Review -Airship Elara – Deluxe Model

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The Elara over the Blake Sea

Airship Elara – Deluxe Model – 100% Mesh

From : Starhelm Trading Company Victorian Steampunk Emporium
Sold by: Alexis Sommerfeld

Copy  – NO Modify – NO Transfer

This deluxe model has a land impact of 83

There is a model offered at lesser cost that has fewer bells and whistles but is still a work of art. That model has a land Impact of 57 for less than half the cost of the Deluxe.

There is also a demo available for 10 linden.

I have already left a short review in the marketplace ad for the Elara –Deluxe but thought I would perhaps talk a bit more  about this really great airship. Pictures do not do it justice but I will do my best.

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The Elara Deluxe is a very beautiful ship of manageable size and, for me anyway, one of the best flying scripts in use. (A bit more on that later) The build is truly gorgeous and the on board details and decore are great.  Attention to detail is clearly evident. Textures are first rate.

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Graceful curves and elegant wood and copper hull construction with carved wood on rails and pilot’s wheel, vintage lantern running lights, potted flowers on tasteful stands and a small rug at the pilot’s station add to the beauty of this oh so civilized and elegant airship.

Oh yes, there is a fancy hot beverage set just in front of the pilot to complete the look of the well to do adventurer with good taste. It even serves tea when clicked so the Adventurer on the go can remain civilized no matter where they might be. My passengers have all enjoyed taking tea while I see to their safe and enjoyable journey. I myself dedicate my attention to the vessel and maintain an eye for Air Pirates and the ever dreaded Air Kraken. That is why I leave the tea drinking until safely in port. Spilled tea could cause a nasty turn of events not to mention ruin a good suit so I am a firm believer in not drinking and flying.

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There is a basic HUD to start and stop the engines and even the HUD is done up in Victorian style. *A tip of the hat for attention to that detail. *

By sitting on the airship the pilot takes the wheel –remember to turn off your AO. You might not have an issue right away but sim crossings will often goof the animation and have you sitting in a most awkward position and not looking adventuresome or even mildly cool. Best avoided I say.

On start up the steam engine mounted in the stern behind the pilot chugs to life with moving flywheel and a suitable engine sound to add to the realism. For real sticklers on engines there could be some debate if this is a steam engine or an internal combustion engine due to the lack of a smokestack and perhaps the exact sound as it runs. I choose to think of it as a steam engine and its my ship so there. The propellers activate as needed to drive and turn the ship and it adds a certain degree of realism to see props actually speeding up or slowing down to match the desired maneuver. *note that if you do not see the propellers turning while moving a tap on the turn buttons to left and right will usually wake them up for me*

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Coming in low and slow to make the lighthouse keeper jump outta his skin. Its a great plan but we never pull it off cause Elvy always starts giggling and…..oh no wait…thats me. Its still a good plan and one of these days….BOOO!

There are three bench seats where up to 6 passengers can ride and as you go merrily along there is a vintage phonograph behind the pilot that can be activated to play a couple of tunes that fit the period. I found the tune “Coffee“ to be worthy of being a kind of SL anthem. The song extols the virtues of coffee AND pie! Two foods of the gods immortalized in song. I play it over and over until passengers start tossing things at me or threaten mutiny.

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Rawkin that coffee song

The ship itself crosses sim boundaries well but as air travelers in SL can attest script or physics laden guests might find that SL unceremoniously dumps them overboard. It is not a fault of the ship but rather all part of the fun and excitement in SL. It is suggested that passengers and crew pack light for the trip.

For those who like to experience their flight in mouselook for a natural and realistic view the Elara does have some limitations because of the wide deck. Looking down directly below or close to the ship can be problematic but the view is realistic as it would be if flying such a craft as you can see in the pictures below.

In SL, though, we have the option to set our cam to change our views so you have the ability to cam to a place and view that suits you. When piloting you will find that you might set your cam outside the ship to be able to do fine manoeuvring in tight spaces or landing. Remember though that when you push a control button you might find your cam trying to sneak back to the pilot’s default view.  For just sailing along enjoying the view mouselook gives a nice effect.

The ship is no mod and even though I tend to favour the ability to mod to give the Second Life Exploration Society Fleet some measure of a unique look I am so impressed with this build that I am happy to leave it as is and not quibble. Should I see another of these craft while out and about I will not be dismayed at our identical appearance but will instead cheerily wave and congratulate them on their obvious good taste in airships.  They are obviously an Adventurer of class and distinction with a taste for the finer things in life. A person of refinement  and with  a good head on their shoulders to have chosen so well. Just like me……………stop laughing you members of the Society I can hear you you know!

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Moonlight cruise

Now a bit of detail about the flight script and why i like it. It is not totally a unique format in SL with several airships in the fleet using something similar but the script as used in the Elara is a perfect match.

**NOTE – for those that like the mouselook view this is one of the few flight scripts that will allow you to operate the controls while in mouselook. That’s really nice. Most will bounce your cam back to a default setting outside of mouselook every time you try to steer or they refuse to acknowledge the helm unless you cam manually back out of mouselook.

W – is your forward gear and each successive tap on the W key will switch gears and you will go faster until you reach top gear.

S – is the reverse gear but remember in order to actually get into reverse you have to tap down through the forward speeds until you hit 0 speed and then each successive tap will get you going faster in reverse. Good to keep in mind all you daredevils out there. This craft does not stop on a dime nor is it a racer. A patient and moderate hand on the controls will give you the best flying experience.

This is evident too in turns. A and D are your left and right turning buttons.  If you hold the turn key in an effort to turn faster you will find yourself turning faster and faster to the point where over steering is not just a possibility but it is guaranteed and the continual wrestling with the ship to try to keep it on course can cut into your cool and collected Adventurer persona. Lag will only make it worse.  Take a deep breath and straighten your pith helmet and guide this vessel with a confident and restrained approach. Just tap, release and repeat  to get a gentle curving turn works well. You will also find that judicious taps on the opposite prop will help counter a drifting turn and in short order you will get the hang of it. It feels to me like how trying to steer with variable speed props would be so I like it for the realistic feel. Emergency turns are something that an experienced pilot can handle but learning to deal with them will mean a few embarrassing run-ins  with unintended targets. If you need to make a tight turn then slow or stop the forward action of the ship and make the turn without the stress or feeling that mashing one of the turn keys in a desperate attempt to make a high speed turn will actually save the day. It usually won’t.

The E button engages the gear to go up and like the W key successive taps will walk you up through the gears to maximum rise speed.

Tapping the C key walks you back down the gearing and will take you though the ascend gears to hover setting where you will maintain that altitude. Once at hover tapping the C button sets the descent speed.

The operator has to remember to be ready to apply the proper number of taps to control the speed and direction of motion or ascent and decent to their liking and there are messages in local chat from your airship that will keep you in the know. If you have tapped twice to ascend and are in essentially second gear going up and want to go down its going to take two taps of the descent button to get to neutral or hover and then the next tap will get the descent started.

It might sound complex but is actually quite easy and intuitive and it does not take too long to get proficient.

The interface allows for some pretty fine control on this ship as the speed settings are quite well set up. You can gracefully glide at tree top level with very tight manoeuvring possible once you get some experience. In fact it is not uncommon for me to take my passengers right down to near ground level to get a very impressive view indeed.

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Right about now is when Elvy is sweetly pointing out that we seem to be ever so slightly LOWER than the previously discussed and agreed upon “tree top level”. I am pretending I cant hear her over the steam engine.
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When I told Elvy we would get a little closer she didn’t imagine having to pick leaves and twigs out of her hair but this ship can get you close enough to touch stuff….if the stuff doesn’t touch you first. DUCK Elvy!……………………….great view though………are you impressed yet?

This is a ship you will be proud to own and show off so expect to be going on some sightseeing tours with friends. This type of flight script lends itself to enjoying the trip with them as it allows the driver to set a speed and then have a conversation with their passengers as the airship sails along. The flight scripts that call for continuous pressing the control buttons without option for autopilot make chatting while cruising pretty well impossible. This as an airship running on a steam engine so it is not one of those modern aether coronal discharge powered airships that lend themselves to giddy flights at high speed.  I have nothing against modern and can indulge in giddy on occasion but this is not the ship for that. You are out for an adventure but there is no need to be in a hurry. You should be taking your time and enjoying the quiet and sedate progress you make and good conversation is all part of that so a big thumbs up for being able to chat without undue fuss and bother.

You might even find yourself exclaiming  “I say!”, “Pip Pip!”, or maybe even “Huzzah!!” just because you are overcome with the feel of owning and flying such a posh conveyance.

I know that I am moved for this review to say “Bloody marvelous! And Huzzah! Job well done Captain Alexis of The Starhelm Trading Company Victorian Steampunk Emporium! Well done I say!

Your Servant

Paystreak

Lord High Commander

The Second Life Exploration Society

**Please note – I would say “Pip Pip” but for the life of me I cannot say that without cracking up

A few more pictures for fun:

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Reviews

These reviews are in a constant state of editing, at whim, to correct typos, change pictures and make revisions, additions, and generally mucking about with them.

I am hoping to review quite a number of varied things here from airships and other neat things to sims that are interesting and creative to……ok there are no rules …but I will do my best to keep them organized …..somehow.

Creativity

As I compile the pictures and data for some of the air ships and such that I will soon be reviewing and as I look at pictures taken from sites all over Second Life I am reminded over and over of the absolutely stunning creativity I see.

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Beauty everywhere at Da Vinci Gardens

When you look around this world it should never be forgotten that essentially everything you see was created by a resident of this world. The house, the trees, the clothes you wear and even the avatar skin and shape you are using. From tiny jewelry and micro machines to skyscrapers and mountain ranges some creative person learned the skills and applied the tools to be able to make it and deliver it to this world for us to use.

Linden Labs, the creators of Second Life, made a wise decision when they left it to the residents themselves to create their own world and supplied them with the tools and platform on which its all built. User driven content means that it is user pertinent content. The residents themselves are building what they want and can profit from that creativity by making it available to others who want it. By providing residents with a means to buy and sell goods and services the Second Life world makes it worth people’s while to create. It also motivates the people who benefit from that ready creative source to engage and utilize the resources the creators make for them. Thus the virtual world evolves towards better and better content.

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Airship over the Blake Sea

One other factor that will come into play, and I will have to work on how best to highlight that, is the creativity of the residents themselves. The people who build or acquire the things that they then use in creative ways to enhance this world. Their homes and lifestyles, their entertainment and their personal appearance. All offer potential for unique ways to use the items such that even  identical items can look vastly different when personal creativity has free rein.

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Elvy as a fairy right out of fantasy

In light of that I think that we will definitely be highlighting creative stuff in sim designs and creations both physical (if such can be called that in a virtual world) and cerebral. The thing is that since so much of the virtual experience is cerebral there is a lot of overlap between the virtual “things” and the cerebral. For example, you might go somewhere to attend a lecture on a subject you are interested in and the lecture is a creative work at the cerebral level but the facility you go to, the virtual building the landscape on the sim the very seat you might sit in was all created by someone and perhaps bought to be used to deliver the overall experience you enjoy. All of it coming together to create an immersive and more enjoyable experience. I almost said “real” experience but anyone who might have attended a talk by a 4 metre tall leather clad barbarian Minotaur in a lecture hall that looked like a roman ruin floating in outer space while sitting in an audience that could include humans with some  dwarves, elves , aliens  human/animal hybrids, mermaids, pixies and….and….lots of other “people” might have a fairly broad term of reference on the word “real”. Perhaps more “realistic” is an applicable term. So that Minotaur lecturer looks  more and more like a real Minotaur Lecturer would ..if, y’know,…….. Minotaurs were real…………and they gave lectures……Ok so aaaannnyyywayyy  the point is in SL they ARE real and getting realer by the minute and that’s good for everybody because so are the houses, the clothes, the avatars, the landscape and all the things that people need to make this virtual world better.

Be creative – support creative and our world thrives.

Best regards,

Paystreak

Lord High Commander

The Second Life Exploration Society

PS For those of you who think I made up the Minotaur Lecturer I offer the following proof I am not just high on helium from my airship.

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Not sure what the lecture is about and I came late so just gonna try to sneak in without anybody noticing
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This is about as close as I dare get but so far nobody has said anything so I am just gonna hunker down here and listen…..shhhhhhhh
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This zoom feature gets you right up close! Wow, you can see the pores on his skin and even his muscles have muscles. He reminds me of one of my University Profs except my Prof was human (I think) and about six feet shorter but almost as ugly and would get upset if he ever heard me whispering like this. This guy is so into whatever he’s blabbing about that he….
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OOPS! …time to leave!!!!

An Introduction

This will be the first of what I hope are many posts about things I find interesting in the virtual world called Second Life. For the most part this blog will deal with activities undertaken in my role as founder and dictator for life of The Second Life Exploration Society group.

This a very small and tight group of intrepid explorers who venture forth to check out the vast virtual world and share their impressions. Our motto – Ridiculum amplectuntur – Embrace the Weird.

As Lord High Commander I will document some of our findings and I hope that anyone reading this blog will get some small measure of enjoyment and perhaps education from these ramblings.

Since we, in the Society, are also Mentors I expect that many of the posts will be giving impressions on Noob friendly places for exploration and learning. At the very least perhaps a rating or warning about how Noob friendly it is and why or why not.

There will be a fair number of posts dealing with airships, balloons, zeppelins, dirigibles and blimps. Product reviews and such because the SLES has an entire fleet of them. I have been told that we have the largest single collection of them in SL and when we had a full prim sim to play with they were all out on display in what can only be described as….awesome! You can never have too many large lighter than air vessels I say.

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As Commander of the Fleet I will share my impressions of the various craft as well as on other interesting vehicles that tend to lean towards steampunk but there are no set rules on that.

We have a few vessels to choose from.

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Though we do get a kick out of Steampunkery because of the inventiveness and fun there is a lot more to Second Life than airships and steam powered machines…..I am sure there is. We will be checking it out.

Here is a pic of Elvy and I hanging out in Steampunk guise. Elvy is my Best Friend/Girlfriend/Fellow Founder of the SLES. She is the main reason I am grinning most of the time when goofing around in Second Life as she helps or hides at a safe distance, depending on circumstance, with whatever crazy project is afoot.

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Rumors of mushroom clouds and massive coronal aether storms from the vicinity of our corner of Second Life are pure falsehood…………………….ummmmmmm……………greatly exaggerated……….overstated…………………………..cannot be proven.

Best regards;

Paystreak

Lord High Commander

Second Life Exploration Society