Archive for January, 2007

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Samurai Island

January 31, 2007

Samurai Island

Onder Skall reports from Samurai Island

I finally learned my lesson after the last time and decided to review Samurai Island sooner rather than later. I don’t need the Crazy 88 chopping my ass. Wired reviewed it, New World Notes went on about it, so hooray: everybody loves it. That probably means it sucks. Let’s take a look.

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Combat Cards

January 29, 2007

Originally this article appeared in the Second Life Herald under the title “Dodge This, Tringo: Combat Cards Deals Itself Into SL Gaming Scene

Special to the Herald, by Onder Skall of Second Life GamesCombatcards_action

It started with a couple of friends sitting at the kitchen table. Doc Boffin and Jaladan Codesmith wondered what it would take to create a kick-butt card combat game for an MMO. A deck of playing cards, some masking tape, a magic marker and a lot of imagination later, and a new game was born. This was the very definition grassroots gaming.

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Second Life Games Guide – Coming Soon!

January 27, 2007

Second Life Games Guide - Coming Soon!

It’s so close I can taste it! The vending scripts are getting tidied up, the format is taking it’s final shape, and the content is all lined up. Soon a MONTHLY game guide about Second Life will be available IN-WORLD using some exciting new technology!

The technology in question is a datapad that you wear in your HUD (created by the genius Professor Eisenberg). Simple game descriptions are there, along with pictures, landmarks, and web links for a more complete description if you want to read it here first. The best part: I’m going to be able to sell it for just L$5 per issue. I kid you not.

As soon as it’s launched I’ll be able to start posting FAR more content to Second Life Games, as the time and effort in setting this up will have been, for the most part, taken care of. Keep an eye on the blog for updates!

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Pixel Sumo

January 24, 2007

The Herald is carrying a story about Pixel Sumo right now. They’re big fans of anything that makes a good headline, but I’m not sure if it’s any fun or not. Anybody play this?

I’ll check up on this game within the week and give you my take on it…

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Raiden Gold Casino

January 23, 2007

The simple, monolithic “beauty” of Raiden Gold

Onder Skall reports from Raiden Gold Casino, Raiden Gold (165, 93, 29)

I had a big scare the other day: I had too much L$! We all go through this now and again, but usually we can count on Tier fees to bring us back to a happy state of bankruptcy. Unfortunately that wasn’t going to cover it and I was going to end up with a spare few hundred L$. What was I going to do?

Now, I could just go and buy some stuff from native builders or designers and then delete the items from my inventory and my troubles would be over. Unfortunately I would then be burdening these innocent people with spare L$ of their own and the cycle would just continue. No, if I really was going to obliterate this cash completely, I had to find a pit of despair from which no L$ would ever return.

A quick search of the Classifieds later and I had my answer. Raiden Gold Casino was dumping hundreds of thousands of L$ every single month into advertising. You couldn’t avoid their ads even if you tried (believe me, I’ve tried…). They must be a L$ eating machine. Perfect!

When I arrived at the casino I knew right away I was in the right place. I think we’re all tired of stumbling across brilliantly intricate and gorgeous builds. Thank goodness we have none of that nonsense here. The exterior was completely devoid of any artistic touch. Factories have more character. Its bland facade screamed: “shut up and get in here so we can take your money.” My God, they were efficient!

It gets better…

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Herald! Woo!

January 23, 2007

Just a personal note to say that I’m doing a little extra work for the Second Life Herald. Watch for it!

Oh, meanwhile, check out the next article… it’s one they declined to print. :)

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Compulsory DarkLife Article

January 19, 2007

DarkLifeOnder Skall reports from DarkLife, Navora (45, 41)

You may remember when I was telling you that, as a writer discussing games in Second Life, there’s an unwritten rule stating you must write about Tringo. Well…

The other day a black sedan with tinted windows pulled up in front of me and a man in a suit approached. “We understand that you have not yet written about DarkLife,” he rasped. “Uh, no, no I haven’t,” I stammered. He was about a foot taller than I was and his hands looked like they could crush my head effortlessly.

“DarkLife is a very good game, you know. Many people enjoy it.”

“Yes, so I’ve heard, I…”

“Wired wrote about DarkLife you know. Kotaku too. And New World Notes. You want to be as good as they are, don’t you?”

This is the part where I was supposed to take the hint. I swear, I’m not all that quick sometimes…

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MegaBux – 100% RDA of WOOHOO!

January 17, 2007

Onder and Saskia at Megabux

Onder Skall reports from MegaBux – 100% RDA of WOOHOO!, Shamrock 101, 123, 104 (Mature)

I caught up with Saskia McLaglen, a hardcore gamer of the Second Life Games group, and we took a trip over to MegaBux. It’s a free playground with lots to do, but it’s the kind of place you really want to be with somebody to visit. (If you don’t have a friend online, join the Second Life Games group and ask the channel if anybody is interested in joining you. It’s a fun bunch!)

First stop: SKEE BALL! Everybody loves skee ball, right?

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Second Life Meta-Game (Until The Grid Is Back Up)

January 17, 2007

This is happening way too often for us not to do this. We need to make some kind of game based on grid crashes. Some ideas, just off the top of my head:

  1. Betting pool: how long after the official estimated resolution time will it actually come up?
  2. Flake contest: who left the most angry comment (that slipped past the moderators) at blog.secondlife.com?
  3. Combustible contest (rated M for Mature): find the most angry forum on the net and act all happy-go-lucky on it about the outage! Dodge the flames!
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Little Silent Hill Strikes Back!

January 16, 2007

Onder Skall reports from Little Silent Hill, Braunworth 42, 119, 179 (Mature)

This article began with somebody being very angry with me, but then became a massive epic undertaking. Strap yourselves in for Little Silent Hill Strikes Back!

There was a time where I wrote movie reviews for a few papers. I was expected to be cruel and cutting when necessary, passionate in my opinion, and without any kind of restraint. I could do this because a review is largely just an entertainment product, even if it is my honest personal opinion. This is something that is understood by entertainment professionals.

Onder takes a second look at Little Silent Hill

Onder takes another look at Little Silent Hill

Apparently that doesn’t fly so well in the independent creation circles of Second Life. A comment appeared in the midnight hour under my Little Silent Hill article. It was from the creator, Eryn Curie. Here it is, unabridged, after the fold:

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Swag Hunt – Get Your SLG Shirt!

January 15, 2007

Get your free hot looking shirt!

Onder Skall reports from the holodeck at the base of Eisenberg’s Fortress, Crescent (108, 198, 89)

Just IM me if you’d like a free Second Life Games shirt. I have two at the moment: one in dark green (pictured) and one in black with almost-black-red stripes down the arms. Fully modifyable, copyable, everythingable. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Oh, meanwhile, keep your eye out for the newspaper box (pictured after the fold). The in-world version of SLG is that much closer!

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Cosplay – Four Great Avs

January 13, 2007

Onder Skall reports from Welcome Area, Morris (4, 251, 40)

Whenever I want to see some really brilliant avatar work, I swing by the Welcome Area at the Ahern-Bonifacio-Dore-Morris junction. You get this great mix of newbies and veterans there, and of course the vets all want to strut their stuff!

These pictures are self-explanatory, but I wanted to point out that Keane Edge (pictured in the first two images below) does all of his work himself and, as he put it, is “constantly evolving”. He referenced a half-dozen anime titles as inspiration for his look (only three of which I had heard of…). It’s amazing how much time and effort gets put into these things!

Of course, Veedal Sassoon shrugged off my compliments with a casual “just something I threw together this morning”. My my, aren’t we the suave one? ;-)

Keane Edge with the mega-eye

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Midian City

January 13, 2007

Onder visits Midian City

Onder Skall reports from Midian City, Midian City 139, 46, 30 (Mature)

Originally I was going to just refer you to this excellent article over at Just Virtual, but then I spent a little time in Midian City and realized that there was something more to be said. The game has moved from a rented plot to a full sim, and in so doing has shifted from an experiment into something that people live their second lives in.

Midian City isn’t just gothic cyberpunk combat, neither is it merely a huge, extremely detailed build. It’s an experience. Don’t come unless you plan to BE a character, to interact with the other characters as this fictional creature, and to win or lose depending on a shared narrative.

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UI Abstraction – The Game Staring At You In The Face

January 12, 2007

UI Abstraction

Onder Skall reports from The Brownstone East, Grignano (114, 123, 27)

Second Life Art News is holding another photo contest, but this one has a twist that sent me reeling. The basic idea is to create abstract art using the SL client’s debug settings. Hit Ctrl-Alt-D to open up the Client and Server menus, and start toying with the settings under Rendering (and a few other places) to create special effects. Grab your screenshot, remix it in Photoshop (optionally), and send in your 512×512 entry.

Why am I making such a big deal of this? To me, this exercise is going to do more to teach people about play than anything has in ages. It carries the message that everything is a toy, even things that are intended to be tools or means to some other end. This demonstrates to the masses why hackers hack, why parcours runners leap, and why every kid, sooner or later, flicks a lightswitch up and down as fast as they can until somebody yells at them.

Playing is awesome, but finding new ways to play is even better!

[edit Jan 13 2007] View my submission after the jump:

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Tech Warfare

January 10, 2007

Onder Skall reports from Tech War Arcadia , Arcadia 1 (62, 221, 22)

I’m a big fan of New World Notes. It’s the most intelligent, consise, “just-the-facts” writing on Second Life that there is. While poking around the blog I came accross this article about Tech Warfare. His article is written better than mine is, but mine’s shorter and I have bigger pictures so I win.

Tech Warfare

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