Unfortunately this normally healthy reporter became ill on the night of the Vitruvia grand opening, however it is still my intent to continue this series on the activities at Vtiruvia with my apologies extended to Paul Creighton and Miss Jonson. That being said a short discussion with Mr. Creighton following the event indicates that the grand opening was well attended with many participants coming and going throughout that the evening of September 10th.
In preparing for this series I gave Mr. Creighton a note card with three questions on it..his answers to those questions are here:
You came into Second Life on April 28th, had you heard of Second Life prior to this?
Yes, I first tried Second Life a few years ago. Due to my connection speed or my computer, it just took too long for everything to rez, so I only visited a few times in a few days and then didn’t come back until earlier this year. It was always my intention to return, but I never did until spring of 2010.
You state, in your profile, that you have been involved in role play for many years, how do you compare that experience to your Second Life role play experience?
I began role playing back in 1979. This was face-to-face pencil and paper role playing. I’ve run role-playing games at a number of national and regional game conventions, and have a few public play tester credits to my name as well. I used to organize role playing on several local computer bulletin boards and eventually on PC-Link and then other national services.
Second Life takes some of the best aspects of face-to-face play, in that you are free to create the environment, but it is much more immersive than a pencil and paper RPG could ever be.
The vast amount of my experience with on-line role playing, is with text chat. So, Second Life is clearly superior to that. You have text chat capabilities, but you also have the graphical representation of characters and environment, along with the soundscaping. Lighting and environment and relatively easy to represent, so there is no time spent describing those aspects of a scene.
The real temptation, at least for me, in Second Life is to do too much, to overwhelm the players while not dedicating enough time to character development or story. However, if players and game masters can avoid that pitfall, there is an entire grid out there that can be used as a virtual gaming mat.
How did you conceive Vitruvia?
Both BobbiJo Jonson and I like character-driven and story-oriented role playing. We were looking at ways to expand the Creighton Air Tours program to include more role playing, which was the goal of that program from the start. We wanted a way to build a core group of role players, which included both casual and more serious players. My house rules for role playing, which I have developed over the part twenty year, seemed to us to be ideally suited for what we wanted to do. We just needed a way to implement the rules with that core group of players.
We both share a fascination with the Renaissance Period. We also both enjoy Steampunk and Dieselpunk settings and had been looking around for some time for a Clockpunk region where we could role play. After some looking around, we decided that the best option for us was to create a region that was centered around RPing, but had a unique flavor that we could offer other RPers.
We settled on Clockpunk as the setting because we just hadn’t seen it done. During a brain storming session about the setting, one of us (At this point, I honestly can’t remember who it was.) wondered about clothing styles and we started talking about the setting’s architecture and base technology. To me, the classic Clockpunk setting is set firmly in the Baroque Period. Since this was a brainstorming session, we were trying to set the absolute boundaries so we threw around some dates. The earliest dates all centered around Leonardo da Vinci’s proposed machines. With da Vinci as a touchstone, we starting throwing out a bunch of ideas and eventually we could tell that the period that excited us the most for this project was the late Renaissance. From that point on, we simply refined the idea.
The region is literally built from the ground up to support role playing. We considered all the things we wanted in a role playing region and then designed the layout, including the terraforming.
The town of Vitruvia occupies one quarter of the region. It is the hub of activity and all of the normal functions of a town are located in a square that is 128m on each side. We wanted a compact area, so that various other locations around the region could be utilized for role playing that doesn’t take place in the actual town.
Mr. Creighton in period costume at Vitruvia: