Category Archives: Zindra

Race Mark Rez Retro

Racing One Design 65

click to enlarge

Yesterday I posted briefly about race buoy late-rezzing problems, and I mentioned one potential fix: increasing the physical size of the buoy by linking a large, underwater block to it. Today I sailed a series of hotlaps using the new, modified buoy in Trulan and it worked quite nicely. 🙂 The picture above shows my boat approaching Trulan sim, and if you look closely you can see that the buoy has already rezzed off the port bow, a full two sims distant.

Yesterday I also mentioned that this is not a new issue. Last evening I went back to the archives and read a series of old posts on the topic. MarkTwain White suggested the same fix for late-rezzing buoys back in April, 2008; I think that could be the original post on the issue, and I cited the reference in my initial comment.

Going through the archives, I was reminded of two more potential solutions, and I thought I’d mention them here.

 1. Raise the seafloor under the buoy.

In a private water sim, the owner can terraform a sharp peak directly beneath a buoy. That will not make the mark rez more quickly, but it will produce a permanent, easily recognized target on the world map and the mini map.

The 2008 discussion I referenced above was actually about Svar Beckersted‘s fix for a late-rez buoy in USS’ Bartlett sim. Here’s what it looked like five years ago:


As I said, this fix doesn’t make the buoy rez faster or sooner, but it does make it show up on the map. To emphasize that point, here’s a low resolution chart of the USS sims from back then; you can easily make out the location of the “Bartlett Buoy Mound” (red arrow, below).

USS MAP 063008

Click to enlarge

2. Sky markers.

The 2007 ACA32 SL Regatta was held on a sixpack of private sims. overhead diskEven in that restricted space, sailors had some difficulty identifying the race buoys at a distance on the horizon. The solution was to place large, pancake-shaped objects above mast height over each of the buoys. That way the competition boats could easily orient to the mark locations, even when a landmass or another boat was in the way.

That solution worked well for ACA32, but it never really caught on for subsequent regattas. However, this topic gives me an excuse to post SurfWidow Beaumont’s great ACA32 video one more time; keep your eyes open for the race buoys in the vid, and you’ll see the large, dark pancakes overhead. 🙂

So in summary it looks like the race mark rez issue has been around a long time, and there are a number of ways to handle it. I also think it’s less of a problem these days, since many racing skippers use waypoint HUDs like TRAPNAV to highlight the race mark locations.

Race Mark Rez


Noodle asked: “It is kinda hard to call a layline, when the buoys aren’t visible beyond 64 meters. Any idea why it is so? Do they simply need to be bigger for SL to display them properly?”

It’s pretty frustrating to sail a race course and not see the mark buoys until you’re practically on top of them. Sailors often use landmark HUDs like TRAPNAV to get around the problem (Thank you Trapeze!).

I certainly don’t pretend to know the algorithm SL uses to prioritize the order of objects as they rez in the viewer, but I suspect you are right; size matters. I remember that several of us looked into this issue back in 2007 when it was a major problem for the Starboards Yacht Club races. Since the issue is coming up again for many sailors (including me), I ran around and did a few backyard tests on it today. 🙂

view angleI tried to figure out the distance at which each of the  three buoys on the Linkous hotlaps course first appeared.

I normally use the Firestorm viewer. For all images below, I set the draw distance at 1024m and all graphics at median settings. I then emptied cache and teleported to Henker, the sim next to Trulan, where there’s a centrally-located yellow buoy.

From Henker I looked into Trulan and saw… nothing. As shown below, if you are 150m away from a buoy (and across 1 sim line), the buoy never rezzes, even with dd=1024.

If you move closer to the buoy, it suddenly appears when you are within 130m. The same thing happens with the other two buoys there; they first rez at distance of 130 m (which is across a sim line in each case).

buoys rez at 130m

To make sure this was a server-side effect, I repeated the measurements using a different viewer. The Singularity viewer features ‘draw-distance stepping‘ (that’s why Orca likes it 🙂 ). When you move to a new view region, Singularity prioritizes the objects closest to you so they rez first.

How does it do that? Easy. If you set your dd=1024, when you go to a new area Singularity throttles that dd back to a much shorter view distance in order to speed up the local rez. It then gradually returns the DD back to your preset numbers.

If you open up the map after you teleport, you can watch the draw distance in Singularity graphically expand during the first minute or two. Here’s an example:

singular vision

Using this viewer, the three buoys in Zindra all rezzed at a distance of 130 m, as they had in Firestorm. That’s no surprise; Singularity doesn’t actually change rez priority, it just sort of ‘modulates’ what you asked the viewer to do. The 130m rez limit for the buoys I looked at was apparently a server decision.

So how does the server-side algorithm decide what distance to rez something? Well, a big factor seems to be object size (meaning linear dimensions, not ‘prim count‘). To demonstrate that, I rezzed a 20x15x24m one prim box in the air over the buoy in Trulan. I then logged out, emptied cache, and came back over 256m away from the target. When I did that, the box popped into view immediately, even though I still could not see the much smaller race buoy beneath it.

256m boxThis evidence supports a fix that many sailors and estate owners are very familiar with, and have used for a long time.

buoy base

If you want a race mark to rez early, you somehow need to make it look ‘bigger’ without messing up the craftsmanship or authentic appearance of the buoy.

Probably the simplest way to do that is to attach a large, single-prim underwater extension to the buoy, as shown in the pic on the right. This simple adjustment also makes the mark more visible on the map and mini-map.

I’m pretty sure this fix also works if the large underwater object is phantom and transparent, but I haven’t tried that out yet under the current server versions, and there are reasons to think it might not work with the recent changes. We’ll see. 🙂

I also know there are probably more elegant ways to fix the buoy-rez problem, but please remember this is Jane talking here. I don’t tend to do ‘elegant‘ well. 🙂

Anyway, here’s the bottom-line result, included below. The top picture shows the yellow nav buoy in Trulan. It’s very pretty and nicely scripted by RJ Kikuchiyo, and it has multiple user- controlled options (ask your local SL Coast Guard for a box of them). 🙂

The lower picture shows the effect of the underwater attachment. You can now see that buoy two sims away and at a distance of over 400 m.

over 400m distance

Hotlaps 2013 Progress

HH jan 2013 header

The Hotlaps 2013 lap entries are growing; in the first nine days, seventeen skippers logged a total of eighty-six laps that are split across the four courses.

jan 8 sailors HH The skipper’s names are listed in the box to the right, and the colors match the time-trial entries that are included on the summary spreadsheets for each Hotlaps course.

Plum Gut has the largest number of laps so far, with fifty-three lap times logged for fifteen different boats (see below).

The Melges-24 is the tentative “Index Boat” for handicap comparisons, so it deserves special comment here. The average Plum Gut lap time is 8:46, based on seven runs by Armano, Yala74, and Kris. Although the number of entries is still small, the scores are consistent and tightly grouped with a standard deviation of only 10 sec. We’ll see if this changes as more laps get added, but so far the M-24 Index looks valid and reliable. Let’s see if that holds up as sailors add more data points.

Jan8 hh

Please click to enlarge

Below is a quick ‘Summary Table’ of Handicaps for the fifteen boat classes entered so far.

HH Summary Jan8 2012Knaptrackicon still needs Index laps, so it’s handicap factors are blank at the moment. However, where the data is available, the scores of the other three lines are pretty consistent. The WildWind boats are by far the speediest, with Wildcat45, RCJ-44, and TR30 all earning handicaps of 1.10-1.15 (meaning they are 10-15% faster than M-24). In contrast, the newly reworked JG-44 looks like it’s coming in with lap times that are roughly 15% slower than M-24 on all three courses. The Mesh Shop boats and the ACA33v3 look like they fall in the middle, while the Trudeau fleet, Caf Binder’s Jangars, Manul Rotaru’s BeachTri, and Balduin Aabye’s Bolero all come in at the back of the pack with scores 30 – 40% slower than the Melges.

Of course, a slow boat is not a “bad” boat. Several builders argue that slower boats are more realistic in SL waters, but that’s a discussion for another time. 🙂 The point here is that the handicaps are generating meaningful data, and we’re on track to fill in many of the blank spaces on the above form. 🙂

Yesterday I sent out posters to advertise Hotlaps. They are full mod/copy, so please stick one up in an appropriate place (like your local gas station bathroom). The notecard embedded in the poster gives details about Hotlaps 2013, including landmarks, charts, and links. The notecard is networked, so the Info will automatically update as we add more Hotlaps locations, and as Hay Ah adds new lap features to her racelines.

Hotlaps 2013 info

You got ten minutes?
You could sail a Hotlap! 🙂

Linkous Hotlaps and Quick Update

aug17 2009

Hotlaps Heats Up

Thank you to all the skippers who are taking a few minutes to sail the Hotlaps courses; the numbers are continuing to pile up! Special kudos to Armano, Kris, Yala74, LucyInTheSky, Emilia, Yuukie, B117, and S11D for adding new laps over the past day.

Jan 4 2013 HH

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Here’s a quick snapshot breakdown of the new Handicaps for the Plum Gut and Breadnut courses. I’m tempted to comment on the differences, but maybe we should just let that wait until we accrue more lap scores. 🙂

By the way, special thanks go to Kris and Armano, who ran the Melges-24 laps to set the initial Index for the Breadnut course. Their scores were nearly identical, but we still need lots more laps to confirm their numbers are a good benchmark. 🙂

Linkous Laps

I’ll also add a Hotlaps Course to the new public Linkous raceline in Zindra today.

Linkous Handicap Hotlaps v102

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Here’s the chart for Linkous; it’s a basic, bread-and-butter ‘windward/ leeward/ reach’ setup that should be fun to sail and ought to produce consistent, useful lap data.

The Hotlaps wind will be 15kt, 270deg, no variance.(but remember, you can change the wind to whatever you want for non-hotlaps races or even drop your own wind notecard into the green buoy windsetter there). 🙂

Liv and Sammi are working on Hotlaps courses for their racelines as well. It will be interesting to see if different configurations produce changes in the performance rankings and handicap numbers, but that’s several weeks down the road, and I’ve already talked enough here. It’s time for me to sail more laps! 🙂

RJ lookout over SC

Linkous and Bertrada Racelines

Linkous and Bertrada

Kudos to the Linden Department of Public Works! This past week they opened two new Linden raceline parcels that should greatly expand sailing opportunities in SL!

Zindra Zailing

The first is an 80m raceline in Linkous sim. Linkous is located in Zindra‘s Ursula Bay, a broad expanse of open water that’s interconnected with the other  water regions on the Adult Continent.

This is great news. Although Zindra opened quite some time ago, it’s never had a raceline. That fact made it hard to build a community of committed sailors on the continent. Nonetheless, sailors were always interested in sailing Zindra, and several “roadtrips” were organized to cruise the Linden waters. Xi Landia was a prime mover to get an SL Coast Guard station in Ursula Bay some time ago, and Leeward Cruisers made a point to hold grand excursions on Zindra’s seas on more than one occasion. When I ran around the coastline last week, I was happy to see an LCC flag flying from a nearly dock!

But let me give the biggest shoutout to Kip Zabaleta (Óláfr). He’s a Leeward Cruiser, but he is also associated with Hillcrest College in Zindra’s Hessen and Vanauken sims. Kip’s trying to teach sailing from Hillcrest’s docks, and he clearly saw the need for a community-based Linden raceline someplace in the area. I think that made sense for everyone, and Linkous seemed a good, central location.

Zindra raceline

If you look at the map, the new Linkous raceline has a N-S orientation, with a default wind from the West at 15 knots. (you can add your own notecards for any other conditions). There are also new windward/ leeward buoys in Truland and Gurbsyk, and new reach buoys in Mullinax and Trinoo (see the chart above for colors and coordinates).

For sailors’ convenience there’s a Linden Rez Zone in the NW corner of Linkous, but it’s not yet open to rez boats (I’m guessing that problem will be remedied soon). It’s no big bother though; if you want to sail Linkous, you can easily find a rez point on the East shore of Ursula Bay or rez down at Hillcrest’s docks as indicated on the map above.

Bay City Marine

Bay City now has a major raceline in Bertrada too!

Bay City Alliance

Bay City is one of the oldest, smartest, and most creative communities in Second Life. It’s located on the far West end of Sansara continent and it has it’s own Linden harbor, the Gulf of Lauren. It even has it’s own yacht club, New Port. Until recently however, Bay City was disconnected from most sailing events because it was geographically isolated and it was truly impossible to sail from Gulf of Lauren to any of the other great sailing regions on the continent.

Well, thanks to Linden DPW that has all changed. Beginning two years ago, LL expanded Bay City. They then added several dozen new coastal water sims that form both a Southern and a Northern waterway passage, linking Bay City to major seaways East in Sansara.

This was a fantastic boon to sailors, as it added many more options for long-distance cruises and personal sailing fun. However, even though the waters were now open, Bay City’s sailors were still limited; there was no local raceline. The closest one was 25 sims away from New Port Yacht Club.

The best spot for a new raceline close to Bay City wasn’t obvious. If you look at Gulf of Lauren, it’s a great ‘harbor,’ with considerable space to cautiously navigate between local traffic boats and other obstructions. However, there’s no area you could dedicate to a full size race line, with adequate water for a competition fleet to maneuver before and after the race gun goes off.

Bertrada Raceline

It made more sense to put the line in Bertrada, a sim on the Northern Coastal Waterway. As you can see from the diagram above, Bertrada lies in a row of 10 contiguous water sims, and it’s nicely suited for windward/ leeward racing. The new line is therefore oriented North/South and it has a default East wind of 15 knots (but sailors can add their own notecards). The red arrows above also identify two new race buoys, a yellow nun in Grifo and a blue nun in Luitgard.

The raceline in Bertrada is also well situated for longer distance races. As shown below (pink arrows), a fleet traveling East can turn North in Cyclops sim and sail through the ANWR connector to Heterocera. They also have an option to go South through the islands and into L-Shaped Lake.

The line’s also positioned to accommodate distance races starting West (green arrows). The fleet can turn at the mark in Grifo and then proceed into the Gulf of Lauren, go through Shermerville Strait, and continue as far as Bay of Space Pigs or beyond.

sansara Dec 2012 annotated 1351

The new addition will strongly enhance the sailing options in West Sansara, and it’s a pretty great Christmas present from Linden Department of Public Works to SL Sailors everywhere.

So when you have a moment, go try out the lines in both Linkous and Bertrada. And if you happen to sail over any Rodents on a sea floor artistically arranging the plants, placing an ancient shipwreck, or programming exotic sea creatures… please stop for a sec and say THANKS to the Moles. That’s DPW working for you. They are building content, and they are trying to guess what will make you smile. They do a darn good job at it. 🙂