CLSA: flying in Second Life at L$10 a plane

Flying over the home island in the CLS Aviation P2010

Whirly Fizzle pointed me in the direction of CLS Aviation on the Marketplace after owner CaithLynnSayes introduced an across-the-board price drop for all aircraft in this modest collection to just L$10 per vehicle – the catch being that the aircraft are now sold completely unsupported. As such, they make a bargain basement opportunity for those curious about SL flying to kick-start their exposure.

There are only nine aircraft in the CLSA range, and these form a mix of vintage and light aircraft. The models are built by Helijah Bailey and scripted by Reconx86, the scripts being based on those originally developed by Cubey Terra.

Both the P2010 (shown) and the P92 have acceptable default paint options (in theory changeable via the menu), and support custom finishes. Each features touch-to-open doors

I have previously flown the Firestorm limited edition of the CLSA Ryan Navion and found it acceptable, if not exceptional. For this test, I grabbed the “Tec-N” (aka Tecnam of Italy) P92 and the P2010 on the basis I haven’t got any high-wing monoplanes in my collection. Each aircraft is supplied with at least one variant of the plane itself (the P92 has a version with fixed wheel undercarriage, suffixed “T”, and a version with floats, suffixed “W”), a detailed manual, a quick start guide, a basic HUD, and a set of set of basic texture templates for creating custom paint finishes.

The flight system is the same for both aircraft, offering the usual control options: PAGE UP and PAGE DOWN for the throttle, UP / DOWN; arrow keys for pitching the nose down / up; the LEFT / RIGHT keys for banking (or WASD, if you use them). Other control surfaces (flaps, air brakes) are accessed via text. The HUD for each is fairly basic, and includes a button option for accessing the menu system (also accessible via chat command when sitting in the aircraft).

The P92-W(ater) version flying past a familiar (to this blog!) landmark

As with all CLSA aircraft, both models reflect their physical namesakes with reasonable accuracy. Each comes with a number of menu-accessible paint finishes, and slots within the menu for adding custom paint finishes (instructions for use in the user manual) – or that’s the theory. Both aircraft are also Shergood Aviation N-Number Registration compatible, meaning that when first rezzed, it will have a unique N (United States) registration number, which is also registered at the Shergood Aviation Aircraft Database.

Handling-wise I found the P92 and P2010 acceptable, although the P92 suffered the same issue I had with the CLSA Ryan Navion: banking tends to be flat, with the first part feeling like the aircraft is slewing into a turn. The P2010 felt a lot more responsive by comparison, rolling rather tightly in turns, but having the feel of a small, well-powered aircraft, and was definitely a lot more fun to fly. Airspeed is measured in metres per second, and it’s advisable to read the manual to get things like rotation and stall speeds fixed in your head.

The P92 float and wheeled variants, showing off two of the supplied pain finishes

I did have some issues with each plane – the aforementioned lack of initial banking when turning the P92, for example, together with a visual niggle that the main struts supporting the floats don’t actually meet the fuselage. There’s also no means to retract the wheels on the floats, giving the ‘plane an odd look when landing on water with wheels extended before and under the floats. As with the Ryan Navion, both the P92 and the P2010 will happily land on Linden water, taxi on it and take-off again, even when sans floats – which is a trifle odd, and possibly part of their Cubey Terra scripted heritage – as I noted in my review of the Ryan Navion, there is a degree of similarity in the handling of the Navion / P92 and Cubey’s Stingray in particular. However, these are relatively minor niggles.

A more annoying issue lies with the P2010. For me, this repeatedly gave a scripted texture call error when first sitting in the aircraft and on making region crossings, becoming quite the distraction at times. The menu option to access the paint controls was also non-functional, even after a full reset of scripts. However, I don’t believe the latter prevents the manual application of textures, if handled with care.

All CLSA aircraft seem to share the common trait of being able to operate on Linden water, regardless of whether they have floats! This is the P2010 “parked” on Blake Sea following a successful landing

If I’m totally honest, a CLSA ‘plane is unlikely to become a favourite with me; I’m simply too attached to my DSA aircraft (although the camera management on CLSA planes during regions crossings is admittedly far better than DSA). However, even allowing for the issues and niggles mentioned above, at L$10 per ‘plane, they really cannot be sneezed at for those wishing to join the world of SL aviation flying a fairly reasonable aircraft with a decent flight control system, and are a far better introduction to SL flying than many of the low-cost / freebie alternatives to be found on the MP.

Additional Links

CLS Aviation on the Marketplace

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Sansar Product Meeting 2017 week #45

People gather on stage for the Product Meeting, Friday, November 10th, including Brett Linden (far left), Cara Linden (far right), Jenn (centre right, next to Tyler), and Boden Linden (in the sunglasses behind and slightly to the right of Jenn)

The following notes are taken from the Sansar Product Meetings held on Friday, November 10th. These meetings are usually held every Friday at 9:30am PST and 4:00pm PST, and are open to all. There is currently no set agenda, and the meetings are a mix of voice and text. The official meeting notes are published in the week following each pair of meetings, while venues change each week, and are listed in the Meet-up Announcements. and the Sansar Atlas events section.

Events Section on the Web Atlas

The new events section on the web Atlas has launched  – see here for more. It is currently limited to three events at a time, but will be expanded. There will also be an e-mail address to which details of user-organised events can be sent for inclusion in the listing. once the submission process / requirements and e-mail addressed have been finalised, the events section will be officially documented by the Lab.

Store Release

The November end-of-month Sansar release will be focused on the Sansar Store, although it will include other elements as well. Details of specific improvements / updates will be made available closer to the release date, but it is likely to include things like further store branding improvements, improvements to featuring items in the store.

Week #45 Update

In the meantime, there has been a mini update to the store, allowing creators to see who has bought their items, etc. This information can be manually copy / pasted into a spreadsheet for analysis, although more automated tools will be forthcoming in the future.

Fashion Update

The Fashion update scheduled for mid-December is generating the most interest. Again, specific details will be made available closer to the release date, however the following aspects of the release have been mentioned:

  • It should include updated avatar shapes. These shouldn’t affect how attachments currently work, but may impact the precise placement of attachments.
  • The character mesh models to help with clothing design will be made available around the same time as the Fashion release is made.
  • Clothing design will initially be gender-specific: clothing designed using the female model will only work on female avatars, and clothing designed using the male avatar will only work on male avatars. It’s not clear if a more “unisex” approach will be added in the future.
  • It has been previously indicated by Bjørn Laurin that this initial fashion release will not include full layering (so, for example, a shirt and jacket must be worn together, rather than as individual layers), although it may split clothing by “top” and “bottom” layers.

As well as directly addressing Fashion aspects of Sansar, this release may also see updates in the following areas:

  • Audio:
    • Additional audio controls on the Settings panel to allow users to toggle voice chat and background music in experiences.
    • Audio materials for terrain. There will be an initial limit of only audio sample per terrain; the Lab is still determining how it will work for blended terrains /materials.
  • A possible push of the events listing to the client Atlas.
  • Possible inclusion of terrain height map imports.

Inventory / Scene Objects List Management

  • The Lab is looking at improvements to inventory / scene objects management. These include: searching, sorting and filtering items, and making multiple selections of items.
  • Implementing folders within inventory is under discussion, along with potentially “better” ways of handling inventory organisation also being considered.
  • The ability to see a representative icon for inventory items when hovering the mouse over them is being discussed (e.g. a generic sound icon for an audio item). However, this is not part of the current inventory roadmap.

Issues Update

Attachments Rotation / Breakage Issue

As noted in my week #44 update, a change in the Friends release means that some attachments using workarounds to handle rotation no longer appear in the correct location when worn, requiring them to be manually fixed and re-uploaded. However, as some of the items exceed the recently introduce size limitation for attachments (1m x 1m x 1m), uploading them is no longer possible.

Rather than re-visiting the currently enforced limitations with a view to possibly relaxing them at some point to allow these fixed items to be re-uploaded, SIN has suggested an alternative approach: add an option along with those for listing items on the store, etc., to allow rotation to be adjusted (which would also be useful for anything accidentally uploaded with the wrong rotation). The idea is being taken back to the Lab for further investigation.

Scene Editor Object Count Crash

Some creators have found that the client can crash while in Edit mode on reaching 4096 objects (or 2048 dynamic objects) within a scene. It is currently not clear if this is a bug within the Sansar engine, or whether it is related to something else (it has also been reported that the scene object list has issues scrolling through very long lists of items, and this may be related). This is an issue the Lab didn’t previously appear to be aware of, and it appears a formal bug report has yet to be raised on the issue.

In Brief

  • Textures Related:
    • System terrain textures: requests have been made for the current system terrain textures to be made available in some way (e.g. samples on the wiki, an option to use them in the uploader, etc.), so that creators can blend their own items (e.g. paths, riverbanks, etc.) with the ground textures they have selected with their scene. These requests have been taken back to the Lab.
    • Custom terrain textures: the ability for creators to upload their own terrain textures is still on the roadmap, but may not be rolled out in the short-term, as the Lab wants to focus on making some updates to the terrain editor before rolling out new features related to it.
  • Retaining cached experiences: request has been made for users to be able to select and retain cached experiences (e.g. their own) they frequently visit, rather than losing them when they go Atlas hopping, etc. The is under discussion at the Lab, but how it might be implemented has yet to be determined.
  • Experience access control/ monetisation:
    • Initial access control for experiences is coming (e.g. restricting an experience to Friends only).
    • Broader access control (/ eventual monetisation of experience access) is being looked at by the Lab, with some form of ticketing system currently being the most likely approach. However, the fine details of how this will work  still have to be determined. As such, it is not currently on the roadmap for implementation.
  • UI Improvements: as noted in week #43, he Lab is working on the tools to support UI changes (Runtime and Edit modes). Once this work is completed, it will hopefully pave the way to making UI improvements easier (e.g. resizeable windows, etc).
    • Improvements to the Chat and People apps are being considered for 2018.
    • A means of providing a non-obtrusive means of indicating who is talking on voice at any given time is still being investigated.
    • Stale messages / notifications: the issue of stale messages / notifications appearing in the Chat and People apps is being investigated.
  • PayPal payment option: still on the roadmap, but focus at the moment is on updates to the SandeX and fixing issues around the purchase of Sansar Dollars.
  • 2018 Feature release roadmap: a point to remember is that the 2018 features roadmap is being revisited. As such, when updates / features listed above might appear in the roadmap, and how other capabilities previously discussed at Product Meetings (e.g. the supply chain capability) slot into time frames for 2018 is still to be settled.

The Atlantic explores Second Life through users’ eyes

illustration only

The Digital Ruins of a Forgotten Future might sound a dismal title for an article on the subject of Second Life. But that is precisely the title Leslie Jamison chose for her in-depth piece on the platform.

However, before anyone starts reaching for pitchforks and looking to ignite torches, the article’s title believes an in-depth piece studying not so much Second Life itself, but the lives of some of us who use the platform. It is, in short, a rich study of the very humanity that for so many of us, makes Second Life a rich extension of our lives, rather than the encapsulation of an escapist fantasy environment so often portrayed within the media and by those with little practical exposure to Second Life.

Of course, there is the inevitable exploration of Second Life’s history, including its startling media rise, the plateauing of active user numbers and the media’s eventual disenchantment with the platform. There’s also a look and founder Philip Rosedale’s vision and ideals, Linden Lab’s own attempts to “correctly” define Second Life and more.

But these explorations are interwoven with the stories from those individual users – such as Gidge Uriza, Gentle Heron, Jadyn Firehawk, and more – in which their physical lives and their time in world is fused into a rounded picture of each, presenting what is perhaps the clearest means of truly appreciating the nature of Second Life and those who use it.

Within all of this as well, we get to see Leslie’s own engagement with the platform, from struggling newcomer with strong antipathy towards Second Life, through to a growing understanding of what makes it appealing to so many. In this she is equally honest in her self-examination, expressing the kind of conflicted views of Second Life many of us probably dealt with at one point or another.

Taken individually, each of the stories  – I refuse to call them case studies, as they are so much more – offers considerable insight into the appeal and rewards of active involvement in Second Life. Taken together they naturally weave together into a tapestry of life and activities which those who have not engaged in second Life cannot really fail to recognise as containing themes that mark our passage through the physical world:  how do we connect to one another; what brings meaning into our lives, what agencies do we use to express ourselves and find personal satisfaction? All of which, as noted, make this one of the most complete examinations of Second Life yet put into print.

The Digital Ruins offers a huge amount to read and digest – and to listen to as well: the entire article is available via SoundCloud, and I’ve embedded it below. In this respect, analysis of the piece would at best be convoluted – and as lengthy as the piece itself. As such, I thoroughly recommend taking the time to read the piece in full, or listen to the audio version (just under 58 minutes in length).

For now, I’ll leave you with Leslie’s closing comments on her explorations, discoveries and ruminations of and about Second Life – comments which serve as an insightful encapsulation of the article as a whole:

Some people call Second Life escapist, and often its residents argue against that. But for me, the question isn’t whether or not Second Life involves escape. The more important point is that the impulse to escape our lives is universal, and hardly worth vilifying. Inhabiting any life always involves reckoning with the urge to abandon it—through daydreaming; through storytelling; through the ecstasies of art and music, or hard drugs, or adultery, or a smartphone screen. These forms of “leaving” aren’t the opposite of authentic presence. They are simply one of its symptoms—the way love contains conflict, intimacy contains distance, and faith contains doubt.