Hi there! I think my health is starting to improve a little and wanted to celebrate with a post about a new aspect I have embraced on SL.
As a lot of SL users know, Animesh is now a real thing in SL. If you’re unfamiliar with what it really is, I liken it to smoother and more realistic movement. It’s kind of like MoCap for creatures instead of avatars. Have you ever noticed with an SL animal sometimes you’ll see it, especially during lag, in each different part of the sequence of movement? Kind of like seeing how an animated movie is made image by image and then put together like a flip book into a smooth movie of animation? The way it was explained to me is that each stage (or page, when using the animated movie concept) no longer has to be designed to then morph to the next stage; now they can move in a more natural style. It’s a heck of a lot more complicated than this, but I’m just trying to get the basic idea across about what a game changer this is for animal and NPC (non playable character) designers.
One such designer that embraced Animesh is Zooby, who is a well known designer for their animals and legacy NPC infants/children. Although she is not focused on the animals at this time and is only supporting instead of creating more legacy infants, Zooby designed an Animesh NPC baby that is taking part of SL by storm. Until Linden Labs (LL) updates what is possible with Animesh, these infants will not be able to age, but you can style them to look different ages (just like how a skin or hair style can make your avatar look way younger or older). New items are being rolled out as often as she and her fellow designers can, with interactive nursery furniture, clothing, hair, skin (now with demos even, thank you!!), and now a toy. Instead of the concept that some may be familiar with from owning cared-for cats, these babies won’t get sick if you’re unable to interact with them, unable to get online, and they don’t need some special upgrade to make them that way. You don’t get penalized for incorporating the Zooby Animesh baby into your SLife without frequent interaction. The awesome part is that if you DO decide to do “cares” for the infant, such as bathing and feeding (there’s a HUD for the needs), you receive a token every 24 hours that you meet all of the child’s needs, and those tokens can be redeemed for a special interactive toy for the baby. Currently, at 17 tokens you get to redeem for a set of rattles (copy, too, although you rez from the original box instead of drag copying). The rattles can be shaken, teethed on, etc. There are other token incentives in the works along with interactive furniture that will be available for purchase (like a high chair).
I was never interested in having an RP of someone as a child for my avatar. It’s just not something that I’m comfortable with, but that’s me. When I saw the notice about the Zooby Animesh Baby and then watched the YouTube tutorials (ZoobyVR), I knew I was going to splurge. As some of you know, there have been RL struggles with adoption and things I’ve gone through, but this NPC pixel baby has been very therapeutic for me – I’m able to interact with and feel those nurturing feelings, fulfilling a part of my desires that I’m unable to do IRL. So, for me, I picked out my Zooby baby during the grand opening sale and Luke and I have quietly been enjoying interacting with her. Since Zooby Animesh isn’t a newborn, since LL isn’t able to provide the tools to let Zooby age the child (so she chose a child that looks about 3 months old in most styling available at this time), we decided that in our little SLife that we adopted baby Emma.
Yep, her mommy tends to buy the nerdiest clothing available. LOL
For being a set of pixels, she is so adorable and a really fun part of SL for us. I turned off some of the settings, so she can’t cry or anything unhappy, which means she laughs and babbles often, in the cutest way. Zooby did an amazing job of not just creating the babies, but in making them customizable and capturing the sweetest little moments with them.
It took me a bit to figure out how to pose us while also using the hold baby animation, so I ended up taking the adoption family portrait in the nursery I made. After an hour of trying things at a photography location, I figured I’d just get out of the way until I figured things out, so the first portrait isn’t perfect, but they still look so cute! *grin*
With the Caregiver Pass, Luke can interactive with and handle the “cares” for Emma, so it’s not just me (although as owner I’m the only one that can change the texture on her clothing). This means that we each get moments that “give us the feels”, as people say.
(You should see all of the awesome things people are posting on Flickr with the Zooby babies! Check their page out here if you are interested.)
As you can tell in the last two pics I’ve styled her a bit differently and she looks a bit older now (I’m a bit delayed blogging about this and it took awhile over being shy about sharing this *grin*). We’ve redeemed our tokens for rattles and are now building for whichever incentive comes next. In the meantime she’s a little Heartbreaker, as her jeans say, and a “Hold my juice box” kinda toddler. *laugh* She all ready has her own nerd flag to fly. *grin* (Off topic, but the nighttime shot is my learning how to use LumiPro, which I’ll blog about another day.)
Admittedly I’ve been a bit obsessive with interacting and photographing her instead of my usual adventures in SL (or handling RL), I know it’ll settle back down later. I figure it’s like the first few months mesh was available *laugh*). Any which way, she’s kind of therapeutic for me right now and a lot of fun, so I just had to share our new addition, Emma Kincaid. *smile*
So, if you’ve considered parenthood in SL, but just wasn’t into the Toodledoo or what-have-you type, please check our Zooby’s (SLurl). Two warnings though, they’re like buying a mesh body so don’t expect cheap and it’s easy to spend your lindens styling them. And if you want to design a nursery your lindens are going to FLY out of your account. *laugh* Note that these are all my own experiences and thoughts, and not affiliated with anyone. It’s just a big part of my SLife that I thought I’d share in case anyone else is interested. (Even if you aren’t, just go there and appreciate the incredible work, IMO. Carrie Tatsu and her other designers have done such an amazing job that it’s just cool to observe the talent, skill, and effort that went into these!)
Wishing you a happy SLife! – Breana, Luke, and Emma 🙂