Side-by-side, the SRV-210 and Little Bee on Second Life

The Piaggio Little Bee (l) and the Bandit SRV 210 (r) in custom finishes

As regulars to these pages know, I enjoy sailing, motor boating, cruising and flying in SL, and I sometimes review the vehicles I obtain. As a result, I often get asked for a recommendation from people curious about vehicles in SL.

Answering such questions isn’t easy, in part because we all like different things, but mostly because – in all honesty – my experience is not that wide-ranging; I don’t have a huge stockpile of craft, and I tend to restrict myself to just a handful of creators on a regular basis, so there is potentially a lot out there that I’m missing.

However, my preview of the Bandit 170, which will be on general release soon, has resulted in people asking me about what I would recommend as a versatile, fun boat motor boat that looks good and doesn’t take up a huge amount of space. There are potentially hundreds of such craft to be had in Second Life – and the Bandit 170 is definitely a good place to start, in my opinion, allowing for the final details (including cost) on it to be settled.

The Bandit includes a towable float tube

That said, the two boats that I find simply cannot be beaten  – and indeed, have actually stopped me from buying boats I’ve tried elsewhere, simply because they are so much fun – are the Bandit SRV 210 and the Piaggio Little Bee. Both of these boats offer so much, they are genuinely hard to beat in terms of use and value for money.

The Little Bee is the oldest of the two in terms of its time on the market, having been around since August 2015. It is based on a classic tender style speedboat design, giving it classic, clean lines. The cockpit offers plenty of space and seating, with three forward seats (including the driver) and a large rear seating area behind, with floor section that can be raised to form a bed. Two novel items with the main cockpit are the hand basin and the espresso machine with hotplate – which will deliver a brew!

The Little Bee with a custom paint finish

The SRV-210 has been around since 2018, and is built along the lines of the deep v-hulled fibreglass sports boats of the 1970s / 80s. The cockpit is smaller but broader than the Little Bee, and provides seating for up to 6, including the driver. The boat is equipped with a Bimini sun screen and a full tent, both of which are chat-enabled (as are many of the commands with the boat, and some of the commands with the Little Bee). Two versions are offered – one with an enclosed forward cabin, and the other with an open forward cockpit (and which may have additional poses as a result – as I don’t have that version, I’m not familiar with its capabilities).

The two boats handle remarkably well and similarly, providing a good ride experience, although the SRV 210’s ride is a little more physical, in that the boat (and camera smoothness) respond to speed and wave force, which adds to the realism of driving it. The overall controls are pretty much the same, within the exception that the Little Bee has a hydrofoil capability;  this is both novel for a speedboat and makes it exceptionally fast with the foils deployed.

The SRV includes both diving and swimming animations, as well as on-board poses / animations

Each boat comes with a range of options some of which are common to both – paint files, media system, towing trailer, etc. The SRV 210 is supplied with a full paint finish and a set of textures for the flag. The Little Bee is supplied with a basic paint finish, but comes with far more options, including a car to tow the boat and trailer (called the TugBee and resembling a VW Beetle), a wakeboard and a parasail (a wakeboard for the SRV 210 can be purchased separately), while paint options can either be applied manually or via scripted means. Rez it on land, and it will automatically rez a cradle under it that it will sit on.

Continue reading “Side-by-side, the SRV-210 and Little Bee on Second Life”

Once upon a (Greenie) time in Second Life

Once Upon A Time celebrates the Greenies

Back in the early years of Second Life, the platform attracted many businesses and organisations to its shores. One of these was UK-based Rezzable Productions, who at their peak in early 2009, operated around 40 regions in-world. Founded by Jonathan Himoff (Rightasrain Rimbaud in-world), Rezzable quickly established a reputation for building some of the most engaging content available in-world at the time. Perhaps the most famous of their creations – and one of the first they created  – was the world of the Greenies.

These were a horde of (literally) Little Green Men who, whether from a tiny world or the result of a Douglas Adams-esque miscalculation of scale, had arrived on Earth to find themselves dwarfed by everything around them. Undeterred, they set out to explore this strange realm, which was offered as a gigantic, region-wide house, where they ended up getting involved in all sorts of mischief. Such was the scale of the house, SL avatars were not too much bigger than the Greenies, and so were able to witness their escapades first-hand.

Presented as a series of vignettes throughout the house, some one them semi-interactive, the Greenies and their adventures captured people’s imaginations. So popular did they become that the house was a must-see destination for incoming Second Life users (helped by the fact that Rezzable were also a part of the Lab’s original SL Gateway programme, and so could direct their own incoming traffic to their regions, including the Greenies). Interest was further maintained by Rezzable periodically adding assorted games to the environment, alongside of new Greenie vignettes.

Sadly, all this came to an end in June 2010. The previous year, Rezzable had announced their withdrawal from SL in favour of their own dedicated, open simulator based grid, Heritage Key. They allowed the Greenies to remain in Second Life for almost a year after the announcement, but in that June of 2010, the little green folk loaded up their flying saucers for the last time and departed Second Life.

A Greenie eye view of the Once upon A Time house

Since then, the legend of the Greenies has been celebrated in Second Life in many small ways – Greenie-like characters have on occasion popped-up in rides at things like SLB celebrations, for example. And now there is a new opportunity to recall their time here. It comes in the form of Once Upon A Time, an installation built by Justice Vought, owner of the excellent :Oxygen: (see: Getting some :oxygen: in Second Life) and admitted Greenies fan.

Having opened on April 29th, Once Upon A Time offers visitors the chance to enter Justice’s take on the giant house where the Greenies could once be found (you even do so through a mouse hole, just like the original – just follow the teleport prompts and arrows from the landing point, and keep an eye out for the cheese in the alley). Sadly, there are no original Greenies to be found inside – they are subject to copyright, after all; instead, the rooms offer visitors the chance to explore Greenie-style, and recreate some of the (mis)adventures the little green folk had.

Long-time resident Rug Halberd gets into the spirit of things with a Greenie avatar, posing with some of the toys

This is a place to be explored carefully, because there are many interactive elements – balls can be rolled, Dominos knocked down, poses to be found (so very much in the style of the Greenies (although again sadly, no sugar “baths” or playing on frying pans – but you can jump into the kitchen sink and float around on a sponge, Greenie style or find yourself paddling in the loo … among other things; I’m not going to spoil it all!).  As such, the secret really is to mouse-over everything.

And don’t confine yourself to a floor-level exploration. Be prepared to jump / fly onto the tables, bed and other furniture.

Playing see-saw in the kitchen – Greenie style

Throughout, there are many touches that offer reminders of the the original Greenies build. Food is spilt in places, electrical wiring offers opportunities for some shocking times, an iron (sans quished Greenie sitson the ironing board, an Atari games console sits waiting to be wrestled with, and so on. For those wishing to recall the Greenies directly, the TV above the bedroom games console presents a host of original Greenie photos Justice pulled together from his own archives and from friends.

Anyone who can remember the Greenies in Second Life is liable to find Once Upon A Time a memory-filling visit. Whilst it is something of a unique build, it contains all that is required to bring back happy memories of spending time in Rezzable’s original and watching the Greenies at play. And while the little aliens themselves may not be present, anyone who has a Greenie avatar really should consider digging it out and wearing it during a visit!

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