The PrimPossible 1 LI Bento Piano

The PrimPossible Bento Mo-Cap 1LI Piano, shown in the built-in white finish option

Ample Clarity, the owner of the PrimPossible brand, made his mark producing 1-prim household items, initially using sculpties (not good for rendering, etc., but nevertheless impressive for their time for those pushed for LI) and more recently for doing much of the same with mesh. He’s well aware of my fondness for the piano, and so recently sent me a beta version of his new 1 LI mesh Bento baby grand piano featuring a selection of motion captured animations, and I decided I’d take it for a quick spin.

I cannot speak to the packaging of the piano, as it was delivered to me unboxed. However, in terms of shape and styling, it follows the expected form for a grand, and rezzes with the lid open and music stand raised. The former will tend to close when an avatar sits on the stool, but typing “open lid” (no quotes required when typing) in open chat will set it open once more.

Given this is pretty much a single mesh, there are some elements that can catch the eye a little: the curves of the housing rim perhaps aren’t as smooth as seen on other piano models; the detailing of the soundboard / plate / strings is a little basic compared to other piano models I’ve tried (but also better than others). Certainly, the keys and nicely raised and the texturing of the ivory gives them something of a look of having been used, rather than appearing utterly pristine – a touch I appreciate in my SL pianos.

The PrimPossible Bento Mo-Cap 1LI Piano, shown in the built-in white finish

Sitting at the piano will open the main menu, the top level of which provides access to the piano’s impressively broad range of animations. Depending on which animations are available, depends on whether you have the Adult or PG variant. For the PG variant, which I have, the animations are broken down into the following categories / sub-menus:

  • Bento: general single (male or female avatar) and couples sitting animations than make use of Bento animations. This can place avatars on or around the piano in a variety of animated poses.
  • Non-Bento: similar to the above in terms of general sits / cuddle, but also with non-Bento piano playing animations (female, male and duets), and a selection of “friends” animations that again place avatars in poses for chatting, etc., around or on the piano.
  • Bento piano: a set of four playing styles created for Bento hands and finger movements.
  • Bento Mo-Cap: as set of single and duet playing styles for Bento hands and created using motion capture software.

The Bento piano animations offer sufficient range for playing most of the pieces of music included in the piano, with Piano Boss adding a little athletic fun to the start of any playing for those so inclined! The Mo-Cap options (two single pianist options for “standard” and “tall” avatars, plus three duet pairs) are, like the Bento animations, fluid, and offer perhaps a more natural placement of hands whilst playing (as they have been motion captured).

Bento hand animations

A total of 24 pieces of music are supplied, the majority of them classical and public domain (Ernest Gold’s theme from Exodus would have entered public domain in 2017, had it not been for the 1978 change to US copyright laws….). Accessible through the Extras > Music Menu option, these are a familiar and popular selection – Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Grieg, Mendelssohn, Satie, etc., – with a touch of Gershwin.

The music menu includes a Start / Stop option (so you can play the piano sans music, if you have music playing over the stream, etc.), plus options for selecting / playing / looping pieces, and for adjusting the piano’s internal playback volume. I confess that some of the pieces seemed to suffer in places from recording levels perhaps being set too high, with a – to my ears at least – a noticeable distortion.

When playing music, it is also possible to alter the playing animation to better match the piece selected, if desired, and the duets options offer a nice sense of shared moments, although having a couple of additional pieces obviously suited to duet play might be nice. For those who enjoy their piano to play by itself, this is possible: simply use the music menu to select the music and play mode and then click Play (if the piano isn’t already playing). You can do this either whilst seated at the piano or with a touch to bring up the menu when standing.

Also included in the menu are options to set permissions on who can use it (owner, group or anyone), plus texturing options and to adjust the level of shine, the ability to set it to phantom (and avoid bouncing into the air when standing up!), and to adjust your sitting position. The latter brings out one of the little niggles I have with all pianos that have both the instrument and the stool as a single item: as the stool is “fixed” relative to the piano, I never can quite get my avatar to what I feel is the optimal position for playing.

A final thing to note about this piano is the LI. The single LI count of the piano applies to when it is not in use; as soon as an avatar sits at the piano, the LI count will increase to 3. This is necessary due to the nature of SL and sit targets: the PrimPossible piano requires an additional (and invisible) “shell” to be rezzed with it in order for avatars to be correctly sit targeted. This shell is automatically deleted when the piano is not in use, returning it to the advertised 1 LI.  So, if you opt for this piano, do keep this in mind should you note the LI count changing – it’s not an issue / error.

Under the lid, the detailing is perhaps a little limited compared to some other piano makes, but at least as good as others – and remember, this is a single LI mesh object

The PrimPossible Bento piano is available in four versions and price points:

  • No Copy, Mod or Transfer PG at L$800 or Adult at L$950.
  • Copy, No Mod / Transfer PG at L$2,000 or Adult at L$2,400.

These prices are also listed as being “introductory beta”, and I understand that further animations and Mo-Caps will be added over the coming months. Even so, when comparing the L$2,000 price tag for the Copy version to something like the Culprit Sonata Bento Baby Grand (supplied Copy, No Mod / Transfer, and which I reviewed in March 2019), that’s a hefty difference should you be in need of a Copy version of a piano. Were I to give a very quick, high-level contrast between the PrimPossible and the Culprit it would be:

  • PrimPossible lower rendering and server costs (4576 and 1.0 respectively), lower LI (1 or 3), but fewer music options (24) and playing styles (for the present). Includes non-playing animations.
  • Culprit: higher LI (11) with a higher level of detail (particularly the soundboard / plate / strings / hammers  / dampeners), more music options (56) and playing styles. Higher rendering / server costs (8561 and 10.7 respectively).
The PrimPossible Bento Mo-Cap 1LI Piano

As it is, the Culprit wins out for me for general home display / use. I find the playing styles more varied (and some more reflective of piano playing techniques) – although it’ll be interesting to see what else is added to the PrimPossible model as the beta progresses. As someone who loves the grand piano, I also appreciate the amount of work put into the Culprit’s “innards”, and I’m not sure I like seeing one clambered all over / sat on, so the additional sitting animations in the PrimPossible model, while potentially fun, hold no real appeal here.

For those who might be pushed for LI, and given more is to come with the PrimPossible piano, it is certainly worth a look and consideration, given the range of prices and the additional animations. As it is, the PrimPossible has been added to my Linden Home houseboat (where it will admittedly be more decorative than functional), where it looks quite at home.



More Culprit fun in Second Life

Culprit’s Sphynxie and Flying Machine

Culprit owners Eku Zhong and Yure4u Sosa have released a couple more fun items I thought would be worth a write-up: the Culprit Sphynxie and the Culprit Flying Machine. Both are decidedly quirky (hence my interest!) and both are liable to be attractive purchases for some.

Sphynxie is a full animated Animesh companion that attaches to your avatar (just ADD it), and which uses an avatar skeleton that can be animated far more fluidly than other forms of pet. It takes the form of a sphynx cat – the famous coatless (but not without fur; its hairs are just exceptionally short and fine) cat produced as a result of selective breeding, and builds on the work done with the Culprit Mousie (see: Culprit Mousie: a little silliness in Second Life).

Mousie was a prototype – our Animesh début revamped for an older creation I did ages ago. He started out with less features (but he’s been updated). Sphynxie is entirely news, and come with more animations.

-Eku Zhong describing the Culprit Sphynxie

Either someone on the left of this photo has been on the catnip, or just got startled…!

At L$599, Sphynxie is also slightly more expensive than Mousie, with the price difference explained by Sphynxie being more capable.

Supplied in a package containing the cat, a HUD and an instructions note card, Sphynxie is offered in a number of individual hair finishes and as No Modify / No Transfer. Using it is a simple matter of attaching the control HUD and – providing you have no other Animesh items already attached (or no more than one if you are Premium!); you can then ADD the cat to your avatar.

Left to itself, Sphynxie will stand beside you on his hind legs (like Mousie, Sphynxie is anthropomorphic in nature) and entertain himself, moving from pose to pose, looking around, breathing deeply and tail moving quite naturally. A right-click Edit allows you to reposition him – move him a little further away if your AO stands causes you to step on him for example, or to move him to your preferred side, etc. When you walk, he’ll trot along beside you. And, of course, being an attachment, he’ll teleport with you.

However, it’s when you click the HUD that Sphynxie comes into his own. This contains three options: New Name (opens a dialogue box in which you can give your Sphynxie a personal name); Channel (to change the channel over which your HUD communicates with your Sphynxie to avoid clashing with others) and Gestures.

This last one provides access to an extensive range of animations that will play on Sphynxie when selected – so you can have him greet people, respond to a conversation (sometimes a little snarkily – something ideally suited to his somewhat upper class English tone of voice!) sing, dance, perform a few ninja fighting moves – and a whole lot more, a small selection of which are shown in the video below.

Complexity-wise, Sphynxie has a slightly higher cost than Mousie – around 7K on top of your avatar complexity  – but this is by no means excessive. If rezzed in-world he is slightly more resource efficient than Mousie – his LI is 27 and he has a physics impact of 0.5 and server cost of 0.8; however, he will only play his default animations if rezzed like this, and will not be responsive to the HUD. Plus, if you are a Premium member and have Mousie, you can opt to wear them both (as Premium members can have up to 2 Animesh items attached to their avatar) and they will not interfere with each other.

For those who enjoy attachable pets, the Culprit Sphynxie is – like Mousie before him – a fun addition to have, and his animations are likely to keep people smiling.

Culprit Flying Machine – out over the water

Currently on a short-term offer of L$100 as part of the Culprit Fly Buy Friday promotions (just join the store group) is the new Culprit Flying Machine. Designed entirely for fun, it is perhaps one of the most unusual vehicles I’ve used in Second Life – one that in some respects defies description; is it a boat? Is it a plane? Is it – well, I’ll leave it to the pictures to speak for it!

Like many of Culprit’s vehicles, the Flying Machine is supplied with two versions in the box: a “solo” unit you can fly yourself, and a rezzer unit. The latter takes the form of a black base unit that auto-rezzes an initial flying machine (no Mod, as it is a rezzer version) over it, and that will rez a further machine as the previous one is used, with the owner able to set the total number of boats that can be rezzed at any one time (up to a maximum of 12). These machines will also de-rez when the driver stands up, so they leave no clutter.

The Culprit Flying Machine

Seating a maximum of two people, the machine will turn on its engine when the owner (or first person in the case of the rezzer version) sits in it, and the rear “pusher” propeller will start turning. Movement is then achieved using the standard Arrow / WASD keys (depending on your preference and viewer set-up) – Up / W for forward, Down / S for slowing / reverse; Left / A and Right / D for turning.

Any forward  / reverse motion will start the “oars” flapping, making them more like wings, – and like a bee, you’ll improbably hover above the ground and progress in your chosen direction as if being rowed along and pushed by the propeller. Should you reach Linden water, the machine will handle that as well, dipping the rudder slung beneath it as if to help steer. Stop forward / reverse motion, and the “oars” will come to a stop and  the machine will glide to a halt.

And there’s more. Touch the machine and you’ll get the “standard” Culprit vehicle menu. In this you’ll find the Flight option. Click this to check it, and you can actually fly the machine at more than just the default hover height – use Page Up / E to put the nose up and climb, and Page Down / C to put the nose down and descend. Be warned however; if you wish to maintain altitude you must stay in motion. If you stop, the “oars” will stop and – naturally, as you’re deprived of their lift – you’ll start to sink towards the ground until you reach the machine’s default hover height – and if you’re over Linden Water, you will sink!

Culprit Flying Machine – flying over Isla Pey

The menu also allows you to turn the engine off, sound the horn, adjust your seating position (which is not saved in the rezzer version), but I’m not entirely sure if the throttle / gear options work (shift up / shift down).

For the purists, the handling may not feel entirely aircraft-like, but remember this is a fun vehicle. What’s more, with its looks and animations, it would also be at home in steampunk environments as well as being used simply for fun. In all, six colour variants are available and can be purchased – as with Sphynxie from the Culprit main store.

A guitar in Second Life you can really dig …

Playing the Piaggio shovel guitar

Ape Piaggio is responsible for some of my favourite vehicle designs in SL (see A Little Bee that’s a real honey in Second Life and Of impulse purchases and power boats) and some rather fun stuff as well (see: Doing a “Little Nellie” and A Second Life Roadrunner). She’s now turned her attention to musical instruments – something that’s also bound to get my attention – and in a most unusual way: a shovel (or if you prefer, spade) guitar. And I have to say, it’s really good.

Now, a shovel guitar may sound a completely made-up thing, but actually, it is very much a real DIY thing available in the physical world (just do a check on eBay to see for yourself, or check the video at the ed of this review).

The idea comes from a video I saw on Internet, and since I liked the idea, I made it in SL, I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do! The sales of this guitar will help me to get the real life version of the instrument, so thank you for supporting me 🙂

– Ape Piaggio on her shovel guitar

Delivered in a plain cardboard style box, the guitar has one of Ape’s signature unpacking animations – touch the box and it will open and the guitar will float up out of it to stand upright in front of you, before displaying asking you accept the guitar. Confirming this will place the guitar, its instructions and a gesture (which can be used to toggle the guitar’s menu via the gesture command “/sgmenu” or by tapping SHIFT-F1). And that’s just the start.

The Piaggio shovel guitar detailing: the blade (left and right) and grip with tuning mechanisms (centre) – click for full size

The guitar itself is beautifully detailed: the blade and collar are finished in that “brand new” spade matte black finish that use materials to give them that “brand spanking new” look. The blade itself forms the body for the guitar, complete with bridge and (being an electric guitar), pick-ups, control knobs and output jack socket. The handle and grip form – obviously enough – the neck and headstock for the guitar, the latter with tuning mechanisms for the three strings. When you wear / add the guitar the first time, it will be slung over your shoulder.

Playing can be triggered in three ways: by clicking on the shovel, or if you have the supplied gesture active, by either typing “/sgmenu” (no quotes around it) in local chat, or pressing SHIFT-F1. All three of these will open the guitar’s comprehensive menu – just click Draw / Sheath to move the guitar “play” position (or back to its “carry” position), and you’ll start playing.

A single song is supplied (individual parts of which can be looped, if required), but users can add their own. A guide to how to do this can be found in the supplied instructions note car. While one song might sound limiting, what is supplied is a wealth of animations – playing styles from a range of basic strumming options all the way through to some very fanciful options (flying anyone?) going by way of foot-stomping to spinning to head-banging and and even a hint of The Shadows! These reside with a number of static and sitting animations that offer users a lot of choices – and they can add their own if they wish; again instructions for doing so can be found in the supplied note card.

The playing animations are available from the menu > Animations > Stands, and have a couple of different options when using them.

  • If the guitar is UNmuted (via the main menu), selecting any of the guitar playing animations will automatically start that animation and leave you in the Stands menu.
  • If the guitar is MUTED (via the main menu), selecting any of the guitar playing animations will cause a further pop-up menu to display – select Play Now to start the animation.

The latter option allows live performers who use a guitar as their accompaniment to make use of the shovel guitar during their gigs if they wish, to add a little novelty to things. They can play the guitar muted in-world and, if they want, swap the playing animations to better suit the style of song they are singing, rather than always playing the same animation throughout a set, simply by toggling back and forth between the Stands menu and and the playing sub-menu.

Another handy option is Force Anim. This allows you to use the guitar while seated – say on a chair or stool, or when riding in a vehicle or even while riding your wearable Bento horse (a good reason for the guitar *not* being Bento, given non-Premium users can only wear one Bento attachment at a time), so you can mosey across the range, pausing when you like to sing to yer hoss! Admittedly, depending on the animations on the object you’re sitting on, Force Anim may work first time or may take a little bit of fiddling with to kick-in correctly – but it does generally work; I tried it on a number of chairs, stools and other bits around our home, as well as my Teegle and Water Horse horses.

The Force Anim option can be used to allow you to play the guitar when seated on objects (such as the stool on the left), or when riding in a vehicle – or even when astride your Bento horse (right)!

Two options I also found interesting are the sync and the sets options. The former offers a means to sync your guitar animations with those of a friend with the guitar so you’re playing together. Sets enable you to create a set of songs to be played sequentially – and you can create up to nine sets to the guitar.

All of this makes for a very versatile, as well as exceptionally novel, SL musical instrument – and I’ve not covered all of the menu options, with include options to help adjust the guitar’s position, reset it to its default state, etc. At L$450, the price isn’t excessive, and for those who fancy it, it is available on Ape’s SL Marketplace store and at her in-world store.

And, for those who still have doubts about how good a shovel guitar can sound with just three strings, check the video below!

With Thanks to Jodi for letting me use LiFT for the banner image to this article and recording the video clips.

The Culprit Little Motor Boat in Second Life

Culprit Little Motor Boat

Eku Zhong and Yure4u Sosa produce a wide range of items for Second life from buildings to furnishings to the more quirky. Within this blog I’ve written about a couple of items that might be considering furnishings: the Culprit Bento Upright Piano, and the Culprit Baby Grand; – and also one of the more quirky: the Culprit Mousie. Over the weekend I’ve had the opportunity to try out the newest of their fun items: the Culprit Little Motor Boat.

Launched in-world on August 3rd, 2019, the Culprit Little Motor Boat is a tender-style boat capable of seating up to four people – and little is the operative word here: it’s small enough to feel as though you could pick it up and walk off with it under one arm. This gives the boat a cute look – but if you find it a little too small, it has a scripted resizing capability so you can customise it to fit.

Culprit Little Motor Boat

The packaging for the boat is also small, but includes a lot: there’s a “solo” version of the boat, designed to be kept rezzed and which can be set for personal or public access and supplied Copy / Mod. There is also a version in a rezzer system. This takes the form of a buoy that auto-rezzes an initial boat (no Mod, as it is a rezzer version), and that rezzes further boats as the previous one is used, with the owner able to set the total number of boats that can be rezzed at any one time (up to a maximum of 12). These boats will also de-rez when the driver stands up, so they leave no clutter. Also supplied is a pier sign (provided Copy / Mod) that can be used with the rezzer, and an additional buoy.

When considering the Culprit Little Motor Boat the first and foremost thing to remember is that it is intended for fun. If you take your SL boating seriously, then this little boat may not be for you; but if you’re looking to offer people the opportunity to go motor boating on your estate or region – either on open water or on a Linden Water boating lake, or if you just want a little low-cost boat for occasional fun, then the Culprit Little Motor Boat could be just the thing.

Culprit Little Motor Boat

Operating the boat (either the rezzer version or the solo) is simple:  sit in it as the drive and the engine then starts. Steering is via the Left / Right keys, while the Up key supplies forward motion, the Down arrow throttles down and the Left and Right provide turning (you can use WASD if you have the viewer set that way).

In addition, a menu can be called up by touching the boat. This provides access for manually turning the engine off / on, throttling up / down, operating the interior light, and sounding the horn. It also allows adjustment of the driver / passenger positions, and provides access a range of additional options – camera position, etc. (I confess to not having tested all of these).

Culprit Little Motor Boat compared to a typical SL speedboat, in this case, the Foilstream Little Bee

Two interesting options in the menu are the Turbo button and the Flight button. The former should really only be used on open water as it is fast! The Flight option is handy if you do end up in trouble after using Turbo – such as finding yourself stranded inland, where it can be used to take to the air and fly back to the nearest suitable water.

There are a couple of quirks with the handling that those familiar with boating might find unusual. The first is that the Up key must be continuously pressed to maintain forward motion (like a car’s accelerator). Tapping the Down key will slow the boat / put it into reverse, but releasing the Up key will also cause the boat to slow down – an inertia setting within the menu allows you to adjust the degree of inertial drift.

The rezzer buoy and boat sign

The second is that if using the Down key for low speed manoeuvring (such as turning in a confined  space), Left / Right turning can get switched when moving forward again – just tap the Up key once to correct.

However, when used as a rezzer boat, I doubt either of these above points will be noted, as people using the boats will be too busy zipping around the water having fun rather than trying to be master boat handlers. My only real grumble with the boat is the engine sound loop, which has an awkward little break in it, making it obvious it is a short loop. However, just flicking local sounds off whilst driving resolves this.

The boat is provided in five individual finishes (shown below), with each package containing the rezzer and solo versions of each finish, boat sign and additional buoy. The normal retail price is L$299, however, they are also on introductory offer at L$100 through until midnight SLT on Monday, August 5th (offer extended from that stated in the Culprit group note card).

Culprit Little Motor Boat finishes

Again, this is a boat for fun, not necessarily the serious boating enthusiast; but for those interested, it can be obtained via the Culprit store in-world, where it can test also be test driven on the Culprit boating lake in-world.

Culprit Mousie: a little silliness in Second Life

Culprit Mousie – an Animesh companion

I’ll admit I’m not the greatest fan of attachable pets / companions in Second Life (I know, “Booooo!” 🙂 ). OK, so I do have a Zooby cat that can be attached and carried, but he’s designed more for free wandering and actually spends all of his time lying in his kitty basket at home. So when a Culprit Mousie (by Eku Zhong and Yure4u Sosa) arrived on our doorstep, I was not entirely sure what I’d make of it; however, having tried it out on-and-off over the last few days, I admit I can see some of the appeal.

One of the things that has recently revolutionised this kind of companion is, of course, Animesh. Thanks to the ability to make use of the avatar skeleton it is possible to produce companion attachments like this that have a considerable amount of dexterity and “natural” animations – and this is certainly the case of the Culprit Mousie.

I get the impression, someone might be mimicking me…

As the name implies, this is mouse companion who has the anthropomorphic ability to walk on his hind legs and use his forelegs and paws for gestures. He stands around 1/2 a metre tall when worn, and sits by default just to the right of your avatar.

The package is supplied with Mousie, a gesture HUD and instructions.  Both Mousie and the HUD are supplied Copy, No Modify / No Transfer. There is an order to wearing the HUD and Mousie – the former *must* be added first, then the latter.

Once worn, Mousie can be repositioned via right-click Edit, so if he is too close for your avatar’s stand animations so you look to be standing through him at times, you can shuffle him around within reason. Once in place, Mousie will self-animate, rocking on his heels, wriggling his tail, gesturing with his forepaws, etc., – and, if you’re standing still for a long period of time, will fold his forelegs and drum his “fingers” as if bored / impatient.

In this, Mousie’s “hand” movements are rather exquisite. His “fingers’ will curl and extend, he’ll delicately scratch himself, wipe his snout and even – or so it seems -occasionally and cheekily – raise a middle “finger” when his arms are upraised! As well as his forelegs / paws, Mousie will also occasionally flick his tail and twitch his ears. When you walk, he’ll waddle along beside you, looking like a speed walker with his forelegs swinging back and forth and little hind legs working overtime which – and I can’t believe I’m writing this – had me wanting to stop every so often and let him catch his breath!

The HUD provides access to the 3-function menu. This provides access to three buttons:

  • Gestures: as the name implies, provides access to Mousie’s range of gestures, each triggered via a button. These offer a range of options – dances, air guitar, blowing kisses – a total of 18 gestures in all.
  • New name: opens a dialogue box in which you can give your Mousie a personal name.
  • Channel: allows you to change the communications channel between your HUD and your Mousie  – this is recommended to avoid conflicts with other Mousie  users you might encounter.

The gestures themselves are – like Mousie himself – cheeky in places. They also include local sounds, so might be a source of irritation for others in the way that many gestures can – but there is no doubting their giggle factor, either.

Complexity-wise, Mousie adds around 5,300 to an avatar under the current ARC system, suggesting Eku and Yure4u have worked to optimise it. If you want to rez a copy of Mousie in-world, you can – he’ll have a cost of 29 LI (and a physics impact of 0.4 and server cost of 1.8); however, he will only play his default animations if rezzed like this, and will not be responsive to the HUD.

I’m still not won over to using a wearable companion for myself, but I admit that Mousie is different and fun enough in bursts  that he might make the odd appearance now and again 🙂 . For those who do like companion  / pets like this, he is somewhat different to the more usual dog and cat style of companion and  – as noted – comes with a certain giggle factor. Plus, at L$350, he certainly isn’t going to break the bank, and he can (at the time of writing) be obtained via the Culprit store in-world (at the time of writing it had yet to be added to the Culprit Marketplace store).

With thanks to Eku and Yure4u.

The Bandit 50/3: outstanding sailing in Second Life

Sailing the Bandit 50/3

The Bandit 50/3 is the latest sailing release by Analyse Dean under her Bandit brand of sailing and power boats. At 99 LI when moored, it is no lightweight – but then, it is packed with features and capabilities, including the latest third generation BOSS dynamic sailing engine, offering one of the most outstanding sailing experiences in Second Life.

Everything about the boat is aimed at giving you a fun and realistic experience, and while being a cruise friendly boat that is accessible for beginners, the Bandit 50/3 is set-up to bring you pure adrenaline when pushed to the limits in high winds with full manual control.

– Analyse Dean, describing the work put into the Bandit 50/3

Bandit 50/3: sailing past Isla Pey

The 50/3 is slightly smaller that the Bandits 55 and 60, but in terms of options, it easily matches and exceeds the pair of them, and builds on the 460AK motor cruiser (which I reviewed in Two Bandits at sea in Second Life) in terms of “hidden” additions. However, the main thing that is liable to make this Bandit a hit is the sailing characteristics.

The 50/3 was set-up with some realism in mind. Where previous boats had some “rubber bumpers” in the code to prevent stuff from happening when people exceed limits. The 50/3 doesn’t have that; go out of range with the spinnaker, broach, sail close to the wind with the genoa, knockdown [When a sailing boat is suddenly pushed onto its side, either by an abrupt wind gust or rouge wave], mess up a tack and it will cost you some time to recover. Heel excessively, and the rudder will loose grip. It is set-up for racing in high winds really, and it will keep the adrenaline flowing when you sail it at the edge.

– Analyse Dean, describing sailing the Bandit 50/3

Bandit 50/3

The package includes the Bandit 50/3, a dock (compatible with the dock supplied with the 406AK) a sailing HUD, and three optional packages: flags, textures, and racing. A comprehensive note card manual is also supplied, providing full coverage of the boat’s features and a set of comprehensive notes on sailing it.

Coming in at just under 15 metres overall length, the Bandit 50/3 is laid out with a stern cockpit with plenty of room for the helmsperson and passengers. Multiple steering poses are provided, depending on the sailing siltation / whether of not the boat is under engine power. A bimini can be raised via chat, as can a more protective tent for bad weather. Note that the dodger is a permanent fixture, but can be hidden by selective editing and making it transparent (although the baked textures on top of the cabin means some re-texturing might be required if you’d prefer to mostly run without the dodger being visible.

Two sleeping berths are provided, one under the cockpit, the other in the bows. Between the two is a comfortable salon with functional galley. There are a lot of poses packed into the cabins – and a lot of clickies, as one would expect from a Bandit: light switched work, the doors to the sleeping berths close / open, the table leaves can be raised / lowered, blinds drawn – and more.

Bandit 50/3: moored at my Linden Houseboat and using the Bandit piers for mooring

I’ve not owned other Bandit boats and am unfamiliar with handling them outside of sailing the demos, so I cannot offer direct comparison between the 50/3 and any of the other boats in the range, but I will say that in the 24 hours I’ve had it, 50/3, I’ve found it to be both a fun and a genuine challenge when sailing.

As the manual notes, the 50/3 includes four sail options: the main, a jib, a genoa and a spinnaker. Which of the latter three you use is down to the prevailing wind conditions (which you can set). Setting the sails can be shared with others sailing with you, if desired (just pass them a copy of of the supplied HUD).

The 50/3 is BOSS 3, just like the Bandit IF. It has multiple animated actions and really comes into its own when you sail with a crew member.

– Analyse Dean, describing sailing the 50/3 with crew

Bandit 50/3: “unfettered and in full career!”

Solo sailing, I have a say that the 50/3 is a handful – at least for the relatively novice, like myself -but also a heck of a lot of fun. When properly trimmed and with a good wind, the boat moves at a fair lick of speed, and the camera system allows you to appreciate this fully. With a crew handling the sails, things really do come into their own and sailing the boat becomes a shared experience that adds a dimension to being on the water.

For those into racing, the race pack includes a HUD-based “iPad” (although it can also be worn by your avatar), is designed to provide a more realistic consistent sailing experience. Also included is a copyable scripted buoy. This can be set out (where you have rezzing rights) along a race course to again provide a consistent wind effect when racing. In taking the boat out on both Blake Sea and around Bellisseria, we made multiple region crossings without issues.

We are also starting a little sailing club for it, off shore, long distance, point to point. Keep an eye out for Blake Off-Shore Rally for Cruisers (BORC) as well, it will be super fun!

– Analyse Dean

Bandit 50/3: in the galley

When moored or anchored, the boat offers a range of single and couples animations, both on the top of and within the cabin. These, and the helm positions, mean that the Bandit 50/3 offers a good selection of poses and animations.

With the Bandit 460AK, analyse introduced a new docking system for her boats, and this is continued with the Bandit 50/3. Rez the pier and when the Bandit 50/3 is close enough, issue the text command “dock”, and the 50/3 will neatly move alongside, deploying its fenders and mooring and electrical power lines appear. What’s more, the pier is fully compatible with the connecting dock supplied with the Bandit 460AK, allowing both to be used together.

The Bandit 50/3 (foreground) with the Bandit 55 and and Bandit 60, The Mesh Shop

As noted at the top of this article, there is a lot to be found in this boat, not all of which is covered here. At L$3,750 it offers a huge amount of value for money. At the time of writing, it is only available in-world at The Mesh Shop, but expect to see it on the Bandit Marketplace store soon; as Analyse noted to me, “It will be there in a week or so. I always wait to see if any bugs surface.”