Saturday, January 24, 2015

The MadPeas have been at it again, and on February 1st, they will be bringing you Buried, its next interactive gridwide adventure.

Curious about what this next event will be like? Read on,  because we've got some sneak peeks for you that are sure to get you even more excited about what's coming up.

I had the opportunity to visit Buried's starting point a few days ago. Upon arriving there, I was struck right away by MadPea's trademark ability to use landscaping and sim lighting to quickly set the tone of the story. There's a peacefulness about the sim: crickets chirping, water lapping at the island's shore, a lone gull circling and crying. A rustic, worn cabin stands with its door open, seemingly innocently inviting the visitor to come in.

Then, there's the shovel. Point buried into the ground, the "missing" poster, the dark trees, the murky water ... something, clearly, is amiss. You can't quite put your finger on it, but one can sense that there is a darkness hidden in this peaceful beauty.

As I wandered around the empty sim, I came across yet more of what MadPea loves to do: leave seemingly innocuous scene-setters behind. They are, however, always triggers for questions and for the eerie mood, and quite often part of the story.

We all know, however, that there will be more to this ... much more. A story, a HUD to help us carry out the adventure, objects to interact with for clues, hints, and tools to use to find our answers of the day. We'll also get sent all around the grid in search of clues to further the story, and get closer to solving the mystery.

The drama woven in these interactive adventures come about thanks to the collaboration between a group of very creative individuals. Among them (and there are many) include MadPea's founder and director Kiana Writer, partner in crime Axiomatic Clarity who is responsible for branding, graphics, sim and HUD design, and scripter Fuzz Difference. The adventures, as seen in its last game Blood Letters, are a perfect marriage between all these elements - sim building, scripting, and story-telling.
Kiana sums it up best in her words: "It's important that everything is done to strike that mood we are after. The storyline, the sounds, the graphics, the elements etc."

"We want the players to know Lily, the missing girl. Who she is, how she lives, how she loves, what makes her tick," said Kiana. "We want the players to feel her so that they want to go and search for her. ... that and for getting the 500,000US Dollar reward from her loving husband."

She added that in Buried, participants will have a couple of things to look forward to that are a little different from past games. The first is that we will have an entire sim to explore before heading off to the grid-wide adventure. The second is that MadPeas has created a YouTube playlist for players to listen to while playing the game to get us in the mood.

On a personal level, Buried is a unique experience for Kiana because it is the first time she got to make a game with her partner Axiomatic Clarity. "I think that it makes a huge difference," she explained. "As he's building this and doing the graphics, we are both living and breathing the story and I believe it will show in a way that will immerse people into the storyline more."

Axiomatic (or Ax, for short) seems to concur. "The idea for Buried was born quickly out of our very close friendship which became later a solid partnership in Second Life. We had the concept ready early on and the land terraforming and decoration followed," said Ax. "I have background in building and usability here in SL so I took on designing the HUD for Buried, an integral part of how the adventure works. Kiana is an exceptional writer and an impressive manager at tasking this."
Speaking on MadPea's unique ability to meld different art forms in their interactive adventures, Ax says that what the partners in MadPea share as a common goal is building visions in SL that can't be found in Real Life. "... this is what we all share here, be it photography, pure building or the incredible mix of screenplay, writing and content creation that Madpea is, probably uniquely so in SL," explained Ax.

And on the mood that he was going for at the sim? As with many artists, Ax refuses to tell us what we should see. Rather, he says that "the mood is of a beautiful place that holds a horrific story to it. But it is built in a way that takes time to build and, I hope, does so in a very subtle way."

As for specifics on the HUD, we got a very polite "wait and see" response, but with a reminder that the public is welcome to participate in a photo contest that could win them free a HUD and early entry into Buried.

Of course, to complete the experience of the game, MadPea always provides us with objects with which we can interact so we are part of the setting and action of the story like in no other in SL. Again, Ax refrained from giving details, but promised that there would be a lot of interaction, more than before.

Now, is all of what happens seen by the team members as being about art? Not so much. Scripter Fuzz Difference doesn't see his role as being as much artistic as much as invisible, in many ways. "I can't see my part as being very creative," said Fuzz. "If my part is done well, the player sees what the designer intended, but my part is not visible." So, in a way, while Fuzz sees his job as being more "routine" and not as much about being creative, his role as scripter facilitates the designers' vision, and becomes part of the creation.

Ready to get started? Well, you can either sit and wait patiently for February 1st, or try your hand at winning MadPea's ongoing photo contest. Click here for entry details. Why not give it a try? You might just get the joy of getting a head start and a free HUD for this amazing new adventure.

No comments:

Post a Comment