More Phunny Physics

As I’ve mentioned before, having actual physics (with gravity and friction and collisions and stuff) in a virtual world (especially one with dynamic and unpredictable content) is really hard, and Second Life has compromised by having just enough physics to make some common things (falling, driving vehicles) work well enough to make us happy, and leaving much of the rest of the physics pretty strange and random. So except for AVs and vehicles and a couple of other narrow examples, very little of what we see in SL is actually subject to physical law.

It occurred to me the other day that one fun physical thing to make would be a simple chain. So I did.

Experiment with Physical Rings 1

“Look,” I am saying to myself up in my unwalled sky-laboratory, “I have made a chain of rings!”

The top chain in the picture is nonphysical, so it stays just where it’s put, floating there. The other four are physical, and they swing freely.

A few days later:

Experiment with Physical Rings 2

“Egad,” I say to myself, “the physical rings are gone! How can this be? Where have they gotten to? Perhaps I should have done this experiment in a ground-level laboratory that had walls!”

I get out a hoverdisc and an object-scanner, both of my own devising, and go ring-hunting. I find the first one quickly:

Experiment with Physical Rings 2b

It is sitting down below my sky-laboratory, right next to the 100m flagpole that leads up to it, hovering motionless in the air, and no longer physical. Don’t know how it managed to get detached, or what could have turned off the physical bit.

I continued hunting, and two of the others were also non-physical and also in midair, somewhat lower down, apparently embedded in a neighbor’s banline wall.

I eventually found the last one, maybe 100m away horizontally, lying on the ground on someone else’s parcel, still physical.

Very very odd!

I have nothing very profound to say about this, except that one should obviously not expect things held together by mere physics to stay together, even if they are (for instance) a set of linked solid rings. I don’t know how long it took them to uncouple, or what did it. They were as far as I know not subject to wind pressure, nor were they set to “allow anyone to move” which might have allowed a passerby to give a good stiff yank. Although I suppose someone simply flying into them at high speed could have imparted enough energy to defeat physics engine and unlink the rings.

Should have left a videocamera going…

5 Responses

  1. lol, how very random!

  2. this makes me think, once again, that Douglas Adams would have loved SL. :)

  3. Fascinating. I like the grid.

  4. As you may notice as the rest of SL so its physics is only simulation… and sometime simulation goes wrong… this is what happned ;-)

    But still… to quote D. Adams: “… hanging in the air like big bricks wouldn’t …”

  5. Thanks! Yeah, I realize SL is simulation. :) This is just an example of an interesting unexpected (and arguably wrong) thing that it does.

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