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Second Life: Talking to the Weather Makers

StraddenStradden Managing EditorHalifax, NSPosts: 6,696Member

MMORPG.com Second Life Correspondent David Greene, better known in the Second Life community as Arra Jinx, writes this interview with Garrin Guffey and Marilina Antonioni, weather systems designers in Linden Labs' Second Life.

What defines one virtual world as being more immersive than another? Although there are many variables and answers to this question, one thing most can agree on is attention to detail. Realistic environments lead us to achieving suspension of disbelief more easily. One thing that makes an environment very believable is an active weather system. That’s where Garrin Guffey comes in, Garrin designed a dynamic weather system for Second Life that is extremely true to life. Thankfully Garrin took some time to talk about it with us.

MMORPG.com:

How did the concept for your weather system first emerge?

Garrin Guffey:

Well, it was a few years ago, and I was helping a good friend set up a group of Role Play sims. We wanted it to be as feature-rich and unique as possible...like every other RP out there...and one of my first projects was to see about getting some dynamic weather. I looked around and found some very good products, but they all required manual control to change the weather. That's fine if you want to go for a specific effect, but as a sim-owner and land manager, something that ran itself would be best. I knew a bit of scripting, so I started work on it.

Read Talking to the Weather Makers

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

Comments

  • MindTriggerMindTrigger La Quinta, CAPosts: 2,596Member

    Congrats to these SecondLife citizens on a job well done.  This is a very neat system.

    People can say what they will about SecondLife, but there is a lot of cool stuff being created there.  Being an MMO player, I find myself wishing the weather systems in my games were much more robust, and that those weather systems changed the environment when weather patterns kicked in.  Adding season data should also be doable. 

    Even in modern games like Lotro or Conan, the weather systems are pretty pathetic. I would love to hear an excuse from MMO devs for this when you consider that some SecondLife citizens were able to script a great weather system with the relatively primitive (compared to the game engine's code) tools the game offers.

    A sure sign that you are in an old, dying paradigm/mindset, is when you are scared of new ideas and new technology. Don't feel bad. The world is moving on without you, and you are welcome to yell "Get Off My Lawn!" all you want while it happens. You cannot, however, stop an idea whose time has come.

  • FlummoxedFlummoxed San Jose, CAPosts: 591Member

    yeah MMOs have abandoned a lot of the things that are being done elsewhere.

    Why not have gardens that actually grow, have dynamic predator / prey wildlife populations, have seasonal changes that affect things like terrain and structures, maybe even your health.

    All these and more were envisioned by the original MMO guys before Ultima Online, but it's all been thrown out in favor of pew-pew, grind, and fluff graphics.

     

    Y'know, it'd almost be easier to code a "Sandbox" MMO structure onto Second Life than it would be to add Second Life's features into any existing mmo.

  • usuckmmorpgcomusuckmmorpgcom c, KYPosts: 1,348Member
    Originally posted by Flummoxed



     Y'know, it'd almost be easier to code a "Sandbox" MMO structure onto Second Life than it would be to add Second Life's features into any existing mmo.

    You should spend more time in SL...there are dozens of them already. Darthien, Toxia, Dark City, Incorrigible, Nordhaven, Ravenscraig...that just off the top of my head.

    Most of these are geared towards the LARP structure, but have pretty much the same features as any MMORPG: combat, level systems, advancement, and some even crafting. Some of the combat systems that these simulators use are more advanced than commerical MMOs. I find it really funny that 1 or 2 people can script (in SL) a combat system better than what dozens of people can't do in these other games. And half the time, these SL scripters have no programming experience. Feel like your getting ripped off by commercial game companies yet? ;-)

    And for the roleplayer, well, people actually roleplay in SL. How RPG ever wound up attached to the MMO world I'll never know. In MMOs, people have avatars, but they pretty much play using their own personality -- that's not roleplaying.

    I've been a SecondLifer since 2006 but really never gave the in-world games much notice. When I finally did, I loved it so much I cancelled all my MMO accounts and never looked back. Except once, to check out Darkfall. Sorry, but that game is NO sandbox. However, to its credit, it's more of a sandbox than the rest of the MMOs out there. The genre is pretty pathetic these days.

    SL  is THE ultimate sandbox game. Nothing even comes close in the MMO world. Almost eveything in SL is user created -- now that's a sandbox!

  • paulscottpaulscott WI rapids, WIPosts: 5,613Member

    There are a lot of surprising things in secondlfe, and avoiding stuff you don't want is as easy as it is to on the Internet(no popup blocker though).

    I find it amazing that by 2020 first world countries will be competing to get immigrants.

  • brenthbrenth rock island, WAPosts: 288Member

    Ive been looking for a MMO that is much more organic and immersive than the current MMO's being churned out these days.

    things like dynamic weather and climate and important use of food and water not to menton  disease and pests  are prety much rendered out of current MMOs favoring  robotic generic spawn generators that spawn mobs with a simplton AI (percieve, advance, attack) and they dont realize that with a thoughtfull application of environmentals  they can provide a multitude of organic plot devices.

    think of this, crossing something like a desert in a MMO is 1 dimentional  effectivly aim and go  no need to carry or find or summon watter, no need to plot a path alowing for water holes or wells.

    also  MMO markets are nationalized  everybody has copper corn wood  ect  everywhere hence no need for a caravan

    with food not being important  it effectivly colapses the need for supporting crafts for processing food  like smoking or cooking or pottery or basket weaving.

    I know that some of this kind of stuff isnt everyones cup of tea so it would have to be done in such a way as to not make it too painfull for the warmonger type of player,, I prefer a "default + bonus" type of method

    example a warmonger can grab some default jerky and water from a vender and not have to worry about effects of thurst and hunger  but someone that takes the time to gather a diverse meal will reap some benefit.

    I even like the Idea of having a night ( non-cemetric like 7 hours of day and 1 hour of night or similar ratio) and I like there to be a real winter with snow and possible storms  think of these like really big mobs :)

    Id also include such things as a possibility of pests or disease to communities or areas  this could force a kingdom to raid another kingdom  or at least trade with other kingdoms to deal with the crises,

    Im not sugesting raw realism  I still like  idealized reality  just not the perfectly healthy till dead type 

    id like to see charactors have meters (hidden) for food and drink  and temperature and morale

    Id also like to see players be able to construct their own powers and attacks out of building blocks  is your fireball small and long range  or short and large?   when you swing  is it left hand or right hand?  do you thrust kick shieldbash?

    If i had my way charactors would start off as  pesants  looking for food scraps behind inns  and doing jobs  for  the nightwatch or church or magic shop,,, rogues might actually get beat up and droped in jail  only to meet a rogue contact  (olivar twist?)

    i want players to bond and care about their village when it is raided by orcs.

    right now MMOs have players believeing the world is flat  and ive heard plenty of flamers  that believe exactly that, they say its too complicated or boring,, i say thats a very narrow universe

    I also say that current MMOs arnt much more than glorified arcade shoot-em-ups,, nowhere near a virtual alternate universe.

    yes my spelling and punctuation sucks.

    make a world, not a game, we dont want another game.

  • brenthbrenth rock island, WAPosts: 288Member

    There are tricks that they use in movies that can make you believe your fighting an army of orcs even though there are only 10-20 at any given time.

    mobs dont have to be 2 or 4 legged    a door or wall could be a distructable object

    mobs can be more diverse in their attacks  birds diving on you,, fish turning over your boat,,  even lowly gnolls droping rocks on you

    I really love public works projects such as walls, forts, bridges  statues, dams, aquaducts,, things that all players can contribute to from new people to founders  HORIZONS had a bridge that the devs thought would take 6 months to build,,players finished it in about a month and opened up a new player village area   it was very satisfying builging that bridge I count it as one of my prized game expirences.    needless to say if orcs attacked it i would respond.

     

    make a world, not a game, we dont want another game.

  • brenthbrenth rock island, WAPosts: 288Member

    the little ive seen and know about SL didnt impress me.  what i saw looked crude and proformance seemed very poor  i think i was checking out some CSI thing   I wasnt even aware about game environments  id love to know more about them

    I would love to grow a garden and have some farm animals to tend    did i hear forraging and crafting???

    make a world, not a game, we dont want another game.

  • OzmodanOzmodan Hilliard, OHPosts: 7,191Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by cfurlin

    Originally posted by Flummoxed



     Y'know, it'd almost be easier to code a "Sandbox" MMO structure onto Second Life than it would be to add Second Life's features into any existing mmo.

    You should spend more time in SL...there are dozens of them already. Darthien, Toxia, Dark City, Incorrigible, Nordhaven, Ravenscraig...that just off the top of my head.

    Most of these are geared towards the LARP structure, but have pretty much the same features as any MMORPG: combat, level systems, advancement, and some even crafting. Some of the combat systems that these simulators use are more advanced than commerical MMOs. I find it really funny that 1 or 2 people can script (in SL) a combat system better than what dozens of people can't do in these other games. And half the time, these SL scripters have no programming experience. Feel like your getting ripped off by commercial game companies yet? ;-)

    And for the roleplayer, well, people actually roleplay in SL. How RPG ever wound up attached to the MMO world I'll never know. In MMOs, people have avatars, but they pretty much play using their own personality -- that's not roleplaying.

    I've been a SecondLifer since 2006 but really never gave the in-world games much notice. When I finally did, I loved it so much I cancelled all my MMO accounts and never looked back. Except once, to check out Darkfall. Sorry, but that game is NO sandbox. However, to its credit, it's more of a sandbox than the rest of the MMOs out there. The genre is pretty pathetic these days.

    SL  is THE ultimate sandbox game. Nothing even comes close in the MMO world. Almost eveything in SL is user created -- now that's a sandbox!

    First off, I find it amazing what some people have done with 2nd Life.  Some truely gifted people have contributed to this game.

    As to the claim about the combat systems being more sophisticated than commercial games, NOW that I scoff at.

    While some of these simulations are well done, NONE even come close to what commercial MMO's offer.  Nothing like gross exaggeration.

     

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