Non-Modifiable Content: Is the End Finally In Sight?

While there will always be a few stubborn holdouts, it appears that for boating and aviation, the battle for modifiable content has been essentially won. There are a couple of remaining creators that cling to leaving that Modify checkbox empty. But virtually all new entries into the market being pro-modify. And most legacy creators have been updating their mesh models to modify. The remaining creators will soon fade into irrelevance over a short time. For me, as far as aircraft and boats are concerned, victory can be declared.

The remaining battleground now is on ground vehicles. Until recently, the hope for cars from the major creators becoming modifiable looked dismal. While there are many modifiable ground vehicles available, until recently virtually all of them used the antiquated and apparently no longer supported ACS scripts. Most (not all) of these cars suffer from poor performance such as turning in place and difficulty to control. This is not so much due to the scripts themselves, but due to creators not effectively tuning the vehicle for proper performance.

But there is now a light at the end of the tunnel. As with boats and aircraft, it just took one of the major creator in ground vehicle manufacture to begin the move, along with a new creator in the market starting out with modify enabled. Prompted mostly by GTFO and continued market pressure, there are now several options for modifiable ground vehicles. Hopefully more will follow with new creators joining the market as well as more legacy creators accepting the fact that their creations will not self destruct in a great ball of fire if they go modify.

Below is a list of the recent releases that I am aware of for modifiable ground vehicles. I am sure more exist and will update this list as they are provided. Please note two things:

  1. Only creators that are using proprietary scripts will be included.
  2. This is not an endorsement of quality of the vehicle. Some of these I have not evaluated.
Name Creator
Infinity Freight Cabover Semi Truck v1.0 Atomic Infinity
Infinity Freight Flatbed Truck v1.2 Atomic Infinity
Lusch Motors – Stepvan Lusch Motors
Lusch Motors Scout Lusch Motors
Lusch Motors Hermes Lusch Motors
[:AT:] Wedge Vanish Aluveaux Technologies
VOLTA EV-C – Electric Vehicle JUPITER AG / 3DL
Wolf Tactics – W-160 Wrecker!* Wolf Tactics

* The Wolf Tactics Wrecker is not a new release but it otherwise meets the criteria for this list, so it is listed for honorable mention.

This may not be a comprehensive list. Please feel free to comment with information about other vehicles that are modifiable, use proprietary scripts and have quality LOD and builds worthy of mention.  Going forward this list will be limited to three vehicles per creator as I hope we will see many more options for modifiable vehicles.  Also, please remember that scripts are usually never modifiable and with good reason. So modify only applies to the build itself.

Note About ACS Scripts

Again I do acknowledge that there are many creators out there making cars with ACS scripts. Some may be fairly well done. But the reality of ACS is its latest version has been considered a “beta” since 2014 and therefore it should be viewed as unsupported.

If someone has an ACS based vehicle that they are determined is of the quality that meets the par of the above creators I would be happy to give it a test ride and consider a review.

What Makes A Vehicle High Quality?

Sadly, some SL limitations prevent any car or truck perfect in SL. For example, I have yet to find any car or truck in SL that is easy to get aligned to a straight road. The arrow control just does not seem to have the sensitivity for that. Further, region crossings seem to be much more painful on cars than they do on planes. That seems counter intuitive. But it seems to be an unfortunate reality.  So some criteria are relative to what appears to be technically possible.

  • It will not turn left or right when it is not moving forward or backward. Way too many lower end cars do that in SL.
  • When moving forward, it will turn realistically. Not either take an entire road to turn, or turn at a sudden 90 degree move.
  • Realistic engine sounds.
  • It will remain solid when pulling back the camera view. So many cars in SL start seriously decomposing two mouse wheel clicks back from the default view.
  • Easy to control settings both through gestures and hud.
  • Quality UV mapping for easy painting, along with release of UV maps in PSD format.
  • Extra points:  Retains miles traveled, adjustable steering sensitivity, reverse camera view when backing up, edit mode to make sure added prims don’t mess up the build.

LOD Soapbox

Please don’t bother with “increase your LOD setting”. Nope. Not going to do it. There are plenty of vehicles that are built correctly using all four LOD model settings such that they do not turn into triangles at the first level of detail transition. So there should be no reason for customers to have to increase their lag to accommodate creators not making a proper mesh.

Closing Notes

The presence of Lusch Motors and Jupiter AG on the above list marks special significance. As part of the NTBI Group, they are really the first of the major creators of cars and trucks to start moving toward modifiable content. While they have not released modifiable updates of their legacy vehicles still being marketed, perhaps as they begin to roll out improvements this will be considered. And with any luck the remaining NTBI Group members will follow suit.

Don’t underestimate the effort. It is easy to just flip on the modify flag. But these two creators took the extra step to add protective measures to help making added prims less likely to break the vehicles. This demonstrates a special care for a quality experience but it is an extra effort that shows great concern for customer satisfaction.  That said, even if a creator is not willing to go through that, I’d prefer they all flip on the modify flag. But making this kind of effort to not only provide what most customers want and going to the extra effort to make it even easier is even more laudable.

A big shout out of thanks to Owen Lusch and Lyte Rae for taking this brave step. This is a win-win for these creators and the market.

If you are looking for quality built cars or trucks, please consider these creators. They have taken the steps to give the one thing that almost everyone in SL that uses moving vehicles has been shouting for over the years. Lets make sure to let them know their efforts are worthy of our rewards!

Until next time, blue skies, fair winds and safe roads!