Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Badgers?! We Don’ Need No Steenking Badgers!

Maybe not, but it’s fun to be one! A “Tiny” is any very small avatar, shorter than you can go with the Appearance sliders. Tinies usually appear as cuddly little animals. You can see a cute little teddy bear in some of yesterday’s pictures. That’s Ravelli Ormstein, one of the Deans of Caledon Oxbridge University. (All right, so the Dean is a teddy bear! Wanna make something of it?)

How do you make an avatar that’s smaller than the Appearance sliders permit? Well, you have to hide the regular avatar mesh in some way, or crunch it up smaller, or both. A lot of Tiny avatars come with a special shape that’s distorted by a script similar to the “deformer” practical joke I talked about in an earlier post. You can see this shape if you take off all of the other parts of the Tiny avatar; looks like something that came out of a headshrinker’s pot. Some Tiny avs also make use of the alpha mask layer (I talked about that previously too, in a post about shoes).

Since the avatar mesh doesn’t play much of a role for Tinies, the avatars themselves consist largely of prim attachments. And, because the avatar shape is far from “normal”, they also have a special animation overrider to provide a “tiny walk” and sit and stand animations appropriate to their short stature and (usually) stubby little arms and legs.

Normal poseballs are a problem for Tinies. Poseballs contain an animation or pose, and those animations generally assume that the thing they are animating is a normal human avatar skeleton. Put a Tiny on a dance poseball, and he stretches all out of proportion. You will find furniture especially designed for the comfort of Tinies, especially in Tiny-friendly places like Raglan Shire.

Tinies are a wonderful change of pace. It’s refreshing to put on a cute little ferret avatar (or chat with someone wearing one), and see the delightful way they hop about, instead of the usual hip-swinging “sexy walk” animation, or the prowling male “power walk”.

Tiny vehicles are fun, too. One of the big problems with vehicles in SL is sim borders Regions are 256 meters on a side; at a speed of 100 mph, you cross a sim every six seconds. For technical reasons, border crossings are always hazardous for vehicles. But if you scale down your vehicle and yourself to 1/10 your normal size, suddenly the sim looks ten times bigger! And besides, careening around under chairs, dodging (or failing to dodge) people’s ankles, is a giggle. (You don’t have to have a Tiny avatar to use a Tiny vehicle, at least not some of them. Watching a full size avatar clamber into a toy-sized car is an astonishing experience).

Girls, as a Tiny, you aren’t likely to get unwanted sexual advances…unless the guy has some really strange fetishes. But, guys? A lot of us really love cute, cuddly little animals. Put on a Tiny, and you might be surprised how many female friends you make.

There are some Tiny avatars in your Library…the Boxbot shown yesterday is one sort. If you’re less than 30 days old, drop by Caledon Oxbridge University and grab one of the free Tiny avatars there.

Try a Tiny Today!

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