Monday, August 01, 2005


For a short time, giving a second life to the games they love-- tributes to Counterstrike, Mario, and Warhammer come to SL in skewed form.

Miroslaw Bukowski was cleaning out his voluminous inventory of created objects, when he noticed a lot of them were tributes to the world of Nintendo's Mario Brothers games. "And there it was. All [the] Mario stuff I made awhile back." A column of glittering coins here, some mushrooms there, and so on. Rather than toss them all into his Trash folder, he went to the free-build "sandbox" simulators, where Residents can pretty much build whatever they like-- with the understanding that anything left there overnight will be wiped by a daily server reset. "So I just took it out of the inventory and rezzed it there," he says, grinning.

"And voila, instant Mario level?"

"Yeah," he tells me.

Most times, the sandbox sims represent Second Life in its essential form, a 3D collective modding tool where socialization is centered around instant creativity. For that reason, the sandboxes attract a unique subculture of Residents all their own. The restless noodlers, the surreal event fabulators, the Type A competitive creators, who'll vie to build the biggest and baddest space dreadnought, for starters. While some Residents go there to create objects that'll eventually find a permanent place on their own property, just as many (if not most) sandbox denizens are perfectly happy to see these projects they spent so much time building exist for just awhile-- a kind of temporary tribute to their favorite things.

That would be the case with the near-exact recreation of the famed DE_Dust map from Counterstrike that's currently floating five hundred meters above the Newcomb sandbox. (And I owe Chage McCoy for first reporting on this in his blog.)

"I used a map editor to look at the [Counterstrike] map and formulas to get the right sizes of the pieces/stretch of the textures," its creator, Lucia Lumiere, explains.

"Also, it is not the entire map," he adds sardonically, "I somehow lost a few pieces of it thanks to this game's awesome inventory system."

The emphasis on his project is temporary, he insists, with no plans to host Counterstrike-type matches in SL. "No it was just an experiment," he says. "[I]f I actually put CS in here I think I would have to never play this game again, because there's already enough annoying cybersex addicted 'adults' in here, and I don't think we need short bus-riding teenage CS players, too."

Alternately, Owl Patel is intent on playing a variation of the beloved Warhammer miniature strategy games in Second Life-- a decidedly warped version that's more Snuggles than stormtrooper.

"So," I say, surveying the sandbox-based 50 meter board that's crowded with phalanxes of fuzzy miniatures, "Warhammer, but with bears?"

"Yup," a steel robot named Aleksandr Martov says proudly. "Bearhammer!"

Aleksandr and friends are gathered inside the board, building furiously, expanding on Patel's creation.

"Though why bears?" I press.

Grrolin Anansi seems to glance up at me like I've asked the stupidest question in the world. "Cause they are cute to blow up?"

Well, of course. Patel has already put together a match of Bearhammer, they tell me, fighting it out with Warhammer rules, with a giant ruler to gague troop and armor movement.

"Who doesn't wanna send waves of teddy bears to take each other out?" Sanct Draper reasons nearby. "Crazy people, that's who."

Again, a hard point to argue.

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We tripped on these sandbox games while showing our game dev competition judges just how creative SL users are. At http://www.cs.northwestern.edu/~hunicke/blog/index.php?p=41228 you'll see one of our judge's favorite scenes. :)

Posted by: Sabin Linden at Aug 2, 2005 12:26:18 PM

Good lord, forget damn bananas, THIS is the shit.

What beautifull. Few thoughts:

-Miroslaw's a master of his domain but he really should have more places to exhibit his work, I've had a tendency of visiting his land in the past only to come back and find it torn down. There's gotta be a more permanent installation. Miro, if you're reading this, for your own damn sake, PLEASE get in touch with Goodwrench and Salazar re: The Mushroom Kingdom in Davenport.

-A lot has changed... Lucia's a HE now? Well, pronouns be sent to hell, but uhm... whoa. Look. A Jolly Rancher. Kewl map. ^_^

-I guess Nicole Linden's bears get new life stuffed into them... muhahaha... that's so funny.

-Whoa. THAT'S ONE OF YOUR JUDGES? (After following hyperlink.) She has so many kinds of hair. Wow. And Steamboat Willie-era MM?

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Plug into your computer and you got a remote controlled office missile launcher with 360 degrees horizontal and 45 degree vertival rotation with a range of more than 6 meters - which gives you a coverage of 113 square meters round your workplace.
You can get the gadget here: http://tinyurl.com/2qul3c

Check out the video they have on the page.


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