I’ll admit I’m not the greatest fan of attachable pets / companions in Second Life (I know, “Booooo!” 🙂 ). OK, so I do have a Zooby cat that can be attached and carried, but he’s designed more for free wandering and actually spends all of his time lying in his kitty basket at home. So when a Culprit Mousie (by Eku Zhong and Yure4u Sosa) arrived on our doorstep, I was not entirely sure what I’d make of it; however, having tried it out on-and-off over the last few days, I admit I can see some of the appeal.
One of the things that has recently revolutionised this kind of companion is, of course, Animesh. Thanks to the ability to make use of the avatar skeleton it is possible to produce companion attachments like this that have a considerable amount of dexterity and “natural” animations – and this is certainly the case of the Culprit Mousie.
As the name implies, this is mouse companion who has the anthropomorphic ability to walk on his hind legs and use his forelegs and paws for gestures. He stands around 1/2 a metre tall when worn, and sits by default just to the right of your avatar.
The package is supplied with Mousie, a gesture HUD and instructions. Both Mousie and the HUD are supplied Copy, No Modify / No Transfer. There is an order to wearing the HUD and Mousie – the former *must* be added first, then the latter.
One worn, Mousie can be repositioned via right-click Edit, so if he is too close for your avatar’s stand animations so you look to be standing through him at times, you can shuffle him around within reason. Once in place, Mousie will self-animate, rocking on his heels, wriggling his tail, gesturing with his forepaws, etc., – and, if you’re standing still for a long period of time, will fold his forelegs and drum his “fingers” as if bored / impatient.
In this, Mousie’s “hand” movements are rather exquisite. His “fingers’ will curl and extend, he’ll delicately scratch himself, wipe his snout and even – or so it seems -occasionally and cheekily – raise a middle “finger” when his arms are upraised! As well as his forelegs / paws, Mousie will also occasionally flick his tail and twitch his ears. When you walk, he’ll waddle along beside you, looking like a speed walker with his forelegs swinging back and forth and little hind legs working overtime which – and I can’t believe I’m writing this – had me wanting to stop every so often and let him catch his breath!
The HUD provides access to the 3-function menu. This provides access to three buttons:
- Gestures: as the name implies, provides access to Mousie’s range of gestures, each triggered via a button. These offer a range of options – dances, air guitar, blowing kisses – a total of 18 gestures in all.
- New name: opens a dialogue box in which you can give your Mousie a personal name.
- Channel: allows you to change the communications channel between your HUD and your Mousie – this is recommended to avoid conflicts with other Mousie users you might encounter.
The gestures themselves are – like Mousie himself – cheeky in places. They also include local sounds, so might be a source of irritation for others in the way that many gestures can – but there is no doubting their giggle factor, either.
Complexity-wise, Mousie adds around 5,300 to an avatar under the current ARC system, suggesting Eku and Yure4u have worked to optimise it. If you want to rez a copy of Mousie in-world, you can – he’ll have a cost of 29 LI (and a physics impact of 0.4 and server cost of 1.8); however, he will only play his default animations if rezzed like this, and will not be responsive to the HUD.
I’m still not won over to using a wearable companion for myself, but I admit that Mousie is different and fun enough in bursts that he might make the odd appearance now and again 🙂 . For those who do like companion / pets like this, he is somewhat different to the more usual dog and cat style of companion and – as noted – comes with a certain giggle factor. Plus, at L$350, he certainly isn’t going to break the bank, and he can (at the time of writing) be obtained via the Culprit store in-world (at the time of writing it had yet to be added to the Culprit Marketplace store).
With thanks to Eku and Yure4u.