Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Penguins and balloons

Two quick notes:

1. I finally got my balloon vehicle autopilot to work - say "target theretra/200/200" and it locks onto the global co-ordinates of point [200,200] in Theretra, "auto on" and it starts to fly. In the right direction. Correcting the course if, say, you bounce off an object and start spinning, which was the hard part because to get a vehicle to move in a particular direction you need to take account of its facing as well, which means calculating the angle between the forward rotation and the vector to the target and turning that into another vector. Which means vector geometry, and while I could do that in my sleep when I was 17, now, I've forgotten an embarrassing amount of it.

There is probably an easy way of doing it with built-in rotation functions but I don't care, I've done it with a whole load of messy trigonometry and I'd rather not know that I was wasting my time, thanks.

It doesn't control your altitude. That, I decided, was not only going to make things harder but also be pointless, since on moving across the landscape you frequently encounter things of ridiculously variable height and need to move up and down to avoid them. Thus altitude is left under pilot control. It also has four silly-looking propellors which I may remove.

2. I have lost a heat-seeking penguin. It followed me into a restricted area with which I have been having trouble - instead of just not letting me in, that area tends to shoot me straight through it, make me sink through the ground, paralyse me or send me to another entirely different location, and it routinely sends any vehicle I happen to be riding right off the face of the virtual world and into my Lost & Found folder.

This sounds like some sort of imaginative and illegal security script but it's not; I'm fairly sure it's a bug, or a selection of them. Anybody who could write that sort of script wouldn't bother putting up the red lines around the property as well.

Anyway, my heat-seeking penguin disappeared. It is lonely and needs love and it will follow you around if you're not careful. Note to any Linden Labs employees or self-important unofficial game cops: it's not a griefing object, if you touch it it switches off. I was just playing.

If you find my penguin please send it home - I've not even saved it.


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