On Thursday, September 1st, Linden Lab announced the release of a further set of ten new starter avatars.
Referred to as a set of “fantasy” inspired avatars, the new collection features five male and five female avatars based on the system avatar, but include mesh accessories. Two of the avatars are vampires, providing newcomers with the option to have such characters without having to opt for the fully mesh starter avies.
The ten avatars are paired off into five genres: the aforementioned vampire, plus magic (with an unabashed Harry Potter element to the male character of “Emrys”); cyber / sci-fi; post-apocalyptic (regulars at TPVD meetings may recognise “Petrol Sue”, as worn by Grumpity Linden at the meetings); and steampunk. All come with pets (or in the case of Leah and Jaxon, from the cyber / sci-fi theme, drones).
Commenting on the new avatars, the blog post reads in part:
Over the years, we’ve continued to apply what we’ve learned about building techniques to our starter avatars, improving their aesthetics and optimizing them to load quickly. Our latest Fantasy starter avatars are vibrant examples of what we consider “balanced content” that is both performance-optimized and looks beautiful — they can save you time getting immersed in one of our many role-playing communities without unnecessarily lagging yourself or others. We know that content creators want to create optimized content for their customers, and we encourage creators to study these new avatars as examples of balanced content.
The blog post goes on to state that the avatars have been designed with Avatar Rendering Complexity in mind, and have been fine-tuned for “low ARC” scores. When testing on my system (i5 4590 with a GTx 970 GPU, the female avatars reported at between 8980 (“Leah”), through to 18,352 for “Petrol Sue”. The male avatars fell between 9,837 (“Emrys”) and 14,981 (“Jaxon”).
As with the last set of “system” (or “classic”) avatars (see here), these all use attached AOs, some of which continue to appear a little jerky during transitions (or lack thereof), suddenly flicking from one animation / pose to the next.
The new avatars can be accessed by going to Me (/Avatar) > Choose an Avatar > New Avatars (tab should be open by default). Once an avatar is selected, it is transferred to your inventory and worn.
To mark the release of the new avatars, the Lab also issued a promotional video: