Monday, May 30, 2011

Got The Sim Border Blues...

I love playing with vehicles in Second Life. There’s only one problem…region crossings. Whenever you cross from one region into another, all of your avatar data has to be handed off from the server running your previous region to the one running the region you’re entering. This can take several seconds. While that’s happening, your avatar is “out of control”…you appear to continue on in the direction you were going, but your movement controls have no effect. Once the transfer is complete, the new region knows “where you are”, and you snap back to that position. This is known as “rubberbanding”.

When traveling in a vehicle, the behavior at sim crossings can be alarming. Airplanes go into a dive, boats suddenly become submarines. You may even seem to dive underground and pass into a strange, featureless realm. Usually, you snap back to the proper location and can get on with your journey, but not always. With fast moving vehicles especially, a region crossing can go wrong, and you will experience some form of crash. Your vehicle may disappear, leaving you sitting on nothing. Your avatar may become frozen. Or your viewer may crash entirely, which at least saves you the trouble of logging out.

There are some things you can do to make sim crossings easier.
  • Take off heavily scripted items. AOs, boots, hair, or other items with re-size scripts or color-changing scripts.
  • Take off high prim count jewelry
  • Turn off bandwidth eating services like parcel media and voice
  • Don’t cross at a corner where four regions join
  • Cross at a right angle to the sim border
  • Maintain a constant speed and heading as you cross
  • Slow down just before the crossing
This last item gives us something to think about when shopping for our new ride: slower is better. Forget that Mach 3 fighter jet…pick a helicopter, a sailboat, or a hot air balloon instead.

Traveling slowly has another advantage. You can go slowly enough to enjoy the scenery. Ratchet your draw distance up to 300m or more if your graphics card can handle it, and have fun sightseeing.

Another problem with vehicles is curmudgeonly landowners…the “Hey you kids! Git off my yard!” people who put up banlines or fast-acting security orbs, or who fill their land so full of objects there are no prims to spare for your vehicle. It’s their land, and they have the right to do these things…but it does make life hard for the Second Life explorer.
  • Avoid banlines by flying above 50 meters.
  • Use a device like this HUD to detect and avoid hazardous regions
One of the many items available at the Starboards Yacht Club mall

Here are some of my favorite Second Life vehicles!
Intrepid Balloonists!

Paraglider - Can carry a passenger, and ride thermals

Sailplane - Self launching or towed.

Helicopter from Cubey Terra

Trudeau Yachts Beach Cat - Very Realistic Sailing

Spirit Boat - Custom Sails
And yes, sometimes I do feel the need for speed!
Asparas Ducted Fan Canard

Cue the Theme from "Jaws"
Take Some Road and Put It Behind You!
Boating related Landmarks 

Aviation related Landmarks

Motorcycles and Hotrods
Mushashi Motors
Darkfold Designs
Motor Loon

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