Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Pele Blows Her Top!

Written 23 June, 2010

Pele Blows Her Top!

The powerful and capricious volcano Pele takes up the entire southwest quarter of Whimsy. Most of the time she simmers, smoking and rumbling. Occasionally, just to show she's awake, she'll throw a few red-hot, smoking lava boulders, but most of the time she behaves unless you specifically ask her to erupt.

Not tonight.

When I landed at the sim's entrance I was immediately struck by a rolling boulder. I didn't think much of it, but thirty or so seconds later I was hit by another. And yet another.

Hmmm. That wasn't right. Unless Pele was erupting-- and she wasn't-- she was programmed to throw a few rocks every 15 minutes on average. This rock shower was continuous.

At first I thought someone was using one of the HUDS I designed; they let you toss rocks singly and in bunches from a safe spot in the air-- but I've given only a few of them out, and no one was on the sim. Hmmm.

The flying rocks originate from a half-dozen emitters hidden beneath Pele's lava pool. Each is set to a different high-number channel and responds to specific words, so the chances of something or somebody deliberately or accidentally triggering them is remote. And yet the rock rezzers were going like crazy.

I used my Mystitool to scan all three sims to 4096 meters to make sure no one besides myself was on the estate. Nope, it was just me.

Next, I checked to be sure no strangers had left prims on the land. Nope, all three sims were clean.

I thought for a moment-- not an easy thing to do when rocks are tumbling all around you and occasionally landing on you-- and set my Mystitool's listener to one of the channels used by the launchers. Immediately I saw an object issuing "fire" commands. But hmmm, how could that be? It was just a sign that gave a landmark when touched. I checked; the script was a simple "give object" script I had written myself. There was no way it could be triggering the rocks.

I wasn't sure if the Mystitool was confused or if I was miseading the object chat, but when I started to get "fire" messages from a half-dozen objects that absolutely couldn't be issuing such commands, I went back to the drawing board.

On adjacent Whimcentricity there's a sign that, upon touch, will drop hot lava rocks all over the sim. They come down almost vertically, as if they were launched by an eruption on distant Pele.

I remembered that when I put in the script I had placed a script in a kelp plant midway between the Whimcentricity trigger prim and Pele; the script would listen to the prim that launched the rocks on Whimcentricity and yell the Pele launch command on the appropriate channel. That would allow the launchers on Pele to hear the touched object and, although several hundred meters away and on another sim, launch rocks at the volcano whenever rocks fell on Whimcentricity.

I touched the sign on Whimcentricity and got the expected rock shower. Then I flew over to Pele to see rocks still flying about madly.

Finally, in exasperation, I removed the relay switch from the kelp plant. This meant that the launchers at Pele, being more than 96 meters from the trigger on Whimcentricity, wouldn't hear the trigger prim and wouldn't react.

I reached Whimsy just in time to see the last rocks launched tumbling down the smokes.

I'm not quite sure what happened, but at least Pele has gone back to sleep.

You know, though, I think she was just pissed off about something and decided to show her temper.

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