Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Kitto Flora's Little Train

Pele Light Rail

Chey and Her Friend Melissa Discuss Rail Routing
Written 14 March, 2007

Kitto Flora’s Little Train

A week or so ago, after my Sweetie was long abed (I don’t start work until noon, so her bedtime is earlier than mine), I took myself out exploring.

Somehow I found a new welcome area, a ski lodge. As there was the usual level of stupidity abounding, I walked out onto the road that ran past and followed it, walking, walking, walking.

It ran on and on, across sim after sim, winding along, with occasional intersections with other roads.

Aside from the usual weirdness when crossing sim boundaries (my hair, shoes, and gadgets all got stuck up my ass at least once), it was an uneventful and even boring walk. I was seeing nothing of any particular interest, and the avatars I passed on occasion weren’t particularly friendly.

Camping chairs would have been more exciting than walking that road.

Finally, boredom overcame me and I took to the air.

I flew to the first large building I saw and landed on the deck.

It was a store that sold pose balls and sex beds.

I politely turned down a proposition from an Asian woman to “try” some pose balls with her (I’m almost sure it was a guy with lesbian fantasies), but did take her landmark to a place she had discovered, Kitto’s Toys, Webworm (11, 8, 96).

I’m glad I went, for there was the most delightful little train there, the sort one sees at amusement parks. I hopped on and rode around the rather extensive track layout, staying in mouse view most of the time.

I left with a note card from the creator, Kitto Flora, which described the capabilities of the train. And the next time I logged onto SL, I jumped to her property and bought a train in black—cheap at $2000 Lindens. I’ve since bought a second, in green.

Kitto’s train has a steam engine that can pull up to a dozen carriages, each of which can seat two avatars. Everything but the engine is copyable, including the carriages, the many different sizes and types of track and the switches and crossovers. This enables the purchaser to place track in any layout he or she wishes. The locomotive, smart thing that it is, follows the track.

If the train becomes confused—which it will, if there’s a discontinuity in the track, or if there’s major lag, it travels home. And when it does so, it flies up to 200 meters. It’s quite an experience to ride along as the engine takes to the air, finds its home, and descends perfectly onto its home position.

Kitto’s notecard claims his train is arguably the most complicated scripted physical object in SL. I expect so, for the train is not only able to find its way home on a sim—it can travel across sim lines—and it broadcasts its location to the owner, unless that option is switched off.

Kitto’s little train would make a sim-wide or multiple sim-wide transportation system, for switches can be set to allow it to at its stations long enough for avatars to climb on board or disembark—and the train will run on tracks from different owners.

As many as four trains can be run within chat range of one another; this is accomplished by changing the channel with a verbal command. There’s also an option to add your own logo to the train.

I’ve had great fun riding around Forsaken with my friends. It’s like being a kid again!

For now, the train just runs in a circle—but I’m giving considerable thought to extending the route along the bottom of the Forsaken River and around the Pele Gardens—and maybe halfway up Pele as well, as Kitto’s train will climb at a 45-degree angle.

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