Friday, March 18, 2005
SL Ideas #2: SL Sumo
Laura and I went to a King of the Mountain event a few days ago. It was generally a good idea, although the implementation was only so-so. Basically, they just created a 10m wide prim and piled all the players on it. Say "go!" and they all try to push each other off.
The biggest problem I had with it is the "mountains" were too small. Most of the losses were due to SL's clumsy controls, combined with lag. It is impossible to move your avatar with any precision when the smallest keypress moves you half a meter or more. It would be better if the mountains were, say, modestly convex surfaces 20m to 30m in diameter. This would be large enough that the player's skill, strategy, and fancy footwork would be the determining factors. Transient lag effects would not. A slow reduction in the mountain's diameter would assure that players could not just run around in circles indefinitely.
As Laura mentioned, this kind of event would be ideal for the Don't Panic Coffee House, which is located some 600m off the ground. The prospect of falling to your doom would add a little extra thrill to the proceedings. Actually, a safety net with a teleporter would be nice, so that the losers could easily teleport back to the porch to watch the remaining players. The elevation would work nicely to stop normal flying (although fly assist attachments would need to be closely monitored). It might be useful to construct a simple gantry or a teleporter to the center of the mountain (maybe 5m to 10m above it), to aid in quickly setting up matches. It seemed like an inordinate amount of time was wasted while players performed the precision flight maneuvers necessary to reach their starting positions.
Laura and I came up with some other improvements, as well. Arming the players with modest push guns, push bats (I say Nerf, Laura says real), or even snapping towels (for the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy feel) would add some fun to the game. This would require somewhat larger arenas, as well as close scrutiny to avoid the use of shields.
I'd like to see two players square off wearing giant novelty sumo bellies, equipped with modest push impulse scripts that fire on impact. The impulses would be proportional to the avatar's velocity. The push would be small, perhaps only enough to bump the opponent back a couple meters when struck at full run speed. Ideally, the players would carom off in the opposite directions, accompanied by comical "buh-WOING!" noises.
The arena could be fully automated. I envision something similar to the sword fighting arena in Darkwood. Each player would take a seat in their starting positions on opposite sides of the ring. OnSit events would signal when each player was in position. When both were seated (actually standing in an appropriate ready crouch) the ring would count down, sound a gong, and unseat both players at once. The sumo bellies' push functions would be activated and the match would start. The ring could even be surrounded by collision sensors to determine when one player or the other leaves the circle. (The keys of the participants would have to be broadcast to the collision sensors prior to the match, so that false losses wouldn't be broadcasted every time an onlooker got too close. It might be useful to use these same keys for on-collision event checking for the sumo bellies, too.) Then, the match could either continue until one player or the other left the circle, or until the time clock ran out. I suppose the arena could also shrink, but given the unpredictability in pushes, the matches would quickly degenerate into sudden death collisions and split-second rulings to see who left the arena first.
This could be a lot of fun! And, as we all know, Second Life could use more intellectual events like this.