Monday, December 19, 2011

Be the Ninja! The Nexus Core System RP Sim

Ninja Combat System is a complex MMORPG (Massive Multi Online Role Play Game) created especially for SL. It is located at NxCS (12, 120, 3159). The role-play is wildly popular, with over 4000 members. When I visited there recently, it was my first introduction to the world of Ninjas and role-playing games. I was fascinated by this detailed, creative world. Peaceful, beautiful music plays in the background, but danger lurks everywhere.

BioBlaze Payne and Silicon Plunket own NCS, and Numberofthebeast Angelus is the main Builder. Currently the role play area of Ninja Combat is set in Yōso no tochi, Land of the Elements. The site is expanding rapidly. Currently you can find a Village set within a volcano, waterfalls, meadows, and more. Outside of the role play area is a Mall, library, classrooms, and a combat practice area. If you are not familiar with MMORPG, there are classes, notecards, and friendly people who will help get you started. There is even a blog dedicated to Ninja Combat:

NCS can be enjoyed in many different ways. The premise of the game is built on a legend about three brothers who come from a distant world but then go their separate ways. The middle brother lived among nature, communing with the Forest and eventually the elements themselves. From the elements he gained longevity and prospered. His descendants became Yōso no rēsu, the Race of the Elements. Some of these people have the ability to control "Chi/Ki/Chakra" a spiritual energy that gives them power to protect or to destroy. This ability is so valuable that others will kill to have it.

In order to protect the children who are born with this power, the people joined together in clans and families to form Villages. The villages offer protection and employment for those with this miraculous ability. An individual Ninja can join a clan and take part in massive group events or go on individual quests and journeys. Elaborate histories of the groups and clans exist and drive the plot of this RPG. Each Ninja who joins the group brings his or her own story to the game, enriching and adding to the community. The Ninja advance through different levels and complete missions as they progress through life.

To play, you pick up the free game box on Marketplace. Inside the box you’ll find a HUD, weapons pouch, some clothing and both male and female shapes. The HUD is key to the game because it intertwines the RP with missions where you find and seek objects or engage in combat. Wear the HUD and go to the landing point listed above. Create your character by choosing a name, your abilities, symbols, village and clan. NCS guides you through the character building process. In addition to the HUD, notecards, signs and other tools are available to help you.

I decided to be a male Ninja. I wore the male student shape and put on the Nagushi uniform of Kunai Holster. NCS provided the Nagushi clan shinobi pants, wrist band, shingaurd boots, headset, and projectile pouch. It didn’t include a shirt, which isn’t a problem for a real male. In my case, I added the tunic from a male outfit available in the Linden Library.

Like any endeavor, the more thought you put into this, the better your outcome will be. But don’t let lack of experience stop you from trying this game. I was able to create a presentable character with minimal effort and no prior Ninja knowledge. Once I looked like a Ninja, I needed to gain some knowledge and experience.

In the library there are rows of books, some of which give out freebies and experience points. There are also classes, which BioBlaze Payne and others teach to newcomers. In addition to the library, a weapon practice area and other “safe” zones exist so you can learn Ninja skills without getting injured. For those who want to support the community with Lindens, there is also a way to purchase experience and other benefits. The purchases help the sim and the community, too.

But I wanted to jump into action. Ready or not, I teleported into the Village.

The Village is an impressive, multi-level structure constructed of dark, grey stone and linked by bridges. One of the bridges is featured as the cover art on the game box. A few private meeting rooms are tucked away behind the massive pillars. Fireplaces have been placed in the center of the room to offer warmth and light. The rooms are great places for small groups of Ninja to meet and plan their strategy. A hospital is located in the corner of one of the buildings, although it appeared a rock slide had damaged it.

The creative Builder of this world is Numberofthebeast Angelus. He took me on a tour of the Village, including some hidden and behind-the-scene areas. We started with a walk-through of the Village area, where we made a quick stop for Take-Out food. Angelus made the Chef, who is an NPC, a Non-Player Character. “The Chef,” Angelus said, “is my fav NPC to date.” In addition to cooking, the Chef gives out missions, such as sending a Ninja on a quest to find a needed ingredient. Angelus’ creativity and humor are found in the carry-out boxes, too. “Go Home Happy” is written on them.

New areas and creatures are continually being added to keep the game exciting and fun for the Ninja. From the Village we went to a hidden hot springs that is still being perfected. The giant Slug is slated to become a Mission Giver. Other creatures, like moles, leeches and ants, are in the works, too. But the human-looking NPCs were my favorites. The detail and diversity were amazing. Even more impressive is that they are only 1 prim each.

In addition to the NPCs, magical plants have been created at another hot springs. A new HUD is in the works that will involve a mining system. Different ores are being created, ranging from basic iron ore up to valuable diamonds. A new village that will be hidden in a forest is also planned, and Angelus will build living quarters for anyone who wants to live at NCS.

On another visit to NCS I met Vasari Nagushi, who is the Nagushi Sama of Noumugakure. He has been a member for three years. In addition to his duties as the Nagushi Sama and working security, he helps new people who want to get involved. His village has 21 people in it, but one of his goals is to increase that number. While we chatted, another Ninja, Isela Yuhara, joined us. She and Vasari Nagushi are members of the same clan, but reside in different villages.

But Ninja seek adventure, and it was time for me to return to find one. One of the first missions given a beginning Ninja is to kill the Lava bees that live in a giant bee hive. The bees are attacking the farmers and villagers and must be killed. As I stood there, debating whether I really wanted to get near the hive, encouraging messages came to me. One message said, “Lava Bees are attacking. This is a good chance for you to show us what you learned in School.” Another note encouraged me to “Go dwindle their numbers.”

I had to try to save the Village. With no experience and even less knowledge, I took on the hive. At the end of my fight, I received a message that said “You have Damaged yourself 8 time(s)” and another one that said “You have done a Direct hit 6 time(s)”. Not bad, I thought. But the best message was “You have done Double Damage 6 time(s)”. I saved the Village—at least for the moment. It was time for a reward. Time to shop.

I went shopping at the Gateway to Cosplay store, located in the mall area. Here I found a wide variety of clothes and outfits for both men and women. The women’s clothes included beautiful silks, fishnet stockings, boots, and hats. The men’s Shinigami Captain's Haori outfit was very dashing. On the other side of the Mall I found the Birth shop, where skins, eyes, and shapes are sold. The Mall is large, with lots of room available for more shops.

If you have ever wanted to explore the fascinating world of the Ninja, the NCS sim is a great place to start. With the HUD, notecards, posters, and classes to teach you the basics of this world, you can be a Ninja. You, too, can find adventure here.

Go defeat those Lava Bees!

Grey Lupindo

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Winners Announced in UWA Open-Art Challenge

Any1 Gynoid, noted lately for her articles on the “Occupy” movement in Second Life, recently attended the University of Western Australia’s 3-D Open Art Challenge as they announced their winners this Sunday December 11th at 6 AM SL time. A total of 59 art exhibits were elgible for a 100,000 Linden prize, with 24 competing in a seperate non-scripted contest. In the “MachinimUWA 4: Art of the Artists” film contest, 83 machinimas were judged as well.

By a single point, the winner of the Open Art Challenge was Misprint Thursday’s “Digital Glove.” Described in Prim Perfect as a “complex and thoughtful work,” one was asked to wear a HUD to get the full bennefit of this exhibit that was a combination of audio, motion pictures, and static objects. Taking a look at it, I personally do not know how to describe it other than I haven’t seen anything like it before. Misprint also tied for 5th Place in “Paranormal Frottage.”

"I am so honored to have two spots in the top 10 of the year...I am amazed at the potential of the medium and look forward to seeing it progress. I am very thankful for the work that Jay Jay, FreeWee and the judges put into this-it is no small task. We have a world of people and possibilities here and it continues to move me. So, thank you."

Those wanting to hear more from Misprint can do so at the Christmas Expo in the Silver Bells sim on Friday when she is interviewed.

Second place went to “In Dreams” by Blue Tsuki. This exhibition showed a sleeping area full of beds, but instead of sleepers, the beds had various objects on them. Of coming in second, Blue spoke, "Misprint is very desring, I don’t mind losing to her(smile). But then there were so many deserving that I am so surprised." Blue recieved 75,000 Lindens.

Third place was “The Chasm” by Oberon Onmura. This was a simple exhibit of two wedges back to back to each other with a small gap in between. On each of the peices lay an avatar, humanoid with a monocolor skin, it’s AO causing it to reach out to the other. For those going about the UVA exhibition and see two avatars on your radar next to one another, it might be this exhibit. I say might because avatars can crash. And sometimes they can fail to rezz, such as when I came across it. Oberon recieved 40,000 Lindens. As shown when Second Life Newser looked at his Burn2 exhibit, Oberon’s work sometimes involves the use of avatars as art.

Fourth place went to “Strange Plant: Ugliness and Beauty” by Claudia222 Jewel, whom recieved 30,000 Lindens as her prize. Tying for fifth were “Paranormal Frottage” by winner Misprint Thursday and “Excerpts from Realities” by Glyph Graves. Seventh place went to “Not Everything is Black & White” by Fushia Nightfire. Tying for eighth place were “Fantasia En La Sombra” by Romy Nayar and “It’s Raining in My Heart as It’s Raining in the Town” by Cherry Manga. Five exhibits tied for tenth place, “Harmonies in C Great” by Artistide Despres, “Three Little Turns and It Goes Away” by Josiane Sorciere, “The Dock Spirit” by Scottius Polke (designer of Lunamaruna), “Venustrap” by Claudia222Jewel, and “Shattered” by Ginger Also.

In the Non-Scripted competition, first place went to “Shattered” by Ginger Alsop, whom was awarded a 15,000 Linden prize. Second place was awarded to “You Can’t Touch Heaven” by Paleillusion Resident, who recieved 10,000 Lindens. Third place went to “99%” by Harter Fall, whom took home 5,000 Lindens. Harter spoke, "Receiving this award is such an amazing honor. I never thought I would win this prize, especially with such an political installation. I think even the rich ones of us understand they don´t belong to the 1%."

The Peoples’ Choice Award went to “Small Piece of Hell” by Rebeca Bashly, " I am very surprised and pleased. My goal is to make people happy with my pixels."

In the MachinimUWA 4 competition, the winner was “Welcome to the Other Side” by Tutsy Navarathna, “Many thanks to the organizers. UWA competitions are now setting the benchmarks for the creation of Visual 3D and Audio-Visual media in Virtual Worlds.
I am very proud to be part of this adventure! UWAMachinima IV is a great achievement in terms of the number of entrants and the high quality of the films being produced. In only three years or so, machinima filmmakers have emerged as an undisputed artistic force in Virtual Worlds...And this is just the beginning! Thank you, all.”

Tutsy recieved a 60,000 Linden prize. His machinima can be seen here (Not Safe For Work): . Second place went to “Artwashers” by Friday Siamendes, and third went to “Art of the Artists” by Fushia Nightfire. They recieved 40,000 and 30,000 Linden prizes respectively. The Special Award for Emotion went to “Yeah” by Hypatia Pickens, and the Special Award for Breaking the Barriers was awarded to “Transformation Virtual Art on the Brink” by L1aura Loire/ Dr. Lori Landay.

Lori spoke, “My film suggests that virtual art can be seen as a step towards what augmented reality might bring to art experience in the future, but as usual, I explore that idea playfully, with a wink at questions about how imagined, created, and actual realities intertwine, and what it might mean to break the barriers between them. It is a privilege to explore those connections with the artist communities of Second Life, especially as we've been brought together by the UWA.”

When awarded fifth place in the Non-Scripted competition for “Marionette,” Haveit Neox commented, "The UWA Art Challenge 2011 comes to an end, but it's left its imprint grid wide for the artists of SL. Jayjay conceived of the challenge, and against all odds in an otherwise scattered Second Life, he managed to nurture an expansive and stimulating place for artists to congregate, share their work, discover each other, and further their visibility in SL. An impossible task, unless you happen to be Jayjay. I am grateful for this award. My thanks to Jayjay, FreeWee, and all those who made the UWA Art Challenge a reality."

The exhibit can still be seen at UWA Winthrop (208, 128, 248)

Contributor: Any1 Gynoid

Sources: Prim Perfect, UWA Blog

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, December 5, 2011

Linden Realms Portal: Nysray

Premium members can experience Second Life in Linden Realms. You're supposed to be able to quest, conquer and gain Linden Dollars. When I teleported in my Phoenix white dress, I knew I should have changed into something more appropriate, but I was here already.

You begin on a black platform on top of a hill. A guide pole beams a green light to where you're supposed to begin. You touch down on land surrounded by hilly terrain in front of a strange looking object that looks like a fantasy or alien rock.

It says:
Shimmering Rift briefly emits a faint voice '... is anyone out there? I need your help...' Shimmering Rift emits a burst of static. Shimmering Rift crackles with electricity.

I'm thinking, back away. So I did. I clicked various parts of the Shimmering Rift structure and nothing happened. I even clicked the blue crystal on top of it. I got smart and looked under it. Finally a message:

Shimmering Rift says, “This portal will take you to Project LR, an enhanced SL experience. Walk inside, and the portal will teleport you to the island.”

So I walked into the rift and was teleported to the Summoning Circle. Everything was intensely green and surrounded by half orange/half green pods. Blue rectangles with colored ovals are right above you. If you click the question mark it will load a web page from Linden Realms. So I move out of the way in case another voyager drops down the portal. I waited patiently for the web page to load and I learn that's a hud above my head.

The web page says: “As part of the Linden Realms experience, a heads-up display (HUD) will be attached to you automatically. You won't be prompted to accept the attachment. Don't worry: while this is not standard behavior in the rest of Second Life, it is the way Linden Realms is designed to work.”

Trouble and danger brew around every corner. You can be "killed" in the game by one of the hazards (like a rock monster, toxic water, or a fireball). When this happens, you will be teleported to a “resurrection circle.” Unless I get off the ground, I’m a target. Since there’s no ability to fly, that option doesn’t exist.

If you can't fly then avoiding the stone path might be a good idea if they have some form of avatar trackers. I cautiously headed toward the workshop cottage.

Next comes the message: 5:04] Tyrah: “I see you have found my island. I'm trying to build some flares to signal a rescue party. Can you help me?”

I sat at the table and started clicking bottles and books lying around. The goal is to find crystals. Scanning the area around me, I see a map on the table which is the exact image of the SL mini-map. Evidently, there are clues to where crystals can be found. They can also be the first places to avoid.

Above the small map is a larger more detailed illustration of "Suspected Crystal Concentrations.” Going there will surely lead to danger. There are eight at the base camp. When things started exploding, I knew I was in trouble. But it was in sound effect only, possibly the chemical concoction in the huge test tubes on one side of the building. I'll tell you I didn't like being alone here. Something in a cage was also not a good sign.

Into a cabin I move:

[5:20] Tyrah's Cabin: “Tyrah created this home when she was stranded on the island. She spent time here trying to find a way to get herself home.”

So this is Tyrah's cabin and I'm avoiding at all costs being too curious. I'm certainly not going to click on the small cage in her bedroom. From the drawings, I can see that she was trying to create flares with the crystals. I did notice a crystal changing form inside a contained area. I also avoided oval platforms with center dots.

A new clue:
5:25] Blue Crystal Collector: “This machine collects and processes blue crystals. To use it, stand on the target in front of the machine when you have blue crystals.”

I used the world map to click on teleport sites. Selecting the closest, I immediately read this:

5:28] Teleport completed from 5:28] You have been teleported by the object 'Death Volume' on the parcel 'Tyrah's Island'

Since I like my body the way it is, I decided the word "Death" was a clue for me to get out of there. Tell me if you get further.....

Netera Landar