Tuesday, June 29, 2004


(Being an ongoing account of one simulator's history, from its appearance in the world to the community that emerges from it. Chapter 1 here; Chapter 2 here, Chapter 3 here.)

A few days after I talked with Melissa Westerburg from the balcony of her new home (see Chapter 3), I returned to find the view had changed, somewhat. The picturesque view of the Japanese castle to the South was now blocked by, well, an Apollo-sized rocket and a launch pad and a control room. Not necessarily the thing you want to see, while sipping white wine from from the deck and trying to enjoy the sunset.

"Like it, Hamlet?" Sophos Casanova asks me, when I meet him in his unfinished HQ. "Needs some stairs," he decides, and begins adding just that.

"Are you actually going to launch rockets?"

"Yup. Script is being made for me. It will fly to Welcome Area, and [create] lots of smoke at ignition... and a huge flame," he promises. "It will vanish there and a new one will show. I hope people are willing to pay for that."

"Will it make a lot of noise when it launches?" I ask Sophos.


"Do you think the neighbors will complain?"

Sophos turns to me. "Do I have neighbors?"

Yes there are, I tell Sophos. I refer him to the luxury home directly opposite from his in-world Cape Canaveral.

Another spaceport visitor named Catfart Grayson overhears my question, and offers a suggestion: "Hand out free earmuffs."

He peers at me. "Ah Hamlet-- the reporter guy?"

"Yep," I answer.

"Read your stuff. A good read."

"Thanks, Catfart," I answer. "And I've always wanted to say, 'Thanks, Catfart!'"

Sophos says that if the neighbors complain about his space flights, "I will settle as good adults do." When I speak with him, on June 24th, Sophos has only been in-world for about two weeks. "I got the [rocket pad] idea from Michael Linden... this place was perfectly suited," he says, referring to the large size of the waterfront property, and its surroundings. "It's 2000 [square meters] of land. Besides, lots of no-build-zones in the area. Can't have the rocket smash into other people's buildings." He's from Holland, so it's late for him, when we talk; we let the interview wind down-- but not before he tells me that the debut launch should be soon. (In fact, I may have missed it. Last weekend, I made a quick fly-by, and spotted a discarded rocket submerged under water, a few hundred feet from the port.)

The next day, I ask Melissa Westerburg what she thinks about her new neighbor, the in-world Von Braun who's about to start sending rockets into orbit-- and I have to admit, I'm expecting a dramatic burst of NIMBY outrage.

"Actually," says Melissa, "[I] think it's pretty neat. I love seeing how everyone comes up with stuff."

"Did you know he plans to launch those rockets with smoke and sound effects and everything, on a regular basis?"

"No, I sure didn't." She laughs. "I didn't even know he had launched anything."

"He plans to pretty soon. Next week, I think."

"Oh cool," says Melissa, "I hope to be able to be online and see that."

And as it happens, the view of the spaceport is pretty cool, from her deck. The question is what their new neighbors will make of it. Because in the last few days, over seven new patches of Tenjin land were snatched up, at auction, and at fairly high prices, including the lease rights to 2048 square meters for L$30377 (about US$120), bought after a fierce [or more accurately, "intense" -- WJA, 6/29] bidding war between two residents. So three weeks after it emerged from the waves, the Tenjin community continues to grow.

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The Opening and "first"launch will be tonight at midnight CET so eehm.. 3 pm for you guys?

Posted by: Sophos Casanova at Jun 29, 2004 2:09:51 PM

I had to laugh.. I had no idea my land purchase was newsworthy... and for the record? It WAS one harsh bidding war. Reason I wanted it is that piece stands somewhat solo.


Posted by: Loreal Grayson at Jun 29, 2004 8:39:37 PM

Oh wow sorry did not think of the auction as being a harsh bidding war, LMAO. I just wanted to buy the land that was next to my friend Melissa. Plain and simple. Keep in mind that the system that runs the auction does the bidding for you. I placed what was the max I would consider spending and the system does the rest. So harsh it was not. Just a normal auction.


Posted by: Brac Westerburg at Jun 29, 2004 10:19:32 PM

You're right, "harsh" is a bit too inferential. Corrected above!

Posted by: Hamlet Linden at Jun 30, 2004 12:39:21 AM

Hey... wasn't trying to insult or upset anybody by saying "harsh". It was harsh on my pocketbook. Thats what it was lmao !!!!!
Its nice land here so I hope you can find a piece close by your friend ;')

Posted by: Loreal Grayson at Jun 30, 2004 10:11:01 AM