The most recent release of the Firestorm viewer brings a new experimental feature for region crossings. Located in your preferences page at Move & View, Movement tab, is this new option, called Movement at Region Crossing:
As seen in the illustration, you have two choices:
- Predict (classic behavior)
- Stop (new behavior)
When Stop is selected, region crossing behavior changes from what we are used to. Instead of your client trying to predict the continued path of you or your vehicle (most often resulting in “rubber banding” back to the border once the hand off is complete), you actually will stop at the region crossing until the hand off is completed. While this usually brief pause can be a bit annoying, the theory is it is less impactful than the rather painful spin and sometimes very experience damaging rubber band effect.
This type of feature was coded directly into the Portland Trolley created Bibian and it worked quite well. So with this in mind, I chose three moving objects to test this feature:
- ATX-72 Commercial Airplane
- GEMC – Baiern Alpenjager Automobile
- Bandit Destino Cabin Cruiser
ATX-72 Commercial Airplane
As most people that have used this plane are aware, the ATX-72 has a very strong rubber band effect with most region crossings under normal conditions. I made two attempts to fly this plane from White Star Airfield to Delchdork Airport using Stop mode. The good news is that for at least 25 crossings, this plane handled totally smooth. The normal very painful snap back that plagues the ATX-72 did not occur.
The bad news is that during both flights, I was unseated from the plane between Venrigalli and Wolsing, which is the west side of Cheerport Airfield. Since both incidents occurred at the same crossing, this might point to a region crossing. Given the time required to reach that point a third time, I chose not to repeat this test in Predict mode during the test. But more on the basic issue later.
GEMC – Baiern Alpenjager Automobile
This car was chosen for no particular reason. I have found that of the professional grade auto makers, all of them seem to have similar experience with region crossings. Which is to say, not so great. With this car, I started out at Smugglers Port and began a run through the roads of the Heterocera Atoll. Number of region crossings in this case I can’t even estimate.
The trip was about 1/2 hour. No issues were encountered other than a little wild driving. Region crossings were totally smooth excepting the expected delay with the Stop mode. Essentially, it was a successful test and I found the delay at each crossing to be less painful than the rubber banding that frequently throws me off course when driving.
Bandit Destino Cabin Cruiser
This is where things became interesting. I had just purchased the Destino, so decided this was a good test run for it. Like with virtually all Bandits I have sailed or motored, the Destino performs admirably at region crossings with very little rubber banding. A fine boat it is. I motored out from the southwest corner of Nautilus near Half Moon Bay Airport eastbound through the Bingo Strait and down into the Sailors Cove sims.
All region crossings were smooth using stop mode, until I got to the crossing from Mumford Cove to Fanci Deep SW. At this crossing, as with the ATX-72, I and my passenger were both unseated. Since Mumford Cove is an open rez area, I decided to try the crossing again. Same result. Third time, same result.
So next test was to rez the boat and change mode to Predict (classic behavior) and try the crossing again. In Predict mode, I managed to pass the crossing and stay seated. However, immediately upon entry, it was clear the region was not up to par. The boat was sluggish at best, difficult to control and non-constant in speed. Clearly the region was having issues (note: while typing this article I was hovering in the region and it went down, which also supports this theory).
After finishing with Fanci Deep SW, I motored up the Coastal Waterway toward White Star, in predict mode, with no issues.
Summing It All Up
The above results, summarized to me, show that while Stop mode will help considerably with objects that have consistently bad region crossings, it seems highly vulnerable to entries into poorly performing regions. To summarize:
- Rubber banding of varying degrees depending on the craft being used.
- Less chance of losing the trip on an unstable region.
- Tolerate the guaranteed brief stop at each region crossing.
- Less able to withstand a crossing into a poorly performing region.
What is your choice?
For me, the answer is that for craft that do not have a bad rubber banding effect to begin with, Predict is probably the better choice. Why solve a problem that does not exist?
For craft that are susceptible to heavy rubber banding effect, accept the risk that you may lose the trip if you hit a bad region and use Stop mode.
As with all things SL, your mileage may vary.
Happy flying, driving, railing, sailing or whatever!