The physics and scripting facets of Second Life are of sufficient flexibility to allow for the construction and more or less realistic operation of vehicles of all types. Planes and cars are very common.
A couple of months ago I bought (for 350 Lindens, a bit more than one US dollar) a very cool vehicle — an Argolas-brand hovercraft — from a place called Phase 5. The controls are simple to operate. After saying (via chat) the word “start”, the Page Up key ascends, the Page Down key descends, the Up and Down arrows control the throttle, and the Left and Right arrows steer. There’s also an “MouseLook” mode which lets it fly a lot faster, but I’ve yet to master it. It is also very easy to change the body color “on the fly” using a dialog box.
There’s a very simple text display of throttle setting, speed, and altitude. The Second Life UI shows the current region name and coordinates, making it possible to chart and then fly a course from point to point. Except for the fact that some Second Life regions are flagged as “no fly” by their owners, I can pretty much go anywhere I want.
The ship is “keyed” to my owner id so I’m the only one allowed in the pilot’s seat. Other Second Life citizens are free to hop on board without my consent (this happens pretty regularly) and the pilot can eject troublemakers at any time (Note to Boeing, please add this feature to the 787).
I’ve had a lot of fun flying around different parts of the Second Life landscape. I also used it to make a grand entrance to my talk last week, although I ended up leaving it hovering about 30′ above the ground in my haste to look cool!
Here are some pictures. First, the side view:
a ¾ view:
From the back:
In the cockpit:
Taking off from the Phase 5 airstrip:
Cruising above the Phase 5 sales lot:
Just flying around:
In the cockpit:
Overall, the value of this hovercraft, expressed in units of fun per Linden, is really, really high!