Thursday, August 11, 2016

Relay for Life in InWorldz Kickoff


By Bixyl Shuftan

In Second Life, the official Relay for Life fundraising season is almost over, the Wrap-Up event being this upcoming Sunday. But for InWorldz, their season is only just beginning.  Made up of both residents primarily in this smaller virtual world, and Second Life residents whom also have avatars here, InWorldz own Relay season is smaller in scope than that of it's larger counterpart, but still raises quite a bit of cash. And on Saturday at 8AM, InWordz Relay season began with their season's opening event: the Kickoff.

The event started with a "Pre-Speech Warm-Up" party by Martin Glom, followed at 9AM with a live music performance by Mikie String. Starting at 10AM and going on to 11 were a few speeches.

A transcript of the speeches was provided to the Newser.

* * * * *

Oldesoul Eldemar
My Fellow Relayers

As my first speech as the Chair of Relay For Life of InWorldz, I really do not know where to begin.   RFL of IW  -has come together as I have never seen a group of folks work.  This past two weeks have just been phenomenal.   Not only am I proud of each and every one of you - but wow !  The amount of work completed could have only been done by some very fine folks. I am not going to name names, due to the fact that I know I will leave someone out. You know who you are and my genuine thanks go to each and every one of you ! 

For those are you that may be thinking, now what IS that bobcat talking about THIS time.
We procured with the help of a most gracious donor a new  main 2x2..  Honestly, this is the best thing that could have happened to us.   We are out where we can add on and become as big as each and every one of your hearts.   BIG thanks to our donor and our great committee!  We appreciate all that you did and to those not on committee but who gave us a great hand when needed,

It is so exciting to already have 12 teams and not just any 12 teams but 12 fine teams that will do a great job.   Already we have made more money in General Donations than ever before - https://rflofiw.org/  Scroll down to see totals.  You will see totals for your team there already.  The kiosks rezzed here and  and by the amphitheater have been contributed to.   Please remember it is bad luck to rezz a kiosk without adding even a few  izzies. We will be adding convio totals to this page, thanks to our dear friend Wolf Hartnell..  If your team does not have convio set up yet, there are several of us that can help you do that. With six  teams already signed up, it will take very little time.  http://relay.acsevents.org/site/TR/RelayForLife/RFLCY16SL?fr_id=70672&pg=entry Use your IW information on this form.   Kitty Gumbo is your team ambassador. 

Most of you know me but for those who don't,  just a little background information, this is my 8th virtual relay,  The people who have always been behind me and supported me have been in each and every one, answering all my silly questions and teaching.   My dear wife Cassie has been with me every step of the way.  Admiral Beaumont and Ms. Eilidh McCullough have been priceless.   What you see is the result of these kind friends and their teaching.  My typist is a teacher and I feel it is necessary to always acknowledge those who gave us guidance.   Leadership is not new to me, but it was in virtual worlds.   I assisted two different  RL relays at our schools for several years,  by providing materials and acted as a liaison for relay and the school system.    A memorable moment was having the opportunity to hold our granddaughter's hand and walk around the track.  Poppa really appreciated that moment. 

Coming to Virtual Worlds, I have captained  an awesome team in SL  and served on committee as a coach. .  However my proudest moments were working with RFL of IW with our team, WeeFolks For a Cure under the guidance of Hairy Thor and Bain Finch. I have served on committee and helped whenever possible.  I have had the enjoyment of watching a fantastic relay grow from a little office on Hairy's sim to a sim, to a 2x2 and now this .  It is beyond words.  i was so impressed with InWorldz and the possiblities - I joined the Events Committee and also help with Grid wide events.   So you will see me around ! I do have a deep belief in a boots on the ground approach.  When you have an event, have Martin place it on the calendar and we will be there as best we can.  There are only 12 teams, so please, it is not necessary to plan on top of each other.   Remember your venues too, and take care of them. 

We are a global relay, our committee shows it, our relayers show it!   We cannot have everything at the exact right time for everyone, but we will do our best.   Also - our global economy is izzies - that is how our totals will be reported.   Convio does use USD but Euros can use paypal and it will convert. 

We only hold a 10 week relay,  the rest of our time in InWorldz, will be working with folks from Hope Lodges, setting up our InShape Trails, giving them someplace to be a part of a wonderful community while  still in treatment, or after they go home.   We will concentrate on health, wellness, nutrition and other helpful things such as our Chakra classes led by our Fight Back Ambassador, Cataplexia Numbers.   We will be hosting a Survivor and Caregiver group for those wishing to have a group to chat with.  Cassie and I know as caregivers for our mothers, both cancer survivors, a group like this is invaluable.

Finally, I do believe that this, our 5th year  relay is going to be a banner year.   I relay so that folks will never have to hear those words - you have cancer.  I see that there is new research coming along and I think it is quite promising.  Please look at our info boards and check with those links.  You will be proud.   Plan some great events  - attend events  - but most of all these three things you MUST DO!! Smile, have fun, and do awesome things.  Get to know one another, listen and help one another.  

At this time, I would like to introduce another very special friend who always makes me smile when he says - wow, just wow!, my co chair Martin Glom.   He was chosen for his wonderful ideas and new fresh beginnings.  Let's GO GO GO RELAY!!! Martin....

I would now like to introduce a very special person to all of us.  Ms. Cataplexia  She is our Fight Back Ambassador and helps with builds, notices, and keeping Olde in line - i takes a village to raise a bobcat.   Ms Cat. 

Thank you so much for joining us today - the text was purposefully done for our Euro friends for whom English is not a first language.   We will be joining DJ Cat - (yes, she does that too)   in the Stage of Infinite Hope (where we started)   We need the exercise ! 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Martin Glom
Thank you so much Oldesoul

Ill keep my speech short and sweet much like myself (Pause for Laughs) "silently talks to himself" keep cool its your big day Mr Glom keep cool no major boos yet and i dont see any eggs (Yet)---haha im just kidding.

Hello to all and welcome to Relay For life Of Inworldz 2016...(Our theme this year Relay Round The World One Hope One World) and that is what we do every year we relay from all around the world Were a global Relay and were so excited you're here to join us.

Relay For Life of Inworldz is a signature fundraising event of the American cancer society and we all relay on a global scale...Global Relay For Life (IRFL) events are now held in more than 600 communities spanning 23 countries and 2 virtual worlds.

This unique activity is designed to celebrate survivorship and raise money for life-saving research and programs, unites and mobilizes community members committed to eliminating cancer.

When I see our community here I think wow, everyone keeps saying to me inworldz is such a small grid there is no one around the place and it is is empty, I think to myself what are they sniffing are they on drugs have they even opened there eyes and looked around, since coming to inworld 3 years ago I've seen a community with some of the biggest hearts I've ever seen so kind generous.

This year marks a new chapter for relay for life we see our previous Chair and Co-Chair step down after doing some invaluable work over the past 4 years, to open the door to a new Chair and Co-Chair which enables RFLofIW to get some fresh ideas fresh experience and fresh minds in this signature event.

But none of the ideas would be possible without a team force behind us that's so strong including our Community here in Inworldz its amazing to see so many people come together from around the world to hold hands and to be together in a time of need.

We have seen this many times throughout the year and previous years after loosing so many close friends and family members and the hurdles we have been faced with our will, strength, community and, determination is what makes us bounce back when the chips are down i know i can rely on our community here and my fellow relayers from around the world.

I would like to extend a huge thanks to ms Luna Stormfeather who is our chief editor for our magazine and our Media Specialist, and of course to the one and only Wolf Hartnell who is our tech Support Specialist who makes relay possible from our vendors to our kiosks he is the driving force behind the scenes of relay

We have seen how much of a community spirit is here in inworldz, when we 10 days before relay lost the ACS sims and where left to become self-sufficient,we had to get a new sim which we got from an Anonymous Donor who wishes to remain Anonymous but you know who you are and we thank you so much for what you are doing to help us carry the relay torch.

When we got the sim we had to rebuild everything and our community jumped in right away to help we seen just how amazing a community can be in a time of need we where speechless and in aw at how amazing everyone was.

Now there are too many amazing people to list and you know who you are but a big shout out has to goto Cassie Eldemar, Aminata Potez , Eilidh McCullough , Cataplexia Numbers,  Benski Trenkins , Yichard Muni, and everyone involved in making our relay possible i dont want to leave anyone out but he list is too grat to mention everyone so many kinds hearts coming together you all know who you are and we love and thank you.

For what you all done combined in 10 days was amazing and totally un real there of course is allot more working behind the scenes and up front in our relay and it would take me a long time to name them all but you know who you are and we respect and admire everything you do and you and everyone should be proud of what you do and achieve each year.

And I also would like to extend huge thanks to Mr. Rycon Bamaisin who both him and his wife are active relayers, Rycon is the mind behind a new project were hoping to get of the ground trough our own radio station and our dream of having morning shows and shows for survivors and caregivers and relayers a place to chat and share feelings this will be one of a kind to Inwolrdz and never done before on this grid, thank you so much Rycon to both you and your wife Nicole for everything you do.

I am so happy to be taking the Torch from the previous Co.Chair to step beside an amazing person as Oldesoul his knowledge and experience is what will shape this relay, his dedication and spirit is what will excel this relay, his passion and courage is what will take our relay above and beyond I'm just glad he trusted me enough to stand beside him while he was doing it.

I am looking forward to learning and supporting Olde  and the community in everything I do during season and off season and I thank you all for allowing me the chance to relay with you and lets make 2016 our year.

Big hugs and GoGo Relay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bain Finch
Thank you Martin and Oldesoul.

When I came into IWz to help with launch Relay I had many goals and wishes for this Relay. And in our 4 years together, you have hit many of those goals and filled a lot of those wishes and help create ones I didn't have.

And since handing off to new leaders, which I firmly believe is in the best interest of an all Relay organizations to have new leaders at semi regular intervals, to breath new energies and ideas, to make the whole better,, hit a few more goals all ready with the creation of the RFLofIW magazine!

Thank you Luna Stormfeather and all those involved. And now the launch of Fouse Radio, the official Radio station of Relay For Life on InWorldz!!! Woohooo! Yay! Thank you Rycon and everyone that help create and launch Fouse Radio!

Another goal / wish I did have, and this one I knew it would take some time for it to come together. But you know, I do think we have taken another very important step in reaching that one.

One very important piece of this goal is my dear friend, met her in another Relay, (coughs, hummm) and she help establish that support group there. She has a long career of working with cancer support groups, at home in the UK and Holland and pretty much all over the organic world. My very dear friend Poppy Zabelin and she is here to help build a support group for our InWorldz survivors and caregivers.

Personally have been fortunate,, knock of wood, cancer free, but I know my family's history, two generations back. I was a secondary caregiver for my dad, as I was living at home at the time and my mom was #1.

Now since joining Relay, been the primary person for many friends, to hold their hands and talk, cry, laugh, all the way through their journey. So ya, I define myself a caregiver.

Caregivers need just as much help, as survivors, as they are living and juggling two or more lives, if they have children still at home. The stresses for them are just as real, just as heavy, just as weighty, just as life changing, for them, as those in their charge.

I hate how the outcome for the survivor is reduced to a percentage or odds, the one thing I have never asked of someone by the way.,,, The outcome for the caregiver, can be just as dark. You might lose your life's partner or loved one, and in many cases, have financial and emotional challenges for years to come regardless of the outcome.

Yet they feel they need to strong and in charge. But in all reality, you are totally out of control, stressed beyond belief and running for you and their lives.

Tightly woven with this wish/goal of mine, are the ideals, mission and goal of another ACS creation, Hope Lodge. Many countries in the greater global cancer society family, have their own version of hope lodge too.

I know Canada has them, many European countries too, under different names, with essentially the same objective of provide a temporary lodging while undergoing treatment away from home.

These lodges all become central resource centers for these people, with all the information they need, local connections to companies and service designed for them. And because some stays can last of a long time, with some cancer treatment types, are staying with others, have each other to lean on.

As I said on the Morning show on Fouse Radio, The one truth I have come to know about InWorldz residents, you have it in your DNA to pull together. We fight through the oddest issues and keep on going.

You are the beacon of HOPE. For all those to come, I am betting, past survivors and caregivers, will be here for you, with their life's lessons, with their personal stories, for what helped them get through the long dark night. Maybe, just maybe, just knowing the simple fact they got through it and are not only surviving but are thriving, is enough to strengthen ones resolve, to get through theirs.

With what have happened in the few days with the creation of Hope Village, have another piece of that puzzle, just got place on the board.

And as more people join our RFL of IW survivors and caregivers group in InWorldz and our IWz family grows, will now have a home for wellness and mutual support, to help those going through the long dark night of cancer. Survivor and caregiver, will have a place to make the journey, a bit easier, a bit brighter.

That's what two of these sims are for. Over in the NW corner will be Our Lodge of Hope, built by our very talented and sweet soul Cassie, and in the NE corner, the future Resource Center, housed in a beautiful Cathedral built, as a dedication to his mother of blessed memory, another amazing builder and equality beautiful soul,, our very own, I'll do anything for tuna, our good friend Benski.

Another dear friend, talented builder and wonderful soul, our very own Cataplexia Numbers will be following shortly, began holding wellness session for us, and I am so delight she offering that wonder piece the big picture puzzle.

Oh by the way, I lost the cover picture to the puzzle, so I don't know that the final picture looks like! So we do need your help. LoL :-P

Later today, not sure were, campfire? Here? At 2pm IWT., Poppy and I would like to invite everyone for a discussion, of what this puzzle picture might look like and whether you might have some of the peices.

If you have been touch by the indiscriminate finger of cancer and are currently fighting or have reached that hard fought day, you get to hear "all clear," please join our RFL of IW survivors and caregivers group in InWorldz.

Last week when I was told I would be talking about this today, the words to this song been floating around me head, words written by Tim McGraw, words I hope you, and pretty sure ?
many of you hold dear,,, "Someday I hope you get the chance To live like you were dying."

Thanks you, thank you all for what you do, thank you hope you create and share openly every day of the year. One World. One Hope. GO Relay!

And now the very lovely and talented, Cataplexia "Cat" Numbers


secondlife:///app/group/c0de14fe-55c4-442c-a1ef-bad3792fa037/about
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cataplexia Numbers
Hello everyone!
My name is Cataplexia Numbers and some of you may know me as a builder
well today, I would like to build with all of you.
In a world where strength comes in numbers and hope comes to those
who have the strength and the vision and the courage to believe....

I would like to build a wall

A wall of people!
  -  standing strong together,
  - leaning on each other,
  - picking up each other when we fall
 A wall of unity!
   - Stretching around the world from every walk of life
   - reaching nation upon nation till it reaches us all
   - there is strength and strong support in unity!
 And most of all, I want to build a wall of HOPE!
   - That bends  but never breaks
   - That offers safe refuge to those who have lost hope
   -  A wall of people, hopeful for a cure for cancer.
  
    As Relay For Life's Fight Back Ambassador- I offer all of you
    MY Strength & Courage to fight
    My Prayers to recover
    and MY HOPE to find a cure!
  
    I invite all of you, no matter who you are
    or where you come from
    to join me in this fight!
    To give YOUR Strength, Courage , Prayers & Hope
  
    To give your HELP!
    Build this wall with me!
    Stand tall in our unity and fight!
    Stand united in our hope
    and stand PROUD
    knowing that what we do together
    CAN make a difference in so many lives!
  
    I am a cancer survivor
    and I want to invite you all
    to be survivors too!
  
    Help me build my wall of hope, of strength and of unity!
    Help Relay For Life build resources and donations
    that will give hope to the hopeless
    that will help give courage and comfort
    To those who have been stricken with cancer and
    to those who have lost loved ones
    to this horrible tragic disease
  
  
    How do we fight?
   The biggest enemy of any disease is Knowledge!
   
   Help us raise funds necessary for research into finding a cure for cancer
   
  Help us create resources for the treatment of those who are stricken with Cancer
   
  Help us fund Genomic testing, a strong tool in the prevention of cancer
   
  Help fund the research and development of medications that will help those in need

  and...
  one of the most valuable tools of knowledge to help fight cancer is to know your body!!
  
    CHECK YOURSELF!
  
    If something on your body such as a mole changes -  Have it checked!
  
    If you feel pain somewhere that you did not injure, bang or bruise - Have it checked!
  
    if a bodily function is not working correctly such as a broken urine stream, stools            that are too small, painful, too dark or bloody, irregular menses, heavy bleeding -          Have it checked!
   
     Check your own body- know what feels "normal" and when something is not right!
   
    Have routine checkups with your physician yearly- Mamograms & papsmears on
     time!

    If you are sexually active or your pre-teen to adult children are, please have yourself and them tested   for the HPV Virus which causes cancer! Wear condoms to protect     yourself from this and more!
     
    Ladies, check your breasts for lumps or abnormalities, i promise you wont go blind!
  
    Men check your prostate- your testicles - you wont go blind either!    
  
    If something doesn't seem right- HAVE IT CHECKED by your Dr!
  
    My fight was an easy one. My cancer was found in its early stages, and after a hysterectomy there was not a trace left.  I am happy to say its been a over a year now, and I remain cancer free, I am thankful every day of my life.

But others are just beginning their fight. My husband Scott here in InWorldz was just diagnosed with cancer. This was discovered during a routine checkup. He had no idea and was only beginning to show symptoms. Many more people around the world are diagnosed every day, but I have hope for them, and hope for my husband.

Hope because people like us will never give up the fight!

Hope because we will not stop until this disease is a tiny blurb in the history books about the monster, cancer, that WE took down! Together! United in HOPE and Strength & Courage!!
  
    Never give up the fight!
    Never lose hope!
    Stand together and be strong for each other!
  
   This year's Relay For Life of InWorldz is about hope across the world.
   May our wall reach that far and grow, ever stronger in the coming years!

  I have collected some favorite quotes on Hope:

Hope is the elevating feeling we experience when se see--in the mind's eye--a path to a better future.
JEROME GROOPMAN, The Anatomy of Hope

Hope never abandons you; you abandon it.
GEORGE WEINBERG, Self Creation

Without a minimum of hope, we cannot so much as start the struggle.
PAULO FREIRE, Pedagogy of Hope

Hope is the tiny seed that if tended and kept alive, can blossom into the most beautiful of gardens!
Cataplexia Numbers

I wish to thank all the Relay For Life participants- The Chairs & Co- Chairs past & present, Admin, Builders, Team Leaders & Members, Designers, and countless contributers. Thank you all for continuing the fight!
Thank YOU for keeping hope alive!

* * * * *

After the speeches was an "after party" at the The Stage Of Infinite Hope, with Cataplexia Numbers as the DJ. Yours truly got in at the tail end as it was winding down. Oldesoul would post some pictures of the event (here).

A few months from now will be the InWorldz own Relay Walk. Between then and now, one can check up on events and updates on the RFL in IW on their website: https://rflofiw.org/ .

Go Relay!

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Woodbury in Kitely Grid


By Bixyl Shuftan

Several years ago, there was a place and a group in Second Life known as "Woodbury." Based on a real-life University of the same name, the location and group soon became highly controversial, gaining a reputation for harboring griefers. Nonhuman avatars were reportedly a target of some of the griefers. Eventually, Linden Lab would shut down the sims and ban many of it's members.

Recently Woodbury would come in the spotlight again after it was revealed JP Laszlo/JPizzers, the former leader of the Trump Organization in Second Life, was now calling himself part of the group, I received a tip that the group had a sim in the Kitely Grid, an OpenSim-based virtual world. So I got onto the world, and found a place with the name on the map. And teleporting over, what I saw confirmed that it was the place.

Sims on Kitely are a bit different than on Second Life as they can be one to sixteen "regions" in size, but still count as a single sim. The Woodbury sim was a full-sized sixteen region sim with a mountain in the northeast, and urban building, much of it Soviet-themed. There was a formation of Russian bombers in the air. There was a sign with the logo that had been on JP's Twitter for several days before she took it down, "Make Woodbury Great Again." There were occasional animeish-looking builds of a girl wearing a Russian-military style cap carrying a bag of chips labeled in Japanese and a bottle of soda. In a couple places were towering space rockets. And there were the occasional statues.

I ran into one man while there. He was friendly enough to show me around, asking only that I not throw insults at anyone or otherwise grief the place. In Voice, he explained that they were in the middle of setting up several years worth of Woodbury builds from Second Life, and it would be at least a few more weeks until the place was finished. He called the mountain an "Indiana Jones" style place with plans for dorms inside. Of the various symbols inside, many were "inside jokes," some he had yet to figure out saying he was somewhat new. In one place was one building he called a representation of the real-life Woodbury University.

Because the place was in the middle of being built, many of what was there was in temporary locations, such as one submarine that was in the air. But he did say once it was finished, it would be a mix of themes with no real restrictions on what could be placed by it's members.

So it seems that the group that had been banned by Second Life has found a new home on another Grid. The one who spoke to me stated they've more or less left Second Life behind, not wanting trouble. But considering Woodbury's reputation, many would be skeptical.

Bixyl Shuftan

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Gaming Goings-On: Rust, Star Trek Online, And Tree of Life


By Bixyl Shuftan

With all that's been going on in Second Life, there have been a few developments in computer gaming. Pokemon Go has been in the news a lot, but that's not so much a computer game as a mobile ap game. But yours truly has been made aware of a couple developments in games we've wrote about in the past, Rust and Star Trek Online. There's also a new one my friends and I have been playing: Tree of Life.

Star Trek Online recently got a new expansion: "Agents of Yesterday." Fans of the Original Series, which was first aired 50 years ago. will cheer as they can now play characters and missions of the story universe that started the franchise. Three new character slots have been opened, as well as a 23rd Century Federation faction, and missions and areas set in the time period of USS Enterprise's first five year mission, taking place in 2270 the year after the TV series. 23rdCF characters can be one of four races: human, Vulcan, Tellarite, and Andorian. The uniforms are from the style of the Original Series, including the infamous mini skirts for female characters and the red shirt for those specializing in Security.

The first mission for a 23rd Century Federation character starts with them at rank Lt. jg., with the ship in orbit around Taurus II (the planet in which Spock, Scott, and five other crewmen had to make an emergency landing in "The Galileo Seven"). The player is assigned as part of an away team to look for survivors of a shipwreck and investigate while dealing with the planet's hostile natives. As it turns out, the crash was no simple accident. At the end, the ship's captain is promoted to admiral and the player character promoted to Lieutenant and given command of the ship.

After a couple missions, one of the more recent crewmen comes forward saying he's a "Temporal Agent" from the Federation in the distant future, which has been involved in a "Temporal Cold War" by powers trying to manipulate the timeline for their own benefit while it seeks to preserve it. Trekkers whom have watched the "Enterprise" prequel series will recognize the conflict from the TV show.

Fans of the Original Series will enjoy the chance to interact with some of the characters there, such as Chekov whom is voiced by the actor who played him, Walter Koenig (whom at 79 is much older than the young man he was in the TV show) and Chief Engineer Scott, whom is voiced by his son Christopher Doohan (James Doohan died in 2015). Not every Trekker however is a fan of time travel, a number feeling it's been overused for plot material. Still, "Agents of Yesterday" is an expansion which fans of the classic sci-fi TV show, old and young, will enjoy.

Sources: Memory Alpha, Star Trek Online, Trek Today, Trek Core, Cosmic Book News  


The survival MMO "Rust" is back in the news. After over a year of development, it's Experience System has finally been unloaded into the game. Gone are the blueprints that players had to collect in order to learn how to make objects. Instead, players accumulate experience points, or XP, which can be used to gain the skills to make new objects. Which objects are available depends on the players level, which is raised by gaining a number of experience points. It takes just a few XP to rise to Level 2, but the number to rise increases as the levels do.Unlike games such as Ark, leveling up does not mean an increase in hitpoints or strength.

Players gain XP though various actions such as gathering wood from trees and stone and ore from mineable rocks, picking up resources from the ground, smashing drums and looting crates and boxes, making items, and more. I have read that if someone else makes items from resources you gathered, you get some of the XP, though I have yet to see this in person.

Level One characters are limited to several basic skills.They can make paper and the map and blueprint, sleeping bag, campfire, map, blueprint,tool cabinet, wooden door, wood lock, wood window bars, bandage. The only weapon they can make is a bone club. The only clothes they can make are the leather gloves, burlap shoes, baseball cap, and boonie hat. So beginning players will have to remain nearly naked unless they make a lucky find in a drum or crate. Beginning players can make structures and could reinforce them up to armored if they somehow had the materials. But they would not be able to make doors stronger than wood or a lock better than wooden. One noticeable change is players can now make the basic rock if they happen to loose theirs, made from ten stone which can be gathered up around the island.

As one levels up, skills become available to purchase, Level Two allowing the wooden spear, burlap trousers, skirt, and fish trap. The latter is a relatively new item to catch fish to help stave off hunger, which has become more challenging in more recent updates of the game. The stone hatchet and pickaxe are available at Level Three. At Level Four, you can get the ability to make basic storage boxes. At Level Five, the burlap shirt is available (and female characters need no longer be topless), as well as the furnace. At level six, one can learn how to make the much desired code lock. Level Seven allows for the repair bench, wood shutters, and bow and wood arrows. At Level Eight, the sheet metal door and metal window bars are available. T-shirts and gunpowder, once available at the start, don't appear until Level 12.

Going up to Level Eight took me about an hour, and dying twice from the patrol helicopter. So some of the old problems are still there. And this time, the small but real possibility of a beginning player to find a rocket launcher and rocket blueprints are gone. Some places such as the Airport have been overhauled, such as some parts of the place now destructable, such as boards covering some doors. And radiation, which was a factor in places in the early Rust, is back, at least at the power plant area, so the radiation pills one occasionally finds now come in handy.

Currently the XP system is still under development, so it may experience some changes soon. One unknown is how will the XP system change the Player vs Player aspect of the game. If you still get some XP if a raider swipes and uses your stuff, it's not a *complete* loss (though still damn irritating). If you gain XP if someone else eats your food, being generous to the newbies has at least that guaranteed reward. My fellow Rust player Brandi Streusel thought the update would somewhat ease the ruthless nature the game can sometimes take in more active servers ... somewhat. Old habits are hard to break, and some players just love to grief for the sole purpose of making others miserable. In the meantime, core Rust fans and those who keep going back to the land of naked men (and women) with a single rock can see for themselves how this major update affects their own play. 

Sources: Rust Devblog 

One game that me and my Second Life friends have been into lately is "Tree of Life." Designed by OddOneGames, a Korean Indie game company, Tree of Life was first released about a year ago in late May 2015. It is sold as "early access," so it may change a little over time. Like Rust, it's considered a survival game. But the graphics are a little more "cartoony" than it's more edgy counterpart. Starting off with only a simple shirt and pants, players need to gather resources in order to build tools, and then build buildings, plant and harvest crops, make clothes, build weapons, etc.

Players have a number of skills, or masteries, which can be leveled up though experience points. They also have four stats, Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, and Intelligence. Constitution determines the number of hitpoints a player has. Strength determines how hard a player can hitwith melee weapons and what armor they can wear. Leveling a mastery increases a certain stat bya level. For example, raising your mining mastery raises your strength stat by one. Players start out with 100 Strength and 100 Constitution, but they will soon increase as the player goes about in the game.

At the very beginning, survival can be an issue as they player has to deal with hungry wolves, and at night zombies and skeletons, which will attack players on sight. Begining players are advised to stay clear of them, and run when attacked. Hunger can be an issue as when a character's stomach is completely empty, speed will slow to a crawl. Hitpoints are lost only due to hostile attacks, but are restored only when the stomach is at least two-thirds, or 400 of 600 points, full. Players can hit trees to get branches and apples, the latter of which can be eaten for food, and hit rocks on the ground for stones. Stones and rocks can be used to make logging axes to chop down trees into firewood and mining pickaxes to break down rocks into stone and coal and copper nodes into coal, copper, and rocks. When one's Carpentry level is two, one can make a bonfire and cook food. At Carpentry Level 2, one can make a workbench, which is necessary to make a number of items. At Carpentry level five, one can make survival tents and store them.

Unlike some survival games such as Rust, the character does not sleep when the player logs off, but temporarily vanishes. And should a character be killed by NPCs, all that might be lost is whatever item was active in the players hand at the time, so the personal inventory is safe. So the only things that are at risk from other players are one's builds and whatever are stored in them. So players will eventually want to build rusty locks, available at Tinkering Level Four, to secure buildings, and crude watchtowers, available at Carpentry Level Seven, armed with stone arrows, available at Carpentry Level Six, to protect anyone who tries vandalizing your builds.

Safety isn't quite guaranteed as it's possible to pick locks with lockpicks, so eventually as a player levels up in masteries, they will want to eventually build better towers, better arrows, and walls and gates to protect what's theirs. Players can also form and join guilds to both protection and help in common goals. Players have to log in every day at their base, or the builds will soon start to decay. Eventually, an abandoned build will fall apart and the land returning to it's natural state. There's also the ghostly "Mr. Bobo" who wanders around. You can trade goblin coins, which you find on monsters, with him for a few items.

My personal experience with the game is that the Player vs Player aspect is less vicious than Rust, but it does happen. My friend Jasmine/Jazmare joined a guild, but soon saw it was one that pushed around other players, and soon got the attention of other guilds whom eventually harassed it into abandoning their base and moving. But they left her alone when hearing she wanted no further part of them, and later formed another with me and Kryxia. But the base has had a few people try to vandalize and pick it's locks, and once going in and swiping things when somehow a section of wall either decayed or was completely vandalized. On the other hand, there have been a number of helpful players whom are either motivated by finding allies, especially ones with one or more skills higher than they or guildmates, or just want to be helpful to neighbors.

So if Rust is a bit too graphic and ruthless for you, or you just want a break from it and still have a survival game itch, Tree of Life might be the game for you.

More information on the game is available at Tree of Life Wiki .

That's all for now from PC games. As my friend Nydia would say, "good gaming to you."

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, April 25, 2016

Rust Misdventures in Angel Island and Free Wood


By Bixyl Shuftan

Since writing about the game last time, me and a few of my Second Life friends have continued to play Rust for a while. We've gone through our share of misadventures, in both public and our private server, struggling with decay, bears, wolves, the helicopter, other players, and game reboots from updates.

As expected, my friend Nydia Tungsten did get a private server. She, and others were a bit wary of the "PvP kiddies" from last time, as well as hearing from me and Brandi we were having a little trouble with people breaking in to steal our stuff. One slight problem, making the server "whitelisted" so only we could get in. This would take several minutes, and somehow others found out particular server right away and jumped in before the process was completed. Fortunately, we could look up the map on our computer browser, which was a good thing as that became our first line of defense, or rather of hiding, against the helicopter, which we were learning to fear as a few bursts from it's machine guns or a single volley of it's rockets would send us back to respawning. Someone shouting "CHOPPER!" meant us staying in our bases, heading to an area with buildings or tunnels if nearby, or making a stick shelter to hide if out in the middle of nowhere. Ducking into a small shelter while it was in hot pursuit didn't always help as if you were next to a wall when rockets hit, you were gone. But the long bridges we made across water seemed to do the trick.

Despite Nydia's efforts, she could never fully turn off the decay rate. While it only affected foundations, it didn't take long for a basic stick foundation to crumble into dust, taking anything above with it, unless the floor unit was upgraded into wood, stone or metal. A friend who came with us, Hesh, found out the hard way when he made a basic stick structure a few stories high, and when it decayed away, his sleeping body was found floating in the air high over the ground. We sent him a message in G-chat not to pop in yet, and rebuilt a structure underneath him so he wouldn't be hurt from falling.

Hesh however was slow to learn the lesson. After a server reboot, we had to start over, and he build a barn-like structure around a large furnace. When I came to the server, I visited him, and used the wood I had collected on the way to reinforce the floor in the front part of the barn before I had to leave, parking my body upstairs. When I logged on next time, I found most of the barn gone, only the front up the place, which was over the floor I reinforced, and the large furnace, was left. Hesh had to leave for deployment, as he was in the military, so he left his building to me. So I began rebuilding "Hesh's Barn" as I called it, and maintained it for the next few weeks.

Jasmine also had some bad luck with foundation decay. Not simply rebuilding, she decided to experiment with builds that were a mix of triangular and square bases. She would show us pictures of her design, and I looked at them. Later on, I would put some of them to use.

During this time, we were finding bears were a persistent problem as when we would go into the wilderness to get wood, stone, and ores, they would find us. And once they spotted you, they'd catch up to you and tear you apart. And they seemed to come out from nowhere most of the time, getting them the label "ninja bears" on a public server I would later come across. If you turned to fight them, even a submachine gun was insufficient as the bear would stay up even after a dozen bullets and eat you. Running away, the more natural reaction, almost never worked either. Once or twice after jumping over obstacles, the bear gave up the chase. But other than that, the result was the same, the screen going red, and the speakers filled with the screams of your character dying as the bear tore into him, eating him alive.

If a death happened close enough to one's base, your stuff could usually be recovered. But it didn't take long for a dead body to fade away, and the stuff it carried with it. This had a way of happening after making a great find on a supply plane drop or returning back to our bases with our inventories full after forging into the wilderness. Brandi was trying out places with bear traps around with a clear path through them, so she could pass through while any bears chasing would get caught. I don't know how successful it went. It may be once she was prepared, luck arranged for them to stop coming. The best way to fight the bears I found was when spotting one running around was to set up a foundation and ladder not to far away, and shoot at it with a gun. It would always run up to me, but couldn't reach me if I was on the top of the ladder. It took about twenty pistol or rifle rounds, give or take, to bring down a bear. While the result was lots of leather, animal fat for fuel, and meat, the big reward was a sense of payback for the times one had been "ninja beared" in the woods.

Then there was the helicopter. Our friend Pagan Sunburn soon joined us, and came across a rumor that if one was still naked, the helicopter would ignore them as this was a protection for players just entering the server or recently respawning. We joked he just wanted an excuse to run around naked, myself commenting when those female skins that were being talked about by the developers came out, (s)he'd never put on a scrap of clothing.

The game itself was also updating. We were soon finding occasional 50-unit bits of wood, stone, iron ore and sulfur ore on the ground, which was a help, especially in one's start in a game, or if one got raided and lost everything, in which they could built basic tools faster then making a trek to a nearby permanent structure to search for crates for them. Later on, the wood chunks were reshaped into stumps, and the stone and ore peices given more natural rocklike looks.

We found out the place wasn't truly whitelisted as someone broke in and raided Hesh's barn, and added insult to injury by setting up on the wall a huge sign of a penis with "LOL" underneath. Nydia found the joker, clobbered him, and with him gone blocked him from the server for good. We took down the offensive sign with incendiary bullets. Nydia then set off a mess of flare pistols at Hesh's barn, making it a pile of drops. the most in one location I'd ever seen. I finished rebuilding the barn soon after. I had the idea of making a tower, which went up a bit higher than the barn. But eventually the server would be rebooted by a game update, Nydia called a "world killer," taking down all the builds, including Hesh's barn.

Nydia's server wasn't always up, so I continued to make a few rounds into the "Bunga Bunga" server where Brandi Streussel and I cut our proverbial teeth into the game. Then the server stopped coming up. I then began checking the list of other servers in the game. It's been my experience that public servers that you have to share with a not too large number of others (I've never been on those that have about fifty people at once), you're a little more likely to make it back to base with what you've gathered as settlements seem to cut down on the bear and wolf population. But one can still get unlucky and run into one, as well as hostile players. But keeping hold of your stuff can be a problem as not only would some players steal from others than gather on their own, some seem to make it their mission in life to hit your place again and again.

Among the other Rust servers, I found one called "Free Wood," which gave it's players a full stack of wood, 1000 units every twenty minutes. It also boasted it's helicopter was 80% less accurate. There weren't too many people when I first came across it, and looking around I saw lots of structures, but no people and very little chatter. I also found resources were more plentiful, more wood and stone chunks on the ground that could be picked up, more barrels and boxes one could get stuff from, notably blueprints for which I learned new things to build rapidly. This seemed to be the place for me.

Then I heard a possible reason from what chatter there was why "Free Wood" was relatively quiet. People were talking about a server wipe in a few days. And one day, I returned to see many more people on, and I found myself having to respawn. It turned out I hadn't been clobbered, but the server had restarted after all. Fortunately I still had my skills. But unfortunately with the reboot came some aggressive players, or as I put it, "the freaks came out." Going about collecting wood and stone, I was fired at, "I'm gonna kill ya!" And when I finally had enough animal fat to make the fuel needed for a furnace and began setting up a small base, before I could so much as finish the walls the place was attacked and a burst of submachinegun fire ended, or "wrekt" as was the gamers lingo, my first attempt to make a base in Free Wood rebooted.

Coming back, I had a little more luck as I appeared near the airport. After refining some fuel, I made a large furnace and began building a base. But every day, the place would end up raided. So after getting more fuel, I had to move further away, making a place not to far away from the satellite dish area. People were still trying to break in, but it wasn't as bad, and I began to build the place upward.

In the meantime, Brandi found another public server to try things out, "Garden of Eden." While it was supposed to be Player versus Environment, someone broke into her place activated permissions for himself on the "tool cabinet" that prevents those not on it's list from building around a certain area, and after looting Brandi of everything set up walls around her, trapping her in. She couldn't respawn elsewhere, so could only sit there. I had to log onto the server and find the place. Along the way, I found a revolver in a barrel, and found enough animal fat to make a small furnace to smelt metal for bullets. Getting to her place, I shot up the walls and once again she was free.

Back in Free Wood, the attempts to raid my place were mostly a nuisance. Someone did get to my bedroom area, and tried on me what they tried on Brandi. But with the "free wood" coming in every twenty minutes, I kept making spears and soon punched through the stick walls. Fortunately most of my stuff was in a hardened "vault" room with metal walls and an armored door, so they got little. I eventually built the place up to where it was passing the wires on the power line tower it was built next to. Then the "squirrels" as I called the raiders began to get serious, finding the weak spot in the building permissions area, setting up a makeshift scaffold of basic stick ladder units, and blowing their way through. I logged on to catch one in the act, and seeing him through a hole he had made as he was whacking away with a hatchet, he didn't hear me as I got closer, aimed a weapon, and put his raid to an end, helping to make up for the damage I had to repair.

I noticed others were setting up one square structures around their bases, which obviously had tool cabinets inside. I decided to try that, and made two "nodes" as I called them, planning on making two more the next day. But I was a day too late. When I logged on, I found the "building blocked" tag on my display as I went around. Going to the lower levels, I found to my sorrow that the "squirrels" had gone in through the stone floor by blowing up a section and used the metal still in the furnace to reinforce their hatchets as they chopped their way to where the tool cabinet was, wrecking that then making their own. They managed to break through my designated vault room's metal wall, and used the items there to cause further damage, building all kinds of walls and making the place not truly my own.

Dispirited, I sneaked over to the airport to get more fuel, and headed away to make a new base. Jasmine Dawn had showed me a design for making a base around a large furnace using a mix of square and triangular bases. Finding a spot on a hill overlooking the water treatment plant area, I laid the foundation, a first floor, and part of a second. No raids that night. I continued building, having enough stone from the rocks around me, and if the helicopter showed up while I was out, the plant's tunnels were close by to duck into. It would be a few days until I noticed a stick tower outside: almost certainly someone's idea of trying to raid me by dropping in my place from above. I chopped it down, then quickly built four tool cabinet "nodes" around the place. There were no further raiding attempts after that. Eventually, I began returning to my old tower and eventually chopped down the walls, and took down the raider's tool cabinet and set up my own. It was mine once more.

But victory was short-lived as it was about time for the server to update again. There was also talk about the game itself updating. After the update turned out to be a "world killer," Nydia, Brandi, Jasmine, and I started up the Angel's server once more. We had heard among the changes were the female skins that had been talked about by developers and players in the forums alike for months. But we found instead of being given a choice of whether to be male or female, the game randomized it like it did one's skin color.

Taking a look at my avatar, I found that the familiar "sausage" was gone, and the shape was more slender. Nydia grumbled she was still male, and Jasmine and Brandi were now dark-skinned females. Jasmine had a laugh at me and Nydia, joking we could hold a "genderbender party." But the laughs were short lived as we were soon dealing with the bears again, who loved chasing down and eating female humans just as much as the males. And once the avatars were dressed, one couldn't tell as easily. Nydia took a look at the forums for some comments. Some male players were furious. One took it in stride, cracking a somewhat sexist joke, "I've bled plenty in this game already. It might as well also be from down there." Pagan would come on a time or two, but we never did find out whether our prediction of him/her running around in a nude female avatar all the time came true.

Back in Free Wood, I found not only were the player built buildings gone, but also all our skills except those we entered the server with when we first logged in. Nevertheless, I went ahead, getting fuel from the airport and oil dome, which were in the north, making a temporary base just south of them, then heading south across some rough terrain to near the water treatment plant. After this reboot, activity wasn't as much as it had been the month before. Were players turned off by the skill reboot and rough terrain? I went ahead and began building a base around a large furnace. But I hadn't quite made the foundations high enough around the furnace, and so I couldn't get them all away around. I had to make another furnace at the other end so I could built all away around that. There was nothing else to do with the first furnace but keep it empty when not in use. During the few days I was building the base, there was a raid. I had to place nodes around the "figure 8" as I was calling it, and after that felt secure.

It was about this time events in Nydia's real life were keeping her occupied, so her server stayed down. Brandi took a peek at Free Wood, then Jasmine came in. They also made places near the water treatment plant. Then Jasmine had something she wanted to try, a "roundhouse" design built around a large furnace using square and triangular foundation units. She picked a spot close to my "figure eight" and we both went to work. It didn't take long for the two of us to finish it, then our friend Kryxia came in. All seemed well. There was soon an update in which water buckets and barrels were introduced, which led to a few trips to a nearby stream. One had to keep a bucket in the action bar for the water to stay. We kept a barrel of water in case some joker came by with one of those flamethrowers we'd been hearing about.

Then one day I checked in to find my persona naked and the room full of holes. looking around, the place was a mess. Even the armored vault room had been busted into. Once again, the "squirrels" had probed around until they found a weakness, then hit it with demo charges and jumped in, wrecking the place. The good news, they hadn't touched the tool cabinet. Checking the roundhouse, the damage was worse. They had somehow gotten to the tool cabinet there, smashed down  the door to the way up, and replaced that. The building was no longer truly ours.

With that, the enthusiasm of my friends for Rust had taken a hit, those not occupied by matters in real life no longer coming on. But I had one idea. With talk of a "skill tree," I had logged into an almost empty server to see if anything was different. I didn't notice anything different with skills, but the only sign of other players was when returning, I found a hatchet on me I didn't recall finding the day before. Maybe I could build the roundhouse here, and persuade my friends to come here. I was further encouraged that I finally found the highly coveted rocket launcher blueprint, and so early on too.

Unfortunately, just because there weren't other players, there were still hostiles. I got chopped up by the chopper, and was getting mauled by bears. But somehow, I found a spot, laid down the foundations of a roundhouse, basic walls, and just enough of a second floor to stay hidden from the chopper. The next day, I had enough time to reinforce a quarter of the roundhouse to the point anyone coming across it would have a hard time getting in. It seemed all was well. Then the next day, I found the server had rebooted. The roundhouse was gone. The skills I had learned, including the rocket launcher, gone. And before five minutes had passed, I ran into a bear, and once again died screaming.

I'm not sure how much longer I'll be playing Rust as even my patience has it's limits. But it seems as far as most of my Second Life friends are concerned, they've moved on to other pastures, at least for now. One stated she was tired of the raiders, tired of the "world killer" updates erasing all her work, and would be taking a break for a while, at least until Nydia could get her server running again. And there's no telling when that will be as right now, the game is the least of her worries.

So perhaps it's about time to move on to another game. As soon as there's one me and my circle of Second Life friends like, we'll let you know.

On a final note, I've heard stories about players and teams accomplishing great builds with Rust, such as "Paradise Island" in which a place resembling an inviting looking resort was crafted. Then there was "The Great Wall of Rust" in which a team braved glitches, bears, and saboteurs in order to build a wall across the width of their server's island, and came close to succeeding (WARNING: video contains male nudity). Then someone made a game in the game, a maze in which players had to navigate, braving traps, in order to get the prize at the end. Then there was the "City Council Arena" of which it was stated took teams seven days to farm materials and build. There are also fanworks in which players have made Rust items in real life.

So yes, the game does attract people who would rather build than wreck other peoples' stuff. It's just that they never seem to be around your particular public server. In the meantime, avoid windows on the first floor, use metal bars on windows on the first few floors, and don't be afraid to use some of the metal you're saving up on the first and second floor's walls and the foundation under them: raiders can't steal what's been used.

Bixyl Shuftan

Friday, February 12, 2016

Second Life vs. Entropia


By Wesley Regenbogen

Introduction
Second Life and Entropia Universe are both virtual worlds, but they are not similar to each other. In this article I will review both of these worlds and explain what the differences are and which similarities they have and what makes them special.
Second Life ( SL )
Introduction to Second Life
Second Life is a virtual world where avatars can walk around and teleport to different places in-world. You can download the client software at http://www.secondlife.com, but there are alternative viewers available as well.
Your first steps into Second Life
When you first sign up with Second Life you can choose from different types of default avatars and choose a name for your avatar. After your avatar has been created, you download the viewer of your choice and then login with your username and password.
You will first arrive at Learning Island, where the basics of Second Life are explained. This is the place where all new avatars arrive in the Second Life environment. After finishing the tutorial is a teleport to Social Island, though I suggest instead heading to  NCI ( New Citizens Inc ) at Kuula.
There is a real life cash economy in Second Life, where you can buy Linden Dollars ( L$ ) and you can also convert your L$ into USD or any other currency. You can also earn L$ by doing a virtual job in Second Life ( I’ll explain this later on in the article, so keep on reading, please ).
In Second Life you don’t really have game elements that are placed within the virtual world, at least not in most places. You can find games to play in Second Life.
The places you visit in Second Life are known as “sims” (short for simulations)
Account types in Second Life :
There are two account types in Second Life, Basic, or free accounts, and Premium, or accounts of which one pays a fee on a regular basis to Second Life's owner Linden Lab.
    Earning L$ in Second Life or getting a Premium account for real life money
    To earn L$ in Second Life, you can do a virtual job, like me as a virtual journalist for Second Life Newser. Or you can find another virtual job that suits you, of course, such as DJ or content creator. It all depends on your real life skills or interests. To own or buy land you need a Premium account, which costs real life money, such as buying L$ as well. What makes Second Life unique is that it has numerous shops and stores and also many clubs and live concerts in Second Life.

    Second Life Marketplace website

    The Second Life Marketplace ( http://marketplace.secondlife.com ) is a website designed to buy items from when you are not in-world. You have to login with your username and password to fully access this website and buy items from the website for your avatar.

    Entropia Universe ( EU )

    Introduction to Entropia Universe

    Entropia Universe is a virtual world/game, which takes place in the future and you are being dropped as a colonist on the planet that you choose to start on. There are six different planets and space in Entropia Universe. Each planet has its own properties and creatures. When you first sign up for an Entropia account, you need to choose on which planet you want to start. I chose Planet Calypso, and I did the tutorial there in Thule, the starting place. From there, I went to Port Atlantis where my adventure started.

    Graphical details in Entropia Universe vs Second Life

    The company behind Entropia Universe, MindArk, was behind all of Entropia's creation. The graphics are amazingly detailed and when you run into bushes, the bushes move when you run through them. Very high detail graphics are everywhere. 

    With Second Life on the other hand, the graphics are not that detailed. That is because Entropia Universe uses the CryTek gaming engine, which is used in the Crysis game series and a few other games as well. In Second Life, the Havoc physics engine is used.

    Teleporting in Entropia Universe vs teleporting in Second Life

    Teleporting is also done in another fashion then in Second Life. In Second Life you have “landmarks” that you can use to teleport to another place. Or you can be invited to teleport to a friend’s place in Second Life. In Entropia Universe you need to go to a “teleporter” machine to be able to teleport to another place. Unless you find a vehicle or an helicopter that can take you there, for PED of course.
    Another difference between Second Life and Entropia Universe, is that your avatar makes a moving motion when you walk around in Entropia Universe. In Second Life your avatar seems to”float” above the surface. In Entropia Universe you can push the “R” key on your keyboard and your avatar will auto-run.

    Another difference between Second Life and Entropia Universe is that your avatar can get “killed” by creatures that attack you when you shoot them. You are automatically teleported to the nearest so-called “revival point.” It’s basically a terminal where you are teleported to. Your health bar will slowly fill back up after a long while.

    Terminals in Entropia Universe

    Speaking of terminals, here are some types of terminals you will encounter :
    • Revival Point ( see above )
    • Trade terminals ( to trade your goods for PED and also buying items from someone )
    • Society terminals ( “societies” are almost the same as “groups” in Second Life )
    • Manufacturing terminals ( these terminals are used to construct items, when you have the blueprint of it, of course and the needed items to make it )
    • Storage terminals ( these are terminals where every Entropian can store their personal items. Basically it’s your personal locker to store your personal items )
    • Auction terminals ( these terminals are like the word says to buy or sell items )
    • Repair Terminal ( to repair your items if they are damaged during an attack )
    Hunting and Mining in Entropia Universe
    You can hunt down the alien creatures that you encounter in-world in Entropia Universe and you can loot them and get items from them and sell them if you wish. After the tutorial, at least on Calypso, you should have some guns and ammo available to you.
    Mining I've read is much more difficult to do, because it involves many more skills than hunting does. I haven’t been into mining yet, so I can’t tell you more about it.
    Missions you can do and get rewards for doing them
    At some camps you encounter, you can choose to do missions, like in a normal game, if you succeed in them, then you get rewards, like guns, ammo or something else.

    Conclusion :
    Although Second Life and Entropia Universe are virtual worlds, they take on a different approach and a different experience. This is due to the different graphical engines, and also the “game play” is different. Don’t let that scare you off, though, because it’s a worthy experience in both places.
    For a Second Life resident, Entropia takes some getting used to, so keep calm and relax. But in the end you should get used to the differences and enjoy it, trust me.

    images from planetarkadia.com

    By Wesley Regenbogen

    Editor's note: In the past, Entropia has made real-life news by players buying up virtual real estate for thousands of dollars, such as the sale of the Crystal Palace Space Station, for almost a third of a million US dollars in 2010. So there is potential for a few devoted players to make some cash. However, there's no shortage of ways to make dollars in Second Life, as real estate barons such as Anshe Chung have demonstrated in the past, as well as clothing, virtual pets, and other businesses. 

    Thursday, January 14, 2016

    Return to Rust


    By Bixyl Shuftan

    It was about two years ago when my gaming friend Nydia Tungsten and I found out about "Rust." For those whom haven't read our previous articles on the game, it is a survival game developed by Facepunch Studios in early 2014 that at the time was loosely compared to "Minecraft," and "Day Z." The game had no "score," rather the player woke up naked with nothing but a rock and a torch in the middle of a wilderness marked by a road with occasional abandoned buildings along the way. Standing in the player's immediate goal of survival were bears, wolves, zombies, and other players. The players could use the rock they started out with to gather wood, stone, metal, and sulphur to make tools, harvest meat and skins from animals to build up health, get food, weapons, and blueprints to make things from containers in buildings. On occasion, there would be an airdrop that potentially had valuable goods, such as metal building parts and automatic weapons. To help them stay alive and preserve their stuff, players built bases, either their own or a few getting together to make one. People had to log in at least every couple days or their buildings would slowly decay, or "rust," away.

    The biggest obstacle of the game were hostile gamers. While many, perhaps most, were content to just go about their way, there were some whom seemed inclined to shoot anyone on sight and raid any place they could rather than work and harvest stuff on their own, whom Nydia named the "PvP kiddies."

    Still in open alpha development, Nydia and I and our friends gave it a try. We had fun for a while, building up our combined base. There were a few changes over time. Early on, the zombies were dropped, replaced with mutant red bears and wolves. Some players complained, but the developers stated they didn't want their game to be just another "zombie MMO." Over time, we saw some creative builds by other players. But unfortunately, we were having to spend more and more time rebuilding from our bases being broken into and finding resources to replace what was stolen. Eventually, Nydia and her friends got tired of dealing with the "PvP kiddies" and left Rust behind for other games.

    A few months later, I heard the game was updating. So I gave it another look. On the plus side, there was less of a danger of starving if you couldn't find food on the first day. There were also rivers and streams introduced. But the roads were gone, and there weren't much structures around (so I noticed), so finding one's way about was pretty hard. I couldn't find any crates or other containers, so I couldn't find any cloth to make even a pair of pants for my naked character. One also couldn't make building parts at the start. So it was time to abandon the game and go with the games my friends had taken up. Rust did make gaming news some months later when they introduced black skins to some of the players. But there was some controversy as the choice was taken away from the players, "just like in real life, you are who you are - you can't change your skin color or your face." While there was "a definite uptick in overly racist language," the big issue seemed to be that some people "have a strange need to play someone similar to themselves in games." While female skins were eventually made, so far they are limited to members of the development team.

    It was in the tail end of December 2015 when Nydia's friend Brandi Streussel decided to take a peek at the game. So I decided to check things out. The first thing I noticed was it was taking much longer to load than last time. Once in, I began looking around for resources, and it wasn't long before I found there had been further changes to the game. The roads were back, and not only were the containers back, there were a greater variety of them, sometimes appearing as metal drums, trash cans, and half-torn boxes, but they could appear away from buildings. There were "hemp plants," which could be harvested for cloth. It was a welcome addition as there had been times in the old Rust it took a while before I found a container or critter to clobber.

    Going about, there was more marking the terrain than just roads. There were power lines and towers dotting the landscape, which were a help in finding my way around. The smaller ones by the road had an occasional "Lost dog" ad, and the roads had signs by them, ones that were a bit weathered and sometimes spray painted. Like in the early Rust, there were groups of abandoned structures. They were not always buildings, one group being a pair of no longer active huge radio reception receivers. They are a little more detailed than before. Some with electric lights that provide illumination at night. There are also sewers residents can go down into and look around for supplies. Radioactive areas are less of a problem as I have yet to come across any, though as I have come across anti-radiation pills that presumably suggests there's one or more around somewhere. With rivers and rain now a feature, one  can now get wet, showing up as a percentage on the HUD. It doesn't usually affect you, aside from making it more likely to get cold.

    Building your own structures has changed. You use some wood to make piece of paper, then use the paper to make a floorplan. Once you have the floorplan, just put it in your inventory bar at the bottom, activate it, and move it to the spot where you want to build. If it's red, move to another spot. if it's blue, just click and you have a foundation, which you can add to by moving it to adjacent sides and as long as the marker's still blue and you have the wood, you can build. To get walls, doorways, stairs, ceilings, and other sections, just press the Shift button while the marker is up, and you get a menu of which kind of section you want next. Doors, window bars, and shutters are not part of this system, but are created like other items and placed by putting them in your action bar, activating it, and placing it where you want the part to go.

    When first set up though, building parts are rather flimsy and won't take much punishment from other players before they collapse. To strengthen them, build a wooden hammer. And when it's active in your action bar, the building part it's near will be highlighted green and can be upgraded. There are five levels for building structures: wood, stone, metal, and armored. At the beginning, stone is the strongest you can make the walls of a sizable structure, but it should keep out raiders whom have yet to get explosives. Judging from the abandoned buildings I saw while exploring, players need to keep logging in, or their structures will decay, or "Rust" back into the wilderness.

    There's a greater variety of tools, clothes, and other items one can make. As before, you'll need blueprints to learn to make some, such as machetes, helmets, and metal hatchets. Also as before, to make use of the metal and sulfur you get from harvestable boulders, in addition to the high quality metal that's been added to the game, you'll need a furnace. Getting the low grade fuel to make one, you'll either need animal fat from clobbered critters, or refine crude oil found at certain containers at certain buildings and refined in furnaces. So now one can get fuel without "killing Bambi." As before, items wear out over time from use. To fix them, one needs a workbench and certain materials, such as wood and metal fragments in the case of repairing wooden hatchets. Once one gets the blueprints, one can build larger furnaces to smelt more metal at once. Once you get the blueprints, one can also build mining quarries to harvest ores and rock directly from a piece of land instead of looking around for harvestable boulders. But the ratio of what can be harvested varies from place to place. So it's best to use a survey charge first and examine the chunks of rock that result.

    As in the old Rust, there are things out there that want to eat you, the bears and wolves. Gone are the red critters, so no special goodies beyond meat and leather if you clobber one. Instead, it's one less thing that's out to get you. One difference in the game is in the old Rust, you could outrun a bear, and keep away from a wolf if you kept running. This time, they run faster than you do. if you run into one going through a bush and are armed with only a bow and arrow, it's goodbye as they catch up to you and chow down on your screaming body. There's also a NPC helicopter that flies from place to place. If it sees you, it will fire it's machine guns, and possibly rockets, at you. So far with the chopper, I have yet to find a weapon that offers an alternative to running and hiding. Like the old Rust, there is still the plane occasionally flying overhead and doing a drop. And there are still the pigs you can hunt down on foot with just an axe. After all this time, it's still satisfying to chase and take down a piggy (at least for me). Besides the deer, there are now horses trotting about. If one can harvest things different things from them from deer, I don't know as I didn't have the heart to take one down, preferring to wait longer for a stag or pig.

    It should also be noted as a "Survival MMO," some servers are listed as PvP active or "Player versus Player." So far, my experience with the game has been with one server marked PvE or "Player versus Environment." Unlike Ark, in which players can't directly hurt anyone in a server where PvP combat is disallowed, a server's PvE status is supposed to be enforced by administrators. In the old Rust, we had trouble when some players ignored that and kept going after us. In this one, we've had a little trouble with people breaking in and stealing things. It hasn't quite reached the level we had in the old Rust yet. But it does leave me, and others, to wonder a little if there's truly such a thing as a true public PvE server in Rust.

    It should be noted the game is still in development and still changing, officially described as in "early access." When Brandi and I first started, besides the harvestable boulders, there were smaller rocks and chunks of iron and sulfur on the ground one could simply pick up. But after the update in early January, they were gone. At Christmastime, there was a treat for the players in the form of presents that would occasional appear, "Ho ho ho!"

    In developer Gary Newman's 2015 review, he's described himself as learning some lessons over time. Among them, "Don’t be afraid of the reaction of people on the Internet. The first reaction is always outrage, and is usually from people who haven’t played the game for months." He also has a few plans for further developments, such as Experience, Blueprint, and Skills systems, things to add variety to experiences, such as the occasional apple or birds nest with eggs when chopping trees, and being able to throw meat to distract bears and wolves.

    So two years later, Rust is still around and has life in it.

    As I was finishing up this article, Nydia told me she was getting a private server for her friends. So there may be some more "Return to Rust" tales in the future.

    Sources: playrust.com, kotaku, wiki.facepunch.com

    Bixyl Shuftan