Jan 312015
 

Missing Poster

Buried from MadPea Games is an interactive experience that takes place on several locations across the Second Life grid. The best place to start is of course the starting location, which isn’t yet open to mere mortals, fortunately I managed to sneak in a get a preview.

Whereas I’m not in a position to give the game a full review, I can provide some insight into the game. The starting location is where you get your HUD and start your progress. As in most MadPea games the HUD is important and therefore it’s good to know what it does and how it’s used.

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Buried Hud

Clicking the ? in the top right hand corner of the HUD helps you to understand the HUD and what you can do with it. The view will change depending upon what you’re doing, sometimes text will appear there, for example. The basic controls allow you to go to Buried Island, get help, which comes via the MadPea website at the moment. There’s an option to join the MadPea group, which will also be a good place to discuss the game. Then there’s the option to go to MadPea’s Facebook page and finally an option to listen to a funky youTube stream whilst playing the game.

However be warned, the game does at times require you to listen to something that is happening inworld via interactions via objects.

The game is linear to a degree, locations need to be unlocked by finding clues in your current location. Available locations are marked with an X. Simply click the x for an available location and you should be teleported there.

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X marks the spot

There’s also a souvenir shop at the main starting location, which will sell souvenirs but may also have items that will assist you in your quest.

Buried Store

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Jan 312015
 

Buried The Game

Buried from MadPea Games launches tomorrow and at last night’s blogger preview Kiana Writer, Axiomatic Clarity and Kess Crystal explained some of the story concepts, the work that has gone into the game and a bit about MadPea Games too.

First of all, let’s take a look at the story concept :

BURIED is a story of a writer for self-help books, Lily Morano, who gets interested in geocaching.
She spends the summer on her island writing and researching until she finds C-Me.

C-Me is a highly secret organization providing interactive geocaching and is invite only.
The C-Me capsules contain cameras and record the treasure hunters, allowing them to leave messages for each other.

Lily receives the app and starts the hunt. However, she realizes that something sinister is going on and gets involved into something big and evil..

The game begins when Lily has been missing for two weeks. Her husband is offering a $500 000 reward for the one to find her as the Police has been completely useless with their search.

Equipped with their tablets, the players will find Lily’s hidden ‘Lilypad’ and learn about C-Me and start a search through the grid to discover a thrilling story.

————————————————————————————-

BURIED is happening at the current time and date.

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A rowing boat in Buried

The game is described by MadPea as an interactive adventure and there’s a lot of detail regarding the game in a blog post from MadPea :

We all know, however, that there will be more to this … much more. A story, a HUD to help us carry out the adventure, objects to interact with for clues, hints, and tools to use to find our answers of the day. We’ll also get sent all around the grid in search of clues to further the story, and get closer to solving the mystery.

This is a grid wide interactive adventure, it’s more than a simple hunt, you’re going to have to work for rewards in this game, although there will be a group inworld which will aid people to share hints, tips and troubleshooting.

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Jan 312015
 
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Buried From MadPea Games

I’ll be embarking on a few posts regarding MadPea games latest venture today. The new game is entitled Buried and launches tomorrow, February 1st at 12 noon SLT. I attended a bloggers preview last night and MadPea games have provided me with an excellent press pack, which means I don’t have to do that much work!

In my other posts I’ll look at the game concept and my own early experiences.

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Buried Starting Island

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Jan 302015
 
An Image Should Be Here

Drax Files Episoed 26

Episode 26 of The Drax Files : World Makers takes a dip into the world of Second Life fashion, more notably the world of a Second Life fashion model, in this case, one who goes by the name of Absinthe.

Now regular readers of this blog may well be aware that fashion in Second Life is not my comfort zone, but this is part of the beauty of Draxtor Despres’ excellent series, it breaks down barriers in a simple fashion by letting the person being interviewed do most of the talking.

In this case we also see someone who plays a role in Second Life that is not a direct representation of their RL self. Absinthe in Second Life is a white female. The person behind the avatar is an African American female. An interesting point to note here is that the person behind the avatar admits that she doesn’t really see colour when it comes to people and she puts this down to growing up with a father who was in the armed forces. This meant that she grew up with different cultures and different races.

Ferosh Inside

This even extends to the point whereby the RL person behind Absinthe doesn’t really view her as white, more of an extension of her inner self.

We also get an insight into what being a Second Life fashion model entails. The Second Life fashion scene is huge and plays a major role in the economy and therefore plays a large part with regards to the content users create. However being a model entails a bit more than some may think, you need to know about animation overrides, poses and Absinthe even admits that she gets performance anxiety when performing at a show, even though she’s only pushing arrow keys.

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Jan 292015
 

re/code recently reported : AOL Likely to Shutter Gaming Site Joystiq in Larger Content Cleanup. This has not been confirmed yet, but Joystiq themselves responded to the rumour :

Sources tell Joystiq that the staff is aware of the closure, but corporate hasn’t officially told them, so they are unable to acknowledge anything out of concern that it will cause immediate shutdown. We’ve reached out for more information. We will update, as we always have, when we know more.

This post may start to sound like an obituary, so let’s get some things cleared up here near the start. The rumours about Joystiq closing remain simply that, rumours. However they look like bloody well informed rumours. There have been no comments regarding what this all means for Massively. The talk is of a restructure.

You may be wondering “Who cares”, but the simple fact of the matter is that Joystiq has been a good friend of Second Life in the past. Largely due to sites such as Second Life Insider that then got merged into Massively. There are plenty of posts from the Second Life category over at Massively. The output certainly slowed down over the years, especially once Tateru Nino moved on. However Beau Hindman did keep up the good fight and Moo Money and Eloise Pasteur, who blogged about Second Life earlier also deserve a mention.

You can go all the way back to 2006 for a history of Second Life Insider. Back then the site was part of Weblogs, which was part of the same network as Joystiq. The bloggers back then were people such as Akela Talamasca, Callandris Pendragon, Aimee Weber, Master Penguin and Local Jezebel. The site had a more fansite appeal.

Back in October 2008 Massively interviewed Tateru Nino : Meet the Team: Tateru Nino, who explained what she did at Massively :

I’m a general writer, though I act as the team specialist for collaborative virtual worlds (particularly Second Life), and legal analysis. I help brainstorm and do some proofreading, and examine the philosophy of MMOs and virtual environments.

Eventually Second Life Insider would become part of the main Massively site, but even before that happened Massively were covering Second Life. On a site more about games and MMO’s in particular, this wasn’t always popular, as a post from November 2007 addresses : Why Second Life belongs at Massively :

Or: Why gamers and virtual worlders should care about each other.

We’re shy of a month in to Massively’s existence, and one of the more persistent bits of feedback we continue to receive regards the inclusion of Second Life content on a site about MMOs. There are really two questions to answer here:

  1. Does Second Life coverage belong on Massively at all?
  2. Is the amount of Second Life content disproportionate to its mindshare?

I will herein state a claim for a definitive yes on point 1, and readily admit that point 2 is arguably a matter of taste. Maintaining editorial balance surrounding all of the many, varied games we cover is an ongoing process, and we’ve selected a suite of “core games” based on many factors including subscriber/member numbers, overall buzz and mindshare in the industry, and input from a secret algorithm I would love to call “interestingness” if it weren’t already taken. We are proud to offer in-depth Second Life coverage as one of those core current titles.

Those sort of discussions would rage on whenever Second Life was talked about, it still happens today.

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Jan 282015
 

Morphe Inc

I’m talking to Marsha Wawillow, Editor in chief of SL Goth Magazine, an inworld publication which I covered in a part 1 of the interview. In this part of the interview Marsha gets a little more personal, although she readily admits she’s generally shy. However we start with location, the SL Goth HQ sits in a corner of the home of Morphe Inc. Abel Dreamscape’s wares are readily available around here and they are very pleasing on the eye.

Morphe Inc In The Middle

I ask Marsha, how she got here :

I’ve known Abel Dreamscape for a long time. In the earlier days of the magazine he made gifts for readers as well as did the special event buildings for SL7B. When I left, and returned, I contacted him because I just think he’s so talented, and reliable, and genuine – I trust him. He is our patron here and we are ever grateful for his hospitality.

SL Goth HQ

Marsha took a break from Second Life for around three years but on her return she quickly got back into the swing of things and relaunched SL Goth Magazine with a HP Lovecraft special, so how big a fan of HP Lovecraft is Marsha? Marsha squirms, a little uncomfortably and then answers, somewhat sheepishly :

“I actually do not know very much about Lovecraft, although I did have a big dose with the Special issue and learned a lot. It’s interesting – there’s a HUGE Lovecraft following in Second Life. Very dedicated, and creative fans, who have a strong community. The people in that community are just top notch – storytellers, role players, creators, sim builders, you name it. I’m just always blown away by what comes out of Innsmouth.”

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Jan 282015
 

Interviewing Marsha Warwillow

I find myself inside a gothic building at the HQ of SL Goth, a website and inworld magazine dedicated to all things gothic in Second Life. The magazine describes itself as :

slGoth Magazine is an independent showcase of gothic Second Life residents, places, philosophy, fashion, entertainment and events. The articles are written by resident avatars and cover a variety of topics in the gothic community. It is published monthly in-world and is a wearable HUD which supplies landmarks and gifts from sponsors.

I’m joined by Editior in Chief of SL Goth, Marsha Warwillow. The magazine was launched in June 2009 further editions appeared in July and August of that year. The fourth edition appeared in May 2010, with further editions appearing in June and July of that year and then Marsha took a break from Second Life.

The magazine reappeared along with Marsha in August 2014 with a HP Lovecraft special edition and since then there have been editions in September, October, November and December 2014 as well as January 2015.

I ask Marsha about the return of the magazine, she pauses and then replies :

Well, some people enjoy building and making things in Second Life. Some people DJ, dance, hang out, take pictures, etc. My thrill is making magazines, and I love goth culture, so it seemed a fun way to explore goth/dark SL and learn new things and just basically document it as I went along. 

But it became collaborative, and I do not write at all really any more, it’s based on submissions and people who volunteer to contribute now.

How many people are involved, I ask Marsha, “It varies from month to month, I call it “an open invitation” and send out a theme note, people respond who are interested and have time and are inspired.” she replies.

Marsha On The Couch

Sl Goth has a website and inworld publication, I ask Marsha about the challenges of the inworld version compared to the website, she pauses and then tells me :

Hmm… with the in-world magazine, making edits is a bit harder after it is published, and adding to it. It IS possible to do just a lot more work compared to simply editing the text on a webpage. Also the magazine contains gifts from Sponsors. There’s a bit of a process with that, and it’s not always easy, but worth it.

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Jan 272015
 

Bridge

The City Of Harrison in Second Life is pretty damn stunning. This is an urban roleplay area that spans two regions and manages to pack a hell of a lot in to packed streets which are surrounded by numerous buildings.

City Of Harrison

As with most roleplay regions in Second Life, the trick is to not tag yourself as being into the roleplay if you’re just visiting. City Of Harrison has a very simple way of helping you opt out, there’s OOC tag, there’s nothing to wear, indeed that’s the trick, you simply don’t join their group or wear their group tag. That means you can even join the group, but avoid roleplay by not wearing said tag until you’re ready.

Detailed Streets

So what exactly is going on here? Well this is a good time to head over to their website to find out more :

The City of Harrison is a casual modern urban roleplay environment – that is, we are a modern-day big city aimed at everyone simply living their lives. Unlike many other urban roleplay environments, Harrison does not focus on being “dark” or “dangerous”; rather, we cater to anyone that wants a chunk of a bustling metropolis. Whether you aspire to be a financial magnate or a criminal mastermind – or anything in between – Harrison is the place for you.

There are perks to getting involved in the roleplay, you can rez items and drive around the streets.

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Jan 232015
 

Ok first of all, as I’m a great believer in ethics in Virtual World Blogging I will declare from the outset that I have no connection with SL Go, or OnLive. At the moment, I’m on my iMac, which isn’t new and I’m struggling to find the bloody hash symbol. This reminds me of the time I was in the United States and phoning home and the phone told me to press the pound sign, which confused the living daylights out of me as there was no £ sign on the telephone, eventually I realised they meant the old pound sign for weight, which is #. Aha alt + 3 on a Mac. Ok, so #Theonlywayisethics

Now on with the show!

I logged into SL Go from OnLive for the first time in ages. This is largely due to the problems I’m having with AMD graphics in Second Life. The results, were quite staggering on my mid 2007 iMac. Now, wait, I hear you say. A 2007 iMac won’t have AMD graphics, this is true, but I was downstairs watching Cambridge United v Manchester United in the FA Cup.

Anyway, the first thing I noticed was that my experience of the wonderful Escapades Island was vastly improved because all of the textures seemed to load right away.

Rickety Market

Wait wait wait! You can’t save Snapshots to disk with SL Go! This is true too, the images in this post were taken on my PC with the regular Second Life client, but here’s the thing, whilst I’m waiting for scenes to rez on my PC, I see the textures loading, they turn from grey and lifeless to being filled in. This doesn’t happen when I’m using SL Go.

Escapades Islands

However I do like my snapshots. So the ideal scenario for me is to be able to use SL Go and a regular Second Life or TPV client and I’d imagine a lot of people are the same.

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Jan 222015
 

Regular readers of blog may be familiar with the fact that I’m a big fan of Storytelling and I’m happy to see quite a few storytelling groups in virtual worlds. Some are in Second Life, some go beyond Second Life’s borders but they all have a story to tell.

In this post I’m going to list some of the forthcoming events from The Alexandrian Free Library in Second Life. The Alexandrian Free Library is a community based group, supporting libraries in Second Life and their members come from lands such as :

Caledon, Winterfell, Steelhead, New Toulouse, New Babbage, Amatsu Shima, West of Ireland, Steeltopia, Deadwood, Al Andalus & Constantinople.

With that said, on with the forthcoming events :

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Philomena Public Library
Philomena Public Library Weekly Book Discussion Club
3:00pm – 4:00pm SLT
Where: Philomena Public Library
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Bruda%20Plateau/15/38/57

Description:

A 1903 novel by Frank Norris set in the wheat speculation trading pits at the Chicago Board of Trade Building. Aspects of love, marriage and wealth are included. We get a glimpse of urban life in the early 1900’s.

You are invited to attend the informal discussion. We often assemble in 1900 – 1920 period clothing. We meet over tea and often talk over other topics as well. All are welcome to attend.

Reading Schedule:
January 25th: Chapters VII and VIII
February 1st: Chapters IX, X and Conclusion

A copy of the book can be found in the Town of Philomena Public Library.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Philomena Public Library
Philomena Public Library – Oral Reading
4:00pm – 4:30pm SLT (immediately following the weekly Book Discussion)
Where: Philomena Public Library
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Bruda%20Plateau/15/38/57

Description:

Skilled Sage and Bard Big Red will continue reading from Jules Verne’s “Master of the World.” This is a serialized book and will end with a cliff hanger each week. Red will also read a personal letter written by his uncle during the first world war circa 1916 – 1918.

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