Thursday, December 16, 2010

RP lives on in SL

Hey y'all,

Yeah, I know I've been an irresponsible old doxie and haven't written or posted much lately except for the silly little bit about the "Chanuka Cham" at Wally World. And I'm pretty sure that don't really count.

To some extent the lack of productivity on this ridiculous blog has been the result of work and other demands of rl eating my brain, like a Zombie Andrew Zimmern (who, by the way, I have enjoyed the times I have seen his show--not only will he freakin' eat goddam near anything, he does it with considerable gusto and cheerful elan, and what seems to be a genuine respect for the cultures that produce the various bug-and-slug-based cuisines he seems to so thoroughly relish). I just haven't had much mental energy for writing lately.

The other thing is that--believe it or not--I have been really busy in Second Life, because there are exciting things going on in the world of historical rp. Let me give you a little update.

First of all, as you will know from a previous post I recently made, the core team in Deadwood has embarked on a mission to revitalize the sim. The good news is that we are making progress. There are new people showing up, there are nights when there are a substantial number of folks in the sim at once, and things like gunplay, death and dismemberment are flourishing like they did in the old days of the sim. Just the other night I had to patch up Rod Eun's leg, and pull a bullet from C.T. Kungler's shoulder. There are others kinds of fun stuff going on as well: among the folks who have become regulars there is a player whose character is a mute orphan girl whom we have dubbed "Silence" (as we don't know her real name). In order to help Silence communicate better, Dio is teaching indian sign language to the child. I'm doing this by drawing on a wonderful web site that offers a "vocabulary" of native American sign language elements that were commonly used in the latter half of the 19th century. Although "in character" Dio of course knows sign language from the times she has spent among various indian peoples, for her typist this is one of those wonderful self-directed learning opportunities. I was delighted to discover that the standard northern/central plains sign for "friend" is constructed from elements that literally mean "like two brothers who have grown up together."

Is that fuckin' poetic, or what?

Among other projects we have going on, Addison Leigh is building like a maniac, adding some wonderful new structures to the Deadwood streetscape, and sim Owner Caed Aldwych has constructed a new and simplified OOC orientation/Vendor area that will save prims and be easier for new folks to navigate once it goes live. And my friend Serenek, a relatively new member of the Deadwood community, has worked with Addi to create a dandy boarding house, where respectable gals can find decent accommodations and a nice little island of civilization in primitive hogwallow that is our town.

So we are seeing some progress there. The team feels like we probably have a pretty good shot at keeping the sim going for some time, and more importantly that people feel like they are getting something out of the experience provided by the sim. It's not just another dead and empty interesting build.

Speaking of interesting builds, in other news, 1920s Berlin is continuing to make progress. The build recently relocated to a full sim, with more variety (including a super Brandenberg Gate) and more activity. There are more stores, more dwellings, more public spaces, and more businesses in general--there is even an active taxi cab service that will pick you up at the trains station and deliver you to wherever you want to go in the city.

IC, I am still bartending regularly at the Keller, a more-or-less run-down dance hall and bar in a moderately shabby neighborhood...the job augments my income from my day job as an organizer and office worker for the anarcho-syndicalist labor union, the Freie Arbeiters Union-Deutschland (which frankly doesn't pay that well).

Once again, Jo Yardley has done a splendid job of recreating the look and feel of Weimar era Berlin, but on an even grander scale and with more complexity and depth than before. The community is growing, and there is more interest in doing roleplaying in the sim: I have been asked to lead a couple of "intro to RP " discussion and they were well attended.

Finally, I wanted to update you on what is going on in Alsium, the roman sim that that I have been involved with since it opened earlier this year. It has undergone a change in ownership, and is being rebuilt. It was beautiful before, but was clearly more"inspired by" roman culture and architecture, rather than standing as a "recreation" of a roman community from the time of Marcus Aurelius. Now, a new builder, Lexusz Mornington, has been engaged, and the future of the sim looks extremely promising. The new owners are working with that new builder and the community at large to collectively plan and develop a new kind of Roman sim that SL has not seen before--one that represents iconic elements of historical roman life and culture, featuring historically plausible composite buildings, organized into a coherent--and still visually appealing--roman coastal resort city.

I am really getting excited about this project, especially as I have had the chance to see mock-ups of some of the proposed architectural elements, which the designer has based on actual ancient buildings, but adapted to be functional within the context of SL. In my humble opinion, the new build is gonna knock your socks off.

So, you may ask, what's the point here, besides the fact that Dio has kept her saggy ol' ass busy running from one time period to another in her off hours?

The point is, to my delight (and a certain degree of surprise) historical roleplaying and creative sim building continues in SL, and, in fact, is attracting some new adherents (bit by bit). After a long dry spell this fall when activity seemed to be dropping off, I am seeing it come back.

That is, of course, a purely subjective conclusion and based on my limited experience in the fairly restricted sphere of places I wander around in. And I don't have a good explanation for it--are people finding they have more time on their hands to fill now that it gets dark earlier (and let's face it, what television has to offer blows beyond belief)? Is the economy actually getting a little better and people have the confidence and spare cash to buy some clothing and build or buy some new structures in a virtual world?

Yes there are a lot of sims that remain empty and lifeless--some of them wonderful builds, and others that deserve to go the way of the dodo--but in places where people are refusing to give up and keep trying to make the sims evolve and activity happen, people are showing up and having fun.

Maybe the sky still isn't ready to fall, just yet.


  1. We are so lucky to have you participating in Alsium. It has been great to see the community come together around the RP and the re-build.

  2. I greatly admire your energy, Dio! After a day at work, my typist is generally mentally shot, and the idea of being active in not one but three RP sims is beyond my imagination.

  3. Hey CJ,

    I want to thank you for including me in the new Alsium project. I think it's going to be a very impressive new build thanks to the experience and ideas that are going into it from the community.

    Hey Rhia, yeah, I'm spread kinda thin these days, but I enjoy the variety and the diverse folks who are involved. But something does have to give and mostly it's been the blog.

    And CJ and Rhia, I hope you both have a great holiday season and a happy new year.

  4. I'm with Rhia - I shut down entirely over Xmas due to extreme fucking knackeredness and I'm not sure I'm ready to come back in yet :-D

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