Monday, September 17, 2012

The Adult RolePlay 2012

For those interested in more mature and adult-oriented roleplay groups on the Grid, Nikira Naimarc has a chance for residents to find one or get the word out about theirs. She is organizing the "Adult Role Play 2012," an inworld convention "to provide an exhibition/conference for the large community of adult roleplayers in Second Life."

In a press-release notecard, Nikira explained she got the idea while going about the Second Life Ninth Birthday event, "The idea for the "Adult Roleplay 2012" was born. A meeting with fair, lectures, discussions and also chill out in parties. The fair is designed to serve and inform our community without any profits for us, the organizers. Our aim is a non or only a low cost participation for the exhibitors." There would be a forum for presentations and discussions on the topics of role-plays, and a party area either for exhibitors events or for "come together parties." The date planned for the event is November 2012, for "about 7 to 10 days."

Talking to Nikira, she expressed hope that the inworld con would be attended by a variety of role-play groups from across Second Life. Besides the Gorean role-plays, she hoped the event would attract those with modern urban and historical settings, in addition to bondage groups. She also planned for store areas for content creators to sell their wares, "RP equipment, clothes, weapons … swords as (an) example."

Nikira did say this wouldn't be like a real-life con, but "its a fair, where all kinds of RPs can be offered. … like a sex fair in real life … It will be a Adult sim, so only adults can go to the fair." Of how much, or how little, people could wear, she explained that it wasn't expected for people to dress any differently here than elsewhere in public, "It's not a RP. If someone wants to come naked, we won't ban him, but it's not standard."

For more information about the convention, one can contact Nikira Naimarc via IM or notecard, or drop by her "inforcenter" in Seedy City at Mystical Darkwood (158, 24, 23).

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, September 10, 2012

Game Review: Herzog Zwei and Airmech

When gamers think of good real time strategy games computer games like StarCraft or Warcraft 2 or perhaps other various games come to mind. Many people think of Dune 2 as one of the first strategy games, but there’s another game that’s vague but still an excellent first game for a strategy game against your friend or a computer AI.
When Sega Genesis came out, everyone thought of arcade games like Altered Beast and Golden Axe. One of the lesser known games is Herzog Zwei created by Technosoft. My brother and I in real life played this game like crazy and we had the saying “Look at your base power”! It plays like a strategy game where you manage resources to buy and build units to destroy the opposing player. What makes Herzog Zwei different though is that you control a plane that picks up your units like tanks and stationary cannons. Also this plane can blast enemy units and the other player with a gun in air or on the ground. You’re not invincible though take enough hits and you die to respawn at your main base after a short period of time. The main goal of Herzog Zwei is to destroy not the opposing player’s plane/robot. But instead to destroy the player’s main base through your units attacking it.
To gain resources you gain to buy units come from what me and brother called “mini bases”. You capture a mini base by sending four infantry with a command “Capture mini base”. Infantry have lousy hit points so it’s best to deliver the infantry yourself to the mini base. You can see how many infantry are in the mini base by dots shown on the mini base. When it reaches four in your color you gain control of the base. The two colors are an orange and dark blue. Don’t get lazy though just because you gain control of a mini base doesn’t mean the other player can’t capture it.
Your main base and mini bases allow you to build and pick up units recharge your plane’s ammo and fuel and hit points. The same goes for units if you are carrying one of your tanks they get recharged too. Mini bases also give you more resources to buy units. When you order a unit it takes a set amount of time for it to be built. You’ll see a signal when it’s ready.
You also assign commands to your troops. One was called the dizzy command where your unit went in a circle. The other commands were capture mini base or attack main base. When you think you have enough firepower start sending your tanks, motorcycles etc. to attack the other’s player’s main base. Commands for your units cost resources too.
Once you destroy the enemy’s main base you win! The focus of the game is balancing capturing and keeping control of mini bases and attacking the other player’s main base. No mini bases means you barely get any resources to fund your army. So get control of those ASAP.
Airmech made by Carbon Games follows the same game style you control the same jetplane and order units. However there are enough differences from the original that Airmech is a whole new game by itself.For example you can pick different planes like a flying saucer that allows you to gain control of enemy units when you float over them. Eventually they change to your color and it’s yours as if you built it in the first place. Also a cargo plane can heal your own units. Many actions during the game give you experience. Each level you gain gives you a skill point that you can use to give yourself more firepower or higher armor, each plane is different.
Also in Herzog Zwei you could only order and build one unit at a time. In Airmech you have a build list and can order up to five at once. If the units are small enough infantry for example you can carry three at a time. Instead of being stuck with the same units from Herzog Zwei, players have the option to customize your army from tanks to HUGE tanks to probes that are very fast that can capture mini bases or cannons or as my brother and I called them “grims” From Herzog Zwei when the cannons had a skull on top.
The game is original and addicting. Gameplay is rewarded with experience and kudos and using kudos you can buy the right to use certain units and pilots. The flying saucer I bought with kudos wanting to brainwash enemy units and let them go their merry way on their command against the enemy.
How do you play Airmech? It’s pretty easy get an email account from Google and go to the game store and "buy" Airmech. It’s free to play. It’s possible to play against human players in Airmech but beware it tends to lag. There’s a tutorial to get you used to the game play. So even if you never played a strategy game or Herzog Zwei, you’ll get used to it.
When you feel like trying out something new and you’re not in the mood for Second Life upload Airmech and give it a shot. You might even yell out “Look at your base power!”
Grease Coakes

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Zynga and "The Sims Social"

Most anyone who has a computer has been on or at least heard about Facebook. The website where you connect with friends online or locally around your geographical area. Besides keeping in touch with your friends by posting on their walls, there are lots of mini games to get involved in like Farmville or Mafia Wars. There’s no real end to these games, or goals as you keep gaining levels in any of the Zynga games. The games are just a way to connect with friends and end up eating up a lot of your free time.
Right now EA is suing Zynga for violating copyright laws for ripping off their popular game, The Sims and making their own version “The Ville.” Playing the original sims when it first came out, I had a good idea what to expect from the sims. “The Sims Social” made by EA is their Facebook version of their very own Sims. Like the Sims series, you create your own person and interact with people throughout the Facebook network with various requests for more energy or items to complete sets of items. You use energy to do actions like the Sims like being social with your neighbor or eating some pie. Also you get to pick out clothes and a characteristic for your sim. I picked out a charming personality. Just like original Sims you have to keep an eye on the needs gauges making sure your sim makes it to the bathroom and gets enough sleep.

Playing The Ville seemed very much like playing EA’s the social Sims. You do the same actions and the ville offered the same personality types and similar clothes and goals. It seemed confusing whether I was playing either EA’s “The Sims Social” or Zynga’s “The Ville.” The Sims animations when talking to other Sims seemed identical. Also the gag of your sim eating a tiny or big bite from the pie is in both versions. When you sim has a tiny bite, he or she shrinks. A big bite will make your character bigger. The music also seems the same the easy breezy music style of the Sims as the game loads up seems identical when you play Zynga’s version. 
It seems very clear that Zynga wanted to ride the popularity of the widely successful Sims from EA and create their own version. My question was it worth it for Zynga to carbon copy the Sims and put themselves in a bad position to be sued? Zynga already has popular games like Farmville on Facebook and many others. Seemed like an unnecessary risk to take over a single game.
I wonder how the lawsuit will turn out? Zynga’s future seems cloudy now when before it had a strong standing with Facebook making endless games that tend to be addictive. Sometimes you have to leave a classic idea alone and move on to make your own classics hopefully Zynga will learn that lesson.
For more information, check out the article from CNN
Grease Coakes

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Resident Looks Back at City of Heroes

For fans of the Superhero MMO "City of Heroes," there was some sad news recently. Paragon Studios, the makers of the game, announced their company, NCsoft, had decided to close them down. A short article in Massively stated the reasons were "realignment of company focus and publishing support."

To our Community, Thank you. Thank you for your years of support. You've been with us every step of the way, sharing in our challenges, encouraging us to make City of Heroes better, more than everyone else thought it could be. We couldn't have come this far without you. I implore you all, focus on the good things of CoH and Paragon Studios. Don't dwell on the "how" or the "why", but rather join us in celebrating the legacy of an amazing partnership between the players and the development team. 

Among the players of the game was Second Life resident Alexandra "Lexi" Tymets, also known as "DJ Sexy Lexi." She had a few things to say about her time at Paragon City. Of her characters, "I had a bunch actutally. Over the years I've played both sides, hero and villain. Have maxed out characters on both. ... CoH was really fun. You get to feel heroic as your little super hero,or super villian, (who) beats, blasts, or sends summoned creations after your enemies. It's really fun when you get a group, and you've got an Area of Effect Attack, like my Water Blast/Dark Miasma Corrupter did. She'd drop an AoE Debuff then slam the enemies with AoE attacks. There's nothing like watching a horde of enemies just fall over at once."

Of the gameplay, "Well you of course fought enemies, starting from street thugs, who will come at you with guns and baseball bats, and work your way up the villain chain. There were trainers you would see so you could level up your heroes powers. You chose two sets, which depended on your archtype. Like Corrupters, which was a Villain archtype, got to chose a ranged attack, and a ranged support set. ... As you got higher in levels, you'd face things that could throw nasty powers right back at you."

Describing the quests, "In the early days the quests were pretty repetitve, though they did give you some story to link them to help out. Go here... smack that around. Come talk to me again, typical MMO fare. As the game progressed they created new parts of the city with their own enveloping story. You could stay in one zone... and do the arcs from different contacts there, and it would all be all one continuing story as you worked your way to whatever was menacing that zone. That's really when City of Heroes got it's own flavor, and really started to shine.

"There was a zone called Croatoa. It dealt with Fae and supernatural things. Witches, Redcaps, Werewolves, Ghosts, and Plant monsters with Jack 'o lanterns for heads. It inspired me to make more than one character with roots in magic or connections to the Fae. There was even a Nessie-like monster in the lake called Sally."

"My Storm/Elec Defender ... I remade her as an Ice/Storm Corrupter. She's level 32, and still hasn't gotten her first debt badge. She still exists. When the Servers Close down on Nov 30th, I'll be on her, standing next to Miss Liberty. Probably bawling my little mousie eyes out."

As to why the game was closing, "Rumors run from. 'NCSoft is a bunch of asshats,' to 'They wanted to cut CoH and Paragon before it went into the red,' and 'They couldn't renew the CoH License.' "

"I've been with City of Heroes, on and off admittedly, since Issue 1. They're in Issue 23 right now, and were gearing to Issue 24. I played for 5 years. It was the best Super Hero MMO they ever released, and it pains me to see it go. I've cried twice now, all the friends I made, all the stories I told with my characters, and some that were just beginning to tell their stories. It was an amazing run, and I thank Paragon Studios for the years they put into it. The Love, the devotion, and the time. No other MMO I've ever played had that sense of family."

Lexi wasn't the only resident whom played the game. Ranchen Weidman explained she did too, "CoH was fun, still is. But I doubt I'll be playing any more of it (now) that it's closing."

Top image from 

Bixyl Shuftan

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Minecraft: Scenes from Angels' Village

Last month, I wrote a little about the place in Minecraft for my virtual neighbors: Angels' Village. A few weeks later, for the Sunweavers/Angels' Estates residents looking for a short break from Second Life, the place is still getting traffic, and being worked on.

 Seeing an entrance to underground while looking just outside the walls, I went in and came across this: an underground arena.

The place had quite a bit of detail, and must've taken quite some time to build. Whomever did it was most likely expecting few others to see it, let alone getting images of it publicized.

While down there, I found this snow golem moving about, one with a jack o' lantern head.  Guess one can call it the "Headless Snowman."

Not sure who did this: a tiny cage with a piggy inside, with torches on all sides. The porker was franticaly twisting and turning, as if trying to break out of it's prison that was slowly roasting it alive. Cruel, but creative.

Back on the surface, I found this roaming the village. I thought someone had created some kind of flesh golem, but looking it up, I found it's a zombie pigman. Not hostile unless attacked, they're almost always found in the Nether, or near a Nether portal. While they can be created when lightning strikes near a pig, it's supposedly very rare.

Around the village, players are making builds of their own. One was a smaller village of sand, which I forgot to get pictures of. Another was some kind of enclosure with a three story building with glass windows, and a flaming front gate, making it visible from a long distance away. Inside were a number of cows. They were probably being used just for milk, but that gate, I kept thinking "Burger King."

And this certainly took some creativity, as well as lots of work. This highway in the sky leads to who-knows-where beyond the horizon, accessible by ladder from a ground station. I haven't used it, yet. Something to do next time.

And that's it for now from Angels' Village in Minecraft. A place to go and build for my neighbors when they're not in Second Life.

Bixyl Shuftan