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Guest Games blogger: Stefan Gagne


Linden Lab

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7SEAS FISHING

1. How did 7Seas Fishing come about?

Originally, we had a plot of land at our beach-style sim which wasn't renting. We were thinking of pet projects we could run there ourselves, instead of simply seeking a new renter. A fishing game had been something we'd wanted to try for some time, and now we had space to do it. And, well, things snowballed from there.

The game grew from a wouldn't-it-be-cool-if momentary lark to a bit of a juggernaut. Now, it's certainly beyond the boundaries of a little plot of beachside property! Fishing areas have popped up everywhere, offering fishing contests with great prizes, or amazing custom fish you can only get at their sims.

2. What kind of fish can you capture?

We have a wide variety of fish, from realistic breeds to living puns, along with catchable wearable items and crafting parts that assemble useful gadgets. There's tons of stuff out there – and that's just the official items.

There's a UNIVERSE of community custom catches at various fishing areas. We allow anyone to piggyback off our system, to create their own fish, items, prizes, and so on for people to catch with their fishing rods. In fact, twice every year we have week long festivals to celebrate our amazing community and all the great stuff they've created!

3. You’ve recently expanded into “wearable” fish pets and even breedables. Do those tie into the original gameplay?

All our fish double as wearable pets. The idea there was that once you catch a fish, you should be able to do something with it beyond rez a really high prim object as a sort of trophy. So, our pets swim around you once worn, and can be even be renamed to make them YOUR pets.

Fish breeding is another area we've expanded into, where catching parent fish and using fish food with them (also catchable) gets you baby fish with the traits of both parents. You also can earn BP (Baby Points), which have their own Hall of Fame aside from XP (Experience Points) you get from fishing in general.

The community also have made their own breedable fish. There's tons of great customs out there to catch!

4. Part of the success of 7Seas has been the fact that any sim can add a “fishing area kit” to their sim. How does that work?

Inside every Fishing Area Kit is a Gear Vendor. That vendor then, in turn, sells Fishing Area Kits. You earn 20% of every sale you make through your vendor, which encourages folks to set them up, to recruit more fishers and more fishing area owners.

The game spreads virally as a result. While we do have a "7Seas Fishing Headquarters," it's little more than a show room floor for our game. The real fun is to be found at any of the community fishing areas out there, which we list on our website at 7SeasFishing.com.

5. What happens at level 40 (for those fishers who accumulate over 50,000 XP)?

For starters, your chances to catch more valuable fish "max out" at Level 5, which you can reach in a day or two. When we started out, we didn't want the game to be a grindy, boring MMORPG. We wanted folks to be Super Effective early on, so that they feel that fishing contests and the like are fair for all involved.

Every level from 6 onward earns you a new title, and when you reach level 40, you've hit the Hall of Fame! We list Hall of Famers on our website at 7SeasFishing.com. There's some fierce competition up there – some fishers have even become Millionaire Hall of Famers, and that's reflected in your level title. You can make your fishing rod
"Boast" your level to folks around you for bragging rights, too!

Overall, 7Seas Fishing is both a game and a community. We provide the game; our amazing fishers provide the community. We've got a lively chatroom in our 7Seas Social Chat group (free to join for all fishing rod owners) and there's fishing areas out there across a wide spectrum of cultures and interests. If you're looking for fun, you'll find it
here.
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INSERT COIN ARCADE

1. Many of the games that you’ve developed have an ‘80s retro feel – comparable to the original days of the classic “arcades” of the past. Was that an intentional design choice?

Absolutely. When I first started the project, there weren't many playable games in Second Life – "gaming" was limited to casinos and bingo-like gambling machines. I felt that the other side of gaming, playing games for the sheer fun of playing games, needed to be represented. The best way to do that was to try to mimic the golden age of arcade games... the 1980s.

Originally I started with re-creations of classic games, like Pole Position, Hogan's Alley, and so on. However, early on I realized that violating copyrights was not a particularly groovy business model... and it's far more satisfying to put an original work out there, something you can claim was 100% your imagination and skill at work. So, I made retro-STYLE original games instead.

2. Can other sims buy your arcade creations to include in their locations?

Yes! My games are available individually ($250) or in discounted packs, including a complete arcade pack. All games are copyable, so you can install them in as many places as you want. Upgrades are always free, as well, for when I make optimizations or fix bugs.

I also have a simple "ticket and prize system" available, similar to redemption games you'd see at an arcade. I doubt you could make money hand over fist from these quarter pumpers, but it's a great way to cross-promote your own business, for instance... or just show off some neat toys and wearables that feel like you'd earned them from an
arcade. (No prizes are included with the kit; you have to provide your own creations.)

3. What is your most popular game?

By far, it's my "alley roller" style game, Skeeball. This is a classic carnival game, which uses SL physics to simulate rolling a ball down the table, launching it off a ramp, and into various holes worth different scores. Using original art, it maintains the classic feel of
those games.

I've also got a great "lightgun" style shoot 'em up called Zombie Meltdown, which is just OOZING with 8-bit goodness. You even get a wearable plastic lightgun, which you can see in your avatar's hands as you gun down the threat of radioactive commie zombies from the 80s!

4. Is it difficult to play these games in SL?

SL's interface and prim-based systems don't easily lend themselves to action games, it's true. That's why all my games provide simple instructions for how to play them, available just by clicking the game. It takes less than a minute to learn the basics, then you're off
to the races.

Most of my games work in first person perspective ("Mouselook" mode). With games like Cruise Control, a racing game, this is great -- you get that feel of sitting behind an arcade steering wheel. You can look down and see the coin slots and pedals! It really helps your immersion, and keeps the games simple to play, once you learn to tap that lovely "M" key to zoom into first person.

5. What’s your personal favorite?

My favorite has got to be Fist of Discomfort. It's one of the more unique games in the bunch – a screen full of ninjas pops up, and you have to click on them to kill them. But to score WELL, you have to carve an efficient path through them... the shorter the distance between two clicks, the more points you earn. Maxing out your score means you have to be quick on your feet and think of the best way to approach the fight.

What's more... it supports four players at the same time! So while you're busy trying to take out ninjas, so are your friends, and if they get to the ninjas before you do, there go your points. It's a great competitive game.
Visit 7Seas Fishing and Insert Coin Arcade inworld.

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