Friday, December 25, 2015

Wildwind OP-60

Wildwind OP-60

It is no secret that Lizzy and I are taking a vacation of sorts.  We're taking a break from our beloved Night Moves until February and we found this wonderful parcel in the Fruit Islands to call home.  Lizzy is now sailing and in her own words, "I don't care about the wind, I just want to sail! So get out of my way."  Gotta love her!!

I've written about other sailboat models and builders though some time ago, I ran across Wildwind.  I tested their demos and planted the seed in the back of my mind until recently.  While buying Lizzy's first real sailboat, I was bouncing around to different marinas and saw some sleek looking sailboats.  The OP-60 was one I recalled having sailed before. 

SL offers a great sailing experience for those of us who can't sail, live inland and can't sail or those of us who can sail and live inland.  I don't know how to sail in RL (having never tried) and live inland.  In SL, sailing has been one of the activities I've enjoyed the most.  My sailing experiences and challenges were limited to exploring and navigating the mainland waters.  I was always aware of people who took on the challenge of racing sailboats in SL but that kind of intensity isn't for me even as I respect those who choose to compete.

Open 60 Class
The Basics of the OP-60

The Wildwind OP-60 is a no-frills racer.  I suspect people race this class of boat in SL and probably these models.  Having demoed another builder's OP-60, I found the Wildwind comparable which supports my suspicions.  This thing flat out screams! 

So it doesn't have the poses or animations of other vessels, I don't believe that is the purpose of this sailboat.  Compared to the 150 LI sailing yachts loaded with animations, the OP-60 weighs in at a light 28 LI.  At L$2,000, it is also an inexpensive option for those interested in some high performance on the cheap. 

Sailing the OP-60

A HUD controls the OP-60.  Selecting the sheets (gennaker, mainsail, and jib) is easy.  There are a number of cool features (no frills...not really).  You can choose between a race wind setting, SLSF wind setting or the WildWind wind setter.  If you sailed most of the BWind scripted boats, you'll find the default wind from the east at 15 knots.  This doesn't appear to be a BWind scripted boat but the default wind direction/speed was the same for me.  What wasn't the same is how fast this boat sailed.  Once the sails found the wind, I was covering sims in no time!

I concede my limited understanding or knowledge about sailing.  The OP-60 has a movable keel that can be set to Auto, or moved left or right (port/starboard, yes I know!) using the HUD.  What I noticed is as the boat heeled and the keel moved, the speed increased. 

Thought I did encounter some wave motion with the boat, there weren't any animations to provide the visual realism.  My suspicion that the OP-60 was designed for the SL sailing races would support the removal of extraneous animation scripts and fancy stuff that would keep the boat from navigating sim crossings or lag spikes or generating the kind of performance of a racer.

Sailing the OP-60 at the Fruit Islands was easy.  Our experience is the Fruit Islands is easier anyway compared to mainland waterways such as the Blake Sea or Bingo Straight.  What was noticeable most is how well the boat handled sim crossings.  With the "heavier" boats, sim crossings often result in temporary sinking, flying or unresponsiveness.  Crossing the corners in these boats is ill-advised.  Not so with the OP-60.  I was crossing at the corners, screaming across the sides of sim borders and not experiencing anything remotely comparative to the more heavily primmed boats. 

Final Thoughts

Sailboat racing isn't likely in my future though I'm highly competitive by nature.  Venturing into racing would likely require some investment of time I don't have to give.  Where does that leave me with the OP-60?  Its a fun boat that produces some added challenge to plan a route and to efficiently sail it.  Without a motor, poses or cool features of other boats in my fleet, I still enjoyed the sailing experience. 

Wildwind also offers purchasable demos at their in-world store.  Some care is required when rezzing the demo as the store's dock is very close to the parcel border.  I purchased (for free I might add) a few demos before I was successful rezzing a boat to try. 

Artists have jumped on the OP-60 and other Wildwind boats with highly improved graphics.  Buy the graphic, drop the script in the boat's "contents" and you have a completely new boat.  You'll want to do this as the default graphics weren't that attractive to me.  I'm sure hunting through the instructions would have opened the door to additional default graphics.

Where Can You Buy the OP-60

I didn't find a MarketPlace store for Wildwind but the in-world store is easy enough to find.  You can also demo a number of boats including a very complex catamaran.  Expect to drop L$2,000 for the OP-60 and do take a look at the SC-40 for L$2,500.  It's a nice little boat as well.  A search through MarketPlace will help you identify some boat artists to customize your new boat.

Give it a try and you'll be like Lizzy..."get out of my way" !!


Monday, December 14, 2015

Pro Street Dominator - Quality Role Play CVPI

Pro Street Dominator - Role Players' CVPI

If you're in the states, you will likely have slowed down at the sight of a Ford Crown Victoria.  "Is that a cop?"  We know the headlight design and also know, only old ladies and cops drive Crown Victorias. Is that CV going to pull you over or not?  I've driven a fleet Crown Victoria that once was an unmarked police vehicle though it still had the tinted windows, antennae and radio.  It was funny.  Cars would roll up, slow down and then speed past after recognizing I wasn't a law enforcement officer.

The history of the Crown Victoria Police Interceptor (CVPI) is a rather long one.  Most police agencies preferred rear wheel drive sedans for their patrol units.  The truth is, at least for me, they drive like trucks.  For a patrol unit, the rear wheel drive CVPI can hop curbs and take a lot of abuse without the repair cost of front wheel drive cars, or at least that was the argument. Ford also invested a lot into their fleet vehicle program and the CVPI was what law enforcement wanted.  The CVPI package included some performance and cooling improvements over the stock Crown Victoria driven by your grandparents.  CVPIs replaced the Dodge Diplomats and Monacos only to compete with the Chevy Caprice/Impala.

Most recently, Ford has discontinued production of the Crown Victoria forcing law enforcement agencies and fleet managers to search for replacements of their aging fleet of CVPI patrol units with Chargers, Explorers and Tauruses (or is it Tauri?) filling the role.  As an aside, PSC offers a police interceptor morphed from both the Taurus and Charger.  It works stylistically.  Still for many of us, the CVPI is the quintessential police car and if you've played GTA IV LCPD/FR, there are a lot of CVPI mods available for download.  Applause goes to Pro Street for building and selling in SL a pretty terrific version of what we know from RL.

Pro Street also has a long history supplying role players with police vehicles of varying styles and types including sedans, SUVs and SWAT units.  I have owned a couple of them because I'm still twelve and I like the flashing lights.  They feature a lot of eye candy and nice features. 

Along comes the Pro Street CVPI, also known as the Dominator.  There hasn't been an equivalent CVPI in SL for many years and the Dominator is a superior version.  It's also incredibly low prim, weighing in at 26 li.  At L$1,750 for the squad unit, it is also inexpensive. 

Driving the Dominator

I've driven other Pro Street vehicles and I could never get the feel of the steering or how to improve the performance so that the vehicle felt somewhat more realistic and natural.  This isn't to say these vehicles are bad because they aren't, I probably didn't know what I was doing. The Dominator is different and much improved over previous designs.  The car accelerated smoothly, turns tracked like a real life vehicle and frankly it drove so much better than the RL CVPI.  You have a choice between an automatic and manual transmission.  Gear changes are made using PgUp or PgDn (other key commands are probably available). 

Let's face it, four wheeled vehicles in SL are disappointing.  I've owned a few which impressed me.  Most were completely unimpressive.  Unlike motorcycles, boats or planes, four or more wheeled vehicles travel across the ground a little differently.  Motorcycles, boats and plans "bank" as they turn and follow a single line around a curve.  For cars, the rear wheels don't really follow the front wheels, they track behind and below the radius of the turn.   Look how a tractor trailer turns.  The cab will follow one track and the trailer will follow a different track. 

Some cars seem to have pivot points behind the front wheels creating a highly unrealistic turning track. I didn't experience this with the Dominator.  The pivot point was at the front of the car giving me the feeling that the rear wheels behaved as they would in RL.  I have no doubt this was a scripting challenge and I was impressed. 

Sadly Pro Street no longer offers a try before you buy feature at their main store or at their store located at the Cars region.  So if you're looking to give the cars a try, you'll have to trust my judgment.  The Dominator handles very well and if you're holding off buying one because you can't test a demo, I'll assure you this is a high quality and great performing vehicle.

The sound set is similar to what you might find in a RL CVPI.  It is quiet.  I hardly knew the motor was running.  Other models I've tested or owned have the rumble of a big V8 which isn't particularly realistic.  CVPIs are stock sedans without a lot of flair and I would expect a model in SL to be simplistic in its sound.  The acceleration sound is reasonably accurate.  If you wanted a police unit to sound like a top fuel dragster, you're going to be disappointed but I'll argue you aren't in this for the realism.

Features and Controls

Accessing the HUD opens up a suite of options from lighting control, seating, role play, and more realistic handling of traffic stops.  With some vehicles, you would need to click the vehicle itself to open up a menu controlling features.  HUDs are certainly not new to our SL world.  When a HUD is this intuitive and easy to use for whatever we want to do, I take notice. (I will say the web-based manual is really well done.)  I do note that some of these features may not be operational just yet.

HUD controls from the PSC website

You also have access to an in-dash touch screen for web searching, GPS, youtube and other applications you may find useful.  We've had issues with the state police watching Disney videos within their patrol units.  Perhaps youtube availability on a police car is a bit odd.  It's a cool deal in SL, however.

If you're working an investigation or accident scene, you have various types of road markers from LED traffic diverters and traffic cones.  All are easy to place and pick up using mouse look.  They may be temp rezzed or you can click on them after your done and they will disappear.

Now imagine working traffic on a busy sky track looking for some member of an MC going too fast.  The Dominator has a working radar with tracking features.  After the taser comes out, you can write your citation with confidence the information is accurate.  Yeah tell it to the judge buddy and here is another zap from the taser to make sure you comply.

The interior of the vehicle is your typically boring Crown Victoria.  This doesn't mean the car is boring, it isn't.  If you've seen the interior of a Crown Victoria, it bleeds a Spartanesque boring style.  It is a service vehicle and you wouldn't expect heated seats, wood grained inserts or satellite radio.  From my experience, you might have an FM radio.  A cage is included for your errant passengers.  If they act up, jump on the gas and then hit the brakes.  They get to kiss the cage quieting the mouthiest perp!

From the HUD, you can choose LA, Chicago or NY paint schemes covering both fire and police department designs for those cities.  Two styles of light bars are available with pattern changing, take down lighting and directional controls at your fingertips.  Other searches on Marketplace and in-world may provide you greater options in paint schemes. I noticed that you are able to add your own door shield graphic.  If you know how, you can obtain the PSD files and make your own design. 
Final Thoughts

The PSC Dominator is a vehicle I have been considering since it was launched some time ago.  LMD had a very fun police Crown Victoria  I owned in my early years and it drove rather well especially for SL cars for that time.  Since then, there hasn't been a decent Crown Victoria Police Interceptor on the market.  Other builders have tried but the quality, features and performance weren't there.  I suspect some have ripped models from GTA and then brought them into SL.  That isn't a problem for me if the performance and features work.  Perhaps the mesh ends up being better too.

Pro Street has been around for a long time and is a prolific marketer and builder of SL vehicles.  This is neither good nor bad.  It is a testament, in terms of the Dominator, like other builders of vehicles, they are improving their products.  The Dominator is one of their best, if not the best four wheeled vehicle I've driven from the Pro Street stable.  Yes it would be nice if Pro Street opened up their demo rezzers at their main store or at the Cars region.  Evidently, that is a recent business decision because they used to have demo rezzers.  Perhaps they will have demos in the future.

If you're in the market for a police interceptor to add to your sim's law enforcement component, for role play or you just like the flashing lights and sirens, there are a few excellent builders offering great quality vehicles.  Pro Street's Dominator is a competitive choice and pricing for the Squad is just L$1,750 with other pricing options combinations of the squad, detective and civilian models being available.  It also has a very low land impact.  This is important for many reasons but if you're managing a sim and you want a fleet of police vehicles, at 26 LI a piece, you can have a police force that won't significantly impact your prim budget.

Having tested the car, I would recommend it as a well thought out, feature rich and experience immersive vehicle which also drives quite well.

Where Can You Buy It

Sadly the Dominator isn't available on Marketplace.  I am aware of some past comment wars with PSC on Marketplace and that is unfortunate.  As a business, you can't make everyone happy with some people having a bone to pick and to be fair people have legitimate concerns too. Having read those comments and owned PSC vehicles, I dismiss the past overly negative review statements as unwarranted histrionics.

Again the missing option in Marketplace could reference recent business decisions or a changing business model.  Maybe the trolls have impacted these decisions.

You can find the PSC Dominator at the Cars region and at their main store.


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

JFC Route 66

JFC Route 66

When I started searching for bikes, I would scroll through Marketplace, find a bike I liked then attempt to find an inworld store.  JFC bikes kept showing up in the searches.  All bikes are a matter of taste and preferences.  The Route 66 by JFC is so very tasteful!  Tasteful as well as being feature rich!  Tasteful, feature rich and most importantly,  the Route 66 is very rideable.

When I first bought the Route 66 I had a little issue which caused me to reach out to the builder, Jayra Magic (Jayra's Fantasy Creations...JFC).  Nothing turns me off more than bad customer service.  The cool thing is Jayra was very responsive to help me with a camera view issue and then sent me a Tiny Cam HUD.  It gets better.  Several months later, I got an IM from Jayra saying she remembered my question about the camera view,  then reported she updated the Route 66 and wanted me to be the first to have the updated version.  Tasteful...feature rich...rides well...great customer service.  Great combinations!

Riding the Route 66

After you rezz the bike, you'll quickly notice how well scripted it is.  The menu system is intuitive allowing you to resize the bike and reposition your avatar with ease.  The bike fit my avatar quite well out of the box.  For smaller avatars (such as Lizzy' the pics) resizing and repositioning took just a few minutes. 

The bike is a cruiser and it navigates the sky tracks with ease.  Control inputs are responsive.  All you need to do is keep your eyes forward and the bike will go where you want it to go.  What else do you want?

I don't see this bike as a racer though it will go plenty fast and do so controllably. My lap times were good enough to land me in 3rd place at Crossing Sands (I doubt I'm still there). After grabbing handfuls of throttle, I observed the bike stayed glued to the road.  Menu settings allow the rider to cruise, race or drift.  The cruise setting was fine by me.

Feature Rich

This isn't a snuggle bike.  As I've written before, you can find a time and place to get frisky with your better half if on a bike is your kink, some builders will have you covered.  The Route 66 is a rider's bike.  The features relate to your ability to create an unique look that fits your mood.  There are numerous tank graphics all fitting with the Route 66 theme plus you can change the tint on the metal (rims, wires, etc.).  To top it off, you can import and add your own graphic for the tank with an example graphic included in the box.

Final Thoughts

My inventory is filled with bikes.  For the most part, I have some great bikes to ride leaving me with a tougher challenge....what bike to ride?  I like the JFC bikes because the form follows function principle is achieved.  Along with stellar customer service, a lot of choices and cool features, you can have a bike you'll enjoy riding.


You can find a lot of choices from JFC to delight the most experienced or even beginner riders at their inworld store or on Marketplace.  As always, I recommend riding before you buy and JFC offers a test track and demo rezzers. 

Hell Yeah!! fits this bike.  Enjoy your ride.