Shippe & Saille Harbor Master in Second Life

The Shippe and Saille Harbor Master (Bimini and fishing rods deployed)

As a rule of thumb, I tend not to seek copies of items for review in these pages; those I do produce tend towards items I have purchased. The reason for this is because I feel I can give a fairer review if I’m writing about something I’ve purchased. That said, there are a couple of of exceptions to the rule, and I’m about to make a third in this case.

LadyJane Shippe sent me the latest from her Shippe and Saille brand, the Harbor Master, a slightly rescaled model of the Harbor Master 19, a dory style hulled cruiser with a forward cabin space, and itself based on the classic open Outboard Dory 18. It’s a small, fairly nimble craft driven (in the case of this version) by a 50 horse power outboard motor.

The Shippe and Saille (r) moored alongside the Bandit 170 at home, with the Bandit 580 behind them both

The S&S Harbor Master is reportedly 15% larger that its physical world equivalent, so as to present enough space for all sizes of human  avatars within the cabin and the covered pilot house. It is not, at first glance, a particularly elegant boat when compared to other cabin cruisers; the snub bow, forward placement of the cabin and high roof to the pilot house tend to give it something of an ungainly look. But looks, as the hoary old saying goes, can be deceptive.

Outside of the increase in size – which given it is proportional, isn’t that noticeable – this is a faithful reproduction of the Harbor Master 19, fully capturing the shape of the dory hull, the cabin and pilot house. The latter offers bench seating for two, and the cabin basic sleeping space for two – although the boat will carry up to three.  Behind the benches, the open cockpit offers room for equipment stowage, etc. A cooler box sits at the back of the cockpit, which might be considered at keeping drinks on ice or used to hold any fish caught when out and about.

Fishing aboard the Shippe & Saille Harbor Master

Fishing, because the boat is compatible with a number of Second Life fishing systems – WZW fishing, 7 Seas, and Goldtokens rod. Two rods can be rezzed in the holders towards the stern of the hull, and the pose system also include fishing poses that will auto-rez (temp) fishing rods. In addition, the user manual provides instructions on swapping the latter out for any preferred rods an owner might have.

Rezzing the two rods on the boat increases the LI from 31 to 34, which still leaves the boat a modest count in terms of LI. Other options that are included with it are a cockpit Bimini “raised” and “lowered” by the pilot’s chat command of “Bimini”, an opening /closing cabin skylight or door, and an anchor that can be raised / lowered, as can the outboard motor (the latter of which is raised by default on a fresh rezzing of the boat)., and the boat’s fenders. All of these, bar the cabin skylight and door, are activated via chat commands (the skylight by touch).

If rezzed out of Linden Water, the boat will raise itself and rez a 6 LI trailer underneath to support it

Handling-wise the boat follows the usual lines: the majority of commands are chat based, although some  – such as the lights – use the switches in the pilot house. the arrow / WASD keys handle steering and the throttle. The latter has four forward and four reverse settings (dead slow, slow, half, and full) sitting either side of the idle setting. Additionally, the Page keys can be used to rapidly toggled between idle and half speed (forward or reverse). In terms of driving, the boat is extremely responsive and the chat command for the camera can be used to help recover the camera position should things go sideways on a region crossing (including the “cc” command for any passenger – a nice touch).

Painting the boat can be handled in one of two ways. Those wishing to just change their Harbor Master’s name can use the hull texture included in the user guide. Those wishing to make more extensive changes can find a link to download a comprehensive set of texture and UV maps. As a copy / mod vehicle, this boat is also open to a degree of physical customisation – general guidelines are provided in the user guide for those wishing to do so.

The Shippe & Saille Harbor Master

Those who enjoy Get The Freight Out will find a GTFO option in the the Habor Master package. Once unpacked, simply add the script and GTFO item it contains to the boat’s contents, and your ready to use it with the game.

I’ve not used the Harbor Master extensively, having made fewer than a dozen runs in it – although three have been reasonably long distance across and around Blake Sea and along the coast of Nautilus. Throughout, I found the boat to be responsive, made good recoveries on region crossings and generally presented no real handling problems.  At L$1,900, it’s very well priced, and just the job for those looking for a modestly-priced, small-sized motor cruiser for open water or river cruising.

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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 command 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, a towable floating tube other avatars can ride on, 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 float tube together with 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 land cradle under it that it will sit on.

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

Bandit 170: a pocket cruiser that’s coming Second Life

Bandit 170

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).

Bandit 170

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.

Bandit 170

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.

The Bandit 170 on its trailer

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.

Bandit 170 o the rivers of Bellisseria

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.

Bringing a little (Studio Skye) Zen to your SL garden

The zen garden at Isla Pey

While visiting JimGarand’s Grauland in January 2020 (see: Grauland’s touch of Japanese Zen in Second Life), I was struck by the zen garden included within the region design. An examination of the core elements in the design revealed them to be from the Zen Garden Building Set by Alex Bader, sold under his Studio Skye brand.

Alex has a reputation for producing excellent landscape building kits – and I’ve used several in constructing places like Holy Kai, although there are admittedly some that while mouth-watering in terms of my desire to put them to good use, such as his stream building sets, I simply haven’t (thus far) had the space in which to do them real justice. However, the Zen Garden kit was one that I immediately had a familiar “me want!” itch about, so that after a couple of days of pondering how it might work within Isla Pey, I snagged a copy from the Marketplace. And I have to say, it is simply superb.

The zen garden at Isla Pey  viewed from the house balcony

At L$899, the kit includes some 24 individual elements: rocks, gravel surfaces, gravel path sections, plants, shrubs, ground cover, ground pieces, stone steps, edging pieces (combinations of rocks and plants), and so on. All of this offers a comprehensive means to build a garden network of paths, plants and open spaces, which can both be used to provide places to sit or include additional features as well as being easily integrated into a broader landscape.

In addition, for those who might be daunted at the thought of trying to glue everything together themselves, Alex provides two “pre-built” and rezzer based examples of gardens: one 32m on a side (96 LI when rezzed) and the other 26x18m (46 LI). Also, a couple of textures are also provided for the purposes of blending any additional items – fillers and the like – that might be required to ensure a good pairing of garden to surrounding landscape elements.

The zen garden display at Studio Skye

Given they are “ready to go”, so to speak, the two example gardens are a good place to start with a design. As they are supplied in rezzers, also that’s required is a couple of clicks with the rezzers, and they can be put together in moments and the rezzer then used to position them as required. Just click the Finish option once placed, remove the rez box and then modify or extend the garden or blend it with a broader landscape using both the additional components in the kit and whatever else you have that you feel might work with it.

I opted to take this approach myself, using the 32mx32m garden as my starting point. To this I added some of the base, path and edge pieces to provide a basic design (one which currently uses the garden’s featured rock monolith seen in the photos here, although I’m debating swapping that out and creating a “formal” element common to zen gardens: an area of sand raked to resemble ripples on water). To this I added our selection of sculptures by Ciottolina Xue and Silas Merlin, plus trees by AzaleaBluebell originally offered as a Fantasy Faire hunt gift, together with a selection of shrubs to provide more of a garden feel.

The more extensive zen garden at Grauland

There are some additional nice touches with the set, together with a couple of “does” and “don’ts”. For example, the water elements include a volume control for adjusting / changing the sound being generated by their little falls. The edges of the individual paths are nicely “feathered” so that path sections can be more easily placed together and blended. Also, the kit is compatible with the Studio Skye 4-Seasons bolt on – although this is where the “don’t” comes into play. If you do plan to use season changing bolt-on, don’t link elements of the garden together, as doing so will adversely affect how textures get applied when changing the seasons.

Also, do take care should you vertically resize elements (e.g. so the base better connects with whatever is under it): many of the pieces have horizontal faces painted as edge cover, and resizing can leave these “floating” above the rocks / pathway section on which they are supposed to be growing, or no longer aligning with edges they are supposed to be draped over.

The zen garden at Isla Pey with the house behind

But, as noted at the top of this piece, this is a minor niggle. For those looking for a different look to their garden – one that can be unique to them whilst leveraging other plants and garden items they have, the Studio Skye Zen Garden Building Kit makes for a excellent purchase.

Links

Note: the statuary, trees, large bushes and benches seen in the images here do not form a part of the Zen Garden Building Kit, but have been purchased separately.

A decade (+) of blogging: thoughts on Second Life

On the occasions of my 13th SL rezday, Erik Mondrian reminded me that 2019 marks my 10th year of blogging via WordPress (I’d used another platform for a couple of years prior to that). With his reminder, Erik presented me with a challenge:

A slightly belated Happy Rez Day, Inara! And, if I may, perhaps a challenge? Not that you’re short of things to write about, but if you have time: In the last 10 years, what do you feel has been one of the best changes/additions to SL? And what are your hopes for the next 5?

– Erik Mondrian, via Twitter

As I stated in my reply to that tweet, I’m note sure I could pin thoughts down to any one thing in terms of what has positively happened to Second Life; there are simply too many – and some tend to be interconnected in some ways. However, I’ve been cogitating Erik’s challenge, and here is (slightly later than planned) an abbreviated list of some of the things that I believe have either benefited SL or had a positive impact on it over the last decade or so, and which I’ve particularly appreciated during my time using the platform.

Communications with the Lab: the relationship between the Lab and SL users has tended to be a complex one. At the time I moved to blogging via WordPress, things were at a low ebb. There had been the Homestead region situation, together with the drive to make SL a more “business oriented” platform (vis: Mitch Kapor’s SL5B crossing the chasm address that appeared to suggest SL’s early adopters were interfering with trying to reach an early majority audience; suggestions that parts of the Mainland should be made “business only”; the (ill-fated) Second Life Enterprise (SLE) product development; lectures from form Lab employees on how users should dress their avatars “for business”, etc), all of which left a lot of SL users felling pretty disenfranchised.

However, starting with Rod Humble and particularly with Ebbe Altberg, the Lab has sought to strongly re-engage with its users and embrace them. Things haven’t always worked out in their entirety (communications did go a little backwards towards the end of Humble’s tenure); but there is no denying the improvements seen through activities such regular Town Hall / Lab Chat / Meet the Lindens events plus the likes of VWBPE addresses and Designing Worlds interviews, and the simple expedient of allowing LL staff to once again openly engage with users whilst using their “official” accounts.

Windlight: although it was originally introduced in 2007, Windlight had a profound effect on the appearance of Second Life that’s hard to overlook. Originally a third-party product Linden Lab acquired and which didn’t see all of its potential capabilities implemented (for whatever reason), the overall impact of Windlight shouldn’t be trivialised.  If you need an idea of how SL looked pre-Windlight  – with the exception of the old particle clouds – just disable the Basic Shaders in the viewer.

Open sourcing the viewer code: also introduced in 2007 and not without its share of hiccups / controversies (the Emerald viewer situation, for example), the open-source project has undoubtedly served SL well. It has allowed third-party viewers to thrive within a reasonable framework, and both exposing features hidden with the viewer’s debug settings and allowing developers to add their own options, allowing users a greater choice of client options. It has also provided the means for users to contribute potential improvements to the viewer back the the Lab, generating a a largely positive synergy between developers and the Lab.

Mesh model import: admittedly, the impact of mesh modelling in Second life cuts both ways: positive and negative. Leaving aside what might be regarded as its negative aspects, it has helped to improve SL’s look and feel, potentially made region design more accessible / attractive, and helped bring improvements to the avatar we might otherwise not have seen, or which may have not have been implemented until later in the platform’s life (e.g. Bento and Animesh).

Performance improvements: over the last decade, LL has worked extensively “under the hood” with Second Life to try to improve overall improvements, such as the long-term Project Shining. Running for some 2 years with the aim of improving object and avatar performance, it was followed by further projects and efforts to help improve performance in assorted areas. Some have had mixed initial impact, but all of which have, overall, helped to improve things for most users, even if only incrementally in some cases.

Materials, Bento and Animesh: all three have helped improve the look and feel of Second Life, making it more attractive to users old and new.

Looking to the next 5 years, there is much that might happen or which many would like to see happen – from technical aspects such as further improvements in simulator performance (e.g. script and physics performance, region crossing management), through to more esoteric aspects such as audience growth / user retention, fee balancing, etc. However, I’ll restrict my thoughts for the future to one topic: the transition to the cloud.

This work has already eaten into the Lab’s engineering and operating time over the two years, and will doubtless continue to be a significant focus for 2020. However, it is a leap into the unknown for Linden Lab and Second Life, both technically and in terms of operating outlay / revenue generation (e.g. capping the cost of having cloud servers running 24/7 in a manner that doesn’t require uncomfortable fee increases).

On the technical side, it’s more than likely that the focus on moving to the cloud has a higher priority that developing significant new features for SL – and perhaps even curtailed implementing updates that might be seen as having a limited lifespan, such as infrastructure changes that could be rendered obsolete following the cloud uplift, but which are nevertheless causing a lot of teeth grinding amongst users.

Even when the uplift itself is completed, it is likely that the transition will still require a significant among of settling-in and adjustments that will continue to occupy the operations and engineering teams. So there is a lot hinging on this move that will continue into the next couple of years, and that is important to the overall future of the platform.

A look at my most-used SL vehicles (thus far!)

Some of my preferred vehicles in SL

I’ve written a lot about the boats and aircraft I’ve purchased and used in Second Life, and more than a few people have asked what I rate as my favourites. Well, the fact is, I’m not sure I have any favourites per se, but there are those I tend to use a lot in preference to others, so I thought I’d offer a summary of those I tend to use the most.

Bandit 50/3

Hull names: Sea Tiger 3 and Dolphin Dancer.

Released in May 2019, the Bandit 50/3 is the best sailing experience I’d had in Second Life (remembering that I’ve yet to really get into sail racing in-world, so my sailing is purely for pleasure). I reviewed it just after it has been released, and in the months since, my opinion of it hasn’t changed.

The BOSS sailing system means all of Analyse Dean’s boats have realistic handling, and this makes the 50/3 a particular pleasure to sail, while it comes packed with animations and options that make it a lot of fun to use whether at sea or moored.

My Bandit 50/3 Sea Tiger 3 underway

Additional information:

DSA G58 Baron

Registration: G-NARA.

I first started taking flying in SL seriously when I picked up the DSA C33 Debonair (available for a bargain price of L$200). Since then, I’ve picked up a number of these builds, with the G58 Baron becoming my favourite, on the basis of its looks and size: I like twin-engined light aircraft and the Baron fits neatly into the space we have on the home island and I have at my Linden Home houseboat.

DSA aircraft may not be the more recent aircraft in SL in terms of build and scripting, but they make for comfortable, easy-to-grasp flying with a reasonable degree of realism, all utilising the same script engine and HUD system. However, my personal attraction to them is the floats option models like the G58 have. It allows the pilot to swap back and forth between the ‘plane’s wheeled undercarriage and floats with simple local chat commands, making it possible to fly them from / to almost any land-based airstrip / airport and any publicly-accessible Linden Water with ease or the need to swap models from inventory.

The DSA G58 Baron

Additional information:

Piaggio Systems Little Bee

Hull names: Serenity and Black Jack.

I’ve had a four-year association with Piaggio builds, and it started in 2015 with this classic tender-style speed boat that comes with some unusual capabilities.

Smartly styled, this is a fast little boat than handles exceptionally well, while for those who want a little more speed, it has a hydrofoil option that can see it really zip along. Nor is this all; also for the sports-minded, the Little Bee includes wakeboard and parasail options. It also utilises Ape’s cinematic camera system, making it possible to see / photo / film it from a range of angles and views as the camera system steps through them. For those who live a distance from water, the Little Bee even comes with a trailer from which it can be launched (and to which it can be recovered), with a VW Beetle to tow it.

My Little Bee Serenity running with hydrofoils deployed

Additional Information:

ReneMarine Ask 13

Released in April 2018, the ReneMarine Ask 13 is an Second Life sail plane that is – to my knowledge, at least – still the best that is available. Based on the Schleicher ASK 13, of which I have experience in flying with in the physical world, it comes with a vintage Curtiss JN-4 aero-tow to help in getting off the ground.

Once airborne, the Ask 13 can be operated like a real sail plane, using SL’s wind system and thermals to gain lift and altitude, while free-flying between thermals allows for aerobatics, while a HUD makes locating thermals across regions easy. A two-seater with switchable controls, it’s also an excellent vehicle for training friends who want to learn to glide as well.

Riding a thermal in my Ask 13

Additional information:

Spijkers & Wingtips MD 900 Explorer

Registration: G-IPEY.

In writing this piece, I was surprised to realise I’ve had my MD 900 Explorer for five years, although it really doesn’t feel that long. old among my vehicles it might well be, but it remains fun to fly. It handles regions crossings as well as can be expected with 4 avatars on board, and has some fun options, such as camera following searchlight, the winch system and the auto-deployable pontoons for water landings. These all make it suitable for a variety of roles – as a casual glance through the available paint schemes on the MP will show.

Like the vast majority of vehicles I have, the MD 900 is with .PST files for producing custom finishes, while its Modify permissions mean these can be applied directly, rather than necessarily having to rely on a scripted applier. The Modify option also means I had a little fun using the Piaggio vehicle transportation system to allow my MD 900 carry the Piaggio S33 RoadRunner beneath its tail boom, just in case I should ever need to take to the road after flying to some new location.

Flying my MD 900, complete with my Piaggio RoadRunner slung under the tail boom

Additional information:

TBM Kronos

Registration: G-INAR

I was directed towards the TBM Kronos as a result of writing about another biplane, the CLSA Stampe SV.4. It was not something I had any intention of buying, but after trying out the demo version, I was hooked. It’s not exactly a ‘plane for starting out with SL flying, but it is a lot of fun to fly.

Resembling the Pitt Special S1 / S2, the Kronos is a single-seat biplane that has been designed specifically for aerobatics in Second Life. Small and easy to handle, it is superb for use within the confines of a single region – as the demo version ably shows – but it also handles region crossings well. It’s the best I’ve used for a range of manoeuvres from inside / outside loops through various rolls to Immelmanns and the split S (I’ve not mastered the hammerhead,  possibly because full opposite aileron can’t be applied relative to the rudder).

Pulling a loop over Isla Pey in my TBM Kronos with the smoke on

Additional information:

WALT SeaRoo

At the time of writing, the SeaRoo is the most recent release from Ape Piaggio using the WALT brand name. It’s another vehicle I played something of a role in helping to develop, but that’s not the reason it is listed here. The simple fact is, the SeaRoo is an extraordinary amount of fun, without out on (or under) the water on your own or with a passenger.

The complete package comes with a range of options for racing and performing acrobatics (if you have rezzing rights in the available water), and includes a dock system. With a cache of poses when the boat is floating free rather than being driven, as well as its outstanding handling, the SeaRoo is probably the best legal fun you can have one, under – and even over at times – Linden Water.

Leaping in the WALT SeaRoo

Additional information:

I don’t really use land vehicles, and I’m certainly no expert with them; hence the lack of any listed here. However, were I to include one, then – and at the risk of being accused of bias, and remembering I only have limited experience with land / road vehicles – it would have to be the Piaggio S33 RoadRunner. At L$350, it is modestly priced, nippy, easy to use and fun. You can read more about it here.

Again, the above is not intended to be a list of the “best” (design-wise, script-wise, build-wise or otherwise); they are simply the ones among I own that – as noted – I use the most, and would particularly recommend to those interested and who may not have them already.