Friday, May 28, 2021

Red Rocket Cola

By Bixyl Shuftan

On Sunday May 23, Montecito Bay held a release party not for an avatar, but a brand of Second Life vending machine: "Red Rocket Cola."

We're having a unique party on Sunday! An awesome beach party with a special guest, Red Rocket Cola, bringing you some ground-shattering Vending Machines for sale at the event! These neat little objects allow you to choose your cola of choice, drink it, and throw it away! It's a fun addition to literally every walk of life in SL, and we're happy to raffle off a few of the vending machines through out the beach party! Come join us for awesome summer tunes and a chance at one of these awesome soda vendors!

The party itself was a hit with about fifty people attending at the skybox above the Bay. It was a beach area with a walkway of planks leading to the party area. To the left were displays of information about Red Rocket Cola, and a couple of the machines up for people to use, as well as a pile of "twelve pack" boxes people could also get drinks from. The boxes and one of the machines gave out cans. The other machine gave out larger cups of drinks, and slushies - slightly frozen soda. Besides Red Rocket Cola, there were five other brands of soda: Kiwi, Popping Cherry, Limmy, and two with rather odd names: "People Like Grapes" and a blue raspberry soda named "Blue Balls." For those outside English-speaking countries, the name of the last one can also be a slang term for the feelings of a frustrated guy after he's told to expect a very enjoyable time with a lady and then gets told it's not happening.

Also to the left, there was a table of free goodies from hats, pins, earphones, MP3 players, toothbrushes (appropriate for a sugary soda company), mousepads, and more. On the other side were three game booths with games one might find at a carnival from popping balloons with darts to squirting thirsty slimes with the right kind of soda to ring toss to knocking down cups with balls. Up ahead was DJ "Magic" Moff whom was playing to the large crows, who cheered, "EPIC SET MOFF!!!" The white Crux DJ smiled, "Magic Moff aims to please." In the middle of the crowd was a huskygirl wearing a Red Rocket Cola-themed swinsuit, baseball cap, and headphones and had a plate full of sodas ready for anyone to take. This was Eliwood407 Resident, the person behind the soda dispenser.

I would message Eliwood, whom was pleased to talk about the soda machines, "I would love to! You flatter me." Of where the idea came from, "The idea started when we needed a vending machine, but most of the vending machines on SecondLife had knockoff brands on it, or simply sent a item to your inventory you then attach, we thought we could make it more intractable!"

Of it's development, "Oh the development was rough. Fun but rough! Once we had the original machine working, we added more and more flavors. So I had to redesign parts of the touch screen multiple times. Testing the machine was not a  breeze either. Since you can drop the cups, and other players can pick it up, we had to make sure at no point the script would fail or shout an error. But eventually we ended up with a solid machine that could do soda and slushies! Then we used that code to make a simpler can vending machine, and then we used that code to make an even simpler 12-pack box! But I think the worst part was the SecondLife server to cloud update. Suddenly the machine would not work reliably anymore because of bugs that thankfully have now been fixed, after we found a way around them. ... Yeah it was devastating. All it took was a simple bug; scripts would 'wake up' two seconds after being rezzed, made it very complicated."

I went ahead and asked about the "Blue Balls" soda, asking how could it be advertised? Eliwood responded, "That's a thinker! 'You won't get blue balled with the flavor of Blueballs Blue Raspberry!' I need to hire more consultants and marketers for that flavor name!"

So what new flavors were coming in the future? Eliwood answered, "Oh for sure, I keep getting great suggestions, so there is no lack of ideas. I also think a energy drink variant of the current flavors may be neat! A friend of mine is also pushing me to make a sister brand of sparkling milk in a can. I've never had it and it sounds weird, but apparently it's big in Japan! ... Yeah it sounds weird right?"

Of future plans for Red Rocket, "Aside from the new flavors, I definitely want to make more dispensers. Perhaps ice cream may be something I want to focus on, and definitely food related items. That still feels like a big missing piece to the puzzle. But in the meantime, between working on bigger projects, I like to make silly small stuff that usually end up in the goodiebags! If I feel like making headphones, or a oldschool mp3 player, I make neat Red Rocket Cola texture for it and add it to the goodiebag. I think building up a brand people like is just as important as the products themselves!

"I just hope that word spreads and the brand becomes something great! I really enjoy seeing people wearing the brand and enjoying it! I want it to become something bigger than just me and my ideas. I think something fun people share on SL is most important, because in the end we made these machines for fun, and it should stay that way."

The party went on for a while, Moff playing tunes for a while after the scheduled end. And once he finally stepped down, people continued to talk about goings on such as the Fantasy Faire's Jail and Bail, "That's a lot of people on one simulator." There was also talk about old Second Life games. And there was some joking around about a possible new flavor of soda, "Red Rocket Rainbow Blast." "Red Rocket Rainbow Blast will send you to space and beyond." "Taste the rainbow, but it's better than skittles." People also played the games some, including me. A few were joking around with the soda squirter game, turning the gun around to the crowd. "You are gonna get us all sticky," Eliwood chuckled. As it turned out, the scores were also worth points that meant a prize depending on how high you got. The top prizes were solid gold soda cups, with the second highest being pet slimes. "Weird afterparty." "Best afterparty!"

The beach area (with the games removed) should be up for a little while at Montecito Bay (43/157/902), for those wanting to see, or for those wanting to learn more and buy one of the drink machines. They're also available on Marketplace  (cans) (cups) (boxes). They should soon be available in other places as well.

So for the latest in carbonated beverage machines in Second Life, there's Red Rocket Cola.

Bixyl Shuftan

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