It was this week, one year ago, that my side of the world was mandated to shelter-in-place. Since then, a lot has changed, and I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the community, the state of the Crack Den, and our future together.
15 years later, we’re still here!
When I first logged into the grid, I certainly didn’t think I’d be here all those years later.
This community is my second home – we’ve all made lifelong friends, learned from each other, created memories, and many of us even went so far as to find companionship. Despite the themes that places this community on the darker side of grid, it is the respect, maturity, and commitment to creativity that keeps people coming back for more. It certainly is why I continue to keep on.
Special shout out to Blue and Perina who have been in touch with me behind the scenes daily – they know me best and have done an amazing job keeping the community going on the front lines. Leadership like that is a diamond in the rough and we should all be so grateful. Also, thank you to all the leads who are actively working behind the scenes to create story opportunities for all.
Resurgence on the Grid
With everyone hunkered down, Second Life saw a revival in traffic and its economy. Unfortunately for LL, they were in the midst of a cloud migration and couldn’t keep up with the demand for new regions … and I’m curious to see what comes of SL in the coming years following their acquisition in July.
Content creators spent their extra time on the grid pumping out new inventory at record pace – something I definitely took advantage for the use of collecting and customizing props and builds.
In general, I see this trend continuing through the remainder of this year as most of the world is still wary on traveling and going prime time with large social gatherings. My hope is LL steps up and addresses performance and improving community-building features; it would be nice for group notices to reliably go through for all, for example.
Off-Grid Communication in the New Normal
How we communicate, interact, and promote has been top of mind through the pandemic.
Since last Fall, we had introduced an official Discord server and onboarded all our community leaders and staff. Having one platform for all coordination, bug reporting, etc. was the first step towards getting us more connected.
For the broader community, I’m still of the belief that in-world communication is the place to be and it’s focused on RP than banter. However, we’re not closed off to the idea of opening up discord to the wider community.
I welcome your perspective here.
Crack Den Rebuild
Over the past few years, I’ve had a chance to consolidate my projects in SL to focus on our one and only. Over the summer, I was able to reimagining parts of Hathian and other sims; from nature, buildings, to props, key landmarks were rebuilt in mesh.
I had an opportunity to tackle some of the hottest locations in Hathian – Gein, Twister, Hospital, Jimmies, Comiquities, Poison Apple, and more … including themes homes.
I’d like to continue that front and expand on refreshing more locales, including adding new ones in Hathian into 2021.
Scene Matching Features
For over a decade, I have observed players just hanging out in hopes that RP comes to them. With the simple mission of connecting more players together, I rolled out a few experimental features to be that catalyst to new scenes:
Smarter Landing Point
Over the summer, I introduced a smarter teleporting system in the landing point – one that allows players to either TP dow to the default street, or pick a randomized location that will take them directly where players are available. This was a way to connect RP’ers who are playing in businesses to those who are interested in starting a scene.
The hospital features a “service bell” that allows players to request help – it essentially relays your post via the SL group channel in hopes to lure someone back on site to start a scene.
There’s also an experimental feature in the HUD I introduced that allows you to set a preference of RP style (social vs. dark) that will drop hints, via local chat, to you if you’re near someone who matches.
As I think about development of new features in the Crack Den, it must fundamentally inspire new scenes; it should connect players who otherwise may have not connected.
Long overdue, this new region is intended to be an expansion of the Crack Den. Built within the Crack Den universe, the remote port town will feature a collection of businesses and homes for new factions.
Its backstory and environment setup will allow for more of a lawless construct.
The hope here is to build its own community of new and existing players on an urban noir RP sim featuring primarily dark RP themes and adult-only characters.
The university campus will be a key project for 2021. The potential to rebuild this expansion of CD is prime; I think there’s a lot of interest in SL for this genre of RP and could be a beacon to attract more players into our universe.
I acknowledge that many of the systems now in place are derelict and either need to be scrubbed out or reimagined.
With the Story HUD now mainstream, I think I will scale back additional features on the campus and look for new leadership to help build student-based groups like frats, sororities, etc.
The outlook for Crack Den looks promising. So long as the grid continues to operate, so will the Den. It’s survived countless competition in the same genre, economic recessions, and just the ebbs and flows of RL priorities. I am more than ever committed to seeing our community grow and push innovation on the SL RP front.
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