Friday, September 3, 2010
September Roadtrip: Mini Me, Broken Road
Location: Rock-->me<--Hard Place
When I'm not on my bicycle, a Mini Cooper S is my favorite ride, a wicked-fast but economical rascal of a car. A scamp but not a cad. It has more personality than would be legal if boring people ran the world. Well, they do run it. . .but they've yet to ban this sort of frugal fun.
So I had to get a Mini in SL, eventually. Thanks to ALV Rau, I found a Cooper a lot like my RL car, though it's not an S model and lacks the black bonnet stripes and top that sold me on the actual vehicle. Caveat: I dislike red cars, but black is always in style and Mini Me is at least as much black as red. Visit AL Motors in-world to have a look at the typical (but well done) SL Supercars and other unique items, like a Seat 600 (Spanish version of one of my faves, a Fiat 500).
With high expectations, I set out. How did Rau's virtual Mini hold up in SL?
Well, size matters a lot. Compared to the '59 Caddy or the Dominus Shadow I often use for road trips, the Mini can turn on a virtual dime, a virtue that commended my RL car to me as well.
I began my journey at Yadni's Junkyard. I had high hopes of making this circumferential journey back to the same spot.
Rau's driving HUD was a welcome companion on this trip. I could shift, monitor my speed, and do other tricks without losing sight of my driving. It's not nearly as good as using a wheel and pedal that a dedicated game could have, but I'm fast-fingered and can manage a keypad and a mouse for this sort of experience.
The car's interior is also well done, and though not a perfect match for my actual Cooper it shows a lot of care on the builder's part.
Normally, that level of detail would making driving a virtual car an immersive experience, but the Department of Public Works was on lunch break, I reckon. The upgrade to Server 1.42 did not improve sim-crossing much. A few sims, at first, loaded so smoothly I had great hope. But then I came to it: world's end at the Calisto/Atlas sim crossing.
Stuck there, I did something I'd never dream of doing in my real car: I texted. Yes, I got on IM and began to rage against the stupidity of a company that could not get such a basic service to work, especially after spending untold hours of staff time building a highway network in a world where we can fly and teleport.
What can Linden Lab do? Well, fixing it would be a modest suggestion. Hamlet Au reports that Linden Lab has just hired a Kim Salzer, an "an alumnus [sic] of Activision/Blizzard and Electronic Arts" as the Lab's VP of Marketing. Good news, if the Lab wants to "game up" SL, but Ms. Salzer will need to get the coders working hard on fixing the physics of sim-crossings. Otherwise, even a single vehicle cannot make a short run through nearly empty sims.
Otherwise, don't market SL with images of racing vehicles. It won't happen without some major changes, and SL's fleet of cool vehicles will remain simply eye-candy for dream homes and RP sims.
I'll attempt the same route next month and see how it goes!