Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A run in with a rocket scooter.

This is part one of a two part article based upon the creations of Lumiere Noir and his contributions to Second Life. Corporate Jay has gone undercover [shh!] to uncover Lumiere Noir's newest creations.

Ever since the dawn of the virtual world and Second Life, we have looked for methods to immerse ourselves in fantastical and creative ways. When Second Life first emerged from the dark underworld of the Internet, it was found that as the grid grew, it slowly became tougher for residents to get to the places of their choosing: the teleportation system that we have become so used to today had not yet been implemented and residents had to teleport to telehubs, and move to their respective destinations. As sometimes the destinations were a couple of sims away, vehicles were used to cover the remaining distances. At first, the few vehicles that existed were created by the Lindens. However, they soon began to be created by other, independent, users. As was expected, they quickly gained immense popularity. However, when complete teleportation was introduced, vehicles dropped in popularity as no one needed them anymore. They were seen more as recreational objects as they began to be outfitted with many features.

A few days ago, I met with Lumiere Noir, creator of the Ivory Tower. I had been told that he was making big breakthroughs in vehicles. Sure enough, he was nice enough to send me a copy of the Rocket Scooter 3000. Following a quick read of the instructions, I sat upon it to try out what would be one of the biggest thrill rides of my second life.

The scooter itself is outfitted with crazy tricks and is built for speed. With up to 7 different speed levels and just about the same in tricks and built in features, the rocket scooter is perfect for the speed enthusiast in anyone. If you've tried Abranimations' free roller skates, then you'd know the thrill of watching yourself attempt to skate on Second Life. This is comparable, except you're flying a fantastical scooter and have a need for speed.

If you've ever watched a cheesy movie about Aliens and abductions, then you'd know what most UFOs look like and move like. I watched as Lumiere rezzed one in front of us and proceeded to sit in it.

As it goes, most UFOs I've seen are freebies - badly designed freebies at that. Lumiere instructed me to sit on the UFO and he flew. This single project of his has been the longest in production and the particular version that he showed off was in beta v.99.

From what I experienced, it was the most realistic UFO to date, in both the building and the movement. Even the little details, such as the swaying and hovering motions were spot on.

Lumiere took us up into the clouds and showed off many of the little features of the UFO, including the fantastic particle effects. He then took us down, into the water and told us of his plans to include a bubbling particle effect and when it emerged, a water dripping particle effect. I urge everyone to drop their silly little freebie UFOs, and invest interest in this one, for it is perhaps one of the most interesting vehicular concepts that I have seen!

After a wild ride on the rocket scooter, in which I was shown just about all the capabilities of the scooter including a feature which drops giant bouncing balls for you to avoid (or crash into, depending on your mood), and the humdinger drive, which propelled us to insane speeds that only Ricky Bobby could dream of achieving, Lumiere set us back down on the ground.

He showed me two of his other creations, a dive ship, and a vertical take off and landing ship. The dive ship that he showed off was capable of taking us up to 4000 meters and releasing us to fall to the ground.

The other ship could take off vertically, much like those in 50's movies. Although we couldn't test this, we were able to try out the drop ship. Lumiere took off and dropped us into the ocean, whereupon he rezzed a submarine.

Not just any submarine though. It was very Pink. Lumiere told me that it was for a customer who had specifically requested a pink submarine. He got in, and I sat down on the railing as he took us both deep underneath the water.

We sailed around and he showed off some of the many features of the submarine. He took us up to the surface and shot a rocket, which was purely for aesthetics. All the “weapons” and features implemented within the submarine were based upon a 'girly' theme. Lumiere proceeded to show off many of the features of the submarine by launching a torpedo at the shore.

The torpedo exploded into a shower of kisses. He then showed off another feature of the submarine, that being crabs being launched everywhere. I found the submarine extremely enjoyable, and definitely something to look forward to within the world of recreational vehicles.

Throughout my stay at Lumiere's sim, I enjoyed all his works, especially the rocket scooter (definitely look forward to it when it comes out) and the UFO (I wish I were rich...). Lumiere Noir has certainly crafted his own little niche in the world of recreational vehicles. A niche that encompasses vehicles in their entirety to such an extent that most anyone can find enjoyment within these objects. As I write this, I have an intent to search through my inventory, pull out my little Linden go kart and play around in the racing sims.