Over the last several years I’ve collected numerous boats in Second Life, but one thing that has been missing from collection is a cabin cruiser. After looking around, and given budget is a little limited at the moment, I decided to pick up a Bandit 580.
Now, to be sure, this is not the most recent design in the Bandit range by Analyse Dean, but there was something about the lines I liked, together with its rich range of animations. It also, given the budget limit noted above, fitted my purse rather nicely, given I wasn’t entirely sure how often it would be used. However, I was in for a very pleasant surprise; unbeknownst to me, Analyse had noted the purchase, and no sooner had I arrived home and started unpacking the 580, she tapped me on the (IM) shoulder and dropped the more recent Bandit 460AK (the AK a reference to the included streaming radio) into my lap. So now I have not one, but two cabin cruisers to play with – thank you, Analyse!
As noted, the 580 is the older model, roughly 16 metres in length and about 5.8 metres across the beam. It has a large central cabin with a double berth forward, and dining cabin to the stern, which raises the helm station and stern deck. A second helm position can be found in the main cabin and both this and the stern helm station have working gauges and are suitable for Mouselook piloting. Two versions are supplied, the 580GT noting it has a built-in GridTalkie grid-wide marine 2-way radio system.
At roughly 12.1 metres in length and 4.6 metres at the beam, the Bandit 460AK is noticeably smaller than the 580, but it packs in a lot more. As with the 580, it has a primary midships cabin, with a stern sleeping area and forward dining area / sleeping cabin with a “functioning” toilet / shower cubicle. Piloting the boat can be performed from both inside the main cabin (standing position) plus a seated stern helm area with co-pilots seat alongside, separated by the single hatch to access the cabin.
A visual comparison between the two quickly reveals the improvements Analyse has made to her modelling; the steering wheels on the 580 are noticeably more “clunky” looking than those on the 460AK, for example, while the control switches on the latter all work via touch, as do the cabin light switches, hatches and a number of windows – the instruction manual highlights all touchables. Overall, the detailing on the 460AK is a step above the 580, but there are also similarities between the two. Many of the animations found in the 580 are also present in the 460AK: both share the same, or have similar, swimming, dancing, and deck working animations, for example (although overall, the 460AK has more animations). Local chat commands are similar for the two as well, although again, the 460AK’s are more extensive.
But when it comes to handling, these are very different boats. A twin-screwed vessel (the engines can be accessed via floor panels in the main cabin), the 580 has a higher top speed than the 460AK, and includes a racing mode. Trim can be automatically set via the engine script, or manually adjusted (Page Up and Page Down keys). The engine sounds are suitably diesel-like for a vessel of this size, and while turning feels very flat, overall handling and manoeuvring is acceptable.
By contrast, the 460AK has more realistic handling, the boat naturally rolling outwards as it turns, and the helm being affected by inertia when travelling a speed (the faster you’re going to more pressure is required on the left or right cursor keys to maintain the turn). Like the 580, it is well suited to Mouselook piloting, and the superior helm controls make this a joy. My one small disappointment is the engine noise itself, which is – to my ears – is a little underwhelming.
Another difference between the two boats is in their LI and physics costs. The 580 weighs-in at 32 LI and a physics cost of 24.2. The 460AK, however is a heavy 55 LI and 40.5 physics. Both of these tend to make themselves felt at region crossings, making the 460AK something of a handful, although like the 580 it recovers well enough.
The additional LI / physics costs with the 460AK is a result of the range of options included: deck furniture for the rear deck – chairs, table, drinks-; forward deck loungers that sit over the main cabin, radio (working) forward cabin switchable bed / table, cushions and curtains for the cabins and a stern deck railing canvas. The upper deck also has a 3-option Bimini (at least the top canvas needs to be deployed to see the in-world text HUD displayed over the boat), and the rear cabin has a built-in television.
Further accessories are supplied in a separate box, the smartest of which is the 460AK wooden dock. Place this out in a suitable position and bring the 460AK in close with engine running, preferably with the fantail at the stern facing towards the small extension side from the dock, and then type “moor” in local chat. The 460AK will slide neat into to place, fenders deployed, before mooring lines appear, together with a shoreline power connector, before the boat’s engine shuts down.
When leaving the dock, starting the engine will automatically hide the mooring lines – then just click the fenders to return them to their stowage bins on the boats’ railings, and you’re ready to advance the throttle and ease away from the dock. The dock itself is provided in handed versions – but the second is unscripted. Other accessories include a fishing rod, dock poles, a second radio for the boat and a lounge chair.
Custom painting of either boat is possible, with texture PNG files supplied. These are adequate for the task, with each boat having at least one additional hull finish. For those not up to painting, there are also several paint schemes from various merchants to be found on the Marketplace – just search Bandit 580 or Bandit 460. I opted to use one of the supplied Bandit 580 pre-sets, as it has a nice musical theme, but took work I’d previously produced for my Loonetta 31 and applied it to the 460AK to offer something of a matching theme.
As noted, both boats have optional in-world hover text information displays, while the 580 also includes two screen HUDs, one for the skipper and one for crew. The former provides options to start the boat, activate the lights and sound the horn. It also includes a CTRL button, which takes control of the driving the boat back from any crew member currently driving it. Crew can drive the boat if the skipper (owner) expressly allows it, and use the crew HUD Control button to take command.
The 460AK doesn’t have a screen HUD of its own, relying on chat commands – which can get a little tedious (e.g. typing “bimini” multiple times to step through the Bimini options and remove it). However, .:: KG Creations ::. have produced a L$170 460AK Control HUD, that reproduces the majority of the boat’s commands either directly (button click) or via button-click and displayed menu. By default, when attached to your screen, this will appear at the top of the viewer window (and can be repositioned, obviously), making switching from the HUD to a displayed menu dialogue straightforward.
Analyse is justifiably proud of the Bandit 460AK, and while it takes a little getting used to handling-wise, it’s a feature-packed vessel that justifies the L$3,000 price tag. While older in build quality and lacking all the options found in the 460AK, the Bandit 580 offers a good cruising experience at a modest L$1,250.
But before buying either, I do recommend seeing them in-world at the Bandit / Mesh Shop store at Dutch Harbor, where demo versions are available to take out and get a feel for their respective handling – note that the demos are limited to 10 minutes rez time, but that should be more than adequate. In addition, the 460AK can be obtained via the Bandit Marketplace store.