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Thursday, May 06, 2004

HELL (AND HEAVEN) ON EARTH

NOTES FROM KRIS RITTER ON THE ENGINEERING, ECONOMICS, AND THEOLOGY BEHIND HER PRIVATE ISLAND, KRITTANNIA

The inspiration and the motivation.

A couple of things, really. As to the theme itself, Heaven and Hell, it was an idea that Misty Rhodes originally ventured many months ago, but something that really needed to be done big to be done well. Although I don't think even Misty could say that she envisaged her idea being brought to life on quite this scale!

A large part of it had to do with the changes that tie prim usage to land ownership, and the cost of the land tiers. [I.E., it had to do with the real dollar cost for bringing "prims", Second Life's essential building blocks, into the world, because the maximum allotment a resident may use is tied to how much land they own-- which is charged on an escalating scale, in proportion to acreage owned.] Even to sustain my existing builds, I had to tier up several times, and ended up buying over an eighth of Immaculate, despite the fact I was really only using about a quarter of that land. [I.E., to preserve the buildings and objects or "builds" she had in-world, she had to purchase more and more land to get a larger prim allotment.] When I filled that up, I had to tier up again and again, just to be able to build anything else, or face continually tearing down my existing builds to do something else.

At the prices I was paying, it's really not that great a step to go the whole deal and get a sim.

And I really wanted to do something on a very large scale! I didn't want to have to worry about prims or fitting builds onto some strange-shaped plot of land-- the attraction is the complete control to do exactly as you please on a sim-wide scale.

The coolest thing, for me, about the way we've gone about it, is that the themed build... more or less leaves all sixteen acres of the landscape natural and unspoiled for visitors to enjoy. It also allows us to be incredibly diverse in our builds-- there is of course a very stark contrast between Heaven and Hell!

On the theological mythos behind the depiction of the afterlife.

No theology. It's a themepark. Hopefully it's a cool place to hang out. It's not meant to be in any way religious beyond being a cool theme to borrow. And Second Life needed a Heaven and Hell! Anyone who takes it any other way is looking too hard for something that isn't there. Personally, I hold no religious beliefs of any kind.

On the other hand, our resident mermaid and architect of Heaven, Myradyl Muse, has introduced a number of authentic elements to the theme that have drawn a lot of positive comments, including the most gratifying, "Wow! It's just like I imagined it!". Ha ha.

The rationale for investing so much, to create and own this island.

Because I'm nuts, I guess. But really, I came to Second Life to build. If I didn't have the island, I don't think I'd be here for much the reasons I stated in my first answer. I pay for it because I love SL. By that I mean that the environment and technology is leading edge stuff, and I want to be a part of that. (I won't comment too much on what I think of other aspects of Second Life. It tends to get me in trouble.)

Sure, it's a stupid amount of money to pay for a "game" but then I spend most of my free time here. Whatever else I might do to amuse myself outside of SL would surely cost me more than the $6 US a day I pay to play.

On the incidents of "griefers", invading the island.

Fortunately, griefing has been reasonably light apart from the one incident-- where someone released two different types of replicating, [avatar-]following objects onto the island. It just so happened that it was timed nicely [when] I and the Lindens wouldn't be in-world for the next eight hours. It ground work to a halt, but could have been a lot worse, if it wasn't for some of the people who helped. Forestrock [Flower] devised a hat that would orbit the offending objects off-world, as they tried to attach to him, and wandered round the island smiting the blighters. And Colin Linden was very helpful in dispatching the rest with his God tools.

I'm afraid that I've got far more extreme in my view against griefers, since I started paying serious money to play. Every time I have to go clean up after someone who thinks I bought them a sandbox, or thinks it's amusing to release replicating follow drones on my island, it costs me and my team real time and money.

So there are no second chances with me any more. If you cause me, my team, or my visitors trouble, you are permanently banned from my island. Tough. I really want the island to be there for everyone to enjoy. I don't want to have to lock it down and deny everyone because of a few idiots. Bleh. What is it with people who get off on inconveniencing other residents and ruining their fun?

On the wondrous, fabulous, object-replicating device of master scripter Xylor Baysclef (time-lapse photographs of his engine in action, over the course of an estimated two minutes, depicted at the right.)

The machine is essentially a 'photocopier' that takes a 3D structure and creates a copy at any size and resolution. So I can make a five prim smiley face and turn it into a sixty meter high, 800 prim work of art, in a minute or two.

When I eventually get 'round to using it more practically, I can see it allowing us to build, or at the very least map out to full size, some of the more complex structural features we intend to include. I'm sure it will even inspire some completely new ideas.

It is one of the most amazing things I have seen in Second Life so far. And I've seen some really amazing things. It's such a cool gadget that I just play around and watch it build huge structures in seconds.

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