slade, Twstd Ruggles and Abu Ashby smooth sailing with this exciting addition to the Second Life grid. It’s a huge achievement launching your product into the virtual world, and I can only wish them success.

Bright Pets Launch FIRST Breedable Cat In Second Life

And no, it’s not the one you were expecting..I hadn’t even heard of these until today, and straight away that’s an issue, because both Krazy Kitties and Wildwood Breedables have comprehensive websites with forums. In fact when I asked I was told that information was available via a notecard in-store, and a group available to join, but the website was NOT up and running ( I checked: http://www.brightpets.com/ is a blank page)

This is a concern; if I’m going to buy a breedable I want a website from day one that I can refer to for support and post to. In fact this all strikes me as a rush-job to be in with a chance of gaining a foot-hold into the market before the other cats are released, and this fear was reaffirmed when after closer inspection of the notecard I saw that it kept making reference to piggy’s, which was slightly disconcerting. I then realised this was because these are the creation of Brighton Merryman,who launched the first breedable pig into Second Life earlier this year. An experienced AI creator then.But considering what is being released it isn’t a launch with bells and whistles on. The sim isn’t packed to bursting with avatars, in fact..I visited a few time and tha max niumber of avvies in store at one point was 4 ( at another point it was like a graveyard..no one ariound but me) To be honest this launch doesn’t have the feel of an Ozimals or Amaretto release,there’s no buzz, which again indicates to me people didn’t know these were coming and that there hasn’t been enough excitement generated about the end product. This could potentially be a HUGE blow to the success of this breedable, and after his previous pet forays in world you would have thought that Brighton knew that marketing is all, but let’s not be too harsh. This is after all a big achievement- Brighton has released the first breedable cat in Second Life history onto the grid and he’s beaten the competition hands down in getting his product out there, but is it any good?

The ‘Bright Pets’ store is sparsely decorated and pretty basic in appearance. It’s kitted out (ho ho!) with all sorts of breedable essentials on the walls and at the rear of the store are the packs of kitties themselves. But my main prerogative was to see these cats; were they worthy of wearing the breedable cat crown?  My first impressions were…well, they look a tad strange. Not Krazy Kitty mental colours, but not Wildwood handsome either, kind of somewhere in-between…ish. (Well, if you’ve had ten pints and your vision is a tad buggered)

 

They have HUGE alien-like eyes that are too large for their faces, although one redeeming feature is that the eyes feature some lovely colour variations. The textures upon the coats, whilst better than the Krazy Kitties, need to be improved because the brushwork on some of the hides seems a little too pronounced, but it was nice to see fa ew different breeds out on display in the store, although there should be more cats out for people to look at. ( When I visited there were only five, one of which was asleep) On to motion, and it must be said that these moggies walk with a highly curious gait. I was then struck by another factor- they have ENORMOUS feet; which emphasises the walking animation in a highly unflattering manner. I don’t know if they can be held but the sleeping animation seemed very sweet, but I didn’t seem them sitting while I was there. I have to be honest, I wasn’t sold on my first visit. However, appearance is something that can be changed in due course, and it should be pointed out that these cats have a dazzling array of options that will make them very attractive to the Second Life breedable obsessive.
They are auto-updated, which means no totems or transporting a large flock to a sandbox to update. They have a 0.018 script time which means they have one of the lowest lag potentials of any breedable on the grid. A HUGE selling point will be the built-in family registry, essential when you have 60000 (So they claim) variations of kittys that can be bred; something that will really appeal to the genetics enthusiasts with their spreadsheets and pedigree notecards. Yes, you read right: 60000. This is a mind boggling statistic, and of course there will be rare breeds too.
So what else do you need to know? Well, there are 5 diets available for the cats: Starve, Low, Medium, High and Special. Why starve is an option I have no idea, but you must be feeding at least a medium diet for the cats to breed. Taking a cat into inventory for 60 days will cause it to go into a coma, from which they can die (best not to do that then) so vigilance is a must. Like Ozimals, food is not only a factor in breeding but also has an impact upon the status they achieve when they reach old age. A kitty can become a senior of relationship, happiness, energy, hygiene, hunger and thirst. All very similar to Ozimals bunnies then, as is the fact that the better the food that they have consumed, the more chance they have of getting ‘Senior Of Legend’ status, which gives a 1% stats boost in all attributes to all the kitties nearby.

Cats must enter into a partnership to breed, and like the horses you can break partnerships at anytime. Pregnancy, provided I’ve read the notecard correctly, takes ONE HOUR, but the requirements are stringent:
Age: 7+
Happiness: 65%+
Relationship: 99%+
Energy: 50%+
Hygene: 50%+
Awake
Medium, High or Special Diet
Not have had partner in last 7 days

Now I wanted to tell you about a few other factors, such as the necessity to keep your cat clean and the coat varieties, BUT the notecard kept referring to piggies in these parts. As I said before, not only is this disconcerting, it’s also very sloppy. This notecard should have been proof-read because it doesn’t give a good impression; in fact I am beginning to wonder if these breedables are actually pigs in cat’s clothing? I don’t know the answer to that as I was never a pig breeder in-world, but certainly indicators are there to suggest that there are many similarities between these two products.

So, do I think these will be successful? Well, I stand by my assumption from the evidence presented that these pets have been rush-released. I can understand the panic however, creating objects such as these takes an absolute age so gaining a foothold into the market is essential from day one. I think that they have qualities different to their competitors and I think they will garner a following, but I don’t think that this audience will be as big as that of the Wildwood Cats. The Brightpets Kitty’s aren’t as aesthetically pleasing to my tastesas others , but I think the variety of breeding combos, low lag and no-update features will win fans.
However, this does make me think of those poor Krazy Kitties. It would appear that the release of these Brightpets is yet another nail in their coffin, and it’s time to act now if they don’t want all their hard work to have been wasted.

A final thought; can the grid cope with THREE breedable cat brands? No, I don’t think it can, nor should it. Too many breedable animals is one thing ( and trust me, the variety out there will increase in 2011) but too many of the same species is really cutting it a bit fine. I think that this is a battle where only one winner will reign supreme.

Brightpets have snuck in and struck an early blow..can Krazy Kitties and Wildwood Breedables respond in kind?

To Purchase visit the Bright Pets Sim HERE

  • A Brightpets One kitty starter pack, containing 1 week of provisons and a bathing sponge costs L$295
    • A Kitty Pair Pack costs L$595.
    • A super pack containing 10 kitties is avalable for L$4000..it includes five free kitties , a love potion and two Mochas. ( Yes, these cats like a coffee!)

Krazy Kitties-The Latest SL Breedable!

I’m actually thankful that beloved is made-up with cold, and that we had our doggy daughter in bed with us last night which resulted in me having an utterly shite night’s sleep. ( Sleep? HAH!)
Because if I hadn’t, I would have slept in until some really stupid hour and remained completely oblivious to the latest breedables to be released upon the grid….KRAZY KITTIES!

Yes, out of all the mammals that people have lusted after as pets, one of the big hitters has finally arrived. We all knew cats and dogs would be big, and judging by the crowds rushing to get their hands on the starter packs there’s LOTS of interest in the latest breedables to hit the grid. How big they’ll become remains to be seen but because this is a beta test there’s plenty of time for issues to be ironed out prior to a proper general release.

But back to the beginning; Altair pinged me in world and asked me if I was ready..for what I had no clue. I almost died when she told me the beta Kitties were almost upon us. She soon filled me in-join the Krazy Kitties group for L$100 ( a fee aimed at reducing alt accounts from logging in apparently) and we were off. As soon as the announcement hit that they’d been released, we began our attempts at TP’ing to the launch location. Just as with the horses, the crowds trying to get in to the sim were tremendous, and I resorted to using a low ARC avatar to assist my gaining access, which eventually proved worthwhile. The sim is pink, pretty and cat-shaped and the development team were assembled and waiting to assist the throngs. I had a slight issue where I didn’t receive my starter pack, but the staff were really helpful and sent one to me very quickly. Once received, I zoomed home and got to work…

You ‘release’ your kittens from the boxes that they arrive in, and you’re treated to the sight of an ickle pink kitten in a bundle sans stork awaiting birth.

You click to wake up, and ‘birthing’ begins…and then you have your kitten! No hassle, really quick to develop and ever so cute.

The first thing that struck me was the superb anims..these are very realistic. The kittens run, scamper, roll around and do that “I’m gonna jump on your toes” bum-shuffle thing that real life kitties do. Amazeballs. Because these are betas they come in an array of odd (well, hideous) colours so we don’t get the full effect of them just yet, but physically they’re not bad looking wee critters ( Photo doesn’t do them justice I promise)  I still think the bunnies have the edge on the cuteness stakes, but there’s time for development in that area.

The kitties come with their own beds (Pink..’nuff said.) which you have to set as their homes, and you also rez a toy and milk for them to eat/drink. The kitties require interaction to thrive, recommendations are to manually put them down for a nap twice a day, as well as the automatic sleep that they have themselves. You can pet them and providing boosts such as catnip has an effect upon their breeding. Interestingly enough, like a cat in real life these Kits can have multiple babies at once, which makes them very interesting prospects. Even more interesting is the fact that you may encounter a stillborn kitten which can be restored back to life by the application of a medical kit. Of course, said kit costs Lindens, but this is a product after all and developers quite frankly want to make a dollar or two out of it, but restoration of the stillborn bundle is optional as far as I am aware. I don’t know if there’s a way of knowing what the stats are for the bundle before you birth it. If there is, then this would enable you to make a decision as to whether you restore the health or not..if there isn’t a way of seeing stats then I have a feeling they’ll make a mint out of medical kit sales! Perhaps that’s the idea?

The kitties are a beta-product, which means certain features will probably change prior to their official release which is rumoured to be Christmas. The point of a beta is to put the product through as much stress as possible to see where potential issues may arise prior to official release; so far I’ve not experienced any major issues and my initial impressions are very good indeed. BUT it’s onlyay one. The kitties are adorable, have great animations and interaction and are the first breedables to my knowledge on the grid who actually get down and have a bit of rumpo to make babies with the animation for that particular action being actually rather cute ( I’m so glad they didn’t enable that aspect for the horses though…yeuccchh)
Breedables are big business in Second Life and apparently these kittens have been in development for over a year. I hope the hard work pays off; there have been huge changes in the market in recent weeks with Ozimals well and truly dropping the baton and the Amaretto horses taking over the number one breedable slot. It remains to be seen whether the Krazy Kitties will have the same impact but for now I’m keeping an open mind, enjoying these beta babies and looking forward to what the next few weeks will bring!

Want to learn more? Useful links:

Flickr Stream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/54581703@N08

USER VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shN4iNLng7w

Official Forum: http://krazykittys.freeforums.org/index.php