Of crystals and games

Last week I reviewed the Linden Realms game – and found it oddly compulsive (up until I completed the first three quests – I understand more are to be added). Shortly thereafter came a comment from Lani Global pointing towards a game she’d developed in OSGrid which bears a strong similarity to the LR game.

As I have an OSGrid account, I decided to go over, don a suitably sci-fi-ish outfit (the game is an a sci-fi rp region) and have a look.

I did actually have trouble finding the game the first two visits – I found the crystals OK, but couldn’t find a way to interact with them or any sign of a game HUD. In fairness, the HUD was there – I just didn’t recognise it as such at the time, as it appears to be for a combat system as well. Also, hovertext pointers appear to have been added since my initial visits to help point the way to the game – or at least, I don’t remember seeing them the first times I entered the pyramid and went downstairs.

Power source: the start of the quest

Anyway, with HUD and health metre safely installed, off I went into the bowels of the pyramid to start my quest.

The first part of this is to locate the main power source. Here you are given your first task: locate a red crystal, together with a hint on where to find it.

From here, you’re off into the caves and hunting crystals and trying to avoid things that can do Nasty Things to you – when you encounter one, you’ll be teleported back to the start of the game.

Once you have collected all your required crystals as instructed, then it’s back to the start to complete your quest, ready to receive a rather nice little award I was unable to rez due to the sim being a no-rez environment, but did manage to see in a couple of images elsewhere.

It all sounds very familiar, doesn’t it? Find your start point, locate crystals, avoid nasty things, forced teleports and so on. So have LL copied Lani’s idea?

I’d have to say “no”. Crystal quest games have been around in varying forms since the 1980s. The formats may change, the hazards may change; some may take place in space, others on the ground; the key however, is that it is hardly an original idea. As such, similarities are bound to emerge. What’s more, the dynamics of OSGrid and SL – their respective mechanics and capabilities – will tend to lead to a good chance of there being strong areas of commonality between any such games in both that are based on the same principles and with the same aims in mind.

Game environment

Lani herself has recognised this since first posting on my blog – she’s written a thoughtful and open post on the SLU forums on the matter of both games. Given the way the rumour mill churns across SL and the metaverse, kudos to her for doing so clearly and concisely.

Opinion on Comparing the Games

Lani’s OSGrid game functions well and offers a nice diversion although there are a couple of things I didn’t get. I’m not sure why I furnished with a sword I didn’t appear to be able to use (none of the HUD buttons appeared to do anything other than allowing me to sheath or draw it) & I found the HUD icons hard to read without resizing it – which could be a reflection of my eyesight, now another birthday has passed as much as anything else! Overll, completing the quest is far less frenetic than the LR game, although it’s clear that the option to extend it a little more is there, should Lani so wish.

If you do come to it having played the LR game, then the OSGrid game is clearly at a disadvantage in terms of expectations – and this is hardly surprising. A lot of work has gone into the LR game to make it as intuitive as possible (no need to wear the HUD, no need to physically touch the crystals (just run through them), etc. BUT this has been achieved only because LL have the luxury of being able to tweak the server-side environment to suit their needs. Lani doesn’t have the same luxury, and has to work within the confines of what is available to her; at the end of the day, there is only so much you can do with LSL scripting. As such, what has been developed is very credible and shouldn’t be judged simply through a comparison with the Linden Realms game.

All told, everything worked well for me once I started out on things, although the game didn’t take that long to play overall. This again shouldn’t be seen as a disadvantage, it simply makes the game a nice little fun diversion when visiting the region. All I would advise is that you don’t randomly click the HUD icons – if you click RESET you’ll have to start over on the game back at the power source!

If you are using OSGrid, why not try-out Lani’s game (OSurl) for yourself.