Thursday, June 30, 2011

In My Car

Wandering the world on foot is a great way to savor the sights, but occasionally the accumulation of worn shoe leather, blisters, and chafed spots becomes too much and one pines for a different mode of transportation.

I was minding my own business on Linden Route 12 when first a tank, then an automobile came down the road, both driverless. This piqued my curiosity, so I reversed course and followed them.

Although both vehicles weaved across the road, neither left the highway. I wondered if I could induce one or the other to take me part of my way, so I climbed behind the wheel of the convertible.

After some time, I thought I might try my luck with the tank. This turned out to be trickier, as the tank felt no compunction about rotating its turret in my direction and firing a shell at me. Once I clambered to the turret, all seemed well.

Curious, I tracked the vehicles to their origin, which turned out to be on a different road altogether, Route 9, at the Putiki Fold Bus Terminal. The vehicles are made by Miss AnnMarie O'Toole. While the vehicles themselves are all free, each costs L$100 for the auto-navigation script.

Bus terminals aren't much in any life, I suppose.

I took a taxi north on Route 9. On occasion, I would encounter another vehicle heading in the opposite direction. A little dance would ensue - perhaps two sumo wrestlers trying to push the other out of the ring would be a better metaphor - and eventually the two vehicles would have enough room to pass one another.

I was impressed by the scripting. Whenever the vehicle started to veer off the road, it would make small corrections to find its way back on again. The biggest obstacles were the sim crossings. Every so often the taxi would be far off the road and it would take some time to find the road again. Nonetheless, I went through dozens of sims without a hitch, finally reaching what I thought was the end of the road...

...only to discover that the road continued as an underwater tunnel!


Fogwoman Gray said...

I have heard a lot of commentary on Miss O'Toole's vehicles. I suspect in part due to her outspokenness in general.
I personally feel about those like I feel about our own CATs, Trains and Trams. Anything that gives the world life and activity is going to be appealing and inviting to visitors.
Which is a good thing!

Miss D Ember said...

My goodness what excitment! Do these vehicles prowl their predefined hunting grounds? How flexible is this script? I am so curious.

Kathy Jameson said...

Mrs. Volare - I'll confess that, while I had heard of Miss O'Toole, I had not heard of her scripted vehicles (nor had I heard of any controversy surrounding her, which suggests I'm quite out of the loop - not a bad thing, mind you). When I stumbled across my first one, I thought it was a phantom vehicle, a notion I was disabused of when I could touch it. (Uber-geek note: just like how Buffy and the Scoobies could tell when it wasn't a manifestation of The First! :) ) Then I thought this was someone's practical joke. As my pixelated self is fearless, I hopped in, whereupon the vehicle itself told me it was for sale.

I quite agree that the vehicles themselves are appealing to visitors. I don't know if the scripts slow down the sims much - I didn't see much of an increase in lag, which would seem like the only concern. (Insert joke about infinity here.) Unlike the Caledonian transport system - don't forget about the ferries! - which are ultimately subject to Des's rules if they get out of hand, this is on Mainland, and I have no idea what limits are in place.

At any rate, I found them to be fun, and a painless way of seeing a swathe of Mainland.

Kathy Jameson said...

Miss Ember - Not knowing the first thing about scripting, I couldn't say exactly what the magic is. (I didn't buy one - perhaps I'll do so and see what I can see.) However, judging by how the vehicles act, I assume that they are limited to the Linden road - somehow they can tell when they're not on the road - but aren't limited by sim. Or, at any rate, I ran out of time and patience before the vehicle ran out of sim. :)

Anonymous said...

I have recently began touring the Mainland lately. I am a big fan of the Protected Routes that the Moles have set up for residents. I can spend hours just driving around.

I recently signed on with the Second Life Highway Patrol (SLHP), a volunteer group that promotes safety and awareness on the Protected Routes. We also help to combat litter, mediate any conflicts, and fight griefing on the Mean Streets of the Grid.

It certainly passes the time, and I see a lot of really interesting builds. As for Ms. O'Toole's creations, I agree they add some spice and color to the area, but I get my fill of them real quick when I am pushed off the road.

Kathy Jameson said...

Mr. Lowe - I like the idea of the routes and having volunteers police the Mainland so that there's less of the Wild West atmosphere. It sounds like fun! (I'm picturing a virtual Erik Estrada and the other guy, riding down the highway in their motorcycles.)

I agree that the "push each other until there's passing room" solution to sharing the road isn't the greatest, and I can imagine that having an automated vehicle push you isn't fun. My solution, as always: BIGGER WEAPONS! :)