Zamani Marine was established in September 2008. I’m Nomad Zamani, and I am the proprietor. I take care of such high-falutin’ things as product definition and design, scripting, sculpting, and prim-bashing; not to mention other important stuff like creating marketing materials, running the vendor system, leaving junk prims lying around, and occasionally tidying them up. My real life skills include mechanical engineering and design using 3D modelling tools, and writing software in a variety of languages. I also spent a season, a few years ago, sailing and racing boats (twice a week, every week, for nine months, until a dismasting in winter put a stop to our activities).
The main purpose of this site is to make product documentation easier to read and to improve its quality. Some of my products are quite detailed, and the usual method of using notecards falls short of how I think documentation should be done. A web site makes navigation of multi-part documents much easier, provides better readability thanks to enhanced text formatting, and concepts can be readily explained visually with inline graphics. It also provides a focal point for Zamani Marine – everything is in one place, including useful stuff like links to sales outlets. If you like what you see here, you can go get it in-world or at the SL Marketplace web site. The site is new, and the documentation currently consists of the contents of the in-world notecards, but enhacements will come along as time permits.
The Story Of Zamani Marine So Far
As a designer and maker of artefacts, the story of Zamani Marine so far is really a story of the products. The original intention in forming Zamani Marine was to be a boat builder. As time went on, however, interests diversified somewhat, with the result that the first product to hit the market had nothing to do with saiing, boats, water, or anything of the sort.
It was a UFO in the classic 1950s B-movie flying saucer style, complete with a Roswell Grey alien avatar. The UFO and avatar was one of those things that went from an idea to a completed product very quickly. It was a short diversion from a sculpted seaplane that was already in the works, and which was to eventually become the P110 Skymaster seaplane. The Skymaster distinguishes itself from other planes in that it can be controlled by the mouse as well as the keyboard. Mouse control was the reason it was built – if I had found a mouse control plane ready-made, I would probably never have started the Skymaster project.
As for the boat building, the plan had always been to make something small, cheap and easy to sail. Back in the mists of time, some experimental work had been done, but it had been shelved when it seemed that some of the established boat builders in SL were about to release boat building kits – premade scripts that could be configured as required, and installed into your hand-crafted boat model. After a few months of waiting (while working on the Skymaster), the first of these (a small international class dinghy) never saw the light of day. Around the same time, a second kit did appear, and this was trialled to determine its suitability. While the kit was comprehensive, and with an advanced sailing engine, it was felt that, to make the boat I wanted, I would have to rework so much code that the likely effort wasn’t worth it. Once agan, the boat idea was shelved, and I went back to the Skymaster and completed it.
Soon after this, a friend and neighbour, Glida Pilote, had an idea about making a small boat that was easy to sail, and which was specifically aimed at encouraging beginners to take up sailing. He had drawn up a list of criteria, many of which were similar to my original thoughts for a small boat about a year before. We decided to team up. Glida did the sculpting and textures, I did the scripts and final assembly, and each of us fed ideas to the other. After much work, poring over details, and countless hours of beta testing, the Nemo 6-metre, single sail keelboat was released in March 2010. It was available as both a free trainer version with fixed wind, and a customisable retail version that used race wind. The retail version saturated the racer market within a few weeks, after which sales rapidly declined, while the free version continued to be picked up by newbies and others with a more casual interest. To date, in February 2011, nearly 7,000 free Nemos have been distributed. And work has not stopped – development of Nemo 2 is ongoing.
The UFO, being a UFO, is built using alien technology, and that includes the instrument panel. For humans, this means that there is no readout telling you how fast you’re going – just a weird, round blob that changes colour. I needed something to test the UFO’s capabilities during development – I wanted to know how fast it could actually go, and I was also interested in counting the number of sim crossings I managed to survive before the famous SL grid weather scuppered my high speed efforts. So, I made a little hud that would give me a speed readout, and that counted sim crossings.
The hud gradually developed as I thought of other things I could add to its display, like the current global coordinates, and it struck me that it could be useful as a navigation aid, rather like a GPS in real life. For a time, it even had a faux latitude and longitude system. With one eye on it being a possible future product that might appeal to sailors and aviators (by now called the Navmaster), I needed a group of people who would use it regularly and thus help to give direction to its development.
I approached the SL Coastgaurd, and it turned out that they were interested in something that would make life easier when compiling patrol reports (their reports include a list of regions that were visited during a patrol). Since the hud was already counting sims, it didn’t take much to make it record the names of the sims and provide a full list on demand. Other features were added, like a means to simulate mayday calls and rescue shouts, a rotating compass, and GPS-style routes and waypoints. It is still being developed, and is still only available as SLCG issue. The development plan is very much geared towards making it suit the needs of the SLCG. At some point, I’ll assess its features, and work out what could be done to make a commercial version for the sailing and flying public.
Who can say what the future holds? As far as Zamani Marine products go, I guess I have a vague idea. Certainly, in the short to medium term, there is the continuing development of Nemo 2, and the Navmaster HUD. Beyond those, gazing into my two-prim crystal ball, I see a shift away from vehicles, and into technology in a more abstract sense. Systems that make things happen. Enhancements to the SL sailing experience that are hitherto unseen. Yes, I know I’m being vague! All will be revealed… if it works, and if it gets completed.