“I’m bored”

Second Life, at its very beginning, appealed strongly to the game-builders. The early promotion of Second Life (now buried in the mists of time) did mention that it was a “great platform for collaborative building of games”. And building games they did. Or at least tried. Then they saw that SL was too buggy and too laggy to do some serious programming, and started using it just for chat 🙂

Well, not really — things like City of Lost Angels, an-inworld RPG, shows that game building has never stopped. Or Combat Cards. In fact, if you stay tuned to Onder Skall’s blog, you’ll see that game design, in Second Life, is far from being dead. Rather the contrary — it just gets better and better.

Designing games in the SL environment is no easy task. One might get the illusion that it’s easy: after all, SL provides already all the elements for gaming: avatars, an easy way to deploy content, a physical engine, a motor engine (for vehicles), and it’s easy to do special effects with particles. Last but not least, scoring can be tracked by interfacing with external web servers. But it’s not so easy. Games require planning, detailed balancing of rules, and a lot of testing. And, of course, they’re subject to SL’s limitations: slow FPS and slow scripting speed, and just a few dozen of avatars that can be on the same place. Last but not least, buying sims to create your own large scenario is immensely expensive — and just building it takes a lot of time.

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