Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Time for a break but what have we learned?

 
Time for a break but
what have we learned?

When I started writing about vehicles in SL, there was an element of exploration into this area of the animated chat room.  Lately, it has become increasingly like a job and I'm going to take a little break to see what comes next with SL and the SL vehicle industries. 

What have we learned from this exploration? 


Development and Evolution

The ACS/KCP script is the market leader into ground and some water vehicles.  The script works and for builders, it seems relatively easier to use this type of scripting on their vehicles than perhaps other market based or proprietary scripts.  SL makes a very poor simulation environment and as such, we can't truly expect vehicle simulation or emulation.  Instead, we have functional vehicle similarity. 


I have said before that there is room for an evolutionary transformation into vehicle scripting and there are many bright minds to do this.  A case in point is the BWind script for boats and the scripting that builds from that one free script.  What you have are sailboats such as the Bandit which more closely emulate RL in look, feel and challenge.  Aviation scripts more closely emulate RL aviation in feel and function even as gravity is similar to what exists on the moon not to mention the lack of a relative wind impacting control surfaces.  So why is it that ground based vehicles are stuck with ACS/KCP? 

The answer lies in the development costs and how that translates into the builders' development costs to reconfigure or rebuild their vehicles using a new technology.  Would ACS/KCP create a new mousetrap?  Would the builders use the new mousetrap to attract and retain customers?  What you would have is similar to the conversion from prim based objects to mesh based objects, the evacuation of those who built a business around one principle only to be flummoxed by a new basis of design and building.  Anyone remember Ramos Designs?


In 2008, I started in SL.  I would see at login 60K to 80K users online.  Sure, some were bots but most were people like you and me.  That number is close to half of what it was.  Is there a demand for a newly scripted class of vehicles with a declining and aging population inworld?  From a business point of view, I would be doubtful though it might drive interest for people to become involved in SL going forward and now we're not talking about LL's boondoggle, Sansar.  This leaves the ground vehicle sector at its limits and while this position might be fine for many, I find it very disappointing as a consumer.
 
 
Industry Sectors

There are very distinct industry sectors for vehicles:  aviation, watercraft and ground vehicles.  There are sub classes with subcultures for each.  These subcultures drive the development of newer vehicles and how quickly they are brought to market.  Ground vehicles push to market at a rapid pace where the aviation sector may see a new better aircraft a few times a year, maybe more.  Watercraft is the slowest. 


It appears to me a greater demand exists for new motorcycles or automobiles than there is for a new airplane, helicopter or sailboat. Though when a new helicopter or sail boat is released, the subculture releases its lindens like dollars during a lap dance.   You can probably count on two hands the number of legitimate aircraft and boat builders, collectively, whereas, there are a plethora of bike and automobile builders.  Is there demand for new bikes or is the market saturated?

The markets are significantly and differently sized across sectors.  Also, pricing for a new bike design (considering development and asset creation costs) is probably lower than a new plane or boat.  Just think of it, a sailboat is far more complex with far more moving parts than a motorcycle.  This impacts profit margins and the time a builder has to invest in new designs and product releases.


Here is another sector, law enforcement and emergency services roleplay vehicles.  I was police chief of a role play community for awhile and did law enforcement role play at other communities for several months. For a moment, I was king of the dweebs, lovingly said.

There are really only TWO vehicle builders who make and sell police vehicles in SL which are also more or less realistic:  SZYM and ProStreet.  From a RP point of view, the vehicles are incredible in their functionality and lighting systems.  Driving them, well that's another story.  The SZYM, though it drives well,  has too active a suspension and doesn't tolerate mesh roads by bottoming out while the wheels search for something solid and the ProStreet vehicles behave as if you're driving on ice.  Damn they look good though!

Wolf Tactics makes an awesome police motorcycle using the KCP scripting though it is sized horribly small and when you scale it up, the geometry of the riding position makes it look kind of wrong.  When it comes to emergency vehicles, HUDs are necessary to control the lighting and sirens as well as radar systems.  Also, the lighting has to be bright, flexible and of a high quality, simple flashing scripts aren't going to cut it.  Emergency services RPers are plentiful and they want low lag performance, ability to easily customize markings and relative reality.



LL Rules

We had a number of builders get tossed out of SL as well.  Probably the most prolific bike builder was tossed out of SL, rightfully so as he did violate the rules LL has established and made clear.  Others have been spanked by big brother for misusing RL brands and trademarks. 


Some builders may believe that SL is its own microcosm and disregard trademark laws in order to make a buck...or linden.  Many come from other nations than the one governing LL and SL, the United States.  If they think, "I don't live in the States, I can do what I want."  They find themselves very mistaken.  It still happens though.  I've seen Harley logos, Chevy bowties and aviation trademarks. It happens in SL and happens in other games too.  Still, follow the law and you'll still make money.  If you don't....see ya!

We Had Some Fun Too!

We tried drag racing and I won the races three times.  This was cool and then we learned how the NRRA drag system works.  It is the system most used and we have heard of a new system being developed. 


NRRA bases wins on who crosses the start line (reaction time) quickest providing the racer finishes the race and does not exceed the class speed limit.  If two racers have the same reaction time (crossing the start line) then the elapsed time decides the winner.  Elapsed time is somewhat arbitrary and isn't based on the formula D = R x T or if it is, there are other anomalies influencing the value.  What should matter in a race is who crosses the finish line first providing the racer didn't red light or exceed the class speed limit.    We still had fun doing it and have no regrets!


Lizzy and I have also sailed hundreds of sims and spent a lot of time growing with one another while we explored.  Sailing remains the most soothing of experiences and sometimes Lizzy wasn't lulled to sleep.  It was the sound rather than the conversation.  What's bizarre is my most read article is the one I did a long time ago about the Bandit 60.  It must be linked somewhere else.

Motorcycles became the centerpoint of what we write about  and what we do.  They are still a lot of fun within the limits they have.  That said,  there are fewer tracks to ride.  Sim owners incur an expense to owning a sim and if you own one with skytracks or an airport, it is very tough to have it break even.


I can't move on without touching on one subject however.  Lizzy and I owned a popular live music venue for quite awhile.  We closed it completely this year and haven't looked back.  I found a great deal of joy in what we had accomplished with the venue but also became disillusioned with the live music sector and the motivations of some of the people in it.  When you go hear an artist performing live, take a moment and think about the people who own the venue.  They are the only ones losing money and they are losing a lot of money.  When I see FB posts about artists complaining about not getting paid enough, in my mind, our decision to leave live music is reinforced.


This blog has been such a blessing and so much fun to write.  We have met incredibly talented people who have also been supportive of what we are doing...and get it. Things That Move is not a business because I don't charge for services.  Some people could say by giving me a bike or car to review, that is compensation.  It isn't, I have dozens and dozens of vehicles in my inventory, most I seldom pull out after writing a review.  The writing and photographs matter yet what matters most is to expose SL pixel people to what exists and what they can expect.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Lizzy and I are going to be back from time to time but we're playing another game and both of us need some time away from the flat earth of SL.  Also RL is kicking up for both of us and the time needed to properly review a product is becoming harder to invest.  Also, I'm burned out.  Any one of those reasons is enough to dim the lights. 

Every now and then, I might fire up the keyboard and start writing here.  Is it right to say writing can be cathartic?  I don't want this project to feel like it is a job, I want it to feel creative and maybe thought provoking...or whatever.  It needs to feel right to the writer and the reader.  Hell, I've tweaked this article a few times since publishing.  Mostly to fix some edit issues but to add a few thoughts as well.  So yeah, I still enjoy writing.


How does one be creative in reviewing a product while balancing criticism without pissing someone off?  I've played nicely in my reviews and only reviewed builders who make products I like.  If I'm going to slam a builder, I doubt seriously, that same builder will be inclined to invest in a product review knowing I'll pick the product apart.  Maybe they will and perhaps I should go down that path. 

At present, I'm not interested in melting snowflakes however and SL is a small world.  If it were me and someone shredded my product, I might consider the review as constructive and build a better one next time.  Or I might pull a product off of MarketPlace because OF a bad review when the product was crap...thanks Pixlights!

Maybe it is time for someone else to step in the void and start punching keys to write their own product reviews.  Maybe its time for me to be selective, critical and direct in my own reviews.  Anyway, it is time to take a little break so I can focus on other areas of life.  I'll continue writing when the mood suits me and I have the time to do it. 

Life is a journey not a series of destinations.  Lizzy and I always keep the sails up and looking for wind to keep our journey in motion.  We are our own Things That Move in SL! 

Let's get moving Badger!!




Find us on Facebook

You can get updates and new reviews through our Facebook group "Things that Moves in SL" which you should absolutely join or on my Google+ page.   Lizzy and I review bikes, boats, cars and aircraft.  If you would like us to review something that moves, send us a message. 

 
Robby

OCC Customs Choppers 1969 Charger


OCC Customs Choppers 1969 Charger

What's to say about the fabled Charger.  MOPAR produced muscle cars the excited debate over the Hemi, are you a Dodge guy or a Chevy guy and "Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday".  You can still find them in various levels of condition and the remain the icon of the muscle car era. 


I was never a MOPAR guy.  My wife had a 1986 Dodge Charger which was built after the K-car series and was quite possible the worst car we ever owned.  I spent a lot of time tightening down the bolts for the carb and when we unloaded that albatross, I swore never to own another Chrysler product for as long as I live.  Dammit, Chrysler brought back the Challenger and Charger and hmm...they are bad ass!!


OCC Customs Choppers is releasing its anniversary model, they 1969 Charger.  As a representation of such a well known and much admired design, this a track beast.  With the blower crawling out over the hood, you won't notice the squeaky suspension parts working against aged bushings.  In reality, if you can see around the blower at all, you'll only notice the blur as the road surrenders in front of you.


Out of the box, the car is set up pretty greasy and designed for higher speeds around the tracks.  With the ACS menu, you can adjust the settings to fit your reason to drive and driving style.  Yeah but look at this thing.  Sitting quiet, it looks aggressive.  Looks won't be deceiving when you stomp on the go pedal.  You'll also be assured the guy in the Chevelle will need to hose out his pants when you drive past.



 
About OCC Customs Choppers

OCC Customs Choppers has a new location, check them out.    I recommend you meet Indian Stargazer and his team.  Getting to know a builder is a really cool deal.  Not only can they help you get the bike of your dreams, they will often help you fit your avi to the bike and introduce you to custom options.  OCC also has an active group which says positive things about this company.  So join the group too!  If you aren't the social type (I'm not always) you can visit OCC's marketplace and get access to the products.



Be sure to check out Lizzy's Bike Track Blog.  It is your quintessential guide to bike tracks in SL.  Wait, not only should you check it out, you should follow the blog (as well as this one) because new tracks are added every week.



Find us on Facebook

You can get updates and new reviews through our Facebook group "Things that Moves in SL" which you should absolutely join or on my Google+ page.   Lizzy and I review bikes, boats, cars and aircraft.  If you would like us to review something that moves, send us a message. 

 
Robby

OCC Customs Choppers 1966 GT


OCC Customs Choppers 1966 GT
 
Dan Gurney took a new design, the Ford GT40 to Le Mans and peeled apart the myth that the galloping horses owned the track.  The GT40 is to racing as the P51 Mustang is to military aviation: trendsetter, game changer...iconic!  The design was revived by FoMoCo in the early 2000s which is still wildly popular and increasingly valuable in the auction market.
 
 
OCC Customs Choppers has a representation of the Ford GT40 in its 1966 GT.  While more of a modern representation of the iconic race car, it is no less spectacular.  When it rezzed my first thought was, "oh yeah, this is the one I've been missing." 
 
 
From the knockoffs to the spoilers, the OCC Customs Choppers '66 GT is the one take to the track.  Driving it proves how solid a racer it can be in the right hands.  Sadly, those aren't my hands and the true potential of the car can't be found with my limited skills. That shouldn't say it is hard to drive because it isn't.  With the ACS scripts, it can be properly tuned to fit your system, driving style and driving purpose. 
 
 
OCC Customs Choppers is producing the cars you want for your trips to 2RAW.  You'll master the timed tracks and build lower and lower lap times.  Turn on your sound and you'll hear the power come to life.  While the GT40 was a Ferrari slayer, the '66 GT will give you the confidence and performance to climb to the top of the track board.
 
 

 
About OCC Customs Choppers

OCC Customs Choppers has a new location, check them out.    I recommend you meet Indian Stargazer and his team.  Getting to know a builder is a really cool deal.  Not only can they help you get the bike of your dreams, they will often help you fit your avi to the bike and introduce you to custom options.  OCC also has an active group which says positive things about this company.  So join the group too!  If you aren't the social type (I'm not always) you can visit OCC's marketplace and get access to the products.



Be sure to check out Lizzy's Bike Track Blog.  It is your quintessential guide to bike tracks in SL.  Wait, not only should you check it out, you should follow the blog (as well as this one) because new tracks are added every week.



Find us on Facebook

You can get updates and new reviews through our Facebook group "Things that Moves in SL" which you should absolutely join or on my Google+ page.   Lizzy and I review bikes, boats, cars and aircraft.  If you would like us to review something that moves, send us a message. 

 
Robby