Monday, March 30, 2009

Broken Habits

One of the things that surprised me about myself in Second Life is learning just how much of a girly-girl I am on the inside, and how much I like jewelry. It didn't take long to lose the noob fascination with bling, but I still love beautiful jewelry. But now that I've taken up sailing, my jewelry habit is broken.

How did that happen?

Well, one day when I was busy tempting myself at Jacqueline Trudeau's shipyard, I came across a gal who told me about my Avatar Rendering Cost, or ARC. It was well over 8000(!). Although some of that could be attributed to my hair, shoes, etc., it was primarily my jewelry - a rose quartz starflake set from Alienbear Designs.

The gal had an extremely low ARC, just 59. She was barefoot, with no jewelry or any attachments. She said that it helped in sim crossings to have less prims attached to my person, and that I should only wear the minimum amount necessary. Interesante.

Now me, I like to look pretty and look like a lady - so I normally wear a full gamut of stuff: prim hair, eyelashes, nails, jewelry, and some kind of shoe. I even have some animated eyes from Insolence that require prims. And of course, my other attachments - my hugger, Mystitool implant, etc.

All this stuff adds up.

So I boned up on what factors increase the avatar rendering cost by digging out the old blog post on it. For this blog entry, however, I have linked to the wiki, which is good enough.

As such, when sailing, I am now almost as bare as I can be, attachment-wise. I lose the nailpolish, take off the shoes, and use a standard set of eyes. Although I am vain enough to keep my eyelashes on... but no jewelry.


Oh well, if it will reduce rubberbanding and getting left behind by my yacht, I'm all for it.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Video Testing

Tested out the new video capture software.

Jing is nice, but it has a low framerate and is not really suitable for sailing voyages. Xfire it is, it seems. One problem, though: I can't record from both my mic and the sounds in the game. Sheesh, why is creation always so hard?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I happened to see a blog post from Torley about tools to make videos. I have downloaded some software and I'll be making video documentaries of my journeys.

To get started, I will probably use Jing or XFire. I have installed Jing so far and it looks really nice and easy to use, it has an excellent design. I am not a YouTube-r so I probably won't need to go Pro, but if I do decide to use YouTube, I will probably upgrade to Jing Pro.

I'm new to this, and something of a Luddite. I don't use my phone for much beyond calling people. I do text from time to time, and on rare occasion, use the camera. I'm going to branch out and become more modern, more connected. So we'll see where this all goes. But for this blog in particular, video is going to ROCK. Especially when I get back home and onto my desktop.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Map HUD Progress

I figured it was time to give an update. There isn't much progress. First, I have to say that the resolution for any donated maps should be 1024x512 to get a decent resolution and detail.

As far as donations... there haven't been any. I made a request, however, for a set that I knew of and I have received some very great maps from Anu Daviau, who has made the awesome trip from the USS Sims to Corsica and Gaeta. Anu graciously provided me with copies of her maps.

I have my shiny new Bay City Map, and the maps I made from my first trip from Grumio to Watchman.

I have a few rez zones that I know of that I'm going to put on a map of friendly ports, but those are fairly few. I'm looking for more, however, especially on the older continents: Heterocera, Sansara and Jeogeot.

But I need more trip routes and rez zones (friendly ports), as well as the obstacles. Maybe that'll come along after I get the first HUD together, kind of like the old fairy tale, about the stone soup.

Once I come up with something a little more substantial than just Bay City and Anu's maps, I'll publish the HUD and we'll see what happens from there.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The City By The Bay, Part 3 (of 3!)

The third time is the charm.

I ventured inside Bay City's canal system to have a look around. As expected, it's a lovely unobstructed waterway and it's a pleasure to sail here, for that reason and the fact that the place is just so dang pretty. It deserves exploring on foot, to see more.

Or by hot air balloon, but still, by foot is the best way.

My favorite thing about Bay City is probably the system of draw bridges. That's pretty cool. The design is simple but elegant for most of the bridges, with a sign to touch to raise the bridge. It adds a level of realism that makes the journey really neat.

I am a fan of the LDPW generally, and they have made some really nice looking stuff. Bay City also has some random Linden content in there, thanks to the moles. There is an "archeological dig site" called Molexandria. I wasn't terribly impressed with Molexandria, but it is still kind of cute in concept. I do wish that the moles would be allowed to use abandoned land to put up random Linden content all across the grid. Land prices are so miserable and have been, for some time now. A few interesting, artistic pieces on protected land around the grid could only help.

I didn't see any rezzing areas inside the city proper. It looks like you're stuck at New Port, Moose Beach and the Gulf of Lauren rezzing areas. I made a map, but it needs resizing for use inside a HUD. I will need to work on scaling it. The map is actually a composite of other images grabbed from

Bay City is a sailor's dream. It has substantial open water, unobstructed water passages and great views. It's not too shallow and even big boats like the Larinda or the Tradewind should be able to handle the shallow depths.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The City By the Bay, Part 2

This is a somewhat lengthy series, in part because exploring this area takes a lot of time. If you're going to do it right, that is.

I resumed my exploration by heading back to Moose Beach via the landmark I made where I previously washed up. Last time, I started from New Port, went north through South Channel and North Channel, into Barcola Sound and west toward Bay City's Inner Harbor. I had fallen asleep, however, and beached at Moose Beach. Upon returning, I was directed to an inland landing point back by the street, away from the water.

Moose Beach is an entire sim with no sub-parcels. As such, the entire sim is a rez zone. This is probably a mistake. There isn't much here, although what is here is kind of neat - a small oceanside club/restaurant and a shop or two.

As you can see, the water here is pretty shallow for a good distance out from the land but Tania was able to handle it. I would need to try again with Renaissance just to make sure, since the Ketch keel is so deep.

I decided to continue heading west toward the Inner Harbor, through the Gulf of Lauren and into Daley Bay.

The harbor has a very industrial feel to it, although apparently it doesn't take too long before you can see privately owned land. It's interesting here, as there is a pipe crossing and a pretty cool trawler.

One bad thing about the Harbor is that this would be a natural rez zone, but there aren't any rez zones in here that I could see. Maybe I missed one, but I don't think so.

Another bad thing about it is that you can't get across the western canal to the edge of the Bay City sims. That low bridge holds railroad tracks and is not a draw bridge. Too bad.

I went back out the bay into the Gulf of Lauren, and found another rezzing zone. I have learned Michael Linden's M.O. - look for a rusty buoy by a lonely unmarked pier, and there is probably a rezzing area somewhere nearby. Turn on your view of property lines, and make sure you can see through the water!

To be honest, had I been on my desktop, I probably would never have found it.

While drifting northward, I got an aerial shot of the end of the rail line. There are no signs, no warning, nothing to block access or signal the end of the line as there would be in real life.

It leads me to wonder if Linden Lab intends to extend the railway northward. Probably not; I would imagine that if they make another set of planned mainland sims that they would be near another continent, such as Gaeta or Jeogeot, which could probably use the stimulus and extra sailing water.

To round out today's excursion, I checked out the lovely open water north of Bay City, the Gulf of Lauren. I had to wonder whose wife is the Gulf's namesake. ;) Bay City is also blessed with a healthy amount of open water sims, although not as vast as the Bingo Strait and the Blake Sea. It makes for great sailing and great views.

After heading north to the end-of-world sim edges, I veered east again in the northern sims of the Gulf of Lauren until I could shout, Land Ho!

I came upon Shermerville - the Lindens' first structured community, if I recall correctly. It is suburbia, with a structured grid of streets and walkways. It's not bad as far as I could see, but I didn't get to look very long. I will definitely have to go back.

Sailing is opening up SL for me in ways that it has never been for me. I've spent so much time with my business that I feel that I really lost out on some of the wonder of exploring SL. I have so many places that I need to go and see, and yet in my mind, all I can think about is how much time it all takes, and how little time I have to do much of it. I have a list of places in my head that I need to visit and explore, but the time... gah.

Speaking of which, time is why I have to do a third installment of this series about Bay City. I haven't even touched the canals! Fortunately, the canals are all protected water (they should be, anyway). There should be no obstructions at all, thank God, to sea travel inside the city. We will have to see, of course, and hopefully there are a few rezzing areas inside the city for people to put down their boats. Probably not, but we will find out.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The City By The Bay, Part 1

Photo courtesy of Linden Lab, on the Second Life ® wiki

Bay City is the first big Linden community experiment since the population explosion of 2006, and was designed by Lindens and resident "moles" - residents getting paid cheaply by the hour to build content for Linden Lab, and they are part of the Linden Department of Public Works, or LDPW. These folks are doing a bang-up job of beautifying Second Life and making things more interesting.

Anyhow, as regards Bay City, they went for a retro feel, kind of like pre-80s urban locales. Unfortunately, many of the folks who bought land in Bay City (at grossly ridiculous prices) haven't done much with it or have not bothered to keep in theme.

We'll see more of that later. You see, I started out looking for a place to rez my boat. Well, that took a while. I eventually located and went to the Bay City Yacht Club (which is really just a designated area for boat slip rentals) and couldn't find it at first.

I eventually enlisted the help of one of Bay City's greatest advocates, Marianne McCann, for help with a rezzing area. She too thought the placement was odd. It's a little awkward, but there is a rezzing area off by a lonely pier away from the Yacht Club in New Port, try this for a rezzing area. There is no sign, just one of the many rusty old buoys that the moles have created that could mean pretty much anything. If you can't see under the water and don't have the view of property lines on, it's even more meaningless.

I decided to take Tania, the Twenty, since I anticipated shallow waters in and around Bay City.

I went east a bit and then north through the channel, per Marianne's suggestion. There is a really interesting draw bridge that connects Bay City to the old mainland continent of Sansara, the first continent. I actually forgot that it was a draw bridge and my mast crashed into it. That's a pretty low clearance - it's not like I used the Ketch!

There is a device to touch as you approach the bridge, in order to raise it and pass underneath. I figured that out pretty quickly, after I got over feeling sheepish about hitting the bridge.

What intrigues me about Bay City is its design, especially the canals. It's not your typical grid, and it's intentionally designed to have an old world European feel - something that would have developed by horse and cart, not like the huge (lazy? efficient?) grids that line the midwestern and western United States.

I will confess my shame right now: this blog isn't complete because I fell asleep. As you can probably tell, I'm a night person. I was pushing myself and my body conked out. I ended up beached on the northern coast of Bay City at Moose Beach, which, as it happens, is another public rezzing area. I'm too tired to go back into SL to get the slurl from my landmark.

I'll save that for part 2, when I actually complete this trip. I'm looking forward to sailing the canals and seeing what the hubbub is about up close. And before I forget, I will have to make a map.