We spent so much time building and designing BIB. It was a huge project and extremely ambitious. We were stepping into a historical area that we were familiar with. However, we turned a new page as we dove into the complexity and rich lore of world of darkness. It is never completely feasible to translate a full tabletop into a sim. Unfortunately, the style of RP that happens in SL and the logistical patterns that are allowed in this space make it very complex. We spent months speaking to many WOD enthusiasts before the opening, and after the opening. Individuals who knew tons about the lore, the complexity, the system, etc. I am very appreciative of the endless hours of support from those people, but also all of the community members that answered endless amounts of questions, gave feedback, signed up for roles, played their roles, changed the roles, expanded upon them and brought the sim to life. There were many moments that I could see that the design was working brilliantly and equally moments when I could see blockages were happening due to design. I’m so grateful for this space and the lessons that have been provided.
A few top of mind for me are:
Don’t open a sim without a HUD. Which wasn’t the plan, but for context, we had one being built, the person ghosted. Then we didn’t have a developer and tried again, and it wasn’t a success. Then we finally found a new developer and decided to make a scaled down and more adapted system for SL that wasn’t completely tabletop identical.
Scale it down even more! Too many roles, too many factions, too much complexity in concept. Things needed to be simplified. Some of these worked well. The idea was that if we build enough spaces for characters to power grab, then that could create a more dynamic story, and give everyone an opportunity to push and pull. However, the reality was that it was too large. But also, as much as people claim to want 100% autonomy, their time, energy, and access doesn’t represent that. To a certain extent, people need story team support to give them more routes ahead to take, not every player can forge their own way and must rely on safety nets.
Perhaps a time to investigate what type of conflict and storylines people prefer. Are we in an age of SL RP where complex plots, storylines, danger, necessity of character improvement etc are less achievable or interesting? Due to people’s availability. Are people preferring more interpersonal RP and drag and drop stories that they can achieve in various genres. Complex stories depend on a lot of individuals to push their own story. Also depends on the immense amount of activity, etc. Maybe not everyone wants a high level of conflict, or to spend so much time building up their character, advancing, learning skills, etc. Perhaps RP in our current communities needs to be less dependent on development and allow people to just write in these features and skills they would like and play those all-powerful, sexy, and sometimes Mary Sue narratives. What is flavour for some it can be essential character driven narrative for others. Finding that balance is hard.
How do we build those plug and play scenarios? If things are indeed more attractive when they are drag and drop. Where people can come in and out and not all factions or players depend on other characters for success and story push, what does that look like oocly or structurally? There are a lot of design and brainstorming opportunities here.
We must be better at communicating our expectations, limits, and other boundaries oocly to each other.
We have to stop signing up for roles that you simply don't have time for. It’s a problem on every sim. To a player, it’s annoying when your IC lead is never around, role-plays with a handful, doesn’t create a second in command, or someone on sim represented in your timezone. To a sim owner and team, it’s equally frustrating when person X is very eager to take the role, talks about how great they will do, how many events they will throw, how anti-clique they will be, how engaging they will be, how they are easy and chill and get along with everyone. Then when only a portion of that manifests and becomes true, it’s a big pain point. You can still be a Point of View, powerful, and active character without holding that IC lead title above your IC head. It’s okay! This goes back to previous points in how we can brainstorm interdependencies that rely on stories and plots. I thank all those players that knew their limits and said they didn’t want to be a lead and those that put their money where their mouth was proactive and lead. Kudos to you! Thanks for trying to the rest.
Overall, I am really happy with what we’ve built, how so many people participated oocly, crafted story, created ic drama, played danger, politicked, were filthy perverts. I genuinely want to thank everyone that took risk, tried something new, explored ways to help out, gave feedback to the sim, showed up, helped expand on the lore, helped endless people with costumes, donated to the sim, hosted events, gave feedback on systems, raised alarms to players that weren’t behaving appropriately, helped players ooc problem solve when they were stuck, gave their opinions, created amazingly beautiful and intentionally horrific avatars, spent hours writing, pushing the story, being kind to others oocly, and just genuinely fun to be around. It is these things that make a community engaging. Thank you to those that I knew from my previous projects for coming back and to those that I met along the way here at BIB. I hope to see you soon!
But for now, it’s time that we move on to another project and begin to attempt to problem-solve these main points and many others. I personally would like to step away from medieval and supernatural and explore another age and a different type of fantasy. One that isn’t as limiting to a restrictive lens and allows people to openly write stories they want to write and allow different types of conflict to emerge. We are already working on something and it won’t take as long as BIB, as we have a lot of extra hands.
I think BIB definitely could have been more long term, had we rearranged the build for lag and rentals, rebuilt some of the lore, scaled down the factions, etc. But with summer in a changing covid world, and shiny new sims and just general medieval burnout, it’s better to take these lessons and try again!
I hope everyone can enjoy their summer. Many of us can now see friends and loved ones for the first time, able to travel and of course have drinkies. So, I’ll be sitting on a beach and having a drink to all of you and I’ll be back after summer and we’ll start our next world. Stay in the BIB group for that announcement.
The sim will close in a few days. Which gives everyone an opportunity to pick up any gachas or other important prims. Also, I will refund everyone’s rental from today.
See you soon!
Maven & Team