Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Goodbye Deadwood 1.0 -- a Second Life experiment enters a new stage


Everything has a life span. The virtual town that I called home for over two years is coming to the end of its existence. Our sim owners Caed/Percy, Deac and Estwee decided that this weekend would be the weekend that we will "burn down the town." Then we will temporarily close the sim while they install the new build that will take us back to the spring of 1876.

Here's how Caed explained it on our Deadwood community forum:

"The Deadwood Fire begins on Saturday the 27th of 1879 sometime in the mid afternoon so as to allow as many as possible to show up. The day before (Friday) can be the run-up to the events on Saturday. After all the destruction, Sunday the 28th will be the closing party in the late afternoon/evening.


Fri the 27th, events leading up to the fire.
Sat the 28th, Deadwood Fire.
Sun the 29th, Closing OOC Party & final day to pick up prims.
Mon 30th thru Friday 2nd, Deadwood Rebuild
Friday 2nd 1876, Deadwood Grand Re-Opening at 5pm SLT

Rentals for merchants and players will operate much the same way as before with only a few 'minor' changes, and as always, rentals will be first come first to be served.

There will be plenty of space, tons of new buildings, more special 'named' buildings (Cricket, Senate, Progressive Hall, Shingle's, the Custer House Hotel, Bella Union, Iowa Restaurant, California Chop House Restaurant, Grand Central Hotel) and more, many un-named saloons, shops and residences will also be available to choose from."

The idea, if you missed the previous discussions of this, is to turn back the clock and recreate what Deadwood looked like when it was newly established, an illegal gold mining camp located on land that had been promised in perpetuity to the Sioux under the Ft. Laramie treaty of 1868.
You may recall that our first version of Deadwood was a remarkable experiment in historical roleplay as time moved forward in the sim: we started as mid-1876, and experienced the passing of the days, the turning of the seasons--and the progression of events as our own roleplay storylines mingled with historic events such as the murder of Wild Bill Hickok. We also witnessed the town developed, becoming more "civilized" and developing a more sophisticated social and architectural fabric.

It is now early 1879 in the Deadwood sim, and we are about to include one last historic event--a recreation of the great fire of 1879 that destroyed much of the early town. When the sim reopens, many of us will have new characters (I'm going to be splitting my time between Malachi--an older Black miner--and a Sergeant Major OHanlon, up at the fort). The environment will be very very different as well. We have done a great deal of research on what early Deadwood looked like, and Caed has been working for months on new structures and new terraforming that he will install during the brief hiatus. I think people are going to be surprised and impressed. The Deadwood build--even in it's first iteration--never looked like the other western builds in SL. This new build will look even less so: it will be a mixture of tents and cabins, some with canvas roofs, and a few others looking a bit fancier with plank false fronts dressing up their facades. It certainly is not going to be just another standard mish-mash of "old West" buildings.

Other folks have been working on new accessories and equipment as well--from mining gear, to new weapons, to more accurate clothing and furnishings. Everyone has learned a lot in the last two or so years and we're putting that knowledge to work.

Sadly, I am going to miss the end of the old build--real life work has me on the road for the rest of this week and into early next week. So this evening I went in and pulled up all my stuff (I didn't want to have it all returned as one big mass into Lost and Found over the weekend). So I started at the laundry--the first place I had in Deadwood.

From there, I went to the Blacksmith shop that I had set up for someone who suddenly decided to leave the sim, but I liked how it looked, so I kept it. Clay and I had a great time trying to make a forge for this shop because we wanted something that looked more realistic than what you usually see in SL blacksmith shops. I have always enjoyed collaborating with Clay. We give each other ideas, we share information and our different skills, and it's...well, it's just been a whole lot of fun.

Next, I went and cleaned out the wholesale liquor and tobacco shop I had set up with Blackjack--part of our "silent partner" storyline. Blackjack/JF has been a co-conspirator in some of the best rp I ever was a part of. I have had fun with a lot of folks--so many that I can't name them all. But there were always a few very special friends like Blackjack who--along with Elizabeth and Carrie Anne/Rachel, Roku and Sal, Clay and all his goddamn alts, Mahaila and Meri, and Lefty/Hawk and Brook--often had me moved to tears or laughing so hard I thought I was gonna puke....

Finally, I headed over to the hotel and cleaned that out. Sharing that with Cookie/Coodnank was a truly fascinating experience. I really loved working on fixing that place up and furnishing it as the town evolved, and places like the Grand Central became less primitive.

Then I went up into the hills and collected my shooting targets. I was thinking about the fun we had with the Deadwood shooting society--and the many happy hours spent talking about guns with Lock and Ernst and some of the other boys.

There's a few odds and ends left, but I guess it's ok if Caed just returns them during or after the fire. Street signs; a couple outhouses...oh hell's britches, there's probably something else I have forgotten. But I know one thing that won't be forgotten...all the friends and all the good times...learning and building, laughing and crying, shooting the same stupid griefers on different alts over and over...and creating some great characters and some wonderful stories.

I walked over the bridge one last time...

I think what everyone is doing here is very brave. In SL it's tempting to leave stuff up even after the life has gone out of it. To be honest, it really was time to do something different with the Deadwood concept. Even so, it's often hard to let go...to take all the hard work that has been done and dump it for something new. But the platform is a dynamic and continually evolving place, and to truly embrace it, you need to embrace the fluidity of it.

So I will let you know how the next stage of this experiment turns out.


  1. I'm really sorry you are going to miss the end of it all, my friend. I still think what you are all doing is a wild mix of brilliance and insanity but beyond that I know - just know deep down - it's the right thing to do because look at all the creativity it has re-ignited and unleashed.

    SL moved anywhere from 10 to a baziilion times faster than RL and consequently it takes more effort to keep people's interest and enthusiasm from drfiting and waning. This 're-boot' will be just what the players need.

    But I have to tell you just one thing, god help you all if that shot of Dio walking off across the bridge is the last we hear from her! :-D

  2. The end of Deadwood 1.0. It was a lot of fun but you are right Dio, everything has a life span and I look forward to DW 2.0. I also am looking forward to meeting Sgt. O'Hanlon.

  3. Hey HB and Blackjack,

    Actually, I'm ok with missing the activities this weekend. The only thing I regret is that Clay and I didn't get to rp out the final act of our "silent partnership" storyline. We were both in on the deal with Blackjack, and after he was murdered, we took his share and were going to use it to buy a brewery in nearby Gayville--sort of like a memorial that would turn a profit.

    Hey, Blackjack, are you going to keep Ezra the miner as an active alt for DW 2.0? If so maybe he and Malachi can work together some.

    That's the thing--even if the build is changing--the familiar going away--the people will still be there. And after all that's what really makes any build in SL special and dynamic--the people who inhabit it or visit it and who interact with it and within it.

    This is one reason why I'm kind of irritated by the Linden's new program of buying and preserving a few builds that they find of particular "artistic value" or interest. Like we have said, everything has a life span. If something is going away, it's probably going away for a reason--the life has gone out of it.

    I think they should just let things go when their time has come and not preserve them like stuffed dead critters. Instead they should fostering--or at least, not hindering--new experiments and new acts of creativity.

  4. Yikes I didn't like the way my original post sounded - I'm editing so it says what I meant. I don't know how Deadwood will be without the character of Dio... not the same...

    However, it will be enjoyable to meet and discover new characters and follow new plots and scenarios...

    ..and hopefully we'll meet new friends and keep the old!

  5. thank you Marrant.

    Dio will still occasionally make an appearance. She's going to be a tertiary character, showing up when some diversion or a one-woman Greek chorus is required.

    Really, the thing is, Dio is so much a reflection of her typists--albeit better looking, smarter, funnier and a better shot--I think it really behooves me to seriously explore some other personas.

  6. Hey Dio, yes Ezra will be a miner. He is not the same Ezra Macarthur, but he will have some of the same characteristics. I would love to do some things with Malachi. whoo hoo...DW 2.0 here we come.

  7. Hey Dio,
    I missed the fire, but partially on purpose I suppose. I kept reading the emails and just couldn't bring myself to go in. I do love the new idea and I do believe it is time. I know that I will enjoy the fresh rp for my characters very much as they had all come to stopping points in one way or another, but I guess Deadwood is so dear to me that while I can accept and applaud change, I just can't bring myself to watch it!

    Curiosity got the better of me tonight, though, and I had to come to your blog to see if you'd said anything about it. Your assurance helps me deal with the loss :). Seriously though, I know it will be wonderful and I'm very excited about it. I've always appreciated the integrity of Deadwood rp and the DW environment and it has always been night and day different from any other, save Sigil (which Caed also had a hand in!).
    I look forward to rping with your new characters. I know they will be every bit as brilliant as their typist. I'd be doubled over heaving if I thought Dio was gone for good, but I know I can still count on you to be the same in im.

    Love ya,

  8. Hey Mah,

    I understand your not wanting to come by and see the last days of DW 1.0. and I am glad you found some comfort in the comments here.

    As far as Dio not being totally gone, you are correct that especially in IM, the Dio you know will still be around. To be honest, I suspect that Malachi and Sarge will end up being reflections of some aspect of my persona--I am not good enough at acting so as to be able to create wholly invented characters--I suspect I am always doomed to be portraying someone who is drawn from something in my own persona and backstory.

    But then maybe that's true for most of us. For example, I suspect that the guys who create a series of different characters but who always follow the same assholy antisocial behavior patterns are in fact dickless little snots in real life as well. And likewise, the gentle characters you create with their mixture of quiet strength tempered by a sweetly appealing thread of vulnerability is somehow at least partially reflective of who the real Mah is.

    Love you too, and I look forward to seeing you in the new DW.