Eisenberg’s FortressJanuary 8, 2007
Onder Skall reports from Eisenberg’s Fortress – Open 24/7, Crescent (108, 198, 89)
Last week while randomly flying around Crescent looking for a relatively blank surface against which I could take a screencap, I landed upon a large monolithic fortress. There was a sign on the roof reading: “Find your way in – Dodge the security – Get the Goodies! – … and look out for secrets …”
I immediately forgot what I was doing there in the first place and began my first exploration of Eisenberg’s Fortress. The elevators were a start, but soon I discovered secret entrances and hidden passages. After about an hour of fun dodging traps, finding treasures and playing with the holodeck on the ground floor, I was called away and made a promise to myself to return. Unfortunately, events of the following few days kept me occupied and I soon forgot all about it.
Then, just yesterday, the Professor sent me an IM:
Professor Eisenberg: hi there, I noticed that you found some scrap metal and other bits in my fortress. If you like I can give you a better introduction into the game which that is a part of? If you’d like that just IM me.
After some quick negotiations we decided on a time and met face to face. Ah, a fellow horned av! We were off to a good start.
The Fortress itself is even more complicated than I had at first assumed. There are entrances, rooms and traps that I hadn’t seen before, and much treasure to be had. Of course, eventually I just had to ask: what am I supposed to do with “copper rods” and a “vial of ichor”?
The Professor lead me to the lab room where she taught me how to use the tables. Placing found items on the tables and then clicking them causes the system to check and see if a third item can be created. If so, the third item materializes. These items can then be mixed together again to make more items, and so on. The complete set involves hundreds of items in total, but the real treasures are to be discovered via secret formulas that the player gets to discover on their own.
What can you make?
The shimmering personal forcefield was impressive. It was a solid object to others, but the user could pass right through it. There was a crazy foam gun that created big globs of sticky foam that made me look like I was made of marshmallow. Of course, my favorite was the flamethrower. Every kid should get a flamethrower for Christmas!
The Professor hinted that there were many more things that could be made, including a drone (that I managed to make a mechanical limb for!) and a gun that could be upgraded. I started thinking about how much time I was going to be dumping into searching the Fortress for materials when the Professor pointed out that there was a station in the room that can be used to purchase all the supplies that I needed for just a few L$. When I asked about buying the recipes, she just smiled. Ah well, had to try… and besides, playing with this stuff was going to be WAY more fun!
We finished the tour with the Professor showing me a series of inventions that she had created that did some amazing things. I’ll save the details for another day when I can give each item some individual attention, but let’s just say that they were works of remarkable genius. Even the holodeck is the best one that I’ve seen anywhere in Second Life. It’s times like these where you can learn to appreciate why tech savviness and artistic talent need to strike this kind of balance.
The entire fortress, with all of it’s corners and hidden passages and hundreds of items was created single-handedly by Professor Eisenberg as a labor of love. Builds like these are what make Second Life special. Long time residents will enjoy this build as much as anybody else because we’re encouraged to look around and tinker with what we find. It’s the love of exploration that makes SL in general, and this game in particular, as engaging as they are.
ADDENDUM: Just before leaving I ran a few ideas about how I wanted to publish Second Life Games in-world past her. She gave me some positive feedback about the interface ideas I had and said that she’d look into them. Professor, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.