Wednesday, August 4, 2010

a disease of the mind, it can control you

Frogster, the owner/partial distributor of Runes of Magic, has been acquired by Gameforge, which is causing a few negative ripples through the gaming community. They maintain they're letting Frogster continue to innovate and control Runes, so...we'll see what happens.

I admit, this is the link I've been sending to all my friends of late, because, in and amongst all the other brief mentions of Comic-Con 2010 hype, there was mention of the Avengers movie. Why is this cool? Because leading up to the Avengers movie, there will be other films, including a redoing of Thor. Why is that cool?

Because Marvel, to support their talk, brought a glass case with props made for the movie (one surmises). There were four. Odin's helmet; Thor's helmet; Loki's helm, complete with the dorky curving horns; and...the Infinity Gauntlet. And that, friends and neighbors, has "summer blockbuster/geekgasm" written allll over it.

In further comics news, sometimes comic storylines make your brain cringe. Case in point: the history of Rachel Summers. (And yes, for anyone who doesn't know--that's an accurate recounting of the storyline through several years--and several comic lines. If you really enjoy brain cramps, try on the history of Hawkman for size. Though I would recommend Xorn's comic timeline only for the foolhardy, or for those who hate their brains and want them to die.)

At 2:49 pm, on Wednesday, 4 August, Azriel Demain announced this in a group notice to the FallnAngels:
I'm Back!!!!!
Finally LL has let me back on!
I want to thank each one of you for your support with all of this. For your kind words, gracious thoughts, positive energies, and continued shopping.
A very special thank you goes out to my Tomoyuki Batra for handling everything for me.
I am a very lucky man to have such beautiful Angels backing me.
Thank you all!
So, it's not as bad as it could have been--since he was being told the eighth--but likely he's still scrambling to reallocate funds, unless Des' recommended trick of being put on 'administrative hold' worked. And then there's this:
[17:55] Azriel Demain: whether things are straightened out or not i have no idea.. no linden has ever replied to me yet
So...does that mean he could be banned again? For no perceptible reason? Or does that mean the ban is over? Did the Lindens just forget and lift the ban on a whim? Did they react to pressure from patrons or in-world sources? Was this a reasoned, responsible, reaction to the situation, or was it completely random?

Talk about bad customer service, this is now How to Terrify Customers, parts I through XIV.

However it went, welcome back, Az! Let's hope this is the first and last time you'll be banned.

Thinking from the other side of things for a moment, though, this has confirmed two things, inescapably, in my mind:
  • no one is safe, no matter how many sims they own; if there is content deemed infringing by the Labs, they will, sooner or later, act on that information and ban.
  • we now have no clue and no good 'warning' system in place for when this happens. If our content, as creators of content, is deemed infringing, we're gone--with no appeals process, and no good inroads to Customer Service. Oh, wait, this is the Labs--there is no Customer Service.
I am a small-time creator even for small-time creators, but I am now going to go through everything I've ever had up for sale to ensure that nothing can be seen by anyone to be actionable. This whole thing scared the hell out of me, and I wasn't the one banned.

At one point during all of this--because we were concerned, we asked Tomo how Azriel was doing--Tomo told us that Az had taken every doll in the house and drowned it in the tub.

I related this tale to Neome, who wasn't online for it, and she first shook her head, the gravity of such an act singing in. Then she pouted.

"I want a drowned doll dress," she said. I honestly think I'll suggest that to Az.

Technology takes odd turns sometimes. Found by William Gibson's wife, and posted on @GreatDismal's Twitter feed (@GreatDismal happens to be William Gibson, for anyone not following along), the Eco-Hime is a sound mask. Which makes the sound of falling water.

Not that odd--I can genuinely see applications for this in spy-to-spy conversations, because turning on the tap or shower acts as a great low-tech way to distort the human voice--but this one's designed to mask the sound of...well...peeing. With falling water.

Isn't there going to be a watery sound either way?

(Also from the Lovelyish blog: four ways to be less clingy. I'd say this works equally well for either gender, and in truth, may well apply more to SL than RL.)

And, getting back to SL matters:
"The simple fact is that, outside of niche activities, as stated, Second Life simply isn't ready for big business to pay anything more than a cursory interest in it; there is simply nothing here that is compelling for big business to invest time, effort and money in SL on an ongoing basis."
She's not wrong.

Finally, one of the staffers over at MMORPG is pondering the concept of detective MMOs. Now, me, I read those words and immediately I started thinking about all the tropes in noir and pulp circulars, powerful hook-nosed men who skulked in the shadows in trenchcoats and felt hats, devastatingly sexy femme fatales with poisoned lipstick and coded messages.

Instead? I got Police Quest, which always made me think of Leslie Nielson. Errrgh.

Still, it is an intriguing question, noir influences or not--would a mystery premise sustain for a full MMO? That's half the fun of BioShock after all; and a lot of simpler games have used finding clues as a way to push story elements along. Even Octoberville works on a mystery motif--and finding those clues is the challenge each year!

It might not work, in the large sense that MMOs seem to function on. But it's worth a try. I'm hoping someone considers the idea, and guns for funding.

So to speak.

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