Well, the issues around the receipt of HUDs for the Linden Realms game appear to have been finally fixed, so today I took the opportunity for a quick re-visit to see if anything has changed.
As was rumoured, the quest itself has grown, with additional tasks required of players. These look to be more about guiding you around the island than with helping the mysterious Tyrah – but along the way you get lots of opportunities to collect yet more crystals, which you can in turn convert in L$. In fact, in this respect, the aim of the game does seem to have changed focus somewhat.
Most of the new elements were in the game during prototyping – although some might have been easily missed. One of these is the Shattered Cavern, which I explored by chance during the beta, and which players are now directed to search. All I’ll say on this is: mind your head and keep your eyes peeled – you might otherwise miss a little bonus.
Other places on the island are also more directly pointed to; Tyrah’s Peak, Whispering Hollow and other familiar names from the signposts around the island are now the focus of very specific explorations that tend to break up the gathering of crystals for the purposes of helping Tyrah make her flares.
One element that does appear to be new – I don’t remember encountering it when rambling around the island during beta, and I can’t find evidence of it on the early screen caps I grabbed of the island – is the Portal Workshop, wherein more crystals can be converted into L$.
I might also be wrong in this as well: be it seems that there are more rock monsters to avoid now – at least, I had a lot more fun baiting 2 or 3 at a time…
Performance-wise, the game is holding up well; it took several attempts, but I did manage to get to an island where there were 10+ others playing, and there was no sense of any lag – ah, the benefits of mesh and a basic texturing scheme!
One thing that did surprise me were the number of people either using their Viewer’s fly override to flit around the island, only landing to grab crystals, or using fly to vertically avoid rocks, and those who were running around with personal shields active in order to try to avoid being “bumped” by rock monsters. Come on, people, it’s just a game! :).
Making the Code Available
We’ve yet to see the release of the code used to make the various tools within the game possible – but in some ways this is understandable: the code presents certain issues for LL, as it could be used for purposes that were not the original intention. The unscrupulous could have a field day with the forced teleport system, and the auto-attach HUD could also present opportunities for griefers and spammers alike.
When talking in a group conversation, Tiggs Linden indicated that these issues were very much on his mind, but added in reference to the teleport capabilities, “I think I locked them down pretty tight.” He also joked about having overall control of the system and that as a result, “It will be a fun set of snowball fights this year. I dare ya to hit me!” When I jokingly suggested doing so could see someone teleported home, Tiggs replied wickedly, “Not home, 1000m straight up!”
Whoever said tigers don’t have a wicked sense of fun?!
Even so, there’s still no apparent date as to when the tools will be made available; one hopes that their release is accompanied by a formal announcement given the degree of anticipation many developers have with regards to them.
In the meantime, if you’ve not tried the game, or have experienced problems in receiving a HUD since it was declared open to all, why not give it a go? Just be prepared to see your 15-minute trial turn into 45 minutes of running around as you find yourself muttering, “OK, but this is the last group of crystals I’m gathering…! :).