Ooh, i’ve got that twitchy feeling again: the one i tend to get when i think that something rather unappetising is going to happen. The feeling you get when your boss comes to work in a bad mood, ignores everyone and shuts themselves into their office… before summoning you to appear before them. And what has led to this singular twitchiness? Well, nothing particularly tangible, simply my fevered imagination bringing together various disparate facts, mixing and matching them, adding them up and coming to a somewhat disturbing conclusion. (This, my dear Labbies, is precisely why a policy of non-communication is so destructive to the provider-user relationship).
So what precisely has been churning around in my noggin to produce this state of mental unease? Well, it’s quite obvious that things have been afoot at the Lab for quite some time, all of which have insidiously and almost silently begun to pave the way for an almost new incarnation of sl – one which i myself, and i’m sure many others, will find a little disconcerting. First there was mesh, then Linden Realms; pathfinding; advanced creator tools; the backlash against unique TPV features and development not allied to the official viewer. There’s been the upgrade to Havok, a diversification into non-sl focussed projects, Project Shining, (why does that always bring the phrase, ‘Here’s Johnny’, to mind?), and most recently, the announcements about the improved graphics pipeline – and, in particular, the involvement of the Exodus Viewer developers in that area – and, the revelation that sl is to join Steam have all paved the way towards moulding sl into a something more akin to – although still a long way off – a gaming platform. Let’s not forget that the guys in charge these days all come from a successful games background; throw in the silent treatment that we’ve grown used to receiving from the Lab lately, and i can’t help feeling that the focus on development of sl has shifted away from the more traditional virtual world that we’re used to.
However, the thing that’s really set my twitchometer peaking is Torley!
You know Torley… the affable, friendly, watermelon-obsessed Resident Enlightenment Manager, much beloved Linden – particularly amongst those for whom his tutorial videos were the guide to living in the virtual world.
Yes, Torley Linden… he of the gentle arts of electronic musicianship, artistic inworld lighting and virtual photography, is the culprit at the heart of my palpitations because, i fear, he has gone over to the Dark Side, developing a rather alarming and sudden interest in giant monitors and guns!
Yes, guns, of all things!
Now, perhaps i’m reading a little too much into this, but when i see the words, ‘feature cohesion’, what my mind actually sees is: ‘really realistic firearms that any gamer about to embark on an orgy of zombie destruction would be proud to own’, or maybe: ‘badass armaments that would make a Gears of War veteran cream their pants, before embarking on an orgy of breedable horse destruction’.
i can’t help it – all i can see in my mind’s eye is legions of fatigue-clad warriors, trampling roughshod through the Hair Fair to line up innocent residents, before pumping them full of lead. All in glorious full colour, high quality, fast streaming graphics on a monitor that would put a small cinema to shame!
Don’t get me wrong… i’ve nothing against gamers, war games, pixel weapons or combat zones in sl – i even have a fairly large arsenal of weaponry hanging around in my own inventory, although i have to say that when i select my own particular brand of destructive force, i tend to go for something that either matches my outfit or is food/fruit related – i can’t imagine i’d ever opt for something on the basis it was ‘serious’, ‘realistic’ or demonstrated ‘dynamics like recoil’.
For heaven’s sake guys… this is sl! We shop, we dance, we have teh sex, we chuck donuts at each other, bitch about mesh and did i mention that we shop too?
They call them offensive weapons for a reason!
Bang bang, I shot you down
Bang bang, you hit the ground
Bang bang, that awful sound
Bang bang, I used to shoot you down.
Nancy Sinatra – Bang Bang