The Kittycats are here!

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 diamantĂ© 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.

A Wildwood Cat Called ‘Moth’…

I’m going to take a break from Breedable drama, but focus on Breedable niceness for a change. As readers will know I’m a huge fan of the Wildwood Cats, in fact it’s fair to say that I am somewhat besotted with them. I always knew that when cats finally made Breedable status on the grid I’d be there like a shot, and I was. I took place in the Krazy Kitties beta, but they weren’t really what I was after. They didn’t have the coat colours that I wanted, because I want to replicate my real life cat collective in Second Life, and celebrate the cats that I love, and have lost in real life in the virtual world. I don’t see anything creepy in that; I know these cats aren’t real and of course they can’t replace my real life moggies, but I’m sure fellow enthsiasts will understand my motives. It’s sort of nice to know that in a virtual world the pet you have lost can have some sort of presence enabling them to continue in a fashion..unless recent events cause otherwise. ( But I said I wasn’t going to talk about that)

When the Wildwood pelt previews came out I was totally chuffed to pieces to see a bicolour black and white represented, and knew I would have to have one. You see, earlier this year I had my beloved black and white lad, Moth, put to rest after a long illness. As pet owners and carers it’s the hardest thing in the world to have to make the decision to end the life of your pet, but at the same time it is the ultimate kindness.

 

I grieved like all pet owners do, and I’m now in a place where I can happily look back at my time with him and smile because, well, Moth was a special cat indeed. He was, to be honest, the dumbest cat I have ever come across in my entire cat-owning life. I have *never* known a cat move so slowly or look so, well, totally vacant all the time. In fact, it was obvious to not just me, but to my other cats as well that Moth, well, he wasn’t all there. But they didn’t harrass him, nor make a fuss..He was a totally integrated member of the family and loved by us all. He had a purr like a Rolls Royce engine, and he was a very loving, if totally demented little lad. All my other cats would catch mice and birds on occasion, Moth didn’t do much of that himself, BUT I do recall one incident where I was in the kitchen and Moth came through the cat-flap mewling his head off..a very persistent call that clearly meant ‘Mum! Look What I’ve got!’ I expected my little chum to proudly deposit a mouse at my feet..but no, my clever wee man had found something even better.
A piece of broken polystyrene packagine.Even better than that; polystyrene is reknowned for static cling, and Moth (despite having a short coat) was a bit of a furry beast, so it was with some alarm that he realised he couldn’t present his polystyrene trophy to his mum, because it was stuck to him. Cue much mirth as I chased him around trying to remove it from his coat. Still a gift is a gift and I accepted it with gratitude. I like to think he was proud of himself in his own special way. Cue many years later, and we got our dog, Indy, and she’s fitted in with my five remaining cats brilliantly. Moth liked her very much, because she was very warm and snuggly, and most days I would find him cuddled up to her, especially as his life was coming to an end. ( You can see a video of both of them together by visiting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQdt5XRpZ1M)

Moth was not the brightest button in the box. But I adored him…just like I adore my Wildwood representation of him. Thanks then to Mika and Zilar, for enabling this little fantasy of mine because if it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have these glorious cats at all.

A Clowder Of Wildwood Cats..

So beta is almost over, and prices have been released for the Wildwood Cats.

They’re not too shabby either; pretty good value in fact ( You can read more about prices on the official website at this thread: http://www.wildwoodbreedables.com/forum/showthread.php?tid=193 )

It’s going to be an exciting few days come release, and there’s lots to look forward to. Even during Beta it was known that there were still a few surprises to be discovered, and these include the previously mentioned ‘Elegants’ as well as the secondary pelts which weren’t available during Beta testing. If you haven’t seen those, they’re rather special and you should check them out by visiting: http://www.wildwoodbreedables.com/forum/showthread.php?tid=78 I’m holding out for a Tuxedo and a Pointed.

Of course, that’s a few breeding cycles down the line but there is tons to love about these cats; different ear, tail, pelt and shade options as well as stunning eye colours and shapes mean that basically the grid is going to turn into one humungous neko-loving paradise. S

Secretly I am hoping for some Christmas special editions, or should I be saying ‘Elegants’, but we will have to wait and see. I haven’t had much luck with those when it comes to bunnies and horses so I’d like to think I’m in with more of a chance with the cats, but I’m not holding my breath.

So, to recap:

*Cats are released Wednesday 1st December
*Prior to release, join the Wildwood Cats Group in-world, and also register on the website so that you can use the forums
* Release date has been confirmed, but the time that the cats go on sale hasn’t..therefore keep your eyes on group notices!
* On release day bear in mind that the sim will be at capacity as avatars as eager as yourself try to get in, therefore dress down for the occasion to help alleviate lag!
* Use group chat for any queries that you may have before you log a ticket- it may be the issue you’re experiencing is easily rectifiable. There are plenty of Beta testers to help..
* Don’t panic if you’re struggling to get in the sim. Launch days are nightmares, just stay calm and go and do something else and try again later..the world will NOT explode f you don’t get your cats within the first five minutes of release!

Wildwood Breedable Cats GO LIVE DEC 1ST!!

Yes, that’s right my ardent avatar ailurophiles, the Wildwoods are released in Second Life on Wednesday.
The sim has been closed in preparation for the launch because, let’s face it, it is going to be packed.(I really hope us Beta testers get an early pass. I’d be happy with that as a perk of the job:)
Details about release, such as pricing structure, haven’t been revealed, but some interesting details have.
It looks as though starter packs will not be following the trail blazed by Krazy Kitties, in that starter kittens will be transferrable, BUT Wildwood have emphasised the need to keep hold of your starters in the event of them producing ‘Elegants’. I’d never heard of this concept until I read the press release but an elegant sounds similar ( in theory at least) to a ‘Charmed’ Amaretto horse or an ‘Elite’ Ozimals bunny, in that they are special cats that come in different colours and patterns. Add to that the fact that they’re breedable and have the potential to pass on another elegant through their breeding span and you have a very desirable moggie indeed.
Wildwood will be restricting the amount of starter packs that an avatar can purchase. They recognise that some people will just be interested in an automatic resale but they have emphasised the need for restraint, and to that end will be monitoring sales closely. Each package released will have its own price and limit of purchase (This only applies to the cats, not to the actual food and supplies)
With this in mind I recommend you take a good look at the website page where the starter pelts are displayed, select the one(s) that you want and focus on buying only those when the time comes. This means that in theory you can be in and out of the sim in a flash on release day, rather than dithering over decision making and therefore preventing a squillion other avatars from getting onto the sim.

As far as I am aware starter kitties will be one of the following:

* Solids (Eg Blue)
* Bi-Colour (Eg Black and White)
* Tabby( Eg Brown Tabby, Ginger Tabby)
* Tri-Colour ( Eg Black, white and ginger)

Each starter is available in SIX different colour combinations, so there is sure to be something for everyone.

I really don’t know what to go for; they’re all adorable; but to start I will probably get myself a Bi-colour and a Tabby pack, although I may well change my mind on that one a million times over before Wednesday!

What other advice can I give you in preparation of the big reveal? Join the Wildwood group in world, and bookmark the website. Join the forums, read the posts, peruse the pictures. Get your Lindens ready, and check the chat and notices in the group for sim opening times.

When it comes to buying your kittens, DRESS DOWN for the occasion. You’re buying cats, not going to a virtual fashion parade, so reduce your ARC as much as possible. ( I have a special all black zero ARC avatar that I use on such occasions. It looks a total bugger but it got me in and out of the Amaretto sim on launch day in a relatively reasonable time-frame) Tempers will fray, silly questions will be asked and people will struggle to get into the sim, but it’s all part of the release day fun.

The Wildwood Cats are one of the most anticipated virtual products released this year, and from my experience as a Beta tester I can tell you that they’re charming, fun and totally rewarding to own with tons of eye, ear, coat, shade and tail options meaning that there’s limitless breeding fun to be had from these feline fantasies. Follow my tips and get yourself geared up for what promises to be a very exciting launch indeed…