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Moriash Moreau: My Second Life
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Well, after procuring a little extra prim land (thanks to a land swap with Walker), I've finally taken on a project I've been kicking around since Babel Two in last year's Burning Life. The old SkyLounge has been converted from an arbitrarily hanging skybox to a four kilometer tall tower.

The top of the tower is substantially the same, save for the addition of the dome and aerial at the top. The tip of the needle is at 4,106 meters, or 4,060 above ground. (I equipped the needle with a flashing warning light, for no good reason. Any high-flying plane would evaporate a fraction of a second after exceeding 4096 meters.) I won't say this is the tallest structure on the grid (I know better than to claim the first, biggest, or best anything in SL!), but it's the tallest I've ever seen or heard of, anyway.

By my rough calculations, the tallest possible normally constructed tower would be a couple centimeters shy of 4,133 meters high, assuming it was built on land lowered to nearly zero elevation, and was capped by a linked object (using all the tricks for maximizing link distance) with its root insertion a hair below 4096 meters (the absolute build limit). You might be able to squeeze a few more meters out of it with various prim-twisting tricks on that last prim, as well. I honestly don't feel the need to scramble for that last few meters, and my sim wouldn't allow me to terraform my land that low even if I did. If someone really wants the height record, well, they can have it.

And, of course, one could outright cheat and use a 65,636 meter tall megaprim. I assume that's the max size for such a hack. That's the largest I've ever seen, in any case. (Oh, darn, only 65.6 kilometers across. Why bother?) If it was placed with its root at just below 4096 meters (the build limit is determined by the prim's insertion point), that would allow someone to create an unadorned, single-prim tower up to 36,864 meters tall (assuming zero ground elevation). Said tower would just be a simple solid, with nothing on the top. You can't link to anything greater than 32 meters away, center-to-center, and anything rezzed on top of it would instantly disappear. It would, indeed, be 36-and-change kilometers tall, but it sure wouldn't be all that useful or interesting when all was said and done.

And it would also wreak utter havoc (or should I say Havok?) with physics, and probably get slapped down by the Lindens. Unless you're on your own private island, megaprims are verboten. I find myself wondering how one would even get to the top of said tower, in any case. No known teleporter or elevator scheme will reach anywhere near that high, and orbiters are too unpredictable for such duty. (You'd have to be darn good at scripting ballistics, and have an exceedingly low-lag sim, to consistently hit a target a few meters across from 30-some-odd kilometers below.) I believe map-based teleportation is limited to a few thousand meters up, as well. I suppose they'd have to hand out flight-assist attachments at the door.

In any case, I'll stick with my humble four kilometer tall monument to bragging rights. There's plenty more to do on this without scrambling for every inch.

Here's the base of the tower. Not much to look at, now, but I'm kicking around schemes for improvement. Given that it's nestled between a giant no-entry'd prim hedge, a wooden privacy fence, and a meters-tall cliff, I don't feel too bad about putting in such a lackluster base structure for the time being. I'll probably expand the entry lobby at some point in the near future. It has a nifty irising automatic door, in any case.

You may have noticed that the base doesn't match the top of the tower. That's because the tower rezzing apparatus does some texturing on the fly. Each segment checks its elevation on rez, and adjusts its shade based on height (higher is lighter). So the tower gradually fades from black to white as elevation increases. It also adjusts the inside diameter, getting narrower as it goes. Then the script deletes itself from the segment's inventory, to save on lag. You have to think of such things when you're building a structure out of 400+ scripted components.

As with all extreme altitude builds, this one is vulnerable to sim restarts. Anything above 2000 meters (or so my experiments show- not 2048 meters- odd!) disappears on a reboot. So I've had to add yet another maintenance robot to the SkyLounge staff. In addition to the rez rocket that periodically checks on the SkyLounge itself, and the device that rezzes the radio tuner (which had to be group owned in order to change the media streams on my group land), I've had to add a widget that wanders the length of the tower checking for missing segments. These three devices alternate, and run at several minutes between cycles. My neighbors may lynch me for erecting a superscalar phallic symbol in my back yard (sometimes a four kilometer tall tower with a big knob on the end is a just a four kilometer tall tower with a big knob on the end), but at least they'll be able to do so in a low lag environment.

I had to do a little remodeling on the first floor to make room for the altered method of entry. Those of you who've visited may remember that the old SkyLounge was entered via a balcony on the third floor. Now, the elevator takes visitors up through the center of the tower, and drops them off on the first floor. This meant removing the giant pine tree from the center of the garden area to make room for entry. This was unfortunate, and I almost scrapped the project for this reason alone. But, finally, I decided that I was sick of the tree disappearing and waiting for me to return. (There's a long-standing bug that prevents trees from being rezzed by script when the owner is absent. Given the other issues in SL at the moment, I don't see that one being given priority any time soon.) The big pile of bare dirt looked pretty odd if a visitor arrived before I could log in and re-rez the trees again. I've left the shrubbery, even though it, too, is volatile due to the tree rez bug. I'll replace the donut-shaped mound of dirt with something else (perhaps a fish pond), eventually. The prim sculpture garden doesn't look too bad without them, in the interim.

Next up, I'll be fitting out the ground level with something a little more appealing. Then I'll expand the third level (the free form "holodeck" space) with a few more programs. The never-used stage area is getting kind of old. I'm looking into a particle-based fireworks system (something like Jopsy Pendragon's fireworks show, although I have little hope of matching her artistry), and maybe a sky diving center. Lots of potential here.

Addendum, 11:43 pm

Revamped the base of the tower this evening. I think this looks quite a bit better. Now I just need to furnish it.
dayummm Mori :)

Yer like INSANE but not like in the Brace Coral way - like INSANE COOL dude!

Great pics of the phal-errm tower! (sorry, long tall shiny sticky uppies get me all lathered ups)

Dude!! yer crazy, man!! Congrats on finishing the project :D
Thanks! I'm still working out some details- like what to do with the giant empty space inside the base structure- but I'm pretty pleased with it so far.

Heh, yeah, the same thought occurred to me. I actually got as far as designing the base structure using two giant geodesic spheres, and landscaping the area with copious shrubbery, but I chickened out at the last minute. :-)

good thing you DID chicken out tho darlin - LL has a thing about sticky uppies too and you don't wanna GO THERE with them folk.

(deletion of the winky shaped store, consternation over "the waters of life" giant winky fountain build etc)

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