Sunday, August 9, 2009

August posting

Yeah, my plans for daily or even weekly blogging have pretty much fallen by the wayside. However, I'm hoping I can run at least a monthly commentary. Thing is, I've got so much goin' on in RL that it doesn't leave me much time for SL, and SL for me these days is almost entirely spent DJ'ing various clubs and special events.

A nice exception to this is my perennial fun in Eternity, and a new experience running in CoLA that's kinda got me intrigued. CoLA, more properly known as City of Lost Angels, is a post-apocalyptic urban horror RP sim that gets it right in so many ways. And makes some predictable mistakes.

The game meter is the CCS, which is a great system, albeit less versatile for multiple RP experiences than its distant relative DCS system. I think that was one of the points where Dimentox and Suzanne split; he was one of the original developers of CoLA before he went off to do Toxian City on his own. If you set yourself up as a vampire in CCS, a vampire you shall be everywhere you roam. DCS is sim-dependent, so you can play a vampire in one sim, a human in another RP sim, etc. However, the CCS character skills & attributes are a lot more developed than in DCS, so I'm really enjoying that part of it.

The setting is a subcontinent of related sims, each very well designed. Unlike many RP sims that have a separate mall area, the shopping areas here are integrated right into the structure of the play area, which helps support its urban feel; the shops aren't just setpieces. Like all RP sims, lag is an issue, but I've been shocked at how, well, moderate, the lag is. It's there, but it's not nearly as crushing as it is in some SL RP worlds I've bopped around in. No idea how they manage to limit it, as they don't seem to be using the same tricks I've seen other sims use (limited texture palettes, etc). However they do it, for a sim loaded w/ highly scripted meters and weapons blazing, it's actually a place you can move around in and enjoy your experience w/o scrimping on the look and feel of the world.

The primary mistake the place makes is the same one so many RP places make, and it's not in any way the fault of the designer. It's RP snobbery on the part of other players. CoLA is really, really hard to start playing in unless you know someone. I'd tried twice before to play there, but nobody was willing to give the new guy the time of day, much less a few pointers on how to set up the rather complex character meter and get into the storylines. This time was different b/c I was cajoled into playing by old friends of mine from Nocturne who were also established CoLA players. They hooked me into other players, and it's kinda gone from there. CoLA's definitely worth the effort even if it IS kinda hard to get established. If you're considering starting in CoLA, gimme a shout and I'll help hook you in as much as I can.