“Unmindful” The Movie by Natascha Randt & Karima Hoisan

I will take a LITTLE credit for parts of this, mostly my expertise at not having any particular goal in mind :), and a nice “make a ball look like it’s rolling without risking actual physics” script that I did. It’s a great movie, and a great sim; experience both!

Digital Rabbit Hole

On July 16th, I posted here in my blog, about a new world that Dale Innis and I were beginning to build on Kitely – Virtual Worlds on Demand, called, “Unmindful” See post:
As I said in the post, it was an experiment, to prove or disprove something I had come to believe: “You don’t need an idea to create…ideas come…all you need to do is start.”

So we started off  with no ideas about what the world would be, just making sort of odd stone structures, with off-sim wind turbines, and a parade of wild animals standing on rugs moving in a figure-eight. That was our first part of the build, but then unmindful to how the focus even began changing, we shifted in a very different direction. I had the concept, but I promise you, if it weren’t for Dale, we would never have pulled this off. (Have…

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A poem, and a painting, come alive

It’s been my pleasure and privilege to be part of another of Karima Hoisan’s amazing Kitely sims, based this time on one of her lovely poems.  (See previously The Hudson Line, based on the Hudson line, and In Your Head, based on your head (well…).)

The poem is here, and the artist’s own posting on the sim is here; I urge you to follow both those links, and then experience the Kitely sim for yourself, if you do the Kitely thing at all. (And if you don’t, maybe you should; it turns out you’re still allowed to use SL, too! /grin ).

And in the meantime, here are a couple (more) pictures, as further incentive:

amb_003

lighthouse1_001

Doing the scripting for this sim was great fun, and I hope there is at least one thing that makes you scratch your head and think “How did they do that?”.  Most likely it is the result of Ms. Hoisan and I racking our brains for a few days trying to figure out how to get a particular effect, and then when it seemed impossible her saying “I don’t suppose we could…?” and me smacking my forehead.  :)

How old are Dales and some gnomes?

So yeah, How Old dot Net is all the rage, and I’m sure I’m not the first person to point it at various digital-realm avatars, but here we go!

Girl Dale and Boy Dale both seem to be mid-20’s, which is plausible:

Boy Dale looks 26?

Girl Dale looks 27?

Even drowed-up for Fantasy Faire (see Michele H’s very nice coverage although given how late I always am it is probably over by when you read this):

Drow Girl Dale, too

On the other hand Spennix is, well…

Spennix, on the other hand...

as is her alternate-realm self, the Arcane Mage Tashalorum (now level 100 also with her own Castle; I think we may have seen her here or on Flickr before, at like level 12; leveling is sooo easy these days):

Tashalorum, too...

The human PNC architect there is handled more plausibly, so probably we just need a different version of How Old dot Net for each of the races of Azeroth. (But what of the half-gnomes??)

Amusingly, the male version of Tashalorum (two words: Transmorphic Tincture) is apparently an even harder problem:

Male Tashalorum ; no face??

Maybe facial hair isn’t supposed to be pink?

That’s all for now. :) All various things have been occurring as always, but I have been lazy and not weblogging them or anything. Which means they didn’t really happen yet at all!!

Speaking of vanity…

Meanwhile, over in WoW, I’ve been playing various of my 90s through the brief pre-expansion quests to get the level 515 item and whatever achievement or title or thingie one gets (oh, right, it’s the “of the Iron Vanguard” title, and you really only need to get it once with one character and then they can all use it), and then doing other random things.

I played Spennix just a tiny bit, then my shadow priest for awhile (wicked DPS), and various others, then settled on Spennatrix the healer for some time, including trying to complete all of the Pandaren raids (at mere Looking For Raid difficulty) before the expansion comes out and makes all the existing content easy. (Still have just one to go! The wait-time for raid healers is always really short, I am just lazy.)

Y’all will doubtless remember Spennatrix’s simple white outfit from the other month (okay, the other year). As she went up to 90 and did Timeless Isle quests and got that gear, I didn’t re-transmog every upgrade she got, so eventually she was looking a bit more baroque again:

Spennatrix Ornate

although not awful; the Pandaren gear is much less bizarre-looking than the stuff that inspired her to do a set of transmogs in the first place.

But so anyway, I was in the white transmog again, standing around with a raid group buffing up to take down the Council of Elders in Last Stand of the Zandalari, when I notice this other Night Elf Priestess, and she’s wearing like omg TOTALLY the same transmog!!!

Mooncloth Robes

That’s me on the left.

Of course it’s not really exactly the same transmog, mostly it’s that we both have Mooncloth Robes, and generally non-ornate other gear. She’s got this High Councillor’s Circlet for a nice blue gem matching the blue hair, whereas I have hair matching the robes, and an unmodified Amaranthine Cowl of the Impatient on top (not really a cowl despite the name, more a little top extension with a hairpin) because it looks good, and matches the (also unmodified) belt.

Neither of us quite have the shoulders right, I’d say; I have the White Woolen shoulders or whatever that is, and they’re simple but kind of a weird shape, and actually too white for the white outfit. On the other hand her I think Shadow Council Mantle is a little too ornate for the overall look (although they do go nicely with the gloves). I’ve switched back to the Silver-Threaded Amice look for the shoulders since, and I think I prefer it.

I was thinking about some evil-looking dark transmog for the Shadow Priest, but then I realized that since she spends 99% of her time in Shadowform, no one would hardly ever see it.

And if no one sees it, what’s the point, eh? :)

Gotta ride it like you find it

(That’s actually about the Rock Island Line, and this is about a different line, but it seems apposite.)

Train crossing a bridge

That picture is from Karima Hoisan’s new Kitely sim “The Hudson Line”, which she has just announced over in her (much more frequently updated) weblog.

It’s a wild dreamlike re-interpretation of the RL commuter rail line of the same name; in one of those great SL synergies it started in casual conversations about the differences between various people’s living and working environments, and grew into this lovely impressionistic world. I helped with my usual small scripting contributions, and this time even some of the building!

It was wonderful fun to watch it emerging out of nothing (what an age we live in), and while you don’t get to have that fun, you can visit the announcement, and the sim itself (Kitely account or something required I guess?), and ride the train, and watch the movies, and find out what’s down there in the tunnel at the end (and it’s not Grand Central Station, muhahaha).

(Scripting note: llSetKeyframedMotion works very nicely in Kitely these days, and therefore I assume probably also in OpenSim; I do advise not entirely trusting that the moved object will arrive exactly where you expect it to, especially the first time after a sim reset, and setting at least a backup timer as well as the usual at_target() event. But it’s running the trains and cars and trucks and tugboats in the Hudson Line sim just fine!)

Meanwhile in Minecraft…

(Shout outs to the Burro who tends to use similar titles.)

Minecraft, and in particular Minecraft Portable Edition in single-player mode, which is what I do, is much lower-overhead than SL. Tiny computer that I always have with me, no noisy fans or tangly power cords to deal with, no other persons to worry about rudely ignoring or suddenly logging out on, usw.

Of course there’s also orders of magnitude less stuff to do, and no interesting people to interact with whilst doing it. :) But there we are. It fits nicely into the tiny slivers of time that I seem to have lately (in contrast to the richer but rarer larger chunks of time which favor SL).

Attentive readers who have read even postings that I may never have gotten around to writing may recall the problem we’ve always had in MCPE with animals going aquatic.

Aquatic Animals

That’s an old picture of some sheep and cows swimming about in one of the seas, where they are hard to shear or milk, and look silly. (I suspect a bug or roundoff error or something in the animal-wandering code in MCPE, that causes them to tend to stay near the edges of the map, which is where my seas are.)

The other day I got tired of this, as well as tired of mining way down deep in the mines for awhile, and built some fences and stuff. And viola!

Farm Pen

That is the brand new Animal Enclosure (or whatever the agrarian name is) out at The Farm, featuring a number of captured sheeps and cows and chickens. And the Enclosure out at Lonely Lake:

Lake Pen

which so far has just sheeps.

It is now Much Easier to collect eggs and milk and wool and whatnot (no more swimming or skindiving involved).

Known renegade animals include one Piggy seen deep in the interior the other day, and one last swimming sheep ‘way ‘way off at the edge of the map:

One Swimmer Left

They will be assimilated! Maybe eventually!

(Also, MCPE players who haven’t yet should try hitting a grassy ground square with Bone Meal. Woot! I did this by accident, and was delighted. Also, hitting the leaves of a tree with the Sheep Shears is good.)

Now in fact being able to more easily get Milk and Eggs and Wool isn’t necessarily a Good Thing, since I already have lots of stuff of all sorts, and not necessarily enough places to keep it. Sort of like SL! And RL for that matter!

Most of my Chests are scattered here and there around the world, and full of unsorted and unlabeled Stuff (mostly Cobblestone). Here is the rather cluttered storage area of the Main Desert Base, for instance:

Messy Boxes

(At least we have double-size chests now!)

Finding anything in them is hard, as is trying to move stuff between them in order to give some semblance of organization so as to make it easier.

Walking down some long bare-walled hallway the other day, I for some reason pictured to myself an amusing scene in which the hallway was lined with little Shopping Mall style stores, with windows and doors and display cases and signs and stuff. (H&M Lonely Lake; big sale today only!)

I started fiddling around and actually building one last night just for grins, and once I’d done that and stepped back from it I was suddenly (thunder) struck with the realization that this could actually be Incredibly Useful for organizing things!

So here is what that first store looks like now:

Paper and so on

and you can guess what is in the chest inside. :) The little Nether Reactor Core to the left is just for decoration.

And having done that and been Extremely Pleased, I started making and filling more spaces in that long hallway (between the Desert Mine and Lonely Lake, the long way not the shortcut) with other marked chests, f’rinstance:

String and Bones

and now the upstairs chests are no longer all cluttered with string and bones (and I’ve reserved a big area down there for chests full of Cobblestones), and I can eventually get rid of some of the chests up there so as to have more space for Palatial Thronerooms or whathaveyou.

Woot! :)

Almost inspires me to start boxing up stuff in SL, rather than carrying all eighty-five thousand (literally) things in inventory all the time.

But only almost…

Three Poems

My RL self did National Poetry Writing Month in April; 30 poems in 30 days. I thought I’d post three (at least) of them here, because they have some Virtual World content.

This first one, from the 29th, is notable for having inspired a machinima as noted the other day.

Dactyls are Dharma, too

Here in the midst of the ten thousand thingummies
Hearing the voices of ten million throats,
Feeling compassion for those who have aching knees,
Those who build bridges and those who dig moats.

Sitting in zazen and counting the in-and-out
One and a one and a one and a one,
Mind somehow caught in this insistent rhythm, I
Tick like a clock sitting here in the sun.

Dharma is silent but Dharma is noises and
Dharma is stillness but Dharma is speed,
Why should I think that the circling second-hand
Isn’t precisely the sound that we need?

One commenter (commentor? commentator?) somewhere said they’d learned two new words from it; I’m guessing “dactyl” and “dharma”; both good words to know.

The second one, from the 9th, is very relevant to lil Spennix:

A long way from Kharanos

Well it’s a damn’ long way from Kharanos
To th’ Gate o’ th’ Settin’ Sun,
But the beer is good an’ the beds are soft
When th’ daily slaughter’s done.

I left a dagger in Thermaplugg,
All those long hard years ago,
Took a bit of his gear as a souvenir,
Of Gnomeregan below.

But that crazy old coot was nothin’,
‘gainst the things that they’ve got ‘ere,
Bugs an’ Mogu an’ lizard men,
And hungry ghosts o’ fear.

Someday I’ll go back t’ ol’ Col’ridge,
An’ sit on the porch with ‘em all,
But ’til then I’m out here in the Vale,
Killin’ bugs up on the wall.

Well it’s a damn’ long way from Kharanos
To th’ Gate o’ th’ Settin’ Sun,
But the beer is good and the beds are soft
When th’ daily slaughter’s done.

… and here is an Action Shot of “Killin’ bugs up on the wall”:

Fightin' bugs up on the Wall

(Click through to the shockingly-redesigned flickr for the same picture larger, and in a confusing interface.)

And to close, this one from the 17th. Note that it’s not actually about Second Life, since that has real people in it, not just simulated ones. But still…

Walking Cross-Country

He says he’s writing a computer program
to simulate
walking cross-country
in an unknown place.

Where you might follow a brook upstream
and be surprised by
a forest lake
sparkling in the sun,

And follow a path around it
to a ramshackle house
at the end of a dirt road
where a woman with dark hair and soft eyes
opens the door
and smiles a welcome.

And I say that that sounds cool,
and I also say,
that the real world has surprises like that, too,
and even soft-eyed women,
and he should maybe go for real walks sometimes.

He turns to me,
like he’s about to say something,
but then he just shakes his head
and goes back to the keyboard.

Block

Block

There was something otherworldly about it….

(Submission to the Single Frame Stories thing, for the prompt “Block” announced here.)

And yeah, it’s a bit of a geeky in-joke. :)

Dreaming of pixelated rock

I’ve tried to figure out Minecraft a couple of times in the past, playing with free demos or online versions or something, and it never quite made sense. I didn’t know what to click on to do things, or even what kinds of things were available to do.

Then for some reason I spent a little actual money on the Pocket Edition (i.e. the iPad app, in my case), and it clicked.

It is in some ways utterly awesome, and I think it will be replacing WoW for awhile as my thing to dork around in when I’m feeling too antisocial for Second Life (or, now, when I don’t want to bother with an actual computer, but have my iPad as always nearby).

(Executive summary for those interested in Minecraft vs. SL comparisons: Minecraft is (for me, so far) about using cleverness to build things (and survive) given a set of tricky constraints; whereas SL is about enabling people to build (and do, and be) the most amazing things that they can think of, with as few technical constraints as feasible.)

But now on to Our Story!

The famed Tower of Somewhat More Than Modest Height.

The famed Tower of Somewhat More Than Modest Height.

Again I started out unable to do anything at all, but this time I Googled around for tutorials enough to find the key difference between tapping on things and holding one’s finger down on them (completely different actions, typically), and then I was good to go.

Well, for awhile. :) I started out in Survival Mode just because it sounded like fun, and pretty much ignored crafting and dug in the sand and cut down some trees with my bare hands, and sort of threw together a wood-and-sand fort with a little moat around it for keeping away the monsters for the first night.

That did not go terribly well. I could probably have been fine just crouching inside the walls all night (and hoping nothing jumped over), but I wanted to see out, and with my minimal architecture I kept like falling into the moat and being greeted by a zombie who had also fallen in, or going too close to an Explodey Guy, and dying and things.

So I read the web a little more, discovered crafting, built my first Crafting Table, decided that carving out a secret underground base in the sand was more promising for now than building up, and I was off.

The Secret Underground Desert Base with its guard house, and a section of the old Roman Road, seen from the viewing dome atop the Tower.

The Secret Underground Desert Base with its guard house, and a section of the old Roman Road, seen from the viewing dome atop the Tower.

The glass roof of the Secret Underground Base can be seen above there. The guardhouse nearby is one of the two main entrances (once I had a Crafting Table, the discovery of Wooden Doors was perhaps the next major technological milestone). The other entrance is in the tangle of sand and rocks beyond the glass roof, near the Weird Tall Thing That I Built For No Reason.

The Old Roman Road leads out toward my second base. Once I’d mastered the basics of base-building, I wandered about a day’s journey from the main base, and built a new smaller one in a hillside there to spend the night. Eventually I built that Road leading to it so I wouldn’t get lost. The road isn’t used much, since there’s also now a tunnel between the two bases.

(In fact my whole instance here is pretty much riddled with tunnels connecting everything to everything else, so I never have to go outside to get from one place to another unless I want to hunt or cut wood or tend the farm or something. Does everyone starting out in Minecraft build a spiderweb of underground tunnels, or is that just me?)

Nowadays the second base is mostly devoted to mining, in mostly a downwardish direction.

Looking upward from the current bottom of Deep Delving.  The base area, with crafting table, furnace, etc, is 'way out of sight up there somewhere.

Looking upward from the current bottom of Deep Delving. The base area, with crafting table, furnace, etc, is ‘way out of sight up there somewhere.

Naturally, being a main mining center, the Delving area seems to produce little or no coal, iron ore, and so on, when compared to random little digs that I make while wandering around…

I still get jumped on by zombies and attacked by spiders and skeleton archers now and then, both because I go boldly out in the early morning and night sometimes, and because they tend to spawn down in the mines (the mine down the ladder from the tunnel near the Farm entrance is officially the Haunted Mine, although now that I’ve put in a few dozen extra torches it seems safer).

At first I was living off the flesh of innocent cows and piggies, and the occasional apple from a tree (as is the usual computer-game trope, eating heals one’s injuries), but when those ran low I went to the web again, and discovered farming!

The water-side farm, with rustic stone farmhouse in the background.

The water-side farm, with rustic stone farmhouse in the background.

Basically the only crop is wheat, and basically all you do with it is make bread, but each unit (loaf?) of bread eaten recovers two-and-a-half hearts worth of health.

Farming is exponential; you discover your first few seeds while tilling the soil with your hoe, and after that you get something like two or three seeds on average for each seed planted (in addition to of course the wheat for bread). So eventually either the entire world will be wheat-fields, or I’ll just have an unbounded quantity of unused seeds.

Nature’s bounty!

And then I made the Tower of Somewhat More Than Moderate Height just for fun, and it does have great views at the top of the Very Long Spiral Staircase. (There’s currently a giant spider living on the roof at the very top; not sure if it’s stuck there forever or until I break the roof and it drops down on me and I kill it, or if it will expire eventually, but it’s a fun decoration in the meantime.)

There’s also a big basement under the tower (with crafting table and furnace and chest; I love how they look sort of like a washer and dryer and meat freezer all side-by-side in some suburban utility closet), and of course I’ve linked that basement into the tunnel system.

I need to make a map for myself now, of all the various bases (Main Base, the mines under it, Delving Base and Deep Delving, the Tower, the Farm, the Viewing Room, Snowland, the Hunting Lodge, Arboretum Outpost, and various little hillside doors I haven’t named), and how the tunnels connect them all. For instance to get to somewhere (I’ve forgotten just where at the moment) you go into an obscure tunnel in the corner of the mine under Main Base and then take a left just before the end and go down another tunnel, and…

Until just recently there was still one little burrow that you had to travel overland to get to, but then I dug back into the hill from it and eventually happened on an existing tunnel, so now that one is in the network also. Not that I could necessarily figure how to get there very quickly.

For closing, here are a couple of atmospheric shots, of the Tower seen from Arboretum Outpost at night, and vice-versa just at dawn:

The Tower seen from Arboretum Outpost at night.  Note roving zombie on the left.

The Tower seen from Arboretum Outpost at night. Note roving zombie on the left.

Arboretum Outpost, seen from the top of the Tower just at dawn.  Note roving skeleton-archer.

Arboretum Outpost, seen from the top of the Tower just at dawn. Note roving skeleton-archer.

Most recently I’ve added some fencing and planted some trees at the Arboretum, and it better lives up to its name.

So I’ve been seeing torches and pixelated stairs and long narrow hallways in my dreams, and on the insides of my eyelids when I close my eyes. Not, thankfully, the only things I see on those occasions :) but it’s been a common theme. (See also ol’ Headburro, who is doing cool stuff in I think the PC version, and like wearing diamond armor and all.)

If I don’t get into the more complex PC game and the whole modding thing (see for instance this video for a person talking about and doing Minecraft things of which I have no idea whatever what is going on with in), I suspect that the addiction will eventually wane, and I’ll go back to WoW when I’m not feeling SL-ish.

But time will well!

Bored with WoW again :)

So the periods during which I get interested enough in WoW to play it relatively regularly seem to be getting shorter, and less frequent.

The latest one, of course, happened when the Kung-Fu Pandas expansion came out. Spennix got to level 90 pretty quick:

Spennix in Pandaria

At least I think she’s level 90 there; anyway, she is now! And she got to 90 without doing a single instance, or very many dailies, just questing about. More of the “everything in WoW up to but not including advanced raiding is now dead-easy” effect.

She also has maxed-out Engineering and stuff now, and is very fond of her Mechanical Dragonling pet:

Spennix's Mechanical Dragonling

One new thing I haven’t yet done in WoW is the “Pet Battle” stuff. ’cause, I mean, y’know, sheesh?

I also have a Pandaren Brewmaster, as seemed pretty much required, considering.

Chiuling

He’s level 50-odd now, and wow Brewmaster tanking is easy so far! :) But since after the first rather fun Pandaren start zone he’s just doing the same old levels, I find it hard to get really interested.

Spennatrix has also been Holy Priesting around the first few levels of Pandaria:

Spennatrix in Pandaria

But again I find it hard to be fascinated, since Spennix just did all these areas not so long ago. Instance healing might be fun, but I dunno shrug.

Spennix has done some Golden Lotus and Tillers and insect-dudes dailies, and they can be diverting, but I always come away feeling like I’ve just wasted a big chunk of time.

Whereas in Second Life, when I look at the clock and discover it’s hours past bedtime, I almost never feel like it was a waste. :)

So expect to see me around the grid a bit more than I have been! (Except of course that this weekend is Thanksgiving so there are RL things going on, and then next week I’m out of town on business and may not have connectivity, and and and…)

I’ll say one thing for Diablo III…

… at least the female Barbarians aren’t wearing absurd bikinis or anything.

Eolfrida, sensible armor

Eolfrida is not really pleased about the feathers on the belt, even…

Here’s an article about female armor, that talks some about the D3 barbarian armor, male and female, and how it’s pretty good, gender-wise. I agree.

Apparently the Demon Hunter character is more controversial. :)

Diablo III: that was fun! Kind of!

So I got a free copy of Diablo III for promising not to quit WoW for a year or something (I don’t know, it was complicated, but it didn’t cost anything, and there were some vaguely non-trivial-looking benefits, so I clicked the buttons).

RL has been even more complex than usual and I haven’t been able to get into SL much, but I’ve had enough stolen moments in D3 that I’ve now beaten the game (the first time through, see below), and I can sincerely say that it was worth every penny. Haha, see what I did there? :)

Not that it was worthless, but on the other hand I can’t really see why it was such a big deal, or why it seems to actually have fans and forums and stuff. Unless there’s lots of new stuff in the harder modes that I haven’t tried yet, it seems about as worthy of having devoted fans or forums as, I don’t know, some minor Edward Bulwer-Lytton short story or something.

But anyway! Here is my first character, Cathcart the Monk, the one that I beat the game with on normal mode:

Cathcart

That’s a screenshot, shown actual pixels, of him at like level 34, from the “Select a Hero” screen. It’s also apparently the closest that it’s possible to ever see any character in the game (not counting the pre-rendered cutscenes, which of course don’t show your character).

Here is a shot from within the actual game, after pressing Z I think it is to zoom in to the tiny extent that one can zoom in:

Little D3 People

Kind of small and far away, I thought. Want to see the actual expression on someone’s face? Well, too bad!

Crowded little D3 people

And, especially irritatingly, what minor zooming-in there is doesn’t understand about having to derender stuff that is in the way, so if you try to zoom in to take a screenshot of some noteworthy scene, your camera is likely to end up obstructed by a wall:

D3 zoom fail

or buried in opaque tree leaves:

D3 zoom fail 2

My first instinct in cases like that would be to spin the camera-view around, which leads to the next amusing feature of Diablo III: you can’t do that. There is exactly one possible viewpoint, looking down at your character from something like three meters in the air and five meters to the South.

I went to the D3 forums to see if this was really a limitation or if I’d just neglected to find the camera-movement keys, and was amused to see the True Blue D3 Fans forming roving gangs there and fending off anyone asking that question, saying things like:

I dont know man, that type of camera angle is one of the trademarks of the diablo series. Personally i like it as it is, it would not feel the same for me with a different one…

[T]he isometric camera is a staple of the true soul of the Diablo series.

The stationary camera is one of the pieces of nostalgia kept in place from Diablo 1 and 2 are very positive.

and

this isn’t wow

I knew the WoW kids would all flock to d3 with their complaints

and perhaps my favorite:

What legitimate gameplay reason is there to rotate the camera?

which invites two kinds of amusing questions in response: “Yeah, why would you ever want to look in anything but one fixed direction during a battle?”, and on the other hand “What legitimate gameplay reason is there for the characters to have noses?”.

Of course it’s only the WoW players who miss being able to look more freely around the world. Well, and the people from Second Life. And Skyrim. And Call of Duty. And pretty much any game made since 2005. And, well, DOOM. From 1993…

But anyway! :) The inability to see the character close up, or to have a first-person mouselook sort of view, or to look freely around the world, tended to keep me from feeling really immersed. Also the movement system is entirely click-to-move, which I find also detracts from immersion. Feels more like The Sims With Monsters in a way; more like playing with action figures, maybe, than like really being in an interesting world myself.

And it’s really short! As well as extremely linear. There are four “Acts”, each with various quests in them, and you’re taken from one quest to the next and one Act to the next with very little choice in the matter. There are a few side-quests, but rather than being things that you can run around doing at will, they are things that may or may not become available in any particular play through the game, more or less at random; that is, they are largely under control of the game rather than the player.

Once you finish the game once in normal mode (and it’s quite easy, all of the bosses are essentially “hit them until they die, being sure to walk into the health-globes that they spawn so you don’t die yourself”), you get to see the nice victory cut-scene, and then next time you enter the game you are without explanation back at the start, with all of your items and skill and level intact, but this time in Nightmare Mode. Which, as far as I can tell so far, means that the game is exactly the same, except that the monsters are all upgraded to about the same level that you are, so they are roughly just as hard to kill as they were the first time through.

So you get to play the same game over and over if you want (the modes are something like normal, Nightmare, Hell, and Inferno), with the same character at successively higher levels, against successively tougher monsters (or they would be tougher except that you are higher level now too), with maybe a different random side-quest or two thrown in. Thrills?

(There is also an orthogonal Hardcore Mode, which you can choose when you create a character. Hardcore characters are different in that once one dies it stays dead, and you can’t play it anymore. I’d be curious to see a good Hardcore player deal with some of the encounters that seem specifically designed to require two or three deaths to get through, where more and more monsters just pile in. Maybe there’s an Aggro model that I just haven’t figured out, or something, but I’m not that interested.)

There’s a Stash that lets you store items that you find and share them among all of your (non-Hardcore) characters, and there’s an Auction House (not inside the world but just dialogs in the main game menu; another blow to immersion) where you can buy and sell things, and apparently there is or will be some way to buy gold and/or items with actual real-world money (which I have to admit baffles me somewhat; why would anyone care enough about this tiny game to want to spend real money to buy fancy equipment in it?).

I’m still paying Act I in Nightmare Mode with my Monk a bit, although it’s sort of dull. I’ve also created a second character, Eolfrida the Barbarian woman:

Eolfrida

You will note I have to take a taller picture there, ’cause of she is Big. :)

Here she is running toward battle at like level 2:

Eolfrida running toward battle

and standing around looking blurry and undefined a few levels later:

Eolfrida again

Playing a Barbarian is slightly different from playing a Monk, more emphasis on smashing things, more use of healing potions and glomming onto healing drops ’cause of not having any healing magic (so far?), but basically still “click until you have enough magic whatsit saved up to right-click, and throw in a spell from the 1, 2, 3, or 4 buttons once you are high-enough level”.

The story is okay, sort of what you might find in a decent Conan-style pulp novella, with one loudly-foreshadowed plot twist just where you’d expect. There’s some amusing repartee with and between the NPCs, and there’s a little variety and thought involved in equipping the three follower NPCs and deciding which one to take along at any given time, although in fact they seem mostly interchangeable.

Probably worth more than the nothing that I paid for it. But if I’d paid the, what, sixty US$ that it costs retail? I do not think I would consider it a good investment…

Randomly generating terrains

… aka “When the Creator misplaces a parenthesis”. :)

So my first attempt to write a program to generate random but pleasing landforms for my Sim on a Stick did not go quite as expected.

When the Creator God misplaces a paren...

Bit spikey, for instance.

But then I found a misplaced parenthesis! And things got better.

Ah, much better

I think I am liking the algorithm…

Landforms from the RNG

For the curious, here is the basic (recursive, self-similar) routine, in everyone’s favorite language: Python. (Squished down to fit in the weblog here, not guaranteed to compile as-is.)

def fill_in_terrain(t,lowx,lowy,maxx,maxy):
   ''' Takes the input terrain, where the low-by-max '''
   ''' corners are already filled in, and fills in '''
   ''' everything inside those corners, by the '''
   ''' Magic of Recursion. '''
   if maxx-lowx<2: return t
   if maxy-lowy<2: return t
   xmid = int((lowx+maxx)/2)    
   ymid = int((lowy+maxy)/2)
   hscale = (maxx - lowx) * HSCALE
   # first the corners
   if t[lowx][ymid] is None:
     t[lowx][ymid] = (t[lowx][lowy] + t[lowx][maxy]) / 2 
       + hscale - math.floor(2*hscale*random.random())
   if t[maxx][ymid] is None:
     t[maxx][ymid] = (t[maxx][lowy] + t[maxx][maxy]) / 2 
       + hscale - math.floor(2*hscale*random.random())
   if t[xmid][lowy] is None:
     t[xmid][lowy] = (t[lowx][lowy] + t[maxx][lowy]) / 2 
       + hscale - math.floor(2*hscale*random.random())
   if t[xmid][maxy] is None:
     t[xmid][maxy] = (t[lowx][maxy] + t[maxx][maxy]) / 2 
       + hscale - math.floor(2*hscale*random.random())
   # then the center
   if t[xmid][ymid] is None:
     t[xmid][ymid] = (t[lowx][ymid]+t[maxx][ymid]
                     + t[xmid][lowy]+[xmid][maxy])/4 
                     + hscale - math.floor(2*hscale*random.random())
   # and recurse on the four quadrants
   t = fill_in_terrain(t,lowx,lowy,xmid,ymid)
   t = fill_in_terrain(t,lowx,ymid,xmid,maxy)
   t = fill_in_terrain(t,xmid,lowy,maxx,ymid)
   t = fill_in_terrain(t,xmid,ymid,maxx,maxy)
   return t

def get_terrain(x,y):
   ''' returns an [x][y] array of floats representing a terrain; '''
   ''' range unpredictable '''
   ''' x and y ought to be powers of two, for best results.  '''
   ''' oh, and equal I suppose '''
   answer = [ [None for a in range(y+1)] for b in range(x+1) ]
   answer[0][0] = 0
   answer[x][0] = 0
   answer[0][y] = 0
   answer[x][y] = 0
   answer = fill_in_terrain(answer,0,0,x,y)
   return answer

Fun that all these pretty hills and things come out of that little bit of (also pretty) code…

Breeding like prims

So yet another thing about having one’s own private virtual world is that one can do all sorts of fun but dangerous stuff that one wouldn’t do in anyone else’s.

The main fun-but-dangerous thing, naturally, being the creation of uncontrolled replicators.

(Carefully controlled replicators are safe even for, say, Second Life; and of course SL has the Grey Goo Fence, which is good for the Grid but can be annoying for Residents.)

The other day in my local OpenSim-on-a-stick I made a little physical sphere that randomly moves around. It promptly took off into the open water ‘way off the side of the sim (into space that, strictly speaking, doesn’t exist).

So then I made a tall green wall, and put the randomly-moving ball inside the wall, and that was better.

Then I taught the ball to make copies of itself, and also to randomly delete itself. I set the probability of replicating just barely above the probability of self-deletion, knowing from my days as an Anti-Virus Guru that this should lead to an (initially) slow population increase.

Then I got bored, watching the number of balls inside the wall go from one to two to three, back to two, back to three, to four, back to one…

So I cranked up the probability of replication a bit. And then of course the phone rang and I had to open a different window to do something, and when I went back to the viewer:

Runaway 1

Oh, dear.

Well, no problem, I thought; the sim was running kind of slow, but I could just cam up, select everything nearby, deselect the wall, and hit Delete.

And that worked great, except that in the few seconds between my selecting everything and hitting Delete, another few dozen balls had spawned, and they weren’t selected or deleted, and then a couple seconds after that the sim was running so slowly that deleting stuff wasn’t really working anymore.

And then I noticed…

Runaway 2

a potential crisis! If the balls were to start spawning outside the wall, it seemed not unlikely I would have to restore the sim from the last OAR file I took or something.

On closer investigation there were at least three balls that had apparently escaped the wall:

Runaway 3

but when I went to examine (and hopefully quickly Delete them), it turned out none of them actually existed as far as the sim was concerned, the viewer was just confused as a result of all the physics and lag going on. So that was good.

I thought I would log out and then log back in as the AV with Estate powers (Simona Stick, rather than Test User). I noticed that over on the Opensim console, things were not entirely happy:

Runaway 4

It look a long time to settle down again when I tried to log out, and at this point I started to panic a bit. In the time it would take me to log in as the estate owner and try to turn off scripts or whatever, would the sim have become utterly unusable? So instead I did a shutdown on the Opensim console. This resulted in lots more red messages for quite awhile…

Runaway 5

but eventually it did shut down.

Okay, smartypants, so now what? Well, it turns out that Opensim in Sim on a Stick happens to use a MySQL database to store everything in, and that due to the Day Job I have some knowledge of MySQL, and the database tables that Opensim uses are at least somewhat documented.

So once I’d figured out the MySQL username and password that SOAS had installed, I logged into the MySQL console, and viola:

mysql> select count(*) from prims;
+----------+
| count(*) |
+----------+
| 1482 |
+----------+
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

So we have fourteen hundred and eighty-two prims. Fortunately all of the self-reproducing ones have the same name, and each rezzed prim (as far as I can tell) corresponds to one or more records in just three different tables.

First we delete the shape-records for the prims (Opensim could save considerable space in the database by compressing out duplicates here, one would think):

mysql> delete from primshapes where UUID in (select UUID from prims where name="moving and reproducing ball");
Query OK, 1294 rows affected (0.05 sec)

So it looks like we have about 1294 replicators

Then, we destroy the contents (prim inventories) of all of them:

mysql> delete from primitems where primID in (select UUID from prims where name="moving and reproducing ball");
Query OK, 2385 rows affected (0.14 sec)

And that more or less makes sense; each replicator typically contains a script and a copy of itself, so we’d expect to have roughly twice as many contents as we have replicating prims. 2385 is somewhat less then twice 1294, but that’s because of that “roughly” in the last sentence, which I will not go into in detail.

And finally, we remove the little beggars themselves:

mysql> delete from prims where name="moving and reproducing ball";
Query OK, 1294 rows affected (0.05 sec)

Another reassuring 1294.

Now we would expect to have 1482-1294 prims left, and:

mysql> select count(*) from prims;
+----------+
| count(*) |
+----------+
| 188 |
+----------+

(counting on fingers) that adds up!

Crossing our fingers and venturing back into the world as Test User, we find:

Runaway 6

The wall (and everything else) undamaged, but the nasty replicators gone! And sim performance back to normal. So huzzah!

Disclaimer: I have no idea whether the steps above are actually the right way to remove a bunch of nasty things from an OpenSim instance, and for all I know they have left the database in some incoherent state that will cause it to die horribly tomorrow. If your Opensim world is valuable to you, take frequent backups and don’t go messing with the database directly in MySQL because of something you saw in a weblog once. Also, in retrospect, it probably would have been cleverer to use MySQL just to turn off scripting for the estate, and then gone in and cleaned up normally inworld. But hindsight is a penny earned!

Sim-on-a-Stick and Kitely: they both work!

After I described my uber-l33t bat file hax0ring the other day, Ener Hax emself commented that the latest Sim on a Stick would detect 32 vs 64 bit and do the right thing All By Itself, and also had a more recent version of OpenSim, and a thing to let you choose three different styles of world layout, and so on.

So I tried it! In particular, I exported what I had built so far (i.e. the increasingly awesome house, pictured here being built still in the older OpenSim I think:

Test User builds a house!

) to an OAR file on my laptop’s hard drive, using the actual Opensim documentation, imported it to the sim next door on my USB key just to make sure it worked (matter duplication!), saved Test User’s (tiny) inventory to an IAR, shut down that little OpenSim, installed the latest one from Sim On A Stick (they both fit onto the USB key with room to spare), developed even more l33t Opensim skills by finding out Test User’s UUID on the old one, creating a Test User with the same UUID on the new one, imported the OAR and IAR, and poof!

Test User was ready to start building again in the new moderner and unhacked-by-me virtual universe:

Interior Design in a USB key

And that was extremely cool.

After building a little more there I thought the next ossum thing to do would be to put this little house-in-a-world onto the public Web somewhere were other people could (potentially) also get to it.

Kitely was the obvious choice, so I looked at various other things first. :) If you are a company wanting to pay a small (by company standards) monthly fee for a virtual server in the cloud, there are lots of people eager to take your money. But if you are an individual wanting really not very much at all for hopefully more or less nothing, the choices are more limited as it turns out.

So Kitely it was! First I went back into the local USB-key world and put a crate in the yard and put all of Test User’s inventory items into it and made a new OAR (since Kitely I think will let you upload an OAR but not an IAR). Then I joined Kitely on the Free plan (by logging into Twitter and telling it to tell them that I was me, which is cool and/or scary), created my one free world, uploaded the OAR, and logged in…

kitely_001

Is that Test User’s house we see in the distance?

kitely_002

Hurrah, it is! (Including the inventory-crate in the yard, and the various textures harvested from the Innertubes, and their accompanying baggage of moral and legal copyright questions!)

Let’s go inside and check out the details.

kitely_003

Everything seems to have come over just fine, including the genuine Dale Innis art on the wall there, with the subtle band of color on the black horizontal piece, that moves slowly from one side to the other, changing hue as it goes. (And the amusing 70’s-style orgy picture in the background.)

Back out to the yard, and the crate of inventory items, and here is Kitely Dale with my favorite custom OpenSim eyes and hair, and Eloh Elliot skin, and home-made “n00b” tee shirt, ready to take on the world! (At least as long as the free two hours lasts, after which I will have to consider buying some Minutes a la carte.)

kitely_005

Fifteen minutes later, there is a nice wall around the yard:

kitely_006

and the universe is threatening to fork. I tried to export it, with the modifications, from Kitely as a new OAR, but apparently I don’t have enough Kitely Credits for that. And my patience for figuring out virtual currencies and stuff had apparently run out, because I went off to write in my weblog here rather than finding out about Kitely Credits and continuing on that path tonight.

Pretty neat, eh? Maybe sometime I will throw a party there! If I can figure out how the Minutes and Kitely Credits required would work an’ all…

World in my Pocket (USB Windows 64-bit version)

So I stumbled across the ‘Sim on a Stick’ idea for the Nth time (that one is Tateru Nino’s; see also SimOnAStick dot com from the adorably pink iliveisl entity, and NWN’s recent coverage), and this time I thought I’d try it.

Tateru’s ZIP file doesn’t actually work under 64-bit Windows, which is what the fancy laptop here runs, but it almost does. The symptom is that after the opensim console says “APPLICATION” you get a popup about opensim.exe being evil, like so:

and then a big Java-or-something traceback about a bad image and an invalid format and similar geeky stuff shows up in the console and it acts as though you’d typed “shutdown”:

I poked around a little, and found the fix here. Basically you just have to run opensim.32bitlaunch.exe instead of opensim.exe (this runs the 32-bit opensim; actually running a 64-bit opensim would be more work, especially since at least one important component, ODE, doesn’t seem to have a 64-bit build that I can find).

So what I did, concretely:

  • Open the usb-opensim folder on the USB key in Explorer,
  • Copy and paste the “opensim” thing, so there are two now,
  • Rename to new one to “opensim64”
  • Rightclick on it and Edit
  • Find where it says “opensim.exe”,
  • Change that to “opensim.32bitlaunch.exe”,
  • Save and exit,
  • Now run your world just as Tateru says, except:
  • Where she says to run opensim.bat, run opensim64.bat.

And that’s all! Mere moments later (and after not being able to figure out how or if it’s possible to tell Firestorm to point at anything besides SL, and being glad I still had an Imprudence around), I was duckwalking around, uploading some great old Eloh Elliot skins and my “noob” tee shirt, and making some brand-new prims on my very own laptop!

That is the comely and talented Test User, wearing capris from the small clothing collection that comes in the ZIP file, the abovementioned skin and tee shirt, and the ever-popular New Hair and New Eyes, admiring the First Three Prims Ever Created In This Particular Universe.

Which is really quite cool, in its own way…

Fashion comes to the WoW battlefield

There’s always been a bit of fashion stuff in World of Warcraft; certain items of clothing or other gear that you could buy or get that were valuable not because of their stats, but because they looked cool (or unusual, or weird, or extra-ugly).

People would make up elegant or funny or whatever outfits out of these sometimes and stroll around in town showing off, or wear them to RP (Roleplaying) events, or costume parties or whatever. See for instance the famous picture of Spennix in the pimpin’ Crimson Felt Hat, which is actually useful for about twenty minutes at level 48, if you’re a Priest, but looks good on anyone:

Spennix's Town Hat

On the battlefield (or out in the wilderness or the necromancer’s tower or whatever), however, you generally wore whatever you could get your hands on that had the best stats, with little or no regard to how it looked. (’cause of otherwise you would like die an’ all.)

The Blizzard folks did put some thought into gear design, and there are various sets that go together thematically at both high and low levels. But even at that if you’re a holy priest or a warlock or a retribution paladin or whatever at a certain level, there are a very limited number of things that are Best In Slot (BiS) for you at that level, and at most a couple of different integrated outfits, and even those will have been designed by, well, by Blizzard.

And they ain’t exactly fashion designers.

But now that is all changed!

Using Transmogrification, you can make any piece of gear look like any other piece of the same sort of gear (with various complicated rules like you have to own and be able to use both, both must actually have some kind of stats bonus, etc, etc), and that has completely opened up the WoW fashion scene, both in town and in the fray.

(Well, not completely-completely as in Second Life, because you still can’t quite make your own stuff, but you can combine various of the lots and lots of existing-looking stuff in multiplicative ways.)

For instance I hadn’t taken pictures to speak of of Spennatrix, my healer Priest, or even played her all that much lately, at least partly because she looked stupid in her gear.

Here, for instance, is the Mask of New Snow, the best healer headgear she’d come across and/or been able to afford to that point:

I mean, yuck! And also, eek! Is that a look you’d want to trust your life to in battle? More like something you’d expect to be battling against.

A bit later she upgraded to the Cowl of Destiny, which looks like this:

Again, omg and/or wtf rofls. Blizzard’s style choices at high levels have always run to more or less elaborate more or less dark and threatening things, which is fine if you’re a necromancer warlock or a mage or even warrior or whatever, but Spennatrix is a humble Priestess of Elune, the WoW Moon Goddess, and is not really interested in looking like any of those things, thank you very much.

(And her staff, for that matter; Chelly’s Staff of Dark Mending isn’t exactly In Character, but it’s what she’s got.)

So, transmogrification! Being an Illustrious Grand Master Tailor and a Night Elf, it was no problem to cleanse some Felcloth into Mooncloth at the ancient Moonwell over in the mysterious Twilight Grove over in Duskwood, and make a lovely set of Mooncloth robes. Then taking out the elegant Imperial Red Circlet she’d saved from her early adventures, and the Moon Staff of Elune that she quested for in her novitiate (if priestesses of Elune have novitiates, I dunno), and then down to the Ethereal’s place in Stormwind for th’ Transmogrifying (not to mention a trip to the barber for a little magical dye job), and viola:

Now there’s someone you want at your back when you’re tanking Mannoroth at the Well of Eternity, eh?

(Her next robe upgrade, to the Robes of the Cleansing Flame, didn’t look too bad:

but still too much like a Fire Mage or a UPS deliveryperson or something (not to mention making her bottom look huge; what were they thinking with that pattern on the hips??). Much better in Mooncloth:

don’t you think?)

So that’s fashion in WoW! None of my other toons (haha, “toons”) have made as much use of it as Spennatrix, although my necro warlock did use it to color-coordinate a piece of what was really Priest gear that he was using for awhile, and Spennix has used it to get back the look of her very very cool goggles from awhile back. But Spennatrix is definitely my most fashion-conscious WoW character. :)

And back in SL, boy Dale has a rather new look, too! We’ll see how long that lasts. Fortunately, no annoying raids or prolonged quests or tedious grinding are required to change looks in SL; just shopping!

Combat System Scripting, interlude: OpenSim

So on our last post in this thread someone asked if this stuff would work in OpenSim.

I did a little playing around, and the answer seems to be “it depends”.

Unlike Second Life, which is both (arguably) a bunch of software, and a particular virtual world that uses that software, OpenSim is just a bunch of software (and an Open Source one at that, which means that there are all various forks and versions and levels and patches around out there). So what you get when you log into one virtual world that’s running (some level of) OpenSim may be different from what you get in another.

What I found when I tried out the Scripts So Far in the first OpenSim-based grid that came to hand (running perhaps “OpenSim 0.7.2 ReactionGrid”, although it wasn’t ReactionGrid) was:

There’s one simple thing in the self-healing target script that this OpenSim didn’t like; this line gets a syntax error:

integer health = MAX_HEALTH;

because apparently this OpenSim is even more silly than Second Life is, about global initializers not having any hard stuff like math or variables in them. So I changed that to just:

integer health;

and added a

    health = MAX_HEALTH;

down in the state_entry() handler, and that got rid of the compilation error.

The autopopgun script worked fine except that (as one of the commentors anticipated) I had to create my own bullet for it because there was no popgun in the library to cheat with. :) I won’t post the bullet script and other bullet details here right now ’cause it would be a distraction, but it worked.

Then I pointed the autoshooter at the target, and the target said “Clunk”.

Repeatedly.

As you may recall, this means that it thinks it’s being hit by something that’s not moving fast enough to cause damage.

A little poking around revealed that in this particular OpenSim, llDetectedVel() was always returning 0.000, making it not very useful for our purposes!

As a temporary test, I changed the

    if (llVecMag(llDetectedVel(index))>15) {

in the target script to the obvious

    if (llVecMag(llDetectedVel(index))>=0) {

so that instead of “is the thing that hit us moving at least fifteen meters per second?”, it was instead asking “is the thing that hit us moving at all, or for that matter not moving at all?”. To which the answer must always be Yes! :)

With that change the target worked fine; its health count went down while the shooter was shooting at it, went back up again when I moved the shooter away, and then went down and turned yellow and then red and then the target Ceased to Be when I left the shooter pointed at it long enough.

There may be OpenSim-based grids where llDetectedVel() works (this list of LSL functions that work in OpenSim seems to claim that it is implemented), but it didn’t seem to in mine. But other than that, and the one tiny syntax change mentioned above, everything we’ve done so far seems to work in OpenSim!

In case anyone else was wondering. :)

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.

Bunnies vs Argaloth!

Just to show that WoW isn’t all battles and fighting and stuff, here’s a moment of silliness, where most of the 25-person guild raid waiting for the last two members to show up before taking on Pit Lord Argaloth decided to turn each other into bunnies and get out our Spring Rabbit pets, and hop around for picture-taking.

Bunnies vs Argaloth!

(I really should have turned off all of the floating nametags, ’cause they sort of clutter up the picture…)

I am happy to see that the picture has already been favorited once on flickr. :)

I wasn’t actually planning to be in this raid at all, I just happened to be doing Tol Barad when it was time for my guild‘s weekly “Raid Boot Camp” run, so I got included in the invitation, and I thought “What the heck!”.

The raid was fun (even not counting the bunnies), and the Boot Camp part consisted mostly of following directions (something I am generally pretty good at). And I was rewarded richly, in that as the only rogue there I pretty much by default got the nice rogue PvP legs that dropped, and they were a good upgrade to my PvP set.

(In fact they’re enough better than the legs currently in my PvE set that I’m thinking of swapping them in there also; but wearing PvP for PvE, even when justified by the numbers, is sort of a WoW Fashion Faux Pas…)

So see! What WoW is really about is (a) silliness, and (b) fashion. Now you know! :)