Friday, January 7, 2011

And Now a Few Words About Banlines

For those who wandered here from elsewhere, allow me to explain what banlines are.  They're an illusory form of security in Second Life.  A designated perimeter can be set to block specific people, everyone, everyone except friends, everyone except members of a group, everyone except those on a guest list, permit only those who pay a fee, and so on.  When this is set, a kind of forcefield is not only set along that perimeter but above as well. Usually 88 meters up from the ground.

The two most popular scenarios people set public banlines are as follows:

1) Someone is harassing the landowner and said landowner either doesn't not know how to block the offending avatar or there have been alts used to get past a specified ban, and

2) Residents are having sillysex and don't want anyone barging in on them.

This doesn't prevent anyone from looking in though.  As my friend Peter once said, banlines simply "keep people out" with regard to an avatar's physical access.

Aesthetically, they can be an issue.  They appear from within 1 or 2 meters away, which means they are not obvious from a distance so they are not an eyesore to most, but having a banliner for a neighbor can be a problem as the alpha stripe wall appears along your property and through other alpha textures such as your windows, trees, and fencing.  Recent viewers have allowed homeowners to hide banlines so that paranoid neighbors are no longer a factor when selecting a place to settle.  It also helps to have a property large enough that you're seldom at a border.

This leaves vehicles.  When an avatar walks or flies into banlines they bounce harmlessly off.  Riding into them means that ride is over. 

 From an explorer's perspective, setting up banlines against a route may be seen as a form of griefing. Given their detrimental effect on the SL user experience, it's a shame either regulations weren't put into effect for Mainland parcels from the start or the technology allowed for vehicles to harmlessly bounce off banlines the same way avatars do. They've already changed the result on some sim servers: instead of autoreturning the vehicle and having one fall to the ground, the vehicle is most often caught on banlines like a web. You now have to take back your vehicle.  I'm sure in most circumstances you can do that, but if you've gotten snagged at an angle which causes you to fall off when you disengage, you might not have had the foresight to prepare and hover rather than plummet and lose sight of the vehicle.
 It's precarious traveling on the northern Sansara route.  Properties and roadside intermingle and one gets snagged by banlines while on the road.  I can see why there is now a protected buffer on newer routes (and even that is not enough with some sim crossings), But how about the old ones?  Either offer more rez zones or ask land owners to split off strategic parts of their properties and set bordering portions without banlines, creating a buffer which allows scripts so people can ride by.  Or use one of those security orbs since no one riding wants to stick around when they fly over or waver through a snippet of property while stabilizing their handling after a region crossing.  Vehicle users aren't interested in your place and what you do inside your homes anyway.  Good luck trying to enforce that though.


  1. I haven't looked carefully at the latest ban line behaviour where vehicles are involved. I know it stops the vehicle, but what other effects are the specifically? Do the scripts stop? Is it simply made non-physical?

    If it's the latter, maybe there could be more recovery functions built into vehicle scripts. In some of my planes, I have a crash recovery that raises the plane up 100m and sets it on its way again. Maybe there could be a ban line recovery that moves the vehicle backwards by 20m, rotates it 180 degrees, and sets it moving again.

  2. I've actually disengaged from my hoverboard and stood on it pondering the banlines while the vehicle is stuck into position (second image is of me stuck before I stood up from the pose)... I've found I consistently get stuck in poses with limited arrow key maneuvers when I encounter banlines which either return my vehicles or catch me along with them. I will try to sit on something and/or stop all animations to get out of post. y newfound skill (from snail racing) of moving around in first person usually unsticks the left-right issues from standard arrow turns. You're welcome to test in Hydrangea. I have two neighbors to the west & north with banlines, the latter across a region border.

  3. PS let me know if you need group access to re-rez anything. otherwise the rezzing zone on route 4 is a ways down to the west