WHO: Starcat Twine/Sukubepanda; Owner of DERP in SecondLife.
DERP in Secondlife: SLurl- http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/DERP/198/130/24
WHAT: A custom avatar in secondlife, with adult parts, hair, hat, and a shirt.
WHEN: Initial discussion of the commission occurred in July 2010. Final details were smoothed out and payment was sent on August 3, 2010. Avatar was completed on August 11, 2010. Adult parts were completed on October 4, 2010. Hat and hair was completed by another DERP employee. Wait on adult part .psd’s and shirt has been ongoing/cancelled?
PROOF: Paypal transaction- http://nightmare-hq.com/DERP_AB/paypal1.png
Commission agreement from SL- http://nightmare-hq.com/DERP_AB/commission%20agreement%201.pngProof of reused parts- http://nightmare-hq.com/DERP_AB/Sculpts/
Customs page’s- http://nightmare-hq.com/DERP_AB/Derp%20customs.png
EXPLAIN: To start off, when I initially inquired about the commission Starcat and I were friends and had known each other for a little while from Anthrocon and chatting on SecondLife(SL).Her and a couple other people run an avatar and clothing store in SL called DERP. Starcat makes the avatars. I initially commissioned her for an avatar and accessories on August 3, 2010 after reading the advertisement for custom commissions through her website. It guaranteed a custom avatar that would not be resold, accessories, as well as all the .psd’s used in the making of the avatar. It was agreed upon that she could reuse the hands, feet, and footpaws on her domestic canines since she was working on them around the same time. I paid her $450 through paypal and she started work on the avatar shortly after. I received the avatar within a week or so before she went on a trip, and was told the other accessories would be done sometime after she got back.
Pretty much as soon as I got the avatar on my account accusations of Starcat reusing sculpts from former coworkers of her at EXL were directed at me, criticizing me of paying $450 for something that she had already made. I spoke with her about this and she dismissed it as EXL being jerks/jealous/etc. A couple weeks later when the domestic canines were released by DERP I noticed major similarities between the avatars and my custom and brought it up to another DERP employee who was working on something else for me at the time. Starcat was very defensive in both cases and denied them being the same. She made excuses as to canines being very generic when asked about the parts being reused aside from the legs/hands/feet. Towards the end of the year Starcat was becoming very hard to get in contact with and some im’s and emails were going unanswered. In October 2010 I learned that the hard drive with the .psd’s for the adult parts was not hooked up after her computer was rebuilt. She said in October that I could have the .psd’s for the shirt and hat as well as the adult parts when the HDD was hooked back up, as she didn’t have the proper cables to connect it. I offered to send some extra cables in April so she could retrieve the files and she accepted. They were mailed out to her shortly after.
I had pretty much no contact with her other than emails after February 2011, and the few times that we did speak about the commission all she had were excuses about personal problems for why it wasn’t done. Granted, we were friends at the time, so I talked about some of mine as well. She tried to guilt trip me by saying how much more I was getting than other clients when I was getting exactly what was advertised and what I paid for…She was very defensive when asked about certain aspects of the commission and acted like she was doing me a favor by taking the commission. Frankly I’ve never run into any problems like this with any artists that I’ve commissioned. The fact that I went into this as a friend and had to deal with all of these issues just made me want to avoid commissioning friends in the future unless I know they’re reliable and won’t take advantage of the situation. At this point Starcat and I no longer speak to each other.
In September 2011 she informed me that the hard drive containing the .psd’s for the adult parts was corrupt and she was unable to retrieve them after hooking it up. She offered to do the shirt in mesh and to edit the textures from the adult parts so that they could be modified in Photoshop if I sent them to her. I did and heard nothing back until November 1, 2011 after I had expressed my frustration over the delays and communication problems. She responded saying that she wasn’t going to do the shirt and was just going to refund me $25 based off an estimate of what it would cost out of the commission, going on to say that she was being generous even with that and that some people weren’t meant to work together. Honestly, I could have just done without the drama and would have been happy with my commission being completed instead of excuses. I have not received a refund as of yet and frankly don’t want to accept one.
Around the same time that I got the last email from Starcat I met Neroe Karu on SL, another person who had gotten a custom from DERP. After talking with them I realized that she had dealt with some of the same problems as far as parts being reused. We set out our custom avatars side by side along with the domestic canines and the Serbex from DERP and noticed that a large majority of the parts from her avatar had been used in my own, and furthermore had been reused and resold as the domestic canines. Some of my avatars mouth was also constructed from the existing Serbex that they had for sale. We took screenshots of the sculpt maps side by side for comparison and noticed that a large deal of the sculpts were exactly the same, some being slightly modified. Essentially I paid $450 for a recolor, tail, slightly modified muzzle and nose, and adult parts aside from the hat and hair. The hair I got for free on the grounds that it could be resold, instead of paying for it for personal use only. The hat is a commercially available product that I was given one of.
All in all I’m not really expecting to get anything out of this. Some people were saying I could take legal action over this(?), but I just want to post this as a beware for anyone thinking about doing business with them.
:Edit #1 1/30/12: Starcat and I have decided to settle this privately and I am being fully reimbursed. I've removed some irrelevant info as far as conversations go, but the original warning is still there as required by the community rules.
:Edit #2 1/30/12: Starcat has reimbursed me for the price of the avatar. This is resolved as far as I'm concerned. She mentioned that anyone who had similar should approach her first in the future.