…on the ocean of the beautiful blue Blake Sea
Or so Angela Lansbury and David Tomlinson might have started singing, had they been in receipt of the latest Premium gift from Linden Lab.
Premium gifts have been something of a sore point in some circles, with people taking LL’s promise to offer “regular” gifts as meaning “monthly” gifts – although the two do not actually equal one another. I also suggested that the next gift roll-out would be as we headed towards Christmas, so I wasn’t really that surprised when an e-mail popped-up in my inbox announcing the next gift has been released – this time a sailing boat.
The boat appears to have been made by someone called Crazy Mole from the LDPW, with scripting (I assume) by Michael Linden. I’m not sure if putting the work “in-house”, so to speak, is to combat critics (such as myself) who have questioned the idea of LL entering into arrangements with content creators for the provision of such gifts. If so, then the approach only partially works – there’s still the question of LL effectively competing (even on a modest scale like this) with established content creators in SL in supplying popular items.
The gift itself – available through the premium vendors, comprises the boat, a sailing HUD and a number of LMs to places where you can go sail. The boat itself is a mesh creation with a physics weight of 12, a server weight of 13 and an overall land impact of 147. It’s rather nicely styled and somewhat customisable.
The HUD provides a compass, a roll indicator, a switch that allows you to use the sails (wind) or the boat’s engine, indicators for the wind speed (when under sail) and boat speed (when under power), and buttons that allow you to change the hull, sail, deck and furnishings textures, as well a help button and a button to minimise it, if you prefer.
Operationally, the boat is restricted to the owner for sailing – so although it is COPY, no rezzing a couple of extras to go racing with friends – but it does include additional seating poses for friends to sail with you. It also requires the HUD to be attached (centre top by default) before boarding, or you won’t be able to sail it yourself…
Sailing is essentially a matter of using the arrow / WASD keys and setting off on your merry way. Flicking the HUD to the sail mode will unfurl your sails, and the boat will take on a healthy roll as she picks up speed, when turning, this can result in water seeping through the sides of the cockpit. When piloting the boat, you get a very nice over-the-shoulder view – although this can be blocked as the sails move. A wake effect is also produced, which phosphors nicely at night.
In terms of customisation, in addition to the retexturing options outlined above (some of which are, I’d suggest, a little bland and fail to live up to their name), the boat includes individual name textures (defaulted to “Linden”) and a flag (bearing the SL logo by default) which can also be customised to suit your taste, if you have suitable textures (I couldn’t resist putting the IPD logo on the flag of my boat). Just remember that if you do this, to make your modified version the default version for rezzing purposes!
I’m still very ambivalent about LL providing gifts in this manner – there are better ways to incentivize (hateful word!) Premium accounts. That said, there is no denying the boat is fun to use – although the land impact might prevent people leaving a version rezzed at their quayside. But – if you want to give SL sailing a go, and you have a Premium account – why not collect your gift and give it a go?