Tuesday, June 10, 2014

We Heart Interactivity!

Sweetie Rides a Manta Ray on Whimsy Kaboom

Entirely too much of Second Life is static. It's often beautiful, but lacks sound, lacks interactivity, lacks changes of elevation, Sometimes it seems to be entirely about mood.

I loved the trashy trailer park SLeezywood for its delicious funkiness, but aside from an interactive shopping cart I found on my last visit, it was entirely static. The only fun to be had was looking.

Sometimes looking is enough, but sometimes one just wants more.

Sadly, SLeezywood now seems to be gone.

Sweetie and I have worked hard to make Whimsy and environs interactive. There are rockets and jet skis and canoes and hang gliders to ride, pose balls that allow you to swim through several hundreds of meters of ocean, train rides, creepy tip bots that turn to face you as you try to sneak past them before they notice you, a squid that squirts ink at you, Intan singles and couples dance balls, dozens of games ranging from Greedy Greedy to bowling to mahjong, a soap box that makes you rant like a mad person in the Boston Commons, a volcano that periodically launches great hot steaming semi-molten boulders (and which can be coerced into erupting), musical instruments to play, a cannon that fires upon touch, and a wide assortment of poseballs. There's a robot bartender which (literally) falls apart when he moves to make a drink for you, robot-operated elevators, and a robot sanatorium with a thousand interactive features.

Whimsy's skies are filled with parrots and gulls and albatrosses and builds all the way up to 4100 meters. On the ground an assortment of animals interact with and occasionally (I'm thinking of the Splash Aquatics piranha here) attack visitors. Our seas are filled with plants and wandering creatures and railroad tracks. The land is covered with paths and swinging bridges.

Sound is everywhere-- from waves crashing onto rocks to dozens of bird calls to the chirping of crickets to croaking frogs to whale song. If you wander about at night you'll find all sorts of subtle lighting effects.

There are a thousand things one can do on Whimsy. You can teleport from one beautiful-- or dangerous-- place to another; separate doors lead you to serene or risky places. You can wade in the lava pool of the volcano Pele and, if you're lucky, fall through to beautiful pools underneath the fire and chaos. You can climb a rope to the top of Mr. Tiki or ride on Bob, our giant granite Paleolithic slightly-deified drinking bird. You can explore an underwater lava tube while wearing interactive boots. You can sit by a tranquil pool, meditating. You can squish your puny bioform flat and transform into a robot or chase a comet at our earth orbit build.

Visitors have a good time on Whimsy-- and Sweetie and I have a good time when we leave our interactive home to go exploring. We just wish more of the beautiful places weren't quite so unchanging.

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