It’s been a while since I posted something about my sailing outings in the SL seas, so here are a few pictures of my latest trip with the Leeward Cruising Club (LCC) Sunday, August the 30th. I crashed at some point when entering the last quarter of the plotted route. It was so unexpected (roll eyes). This time though, I don’t know if it was due to the usual lagginess on sim crossings, or if it was a brief network disconnection, because this weekend was mercilessly plagued by generalized Internet outages across the mid/west US that affected a lot of online services (though I don’t know if SL was among the afflicted).
By the way, my boat is still missing, so if you see an unmanned white and red Bandit IF (as the one in the pictures, sans skipper) somewhere on the shores of a west-southwest Blake sea charted territory, let me know. It’s not a stylish drone, it’s probably my boat (yep, it’s that small). It hasn’t made its way to my Lost and Found folder yet, so I’m afraid it may be littering someone else’s peaceful bay.
From my point of view, teleporting from one sim to another conceals SL distances so much that you hardly have a clear notion of all the space you may have covered in that couple of seconds. Beyond the classic lifeless screen marking the transition between your point of departure and your destination, there is no easy way to sensibly be aware of that expanse. In contrast, spending some time traveling by boat, watching as objects –sometimes abruptly– enter and leave your field of view in real time, and then arriving at some other port (even if there’s nothing of that sort) gives the simulation the e-motion-nal perception we residents deserve to grasp the mental picture of SL’s vastness. Me thinks that drifting at a normal speed, as in a sailboat, makes this virtual world more “authentic” to the mind of a transitional human like me, and so I prefer sim-hopping this way to doing the Star Trek thing. Unfortunately, only a fraction of the grid is interconnected, so sailing is not a reliable option to get everywhere.
Watching as time goes by while you go from one place to another has always been part of the traveling experience in RL. We don’t like it that much (even all the waiting in airports, bus stops or train stations add to the mischievous equation) and would certainly welcome a method of transportation that would cut distances close to none. But so far, moving faster has been the only solution. Appearing somewhere else instantly may only be achieved on a mental level, and places such as SL already offer that service. So let’s say, welcome to the future…
While waiting for tropical storm Erika to hit my area later tonight (the center of the storm is expected to make landfall after 9:00 p.m.), I decided to try burt Artis’ Compass with (WWC) wind indicator (available on the marketplace) on one of my sailboats. To my surprise, I also found it works for regular avatar movements too. So here are some curious results of that alternate experiment.
On average, an avatar walk at a speed of 6.2 to 6.4 kts, if done on an almost flat surface.
An avatar can reach a speed of 9.6 to 9.9 kts when running on said flat surface (on my test I reached an average of 10.4 kts going downhill).
An avatar flies at 31.1 kts on a horizontal direction.
Free fall speed seems to max out at 99.9 kts (if you don’t hit an unforeseen sky platform on your way down first). It could well have been that the instrument can’t measure faster speeds, I don’t know.
According to Wikipedia, a knot is “a unit of speed equal to one nautical mile (1.852 km) per hour, approximately 1.151 mph.” Later on, it points out that:
The speeds of vessels relative to the fluids in which they travel (boat speeds and air speeds) are measured in knots. For consistency, the speeds of navigational fluids (tidal streams, river currents and wind speeds) are also measured in knots. Thus, speed over the ground (SOG) (ground speed (GS) in aircraft) and rate of progress towards a distant point (“velocity made good”, VMG) are also given in knots.
A person’s walking or running speed is not measured in knots, by the way (I’m sure you knew that already). I’m just giving these fun facts because they were the measures given by the thingy I was testing, and because it was also interesting to compare it to the speed of the sailboat I was trying out (which speed at 15 kts winds tended to average 6 to 10 kts, depending on the direction of sail).
I’ve been –mostly– away for two months, and that’s the time it has taken the airfield of which I raved about (roll eyes) in my previous post to shrink. Yes, it didn’t even survive the summer in all its original “spreador”. After all the effort its owners put forth in building this now failed two-sims attempt of yet another huge airport in SL, half the land sits, once again, desolated and empty as it was before. For aesthetic reasons, I’m delighted it’s partially gone, but when you honestly think about the cost of acquiring all that land in the first place and then the investment –in the broadest sense of the word– its founders obviously “wasted” in –poorly– planning an infrastructure for the good of all the aviation community in SL (even though it seems it didn’t have a real significant appeal for that target audience) must be terribly frustrating.
It is popularly said that in Second Life you can pursuit (and build) whatever you dream, no matter what that might be, but beware: SL dreams demand a –high– monthly maintenance cost that, for the most part, must be covered with funds from sources beyond this fantastical realm: it requires –oftentimes a lot of– RL money.
The moral of this “experiment”? Obviously, it isn’t safe to merely rely on people’s –suspected– attention or –apparent– needs. If you’re building for your own use, calculate the cost and keep a –wise– balance between personal satisfaction and real life economy. Staying small is always safe, a two-sim project is not necessarily so. If you’re going big though, why not do some marketing beforehand to, at least, secure the patronage of the community you intend to serve? At least you can extend the life of your illusion a couple of months longer (more if it’s kind of unique or not that common).
From my point of view, this airport’s biggest “accomplishment”, considering the available hangars didn’t rent and I never saw a single plane taking flight from there, was to disrupt and disband a long established community that, in the best-case scenario, will have –to try– to reinvent itself. But that’s something that rarely happens in SL. Once residents are gone and luckily established somewhere else (if at all), they usually never look back. Gone. Bye.