Creeping in Second Life

So here’s Creep Ultsch (or Creep 3.0 hehe). So far she’s nice and creepy. Honestly my first forays into SL didn’t go over very well. Ok, well that and I just flew all over the place, clicking things, taking notes and just enjoying some solitude. Things seem different this time around. That might have something to do with the fact that I actually talk to people instead of teleporting away as soon as another avatar popped up.

Granted I’m still pretty quiet, but I’ve found that more people are willing to reach out and chat this time around than any of my other visits to SL. I do miss running with my closest friends though.

Another thing I’ve noticed this time around is that after some relatively simple customizations to the Creepster, I’m enjoying things a lot more. I picked up a new skin and an Animation Override that removed that really annoying default…. waddle… for lack of a better term, that the SL avatars are stuck with at birth. I guess it really is a sort of “learning to walk” sort of deal, *giggles*.

One of the biggest reasons that I’ve been shy in SL has a lot to do with… well getting hit on. In MMOG’s I just don’t let on that I’m a gal and things tend to work out ok. In SL, things are a little diffrent. Folks don’t really care what you are behind the monitor, they pretty much just go with what they see. But there’s one really fun way to get around that, equip a weapon. Yeppers, most gals in SL just stand around looking like something out of the red light district. But a gal that’s carrying weapons isn’t quite as common.

Case in point, I had just been shown to an island with beautiful gardens to explore. They’re very well done and extremely detailed. I’ll have to go back however since my single track mind was focused on some new weaponry I’d acquired. In fact I was going through my inventory as a hunky looking dude started walking my direction. Funny bit is I was equipping a sword at the time (rofl). Safe to say he did an about face and went to look for something a little less threatening. 😀  I’m not even a butt kicker, well at least not yet. Ok chances are I won’t ever be one, but it’s still a pretty fun way to keep off the annoying folks.

Here’s Creep dual wielding by the way:

Pity is that in the combat system only the right hand sword is set to register damage, the left hand sword is pretty much just there for show. I’m not sold on these swords in particular though since the draw animation is, well, a bit flamboyant for my taste. I kind of prefer a more nonchalant style similar to when Indian Jones shot the sword wielding dude (love that scene, no drama, no nonsense, just bladow).

As for some of the places I’ve visited, I was given a tour of one RGP Sim (region) called Constantinople. It’s very well done and uses the DCS2 system which I’m currently testing. It was really nice to get a walk through and a general idea of how RPG’s play out in SL first hand as opposed to gleaning the blogshpere or perusing a wiki.

I also visited Erie Island, which was voted Second Life’s RPG of the Year for 2009. I can see why, it’s a VERY detailed place. It’s complete with it’s own combat system, tunnels, grave yards and for some reason a green tentacled ship.

Erie Graveyard

Erie Cathedral (private home)

I like the back story to Erie Island, and I really like the idea of participating in something a little more modern. Heh, I hate to say it but I’m a little bored with the medieval and fantasy genre’s. The swords I picked up (that Creep’s wielding above) are optimized for use with the RCPS combat system used on Erie Island. The do however work with the DCS2 system (which I’m really happy about), and that allows me to use them in more than one Sim. Well of course barring genre requirements etc. I’m somewhat considering switching over to pistols though since, well, it’d give the Creepster more of that Underwold feel, but we’ll see exactly where I go with that.

I already have a write up for the DCS2 system in draft form, I just need to get a spell image and an image of the HUD to give you a good idea of what I’m blabbing about. I’m also hoping to spar a bit on Erie Island to get a good idea of how the RPCS system plays out. Since I do have Fraps, I should probably get a little video as long as it doesn’t cause too much lag. We’ll have to see. Safe to say though I definitely want to see more of Erie Island and even get a peek at a few more of the RPGs to get a feel for what folks are doing to build thier vision of a game in Second Life. While granted SL isn’t the Unreal Engine, the tools and the way things are applied here, if they were recreated elsewhere on a system with say Direct X or another more advanced graphics/rendering system, heh, who knows?

For a long time game developers have been looking for a way to keep people coming back to their games. They’ve had their hands tied when it comes down to creating enough content to keep their users happy and to keep subscription cash coming in.

On the gamer side, we’re all looking for the next new title. We get bored with stale repetitive content. We get bored and frustrated with lengthy leveling, materials gathering or even crafting grinds created simply for the purpose of extending subscriptions.

What if game manufacturers just gave us a framework on which to build our own games. Would we as gamers be up to the challenge of translating pen and paper RPG’s into a 3D environment. Would we be able to create interesting content and create it quickly enough to keep ourselves entertained?

It’s already been proven that games which allow the end user to modify the gameplay are wildly popular. Sure in the web sphere there’s quite a bit of danger in allowing the users to do so. In the end though, is modding is something that could very well make MMOG’s a much more fun, interesting, and rewarding experience. At least that’s my theory, and from what I’ve seen so far in SL, I’m thinking that this may very well be the case.

Perhaps the efforts of the folks here in SL, could very well be the grounds for a whole new breed of MMOG’s. At least such is my hope.

BYOG: Bring Your Own Game

So what if you could log into a game that was really dynamic? By dynamic I mean a game that actually changes constantly. A game where players are able to build their own experience. For me this would be a DREAM game. A game where I’m not bored within 3 to 4 weeks max. I’ve been exploring around the MMO and Virtual World scene just to see what’s going on, and with these questions in the back of my mind, wondering whether there could possibly be an MMO or even a Virtual World, where these kind of things are possible.

So I’ve done a little poking around in Second Life… again. I like visiting SL every once and again, and I’ve done just that for 2 years now. It’s interesting to note how it’s grown even from 2007. I still think the wavy prims are totally sweet.

During this past visit though some SL content has a pretty strong hold on my attention. I was discussing sand box games with a friend of mine, and he mentioned that SL really is the ultimate sandbox. I hadn’t really thought about rpg combat implementations in SL. I’d figured that all of the combat in game there was sort of the stuff we’d done as kids. You know the “bang your dead, you have to fall down now” sort of stuff.

In doing some reading on SL (just catching up on recent events) I came across this post on the New World Notes blog (Link). Second Life content creators have built and scripted systems that monitor and register attacks and damage, enable you to choose class and race, and well pretty much do a lot of the things that you see expect to see in an MMO status bar.

I’m sure you’re wondering where I’m going with this. Well here it is, using tools like this folks can build their own games. This means that folks can set up a game with one theme for a few months, then maybe tear it down and build a new theme for the next few months. For players it means that you can fight space themed battles in one area, then go fight medieval themes in another, without having to log into another game. One platform, one friends list, one avatar, unlimited possibilities.

Arguably, that’s just the concept. Whether or not it pans out to be something that’s actually fun, well that’s proof of concept.

So far I’ve visited two sims (zones) that have RPG combat systems in place. One of which Erie Island, was mentioned in the New World Notes blog post. That sim by the way has a creep factor of around 8 or so, but that could go up if I get to see some of the ghosties. Out of the two sims I visited I picked up two different rpg combat player objects, so it’d be interesting to compare the two styles. Will I actually have the time to do it? Who knows.

I haven’t had a chance to actually see or participate in combat yet, so I’m pretty eager to see exactly how that works. Having the tools and knowing where to go though is at least a step in the right direction.

Heh, time for grand experiment indeed. Well at least until I find something shiny.