This article has been rewritten. I screwed up and mixed two different RPG’s and regions together. Coach McGuirk of Hogwarts:Your Story (H:YS) contacted me and pointed out the error. As to those accusing me of not researching… well, I did. But, obviously not well enough. So, while I found the misleading information and have asked it be corrected, the previous article was my mistake.
Now to the corrected article. – Corrected 8/23 8:00-10:00 PM SLT
In Second Life all the rage in the blogosphere (sounds like a Chicago thing) right now is the new Hogwarts build in Second Life, a Harry Potter fan thing RPG. The name Hogwarts:Your Story conjures up some interesting speculation for my Myst-Uru friends. I think my SL friends enjoying RPG in SL will find the ‘Your Story’ part interesting. Many RPG’s claim they are able to tell your story. But, in the end it turns out to be quite tedious and lots of work on your part to tell your story. In fact if it is not your full time hobby, the story becomes tedious to maintain and is eventually lost as people come and go.
I asked Coach McGuirk about how they would handle the ‘Your Story’ part I did not get that any new technology was being applied to this aspect of RPG play. I take it that in many ways this will be a well thought out RPG with some nifty twists and turns to fit the Harry Potter inspiration. But, whether it will make dissemination of your story any easier I have doubts and hopes.
There is a spells and potions system but if I understand correctly no meter or HUD. In some way the web site will handle some of the tasks normally handled by a meter and combat or magic system.
The correct region name for Hogwarts:Your Story is Accio. If you use the World Map avoid the default 128,128 location. There is currently no controlled landing point. If you land at the above SLURL, you will find a free box of landmarks to various locations in the Hogwarts castle and region.
The build is progressing and is well done. When I first saw the exteriors in World of Hogwarts thinking it was H:YS, I was disappointed. The interiors there are well done, but in Hogwarts:Your Story the exteriors are better and the interiors are excellent. Because I use a Penny Patton adjusted camera view some parts of H:YS look huge. The textures are excellent and the lighting is very well done. I took my pictures with Kirstin’s S21(9)
The Hogwarts RPG fits within one region. With 30± people in the region the Time Dilation ranges from low 80’s to 99. Physics FPS ranges from mid 20’s to 44 with an average in the 40’s, pretty good for a region with a large population.
The creators of this fan built RPG have an interesting challenge handling canon and making their game popular. This popularity thing is the magic bullet for which many of the Myst-Uru fans are questing. Fans ofMyst Online:Uru Live (free to play) think this should be the most popular game of all the virtual worlds. It obviously isn’t. The Uruites (Uru fans) may be able to learn what works and what does not work as people accept or reject the creator’s of Hogwarts:Your Story handling of changes to a well known canon.
One of the challenges is character aging. Characters are in school. So, the web site says:
Six RL months is equal to one In-Character school year. Three RL months is equal to one In-Character school semester. Your character cannot remain in the same year or age (we are enforcing mandatory aging), as this will confuse other players and ruin your progression in terms of the Spell-book and Potions system. After your character graduates, you must realize that there is some personal development between then and the time they attend their first ‘magical job’—be it the Ministry of Magic or elsewhere. In addition, we are also planning to construct the Ministry and Hogsmeade sometime later.
They also require your character to have the right age height, at least within reason.
Special magical characters are allowed but must be approved. One can be a professor.
They also have a Flickr group: Hogwarts: Your Story RPG (SL)’s photostream. Most of the images are in this album. There are lots of Hogwarts related images on Flickr. These images are mostly as rendered by the viewer with Lights and Shadows enabled. They may have been taken with Kirsten’s viewer, at least they look a lot like what I see with Kirsten’s graphics settings turned up.
The builders are Plurking their progress.
You can see Hogwarts in person during the preview before role play starts:
The Hogwarts Team announced: We are pleased to announce that the Hogwarts: Your Story sim will be open for a public preview at 6PM-9AM SLT
The preview will last from August 22nd to August 27th to the public. We are awaiting more details on when the sim will open for RP
That is probably a good idea but I did not find the region laggy with 30 people there. Most of them had hair and their clothes and accessories… So, I wouldn’t strip before visiting. I do suggest you weight your scripts.
The RPG has a web site up: Hogwarts:Your Story RPG. Some of the rollovers may discourage you from clicking, but click anyway. Many of the links look like just bold text, so run your mouse around and find more links.
The web site is a minimalist blog design. I don’t like it. But, it is probably better they be building on the region rather than the web site.
I am curious to see how they handle the ‘Your Story’ part. In Devokan, previously in SL and now in OSGrid, several methods were looked at and tested to help participants relate their story and follow the RP story others were contributing. It will be interesting to see if the Hogwarts team has any new ideas for relating individual stories.
If one uses the World Map to find Hogwarts a number of Hogwarts related regions turn up. None of them are Accia the Hogwarts:Your Sotry. I can’t tp into some of those regions. Others I can. Using Search there are 43 Hogwarts hits. Until about 9 PM 8/23 Hogwarts:Your Story wan’t coming up. Prior to that I got 41 results.
The puzzles and role play seem to be around learning magic, which makes sense. As this is a preview I can’t really tell how things will work. Talking with Coach McGuirk I understand the web site will track one’s classes. There is a points system and a leveling system. Points come from completing classes. The leveling like thing is based on whether you are a first, second, third, etc. year student. I am guessing that grads move on to something else… minister of magic?
I found a reference to HUD’s. In SL some type of meter is typically used to track player status and implement spells, weapons, and/or damage/health. I asked how the outcome of spells was handled. For instance if two people cast a spell on another, how does one decide who won?
In serious RP the stories are preplanned and the outcome of actions worked out in advance. The IC side of the story is more like acting in a movie and the cooperative script is written in OOC sessions. Players agree on the outcome of combat before the IC play.
Metered RP uses a meter and magic system or combat system to decide the outcome of spells or combat. The outcome has a skill or strategy component and the outcome is decided during IC play. In this later case the IC story is more like impromptu acting.
As I understand Hogwarts:Your Story has decided they will handle the issue via the prearranged script and player agreement. A HUD may be used to assist in finding what skills and potions they and other players know and can use.
There will be spell and potions books. These are to be web based. They will record what spells and potions you know. These spells and portions are learned by attending classes. There are also spells that can be found or learned in the library.
However, casting spells seems to be pure IC RP without meters. There is no pushing or caging because of concerns about lag. Classes will teach people about RP, meta-gaming, god-moding, and power gaming.
As a sign up for roll play is required and your character is setup before you enter the RP the number of pure-bloods, mudbloods, half-bloods, squibs, and mixed races will probably be balanced.
Time will tell how well the creators of this Hogwarts handle issues and story.
It will be fun to see how it works and what ideas we may be able to use in other RPG’s. For the fans of Open Uru it should be educational and provide ideas.
Whatever anyone learns about game design and story implementation, Hogwarts looks like fun.