I logged in to Second Life to find I had an unexpected gift waiting for me: a preview version of the Bandit 170, the latest motor boat by Analyse Dean. It’s a cute little craft modelled, as Ana’s boats are, after a physical world boat, as is noted in the 170’s user guide.
The Bandit 170 DeLuxe is modelled after the small recreational pocket cruisers of the 1970’s, like the Inter 500 and the Marina M17, they were popular then, and are still popular now.
Due to the small size they are easily stored, can be pulled on a trailer behind a compact car, they are fuel efficient when puttering around, but fast and fun to drive when you open up the throttle, and you can camp out in the cosy cabin for a weekend fishing trip.
At 6.6 metres in overall deck length, this really is a small boat – smaller than the Bandit SRV-210 speedboat, which I reviewed two years ago, when it was first released. Nevertheless, it come packed with details: a range of cabin and deck sits, the ability to tow a passenger carrying tube or and optional wakeboard (the 170 is compatible with Ape Piaggio’s wakeboards, which can be purchased at Ape’s store at Dutch Harbor).
The 170 is very much a faithful reproduction of the Inter 500 / Marina M17 (Ana provides a pair of photos of the Inter 500 so you can see for yourself). The stern well provides room for four, while the compact cabin offers sleeping / sitting space for in reasonable comfort. It is powered by 40 hp outboard motor that may not have a huge turn of speed in the physical world when compared to speed boats and larger cruisers, but which is for Second Life more than adequate, and at the upper end of its speed scale, makes this a manoeuvrable, nippy little craft.
The controls for the boat follow the usual layout: when seated, the pilot types “start” (no quotes) to start the engine and “stop” to turn it off, while the Left / Right keys will turn the boat in the appropriate direction, and the Up / Down keys increase / decrease the throttle. From start, a tap on Page Up will fully open the throttle while tapping the Down Key when in motion will drop the throttle back to idle. If Page Down is tapped when the throttle is idling, it will drop the boat into full reverse, and Page Up will bring the throttle back up to idle.
A range of chat commands unlock other features, including deploying the Bimini (Sun shade over the open boat well) or the tent (completely encloses the boat well), setting the camera position, turning the hover text HUD on / off, dropping / raise the anchor, deploy the fenders – and more, as detailed in the the user guide. Touching the boat can either access the range of sit / pose options (of which there are a fair few, singles, couples and fun) or activate various controls / options – such the the ventilation hatch in the cabin roof, boil the kettle, (and give you a mug of a hot beverage), toggle the control panel switches for the boat’s lights, stow / unstow the forward seats in the boat’s well or the table in the cabin, put out a larger bed, etc.
Like many of Ana’s boats, the Bandit 170 is a very physical craft: it really will bounce through waves when at speed; as a consequence, you can suffer a fair amount of camera juddering. This can be lessened by using the mouse scroll wheel to push your camera back a little from the boat. And talking of the camera, for those times when it skews and locks at a weird position on a region crossing, the pilot can generally recover by toggling between the two camera modes (cam 1 and cam 2). It may not always work – but such is the nature of SL.
For those who like first-person driving, the Bandit 170 is a capable craft, the dashboard has a single instrument – the speedometer. When driving in third-person mode, a little practice will show there’s no need for the hover text HUD.
The boat’s package includes a range of extras: a dock with scripted auto-mooring, a trailer for towing the boat, a complete texture pack for producing custom paint finishes (and which includes a couple of pre set paint options; textures are applied by right-clicking the boat and selecting the required face – just refer to the texture currently in place on the boat to confirm which texture goes where). A pack of flag textures are also included, together with the aforementioned towable tube – see the user manual for details on this.
An interesting twist with the Bandit 170 is that it comes ready for a new game Ana is working on with Ape Piaggio, Rez Grey (the originator of Get The Freight out) and Dutch Mainsail. Called OMFG (that’s One More Fishing Game before you jump other conclusions!), it is a grid-wide fishing game that Ana describes thus:
It’s 100% database driven, so all the water in SL is mapped out, meaning you’d really have to go out with your boat, look at the fish finder to see if there is fish, and then stop and cast a line, what you catch depends on what gear/bait you use, and where you are (also, how much you had to drink, if that’s a lot, you start catching really weird things…
The game has yet to be finalised, which means the eventual retail price of the Bandit 170 is still TBC. However, those who would like early access to the boat (without the game option) can obtain it from the Bandit stall at Uber. Those buying the boat from there will receive a free game update once the latter is available.
One of the things I like about this little cruiser is that its small size, shallow draft and low speeds make it ideal for navigating inland waterways around SL – I had a lot of fun (low bridges allowing) pootling around the rivers of Bellisseria.
All told, a great addition to the Bandit ranged of power boats, one that could well be a popular item among boating enthusiasts, bringing with it a land impact of 35. If you don’t fancy trying to fight your way into Uber to grab one, you can hop to Dutch Harbor and at least take the demo version for a run.