March 27, 2007

[This article originally appeared in New World Notes]

Name: Pop-A-Rama
Genre: Board Game
Creator(s): Monk Zymurgy
Estimated Number of Players: 2 – 4
Gameplay: Get all of your pieces around the board while sending your opponents home.
Top Qualities:  Really cool build, extremely easy learning curve, three game modes
Current Shortcomings: A little laggy, puts lots of text in the chat box at the moment, a bit too simple for lots of games in a row
Where to Play/Buy: ONLY at the Games Park, not even available for purchase yet. IM Monk Zymurgy for a copy!

A functional HUD version of the classic board game Trouble would be reasonably fun. A physically rendered version with moving pieces, a working dice popper in the middle, and user friendly interface would be even better. A huge version with pieces so big you can ride them around the board, however, takes things to a completely new level.

For those who aren’t familiar with the game, players push on a “popper” in the middle of the board to roll the dice. They can then move their pieces around the board that many spaces, and send their opponents back to the beginning if they land on them. It’s a pretty simple concept, but since all players have four pieces there’s a bit of strategy as to when to move which piece on each roll of the dice.

Monk Zymurgy almost didn’t even finish “Pop-A-Rama”. He put it together on a whim and was testing it in the sandboxes of Discordia. A few of us helped him test it out, and I made a note to follow up with him on it later. When I eventually asked him about it he said that he was thinking about never finishing work. Aghast at the prospect of such a great game disappearing, several of us banded together and begged him to put an installation of it in the Games Park.

He gave in and a few of us got together for a rounds or two. Apart from some lag issues the board works very well. The popper even has a failsafe so that if somebody does something sneaky to the dice you can re-rez them and just keep on playing. That came in handy at one point when a passing vehicle smashed into our board. Only in Second Life!

Just before publication of this article I checked back in with Monk. Not only has he been spending time streamlining the code, but he’s going to be releasing an auto-updating version of it on SLX soon. Usually an auto-update feature just means that you get bug fixes and minor tweaks, but Monk is taking it to the next level: the board will eventually be able to morph into entirely new configurations!


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