In these notes…
- GETTING STARTED
- CONTROLLING YOUR BLIMP
- USING CHAT COMMANDS
- USING THE HEAD-UP DISPLAY (HUD) ATTACHMENT
- PAINTING YOUR BLIMP
- CREATING YOUR OWN TOURS
1. Drag the Terra Aerius from your Inventory window to the ground.
2. Right-click the Aerius and choose “Get In”. The first avatar to sit will get into the pilot’s seat.
3. Say S or START to start the engines.
4. Fly the blimp using the keyboard controls: use Page Up (or E) to go up; use the left/right arrow keys to steer; use the up/down arrows to increase/decrease throttle.
Controlling Your Blimp
Fly your Aerius blimp using keyboard controls.
Up and down arrows (or W and S keys)
Increase or decrease throttle to control speed.
Left and right arrows (or A and D keys)
Page Up and Page Down (or E and C keys)
Go up and down.
NOTE: You can also control altitude with chat commands.
Using Chat Commands
Opens the options menu.
CAM <camera number>
Sets the dynamic follow-camera, where the cameras are numbered between 0 and 7. Example: say CAM 3 for a long distance view. CAM 0 sets the camera to a fixed point behind the gondola.
Apply a texture to the blimp’s tail fin. This is useful for showing a group or business logo. A UUID is an 36-character code that identifies a texture. To get one, do this:
1. Right-click a texture in your Inventory and choose Copy UUID.
2. In the chat bar, type DECAL, then a space, then press CTRL+V to paste the UUID, then press Enter. The command should be all on one line.
Example: DECAL 7037e556-4bb4-119f-5ad6-c650a8f0a5a9
Ejects everyone from the vehicle.
Gives a copy of this notecard.
LOCK <lock mode>
Choose who can fly your blimp. You can allow anyone to fly or lock it to group-only or owner-only. Lock modes are: LOCK ANYONE, LOCK GROUP, and LOCK OWNER.
Toggles the solidity of the blimp. In “phantom” mode, the blimp (but not its avatars) will pass through solid objects. This is useful if your blimp gets stuck on an obstacle.
Starts or stops the engine (toggle).
Starts the engine.
Stops the engine.
These commands set the “Target Altitude”: the height that the blimp tries to achieve. To return to manual altitude control after giving one of these commands, tap one of the keyboard altitude controls (Page Up or Page Down).
ALT <target altitude>
Ascend or descend to the specified altitude in meters. Example: say ALT 300 to go to 300 meters altitude.
UP <number of meters>
Ascend the specified number of meters. Example: say UP 20 to ascend 20 meters.
DOWN <number of meters>
Descend the specified number of meters. Example: say DOWN 20 to descend 20 meters.
Descend to landing. Blimp will continue to descend until you press a keyboard altitude control.
Using the Heads-up Display (HUD) Attachment
Terra Aerius includes a control and instrumentation attachment called a “HUD”. Like other HUDs in SL, when you wear it, it attaches to your screen instead of your avatar, so it becomes part of the SL interface. You use the HUD to control your Aerius and to get information such as speed, altitude, and throttle.
1. To get the Aerius HUD, say BLIMP to open the blue pop-up menu, then click “Get HUD”.
2. While sitting in the blimp, click the HUD’s “Engine” button to start the engines. After a moment, the HUD will light up.
Use the numbered buttons on the HUD to set the blimp’s target altitude. For example, if you click “+50”, the blimp will rise 50 meters from your present altitude.
Painting Your Blimp
The Paint menu gives you the ability to color the hull and gondola separately from a preset list of colors. You can add your own colors to the list by editing the “paint” notecard. You can also apply your own paint textures to the hull or choose from a selection.
NOTE: When you apply color to the hull, it tints the base paint texture, causing sometimes unexpected colors to display. To preserve a paint texture’s actual colors, use “white” as the hull color — it is neutral and will not alter the texture color.
Applying a color
1. Say PAINT in chat. The Paint menu appears.
2. Choose which part you want to color: the gondola, the hull, or both.
3. Use the “<- Clr” and “Clr ->” buttons to browse the selection.
Adding a color to the list
1. Right-click your blimp and choose Edit.
2. In the “Content” tab, double-click the “paint” notecard.
3. Add your color anywhere in the list, making sure that you format it *exactly* as the others are. The format is:
So for example, to add bright pink to the list, add this line:
4. Click Save. The blimp reloads the colors automatically.
IMPORTANT: Do not leave any blank lines in the notecard, even at the end, or the notecard will fail to load.
Applying a paint texture to the hull
1. Say PAINT in chat. The paint menu appears.
2. Click *Hull*.
3. Use the “<- Paint” and “Paint ->” buttons to browse the selection.
Adding a hull texture to the list
You can use any texture in your inventory. You can find the Terra Aerius texture templates at http://cubeyterra.com/support.
1. Right-click your blimp and choose Edit.
2. Click the “Content” tab.
3. Drag a texture from your Inventory window to the Content tab. The blimp reloads the textures automatically — your texture is now available in the Paint menu.
I do not recommend manually texturing your blimp unless you are very familiar with SL’s edit tools. It’s easy to spoil a blimp by applying textures incorrectly, such as failing to use “Select Texture” or “Edit linked parts” in the edit window.
Creating Your Own Tours
IMPORTANT: This section is for SL residents who are comfortable with some advanced tasks, such as text copy/paste, editing notecards, and SL’s grid coordinate system.
The Aerius blimp reads a list of global coordinates (and other data) from a notecard, then flies to each location until the last one is reached. The blimp will even fly itself along the route with nobody on board. You can create your own tour by editing the waypoints in the notecard.
Tours are a strict “point-to-point” path that can span several regions (sims): it simply points itself at the next waypoint and goes. Upon reaching the waypoint, it turns immediately towards the next one until it runs out of waypoints.
WAYPOINT SPACING. Waypoints can be spaced up to 500 meters apart. You can space them less than 10 meters in some cases, but it may become confused and skip waypoints inappropriately, or even get stuck trying to reach a waypoint.
OBSTACLES. Although you *can* place waypoints farther apart than 500 meters, the chance of encountering an obstacle increases with distance. You never know when someone might decide to build a skybox in your flight path. The blimp has no obstacle avoidance ability, which means that your route will have to be carefully plotted along the safest path.
OPTIONAL LOOPING. If you want, you can put “LOOPING=TRUE” in the “waypoints” notecard, and the blimp will keep restarting the tour until you tell it to stop.
Tour chat commands
These commands start and stop the tour. Stopping the autopilot also shuts off the engines. If you are a long way from the first waypoint, the blimp will say so. The farther you are from the first waypoint, the more likely it is that you will encounter an unexpected obstacle.
Say this to get your current location as waypoint data. The blimp says your global position in this format:
Throttle is a number between 1 and 10, where 10 is the fastest. The default is half speed (5).
Comments are any text that you want the blimp to say in chat when it reaches the waypoint. Make the comments extremely short because the script memory is very limited.
Creating a tour
To be safe, I suggest that you drag a copy of the “waypoints” notecard to your Inventory for safekeeping, and edit that copy. There is less chance of losing your work that way. You can replace the “waypoints” notecard in the blimp when you’re done editing. The notecard must be named “waypoints”.
In the notecard, a each waypoint is a line that begins with “WP=”. To add waypoints, add a new line that starts with “WP=”. The blimp will give you the correct format, as we will see in the following steps.
1. Start by deleting all existing waypoints (the “WP=” lines) in the notecard. Let’s start fresh.
2. Put your blimp at the start location, get in and start ‘er up. Fly manually to the first waypoint.
3. At your first waypoint, say WP in chat. The blimp replies with your current global location in correct waypoint format. Copy this line into your notecard. The waypoint will look something like this:
Each value is separated by the pipe character, “|”. Do not use spaces.
4. Verify that the altitude (the third value) and throttle (the fourth value) are correct. Replace the name of the region with any comment that you want the blimp to say on reaching the waypoint. Example of the previous waypoint after editing altitude, throttle, and comment:
WP=256214.578125|255456.875000|740|8|Below us, you can see Abbotts Aerodrome!
5. Fly straight to the next place where you want to create a waypoint and repeat the WP command. Remember that tours fly straight point-to-point lines, so make sure that the path between one waypoint and the next is clear of obstacles.
6. When you have finished adding waypoints, replace the waypoint notecard in the blimp: Delete the waypoint notecard from the blimp’s Content tab, then drag the one you have edited from Inventory to the blimp.
7. Right-click the blimp and Take it into Inventory to ensure that you don’t lose it.
You’re ready to test your tour! Go to a location near the first waypoint, rez your blimp, and start the tour with the AP START command.
Troubleshooting a tour
Issue: Blimp flies right past the waypoint without turning.
Solution: This can happen if your blimp flies too low over “no-script” land. Sometimes entire regions can have the scripts turned off. If the autopilot script can’t run, it will never turn. Make sure that the path between waypoints is free of no-script land, or if that’s unavoidable, plot the waypoints high enough so that you’re above the effect of “no-script” (I think that’s about 50m or so).
Issue: My blimp keeps getting returned with a message about going off-world.
Solution: Your tour flies too close to the edge of the map. If it touches the map edge and nobody is aboard, SL will return your blimp to your Lost and Found. Plot a new course that’s farther from the map edge.
Issue: Blimp keeps getting returned to my Lost and Found with a message about a parcel.
Solution: This is one of the hazards of owning an autonomous vehicle. Some parcel owners set their land to block object entry. Sometimes parcels are simply too full.
If the parcel is set to block object entry, plot a new course around the parcel. If the parcel is too full, try making the blimp “temp-on-rez”. Full parcels can usually handle a temp object sailing overhead.
Issue: Blimp keeps getting stuck on objects.
Solution: Make your blimp “phantom” (say PHANTOM in chat). That means that it will pass through solid objects (but not the ground). A limitation is that passengers in the blimp will remain solid, so you can’t actually fly through a wall, for example, if anyone is aboard.
Issue: My blimp keeps going missing.
Solution: Possible reasons this might happen…
* Someone hopped in, turned off the autopilot, and flew it manually for a while.
* A landowner grabbed it and returned it to your inventory.
* A sim crashed while the blimp was in it.
For any of these issues, I suggest using a Terra Perma-rezzer, which is included with the blimp. It’s a small prim that can re-rez the blimp if it goes missing. If you use a perma-rezzer with the blimp, make sure the blimp is also phantom and temp-on-rez, to avoid problems of multiple airships accumulating in one spot.
Issue: My blimp is pointing in the wrong direction when it ends the tour.
Solution: The blimp always points towards the next waypoint, so to make it turn, add another waypoint just to one side, with the throttle set very low. The blimp will turn to face that waypoint.
Issue: I keep falling out of my blimp when I pass through a sim corner.
Solution: Avoid sim corners. Plot your tour around them. This isn’t so much a blimp issue as it is a fundamental flaw in SL.