Finding rez zones in Bellisseria – Yasmin’s free HUD

Out and about in Bellisseria on my Piaggio SG33E Roadrunner scooter (reviewed here), thanks to the rez zones and Yasmin’s HUD

On April 24th, I blogged about the arrival of the Coral Waters airstrip off the west coast of Bellisseria, the Linden Homes continent (see Bellisseria gains a coastal airstrip in Second Life), which was also marked by the arrival of official rezzing zones both on land and around the coast of the continent.

Yasmin’s Bellisseria rez zone HUD

However, with reference to the offical rez points, being aware they are around is one thing, trying to find the nearest to you can be another – a list of regions is great, if you happen to know where each region is in the overall map. Of course, if you bookmark the list (or maintain your own list of rez point URLs on a web page), you can always use your browser to find one and hop to it.  However, Having them available on a HUD would make things so much easier.

Well, that’s exactly what friend and fellow aviator  / sailor Yasmin (YouAintSeenMe) has done: created a map HUD of clickable rez points across Bellisseria, including those at the Coral Waters airstrip.

Displayed on the Centre HUD attach point by default (obviously, it can be repositioned), the HUD displays a map of Bellisseria with all of the current rez zones (as of April 29th, 2019) displayed as blue dots on it. Clicking on any of the dots will open the World map focused on the coordinates of the rez zone, allowing you to easily teleport to it.

Its simple but effective, I’m looking forward to having to update it with new map 🙂 . Wear as a HUD, or can be rezzed in-world for use on a signpost (or whatever).

– Yasmin, discussing her Bellisseria rez zone HUD

Available free of charge through Yasmin’s Marketplace store, I can vouch for the HUD, which is now a part of my inventory – although I have made one small change.

In order to be legible, the HUD does take up a fair amount of screen real estate – which isn’t a problem, if you’re using it as a quick on / off reference (as intended by Yasmin). But, me being awkward, decided having it always available while wandering Bellisseria would be easier.

So, as the HUD is modify, it was simple enough to add a scripted root tab prim to it, then drop in a script. When the tab is clicked, the HUD now slides “on” and “off” my screen from the right side. It’s not a vital requirement, but it makes for a quick way to pull out the map (when attached) whilst exploring Bellisseria should I need a rez point 🙂 .

While the HUD can be easily attached / detached when needed, I opted to mod it to have it slide on / off-screen from the right when needed

The map is simple and elegant. Whether worn as a HUD or placed on your land as a signpost for people to use, it is a definite boon to those who like exploring new locations – or who may lose a vehicle whilst motoring / sailing / flying around the new continent – so a big thank you to Yasmin for producing it.

Marketplace Link

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The Teegle Animesh horse

Teegle Animesh horse

At the start of April 2019 I reviewed the Water Horse Animesh horse – a horse that, unlike Bento horses, is not limited to having to be worn in order to be ridden – as it has its own skeleton, completely independent of an avatar, an Animesh horse can also be rezzed in-world, where it can wander, or ridden in the style of a vehicle, making it perfect for use both when riding, or as region décor.

However, the Water Horse model isn’t the only Animesh horse. Teegle, for example, are currently developing their own horse, which is currently in public beta – and in the interests of comparing the two, I recently picked one up and took it for a test drive. Err, ride.

Currently, the Teegle horse comes in two styles: a paint and a Hanoverian. The former might be seen as more suited to an American style of riding, and the later leaning towards more European riding, but the fact is that as both horses are supplied sans tack, you’re free to decide which you’d like, and then choose your preferred style of tack, or even swap riding tack depending on your mood.

The horse is supplied at two price points, which at the time of writing were: L$1,500 for the No Copy version, and L$6,000 for the copy version (allowing you to rez as many as you like). Again, note that these prices are purely for the horse, no riding tack is included; you can however ride them bareback. Tack will cost an additional L$750 from Teegle, although there are other suppliers. Other points worthy of note with the horses at both price points are functionally identical, and:

  • You can set them to be ridden by yourself or, when rezzed in-world, by others.
  • When rezzed in-world each horse can carry a rider and up to two passengers.
  • The basic LI for a Teegle horse is 28LI. With riding tackle attached, this rises to 35 LI.
  • The no Copy version come with a guarantee of automatic replacement if lost as a result of a bad region crossing, or broken as a result of incorrect editing. Replacements are delivered via the horse management HUD.
  • Horses can be individually renamed.
  • Retexturing is possible, but requires the purchase of texture packs at L$450, which include skin, mane and eye colour options.
  • The wander option when horse is rezzed in-world, does not require Pathfinding to be enabled within a region.

The HUDs

Two HUDs – both of which are still under development at the time of writing – are supplied with each Teegle Animesh horse.

  • A Management HUD, which:
    • Allows the horse’s gender to be set.
    • Includes a button that provides a chat link to a dedicated web page listing all Teegle pets you may have purchased. The last grind location the animal was recorded as being at, together with the date and time, is listed, allowing you to relocate a “lost” horse. A redeliver option is also provided here as well.
  • A riding HUD, which provides:
    • 4 different click-selectable riding speeds: walk, trot, canter, gallop. Riders can also move between these by tapping the UP arrow key (or W if WASD is set for avatar motion and the horse is being worn).
    • 4 horse animations: spook, (horse jumps sideways nervously and looks around); buck, rear, and reward (rider leans forward and pats the horse).
    • An autowalk function: set the horse walking in a straight line. The rider can look around, take snapshots, etc., or simply steer.
    • Follow (rezzed horse only): the horse will automatically follow the named avatar.
    • Lead (rezzed horse only): lead the horse via the halter when walking.
The Teegle riding HUD. Note the Lead / Follow options are only available when the horse is rezzed in-world

Riding the Horse

Before riding the horse, make sure any AO you have (scripted or client) is turned off to avoid any conflicts. Then either:

  • Add it to your avatar from inventory as a worn attachment.
  • Mouseover the horse in-world, right-click and select Ride.

The first option will add the horse to you, with you in the saddle (if attached to the horse); the second will place you in the saddle (if attached) of a rezzed horse. Note that if worn, you’ll need to the manually attach the riding HUD; if the horse is mounted while rezzed in-world, you’ll be asked if you’d like to accept the HUD, which then attaches automatically (note this is a slightly different HUD to the one in your inventory, as it includes the Lead and Follow options for the rezzed horse).

Movement is via the usual WASD / Arrow keys, with W / Up for forward motion, with double-taps advancing through the four speed options. Tapping the Down keys while moving forward will step back down through the riding speeds. When riding the horse from rezzed, the Down arrow will play a nice backwards walking animation.

Camera-wise, riding the horse from rezzed fixes the camera in a good position above and behind the horse, regardless of any camera offsets you may have set (not something seen with the Water Horse Animesh horse). Riding the horse from worn may leave the camera awkwardly positioned if you use custom camera offsets, the mousewheel and CTRL-Mousewheel generally fix this.

You can lead a Teegle Animesh horse to water…

Passenger Riding

Passengers can ride with you simply by clicking the horse. The rider can then select who “drives” the horse via a left-click to display the menu, and then the Driver option (rider 1= the avatar in the saddle; rider 2 = the passenger directly behind the rider; rider 3 = rearmost passenger). Who has the reins is indicated via local chat. The same menu option is used to take back control.

Riding Permissions

Who can directly ride a Teegle Animesh horse when rezzed in-world is also set via the menu: left-click the horse, then Settings > Driver Perm. At the time of writing, the options were limited to Private (owner only) and Public (anyone), but I understand more granular options will be added.

Other Capabilities  / Options

… and you can have it swim!

As the Teegle Animesh horse is still in development, it is hard to say what else might be included. However, some of the current additional capabilities include:

  • Linden Water swim option: the left-click menu offers a Settings option to have the horse swim in deep enough Linden water, complete with a companion swimming animation for the rider (but not passengers).
  • Flying option: you can set the horse to fly or disable flying (so no accidents when trying to jump an obstacle).
  • Motion function: set the horse to physical (default), so it will respond to objects around it (useful for racing, when wandering in  paddock, etc), or non-physical (useful for things like dressage).
  • Set wander distance via chat.
  • Rename function: Teegle horses can all be given their own name.

Adding Tack and Other Options

Riding tack by Teegle is easy to attach to the horse:

  • Rez both horse and tack in world.
  • With neither selected, right-click on the tack and selected edit.
  • Press and hold the SHIFT key and then left-click on the horse to additionally select it.
  • Click the Link button in the edit floater (arrowed, below).
  • The tack will correctly orient itself and attach to the horse, as seen in the inset image, below.
Adding options such as riding tack – use the Link option in the Edit menu (arrowed)

To remove an attached item (e.g the saddle or entire riding tack):

  • Rez your horse in-world.
  • Left-click the horse for the menu.
  • Click Unlink to display the Unlink menu.
  • Use the numbered buttons to unlink the required items.
  • Move your horse away from the unlinked objects and then delete them.
Removing items – use the Unlink option in the horse’s menu

Continue reading “The Teegle Animesh horse”

Making a (Linden) houseboat a home

The landscaping within the region offers communal areas to encourage people mix – such as the beach alongside the houseboats in the group where mine is located

As I reported that the time, Linden Lab launched their new Linden Homes on Monday, April 15th (see: Lab launches new Linden Homes), and according to reports I’ve received, they are proving very popular, with the first allocation of houseboats in particular running out.

So what are these new units like as a potential home? Well, pretty bloody good, actually. While I can’t speak for the town house designs, the houseboat styles offer good variation between them in terms of looks and space, and many of the parcels offer a fair about of flexibility for boat / seaplane moorings.

My Windlass boathouse with additions – fireplace flue, two sets of exterior stairs, moorings, etc., and (inset) how the default Windlass looks

While it is pot luck on the parcel you are allocated (and remember, you can abandon and re-try), I was pretty lucky on my first attempt: a parcel on one of the outer sandbars of Bellisseria, offering a nice view over the strait to the continent on one side, and a public beach and open sea on the other. The houseboat also sits with a beam-to-land orientation, leaving me with a body of water on the parcel that has a good breadth and depth, and avoids feeling quite so hemmed-in by the houseboats on either side.

With a land capacity of 351, there is a lot that can be done with these parcels in terms of decorating and (in the case of the houseboats) plonking down a boat or two (or three) or some boat / floatplane combination. For my part, I felt the Windlass houseboat offered the most flexibility for internal space (I particularly liked the fact the little nook under the stairs to the roof suggested itself as a good place for a fireplace).

The interior space (shown empty in the inset) offers plenty of flexibility: room for a raised bedroom and lower lounge (or vice-versa)

Another aspect of this design I like is the split level nature of the living space, which naturally lends itself to various options. With a little custom work, it’s easy to produce a railing system that nicely separates the two halves of the living space, or even add full internal walls, depending on your preference.

Décor-wise, the interior and exterior walls, floors, etc., can be “repainted” via the house control panel. For this Windlass, this can lead to an interesting half-and-half look which breaks up the colour scheme. Additional textures can be obtained from the house / houseboat selector, so any elements you add can easily be blended in.

Another view of the interior, showing the fireplace tucked under the stairway

For me, the only issue with my Windlass is that the door is on the landward side of the house, and the shape of the parcel meant a trek around the houseboat and along the public piers the set between the parcels. However, the design is such that it was pretty easy for me to add more direct access by dropping in my own piers for mooring, and adding a couple of stairways: one up to the houseboat’s “balcony”and thence inside, and the other to the roof.

Given there is a total 351 LI to play with, adding details like this doesn’t mean you’re “eating prims”; but if you are worried about counts, remember that if you build yourself, a considered use of prim and mesh and Convex Hull accounting can help reduce LI cost. The stairs, railings, room divider and moorings (and lighting) I added, for example, weigh-in at just 30 LI combined (I used Kriss Lehmann’s Botanical Brick Path kit with a little bit of re-texturing for the moorings, simply because I had it to hand and linking works will with Convex Hull physics. The stairs came from Jed888, and are full perm).

The windless offers options for adding steep to reach moorings, if required, while the other houseboat designs offer water access from their decks, albeit with smaller interior spaces

As noted, the land capacity is more than sufficient to allow a boat or two (or more) to be rezzed. However, me being me, “one or two” is never enough given I change out ‘plane and or boat more times than I change my outfits :). So, I had to install a rezzer so I can pick and chose which boats / planes are rezzed with ease and without the need to drag, drop and position from inventory. It also means I can easily clear space friends to be able to moor when visiting. (For more on this see: Adding a little vehicle space with a rezzing system.)

Adding to my original post on the new Linden Homes, everything has been pretty well-considered. The houseboats and houses offer plenty of scope, the region offers a lot of general interest to see when exploring (with more to be added inland, as it is expanded in the  future) and it’s good to see the public areas include interactive elements to make them more interesting.

Potentially, my only critiques are in two areas: there should be more rez points for vehicles. There’s plenty to see when exploring by road / water, but the limited number of rez points tends to put people off taking a break and having a look around. There are certainly places where one might expect rez points – such as the little boathouses around the coast.

I’m actually surprised the little boathouses scattered around the coastline done offer rezzing points

Rez points are also helpful when region crossings go wrong, so having more (even just the road sign style on mainland highways for road vehicles) would be useful. My other critique is that a region of this size really should have a small airstrip or two, again with rez zones. A couple of grass strips suitable for small aircraft to get in and out of would add further depth to Bellisseria, both for people living there and for curious visitors who would like to fly in and take a look.

But the key question is, does my new Linden Home make me want to abandon my existing private island home? Well, truthfully: not yet; but that is only because things are still new, and I want to see how neighbourhood develop and communities grow. In the future, it may well be that a swap back to living in a Linden Home might well be on the cards.

I’ll let you know!

Footnote: When drafting this article on Tuesday, April 16th, I did actually gripe about the allowance of parcel banning / banlines within Bellisseria. This had already started impacting activities on and over the continent (try landing a ‘plane on water when your only option is to approach a channel over the tops of houseboats and then run slap into banlines …), and there were complaints at things like the LL Governance User GRoup on the matter. With my gripe, I mused on why LL hadn’t supplied a simple / regulated security system for the new homes, and disabled the use of parcel banning at estate level. However, as per a forum post by Constantine Linden, it turns out this is precisely what the Lab is doing in response to the general level of disappointment raised over the issue. So, kudos to the Lab for responding so positively and quickly! (And my thanks to Duckie Dickins for pointing out the forum post as we were discussing things!)

Celebrating SL Women 2019

Celebrating SL Women 2019

In 2018, as a means of celebrating International Women’s Day, Kyoko (Samara Barzane) and Brooke Brandenburg of the Confederation of Democratic Simulators (CDS), established a means of honouring women in SL who have contributed to “making SL a better place through their contributions.”

We wanted to do something a bit more than just a celebration so we came up with the idea of honouring ten Second Life women. And that’s what we are doing. Last year was a roaring success. So here we are again!

– Kyoko describing the Celebrating SL Women event

Nominations for come from a mix of names submitted by the event organisers and their assistants, CDS residents and – for this year, suggestions from the 2018 awardees. Names are then filtered down on the basis of some basic criteria, including the fact that the final list must comprise women who are still active in Second Life, until 10 honourees were agreed upon.

For 2018, those honoured were Treacle Darlandes, Sudane Erato, Rosie Gray, Kikuyu Kikutsuru, Nuala Marcus, Marianne McCann, Caryl Meredith, Bryn Oh, Strawberry Singh and Robin Sojourner Wood.

2019 Honourees

On Saturday, March 23rd, between 12:00 noon and 14:00 SLT, a special event will be held at the Gallery Barzane recognising this years honourees. they are:

  • Callipygian Christensen, an active member of the CDS community, an artist and DJ.
  • Laetizia Coronet: historian, aviator, photographer, modeller, and storyteller through her Flickr pages and her SL profile.
  • Gentle Heron, a founder and volunteer of the Virtual Ability community in Second Life, and mentor to users with disabilities.
  • Delia Lake, CDS resident, landscaper, educator and published author.
  • Leondra Larsson, teacher, mentor, and advocate for people with disabilities, work now works with Guardian At Litum as an advocate for children in dire circumstances.
  • Theresa Linden, Concierge in Second Life Customer Support.
  • Gabrielle Riel, community builder and founder of Radio Riel.
  • Elizabeth Tinsley, executive director of Fantasy Faire.
  • Imajika Wirefly, Director of Events for Survivors of Suicide.

It is my sincere privilege to say that the tenth person selected to be honoured in 2019 is myself.

2019 Honourees

I’m honoured to be included among such a diverse and richly talented group, and would like to pass on my genuine thanks to the  residents of CDS, and to this year’s organisers, Kyoko and Emilia Avindar for considering and selecting me.

I look forward to seeing and meeting my fellow honourees at the reception on March 23rd, between 12:00 noon and 14:00 SLT, and I hope those of you who can will join us at Gallery Barzane.

About the Confederation of Democratic Simulators (CDS)

Currently comprising six regions, the Confederation of Democratic Simulators (CDS) is the oldest, continuously-running democratic estate in Second Life.Loose themed on Germanic, Alpine, Tuscan, or Mediterranean styles, the regions present an all-encompassing government based on citizen participation, with elections to the Representative Assembly held each six months, and the work of the Representative Assembly supported in its work by a Scientific Council.  This governing structure is not role play, as might appear to be the case: it is more a residents co-op, not unlike the way apartment buildings are managed in real life, where every landowner is a “citizen” and is granted the right to vote and be elected to manage the overall space.

Among the goals for this project are: to enable ownership of high-quality public, private, and open-space land; create a themed yet expressive community of public and private builds; and implement novel democratic forms of self-government within Second Life.

Two Bandits at sea in Second Life

The Bandit 460 (foreground) and 580

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!

The Bandit 580

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.

The Bandit 460 with my own custom hull finish

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.

The Bandit 580 (l) dashboard features working gauges, but is showing its age a little – note the steering wheel. The 460 dashboard (r) offers more refined working gauges and steering wheel, together with a working compass and master switches for Mouselook driving

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.

Taking the Bandit 460AK around Isla Pey

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.

The 460AK alongside with mooring and power lines deployed

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.

Both the Bandit 580 (l) and the Bandit 460 (r) are set-up to be rezzed from our vehicle rezzer, although the 460AK tends to remain rezzed by default.

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.

The third-party Bandit 460AK Control HUD by .:: KG Creations ::.

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.

Related Links

The Culprit Sonata Baby Grand piano in Second Life

The Culprit Sonata Baby Grand in two of its finishes

In September 2018, I wrote about the Culprit Sonata Bento Piano created by Eku Zhong and Yure4u Sosa (see The Culprit Sonata Bento piano in Second Life). At that time, I noted that Eko and Yure4u were working on a baby grand edition, and on March 13th, 2019 they graciously sent me a copy.

As I noted in that piece, as a pianist, I have a leaning towards the grand (concert or baby), as I appreciate the more rounded richness of its note. As having one in the physical world is impractical (although I do have a Yamaha N1), so I enjoy having them in-world, and have been looking forward to the opportunity to try this particular baby grand and seeing how the Bento animations work with such an instrument.

The Culprit Sonata Baby Grand

Unlike the upright variant, the Culprit Baby Grand is supplied in one size, and follows the accepted shape of a grand, with a sweeping case built around a horizontal plate and pin block / action. In this, the Culprit Baby Ground might appear little different to other grand pianos in SL. However, it is fair to say that it is the play mechanism in this piano that is one of the aspects that sets it apart from others, even without the Bento play capability.

Where others might in part reproduce the mechanism – some strings,  the plate and sound board – or offer a texture of a grand’s “innards”, the Culprit Baby Grand goes much further. A peek under the raised lid reveals the cast iron plate with soundboard below – and a beautiful pin block and hammer set, with strings neatly positioned, presenting one of the best facsimiles of a grand I’ve yet witnessed.

Play-wise the Culprit Baby Grand is similar in nature to the Sonata upright: sit at the piano and you’ll be placed in an “idle” pose – and moving your arms as if conducting – or perhaps warming-up in readiness to play. While mentioning this pose, note that as playing the piano can result in your avatar’s eyes rolling up into the head and flicking back to this option – available from the Muted option (see below) before standing will avoid this. Sitting will also display the piano’s menu, which has the following options:

  • Texture: allows the piano body and the stool’s cushion to be textured to suit your preferences.
  • Muted: presents a total of 12 different playing styles without any associated music – so you can set a style in keeping with the music you’re listening to out world, or on your parcel stream.
  • Songs: offers 54 solo pieces to play, all public domain, representing a good cross-reference of music.
  • Duets: offers 11 duet pieces of public domain music to be enjoyed with a friend of partner playing with you.
The Culprit Sonata Baby Grand – mechanism detail

The menu also includes options to adjust the seated position on the stool, and to swap positions when playing duets, all of which makes for a pretty comprehensive set-up.

Selecting a piece of music from the Songs or Duets menus will display sheet music on the piano and move your avatar into a matching playing animation. It is here where the Bento element comes in. If you have Bento hands and watch yourself play (note that non-Bento users can still play the piano, it will just be minus the finger movements). The animations appear to be those used in the Culprit Sonata Upright, so just like that piano, they are fluid and natural, if with a slightly dramatic flair in a couple of styles  – although even the fact this is a grand, they are perhaps more in keeping with playing classic pieces than might be the case with the upright version.

Bento hand movements  are available in the three playing options built-in to the Culprit Sonata Baby Grand. Note the thumb-led glissando (filmed on the Sonata)

For those who like their in-world pianos to autoplay without being physically seated at it, the Culprit Baby Grand is perhaps not an ideal choice, simply because it does require and avatar to be seated (you can set rights to control who can). But then, this is a piano that is all about the Bento playing actions. On a personal note, I found the Culprit Baby Grand a little larger than I was expecting; the width of the piano means the reaching the extremes of the keyboard is a stretch for an avatar proportioned close to a physical world build, like mine. However, this is a minor point when compared to the “interior” modelling of the piano, its music selection and playing animations mean, all of which make it an ideal addition to any home – and it is now the preferred piano at Isla Pey, replacing the slightly smaller Lisp Persimmon grand.

With a total LI of 11, the Culprit Baby Grand will début at the Boardwalk shopping event from March 15th, 2019, at a price of L$995. It will be generally available, including via the Culprit store, from April 15th.