When Second Life might be a bit of a roller coaster

Master’s Amusement Park

I’m always of a mixed mind when it comes to amusement park themes in Second Life, never sure as to how well they really work in transmitting a sense of thrill / fun. This is not to critique the creators of such venues and the rides that go into them, but rather a reflection that for all its marvels, Second Life is still bounded by certain limitations that can impact the sense of immersion.

That said, there have been various roller coaster rides and theme parks I have visited in-world, and had fun doing so. This being the case, when Miro Collas suggested a visit to the Master’s Amusement Park, designed by Brick Masters (GeniusMike), I added it to my list of Exploring Second Life destinations, and on a sunny Tuesday morning (both SL and in the physical world!), hopped over to take a look.

Master’s Amusement Park

Occupying a sky build, the Master’s Amusement Park is a place of two halves. The “old” landing point can be found on the mainland, forming a “ticket office” and entrance. This informs visitors that the park is now “all new” (as of 2017 at least), and offering a “lifetime season pass” by joining the park’s group – although group membership is *not* a requirement to take to the rides. This landing point eventually directs visitors to a teleport that deposits them at the amusement park proper, a location I’ve used as the main SLurl in this article. I assume the split is due to the park having relocated from the Mainland to a private region in 2017.

A tram service from the latter landing point carries visitors up to the park itself, but I found this to be painfully slow, and on my return to the park after an initial scouting, simply used a double-click TP to hop up to the “surface” level. This is home to around 11 outdoor roller coaster rides, together with a log flume, indoor rides (some stacked one atop another, which I personally found visually distracting) and various other fun fair style rides.

Master’s Amusement Park

A local set of teleport disks link the major rides one to another, although reaching the majority can be achieved by wandering around the footpaths in the park. The emphasis is very much on the rides, so landscaping is fairly minimal, outside of the sim surround. The rides themselves appear to span all eras – prim, sculpt and mesh, some of which does give parts of the park a rather “old school” look.

The rides themselves run as smoothly as one might expect from SL, but whether they “work” for you is a personal choice; this kind of ride is one of the times when it’s hard not to feel that full visual immersion, were it possible, could only add to the feeling of being there – even in Mouselook, you’re still effectively looking at a flat screen depicting a ride, and while the sense of motion is there, it still lacks a little something to get the heart beating just a little faster.

Master’s Amusement Park

The big advantage with Second Life is that the realities of gravity, inertia and simple physics and the like aren’t a major constraint on rides, and thus some of those offered at the park can go that extra step: a truly vertical drops, exceptionally tight turns and track arcs allowing a lot to be packed into relatively small spaces, a log plume with turntables for reversing your direction of travel without the worry of water slopping everywhere, etc.   Whether it was actually a placebo effect or not is open to debate in my head, but it did feel as if the mesh rides – notably Olympia Looping – felt a lot smoother and more engaging than some of the other rides; but that could simply be because of a subconscious reaction to its more modern, sleeker looks.

As noted above, whether amusement park rides work for you in SL or not is matter of personal choice. I admit to that were it my choice, I’d perhaps opt for fewer rides in favour of a little more landscaping and avoiding the “double stacked nature of some of the rides; but for those who are curious about roller coasters and amusement rides in SL, Master’s Amusement Park certainly offers a lot to be tried out in a single location.

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