Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Saving a sim

Part of my effort to help save a sim: Kuhr's Wholesale Liquor and Fine Tobacco

I don't know, maybe it's the phase of the moon or something like that, but lately I've found myself wandering from one sim to another that needs some help.

Things do tend to go in cycles, and everything has a life span, but that doesn't mean we have to just roll over and just say, "oh well, natural selection is inevitable--the herd must be thinned!" I admire the people who try to do what they can to revitalize a project that they care about.

One place where this process is underway is in Deadwood. Traffic dropped off and people found themselves struggling to maintain the sense of shared narrative that makes a place like Deadwood so special. I will confess that I was part of the problem: between the demands of real life and getting caught up in splitting my time between Deadwood and other sims such as Alsium and 1920s Berlin, I wasn't contributing much to life in the 1870s. We can only stretch ourselves so far, and we have to make choices.

So when the folks in Deadwood decided to not give up and to look at how they could work collectively to breathe some life back into the project, I became determined to do what I could. I have made my choice, and I will just have to spend less time with my Roman and Weimar era friends.

At present a significant effort is being made: sim owner Caed Aldwych has given a carefully selected group of die-hards and oldtimers permission to add new structures to the build and to provide "set dressing" to various environments within the rp area. The roleplay timeframe is moving into 1877, when the town had more complexity and socio-economic depth, and that should help make things more interesting. Rents have been reduced (at least temporarily) to encourage more activity. This enabled me to make my first contribution to the revitalization process: a wholesale liquor and tobacco store on Main Street.

My next production will be a blacksmith and farrier's shop located back off one of the secondary alleys, and I am looking forward to playing around with that (my friend Clay and I built a dandy smith's forge back during our time in Deadwood 1.0, and I intend to dig that out). Other people are working on projects such as the Gem and Bella Union saloons, a jail, a bank, and other diverse businesses providing goods and services that fit within the context of 1877-78.

To bump up interest--and traffic-some of us have been doing what folks in many rp sims do these days: setting certain times where people will concentrate on coming into the sim, so there will be more likelihood of having someone to interact with. Likewise, people like Clay (now known as C.T. Kungler) and the Leitners are hosting regularly reoccurring events each week, such as boxing matches and talent shows, which give people a reminder that the sim exists, and provide an opportunity to come together and see what can happen.

So far we have seen improvement in traffic, the sim looks good, and we've been having some fun. A few of us have been trying to encourage folks we know from other sims (and time periods) to stop by and try it out.

Is it going to work?

I've got no goddam idea.

But the important things is that we are having a good time trying. It kinda brings us back to an idea that gets trotted out periodically: that ultimately the quality of the experience we have in SL is shaped by our own actions and choices. If you sort of slouch around, expecting other people to entertain you or to keep things fixed and running smoothly, you're probably going to be disappointed.

So if any of y'all have other thoughts of how a community might try to keep their sim lively and interesting, I would appreciate hearing your thoughts.


  1. Hi Dio,

    It breaks my heart to hear Deadwood suffered, but glad to see everyone is pitching in to help it improve. You have my best wishes for success.

  2. Hi Merryann,

    hey lots of sims are going through this lately for some reason. Others aren't so much, but it's a mixture of factors at work I'm sure. Main thing is, DW's got folks who care about it.

  3. Community is the key. And Deadwood has always had a very creative and caring community. I hope you can get it through this slump - it's too fine a place to let just wither away.

  4. Hey Riven,
    Yes that's a good point about community. It's not something that one or two people can accomplish--it takes a collective approach--I think Deadwood has been a remarkable experiment in that sense. It's the place where I first truly got to understand and experience the richness of "ensemble rp." When it does finally pass on--whether that is sooner or later--I think the things we collectively and individually learned there will help enrich other communities

  5. I had a terribly difficult time getting my characters, both females, to fit in 1876 Deadwood. I will give it another go this weekend.

  6. I understand completely - I've been financially helping a friends sim(s) that I have very fond memories of from my earliest days in SL, but come what may there was never a sense of community there - no roleplaying or gathering, they were just beautiful memories and I've had to let go.

    Doing so has allowed me to expand in Steelhead a little more - I did want to buy the land next to mine in St Helens but the guy didn't want to sell. Luckily Lunar was opening a new sim (Nevermore - a dark, gothick forest)and someone near moved there meaning I could have that land instead. So I moved my log cabin (more or less in tack - a few prims vanished along the way *shrugs*) and on my old plot built a wild west (via Hollywood no doubt) style lumber & timber yard complete with steam powered sawmill, log flume (soon to have ridable logs!) and a raft dock (soon to have ridable rafts!) I've also started on a mine/cave system but for now just have the collapsed entrance (complete with random rockfalls!) done :-D

    If you want any branded logs and pallets of planks, I'll send some up river for you - gratis for an old mate :)

  7. Hey Caro,

    If you are going to drop by, look and see if I'm in world. I would be happy to meet up with you in Deadwood and try to facilitate interaction between he folks there and your character(s).

    The main thing about characters is that for many of us, we are either playing the exact polar opposite of the real self (which is pretty easy to figure out: just ask yourself what you would NOT do in a given situation...and then go ahead and do it, OR you can pretty much make your rp character just a version of your typist's persona but with a different hat. For instance, Dio the character is pretty much who her typist is..just a bit younger, a better shot, and a lot funnier...

    Making a character work can be a challenge, but I'll try to assist in any way I can.

  8. Hey HB!

    Yep good story there--the simple fact is sometimes the magic doesn't work and it's time to shoot Ol' Yeller in the fuckin head n' move on. But I sincerely don't think that Deadwood is at that point it's tied up out by the woodshed, waitin' fer Pa to fetch his rifle, just quite yet.

    Hey thank you for the offer of the lumber. I will take you up on that, pard!

  9. I will take you up on the offer! I think the problem is more about roles for women in the setting. After the reset. Yes, there has been a lot of discussion on this topic in the DW forum of their website, but I don't think it was too convincing, I mean helpful. I think early on most of the players were women, and where are they now?