Gen Con in Second Life: let the games begin!

The Indiana Convention Centre reproduced in Second Life as a part of the VRazeTheBar Gen Con Experience

Thursday, July 30th saw the opening of the VRazeTheBar Gen Con Experience presented by VRazeTheBar, a four-day in-world event packed with activities being run as a part of Gen Con Online 2020 – and there is still time for Second Life gamers interested in table-top, computer, role-play and other games to sign-up and join in.

I’ve previously covered Gen Con and the VRazeTheBar Gen Con Experience in these pages, starting with Coming to Second Life: Gen Con “the best four days in gaming”, but in brief:

  • Gen Con is the largest tabletop-game convention in North America, by both attendance and number of events. In 2019, almost 70,000 people attended the event, held annually in Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • Due to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, Gen Con has moved its activities on-line for 2020 across a range of platforms.
  • So that attendees can enjoy some of the same atmosphere of gathering together, attending social events, participating in games, etc., solution provider VRazeTheBar, with the support of Linden Lab, has created a 4-region, multi-level event environment within Second Life: the VRazeTheBar Gen Con Experience.
Discover the history of Gen Con in the Gen Con Museum within VRazeTheBar Gen Con Experience
Gen Con is a very special experience, that’s what keeps people coming back. It was important for us to recreate, as much as possible, the magic that happens when 70,000 gamers take over down-town Indianapolis every year. So, we have built some of their favourite haunts, including Union Station, around the Convention Centre as a starting point that Gen Con veterans will immediately recognize. From there we take off and have created completely new virtual worlds where the imagination can soar.

– VRazeTheBar Cofounder and Creative Director Alesia Clardy (AlesiaPM in Second Life)

A table-top game within the Science Fiction gaming zone of VRazeTheBar Gen Con Experience
In VRazeTheBar’s virtual Gen Con experience, users will find many of the details that fans love: food trucks and the traditional Saturday night dance as well as a free official Gen Con virtual t-shirt. But more than anything else, it’s really about the games. The game masters have embraced the virtual platform to make some awesomely rich, detailed environments for interactive game play.

VRazeTheBar Gen Con Experience Press Release

The event kicked-off at 09:00 SLT on Thursday, July 30th, and will run through until Sunday, August 2nd – the same dates as Gen Con Online 2020, allowing Gen Con regulars to attend events both in-world and those Gen Con is hosting on other on-line platforms. The opening event featured Patch Linden, Linden Lab’s Vice President of Product Operations as a special guest to not Linden Lab’s assistance in making the event possible.

The activities planned for Gen Con in Second Life as are as varied as those found at the convention in the physical world, and to help attendees feel more at home, part of the event space features a recreation of down-town Indianapolis, where the Indiana Convention Centre, the focal point for Gen Con in the physical world, has been recreated, together with the Union Station, used for social gathering – as it will be in-world, and locations such as Georgia Street, with its lines of food wagons and street restaurants frequented by attendees.

Patch Linden And RCArchitect (VRazeTheBar’s Ron Clifton) at the opening event

The four levels for the event are:

  • Ground level: presentation area and historical.
  • 500m: modern / present day down-town Indianapolis.
  • 1000m: apocalyptic level – the ruins of down-town Indianapolis for Zombie hunting.
  • 1500m: game play environments.
We are hosting a large variety of table-top games and we also are offering periods where people can roam around on their own or with friends, to explore on foot, horseback, or flying. We even have virtual dragon rides. In addition, we will also have some live presentations and panel discussions with industry gaming experts.

– VRazeTheBar Cofounder and Creative Director Alesia Clardy (AlesiaPM in Second Life)

A full list of in-world activities can be found on the event website. In addition, for those registered for Gen Can who cannot get in-world, events at the VRazeTheBar Gen Con Experience will be live streamed courtesy of event partner isiLive.

As I’ve previously noted in covering VRazeTheBar Gen Con Experience (see Gen Con: sneaking a peek in Second Life) gaming activities will taken place across a 4-region group of settings located at 1,500m above ground level and feature a mix of table-top, role-play and other gaming activities.

If you’d like to join Gen Con in Second Life – and there is still room in a number of the events – registration is free. You’ll need to do so via the official Gen Con website. As I noted in my Sneak Peek article, access to the game areas will be controlled to prevent them becoming overloaded, but otherwise attendees are free to wander, sign-up for activities and even organise their own on-the-fly games.

Gen Con Online is very much an experiment for Gen Con – as shifting to on-line mediums is proving to be for a lot of events around the world. However, for VRazeTheBar Gen Con Experience it is something more: a proof of concept that virtual world spaces can be used as a part of a physical world event’s activities. As a proof-of-concept, there have been a couple of minor hiccups – sadly, Gen Con exhibitors have been unable to join the in-world event this year, but otherwise everything is ready to receive attendees.

It was important for us to have a stable reliable on-line platform to create this virtual Gen Con experience. This year is basically a small-scale proof-of-concept experience, but the Linden Lab infrastructure we have chosen will allow us to scale up quickly as demand unfolds.

– VRazeTheBar Cofounder and Solution Architect, Ron Clifton

Georgia Street and the Convention Centre in-world

To find out more about about VRazeTheBar Gen Con Experience and Gen Con Online, please follow the links below. And when you get in-world, don’t forget to accept the event experience and receive / obtain the teleport HUD for direct access to the various in-world regions (there are also bicycle, horse and dragon ride rezzers available on the different levels (bikes on down town level, horses on the gaming level, dragons awaiting discovery!). You can also find out more by visiting the links below – including the in-world public Welcome Centre for the event.

Related Links and SLurl Information