01 September 2007

Flying high in Second Life

Second LifeIt's an often asked question, it even was in the SL knowledge base: How high can you fly?

Anybody older than one week will probably know you can get up to a few hundred meters, and even sink back a bit when releasing the PgUp key. Using special objects, such as a Flight Feather, you can get much higher and you'll discover the world you know on the SL ground is only the tip of the iceberg, there are skyboxes up to 700 meters high (iirc, 768m is the highest you can build, vehicles may go higher).

But even then, flying up is slow, and above 1000 meters terribly boring. Teleporting to higher altitudes also doesn't work. Most Residents will rely on eye witness accounts of avatars going higher than that. Back in 2004, a post about it was made on SLuniverse.com (now home of Snapzilla): "Exploring Second Life's Highest Frontiers".

Intrigued by paragraphs like "In the day skybox, blue sky contracts to a narrow, vivid line of blues, grays, silvers, and reds on the horizon, at about 500,000 meters. The sun shines overhead in a black sky," I wanted to see for myself, but all means I had were just too slow.

Until I got a b.places HUD, which allowed upwards speeds even unmeasurable to itself (it says I'm going at 250 meters per second, but I think 500 meters per second is more accurate). I now could fly to over 100,000 meters within a few minutes, I now could fly as high as I wished.

All the things I read in the SLuniverse post I didn't encounter at all, I suppose they were fixed in the 2.5 years since then. However, I did notice from about 20,000-30,000 meters, my avatar started to 'jiggle'. Going even higher explained why that happened, from about 100,000 meters, it is obvious the 'jiggle' is caused by a lower vertical resolution. So when my avatar's arms move just slowly up and down a bit, the lower resolution made fast, larger moves of that.

This vertical deterioration seriously deforms the avatar going up to 1 million meters height, causing the eyes to sometimes snap outside the head, makes the fingers flat as a pancake or thick as an elephant.

I didn't go higher than 1 million meters, as at about that point, the avatar just disappears and doesn't return, even after teleporting back to ground level. Only a relog fixes that. And apart from the avatar's deformation, I saw nothing change in the sky, the sun was bright as ever and the sky was blue.

However, I did want to share this experience with everybody, therefor I took a Snapshot at 38 positions, morphed them from one to another and made a video out of it:


Ayumi Cassini said...

Ah, that's interesting, I had no idea avatar gets a "new look" at certain heights :P But I guess same thing would happen if someone did that in RL... Fly up to Exosphere without any protection in form of a shuttle or a space ship of some kind - and then disappear in a black hole. If you ever try that in RL, please take snapshots as well, to share later ;) Many scientists will appreciate ;)

Daedalus Young said...

Hehe, well I wasn't planning on trying that in RL. Also because I can't fly. I suppose that's a good thing, knowing people will always try to get just a bit further than they can.

Ayumi Cassini said...

Your video was mentioned in Torley's QUICKTIP:
How high can you fly? :)

Daedalus Young said...

Oh cool, thanks for letting me know :) I had watched a few Torley Quicktips, but not that one :P He did tell he'd watched my video, but not that he'd mentioned it :P But it's cool anyway :)

Ian said...

Thanks for sharing..

But, it is weird for me, no matter how high i go, the sun is always up there instead of seeing it right infront of me..

I gave up around 10k to avoid deformation lol..

Daedalus Young said...

Thanks Ian,
I haven't tried this with the new atmospheric shaders (aka WindLight), but it should workthe same. If you set the Sun to 'Noon', it will be right above you. Sunrise or Sunset (or somewhere inbetween using custom settings) you should be able to get the Sun in front of you.
And luckily the deformation is only a temporary condition :)