Oh, I’ve been ridin’ on a Moon Shadow, moon shadow, moon shadow –
Cuttin’ the waves on a Moon Shadow, moonshadow, moonshadow.
OK, so the words aren’t quite how Yusuf Islam (or Cat Stevens, as he was at the time) wrote them in 1970, but they have been bouncing through my head the last few days.
The reason for this is that I was recently contacted by Spartaco Zemenis who, among his many talents, is a creator, a scripter and a member of the Firestorm Italian support group. Following our conversation, he kindly sent me – in no expectations of any review, but as a simple “thank you” – a couple of items he has put together with Dogma9.
One of these is the Moon Shadow motor cruiser, a vessel somewhat larger than I’ve used – at least, up until now. Curious about it,I decided to give it a go, and in the process it joined the ranks of my regularly-used vehicles, which in turn qualified it for a review.
Comprehensively packaged and packed with features, the Moon Shadow comes in two variants: one with a default black hull and superstructure, and one with a default white finish – which is the variant Spataco sent me. Included in the package – which comes in the form of a boxed model – is the boat, a pair of HUDs (one for driving the boat, and and optional one that works with camera positioning), and a detailed user manual.
Priced at L$7,000, Moon Shadow is a 25m class cruiser with a beam of 7.2 metres and a keel-to flying bridge height of 8.5 metres. It is an exceptionally attractive vessel, nicely proportioned, with a hull clearly designed to cut through the water rather that riding over them. A broad fan tail on the rear of the boat leaves room for the potential to attach a jetski or two, using a suitable linking system (I can personally attest to the efficiency of Ape Piaggio’s Relinker / Vehicle Transport script set, although I’ve not used it with this vessel).
The main cabin takes up the majority of the interior space, offering comfortable facilities complete with galley, a dining area, forward seating and a cockpit area for piloting the boat. Forward of this is a single sleeping cabin that has a fair amount of space, and includes a working bathroom, closets, and a double bed. Aft of the main cabin, and separated from it by a glass screen and sliding door is a small deck well serving the fantail and with steps up to the flying bridge, together with additional bench seating and access to the engine bay. The flying bridge itself is roomy, with both curved bench seating and a lido alongside the upper cockpit area.
The boat’s features are impressive, comprising:
- The ability to carry up to 10 avatars (region crossings allowing!), although I’ve thus far not gone beyond two.
- 30 multi-purpose seating positions, and an animation system providing 120 couple and 80 single animations, the majority managed by a on-board servers (rather than multiple animations per seating area). In particular, this allows for:
- Avatar movement between seats without the need to stand up.
- Use of a manageable suite of animations across all suitable seating areas – lounge seats, top and forward lidos, etc.
- The ability to add your own animations.
- The above excludes the galley, which utilises its own animation.
- 75 interactive objects, including:
- A selection of meals that can be rezzed on the main deck table and drinks and snacks that can be rezzed from the fridge.
- Galley items that can be rezzed when working at the galley.
- Rezzable mooring piles and lines.
- An extensive audio video system, including a large deployable screen at the rear of the main cabin, a small deployable screen in the lower cockpit, a flat screen TV in the sleeping cabin.
- The starlight spotlight, controlled by the boat’s main HUD.
- A projected light system (requires Advanced Lighting Model to be running on the viewer) for internal illumination.
- Scripted dynamic control system that can be used to adjust boat handling (stability / performance balance) to suit your driving needs.
- Automated resource management with manual override: when the engine is running, all scripts deemed unnecessary to motion / navigation are turned off to reduce the vessel’s simulator resource use.
The last two point are particularly useful when driving the Moon Shadow. At 158 LI (248 prim), and a 146 server load (29.6 physics), this is a “heavy” vessel when it comes to region crossings, so minimising resource use and managing performance are important aspect in ensuring crossings are as smooth as possible. Maintaining a reasonable throttle speed also helps – I’d personally recommend not going above 60% of throttle when carrying multiple avatars.
A key aspect on managing the Moon Shadow is the main HUD. This provides access to the majority of the boat’s controls, as shown in the image below right.
In order to work, the HUD needs to be synced to a copy of the boat. This is achieved by wearing / adding the HUD and then sitting on the boat as the driver.
The HUD is pretty self-explanatory, but some of the options are worth going into further here:
- Show / Hide Sit Panel: displays a panel denoting the core deck / cabin sit points (show in the lower right of the image above). When displayed, sit points can be enabled / disabled by clicking on their sit icons.
- Camera mode: clicking this displays the Camera Mode dialogue, allowing your camera position to be slaved to the boat and them positioned via the camera mode options. A separate (and relatively compact) camera HUD reproduces the options on the dialogue, as an alternative to managing camera positions. Note that once engaged, the Camera Mode needs to be turned OFF to release your camera.
- Set and Go: these allow you to set a mooring point, with GO jumping the boat to it when in range.
- Transmitter: if you are unseated from the boat, clicking this will send a request to the boat for its location, which is returned in local chat as a TP link, allowing you to teleport to the boat and rejoin it. This works with the currently synced version of the boat, or the last rezzed version. I can say from experience, this works.
- Show / Hide Moor Structure: this rezzes a couple of mooring posts off the stern quarters of the boat with lines connecting them to the stern cleats.
- Privacy: simply darkens the cabin windows.