2016 – A Decade of Stories

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Nadir Taov

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We’ve done it. There’s officially a full decade’s worth of stories and history that define the city our characters have come to love and hate. More importantly, together, we’ve also built over TEN years’ worth of community, friendship, and family that will long outlast the prims and textures.

Around this time, every year, I take a moment to reflect on the things we’ve accomplished over the year, and share a fresh vision for one we’re starting. More often than not, like this year (lol), I’m reminded of my favorite comic strip that I’ve plastered on the inside of the Observer office… we started the year strong with some housekeeping updated, then started rolling our first phase of updates with the HPD to shake up the law and criminal dynamics in the sim.

What we did in 2015

  • 4,686 new character registrations processed. 4,045 accepted.
  • 130,608 different avatars visited Hathian
  • Mentors Dashboard - At the end of 2014, we designed and introduced a new community management model where each role in staff was tied to a responsibility. This year, I took it a step further and developed a number of tools with a new staff HUD to streamline those responsibilities. With the numbers seen above, we’ve empowered mentors with the ability to reach out personally and track new players. We also streamlined orientations through this process to ensure we had bi-weekly coverage.
  • Moderators Dashboard - With the roll out of the abuse report portal, now all RP-related issues have a home to be funneled into and managed directly by moderators.
  • Security & Bot Improvements - The magic that enables security rights to the team, as well as the bot inviting system that powers the reinviter and hiring signs was rebuilt from scratch (thanks, Drew) to keep up with the updates LL has rolled out to region servers over the years.
  • Updated Rosters - The businesses, hospital, police, and fire rescue rosters were redesigned from the ground up with a new emphasis on highlighting active players only. The goal here was to automate housekeeping responsibilities and enable leaders to simply focus on the people who were actually around or new to the scene.
  • City Council & Labor Union - We had our first elections and developed an area for construction workers.
  • New Case Assignments - A few weeks ago, Espi kicked off a vigorous discussion and vision for a police group that would shed the tedious and over-complicated policies for a model that was more robust and focused on story making. We released a number of new systems which include a Case Assignment system which empowers sergeants and lieutenants to review incident reports and assign them for detectives. They will then be able to more efficiently track cases and provide updates in collaboration with other officers.
  • HPD Task Force & Medals - The task force feature was designed to showcase story arcs that involve the HPD; from crowd control to gang busting, lieutenants can establish a task force and reward active players with clear direction and an opportunity to climb rank through role-play. The medals are a new form of awards that highlight players who demonstrate exemplary attitude towards the community and furthering role-play stories.
  • Updated HPD Station - The station interior has been brought up to speed with mesh. I also used this opportunity to kick off an audit of furnishing across the sim which will continue into the new year.

“Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication.”

The following is the current roadmap for 2016:

  • Revise OOC Consent Policy - We will be taking a hard look at ourselves, and in discussion between players and leaders, we’ll design a new policy on handling consent in role-play. As a forced fantasy-themed sim, the trend of establishing long lists of limits and voiding scenes has led to a culture of meticulous scene planning and bad feelings when expectations aren’t met. It’s time we take a hard look at ourselves and redefine our policy on consent that will balance hard limits while respecting the unpredictable nature of role-play.
  • Revise all Guides - We will be eliminating and disallow the use of notecard-based guides. We’ll be working with leaders to simplify tedious reading material in rely on organic knowledge transfer. If a role requires so much studying, it’s time to look internally as to why we’re imposing so much OOC time investment from players instead of focusing on fun. I also believe that lengthy, multi-page guidelines breeds laziness in community management. When we’re done, we will roll out a number of minimal guides and FAQs on the website and have them linked from in-world.
  • Update Rosters & Hiring Signs (Phase 2) - With the web-based rosters updated, I started working on developing a new in-world roster concept which will provide additional information for users and connect the hiring experience to an online database to provide better guidance and tips to new players.
  • Revise Medical Reports - The way the HPD reports were reformed from the ground up, we’ll be doing the same to medical reports.
  • New Fire Rescue Reports - This feature is a few years overdue, but a new incident report will be rolled out and tied into role achievements.
  • Revise Civil Services - We are exploring a few ideas to enable lawyers and parole officers and give them a reason to role-play with direct impact to the criminal system. Imagine a lawyer being able to reduce your sentencing or avoid paying the bail.
  • Update Build - First we’ll do an audit of the interior decor and then look at ways to update the facades. Mesh is pervasive in our virtual world now, but the reality is majority of the mesh products on the marketplace are designed with a number of high-resolution textures which are 5-10x more resource intensive than their dated counterparts. However, I’m ready to make the time to identify common decor in Hathian and begin replacing them with texture-optimized mesh versions. I’m also looking forward to updating nature across the sims.
  • Explore VR - If you didn’t already know, Linden Lab has been working on a new virtual world platform with native virtual reality capabilities (Oculus Rift). In case there’s an exodus from Second Life to this new platform, we’ll have to be ready!
  • Recapturing the Hathian Backstory - Hathian’s backstory is rooted in the never-ending struggles of its citizens and poverty; this is a defining character of our sim and we will work with leaders to get their pledge to help reinforce this idea back into their groups. Through better leadership and setting examples can we expect to re-establish the economical and technological disadvantages of a poor city; other examples include dissuading the use of high tech usage in solving mysteries or track characters, unconventional and extreme weapons / accessories, and require more collaboration between faction leads to determine the “winners” of cyclical wars. Remember, there are no winners in Hathian; once you’re here, you’ve already lost.

In Summary...

2016 will be a year where we get back to basics and work hard to eliminate the tedious aspects of role-play and management. With a heavy focus on story and the improving the overall experience in the sim, we can expect powerful results.

After 10 years of Second Life, I still find myself drawn to planning, improving, and innovating. I know Espi and I are moved and inspired by the creativity found daily here - from perusing the Flickr pool, reading threads, to processing group proposals and character applications. It’s mind blowing, really.

We also have an AMAZING team of admins, GMs, moderators, mentors, and group leaders who have dedicated a tremendous amount of time and effort. Day in and out, they work with new players, diffuse OOC issues, and ensure that the community is healthy. Then there are the players - a group of individuals from across the world who write and share stories, and above all, have created an atmosphere of friendship.

We should be very proud of the community and reputation we created together.

Happy new year!

 

January 3, 2016 at 11:44 pm
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piper rewell

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January 4, 2016 at 3:32 am
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Drew Dwi

said

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January 8, 2016 at 6:51 pm
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