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How to drive in Second Life

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Posted (edited)

(A new user recently asked me for advice on this, and I realized there's no good introduction to driving around Second Life. So, here it is.)

Driving in Second Life frustrates some users. Often for the wrong reasons. It's not difficult, but some advice on getting started helps.

First, you need a car.

(I sell motorcycles, so I'm going to concentrate on cars for this, so as not to advertise.) A good place to get a demo car is Burns sim, in Heterocera. There are three competing car builders in that area, and they all have demo car rezzers and access to Linden roads. So you can try different vehicles from different builders. They're all modern SL road vehicles and drive well. Any of the demo cars will work for as long as you stay in the car, so you can tour all of Heterocera for free if you want. This will give you a sense of how a good vehicle in SL behaves.

robinloop.jpg.d60f0c175964b944c41889be8586b0cf.jpg

Robin Loop in Heterocera. Car builders are concentrated near the southeast, in Burns and Neumogen. To drive Robin Loop, head east and make left turns when you have a choice.

This area is on a road which is part of Robin Loop, a loop about 3km around. It's a good place to practice driving.

Most SL vehicles steer with arrow keys. Steering control is thus rather limited. Many vehicles in SL are tuned for racing on racetracks. These go fast, turn tightly, and are good on racetrack sims with wide tracks. They're hard to keep on two-lane Linden roads, let alone in lane. Many don't handle road bumps or region crossings well. Road cars don't turn as tightly, are expected to deal with moderate road problems, and should deal with region crossings properly. If you try to drive a racetrack-tuned car on Linden roads, you'll soon become frustrated. If you want to try a race car, go to a racetrack sim. Most have demo rezzers.

There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of different vehicles available in SL. Some are great; some are awful. Some that look really good are totally undriveable. Try before you buy.

How to drive.

Left and right arrow to steer, up arrow to accelerate, down arrow to brake. That's the only thing that's standard. Most cars have "gears", to set the speed range. Shifting is usually page up/page down or shift-right arrow/shift left arrow. Some vehicles have to be shifted to reverse to back up; some don't. There's no standard on this.

Get a demo vehicle and drive slowly around Robin Loop. It's a nice drive. Things to watch for:

  • There's a place where traffic cones block part of the road. Avoid those. (Not enough prim capacity on a tiny corner of the road that's in another sim.)
  • There's a place where a flat road transitions abruptly to a steep hill. Approach that transition slowly or your car may bounce sideways.
  • There's a T intersection at the bottom of a hill. Approach slowly or you will end up in the lake. Turn left to stay on the loop.

One trip around Robin Loop will introduce you to most of the problems of SL driving in only a few minutes. So it's a good place to practice. As you get better, try higher speeds. You can drive in SL at moderate highway speeds; you don't have to creep along.

In general, try to understeer. Quick key presses on left and right arrows; rarely hold them down. If you oversteer and have to correct back, you're overcontrolling; back off a bit.

Lag is a problem. You press an arrow key, and, after a visible delay, something happens. That's why you need to understeer and only make about one steering correction per second. This is weird at first, then tolerable, then instinctive.

Have fun driving around and sightseeing. Heterocera has enough roads that you can drive for hours.

Region crossings

With a modern SL vehicle, the vehicle handles most region crossing problems. You'll have a brief stop at each region crossing, and there may be a moment when things look wrong visually, but you should come out of the region crossing at the angle and speed you went in. The vehicles for sale in the Burns area all seem to handle this properly.  Many older vehicles on Marketplace don't. There's folklore about crossing region boundaries at a right angle, and avoiding region corners. That's the vehicle's problem today, not the driver's. If you're losing control at region crossings, find a better vehicle.

Most modern vehicles will slow you way down if you are getting close to the corner of four regions. Hitting a region corner fast will often cause a failure in SL and you will usually have to log out. Better vehicles handle this by slowing you down automatically.

Expect to have about one total region crossing failure per hour of driving. These usually require logging out and logging back in. Known SL server bug. Biggest frustration with SL vehicles.

Rough terrain

Some cars can't go over a curb without getting stuck. Some can drive up stairs. How much off-road capability a vehicle has varies widely. Usually, this doesn't matter much for road driving. However, due to an error in road construction in Bellesaria, most roads there are impassible by cars that can't climb a vertical curb.

Places to go

  • Heterocera has a good road network.
  • Sansara has a road network, but it's not well connected and the older roads, in the western section, are bumpy and have abrupt turns.
  • Corsica has a very nice "Circuit de Corse", with frequent, well-marked rez zones.
  • Bellesaria  is very driveable, with good rez zones. Watch for bicycles and horses.

Things to do

  • Drivers of SL group. Weekly rallies, guided by a clever HUD. There's usually one every Saturday at noon and midnight SLT.
  • Get The Freight Out (GTFO) Grid-wide driving game, with tasks, deliveries, and scoring.

openroad2-for-marketplace.png.79c416d5a3cf39b4a9bb8a992131b6d5.png

There's a whole world out there.

Edited by animats
rm extra whitespace
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Very thorough, and I should go check out that loop next time I'm in world!   I also wasn't sure if I was imagining things with the Belisseria roads or if it was just my vehicle.  The most difficulty seems to be in curves, but I'm able to get through most of them if I speed up for the curve, although it feels counterintuitive to do so.

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One thing likely to be useful for people driving is a HUD that shows nearby rez zones. In part, this is useful if one becomes unseated from one's vehicle, but it's also nice to have if you are touring and want to stop for a bit along the way to check out a parcel you've passed. That certainly is part of the joy of driving the mainland for me.

There are commercial HUDs available on the MP at various prices, and varying degrees of sophistication. I can't recommend one of these because someone in Drivers of SL gave me a free one. (It's not brilliant, but it works. I may upgrade eventually.)

For Bellisseria, there is also this map (with SLURL links) to "Landmarks" of the continent, including a variety of rez zones for both land and sea, as well as public areas. This one is badly out of date, but it works well for the western part of the continent -- if anyone knows of a more recent one, I'd love to see it.

https://thebellisserian.wixsite.com/news/landmarks

Also, Bellisseria has very tight turns. And a lot of roads that go nowhere. And frankly, a lot of the streets look identical to each other. I very much like driving there, but I've found that it's really useful to have your map open while driving so you aren't continually getting lost or wandering down dead ends.

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1 minute ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

One thing likely to be useful for people driving is a HUD that shows nearby rez zones. In part, this is useful if one becomes unseated from one's vehicle, but it's also nice to have if you are touring and want to stop for a bit along the way to check out a parcel you've passed. That certainly is part of the joy of driving the mainland for me.

There are commercial HUDs available on the MP at various prices, and varying degrees of sophistication. I can't recommend one of these because someone in Drivers of SL gave me a free one. (It's not brilliant, but it works. I may upgrade eventually.)

For Bellisseria, there is also this map (with SLURL links) to "Landmarks" of the continent, including a variety of rez zones for both land and sea, as well as public areas. This one is badly out of date, but it works well for the western part of the continent -- if anyone knows of a more recent one, I'd love to see it.

https://thebellisserian.wixsite.com/news/landmarks

Also, Bellisseria has very tight turns. And a lot of roads that go nowhere. And frankly, a lot of the streets look identical to each other. I very much like driving there, but I've found that it's really useful to have your map open while driving so you aren't continually getting lost or wandering down dead ends.

But that is half the fun. Party pooper. :P

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17 minutes ago, Selene Gregoire said:

But that is half the fun. Party pooper. :P

And the other half is driving off the road by accident and ending up in someone's very well-appointed dining room.

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1 hour ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

And the other half is driving off the road by accident and ending up in someone's very well-appointed dining room.

Well don't keep us in suspense. What's for dinner? I'm hungry!

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33 minutes ago, Selene Gregoire said:

Well don't keep us in suspense. What's for dinner? I'm hungry!

I'm not sure. I have to scrape it off my tires first.

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I think all the third party viewers allow you to display parcel boundaries on the minimap. It is more useful for sailors but still can be useful to help indicate likely rezz areas on a road.

One thing not mentioned in the guide is that reducing the number of scripts on your avatar can help with sim crossings. I don't in all honesty notice much difference between zero scripts and around the 30 I might carry if I was wearing a normal outfit, but it is something to think about if you are carrying a lot around or having problems. 

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2 hours ago, Branduff Bisnovat said:

I also wasn't sure if I was imagining things with the Belisseria roads or if it was just my vehicle.

It's not you. There was a discussion thread on this and a JIRA entry. (Anyone have the reference?)

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, animats said:

A good place to get a demo car is Burns sim, in Heterocera.

Another option for getting a free beginner's car - and one you can keep and rez eveywhere there's a rez zone - is to check out the Arcadia Asylum libraries. Arcadia's cars are 10+ years old so they may look a bit dated and they're also all in a rather grungy style. But they still look cool, are well made, handle sim crossings better than most modern cars and are among the easiest SL cars to handle.

Edited by ChinRey

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9 hours ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

I'm not sure. I have to scrape it off my tires first.

Oh yum! Road kill with seasoning!

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Posted (edited)

Good post. A few things I've found useful:

Experiment with your draw distance a bit. Too long and you obviously get issues, but too short can be sub-optimal as well. I do best at the Mainland at 128 - 136 m. Better at 152 than 96, actually. But the rule of dimishing returns applies, of course.

Finding the right bandwidth setting for you can actually make a noticable difference for SIM crossings. Enough info out there on that already.

Practice driving your vehicle at driving SIMs. It will make your Mainland driving experience much less stressful. And you might even find it enjoyable enough to want to get back there and beat your previous time :)

As has been pointed out in the OP, don't bring a racetrack vehicle to the Mainland. I mostly drive bikes, and while all bikes I have that make pretty decent times in driving SIMs are ACS/KCP,  I usually only use JFC or Moto Bazzi on the Mainland. So if your current bike/car seems too laggy, it might help to shop around.

Edited by HeathcliffMontague
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No mention of having a driver's license anywhere! Not sure if I want to be on the road in SL. Remember that dead alien? 

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12 minutes ago, Bree Giffen said:

No mention of having a driver's license anywhere! Not sure if I want to be on the road in SL. Remember that dead alien? 

I've changed lanes because of it :)

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6 hours ago, ChinRey said:

Another option for getting a free beginner's car - and one you can keep and rez eveywhere there's a rez zone - is to check out the Arcadia Asylum libraries. Arcadia's cars are 10+ years old so they may look a bit dated and they're also all in a rather grungy style. But they still look cool, are well made, handle sim crossings better than most modern cars and are among the easiest SL cars to handle.

Those old cars are cute, and free, but very slow. They drive at about avatar running speed. They do have some region crossing issues, but at that speed, the effects are so small you barely notice. I just drove one, the taxi, around Robin Loop, and it took about 3x as long as with a modern car. Easy to drive, but kind of boring.

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Posted (edited)

How to drive in Second Life!

184320644_937c40553b.jpg&f=1

Shown here is the tee at the infamous third hole of the Blake Sea Golf Course, par 267.

Edited by Lindal Kidd
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Posted (edited)
53 minutes ago, Lindal Kidd said:

How to drive in Second Life!

184320644_937c40553b.jpg&f=1

Shown here is the tee at the infamous third hole of the Blake Sea Golf Course, par 267.

Fair enough. Driving is kind of not that of a common thing.. But Animats' post here is actually pretty useful. If even experienced SL-ers find driving hard, how will drive-by SL-ers / potential new users experience it? :)

SL driving will always be a learning curve, but there is a lot of sosialising within that community. Lots of very helpful and welcoming folks as well  :)

Edited by HeathcliffMontague

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3 hours ago, animats said:

Those old cars are cute, and free, but very slow. They drive at about avatar running speed. They do have some region crossing issues, but at that speed, the effects are so small you barely notice. I just drove one, the taxi, around Robin Loop, and it took about 3x as long as with a modern car. Easy to drive, but kind of boring.

As an old gearhead, I love the slower cruising speed...plus the surroundings getting time to rezz 😎:D

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Posted (edited)

 

19 hours ago, animats said:

(snip)

 

- Circuit la Corse has a bridge in Fishers Rest which is too narrow even for microcars.  You either need to know where to turn off before you get there or get out and walk or teleport to the next rez zone.

- In much of Sansara continent, rez zones in the road are rare, so you have to look for resident-made rez zones alongside.

- When I was very new I found Jeogeot continent congenial for learning to drive because some of its rez zones are not at region borders.  Some have lay-bys too.

Edited by LibGwen
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Posted (edited)

Roads need to be half a region wide for me to be able to successfully navigate them.  I'm hopeless at controlling riding vehicles.

tenor.gif?itemid=8849534%E2%80%8B%E2%80%

Edited by LittleMe Jewell
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2 hours ago, LibGwen said:

- Circuit la Corse has a bridge in Fishers Rest which is too narrow even for microcars.  You either need to know where to turn off before you get there or get out and walk or teleport to the next rez zone.

It's not that bad.

narrowbridgecorsica1.thumb.jpg.79337e46bcf74d4d5e72046ac0422cfa.jpg

Sumi's dune buggy fits fine. One of the cars available in the Burns area. It's not hard to get this car across this bridge.

(The water area here is mostly privately owned with a narrow and irregular Linden-owned strip for the bridge. Hence the difficult bridge.)

 

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A tighter fit. Axtel's Autos is no more; this car was free when he was shutting down last year. This race car is for drifting, not for road trips. It is too hard to control to drive across this bridge without banging into the obstacles.This is what you don't want for driving on Linden roads. It belongs on a track.

 

2 hours ago, LibGwen said:

In much of Sansara continent, rez zones in the road are rare, so you have to look for resident-made rez zones alongside. 

Yes. Sansara and Zindra have very few Linden-sponsored rez zones on roads.

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12 hours ago, animats said:

(The water area here is mostly privately owned with a narrow and irregular Linden-owned strip for the bridge. Hence the difficult bridge.)

I've actually driven the Atomic Infinity Semi with 40' Trailer over this bridge, though it is a superior vehicle in controlling it (the trick is to go slowly and not have to hold the throttle button down, a.k.a. "cruise control".) I see this bridge as a fun challenge all the time. One of the very few things in SL that gives me enjoyment consistently.

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If only there was groups hosting events for Motorcycles such as races. People would care more about this.

However, there isn't any. Only "vehicles" I'd say worth buying are horses, Tharlarians (Raptor mounts), or tarns(Giant eagles) where all the competition to win L is at.

So for people wanting to do vehicles scripts should look at the Animals to compete in Jousting & Racing events..

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