Skipping across the waves on a Silverstone

The E-Tech Silverstone in the red finish - my "Lady of Calas 2"
The E-Tech Silverstone in the red finish – my “Lady of Calas 2”, passing the Fastnet Rock light on Blake Sea

My conversion to SL sailing / boating enthusiast is well-documented, at least within these pages. Admittedly, I have yet to get myself sorted with a sailboat other than my premium gift Exotix, but that’s largely because I’ve yet to find something I really like.

Instead, I’ve been motoring about Blake Sea and elsewhere aboard my E-Tech Sparrow 4, which I re-named Lady of Calas. At the time I purchased the boat, it was on a special offer at L$399. The reason for the offer was that Envy Melody, E-Tech’s founder and creator, has just overhauled the build and improved upon the original. Even so, the price represented remarkable value – and I have to thank Spikey (again) for pointing it out to me.

E-Tech Silverstone Cabin
E-Tech Silverstone Cabin

Now Envy has another boat on promotional offer – at 70% off the list price (L$650). The model in question is the Silverstone, a name which is sure to get my attention, given I am a Formula 1 fan 🙂 . Like the Sparrow, this has been extensively overhauled and is now at version 4.0 which sees the total LI for the vessel substantially reduced from 256 to 132. This actually undercuts the Sparrow by some 25 LI; not bad for a vessel which is roughly twice the length of the Sparrow.

Like the Sparrow, the Silverstone comes in a choice of hull colours (although 5 are on offer here), these being charcoal, royal blue, red, white and pink. As I opted for red for Lady of Calas, I decided to stick with the same for the Silverstone, which I’ve also re-christened Lady of Calas 2, given it is unlikely I’ll have both rezzed at the same time.

Unlike the Sparrow, the Silverstone has a fully enclosed cabin / cockpit which offers plenty of room for seating  up to eight passengers. The aft deck offers additional seating and a trio of sun loungers located above the fantail. Forward of the main cabin is a further sun lounger atop what appears to be a forward cabin, but which is in fact unused space.

Heading back past Fastnet on the way home
Heading back past Fastnet on the way home

As the driver, I’d have liked somewhere to sit down when piloting the boat, but like the Sparrow, the owner has to stand and steer. A minor niggle, admittedly, but my little feet tire easily…

In terms of handling, I have to say I found the Silverstone a bit of a handful at times. While not overly large compared to some other boats, it is sufficiently long enough and the default  camera position located far enough back that it is not given to making fine adjustments to turns, which is particularly noticeable when trying to dock. There’s also no HUD with this model, which might make it a little hard to judge comparative speeds when working up through the gears and running with the throttle open. Fortunately, if you have an E-Tech HUD, it should work with Silverstone as well as any other vessel.

Once at sea, the boat handled well. As with the Sparrow, region crossings were handled reasonably well given the vagaries involved, and in an outing which took me from east the west and back across Blake Sea, I encountered few issues, although these could be as much down to tweaks to the server code as much as anything intrinsic to the boat’s scripting.

Extras with the Silverstone are not as extensive as with the Sparrow, and from my perspective this is fine, as I never actually rezzed any of the Sparrow’s extras beyond demonstrating them. There is, however, some very nice interior lighting effects which let the Silverstone look very attractive and cosy at night.

If there is one thing  with the new boat that is going to take a bit of getting used to, it is its size; the revised terrace / quay at home was more than adequate for the Sparrow, but it is completely overwhelmed by the Silverstone! Nevertheless, Lady of Calas 2 is going to remain rezzed yet a while. Big she may well be, comparatively speaking, but I’m already growing accustomed to her lines 🙂 .

Sizing things up. My E-tach Sparrow (left) with me on the prow; and the E-Tech Silverstone
Sizing things up. My E-tech Sparrow (left) with me on the prow; and the E-Tech Silverstone

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Of particles and paper

The Linden Endowments for the Arts is hosting a series of 16 “interim” art projects through until the end of January 2013. I’ve already covered the Flash Mob event on LEA26 and LEA 27, so here are two more you might want to take a look at: The Wonderful World of Particles and Paper Observatory.

The Wonderful World of Particles

The Wonderful World of Particles
The Wonderful World of Particles – LEA 13

I’ve long been an admirer of particle-based art in Second Life, having first encountered the power and versatility of particles as an artistic medium through the works of Tyrehl Byk, who still stands as one of the great Particle Magicians in my humble view of Second Life. So when I discovered that Mary Wickentower would be using LEA13 to present The Wonderful World of Particles (sponsored by Aview TV), I knew it would be on my list of places to visit.

The Wonderful World of Particles
The Wonderful World of Particles – LEA 13

Open until the end of January 2013, the region comprises a number of areas in which the beauty of particles can be seen. The largest of these is Le Musee de Particules, which will be used for particle performances throughout the month, as well as displaying various exhibits relating to particles, such as a photography by Particle Tom. Around this can be found a particle art installation by Lexi Marshdevil, a drive-in movie theatre featuring particle-themed films by Mary Wickentower and featuring the work of noted particle artists, and a “particle garden” by Danya Sadofsky.

Shows will be held throughout the month, including one by Particle Tom which will take place on Sunday January 19th at 13:00 SLT, featuring music by Jed Luckless.

Take your time exploring; there are some interest displays to be seen – and you might want to have a little place with windlight to get the full visual impact from Lexi Marshdevil’s piece outside of the museum.

The keen-eared movie buff with a penchant for  “Spaghetti Westerns” might also enjoy an aural treat inside the museum with some familiar chimes central to a story involving Clint Eastwood, Lee van Cleef and Gian Maria VolontĂ©!

The Paper Observatory

Haveit Neox is at work on LEA-21 is what is very much a work-in-progress. Paper Observatory is eventually designed to eventually replace a four-year-old Paper Tower on his ACC Alpha region, and which houses the visitor centre and galleries.

Paper Observatory
Paper Observatory

“The new Paper Observatory on the LEA21 sim hovers above an ample arena. The city leading up to this build is concentric; rooftops conforming into one large sweep of concavity, suggests a satellite dish.” Haveit says of the piece, before going on to describe more of the structure of the build and the people within. The human activities on the streets of the city are reflective of superstitious times of old, in the days before science had given us a measure of enlightenment, and when the Earth was still thought to be flat and disease the visitation of evil spirits.

Overhead, the observatory floats serenely, the only way to reach it being via flight – and this is intentional, Haveit using flight as an analogy of turning the page to move beyond the past and into the realm of the present, where the observatory will “be connected to science and therefore be a venue where one could gather information and get in touch with thought-provoking theories.”

Paper Observatory
Paper Observatory

Within the structure of the observatory one can find images of Lawrence Krauss, Richard Feynmann, Isaac Newton and Neil de Grasse Tyson (whose television continuation of Sagan’s epic Cosmos I am eagerly awaiting) – and possibly more as the build progresses – which form interactive elements designed to get the grey cells working.

As the Paper Observatory will be under development and enhancement throughout the month, this is an installation one may well want to re-visit at least a few times to more fully get its entire measure. The completed build will be installed on ACC Alpha on Thursday April 10th, 2014, the fourth anniversary of the founding of the original Paper Tower.

Paper Observatory
Paper Observatory

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