Monthly Archives: March 2011

TYC Japan fundraiser ends

With the donation bears returned to their owners this weekend, the Tradewinds Yacht Club fundraiser for victims of the devastating earthquake in Japan ends. It can be called a success: the auction of sailboats and other virtual goods alone has brought in 302,944 Linden Dollars, bringing the totals for the entire week well above 400.000L. That is a lot of money for a bunch of volunteers in a virtual world. Try to collect that door-to-door these days with only a handful of volunteers…

Japan Donation Bears piling up at Tradewinds Yacht Club

With an immense amount of bears piled up at the yacht club, it was clear to see how the community as a whole showed their support for our Japanese friends, who are going through a difficult time now and don’t login as frequently as we are used to.

Tasha Kostolany, main organiser with JakeSpeed Northman

Many thanks go out to the small army of volunteers who made the whole event possible. Not just organisers JakeSpeed Northman and Tasha Kostolany, who worked like crazy for a week, but a bunch of others as well: the musicians, the donators of the auctioned boats and items, the people who bid and bought, the people who bought and placed the Donation Bears, the organisers of the special races and events around the event. It has been a great display of solidarity in our virtual world.

Thanks to all!

Liv Leigh

Think Big, go Micro

We all know the problems with region crossings in Secondlife. Especially the sailing community has this issue at the top of it’s list of annoyances. There might be a little light on the horizon though.

Since a few months, ‘micro-avatars’ are becoming popular in SL. These small avatars, predominantly the foxes made by Thrice Skyward, are even smaller than the wellknown ‘tinies’ and hardly reach up to a normal-sized avatars ankles.

Another benefit they have over traditional tinies, is that their joints are all scaled in proportion, so that normal animations will work for them. This means that a properly scaled boat, with only a little adjustment to sit position and speed scale factors will be rather easy to create for them.

Will micro-avatars be the solution that helps the sailors overcome the problems with the region crossings? With boats scaled to a size where a single region suffices for a race, no more crossings would be needed. And: think of the enromous cost-reduction that could be achieved if we manage to shrink our private sailing estates to just 25% of their size or even less…

Eta Carver editing a RC boat that would fit Liv’s micro-avatar well..

And that is right what is going on now! Eta Carver, well-known  by now for her RC versions of sailboats that were brought out in recent weeks, is working on a micro-BBK. Soon we will be able to race these, maybe in a fleet that also features the Remote Controlled BBK’s. That’d be a hoot,.. Micro’s versus Remote Controls!!!

Ides Taurog and Liv Leigh testing the Micro-BBK’s

Friday 16-03-2011: Test pilots Ides Taurog and Liv Leigh took off to help Eta Carver with her prototype. What initially seemed like a simple job soon turned out to be much mroe complicated than anticipated. Not only did scaling the BBK and it’s physical attributes, it’s pose’s offset and other properties turn out to be harder than expected, also the micro-avatar’s scaling of poses turns out to work a little different in practice than anticipated. New poses had to be designed as well. Meanwhile Anzac Mosely worked on a RC boat that we can see in this picture as well.

Left to right: Ides Taurog, Eta Carver, Ansac Mosely, Liv Leigh

With new poses being made and much other unexpected weirdness at the microscopic level solved, at the end of the day Eta Carver did end up with 2 very decent beta’s. The prospect is that the beta for the ‘Micro-BBK’ will be up for auction to it’s first happy customer at the Japan Earthquake Donation event tomorrow.

Japan donation bears are coming in!

The first sets of donation bears are coming in. We hope to have many more of them tomorrow. Remember, this is just to support the official action set up by Linden Labs: these bears are sold by Donation Linden and proceeds go to the Red Cross.

The donation bears can be found at: https://marketplace.secondlife.comstores/73551

We place them here and also have a link to the marketplace spot for the bears here: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Dex/167/27/25

Japan Tsunami relief bear initiative

The idea is simple: I have just setup a sign with a link to the SL Marketplace spot where you can get the Linden Bears for the Japan earthquake and tsunami relief. Get here, buy a bear from SL Marketplace and place it with the sign. 1 bear per person! Let’s get a nice bunch of bears in! You can find the sign here:

http://slurl.com/secondlife/Dex/167/27/25

 

Support Japan and let’s get this spot full of those earthquake relief bears!

 

 

Visual guide – Build Your Own Boat

Tasha Kostolany has published a guide to people who wish to get started with boat building. I will not get into details on it here, but the guide uses the knowledge from the great boat building classes that Dekka Zabaleta has held recently at Tradewinds Yacht Club.

The boat building workshops that Dekka did a couple of weeks ago were such a gigantic hit, that it asked for more. With Dekka Zabaleta now being outside SL for a while due to real life obligations, a self-paced course seems like the next step.

Tasha has merged the course that Dekka gave with her own ‘Build your own boat for dummies’ course and made it available in-world and online. So far the guide includes the first 2 courses of the series:

Basic – Boat Hull Building Tutorial 1

Basic – Sails and Rigging Tutorial 2

More information can be found at the dedicated page at the Tradewinds blog:

Boat Building

A  Work Shop Supplies Vendor is available in the TYC boat store that contains the Hulls, Textures and Sculpties to the course, as well as links to the new online Tutorials. The location in-world is: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Dex/174/31/25

The vendor includes the following boxes:

Wild, Wilder, WildCat

WildWind is known for making fast and furious boats in the Secondlife sailing scene. After being mostly known with Japanese sailors, the advance in 2008 of the VOJ-70 and especially the RCJ-44 made WildWind’s owner Corry Kamachi well-known by European and American sailors as well. The RCJ-44 especially was quickly adopted by virtual sailors around Secondlife.

With WildWind’s ‘home club’ FarEast Yacht Club in an inactive state and the RCJ-44 races slowly disappearing from our weekly menu’s, we were all waiting for Corry’s new racing release. As people who follow her may expect, this one is also inspired upon a glamourous racing class that is currently very popular in Real Life sailing news. The new America’s Cup formula with fast catamarans, with masts supporting a wing instead of a mainsail.

The Boat

As Corry Kamachi has explained herself only last week, the WildCat is not intended to be the AC45 class boat in Secondlife. There is actually an AC45 and even it’s larger brother, the AC72, under development now in her works. The WildCat is meant to be a ‘smaller’ catamaran, using a wing, similar to the one we saw on last year’s America’s Cup winners BMW-Oracle. As such, it is a first in Secondlife.

The boat can be seen as a fast, somewhat large racing boat, which is easy in it’s handling and accessible  to less experienced sailors. The general consensus being that new racers in SL are especially attracted to ‘fast’ and ‘big’, as well as to boats with a glamourous feel about them, should make it easy to market within our virtual world.

Handling

As said in the previous paragraph, the boat handles easily. It has to be said though, that the ability to change the divergence of the wing (the angle between both parts of the wing that forms the ‘mainsail’) can add extra difficulty.

As normally with WildWinds, the boat can be controlled in 3 ways:

– By keyboard, using the arrow keys and page/up-page down

– By chat commands, using gestures.

– By the WildWind hud, which is optional to use.

There is a settings notecard in which many parameters, such as the command channel, the camera angle etc. can be modified to suit your needs. Manuals come both in Japanese and English.

Technology

The WildWind WildCat uses the typical WildWind engine, which is essentially tako-based with a long evolution of modifications for handling apparent wind, windshadow and changes to the wind locking procedure.

Coming from this legacy, the WildCat only uses the basic WWC-settings designed to provide backwards compatibility for boats using the old SLSF wind system. The WWC racewind, current, waves and localized settings are not included.

This means the boat is still rather basic when compared to complex machines like the Flying Fizz or some new boats that are coming out these days. It makes up a bit for this when it comes to it’s lightness on the use of resources: you will have a hard time trying to crash this boat on a region crossing.

Performance

The polar plot of the WildCat looks familiar for fans of WildWind boats, but that is  not all that can be said about it. It clearly shows that this boat loves reaching and is less at ease, as one would expect with a cat, far from the wind on downwind runs. It’s maximum speed is attained at about 90 degrees on a beam reach, after which the speed gradually drops again. At about 110 degrees true wind, you can raise the asymmetrical gennaker. Using this, the speed will quickly go up until you reach a maximum of nearly 18 knots in a 15 knot wind at 120 degrees true wind.

After this the boat speed quickly declines again. You can see how the WildCat sails highly ineffective already at 160 degrees true wind.

Best downwind VMG (Velocity Made Good) for this boat is obtained at about 140 degrees, while it peaks in it’s upwind performance at around 40 degrees or a little more. Note how the polar diagram shows the break in the curve at 110 degrees true wind, the point where the gennaker can be put to work. I would say that this is a rather good polar for such a catamaran in Secondlife.

Oh.. and speaking of performance.. did I mention that this boat is quite stable at region crossings?

Customization

The WildCat is copy- and modifiable, which means you can make it as pretty or as ugly as you wish. There is a set of template textures included in the package, which should enable it’s sailor or specialized sail/hull retailers to create a series of pretty customizations for this catamaran. I certainly expect a bunch of pretty customized WildCats to sail the mainland protected waters very soon now.

Racing perspectives

Of course some of us will want to race this boat, so it is good to have an idea on the future the WildCat may have as a racing class in the virtual sailing scene. So far, this seems to be a bright one: GGYC and NYC have already started regular races in this boat and there are plans to include the boat to the classes for SLSA Graded events. It is also worthwhile to note that GGYC has ambitions to incorporate wing-rigged catamarans in a possible America’s Cup in SL campaign.

This should mean that the boat would at least be good for about half a year or longer of racing fun, until it is maybe superseded by the WildWind AC45 or another creation of Corry Kamachi’s.

Conclusion

The WildCat has it all for the new sailor: it is a fast and big boat, which should be a guarantee for spectacular races. It is realistic in it’s boat speed, but a bit too easy in it’s handling to be a challenging sailboat for experienced sailors in SL. It’s large size and resulting turning circle make it less suited for smaller seas and lakes, which means the WildCat will most likely not be raced much on private estates in SL.

As for touring: it’s pretty, it’s got a nice wake and the handling enables you to chat a bit on the side. It is fast though 😉 But hey, that’s what you wanted, right?

A new camera

Since one of my recent activities is making a lot of pictures of sailboats and sailing events in SecondLife, I have purchased myself a big, professional-looking camera. Here you can see me battle the big machine and it’s tripod, while trying to make a picture at the Tradewinds Working Boat Show.

The working boat show features a lot of industrial-looking boats from throughout Secondlife. These boats are a much welcome change to the endless parade of megayachts and other expensive-looking monstrosities that, as one can expect in a virtual world where anyone can live out his dreams, flood the metaverse.

There is only a week of show left now. After this, all peace will come back at TYC, at least as far as this club ever gets to sleep…

Event: Tradewinds Working Boat  Show

Date: February, begin March 2011

Location: Tradewinds Yacht Club, Dex, Secondlife

SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/dex/140/145/21/