SL Games

Visiting Marianne McCann’s Shop

Remember I went to see Holocluck Henley’s gallery in Bay City? Well as I rarely get to Bay City (and when I do it’s as empty as everywhere else in SL – something I’m getting a tad sick off) I thought I’d pay a visit to Marianne McCann’s store as she’d just blogged about it and her construction site herself. I have to say I *loved* the building site – genius building! And if you in any way love the games of your childhood, you must go to her store and have a look round – she has everything you need to feed the child inside*!

Marianne McCann's Store in Bay City

Marianne McCann's Store in Bay City

Marianne McCann's Store in Bay City

Marianne McCann's Store in Bay City

Marianne McCann's Store in Bay City

Marianne McCann's Store in Bay City

* Not that I mean to imply you’ve eaten a child and it is hungry – that is just… yuk! You weirdo cannibal! 😀

Event RP – What is it and how is it done?

It struck me today (quite out of the blue – I wonder why our minds work like that, suddenly popping an idea or memory up when everything else about us in engaged in thoughts and activities totally unconnected) that I had missed off an important definition of roleplay in SL from my list. Doubly important when I realised that I actually don’t know how it works.

Event RP: Where people get together to take part in a pre-planned event that is in itself an act of semi-staged/semi-improvised RP (as opposed to people at an event deciding to undertake RP).

A good example of this would be the naval battles staged by Steelhead’s very own Master of the Waves, Hotspur O’Toole. Another good example, and one that has always stuck in my mind, is the Martian attack on Caledon in 2007 (one blog extract to illustrate what I mean here).

I can see the end result of the Martian attack in the plethora of Caledon and SL Steampunk blogs (around July 2007) to piece together how people fitted in to the RP, but what I am less clear on is how such an event was organised. Specifically I’d like to know:

1) How many people were ‘in’ on the gig? Was it just a few of the boss/management team or was it a large affair with many organisers?

2) How were people assigned roles? Was it just a free for all come-shoot-at-the-aliens affair, or did people have to report in and be assigned a task?

3) How did the mechanics work? Were the Martian craft scripted bots or were there people behind them? How did combat & damage to people & property work, if at all?

In short, if I (by “I”, I mean Steelhead as just “I” on my own couldn’t do it) wanted to stage a similar event – let’s say a Godzilla style attack on the city – how would we go about it?

If you have any ideas or tried & tested solutions, please be so kind as to drop them below 🙂

Hunting Goodies In The Avarian Expedition

NOTE: Due to a donkey brain (i.e. me!) using a January 2008 date to publish this post (written in Dec 08 for a Jan 09 release) no one has ever seen the words and picture below, so I’m re-publishing it now as this place & game really deserves all the publicity it gets!

Way back in November 08 I saw a report on New World Notes about a new game in town that grabbed my attention – a resource hunt in the amazing Avarian sims beneath the famous Grendel’s Children. Since the virtual demise of SL Games, it’s rare to see these reports and I try and follow them when they crop up even though I’m almost always disappointed. In this case I can say I was not 🙂

The basic idea is similar to The Wastelands (another area I’ve played in and enjoyed) in that you wander about, find things and then blend them to make other things (which can in tun make other things). In The Wastelands the goodies fell from the sky to be found on the road, but in The Avarian Expedition you have to sweat a little for your finds.

To start, you have to buy a pack from Grendle (for an amazingly cheap 35L$) that it contains two hand tools and two HUD (for each of the tools) that you attach. As you wander about the landscape the HUD changes colour to tell you if you are near a resource – when you are, you activate the tool and dig away like a scavenging fool until you find something. That something might be grass or a twig or another such bounty of the earth and it it these treasures you can combine to make other things. All in some of the most amazing surrounds SL has to offer 🙂

Here is a brief photo record of my first steps into this wonderful game…

First off, get the pack (and practice using it on the rock nearby):
Avarian Expedition

Avarian Expedition Avarian Expedition

Get your sorry behind down to the Avarian lands (you can TP, I like to fall…):
Avarian Expedition

Start looking (use the HUDs to guide you…):
Avarian Expedition

Avarian Expedition

Check all of the sims…
Avarian Expedition

And don’t be afraid to take your horse out for a stretch too…
Avarian Expedition

You never know how many new friends you’ll meet out a’hunting too 🙂
Avarian Expedition

So go… grab a kit and join the hunt – the weather is fine and we could all do with the exercise after Xmas 😉

The Problem(s) with Roleplaying in SL, Part 2

When I wrote the last post a few days ago, I was frustrated and disappointed. This hasn’t changed, but I have had time to think some more about what I was trying to say and this reflection time, coupled with the comments here and on Hotspur’s blog here, have brought me back to the subject. I don’t know about you, but I never feel I get my point over clearly enough in a post.

First off, let me state that I in no way want these posts to seem like I’m bitching about SL. I love this world and whilst I will admit it has many faults, any blame for difficult RP experiences can not be laid at its feet. SL is what it is and it’s not WoW.

I’ve also had only limited experience RPing in SL – I’ve tried to ‘break into’ several dedicated sim set ups, but despite all the rule reading & prep I did, the sims tended to be empty with little sign of RP or lagged to hell rendering even walking impossible, let alone RP. These communities seem to lack a certain something… a level of coherence that make it feel like you really are playing inside a series of impressive story arcs. Instead they seem to be more about small personal and interpersonal stories that exclude and don’t really go anywhere.

As for non-RP dedicated sims, my feeling from visiting them and reading the blogs is that you really have to move in and live in the community to take part, which is fair enough really.

It seems to me that the most successful SL-based RPing goes on outside SL, in the blogs and nings and whathaveyous of the players. The time in-world is taken up with meetings to plan and set up the events that will then be played out/photographed/filmed in-world and then expanded upon/written about out-of-world.

Rather than expand upon my perceived problems with RPing is, why don’t I list what I want from a RP experience in SL using , as an example only, the acme of my RPing desires at the moment; a Philip Marlowe-esque 1940’s hard boiled PI game:

1) A thematic location is desirable. A few sims worth of appropriate mean city LA streets would be nice. Some hills over the sea even better. Something to use as a backdrop to the pictures and films that than go onto the blog.

2) Someone in overall charge. Good RPGs need a games master – someone to direct action, help players along and enforce (with a light touch) rules. In my ideal game, the city mayor and/or DA and whilst their word would be law, they would interact and seek opinion and guidance from the players.

3) Engaging and constantly evolving story arcs. I don’t *just* want to play a story where I’m in competition for business with another PI, I want those big cases to come my way. But then I don’t always want the same type of case (broad on desk, murder rap chasing her, old man with money in the background). I want to feel that the city is alive with or without me.

4) A consistent, maintained & searchable history. How many times have I dipped into the many (many!) wonderful Caledon blogs and enjoyed what I’ve read but had no fucking clue what the wider picture is. People cross-post without links; stories start, stall and continue without recaps; no one seems to ever make a history of their character and how they fit into the world. Maybe this info for Caledon exists, but I doubt it’s any coherent form. A RP game without a sense of shared and valued history only ever exists in the present and therefore the value of the experiences being generated is lessened – after all, why RP well when the whole thing will be forgotten by everyone but the half-dozen involved.

If I had those four things, I think I’d be a happy RPer. If No 4 & 3 were in place, then I think the game would have a better chance of evolving and growing into another world you step into rather than a theatre backdrop constantly being lowered and raised behind you.

All these ‘wants’ are fine in theory, but they ignore the two biggest problems facing RP providers and players? Time and money. Someone has to pay for it. Someone has to create and maintain it. SL people seem to be transitory by nature, either leaving the world or moving on to the next big sim. Many of the Caledon blogs I stumbled upon two years ago are Steelhead blogs now. Many other blogs I read have similarly changed location and sims close or people move on. Even with a shared, maintain history it is hard for an RP game to survive this – the owners/runners of such a game have to be willing to be in it for the long haul and how the hell you make that pay, whilst still maintaining the integral feel and energy of the RP itself is, dear reader, beyond me. I guess the Guvnr in Caledon has it right – the sims pay for themselves and meanwhile small pockets of happy residents make their own RP up and blog it as they go.

And that, ladies and gentlemen is what I suspect is the only system that will work in the current SL model. Whilst people have to pay a lot of money to rent servers, RP sims will never move successfully beyond a mix of rent-to-pay and small-scale-resident-run-RP. Maybe OpenSim will one day change that? If I could rent a server cheaply, that’s 4 sims of my 1940s LA RP right there with either no or minimal need to generate revenue.

Yours in thought.
HeadBurro Antfarm, PI
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Combat Cards: The October 07 Finals

Last Sunday saw a the final cataclysmic clashes of the terrible titans of terror who have fought ferociously throughout the last few momentous months to reach the fearsome finals of the Combat Cards October 07 Bloodfest!

Jebus… I need a sit down after that last sentence.

Anyhoo, out of the three final fights (now now – let’s not start with the alliteration again), Johannason Scarborough won the Open and Closed Cups, and Michalius Oppewall won the ‘free-for-all’ battle. I got whooped early on and had to leave the ask of HBA Island honour defending to Destroyer Delcon who made it to the finals of the ‘free-for-all’.

I took some snaps, but half of them got borked by a SL Inventory bug. Click on the shot below to see the ones I saved and visit the Combat Cards blog to see more.

In the meantime, pop over to Europa and play the great game for yourself – you may even recognise a certain Burro on one of the cards 😉

Combat Cards: Finals, Halloween Party & New Releases

Hi all,

Blimey but tonight is a busy one for the Combat Cards team – it is the finals of the current tournement, the release of the newest cards and a halloween party 🙂

So don your most horrifying outfit and come to Europa for 2pm SL / 10pm GMT to join in the fighting and dancing – here’s the details:

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YOU ARE INVITED TO THE COMBAT CARDS 1.4 RELEASE
12  New Cards – w00t!
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SPECIAL INVITATION
Thank you so much for posing – the new cards look great and all card models will receive a set of cards as our thank you.  I hope to see you at the release – and if you dress as you did on your card that will be even better!
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The Combat Cards summer tournament qualifiers ended at midnight SLT 15 October, and here are the results!
In the Open Cup the finalists are Johannason Scarborough, Michalius Oppewall, Armath Severine and Wavemaster Bade.
In the Constructed Cup, there were only 2 qualifiers for the finals: Johannason Scarborough and Michalius Oppewall.

All finalists will be invited to our Halloween Party at 2PM SLT on the 28th of October where we will play the finals of the Open Cup with the winner getting a full set of Combat Cards, then the finals of the Constructed Cup will be played for a prize of 10,000L$, and then we will launch Combat Cards 1.4 and the winter tournament qualifiers, which will run until Valentines day next year.

Hope to see you all then!
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The events on 28 October include the fight for the Constructed Cup and 10kL, the Open Cup for fighters using demo decks with cards as the prize, and a third in which any fighters present can fight each other using constructed decks.

The high scorer at the end of that event wins 2500L and a prize of cards.  Spur-of-the-moment types should turn up with weapons sharpened.
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http://www.combatcards.co.uk/
http://combatcards.wordpress.com/
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SL Games: Combat Cards

I’ve not known Osprey that long, but in that short time she has been behind some of the best fun I’ve had in SL since I came: Photo Contests, Variety Shows, getting involved with Higbee’s SL Parks and Rec Service, and now, Combat Cards!

Combat cards is a dueling game where two opponents battle each other to the death – and it’s all controlled by a small deck of cards you wear as a HUD. The concept twisted my melon at first, but Doc, Osprey, Jaladan & Valadeza (the genii behind it) have installed a great tutorial system of video and automatic robots that the basics sink in very fast and you can be up and fighting with real people in no time. To get good at it takes longer, and to be a master must take a Yoda-like age, but that doesn’t stop the game ever being fun. You can even buy the basic system for 1L$ (yes, one Linden dollar) and install it at home to practice with friends, just like I have on HBA Island. Janey and I practice there, just make sure when you attach your HUD of cards, it is the HUD and not the anvil 🙂

To find out more, visit the Combat Cards site and the Combat Cards Blog, and then teleport into the Combat Cards arenas in Europa to fight the bots in the two special training arenas, as well as fight other people and buy some cards to start building your deck. Good luck, brave warriors! G’al be with you. If he’s busy, take G’alzooki instead.