BY GUEST WRITER SLATE MCLEOD
It’s funny how reading one blog can lead on to reading another. I read one of Shauna’s yesterday, and below it was a link to a related article by Jellie Arrowmint written in 2011. It described her attempt to get to as high an altitude as she possibly could in SL.
Jellie reached a respectable 100,000 meters plus before getting bored and crashing back down to Earth.
Jellie had been inspired to attempt this by an even older blog written by Outy Banjo in July 2006. SL Physics was very different then, and Outy had used a modified “orbiter” weapon to propel himself to an amazing 1,010,994,688 metres – at which point he just stopped. The introduction of the Havoc 4 Physics engine by Linden Labs in 2008 changed all of that.
Since Havoc 4 the furthest an Orbiter or any scripted object will propel an avatar is a mere 5000 metres if you’re lucky.
Inspired by both Outy’s original trip into the unknown, plus Jellies’ 2011 adventure, I decided it would be fun to see just how “high” I could get in SL (without the use of hallucinogenic drugs!) and of course the best low lag place to attempt it was the Penny Lane sim.
I knew that the 1,010,994 kilometres that Outy Banjo had reached with SL’s Havoc 1 physics was going to be unobtainable. But never-the-less, I thought I would try and set the record for Havoc 4 physics in the modern day 2013 version of SL.
I started my journey at 15:30 SLT time on the 16th April. I was travelling at approx 1000 metres per every 3 seconds. When I checked my altitude 7 hours later I had just passed the 1 million metre mark and was still gaining altitude.
In order to try and boost my speed I attached some “flight enhancers” I had adapted many years ago. I am not actually sure if they are helping or not as originally I made them back in the havoc 1 days. They used to give me super flying speeds. Still – every little bit helps I decided, and strapped a flight band to each of my arms and legs. If nothing else they will take me past the pathetic 5000 metre mark which is how far an avatar can fly in SL without the use of any flight enhancements.
According to the SL Wiki the “ceiling” of the SL world with its current physics is 2,147,483,647 meters – or 2,147,483.65 km. That’s an amazing 1,136,489 KM greater than Outy Banjo reached in 2006 – so in theory his record can now be beaten – but with havoc 4 physics it would take you (approximately) – 948 hours of constant flight – or 39.5 days !!! However, it is an impossible feat as weekly rolling sim restarts would kick your avatar off the grid !
The average distance between the Earth and the Moon is 384,403 km and originally it was my aim to try and match that target distance. I soon realised I had set my sites way too high though. Even moving at 20,000 metres a minute it would still have taken seemingly forever, and I have a busy SL social life!
All was pretty normal up to and just over 1 million metres. After that things got a little weird. Even though I was clearly still getting higher the SL moon remained in exactly the same position for hours. It is clearly just an image painted on to the sky as I had always guessed. Down below me the land was just pitch black, and had dissappeared hours ago. Taking my finger off the Page Up key momentarily, I expected to hover, but instead continued to rise upwards (but more slowly), which was a bit of a surprise ! It was as if there was a gravametric force pulling me up.
It took me 15 hours to reach the height of 2157341.75 metres. By that time my avatar (and even name tag) had completely dissappeared from my screen along with any prim parts I was wearing. The screen “shook” as if I was passing through the sound barrier in an air plane. This video below was taken at 2.5 Million metres plus, and not long before I decided to quit.
You can see one bright star just below the moon that seems to have a life of its own, bouncing around in a different pattern to the rest.
I tried some tests at this height. Teleporting another avatar I thought had worked, but the other avatar only arrived at a height of 8,192 metres (way way below me) which I guess must be the maximum height a Teleport can work. A landmark also failed. Upon using the LM it would only TP an avatar to a mere 4096 metres. Nothing would rez at this height of course, and not even releasing a particle stream from an object I was wearing had any effect. It is just sheer nothingness at that height, the moon and stars your only companion.
Well I didn’t hit my target…but I did reach 2.6 MILLION metres above SL. I hope thats a record for Havoc 4 physics. In total I was flying for a total of between 22 – 23 hours.