Sunday, December 2, 2012

Loki's The Well - An SL experience

Loki Elliot has a long history of game creation in Second Life such as the "Babbage Chronicles" or "The John King Experience". The name of the latter points to the genre definition for mini-games like "The Well": an experience. Just like in SL adventure games the player is interacting with characters and objects in order to advance in the story line. The SL experience differs in my eyes from an SL adventure game such as "The Guarden" by all or some of the following criteria:
  • The game is rather short or consists of a longer series of short scenes
  • The puzzles are not very complex - the actions triggered by game objects and characters do not change based upon steps taken earlier in the game
  • there are not alternative game paths, solutions or endings
Picture taken from Loki Elliot's blog

When looking at "The Well" the first criteria is definitely met, as the experience lasts for approximately 3 or 4 minutes and so is the second criteria. However there are four different paths that can be chosen in order to reach the ending.

With "The Well" experience - which opened at Halloween - Loki aims to present players a haunted place that really scares people:
The idea is that a boy fell down a well, a rescue team was sent down rescue the boy but have not been heard of since. You then must go down and find out what has happened. You find a walkie talkie and communicate with a lone survivor of the rescue team who sort of guides you through the tunnels.
"The Well" has not appeared in the category of games in the SL destination guide but in the category of haunted places. And the experience lives up to that promise. It is one of the most scaring places and if you do not get spooked at least once down there, then you are one hard-boiled person.

There are many well done and atmospheric haunted places in SL. What makes Loki's experience stand out is the HUD (Heads Up Displays) technology that he uses. Unlike most other game creators in SL, Loki uses them to tell stories or add to the immersive experience. In ‘The Well’ the HUD cross-fades preloaded full screen images into the in-world view. The images work like cut screens in traditional single player games that are moving the story along. This stylistic element is a real premiere in SL games and I think it brings lots of added value to the experience.

Picture taken from Loki Elliot's blog

Buying the HUD costs 25 LS, which is a few cents in real money. I think that this price is definitely worth the "experience". I am not sure how long "The Well" will be open. Make sure you pay it a visit before Loki needs the prims for a new mini-game.

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