T H E W E L L 2 : Sollicitus – Horror Experience in SL

Last year i made an experience which was and experiment to see wether i could actually scare SL users with an experience in Second Life. The result was pleasingly popular with many saying they had lots of fun being made to jump out of their skin. While they loved the experience many did say it was rather too short and wished it had been longer.

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Well this year i went back and rebuilt the entire thing, expanding the concept. The caves are 5 times longer with 4 levels and with the addition of having to choose your path the terror can last quite a while as you get more and more lost in the tunnels not knowing wether you are going back or forwards. There is also more of a story element to it and thanks to Drax and kaleo’s voice acting more dramatic experience.

The story is that a year after the events of last 2012, a team of scientific investigators are sent down the well to understand the caves strange geology and maybe find a clue to why the rescue team and a young boy disappeared with no trace. You arrive a day later than the rest of the team to find the make shift lab abandoned.

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Building The Well 2

Last year i imagined i would simply just rez the old well again to save time, but since last year  I’ve learnt more about building with mesh and we’ve had Materials feature added to Second Life. So i basically rebuilt everything from scratch. I was most interested in how materials would enhance the experience. the most noticeable use of material mapping is in how the tunnel rocks seem more detailed and damp. Materials also make the new monsters that much more detailed, slimy and gruesome.

I remember Torley Linden once saying he wanted to see more good use of projector lighting and shadows, so i tried hard to position lighting just right. I also managed to create a hyper fast strobing effect for an eerie atmosphere. Projectors are also great for controlling shadows.

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I wanted to try and make something that could did not look like it could have been done on Second Life. Of course unless you have Advanced Lighting , Materials and projector lighting with shadows you will never get to see all this extra work. At least give it a try, you never know, your computer might be able to handle it.

The HUD uses a number of tricks I’ve learnt in the past year. When you first wear the HUD it will take you through a short intro before showing some instructions. It then asks you to accept a teleport request to venture down the well to start the experience. Once you have gone down the well you have given the HUD permission to teleport you when ever it wants to. For the rest of the experience you simply make choices by clicking on items presented to you, listen or read bits of story and avoid touching little shadows who will drain your sanity bar.

This is the biggest most complete experience I’ve done yet and while the modelling and building is complex, the experience itself i hope is simple and immersive enough to work well in the flakey Second Life environment.

I’m charging L$100 for the HUD you need to wear to Experience THE WELL. i hope those who take a look enjoy themselves, get scared, laugh and generally have a fun time.

LAND MARK TO THE WELL: SOLLICITUS – http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Escapades/218/232/3003

Eight years invested in Second Life

So here we are, my rez day marking 8 years in Second Life. I haven’t received my Linden Cake yet, maybe they don’t do that anymore or maybe it hasn’t been sent yet cos its early in america. As usual i made a pic showing my avatar through the years. My head has stayed pretty much the same all be it a little smaller than last year. A lot of my friends seem to have shrunk in the past year as people try out the tadaleedoosdah Toddler Avatars, or maybe I’m just getting older :-s.

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The biggest improvement from last year has to be the material mapping of clothes and surrounding environments. It just enhances everything, from the wrinkles in my clothes to the highlighting of surfaces. But while many people dont see the material mapping either through slow TPV uptake or simply not switching it on, it’s boosted my creativity in SL.

It’s been a busy year. One where ive built lots of different things and gained a lot in Scripting and last week i impressed myself by creating a tree house in 24 hours. When Linden Lab finally get round to releasing Experience Permissions i am gonna be SOOO ready.

Im already looking ahead to next year. Ive already planed what im doing for SL11B, Im writing stories for New Babbage and finally rebuilding the sculpty parts of Escapades Island looks to be getting easier.

But as always i gotta thank everyone who takes interest in what i do, without you all there would be no point to it all 🙂 So thanks everyone!

 

Are all Second Life users fools?

Many have argued over wether Second Life is a game, or merely a platform where games can be created.

Over the years some have proposed that a lack of defined goals to your Second Life existence is the reason behind SL’s poor recurring user base. That perhaps adding more gaming and achievements to SL will improve things by giving newbs more instant ‘fun’. Im one of these people, except i want Linden Lab to give me more tools to create more fun experiences rather than the lab making areas such as Linden Realms.

Anyways, i stumbled upon a video presentation posted on Rock Paper Shotgun from UX week by Ian Bogost. In it he talks about what ‘FUN’ means, then what fun actually might be and how we’ve possibly been wrongly sugar coating everything in an attempt to gamify stuff.

From a long time SL user’s point of view i feel Bogost seems to hit the nail on the head in explaining what Second Life is, or more that his idea of what we find ‘fun’ is exactly how Second Life gives ‘fun’ to us users.

I think that everyone would agree that Second Life is not what many would describe as ‘Finished’ or ‘Gold Master’ software. In many respects the Second Life Platform is constantly broken, being repaired, patched, fixed and added too. It is this ‘Broken’ environment that creates the ‘game’ of ‘fun’ for many Second Life users and ‘Play’ is the result of our constant use of the platform. The ‘Fun’ in Second Life is in how we learn to respect the platform and what we can do with it, in how we push it to its limits and share our ideas and achievements with other users.

I love this idea that the reason Second Life is so endearing to many may lay in the fact its not a perfected designed ‘hold your hand’ experience. That the more broken Second Life becomes, the bigger the ‘game’ SL becomes. Thinking this way makes me realise again how awesomely huge Second Life is, and how very little is seen from the outside world.

Bogost also touches on how the Media isn’t interested in something that does not gratify instantly and describes how ‘fun’ originates from ideas of being foolish and in trying out all possibilities what ever the outcome might be. So when i call all Second Life users fools, i assure you it is in fact a compliment. 🙂

Check out the 20 minute video.

UX Week 2013| Ian Bogost | Fun from Adaptive Path on Vimeo.

Oculus Zombie Smash Party

Every now and then i like to go hack at zombies to relieve stress. This week i visited Grimly’s Bloodbath & Beyond Zombie Apocalypse thanks to a suggestion by my friend Flok. I always find that the first 15 to 20 minutes is spent finding the right weapon to use. I settled on an Axe while everyone else had guns. I also decided last minute to hook up the Oculus Rift and see how well it performed using the CntrlAltStudio mac viewer.

Well here is a short 2 minute video showing the resulting mayhem.

CtrlAltStudio has the bare bones of Oculus control compatibility and highlights issues that Linden Lab will be having to figure out for their viewer. But thats not to say The CntrlAltStuido Oculus experience is not functional and enjoyable. My first impressions i wrote about how Oculus with SL made me sick. Ive since leant that standing up really helps reduce the sickness and after a while you learn what sorts of movement to avoid.

Running around after zombies did bring up an issue that bugs me about the controls. The oculus basically moves your view in mouse look, so you look up and on screen you look up, but your mouse also controls your view while also firing and clicking on things. In furious zombie moments i ended up real world with my head looking at the ground while in SL i was looking straight ahead due to having moved the mouse up. The two controllers unsynced can give real headaches. Checking with Half Life 2 it seems Valve avoided this problem by only allowing the mouse to control left and right. Moving the mouse forward and back only made the onscreen cursor ‘Target’ move up and down, not the actual view. Hopefully LL will have spent hours and hours figuring this one out and maybe the CtrlAltStudio devs will be able to mess about with fixing this confusing issue.