Horizons land auctions: final round-up

The Horizons land auctions having finished
Horizons: rounding-up the land auctions

On Tuesday, November 15th 2016, the Lab launched the Premium members’ Horizons community, a “retro-futuristic” mainland environment featuring 36 residential regions each with 24 parcels available for auction to Premium members, with auctions commencing on Friday, November 18th 2016, with parcels being auctioned in batches of (generally) 10.

Obviously with 864 parcels to auction, it would take some time to get through things, but Whirly Fizzle and I decided to monitor things to see how they progressed, and I gave a brief snapshot at the end of the first week of auctions, and another when the auctions reached a half-way point.  The final lots of parcels was auctioned on the 12th-14th February, and given this, I’d thought I’d round-out the updates with an overall look at things.

All L$  / USD figures are approximate and based on available data. Some approximations have been made using the average parcel price for a region if the actual bid price was missed in collating data (applies to a total of 8 parcels across 864). The US dollar figure is based on a rate of L$260 to the US dollar.

SUMMARY OF AUCTION BATCHES AND TOTALS
Batch
No. Regions
No. Parcels
Total L$
Total USD
Batch 1 10 240 8,744,976.00 33,634.52
Batch 2 8 192 4,304,186.00 16,554.56
Batch 3 8 192 3,334,978.00 12,826.84
Batch 4 10 240 4,489,691.00 17,268.03
TOTALS
36
864
20,873,831.00
80,283.95

Note: a total of 4 regions have been re-auctioned; however, two may have been re-auctioned as a result of original bidder defaulting on payment, as the parcels were apparently re-auctioned without being claimed. If the original payments were made, then a further L$59,131 / approx US $227.42 should be added to the appropriate totals.

Unsurprisingly, this batch of auctions drew the highest bid prices, due in part to the fact that two of the region – Horizons Apollo and Horizons Pandora – have genuine access to sailable open water – the open water to the west, north and east of the Horizons regions currently represent the grid edge, and is not accessible.

Both Batch 1 and Batch 2 were part of my half-way report, and since then, there has been some juggling between those parcels initially put up for sale, those initially offered for rent, and those offered for either rent for purchase.

For those interested in a more granular breakdown of auctions by batch / region, a complete set of tables is available here. The following tables provide a breakdown of parcel usage, based on original bidder’s actions with the parcels they obtained.

GENERAL STATUS OF PARCELS – ALL REGIONS, 864 PARCELS
Parcels Obtained For
Auctioned Sale Rent Either Comm. Private Unkn Re-auct’d
Batch 1 240 100 59 13 4 17 46 1
Batch 2 192 57 55 24 7 13 35 1
Batch 3 192 101 15 37 2 11 26 0
Batch 4 240 69 57 17 5 10 82 0
TOTALS 864 327 186 91 18 51 189 2

Notes

  • Comm = obtained for commercial use
  • Private = obtained for residential or group use
  • Unkn = those most likely obtained for sale / rent but which either have not (as yet) been offered for either / do not appear to have been made available (parcel holders did not respond to enquiries)
  • The re-auctioned parcels are limited to those were a second payment for the re-auction amount can be confirmed. As noted above, two other regions re-auctioned may not have been paid for by the original bidder prior to being put back up for auction. These are currently available for rent, and have been classified in the Batch 2 rental figures.
SNAPSHOT OF PARCELS OFFERED FOR SALE BY ORIGINAL BIDDER
Total for Sale Unsold
Commercial
Private
Offered for re-sale / rent Withdrawn from sale
327 180 23 31 81 12

Notes:

  • “Offered for re-sale / rent” indicates parcels purchased from original bidder and offered for sale / rent by purchaser
  • “Withdrawn from sale” indicates parcels initially offered for sale by bidder, but then set to  “not for sale” & with no indication they are available for rent.
SNAPSHOT OF PARCELS OFFERED FOR RENT BY ORIGINAL BIDDER
Total Offered for Rent Available for Rent
Rented Commercial Rented Private
186 157 12 17

 

SNAPSHOT OF PARCELS OFFERED FOR SALE OR RENT BY ORIGINAL BIDDER
Total Offer for Sale / Rent Available
Sold Rented
91 64 10 (5 on resale) 17

Notes:

  • Of the 10 sold, the 5 not up for re-sale have been sold for commercial / private use
  • The 17 rented parcels represent a mix of commercial and private use

General Observations

General interest in Horizons appears low – however, this many change now the auctions have finished. Currently, most of the land sales which have occurred post-auction have been between those land resellers / renters originally bidding on the parcels, rather than onward selling to those interested in using Horizons as either a home or a business location.

Sale prices across the  regions appear to be settling into the mid-20K through mid-40K range, although some – notably those with direct open-water access  (as opposed to river / canal access) or perceived water access can carry a premium. Rentals appear to remain at low ebb. As noted previously, this could be down to a lack of direct promotion by those offering them for rent.

Of the 189 listed as “unkn”, almost all are held by those selling and / or renting parcels, so it is not unreasonable to anticipate these being made available for sale / rent if / when current offerings are sold / rented.  One of those holding such parcels did confirm they would be offered for rent, but declined to indicate when.

Those interested in Horizons parcels – whether to purchase (Premium) or rent (anyone), should tour the regions with care. A number of parcels are offered for rent / sale offering boat docking where this is not strictly accurate (e.g. the parcel doesn’t directly join water, or the water it faces is actually off-sim). The regions are also unzoned, so judging how well they may keep to the desired theme is hard to quantify. There are a number of decidedly “non-sci fi retro” buildings across the regions, but many of these are place holders, and should be seen as indicative of the overall region styling.

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Horizons land auctions: the half-way point

Horizons: looking at the auctions to date
Horizons: looking at the auctions to date

On Tuesday, November 15th 2016, the Lab launched the Premium members’ Horizons community, a “retro-futuristic” mainland environment featuring 36 residential regions each with 24 parcels available for auction to Premium members, with auctions commencing on Friday, November 18th 2016, with parcels being auctioned in batches of (generally) 10.

Obviously with 864 parcels to auction, it would take some time to get through things. However, the holiday period marked the half-way point in the auctions with 432 parcels auctioned across 18 regions. As Whirly Fizzle and I started monitoring things (largely out of curiosity), and I gave a snapshot at the end of the first weeks of auctions, the half-way point seemed a good opportunity to provide a further snapshot, based on how those 432 regions looked as of Friday, January 6th, 2017.

GENERAL STATUS OF PARCELS FOR BATCH 1 (10 regions) AND BATCH 2 (8 regions)
 Auctioned Parcels Available For (Sold / Rented) Original Auction Others
Sale Rent Either Sold Rented Comm. Resid. Aband Pend Unkn
Batch 1 240 95 55 9 (30) (13) 4 18 1 13 47
Batch 2 192 45 66 24 (3) (3) 7 13 1 0 36
Totals 432 139 121 32 (33) (16) 11 31 2 13 83

Notes

  • Parcels Available For = those parcels bid for and placed immediately on sale / for rent / either
  • Sold / Rented= number of parcels actually sold / rented whether placed for sale  or for rent or either. These set subsets of the Parcels Available For figures, and further breakdowns are provided below
  • Original Auction = those parcels which went directly to private residential use / commercial use during the original auction
    • 4 of the residential parcels may in fact be rented out by bidder
  • Others:
    • Aband = parcels already abandoned by original bidder
    • Pend = regions obtained for sale, but either currently not on sale by bidder (6) or removed from sale by bidder (7 – see sales review, below)
    • Unkn = regions which are not currently in use, nor are they apparently for sale or for rent, and where parcel holders have not responded to enquiries.
RENTAL PARCELS SUMMARY
For Rent Total Rented (16)

Residential Commercial
153 13 3
  • 153 is the total number of parcels available for rent (121), and those offered for rent or purchase (32)
  • Of the 153 parcels currently for rent / rented:
    • 89 are offered through one group of rental operators
    • The remaining 64 are offered through 11 rental groups, with between 1 and 14 parcels on offer per group
  • The average weekly rental for those parcels offered for rent is L$885 (low: L$550; high: L$975)
  • The average weekly rental for parcels offered for sale or rent is L$608 (low: L$495; high: L$800)
PARCEL SALES REVIEW
 Total for Sale Sold (32)
 For Sale Below Bid Price
Residential Commercial Both Re-sale
139 17 10 1 4 20
  • Total for regions on sale does not include those parcels offers for sale or for rent – see rental figures above
  • Of the 139 parcels currently available for sale / sold:
    • 98 are offered by three land sales groups
    • The remaining 41 are offered by 12 land groups / individuals, with between 1 and 12 parcels per individual / group
    • 5 parcels are on sale at prices above L$100,000, ranging from L$112,000 (58.98% mark-up on bid prices) to L$249,000 (255.67% mark-up on bid price) by two land holders
  • Average sale prices:
    • Among all 139 parcels for sale:  L$45,408.
    • Among the three biggest parcel sellers (98 parcels): L$37,360
  • The margins between bid price and sale price vary hugely, between just 2.42% (L$41,000 on a bid price of L$40,033) through to 231.38% (L$199,999 on a bid price of L$62,232)
  • Some 45 parcels have been reduced in price since first being offered for sale
    • The average mark-down on their original price being approximately 25.88%
    • 20 are current for sale at below their original bid price
      • Average drop below bid price: 17.44%
      • Largest drop 50.02% – sale price of L$15,000 on original bid of L$30,010
      • Smallest drop is 0.3% – sale price of L$38,000 on original bid of L$38,010
      • The majority of these drops have been to parcels auctioned in the first batch, and bring prices down to more closely match the prices of parcels the same bidders are selling on other Horizons regions
  • Of the four regions purchased and flipped for re-sale, 3 are by residents without an associated land group / business; one is by another land company active in Horizons.

Commercial Activities

Commercial activities are largely stores (avatar accessories, building materials etc.). Two adult club environments are within Horizons and one sci-fi themed bar.

Approximate Revenue Breakdown

The following table gives a breakdown of approximate revenue across the 18 regions auctioned to date. The US $  value is based on L$260 to the $.

APPROXIMATE AUCTION REVENUES – BATCH 1 AND BATCH 2
Auction Batches Approx L$ Raised Through Auction
Approx US $ (at L$260 / US $)
Batch 1 (10 regions / 240 parcels) 8,714,966.00 33,519.10
 Batch 2 – (8 regions / 192 parcels) 4,309,833.00 16,576.28
TOTALS: 13,024,799.00 50,095.38

Unsurprisingly, the two regions with direct access to open water (that is, parcel which directly access water, with no intervening protected land) – Apollo and Pandora, both located on the south side of Horizons and facing Zindra across water open for sailing / boating, drew the most competitive bidding.

BATCH 1 BY REGION (All 24 Parcels per Region)
Region Total L$
Approx US $
Highest
Lowest
Direct Water Access
Apollo 962,882.00 3,703.39 L$80,000 L$29,787 (x2) 6 parcels
Astrid 749,142.00 2,881.32 L$45,009 L$27,087 (x2) None
Galatea 882,008.00 3,392.34 L$70,010 L$27,010 None
Halley 857,738.00 3,298.99 L$60,010 L$27,111 None
Mercury 903,371.00 3,474.50 L$60,010 L$28,110 None
Nova 857,107.00 3,296.57 L$65,010 L$27,110 None
Pandora 1,029,400.00 3,959.23 L$102,454 L$27,110 (x2) 6 parcels
Polaris 960,663.00 3,694.86 L$60,020 L$27,111 None
Thule 785,673.00 3,021.82 L$45,565 L$27,087 None
Triton 726,982.00 2,792.08 L$40,033 L$26,010 None

The second batch of regions auctioned drew considerably lower value bids, with the third batch of regions more-or-less matching the second thus far.

BATCH 2 BY REGION (All 24 Parcels per Region)
Region Total L$
Approx US $
Highest
Lowest
Direct Water Access
Atlas 542.964.00 2,088.32 L$40,010 L$15,010 None
Celeste 495,317.00 1,905.07 L$30,010 L$12,022 None
Halo 461,464.00 1,774.86 L$32,010 L$13,038 None
Neptune 583,522.00 2,244.32 L$40,121 L$12,121 None
Orion 589,377.00 2,266.83 L$37,799 L$15,009 None
Pluto 521,321.00 2,005.08 L$40,000 L$13,039 None
Sirius 580,799.00 2,233.84 L$42,010 L$12,455 None
Venus 535,069.00 2,057.96 L$40,033 L$26,010 None

General Observations

Outside of those bidding on the parcel lots, there appears to be little direct interest from Premium members in obtaining a property within Horizons. Some may be put off by the Adult rating, others by the lack of any covenant. While the high price of bids places during the first batch of auctions might be considered a reason, the second batch of auctions averages close to half the per parcel bid price of the initial batch, and still generated little direct take-up. This appears to be the case with the third batch.

Rentals  – which should allow non-Premium members to gain a parcel within Horizons if they wished – are currently gaining little traction, although this could be own to lack of promotion on the part of the rental groups. Obviously, the advantage of Mainland holding is they are not a tremendous drain on resources in the way that partially occupied private regions can be.

There may be a follow-up report at the conclusion of the bidding. Or at least a summary of potential revenues. Putting this report together was too much like hard work!

Second Life Horizons land auctions, one week on

Horizons: looking at the auctions to date
Horizons: looking at the auctions to date

On Tuesday, November 15th, the Lab launched the Premium members’ Horizon community, a “retro-futuristic” environment featuring 36 residential regions each with 24 parcels available for auction to Premium members. The auctions opened on Friday, November 18th, with parcels being auction in batches.

One week on, and a total of 87 parcels have been or are up for auction, of which, 67 have closed as of Friday, November 25th, marking the first week of auctions. Whirly Fizzle and I have been tracking things during the week, so we’d thought we’d offer an update on how things are going.

Auction Results Fri Nov 18th Through Friday Nov 25th

GENERAL INFORMATION
Total parcels Auctioned to date For re-sale For rent Commercial Residential Unknown
864 67 26 13 5 11 12

Notes

  • “Unknown” parcels are those which appear likely to be put up for sale or rent. Of these:
    • Four have been obtained by land sellers, with 2 initially put on sale, then withdrawn.
    • Five have been obtained by land renters but are not currently for rent.
    • Three could go either way.
  • Of the commercial parcels, four appear to be rentals; one is parcel holder / store operator.
  • “Residential” refers to those parcels purchased by individuals without any obvious land marketing in their profiles & who have not won auctions for other parcels. These could still be sold / rented out or used commercially.

 

RESULTS BY LOT
Lot Parcels Top bid
Lowest bid
Average bid
Av sqm bid
Total L$ paid
1 10 57,270 30,133 43,689.80 42.66 436898
2 12 65,010 30,121 39,976.75 39.04 479721
3 15 40,030 29,510 (x3) 31,306.73 28.65 469601
4 10 42,670 31,110 (x4) 35,464.50 34.53 354645
5 10 40,110 26,010 (x2) 37,751.80 30.91 317518
6 10 33,009 27,887 29,790.20 29.09 297902

 

REVENUE
 Date No of lots
L$ raised in auction Approx US $
 Nov18th-25th 67 2,356,285 9,000

Notes

  • Taking the lowest bid price for all auctions closed to date, and applying it to all remaining parcel yields a potential total revenue of L$24,582,224 / approx US $94,500.
  • Taking a median bid price of L$36,330 based on closed auctions to date, and applying it to all remaining parcels yields a potential total revenue of L$28,955,010 / approx US $111,365.

 

PARCEL RE-SALE PRICING, FRIDAY NOV 25
Total Av sqm auction price Av sqm sale price
Av sqm mark-up
Highest initial price Highest current price Price spread
26 28.05 57.38 104.56% L$100,000 (x3) L$99,000 (x1) L$33,000 (x4) – L$99,000 (x1)

Notes

  • The figures above are only a snapshot – re-sale prices are fluctuating; prices set for parcels auctioned in lots 5 and 6 are likely to be reduced.
  • Initially, 28 parcels were put up for sale. Two were withdrawn on Friday 25th.
  • Of the remaining 26 parcels currently for sale:
    • Six parcels were initially priced at between 25 and 3 times their auction price; all have had their re-sale price reduced by an average of 50%.
    • Four parcels have seen a reduction in price since first being placed for sale of between 2.5% and 21.52% per parcel.
    • Eight parcels are currently for sale at a median of 2.5 times their auction price (ave L$70,000 per parcel). current tends suggest these will be reduced.

 

PARCEL RENTALS, FRIDAY NOV 25
Total Rented to Date Upper rental price
Lowest Rental Price
Median Rental
13 4 L$835/w (x1) L$595/w (x4) L$775/w (x4) / L$795/w (x4)

 

llTakeControl and Horizons Experience – update

Horizons Experience may have robots on the loose, but stopping them is proving a bit harder for some than was intended
A fix for the Horizons gun issue some users may have been experiencing while using TPVs with the Horizons Experience (Quest 3) should be on its way.

Update, November 28th: Dee Linden pinged me in-world to let me know the forest quest guns have now been updated with the revised script, and should work with all viewers.

Horizons Gun

On November 19th, I wrote about how recent changes in behaviour to llTakeControl meant that some users on TPVs such as Firestorm and Alchemy have found the guns used in the third of the Horizons Experience quests (Quest 3, the forest shoot-out with robots) may not work with their viewer.

At the time, the problem appeared to be due to behaviour changes made to llTakeControl as a result of SVC-7532. As these changes with this fix could “break” existing weapons in Second Life, it was not adopted by some TPVs, and so the Horizons Gun would not work with them.

However, following my article, Sue W left a comment indicating that Firestorm 4.7.9 allowed the gun to work (but not Firestorm 4.7.7 or 4.7.10). This, together with the problem as a whole, prompted further investigation on the issue by members of the Firestorm team, several of the LDPW Moles and staff from the Lab, using the Horizons staging regions.

These investigations revealed that the Horizons gun works with Firestorm 4.7.9 due to a partial fix for llTakeControl issues (quite separate to SVC-7532)  which had been implemented with that release. However, as the fix had problems of its own, it was backed out for Firestorm 4.7.10 – hence why the horizons gun would not work with either 4.7.7 or 4.7.10 (except under very specific circumstances, as detailed in my previous article).

Further and extensive tests set-up by Quartz Mole, using both the Horizons Experience gun and the gun scripts used with Winter Wonderland (soon to officially reopen) revealed changes made to llTakeControl as a result of BUG-8265 were in fact responsible for the issues being experienced by some TPV users when trying to operate the Horizons gun. As a result, Quartz has re-worked the Horizons gun script, and testing shows it should now work with all viewers, and it will be deployed to the public gaming regions in the very near future.

Once the updated script is on the public horizons Experience Qeust 3, the guns should work with all viewers
Once the updated script is on the public horizons Experience Qeust 3, the guns should work with all viewers

SVC-7532

This still leaves the issue of SVC-7532, which can still break the behaviour of older gun systems. To avoid this, Firestorm have indicated that with their upcoming release, they will introduce a toggle option, as Alchemy is doing. This will take the form of an option in Preferences which will allow users to switch between “old” and “new” llTakeControl behaviours in accordance with the weapons they are using.

With thanks to Whirly Fizzle for the update information, and Quartz Mole for extensively banging on things or the Horizons gun fix.

 

llTakeControl issue and the Horizons Experience

Horizons Experience may have robots on the loose, but stopping them is proving a bit harder for some than was intended
Horizons Experience may have robots on the loose, but stopping them is proving a bit harder for some than was intended

Update, November 24th: This issue now has a fix, please refer to my update article.

Note: this issue was discussed at the TPV Developer meeting on Friday, November 18th, together with wider issues around llTakeControl. You can follow he full conversation via the meeting video, between the 10:16 and 36:22 marks. In this report, I have attempted to focus solely on the Horizons Experience issue.

The TL;DR short form of what follows is that if you playing the Horizons Experience using a TPV, you may find the gun required for Quest 3 in the game  – the forest shoot-out with robots – doesn’t work (Firestorm and Alchemy have the issue, for example). If so, you’ll need to switch to the official viewer to complete that Quest. When you have done so, you can then switch back to using your preferred viewer.

For those interested in the background, as in as small a nutshell as possible: the function llTakeControls has a long history of not behaving well. One of the issues was that it prevented interaction (left-click touch) with objects when in Mouselook, prompting SVC-7532 to be raised.

A fix for this problem was implemented in February 2016. However, while it fixed the left-click touch issue, it broke many weapons systems (see BUG-37693) as well as causing other problems (see BUG-11602). As TPVs tend to be a used a lot by people involved in SL combat environments, some – such as Firestorm and Alchemy – didn’t implement SVC-7532.

The Horizons Experience gun used in Quest 3, however, is designed to work with the SVC-7532 behaviour change, and so may not work for everyone using a viewer which does not have SVC-7532 implemented. Note the “may not” there. If you happen to be on a TPV viewer without SVC-7532, but are wearing an attachment already using llTakeControls when you enter the Horizons Experience, then the gun might work for you (this has been my own experience).

The problem now is what to do. Rolling back the behaviour change implemented in SVC-7532 is not seen as ideal, as it breaks expected functionality elsewhere. Similarly, any “blanket” implementation of SVC-7532 is going to completely break a lot of weapons systems, which the Lab would rather avoid. There’s also the fact that this is one issue among a number caused by llTakeControl (see BUG-8265 for other issues with it), so the Lab is going to have to spend time in further investigations to determine how they’ll handle things going forward.

At the moment, two possible short-term solutions for the “Horizons gun problem” were suggested at the TPV Developer meeting on Friday November 18th (video):

  • Re-scripting the Horizons gun / shooting system
  • Implementing some kind of toggle via the Advanced or Develop(er) menu so that users can switch between the two llTakeControl behaviours depending on the weapon system they are using.

At present, the Lab might be leaning towards the second option. However, and as noted, no decision has been made as yet.

In the meantime, if you encounter the “Horizons gun problem” when using a TPV, you’ll need to switch to the official viewer to complete Quest 3.

With thanks to Whirly Fizzle.

Inside the Horizons Experience in Second Life

Horizons Experience
Horizons Experience

Update, November 19th: some users on TPVs may find the gun used gun in Quest 3 of Horizons Experience doesn’t work with their viewer. The Lab is aware of the issues, and is investigating options for a fix. For the moment, those affected will need to swap to the official viewer, but  only for Quest 3. Full details can be found in llTakeControl issue and the Horizons Experience.

On Tuesday, November 15th, Linden Lab announced a new Mainland community initiative called Horizons. First hinted at during the Meet the Lindens talks at SL13B in June 2016, it became the subject of widespread speculation when two testing environments related to it appeared on the Second Life world map in October, with Patch Linden further stirring up interest by posting some teaser images to his Profile feed.

Picking up on the SL13B hints, I contacted the Lab with the idea of covering Horizons. Patch and his team were very receptive to the idea, and as result, I had the opportunity to tour the regions ahead of the opening, and learn more about Horizons from Patch Linden and Naughty Mole of the Linden Department of Public Works (LDPW).

In short, Horizons is a new themed Mainland residential community built around a central, 6-region gaming environment called Horizons Experience. As I’ve covered the community aspects at length in New Horizons in Second Life, this article focuses solely on the new six-region gaming experience.

Looking down on one of the Horizons Experience quest regions
Looking down on one of the Horizons Experience quest regions

Horizons Experience essentially builds on the Lab’s work with PaleoQuest, the dinosaur themed adventure which opened in July 2015 (see Experiencing PaleoQuest, the Lab’s latest adventure in Second Life). As with PaleoQuest, players are tasked with completing a number of quests and multiple tasks in order to come to the rescue of Magellan Linden’s assistant, Tyrah, who is in deadly peril at the paws of the nefarious Doctor Talpa. Note that the game is on Adult rated regions, but this is not reflective of the games content.

“PaleoQuest was our most recent gaming project that we had put out at scale,” Patch said as we discussed the game ahead of our tour. “We took from that a lot of the game mechanics which people really enjoyed and liked, and we’re including them and a lot of new elements within the Horizons Experience.

“For example, one of the big new features is the ability to participate either as a player in the game or as an ‘explorer’ – someone who is not active in the game, but who can travel through the regions and observe as a bystander. With our other gaming experiences, you’re either in the regions with the intent to play, or you wouldn’t go. As Horizons is part of the Mainland, we felt it was important that people be able to drop in without disrupting the game-play.”

“We’re using different coloured indicator above people’s heads in the game regions to indicate whether they are a player or an explorer,” Naughty Mole added. “If they have a blue ball floating above them, they are an explorer. If they have an orange ball, they are a player. That way, the people in the game know who is who. Obviously, you can’t complete any of the quests as an explorer, nor can you receive any prizes; but you can walk or fly around and watch players (who can’t fly). Oh, and you can still be killed by any of the quest hazards!”

Part of the Horizons Experience start region, showing the Portal Room where returning players can jump to their last point of progress
Part of the Horizons Experience start region, showing the Portal Room where returning players can jump to their last point of progress

Given that Horizons Experience is sitting in the middle of a residential area where flying vehicles are permitted, I wondered if there was a risk of aircraft interfering with the game. “Flying vehicles can pass over the gaming regions,” Naughty Mole answered, “but they must keep above a certain height. If they are too low, they will get a warning, and if they don’t increase their height, they will be auto-returned and those on board will be transferred to a resurrection hub inside the gaming areas as explorers.”

“The six regions of the experience are all uniquely themed,” Patch resumed, “The first region you go into is the starting region, where residents are introduced to the quest and receive their game HUD. While there they can watch an in-depth tutorial video and background story video, see the payout stations or follow links to the Horizons Experience wiki page for more information. Beyond all this are the five gaming regions, which are linear, like PaleoQuest. Each must be completed before you progress to the next one.”

Horizons Experience can be accessed in a number of ways. Anyone in the Horizons regions can fly to the central gaming regions, or they can use the teleport portals located at the Horizons info hubs and community centres, and  which are scattered across the residential regions. Direct teleport via the map is possible, and there is also a Horizons Experience gateway at the Portal Parks.

Down in the mines
Down in the mines

Naughty added, “When people first arrive, they are given the choice of being a player or an explorer. If they selected ‘player’ they are registered for the game and receive a HUD. If they remove their HUD, they become an explorer. If players leave the game regions, their HUDs are automatically removed. However, all progress up to the point where they removed their HUD is saved.

“Returning players arriving at the start area can use the Portal Room to jump directly to any quest they have previously completed, or go to the Quest they were on when they left the game. So, if someone left while trying the third quest, they can use the Portal Room to get to quests one, two or three, but they will not be able to jump to quests 4 or 5.

“Also, there are HUD kiosks throughout the quest regions, so any player who removed their HUD can get a replacement, and they will be asked if they would like to teleport to their last point of progress. Explorers who have never played the game can also use these kiosks to obtain a HUD, and they will be asked if they would like to teleport to the start of the first quest.”

Continue reading “Inside the Horizons Experience in Second Life”