Saturday, October 31, 2015

Trudeau Classic Sailing Yachts


Trudeau Classic Sailing Yachts

In a previous post, I wrote about my early experiences sailing.  The Tetra 35 was my entry point and based upon what was available at the time, this was an exceptional boat in which to learn.  Then I found Trudeau Classic Sailing Yachts.  I've sailed the Larinda, Tradewinds, J-Class and others.  Each model I owned was a prized possession.

Trudeaus are elegant.  Even among the smallest of their product line, there is this gentleness and elegance I've found in deeply stained and polished wood.  If you want to experience the realism and allow your imagination to be teased, try sailing a Trudeau.  Visually, you'll find this exquisite example of a sailboat built pre WW2, before fiberglass and plastic.

What Trudeau Classic Sailing Yachts has successfully accomplished over the years is the presentation of antique sailboats for purists and traditionalists which still work amazingly well.  I suppose I am one of those in that I like old things and I want them to work.  The lines flow to achieve function over form but the form isn't sexy.  Instead, the form is about beauty.  The comparison is between the hot sexy girl guys might find in a club versus that  moment we see the love of our lives.


Trudeau 12M, the newest design launched in 2015
Sailing Trudeaus

I mentioned how relatively easy it is for anyone to sail other sail boat brands in SL.  They are a lot of fun and let's face it, sailing in SL is an incredible experience regardless of which boat you choose to sail.  Trudeau sailboats aren't as comparatively easy to sail as other brands right out of the box. This is a feature not a negative.

If you're seeking more of a real world experience, want to be challenged and you like to use your mind, I recommend Trudeau.  Now to say these boats aren't easy to sail isn't a conclusion I'm suggesting, they  aren't hard to learn to sail and to sail well. You'll want to learn a little about how sailboats interact with the wind, navigation and being a skipper. Once you learn how to sail a Trudeau, they are as easy to sail as any other boat. 


Leetle Cat II, the Demo
I showed you a picture of the 12M and there is such a wonderful story about that particular model.  What I had as a demo was the Leetle Cat II.  Sadly, there weren't other choices to demo.  There was a little bit of disappointment because I really want to get my hands on the 12M. Grumbling aside, I gave the Leetle Cat II a chance.  I'm glad I did.  Sailing the Leetle Cat II was as sweet as your first kiss. 

As a tiller controlled boat you have to reverse your thinking some.  To turn left or port, you press the right arrow key to push the tiller to starboard (right), reverse the operation for a right turn or turn to starboard.  Sheet angle is controlled by the up and down arrow keys.  Easy right?  It doesn't end there. 

As the boat heels away from the wind, meaning the boat will lean as the wind pushes on the sails, if you don't move your body to the other side of the boat, it will capsize.  The provided HUD controls the sailor's position.  Not only do you need to use the tiller and trim the sails as you tack, you need to reposition your avatar too.  Is that harder?  Maybe but it is also more realistic which is good.

From my brief experience with the demo, I have to say, the Leetle Cat II put a smile on my face.  Having sailed other Trudeau models, the demo will give you enough information to make an informed purchase decision.  Don't worry you can't try every model as you won't be disappointed.


Choices and Options

Trudeau Classic Sailing Yachts offers a number of sailing vessels from the Leetle Cat II up to their new flagship the 12M.  Pricing varies and you can purchase Inworld and from MarketPlace.  Pricing ranges from L$1,500 to L$4,500, comparable to other brands. 

I visit Trudeau Classic Sailing Yachts quite a bit. Mostly I go there to launch and I'm very appreciative they allow sailors a starting point and hopeful they don't change.  Every time I visit, I do look around and see such beautiful boats that I would love to place in my inventory.  When I'm able, I will.

Getting into a Trudeau would mean you're serious about sailing and not just having a vehicle with sails that screams in any direction you want to go.  A Trudeau is for someone who appreciates the journey and accomplishment that comes from testing and growing your skills.


Give sailing a try.  It is most always drama free, peaceful, sometimes challenging and always relaxing.  If you do choose to sail, there are a lot of brands from which to choose.  Without question, I would wholeheartedly recommend Trudeau Classic Sailing Yachts. 

Robby

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Behind the Scenes at ::Night Moves::

 
Our History
Lizzy and I had this homestead sim wherewe had a blast building the town of Rainwater Falls.  Then we stumbled on something.  One of the buildings, by design, would be a great live music venue.  Both of us had previously owned entertainment establishments and owning a venue always had appeal.   We both prefer live music over the DJ scene not that we don't enjoy DJs, live music is more fun for us. This one building and our past experiences had us thinking how cool it would be to have our own live music venue.  By April 2014, Night Moves was born.

If there is one truth about Lizzy and I that is most remarkable, when we have an idea, we act on it.  With Night Moves, we both became passionate about creating a venue based initially on a biker bar theme.  Shortly after deciding to build a venue, we moved to another sim to make room for guests knowing the limitations of a homestead sim.  Our first show was held at the Lionheart estates and since then, we've operated at a few other locations. With each location, we were and are always ::Night Moves::.



Our Values and Purpose
What we had fun with most was not being limited to one building design but with creating new venues for different shows.  The most important point and our agreement, ::Night Moves:: had to be fun and when it ceased being fun, we would shut it down.  Fun for us was having a place to listen to our favorite live artists, sharing the experience with others and building new and unique venues to add to the magic that is Second Life.  Each time we have a show, we try to deliver on these values.


The Big Move
Early in 2015, we were offered to move to Key West. We love Key West and the people behind the scenes.  They've always been good to us.  While we love Key West, we didn't want to be Key West. We are ::Night Moves:: first and always and we do things a bit differently than other venues.  Flexibility and autonomy remain important to us and in our negotiation, Liz (Harley) Wake was awesome in assuring us we would have the flexibility and autonomy to be our own venue while also bringing our quirky nature to Key West.


All of our wild ideas were conceived to keep ::Night Moves:: fun for us.  Our buildings and stages are all unique as is the feel. It is so rewarding when people tell us they have as much fun at our venue as we are.  Being at Key West felt like a move up for us though it feels right to be part of the Key West Crew.  So much so, when the opportunity presented itself to make over the neighboring Key Largo sim as a cooler destination, we didn't ask for permission.  Like everything we do, we dove in and had so much fun decorating that sim. 



Karaoke Night
Along came Eli Schlegal and Sassy Nitely and this CRAZY idea to have a karaoke night.  The idea came up from our Friday game nights, a crew of folks who would get together, play games, drink and laugh.  We couldn't just do a karaoke night with people trading the live stream.  Nope, we have to do things big, unique and fun.  With each karaoke night, we have a theme. 



Eli, Sassy, Lizzy and I are painting prims and creating outlandish ideas to make ::Night Moves:: Karaoke nights into extravaganzas.  First and foremost, these events are all about fun and magic!  Even if our guests don't sing, they will have a blast with us.  Karaoke Night at ::Night Moves:: has become our monthly opportunity to turn up the heat and do something absolutely unique and we hope a staple in SL entertainment. 



Owning a Live Music Venue
Live music venue owners jump in for the love of live music.  The reality that someone is actually giving a heart felt performance for us is as rewarding as it is humbling.  We get to share our love of music to others.  We get to help keep live music alive in SL.  We get to bring a little slice of happiness for those who visit our venue. We put our own money into this endeavor because it is entertaining and fun for us.  Sharing what we feel with others is our gift.


With promoting and financing live music, owning a venue isn't particularly easy or inexpensive.  Each time a guest or artists tips the venue, we are incredibly appreciative as it helps us continue to bring live music to others.  It also helps artists pursue their dreams as performers.  This is a partnership between owners and artists.  Without venues, they wouldn't be able to perform for audiences.  Without artists, we wouldn't have a venue.  So if you were able to contribute financially to ::Night Moves::, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.



Our Friends Who Help Us Make ::Night Moves:: Alive
Lizzy and I created ::Night Moves:: but we haven't made it such a wonderful venue alone.    ::Night Moves:: is made up of a collection of friends and we are thankful to them for helping us.  I've mentioned Eli and Sassy but we also want to thank Bela, Ana, Bruce, Zachh, Voodoo, Liz, and Syd.  Each have contributed to ::Night Moves:: in many ways and we're blessed to call them friends.  We're blessed to have one another and blessed to have ::Night Moves::.

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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Bandit 60 Sailboat


The Bandit 60

Several years ago, I climbed aboard a 33 foot mid cockpit sailboat. It was so cool even if it was poorly maintained.  The story behind the boat involved a BBQ grill, some infidelity at sea and the US Coast Guard and no I was not a participant in the story.  The framed newspaper article was proof enough.

Let me introduce you to the Bandit 60.  The Mesh Shop located at Dutch Harbor near the Hollywood Airport is a great place to visit even if you're light on the lindens.  There you can test sail all of the boats including high tech racing yachts, sailboats and power boats.  The designs are very realistic and feature a mix of contemporary and classic styles. 

The sailing engine comes from the BWind script.  What's cool is you can build your own boat using this script.  Analyse Dean has taken the script with many others and mated them to a beautiful boat design.  I have four Bandit boats.  The Bandit 50 and 55 are both sailboats.  I'll have to say the 55 is such a beautiful creation for the most part  because I like old motorcycles and cars and I like the old wooden boats.  I also have the Bandit 570 which is a power fishing boat. 


What's special about the BWind script is how easy it is to sail.  Once the sails are raised, you can sail with the default Easterly wind or you can type in local (N, E, W, S, NE, SE, SW, NW) to change wind direction.  Then you can set your preferred wind speed by typing 8,11,15,18,21,or 25 for knots of wind.  There are other chat commands which are pretty intuitive and easily remembered once you read the manual. 

Sailing Bandits is simple even for novice sailors.  All of Analyse Dean's boats are very low prim making sim crossings relatively uneventful.  For any vehicle in SL, I recommend sim crossings at the sides of sim borders rather than corners.  When crossing a sim, let the boat cross and settle into the new sim before you start working the controls again. In my experience, this has made sim crossings least problematic.  It helps to have your mini-map open and the view distance pushed to at least 300m (500m is better). 


The cockpit features all the information you need when at sail.  There isn't a need to wear a HUD or to hold your finger in the air to judge the wind.  The four key instruments measure wind speed, wind direction, water depth and boat speed.  Dials indicate lean angle and wind angle.  It gets easier.  At sail, the digital instruments will change color.  If you see red, start pushing out the sails, yellow means to push the sails out a little more and when you see green, the sails are optimal to the wind angle. If you see blue, pull in the sails.


Okay smart guy, how do you "push" or "pull" the sails or steer or whatever?  Good question and in fact, that's a great question.  First, read the manual.  I know it isn't cool to do so but you'll learn a lot about what the boat can do and it is well written.

For the controls, up and down cursor or arrow keys on your keyboard changes the sheet angle of the sails. Push up and the sails push out from the center line exposing more sail to the wind.  Push down and the reverse happens.  To steer, use the left and right cursor or arrow keys on your keyboard. 

iPad Wind Control and Other Stuff

When you open the shipping crate, you won't just get a boat.  Bandit includes texture packs and an iPad wind setting tool.  Wear the iPad on your avie and you can set the wind direction and speed for racing with others or just for your own purposes. 


Sailing Camera

For most SL sailboats and vehicles, your camera view is often well behind the vehicle.  We get used to this.  Early sailboats I've owned didn't allow for sailing in Mouselook.  Those vehicles which did allow for operation in mouselook, well it wasn't a pleasant experience or intuitive at all.  Sailing the 60 means you can sail in mouselook and you can see your boat, your friends, the sails and it will be just like you're there.  You'll also be able to see the instruments.

The Interior


So you're at sea, it's late and you look at your significant other...or as the story I shared with you earlier...someone else's significant other and this twinkle appears in your eye.  Yep, you can act on the urge and desire even without a blue pill.  Click the side of the boat, a menu appears just like magic!  Select "fun" from the menu and go to town.  Glove up if you're with someone else's significant other. There's no need for body parts to fall off later.

There are other poses too.  More presentable when someone walks by your screen and let's face it, you're here to sail the open seas not those other things but you could if you wanna. 

Raising the Sails

 
The Bandit 60 has three sails.  There is the "main sail", the Genoa which is forward of the mast toward the bow (if I have to explain nautical terms to you, you're going to be even more confused.  I recommend hitting Wikipedia) and the Spinnaker.  In most conditions, sailing with the main sail and the genoa is more than sufficient.  When the wind is from behind you, lower the Genoa by typing "gen" and raise the Spinnaker by typing "spin" to give you more of a boost from the wind. 
 
Sailing Chat Commands:
  • raise - raises the genoa only
  • main - raises/lowers the main sail only
  • gen - raises/lowers the genoa
  • spin - raises/lowers the Spinnaker (only available when the wind is from the stern)
  • lower - lowers all of the sails
  • jibe - turns the main sail boom opposite of the spinnaker or genoa
  • moor - brings the boat to a complete stop
  • start - starts the motor
  • stop - stops the motor
  • autopilot - auto control of the sheet angle
  • bimini - adds/removes the bimini top over the cockpit
  • hood - adds/removes the spray hood in front of the cockpit
Sailing Keyboard Controls:
  • Up Arrow - pushes the boom out from from the centerline of the boat
  • Down Arrow - brings in the boom toward the centerline of the boat
  • Left Arrow - turns the boat to the left
  • Right Arrow - turns the boat to the right
  • PgUp - increases engine power
  • PgDn - Decreases engine power
 
To get underway, type "raise" in local and the Genoa comes up.  Type "main" and the main sail will come up.  To lower the sails you can do one of two things, type "lower" and the sails will come down and the boat will coast to a stop.  Type "moor" and the sails lower as the boat comes to a sudden stop. 
 
 
All the sails raised and pushed out.  Normally  you would lower the Genoa with the Spinnaker
 Another chat command you might useful is the autopilot control.  By typing "autopilot" in local, you allow the boat to adjust the sheet angle and you're free to steer and entertain your crew with witty stories about navigating around Help Island. 

 
 
 
Sometimes using sails to propel the boat forward isn't always practical.  Navigating congested marinas or around islands it might be easier to have some diesel power.  Lower your sails and type "start" in local and you'll hear the diesel motor come to life.  Increase and decrease the power by using PageUp and PageDown on your keyboard.  The motor makes it easier on tired skippers.  To turn off the motor, type "stop" or "moor". 
 

The Mesh Shop
 
 
 

Visit the Mesh Shop and you can try out all of the boats.  There are several choices and types between power boats, sailing yachts to very cool and complex racing yachts. You can visit MarketPlace as well but what fun would that.

Come try out the toys and its fine if you don't have any cash, have fun and play.  Your demo will continue to operate for about 15 or 20 minutes.  After that, you'll go swimming.

Let's go sailing!

Robby



Come Sail Away!


Come Sail Away!

There are some best kept secrets still to be found in Second Life.  In my opinion, they are live music, building, motorcycles, and sailing.  To each his/her own in all things and certainly in SL. 

Off and on throughout my life in SL, I've enjoyed sailing.  If you've never left the mainland or only explore exciting builds on sims, you might be missing out on an experience that is really quite relaxing.  When I started in SL, I met someone who claimed to sail 150 sims.  The point wasn't lost in her profile either but it was lost in my very limited understanding how SL is put together, "what's a sim?"   Being curious, I began to explore the concept of "sail[ing] 150 sims." 

Tetra 35

Tetra 35 picture from LL MarketPlace
My first sailboat was the Tetra 35.  It was a transparent vehicle with poseballs and an attachment.  A HUD provided information on wind angle and speed, boat speed, sail angle relative to the wind and water depth. 

My recollection is the sail boat was influenced by SL winds which are variable.  It was also a time when there were more open seas in SL.  I remember large mainland continents shaped like Africa or South America all connected through open seas.  It was an incredible challenge to tack the boat toward the relative wind and maintain any forward speed. It was a fun challenge and these were the early days of SL.  The new sailing engines we find in SL now didn't exist.  This was the era of walking uphill in the snow to school.

Trudeau Classic Sailing Yachts

Trudeau 12M Yacht, pic from MarketPlace
After sailing the Tetra 35 for a period of time and learning how to sail in SL, I found Trudeau Classic Sailing Yachts.  To this day, Trudeau makes some of the most beautiful sail boats in SL.  They don't have all of the features other brands offer such as cuddle poses but what they do offer is an exquisite classic styling of a wooden yacht and what I believe is a more realistic experience.  Jacqueline Trudeau remains the pioneer by which all other builders can be compared.

I learned more about sailing in SL on Trudeau yachts which contributed to how I sail the more modern brands. While the skipper can change the wind angle and speed from a notecard, pretty much he or she was beholden to SL winds or preset race winds.  You don't just set the wind yourself, turn on autopilot and steer, you have to think when sailing these boats.  You have to tack and navigate sim borders in relation to the wind.

Like the Tetra 35, Trudeau yachts are controlled by a HUD. The HUD provides information about wind angle, water depth, boat speed and wind speed.  It also allows the skipper to raise and trim the sails.  Some of the feedback comes aurally.  If you hear the sheets flutter, expect to make some adjustments to the sail angle.

Other Brands

For the next couple of posts, I'll move away from two wheeled monsters to write more about sailing.  I have a few brands I want to share with you: Bandit, MLCC and Trudeau.  There are many boat builders but these are the three I know most about.  I'll write about some of the different sailing engines as they aren't all alike.  Finally, I'll try to encourage you  to get out on the open seas and sail!  Your RL is probably hectic or you may live away from open water as I do, sailing in SL is such a relaxing  and soothing experience which you should give a try. 

Where You Sail


When I started, I had a notecard with places to sail. I didn't know about the Blake Sea. Basically, I was still a noob. At the time, New England estates was a collection of land and open water sims including race buoys and start/finish lines but still a private estate not attached to others.  Now New England is adjoined to a broader network of sims attached to the Blake Sea.  Even our dear friends operating Key West had multiple sailable sims. 

I point out New England not because it is a great place to be, it is a great place period, more because there has been an effort by people in-world working with LL to carve out areas where people can sail and fly.  Sailor's Cove, Honah Lee and other areas were part of this movement.  Now we have hundreds of sims creating a broader world to explore from the deck of a boat.  You can literally spend hours sailing these waters.

Fruit Islands is another network of sims that is still a private estate and not connected to the Mainland.  While not as expansive of the Blake Sea area, it isn't as laggy or crowded with griefers or people who aren't as respectful as maybe they should be.


My Limits

Okay, these aren't RP limits as I don't know how to RP.  Similar to most things I do in SL, there are more people who do those things far better and know so much more.  I'll always defer to the experts.  Simply put, I know enough to enjoy sailing, riding motorcycles or building and would never project to being the best at anything. 

Another point to share, I have never sailed a boat in RL and I doubt sailing in SL will give you much applicable experience to sail one in RL.  This said, I've found SL sailing to be very calming and peaceful.  Nothing needs to happen fast or with purpose all of the time.  Sailing fits that principle.  Sailboats aren't particularly fast and isn't it true, sometimes going slow is infinitely more pleasurable. 

Some models are just beautiful as they are challenging.  You can do a lot of different things with a sail boat including racing (never tried it), sailing alongside friends' boats, taking a special friend out to explore or simply finding a moment to yourself and enjoying virtual wind and water in your face. 

Here are some links which may help you:

Virtual World Sailing

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRgt4lNViyE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgvIpryNtiA


More to Come Soon!

Robby






Tuesday, October 20, 2015

[sau] Shinobi - Redemption!


Very recently I wrote a review on [sau]'s The Ace.  I have a few [sau] bikes, some I picked up at TMD (The Men's Dept.) monthly shopping event.  Many of these cheaper releases for TMD are appetizers for a visit to [sau]'s main store.  There you can buy the bikes with the updater and be able to test a number of very nice models.

I won't revisit a previous post.  Well maybe I will a little.  [sau] bikes are absolutely beautiful.  The only thing that has been somewhat frustrating is how they have been tuned out of the box.  "Out of the box" is a crucial baseline.  If any vehicle doesn't ride well out of the box, why buy it?  So there is an element of reasonableness in any answer.  How you define "ride well" is likely different than how I define it.  We can both spot a pig I'll bet!

Redemption in the Shinobi

The best I can figure, the Shinobi resembles a Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R.  Please tell me if I'm wrong and I will correct this post.  I will say, this is a beautifully crafted model and features the same [sau] options in graphic options.  You can have any color you want to fit your style or your mood.  Henry Ford said, "you can have any color you want as long as it is black."  Not so with [sau]!

 
 
What I noticed very quickly when I tested this bike at the [sau] show room and in comparison with other [sau] bikes, it is different in such an incredibly great way.  Out of the box, it works very well. 
 
Not only is it beautiful, the Shinobi performs as it was intended.  I hit the test track and was able to hold corners with very little correction in turning or throttle control all without bouncing off walls.  Going down hill, I didn't catch the float and flight of other bikes.  After a few reasonable tweaks, I had the bike dialed in almost perfectly and if I had more time, I would have had it screaming around the corners without a hitch.
 
Is this [sau]'s best bike?  After my testing the Super Ranger, Shadow and a couple of other models, I have to say...wait for it...this is [sau]'s best tuned bike!  Yes...yes all of that in my humble opinion, now go take a nap. 
 
Sport Bike Handling
 
 
Once you size your avatar to the bike, it took about 10 clicks of +1% for that to happen and then reposition you hands and ass, you'll be ready for a great ride. What you'll notice is this bike has the animations emulating sport bike racers.  I like that. Your ass will slide across the seat and your knee will drop toward bank.  Not all of the [sau] bikes have this feature and it adds to the realism a little more.
 
Given time and actually purchasing the bike, I'm sure I could tell you more about my wild exploits on the timed tracks.  Here is the deal, [sau] makes bikes I really want to love.  They are like dating the head cheerleader only to find out she has bad breath and farts worse than your Uncle Eddie on Thanksgiving.  Okay, they aren't that bad and in fact, they aren't bad at all.  I'm sorry for being dramatic but I really wanted to share the visual. 
 
They do lack some quality control in their set up though.  Again others have noted this on the [sau] group chat.  The Shinobi is a bike I would want to buy and not because it looks good but because it rides so very well.  Why it is put on the back row of the showroom, I'll never understand.
 
 
Where to Buy

[sau] has a very nice "showroom" with a test track. You'll know when you get to the end of the track, gravity will take over.  Still its enough of a track to get a feel for a new bike.  They feature a nice mix of bikes from café racers, bobbers, choppers, standards and sport bikes.

[sau] Mesh works on MarketPlace

In-world store


Feel free to share my articles and post them wherever in that there social media extravaganza.  I think you can "like" or comment on my posts though I have another confession, I really don't know how all of this works.  I just like the writing!    Anyway, I get a kick out people reading my stuff and I hope I'm helping others when they make their purchase decision because I hate it when folks waste their money.  It doesn't have to be that way. 

If you want to recommend a bike, car, plane or boat for me to test, let me know. If you are a builder and want me to conduct a review, I don't charge a fee.  Again, I enjoy writing.  I'll be fair with your product and fair means I'll be honest.

Robby


Monday, October 19, 2015

[sau] The Ace - SL's Rare Cafe Racer

The [sau] Ace
The Café Racer

In the history of motorcycles, there is the café racer.  Stripped down and made ready for speed with clip on handle bars, these were the first sport bikes.  Most didn't have fairings and none looked as if they were from Star Wars with their plastic wind protection you expect to see today. These bikes were aggressive and raw, form followed function.  In the history of SL motorcycles there aren't many café racers. In fact, there are precious few. We like to be old fat guys on cruiser bikes and choppers to look tough.  Café racers are all about being tough.  Then came [sau]'s The Ace, the café racer in SL has been found.

I've mentioned my interest for bobbers and I do like the raciness of the sport bikes. Café racers are just the coolest things on two wheels though. I'll watch YouTube videos about café racers and will drool over the old BMWs, Moto Guzzis and Triumphs.  Wiki has a nice history of this type of bike.  What I like about them the most is how unique they are. They are the British hot rods. 

After visiting a RL car part swap (mostly junk) at a NASCAR race track, I found the row with motorcycles.  In the mix of old Indians and Harleys, I fell in lust with the old British bikes such as Nortons, BSAs and a few Bonnevilles.  They were probably pretty horrible and maintenance magnets but they looked so sweet.  Afterward, I immediately searched MP for a café racer and I found a couple.  The ACE is one of the café racers I found and after a quick ride, I bought it.


[sau] The Ace and 8 Ball Breaker

Styling

While not exactly a true café racer, The Ace is more of a naked bike similar to the SV650 or FZ07 with a retro look blended with modern features or maybe it is a modern bike with retro features. It has character.  The exposed frame, spoke wheels, short seat and clip-ons makes the bike look aggressive and all about performance.  By its looks, The Ace gives off this feeling that if it could, it would flick lit cigarettes at school children.  It is mean! 

Where [sau] truly excels beyond most other bike builders is in the looks department.  I haven't found many bikes that have textures as rich, balanced and right.  [sau] has the prettiest bikes I've seen in SL, they really are works of art and I'm not that easily amused.  Most of the [sau] bikes feature menu driven graphic packs so you can customize the bike to your taste or mood.  If you like the mean looks of this bike along with aggressive texture sets, you will be very happy. 

When you buy a [sau], you will get a bike that just looks incredible.  When you fire it up, it sounds awesome!  Not only can others see you coming, they'll hear you coming and will run for cover!  [sau] has another and more accurate model of a café racer called The Super Ranger that was released the summer of 2015. I took it for a ride when it was released and need to do so again to get a better opinion about this bike.  It looks like a "traditional" café racer which is a good thing.

Here is a little thing.  I'm presuming we all like realism or as close to realism as we can get.  Unless a bike has a center stand, when you put down the kick stand the bike will lean against it.  Look at my pictures and notice the bike stand, the bike doesn't lean.  It just looks weird.  I haven't bought bikes because they leaned the wrong way and yet I bought this bike that doesn't lean at all. 

Set Up and Tuning

What is it with SL and our avatars?  Most of us are 7 feet tall.  [sau] sizes their bikes to fit a standard avatar.  This means, to me, the size I was when I was hatched at Help Island.  In other words, diminutive.  Buying bikes in SL means resizing the bike to fit your avatar, then adjusting the posing.  With the [sau] bikes, expect to spend some time on this aspect (sizing) and then expect to spend some time positioning your avatar so your hands and feet line up with the grips and pegs respectively. 


Lizzy and I riding The Ace
Tuning is another issue you'll need to time resolving.  The Ace and most other [sau] bikes are so very beautiful and what is hidden is the bike isn't very well tuned.  Bonus will likely be set to 1.0 when most other bikes are set to 0.40 to 0.10.   As a result, this makes the bike very twitchy and hard to track in a straight line but I'll talk about the riding experience soon.

Here's the deal, the bike rides quite well and you shouldn't consider these as horribly negative issues when considering buying a [sau] bike. They are really good bikes.  You can spend time tweaking the settings and expect to spend time doing that.  If you love the look of the bike, love the fact that you'll be clicking your mouse to get the bike perfect. 

I'm not the only one to suggest the script settings is where [sau] is lacking or misguided.  In the [sau] group, I read comments from others stating the same complaint.  I have ridden my [sau] bikes on sky tracks without trouble and they are really great bikes. They just took time and effort before I fell in love with them.

The Riding Experience

When I first got The Ace, my standards and skills weren't that impressive.  Hello, my name is Robby and I like pretty and shiney objects.  I mean really, look at the bike, it is gorgeous! Then I took it to the old Crossing Sands' test track.  Hmm, this bike needs some help.  I was encouraged though when someone else posted fast laps using The Ace. 

 
It was a dark and stormy night, Lizzy and I were watching something on Netflix and I was clicking settings on The Ace at the same time.  It took about 15 minutes until I dialed back the Bonus setting.  I thought that this was one of the biggest problems because the bike was too sensitive.  Not long afterward, I tested the bike and it was so much better.
 


 
Conclusions

[sau] makes incredible looking bikes.  Out of the box, they need some attention and if you aren't willing or able to spend the effort and time tweaking everything from riding position, size to steering controls, you might be a little disappointed.  If you invest just a little time in one of these fine bikes, you'll have something of which to be quite proud.  These bikes are NOT pigs at all.  They are incredible models and beautiful, making them well worth the outlay of Lindens.

Here is another thing, a positive one.  Each of the bikes comes with an updater.  Rez the updater to get the most recent version.  By being a member of the group, you'll get notices of updates.  This is a nice feature.  Usually when you buy a bike, or really anything, that's it for customer service.  Because [sau] is doing business the right way, they support their customers with the latest updates.  Isn't that nice?

Where to Buy

[sau] has a very nice "showroom" with a test track. You'll know when you get to the end of the track, gravity will take over.  Still its enough of a track to get a feel for a new bike.  They feature a nice mix of bikes from café racers, bobbers, choppers, standards and sport bikes.

[sau] Mesh works on MarketPlace

In-world store


Feel free to share my articles and post them wherever in that there social media extravaganza.  I think you can "like" or comment on my posts though I have another confession, I really don't know how all of this works.  I just like the writing!    Anyway, I get a kick out people reading my stuff and I hope I'm helping others when they make their purchase decision because I hate it when folks waste their money.  It doesn't have to be that way. 

If you want to recommend a bike, car, plane or boat for me to test, let me know. If you are a builder and want me to conduct a review, I don't charge a fee.  Again, I enjoy writing.  I'll be fair with your product and fair means I'll be honest.

Robby

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Brummie's Custom Choppers (B.C.C.)


When we start building a relationship with a prospective NMMC member, we'll hear a common theme.  They don't like their bike and don't enjoy riding.  The complaints will be that the bike is too sensitive, it bounces off of walls and they don't feel confident riding.  Bad experiences with improperly tuned or just plain bad bikes are a turn off for many.  Without fail, we introduce these riders to B.C.C. bikes and a new attitude blossoms.  I'll teach them a few tricks about riding in SL and then they find the higher gears leaving me in the dust.

I can't review just one B.C.C. bike because I have several models.  So I'll write more about this great bike builder with the hope you will visit the B.C.C. shop and try some bikes for yourself. 

Perfect Out of the Box

Riding sky tracks, especially older designs, can be challenging. Flying off the track to  your death happens to many.  We remember our friends' last words, "can someone TP me?" Of course we didn't.  Riding these old tracks in higher gears increases the challenge. Some avis are never heard from again, lost to the metaverse. We drink to their memory.

B.C.C. bikes are what I use on unfamiliar tracks, those with narrow roads and tight turns or sims which haven't been rebooted leaving loads of lag.  I trust the B.C.C. bikes to stay on the road and with three scripted modes (cruise, drift, race), the cruise mode is absolutely the easiest to operate.  In fourth or fifth gear, the bike is more than manageable. Why not have a bike that is easy to ride?  It is a no brainer!

I mentioned the drive modes.  The drift and race modes are a little too greasy for me to operate and I've only attempted them once each before switching exclusively to the cruise mode on the menu system.  These are cruisers anyway.  I don't have a need to set track records on a cruiser.  My intention is to have a well scripted, good looking and reliable bike for those fun journeys with my MC, my partner or by myself.  B.C.C. fits the bill.


B.C.C. Raw and Loud

About B.C.C.

We've known Brummie Guyot for a long time and I'm embarrassed to confess, I probably have kept him in business by buying his bikes.  Besides being an incredibly nice person, he is an extraordinary builder and customizer.  The NMMC had the opportunity to attend his MC's (Old Skulls Riders MC) sim opening where Brummie's shop is located and we had a fabulous time with some cool folks. 

At his shop, you can test all of his bikes.  What you'll find are rezzers, each loaded with a history of B.C.C. creations.  Like other builders I suspect, Brummie's scripting and design skills have improved over time.  I've noticed a difference with his older bikes compared with his newer ones.  While all are good, his newest releases are just so much better.  What is more, his bikes are very affordable.

B.C.C. builds a mixture of cruisers, bobbers and choppers.  I'm always a fan of a really cool retro bobber and my inventory shows this.  Some of his latest creations fill that vintage style  many riders desire.  Plus they are downright unique and look incredible.  Choppers aren't really my style.  Some I've seen in SL are...well...stupid looking.  Brummie builds bikes that exist in RL, his choppers aren't only believable, they look great.  I'm slowly coming around on my anti-chopper issues.

B.C.C. bikes are the gold standard for comparison with other builders.  Each builder has a certain style and most all are very gifted.  As I stated, we take new riders to B.C.C. and the result is they are always satisfied with their new bike.  That says enough!

B.C.C. Black Shadow

Menu System

Brummie, uses his own proprietary scripting for his bikes. These are not KCP bikes that can be tweaked and modified.  They are riders' bikes who don't want to fuss with settings.  Menu settings that you'll find initially useful will be the resizer and the posing settings.  Once the bike is resized, you can delete that script from your bike, improving performance more noticeably or laggy tracks. 

There are some other rider options such as lights, burn out, turn stopped, and the drive modes I have noted.  You don't need to worry much about a bunch of complex settings anyway.  After the bike size and rider pose is adjusted for your avatar, you won't need to look at the menu. Start up and ride!

B.C.C. '55 Custom Panhead, Nut Crusher, Retro IV

Customer Service

I've had a couple of reasons to contact Brummie.  One was for a delivery that never came.  It was my fault and after I sent him a notecard and IM, he delivered the bike without question.  The second time was to ask him to do some custom work for my anniversary with my partner.  That bike was a stock model Brummie sells and he turned it into a creation that was perfectly unique for a perfectly unique person in Lizzy.

Good customer service is often a rare experience in SL.  The two aforementioned experiences are examples of good customer service.  The shop and test riding area adds to the good customer service by creating a positive customer experience.  Finally, Brummie is often in-world doing his thing which makes him available.  Ask him a question, you'll get an answer.  Ask him for help, he'll give you assistance.  What else do you need to know?


B.C.C. The Legend

Ride Before You Buy

In an earlier post, I recommended you test a vehicle before you buy.  Testing new bikes is a lot of fun.  The best looking vehicle in-world might be an absolute pig on the street.  MarketPlace reviews aren't always trustworthy and as easy as it is to fall in love with a picture, what  you're buying might be a waste of money after you rez it on the ground.

You can read all of this and think I have a crush on B.C.C. bikes.  In part, you would be right.  I love my bikes from other builders and I'm blessed to have some high quality toys.  Here's the thing, if you could see my inventory, you would see a lot of B.C.C. bikes.  So call me a fan boy but the point here is, I rode each B.C.C. bike before buying and I would never recommend any vehicle I wouldn't also be willing to buy.

Visit B.C.C.'s shop and test some models.  There is enough variety to find a bike perfect for you.  From radical choppers, baggers, ape hangers, vintage racers, bobbers to some sweet looking and simple cruisers, you'll find one you will love.  After you get the bike sized (B.C.C. can help you with sizing I'll bet), you may not need to buy another bike.  Pfft, I know you'll buy more.  You can't have just one and with B.C.C., you won't be disappointed!

Buy them here:

B.C.C. MarketPlace

B.C.C. In-world


Robby

Monday, October 12, 2015

Q's Yamaha M1 - Need for Speed!


There are a few schools of bikers in SL.  One school likes the bad ass look of a bagger, bobber or chopper.  Another school likes pretty shiney objects.  Then there is the other school who crave speed and adrenalin.  I have attended the first two schools then I was introduced to Q Customs Yamaha M1, I love my new school!  It's like chain smoking lucky strikes and pounding back Starbucks triple shots.  My hands are still shaking!

What the Yamaha M1 is.

For me, this bike is blindingly fast and still controllable, not a common combination for a bike. I have been curious how people can throw down these impressive track times and I can only measure up to 5th place.  Yes some reinvent how they are competitive.  In other words, they cheat the system with HUDs and fancy editing (I really don't know how they do it and I'm only complaining they are faster than me).  I tried other sport bikes and honestly, I wasn't impressed.  Q Anwyl (Kejwla Anwyl) makes incredible bikes and I tested a few of his demos, one of those was the Yamaha M1.

This isn't a cruiser though if it was tuned for the sky tracks, the experience would be good. It is a race bike and in the right hands (probably not mine), the bike can set those track records.  In 9th gear at the beautiful Simbaz Motorz track, a ground level Grand Prix style race track, I was able to score times ranging from 43+ seconds to 62+ seconds.  These are great times for me.  Great times and I still felt like I was in control.

Animations

If you've watched sport bike racing, you'll see the riders slide around corners on their knees.  Q's Yamaha M1 includes some incredible animations emulating a racer's actions in RL.  This adds to the experience though it doesn't change the bike's performance.  This is common for Q's Customs.  He blends the animations in well to create more of a realistic experience and that is what we want as long as the animations don't look stupid, right?


What you get

If you choose to buy the Yamaha M1, Q has several versions based upon the Valentino Rossi bikes.  The package I received included three different models.  Each of the models are essentially the same.  You can likely find one style that is your favorite.  What I've done is use the different models with different settings for tracks I ride making it a little easier for me to remember which bike does what.


Riding

The Yamaha M1 is incredibly smooth.  Not smooth in the way people gasp and mutter "smooth" after taking a shot of a single malt scotch but smooth as you would expect a bike to be.  Pushed hard, many bikes in SL will bounce, float or go airborne off of hills.  This bike is glued to the road.  I've tested some disappointing bikes ostensibly designed as racers and they would ignore the concept of gravity by flying over downhill runs.  While I did experience some jumps at the apex of hills, it is was what you might expect.  Drive a car or bike in RL at a high rate of speed and you'll get some air at the apex of a hill too.  The bike felt and looked natural.

At the Simbaz MotorZ track, my first visit, I came to test a Formula 1 style race car. After that experience, I pulled out another Q's Customs bike, the Triumph 675.  After a few laps, I decided to try the Yamaha M1 because I knew I had one set up for a track like this and I wasn't in the mood to tweak the 675 (another incredible bike coming with 3 versions and helmets -- keep your cranium intact in SL and RL).  Using the Yamaha, I knocked off 10 seconds from my laps with the Triumph 675.  I sat there thinking, can I do better?  I doubted myself then I tweaked the settings a little bit more and tried.  See the results below.



Now I don't know what it is about mesh, speed and tracks.  I've found that if I miss a corner or hit a lag spike, I might find myself shooting through objects that would appear to be solid.  Is this an issue with the bike?  I don't think so.  It is more of a dynamic with SL.  Along with the "mesh magnet" experience of trapping the bike and myself under roads or in walls, I've accepted the frustration of turning solid objects into phantom objects.  Fortunately, this isn't fatal.

The twisties are where this bike excels.  Looking ahead and anticipating control inputs, the bike will make sharp corners look easy without the need for brakes or skidding.  I might lift off the throttle or pulse the throttle through a corner but the bike performs well.  Recovery is also rapid as soon as I lifted off the turn control, the bike resumed a straight path.  I could put in a little correction with opposite turn control for a quicker recovery as necessary.

Tuning the settings is critical.  In a previous article I wrote about setting up a bike.  The faster you go, the faster the responses need to be.  This makes the bike way too loose in low gear however, in higher gears, the bike is predictable and easily controlled.

Tuning your steering rate, resistance and bonus can improve your entry and exit from turns. The faster you want to go, the more you need to adjust these values so the bike performs as desired.

My Settings

Yamaha M1 Val v.1.5 Sun a: Steering = 7.80
Yamaha M1 Val v.1.5 Sun a: Turn Bonus = 0.09
Yamaha M1 Val v.1.5 Sun a: Resist: 0.060000
Yamaha M1 Val v.1.5 Sun a: Drift: 0.130000

[16:53] Free Control Board shouts: Mikal Brinner: Your lap time on Yamaha M1 Val v.1.5 Sun a is   43.407 s seconds.

I'm okay with 43.07 seconds on this track as my first lap was 62 seconds.  I'm sure you can do far better, many people have at this track.



About Q's Customs

Q's Customs offers some very well scripted and designed bikes.  The textures are generally very well done.  Most of his bikes cost L$2200.  We haven't had much interaction directly from Q but we have with his partner.  They are very warm people and responsive to questions.  At the Q's bike shop, you can test all of his models on a very nice track.


Give the Yamaha M1 a try.  If you like to go fast, don't mind tweaking the settings for your tastes and best performance, you'll get a bike that will flat out scoot!  Pretty good lookin' bike too, isn't it? 

Robby