Cocoon – click any image for full size
Cocoon is the name of a cyberpunk role-play region designed by Ελλιέ (Mii1a), and it offers an atmospheric environment with a rich back-story.
It is the year 2487. The Earth surface has become virtually uninhabitable as consequence of wars and environmental neglect. Most of humanity has fled the surface in the hopes of building a new future.
Cities slowly float around three thousand meters high above the surface, to escape the corroding effects of the pollution and radiation on the city’s hull over time.
The cities are connected by dense air-traffic and there is a booming economy for all types of goods. The cities are controlled by many different rival mega-concerns in the science and weapon industry, yet most parts of the population don’t care about the large-scale politics and established connections on many levels between the cities. There exists a thriving black market for weapons, drugs, software, food, cybernetics and other technology which remains nearly uncontrollable by the big businesses.
The name Cocoon is that of a “an unimportant artificial asteroid” first developed by the Cocoon Corporation some 40 years prior to the current period. Over the years it has grown to a centre of commerce sitting between floating cities of Earth and the colonies on the Moon and Mars – and a convenient place where those wishing to avoid being noticed could also find a place to hide – providing they don’t do anything to bring themselves to the attention of the security services.
The city is divided into four sectors – an automatic industrial area with docking facilities for shuttles operating between Earth, the Moon and Mars; a residential sector located along a narrow street with a mall and a black market location; the entertainment sector (also the oldest area of the facility) and sector four – the secretive area run by Cocooncorp itself and which “very few people have been able to enter that building or tell what is inside.” Find your way around can be a tad confusing, as it’s not entirely clear whether the sectors are all on the same level or defined by height – so keep an eye on the signage.
The confusion induced by the design actually adds to the build, rather than detracting from it; after all, who immediately knows their way around a city on a first visit? As it is, the design encourages exploration and increases the chances of bumping into / jumping in-progress role-play. The latter appears to be entirely free-form, and includes combat via the Sosumi combat System, which can be obtained by group members via kiosks located throughout the build.
The overall design carries a look that is – as with most cyberpunk / sci-fi dystopian build – a hint of Blade Runner about it. This is not to say it is in any way derivative; rather it offers setting which may be comfortably familiar enough to encourage role-players to get involved. There are a number of ways to get around as well: on foot, via the numerous elevators and – for those who join the RP group – bikes can also be obtained for use on the multi-level roads. RP locations can be found outdoors and in. Role-play can additionally be enhanced by the media boards scattered through the city. Operated by ONN – Orbital New Network – these offer “news updates” on events which could act as springboards for further role-play.
Unlike many RP environments in Second Life, Cocoon appears to be a vibrant community; during our visit there were over half-a-dozen players actively participating in role-play. A comprehensive website provides those wishing to get involved all they need to know in order to join in: back story, allowed factions, rules and guidelines and an application form – group membership is via application / invitation. What is particularly interesting with the website, is the fact that is active among members: character biographies have been written, the forums look to be active, as does the photo gallery. Members are even encouraged – and do – write their own blogs.
For those looking for cyberpunk / dystopian role-play (complete with the ruins of Earth at ground level), Cocoon could be just the ticket. Those looking for futuristic setting for photography may also find the region an interesting visit (just be aware it is a role-play environment and try to dress appropriately).
With thanks to Shakespeare and Max for the tip.
- Cocoon (Japan Rose, rated: Moderate)