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Moriash Moreau: My Second Life
Friday, March 18, 2005
SL Ideas #3: Murderball!
This one is simple. Take a giant, hollow rubber ball. Make it physical. Build a large, enclosed arena with goal boxes at either end. Get two teams of maybe three apiece, and arm them with small push guns designed to only affect the ball. For extra fun, equip the ball to push players it contacts out of the way. This would create interesting offensive strategies: gang up to force a high speed murderball into your opponents, then redirect it to the goal when they are trying to regain their bearings.

Or, an alternate version: enclose all the players in their own hollow balls, like the common clear plastic hamster play ball. Make sure the shells of the balls are nice and thick (80% hollow, perhaps less). This seems to help keep the player inside the ball. (Laura and I tried a cross-sim road trip this way a while ago. It failed utterly at sim boundary crossings, but worked surprisingly well otherwise.) This would require extensive testing under high-lag conditions. The ball could be entered (or re-entered) easily by setting its sit position in the geometric center, then immediately unseating the player when he uses it. Have small teams (maybe three apiece) run around trying to bump a larger ball into the goal.

Perhaps the second version doesn't even require a ball. Players would simply attempt to force their own balls into the goal. The goal would be a hole at the top of a shallow cone. Perhaps you'd score one point for forcing your opponent into the goal, and two points for getting your own ball into the goal. Or, alternately, make the goal only accessible (via collision controlled doors?) via the opposing team. The design would need to incorporate features to prevent defending players from merely parking their spheres on their own goal.

Perhaps it would be handy to include code to force the balls to return to predefined starting positions after each point. Again, testing would be required to see how this interacts with an unattached player inside the sphere.

The goal could be very showy. Perhaps have the hole in the conical endzone area deep enough to completely cover the balls. When a goal is scored, the ball drops in and a burst of fireworks jets out, volcano-like. Bells and whistles sound. Then the ball is launched out of the goal with a resounding boom! Perhaps Volcano Ball would be a better name for the game.

The arena would be simple, if prim intensive. The enclosure for the arena could double as a spectator surface. Perhaps a railed balcony could surround the clear walls, as well. The balls could be opaque from the outside (or nearly so), and nearly transparent from the inside. Perhaps they could be numbered, as well. It might be a good idea to equip them with floating text to display the player names above them, since the occupant would be invisible.

Now if only I had enough land to build such an arena... Sigh.
Perhaps you would need to add a physical force vector to the balls, to lighten them slightly. A ball that is big enough to contain a player, even when hollow, is not very responsive. Would also need to experiment with the various material types for responsiveness.

The main problem I see is running this level of physical collision calculation might be lag intensive. You would need a minimum of three players per team (a two on two team would be too easy to end-run around, I would think). That's six players continually applying impacts to the inside of their spheres. Add to that the six balls bouncing off walls, other balls... Could be ecologically irresponsible.

That, and I would be forced to pipe in AC/DC's "Big Balls" as a continuously looping music stream. Nobody wants that.
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