Monday, May 17, 2010

Looking for signs of ancient life in SL, pt. 1

An ancient build--I forget which one, now--pretty but empty.

Ever since I visited the Amarna build in Heritage Key, I have been wondering about what kinds of ancient historically-themed rp sims I might be able to find back in Second Life. I know there are Roman sims, and at some point I'll certainly go check those out. But I wanted to look at other civilizations and see what I could find.

Here's a quick sampling: totally unscientific, completely incomplete, and undoubtedly lacking in analysis, because goddammit, I'm tired and my brain hurts these days. But at least I'm telling you that up front so you know to pay no attention to this nonsense I'm spewing.

I started this process by simply putting "history" in the "places" search and started looking at what came up. Some of it looked promising. For example, I found a listing for a build that recreated the ancient City of Thebes. And I thought, "cool, an ancient Egyptian sim, and it looks like they got a shopping mall AND rp."

So I put on my extremely modest Egyptian outfit and tp'ed in. I found myself in a decent if slightly empty shopping mall with various outfits, hair, and useful artifacts from the long ago land of the Nile. And then looked for the transporter to go down to the rp area...and I looked...and I looked...and I finally was going in circles and clicking on random things with no result.

I could see green arrows indicating someone was down below me, so I rezzed a cube, sat on it and slid myself out through the wall of the sky box the mall was located in...and then I de-rezzed the cube and "dropped in" for a visit.

No city of Thebes. Just a lush landscape with some very nice folks in Na'vi avatars who were working on the plantings. Turns out these people--who were extremely nice and looked damn good in their blue "Avatar" avatars--were the owners and they told me they were redoing the sim as Pandora because the ancient Egypt business had been pretty slow. While we were standing there chatting, a "Royal slave" popped in looking for Thebes, and the poor thing seemed to be even more confused than I was.

Talking with a Na'vi sim owner and a confused royal slave girl.

So the first stop was clearly a bust, at least as far as finding ancient civilization and roleplay.

So I went on to a couple of other places: the city of Knossos, capital of the Minoan people on the island of Crete; ancient Carthage, the home city of Hannibal, implacable enemy of the Roman Republic. They were ok, the builds themselves were acceptable. Nobody much around. And old Crete was a bit off-putting, as their guidelines strongly suggested that ladies should go topless--for religious reasons, apparently. Yes, I know that Minoan women's formal dresses left the breasts exposed, and that the bull-jumping athlete girls just wore cute little kilty things and not much else. But the only other people in the sim--two females of some sort--they had their shirts on. So I wasn't going to take mine off. It sort of reminded me of the old joke with the punchline, "what kind of a Cretan do you think I am?"

Finally I tried out another Egyptian build--one representing Amarna, called Terra Egypta. And it was actually kind of interesting. They made an effort to recreate a working harbor, a full-scale sphinx, pyramids, and a walled city.

On the paw of the Sphinx, in Egypta Terra

But one there. This seems to be a recurring theme: there are many ancient sims in sl, but there seem to be few people playing in them. Am I just coming at the wrong times? Are there too many of them, thereby spreading the ancient rp population too thin?

So where should I look next? Rome? Greece? New Jersey?


  1. Huzzah! Good to see you back, Miz Dio!

    I dunno about New Jersey - I'm conjuring up images of ancient burial grounds for Mob killings, though that may just be from watching too much of "The Sopranos" - but I've noticed that much of SL, including RP areas, seems empty. Where there are many green dots, more than likely you'll find spastic dancing, a musician playing, or a one-off event.

    Then again, I'm shy, so I tend to run away from green dots.

  2. Hi Rhia,

    It's nice being back, although I certainly won't be able to write as often as I have in the past. This whole "being a responsible member of society" thing isn't all it's cracked up to be.

    Seriously though, yeah I know it's not uncommon to find empty sims of all types these days...but there must be someone having fun somewhere.

    We still get a good turnout in Deadwood and Hogwarts and some other places I wander into now and then. But it requires a lot of effort by committed groups of people to keep those places attracting green dots.

    But then that is something that other people have told me, including the Rezzable folks: they have learned, "that just because you build it, does not mean that they will come."

    I really think it's the human element that makes a difference.

  3. We've missed ya, Dio :)

    Try the sim "City of Hydra" for an historically acurate (a la Deadwood) Ancient Rome RP sim. It's busy and involved like Deadwood from what I can tell. Drop my mate Elegia Underwood a line for a guide - she's lovely and can tell you a lot more than I can about it :)

  4. Hey HB!

    Very cool! I appreciate the suggestion--I shall check it out ASAP!

    And I missed you guys too.