Battling undead at Point of Derivation

I got to Point of Derivation not because it’s in the Destination Guide (the Destination Guide being one of those New Things that I can never remember exists), but because it was a stop on the Sinister Steampunk Hunt (the last stop, in fact; the memorably named “Swine and Roses”).

But when I got there I noticed some rather clued-looking PvE combat stuff set out, so later on I went over to check out the combat.

(For the non-gamers in the audience, “PvE” means “player versus environment”, where you fight monsters and other stuff in the game world, as opposed to “PvP”, which is “Player versus Player”, where you fight other players, most of whom are much better than you are.)

So I put on my favorite Gruff helmet for decoration, and got out some weapons. Here I am considering the Long Sword that comes free at the entrance (and again there are larger-scale versions of these pictures, if you click through to flickr):

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and here I am with my Taltech Range Bow (or something like that), crouching martially:

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I charge off into the desert, shooting skeletons of all kinds until they fall down and explode!

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And now into the swamp, with the sword out for close-in melee!

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One battles one’s way to the ancient necropolis, turning to kill the last few undead attackers on the way up the stairs, and wishing there was some way to take good action-shots of mouselook-mode combat.

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Then vaulting heriocally over railings and onto mossy rooftops.

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Cowabunga!

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(I love the jump animations in my AO.)

Slicing my way to the door to the catacombs, turning to make sure nothing is following me…

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Through subterranean passages rife with murderous skeletons and the occasional power-up, to the final door!

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There to leap onto the teleporter and TP out quick before something else spawns and kills me (note amusing expression on face due to being axed a bit by newborn skeleton while TPing).

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Definitely a good time! I did the basic routes several times, for fun and to get better at it; I died several times, too, which just involves not being able to move until you click on the “revive” thing and get TPd back to a starting point. Somehow I don’t have any pictures of that. :)

I also IMd considerable with the owner of the sim (one of the owners? dunno), who was around (and who was the only name above mine on the day’s leaderboard woo woo), and it sounds like they will be adding more stuff beyond the basic (but fun) stuff that they have there now.

This is really the first time I’ve done PvE combat in SL, and I’m enjoying it. So now of course I am thinking of (A) trying it in other places, and (B) making some of my own. In the meantime, see you in Mouselook! :)

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Is Frogger More of a Virtual World Than Second Life?

This morning in the tub when I was trying to think of some more headlines that would make Second Life sound bad without being too obvious about it, I decided it was again time to make some subtly negative comparison of SL to something else. And the perfect example was right there on the bathroom wall, on my poster of old arcade games: I would make a post saying that Frogger is more of a virtual world than Second Life!

Now this might seem weird at first glance, since people don’t usually consider arcade games to be virtual worlds, but the thing is, there’s no one agreed upon definition of “virtual world”, so really I can write anything that pops into my head, and no one can say that I’m wrong. So nyah-nyah in advance to all you negative commentors!

In order to make Second Life look as bad as possible, I think it’s useful to think about all the ways Frogger is more or at least as much of a virtual world than Second Life, and not think about any of the things that suggest the opposite. Here’s at least eight:

  • Frogger is geographically contiguous – Second Life is not. Long ago, it was possible to walk from one end of Second Life to another. Now, SL is dominated by thousands of private islands, many of which are artificially inaccessible. By contrast, you can hop from one end of Frogger to the other, if you don’t get run over, just like it’s possible to walk from New York to Australia in the real world.
  • Frogger has an internally consistent, universal physics — Second Life does not. In some areas of SL you can fly; in others, you cannot. You can even change the position of the sun, and soon, the very way light is filtered. And so on.
  • Frogger has a pre-existing ecosystem of flora and fauna — Second Life does not. Alligators and speeding trucks thrive in Frogger. Outside of virtual pets and the rare virtual ecosystem, SL is mainly bereft of animal species, and has none that exist independent of their human creators and owners.
  • Frogger is self-contained and relatively separate from the the wider Internet — Second Life is much more integrated with the web, and therefore, arguably less “worldly”.
  • Frogger doesn’t have much dynamic user-generated content — but Second Life doesn’t have “natural” dynamic user-generated content either. In Second Life, user-created objects artificially instantiate out of thin air; also, Minecraft is better than Second Life, too.
  • Frogger is a single unified experience of a world — Second Life contains multitudes of very different world-like experiences. A “world” that contains, for example, space marine shooters, fantasy MMOs, urban roleplay, furries, Goreans, real life educators, metaverse artists, and so on and on, seems less like a world, than a platform for multiple worlds. The real world, after all, contains only one kind of thing, not many different ones!
  • Frogger has not stubbornly continued to be successful despite my constant sniping — Second Life has. Not that I’m bitter or anything. But someday SL will finally fail, and then people will stop snickering at me behind my back, pointing and giggling about Blue Mars! Someday they’ll all pay!!11!1!

Ehem. Sorry.

Of course, none of this suggests Frogger is superior to SL, oh no not at all, didn’t mean to suggest anything like that, any more than I did in my “Why call it Second Life when it has a low retention rate?” story, or my “Coffee and Power can succeed unlike SL which is a pathetic failure” story, or my “Second Life has failed due to poor execution and market timing” story, or my “Second Life is doomed because I am not in charge of it” story (parts 1-27). But I will say this: If you’re interested in widening the market for virtual worlds (and I am), it’s a good idea to widen the definition of the category, preferably enough so that it includes some CEO that will reliably return my calls.