There are probably very few people in SL who have not heard of MadPea; they’ve been responsible for some of the most engaging and interactive games, hunts and gachas in Second Life. I’ve covered some of their work in these pages, notably their magnificent Room 326, (which continued through their Mad City installation on Da Vinci Isle), and their fiendishly fun Carneval. The team have also been featured in an edition of The Drax Files.
For most of the past year, the team has been focused on their next major undertaking, an immersive, interactive HUD-based game called UNIA, which is spread across two regions and is – I can say with some authority, having been taken on a guided tour of the installation by MadPea’s leader, Kiana “Queen Pea” Writer and development team member (and good friend) RAG Randt – utterly stunning and completely involving.
I don’t want to give too much away as to the plot, but suffice it to say, it is part horror story (or nightmare story, given its origins), part puzzle solving, part mystery, and more. Players will be able to engage in the game either individual or work in co-operation with others (or even both, depending upon how events unfold), and will interact with creatures, NPCs and things not normally of this world as they attempt to resolve what is going on and discover the truth.
From the moment someone arrives in the little town of Molimo, they are in for one hell of a time (literally and figuratively!), in a game which features settings designed by the likes of Bryn Oh, Rebeca Bashly, BlueSean Yiyuan and Silex Zapedzki, and Jaimy Hancroft, as well as the MadPea team themselves, with huge amounts of dedicated scripting by the team and purpose-built animations from Abranimations.
The reason the game has taken so long to develop is that it really pushing the envelope within Second Life in terms of capabilities and gaming mechanism, and even now, Kiana and the team estimate there is still around two or three months work required in order to bring UNIA to life. However, a major spanner was thrown into the works fairly early on in the scheme of things.
As the game was being developed, so MadPea lost their sponsor. Developing something as immersive and involving as UNIA doesn’t come cheap: the cost of the two regions on which it is set runs to $731.60 a month (incl. VAT at 24%, levied as a result of Kiana’s real-life location in Finland). The team have been able to offset some of the costs through other ventures and activities – including running additional hunts and gacha fairs, and well as via donations through Mad City. The problem here is, of course that time spent on developing hunts, etc., is time taken away from UNIA, slowing down its completion. Also, Mad City is set to close at the end of May 2014.
In order to try to keep things going, MadPea launched a fundraiser at the start of May, hoping to encourage SL users and their patrons to help contribute to bringing UNIA to life.
“I have been struggling with this for a while in my mind.. Should I do a fundraiser for UNIA or not?” Kiana says. “After several players contacted me asking where they could donate, I thought that ok, let’s go ahead with this, there’s nothing I have to lose.”
The funding effort is being run via GoFundMe, and aims to raise $4,389.00 for the development and upkeep of the game, with some $1,500 of that target having been achieved at the time of writing. People are free to donate whatever they are comfortable with giving, but pay $50.00 and you’ll receive an exclusive UNIA outfit for your avatar; pay $500, and you’ll receive an exclusive tour of UNIA by Kiana, early access to the game, a free HUD, weapons and outfits.
If the fundraiser is successful, and UNIA does open to the public, then there is the potential for even more, “This is only part ONE,” Kiana said during my tour, “Part two is [going to be] taking place all over the grid.”
Having spent two hours in UNIA with Kiana and RAG, I can say that this is something that could be very unique in SL, and offer an astonishing level of immersion and engagement. If you’ve experienced past MadPea activities and events, you’ll know just how inventive and imaginative they can be. So why not hop over to the funding page and offer a payment? In doing so, you’ll be helping to open the door to even more fun you can enjoy.