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Gunnar Korobase

No good mmorpg on SL

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One would think that Second Life is a great platform for some mmo content. But, I haven't seen anything good out there. I have been playing Aion for a while and am thinking that this concept is possible in SL. Some have tried to create mmo content in SL but, come on.. this could be done better.. no?

What is missing to make this work right? Programming? I think if someone came out with a good playable (without falling asleep) version of decent quests and monster kills, a lot of current wow, aion etc. players would come and try this..

Darklife on Navora is an ok attempt but it could be much better, unless I am missing something..

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Gunnar:  The paramount problem with doing MMORPG in SL is that every sim has a limit of how many people it can support.  Right now, that number is 50 people.  So if you are trying to do a raid on the dragon Smelt's home, and somebody else is already in the sim, tough.  Too many people in the sim and the sim dies.  Adding Ram to the servers and tuning some of the code would allow more people.  But there will always be a limit to how many people can be on one sim at a time.

 

Another problem is cost.  Consider what an entire mainland sim costs monthly.  Who is going to pay that bill?  The gamers playing in it should be the ones doing it.  If you set the land so that you have to buy 24 hours at a time, to match the 15$ a month fee other games cost, you'd need to collect 150L a head for every day of the month.  And to make the monthly tier of 195$, you'd have to have 390 players per sim playing at least one day a month.  And if they all want to play at once... remember that 50 person limit?  You have to have 13 people playing the game every single day to break even.  Fall below that, and your game fails.

 

For SL to match WoW, it needs a GameWorld continent that LL runs and pays for, and charges a fee to enter.  This would be tantamount to LL admitting that SL is not a B2B program/nextgen webbrowser/education tool/yeast remover.  Doing this would be saying that yes, Second Life is a game.  And considering how certain people at LL think all the other venture capitalists are laughing at them for launching a game, you will never see this happen.

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Shockwave Yareach wrote

 

For SL to match WoW, it needs a GameWorld continent that LL runs and pays for, and charges a fee to enter.  This would be tantamount to LL admitting that SL is not a B2B program/nextgen webbrowser/education tool/yeast remover.  Doing this would be saying that yes, Second Life is a game.  And considering how certain people at LL think all the other venture capitalists are laughing at them for launching a game, you will never see this happen.

 

So long as the "game" is on a seperate continent, and the non-game aspects are allowed to thrive elsewhere, I really don't see this problem. LL would not be admitting that SL is a game, it would be saying you can play games within SL, which has been true since SL's inception anyway.

As a matter of fact, if SL wants to be an all-encompassing online society as opposed to just a game, I see the idea of a MMORPG continent or two as a highly worthwhile consideration. It would probably even make more people realize that SL isn't a game like most MMORPG's, since one would be played WITHIN IT, as opposed to an MMPORG being all there is, like WoW. I do emphasize consideration though for the other technical reasons you pointed out.

If you can do just about anything else within SL that your imagination can come up with, why not add MMORPG to the mix, IF it is technically feasible?

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Time, money, resources, lack of decent NPC;s, Physics are all problematic for someone trying to develop a system for good immersive roleplaying experiences.

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Ciaran Laval wrote:

Time, money, resources, lack of decent NPC;s, Physics are all problematic for someone trying to develop a system for good immersive roleplaying experiences.

Since MMORG == massive multiplayer online RP game, I will use - in connection with SL - the abbreviation RP here.

 

I partly disagree with you, Ciaran. I've seen many RP sims that are very immersive. See for example a lot of the Gor sims. Or Dark Urban sims. Or Fantasy sims. Or SF sims. You'd feel you are within the story as soon as you'd enter these places.

There is always the known triple issue though:  you can only use so many square meters, so many prims and only 50 avatars per sim in total, so you have to use optical tricks, sculpties or textures, and NPCs (or play as if there were NPCs). And depending on the roleplay, there are already quite a few pretty good sculpted and scripted NPC's out there. Depending on the roleplay, the person developing a RP might want to install a combat meter system on the sim as well, which adds to the script amount. . And you can use only so many high-detailed textures and complicated forms, and only so many scripts before the sim becomes a laggy place where you can hardly move.

From a former home of mine, I know the costs and time that it takes to make even a 1/4 sim look like an immersive  RP environment - and I hadn't even used a combat meter for enhanced realism back then. And I know the effort it takes to find people to use this place for the intended RP. So yes, time, money, and ressurces indeed are a problem.

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There would have to be a LOT of changes before SL could hope to compete with a real MMORPG, the first being exploration.  Being able to ride (or fly) from one side of the continent to the other without hitting a zone line or having to pause for things to rez into view is one of the amazing things about Azeroth. 

But, unfortunately for SL, you're in a box.  Always in a box.  On mainland, you're going from one box to another box.  You can ride your horse for a few seconds before you reach the end of the box.  If you're on a racetrack you have to turn every few seconds to stay in the box.

SL feels like the equivalent of painting the Mona Lisa on an Etch a Sketch -- sure, it looks sort of like the real thing, but it's still fragile, colorless and constrained.

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Storylines are good because unlike a preset game like Wow (which I love) in SL it can be more freeform, we're developing the story as we go along and that works well as people feel part of the story if their input is taken into consideration. There's more scope to develop a story in SL, but again, some people prefer the linear path and set goals.

Meters are not everyone's cup of tea but unless someone is using a God mode, they are good for settling disputes on who hit who first!

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I think SL Gor is at least 100 times better than WoW, but there arent set out quests and NPCs. Its Roleplay. Something that doesnt exist in WoW. 

 

Also the combat in SL is way better than WoW because arrows fly like real arrows. It actually takes some skill to hit someone. 

 

But it is very difficult to get the 50+ sims to all agree on standard rules and such. Its improving tho. Back in the day, you had to switch meters every time you went to a differernt gor sim.

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There are very nice RP sims to be had, but if you want WoW, well...play WoW. SL will never offer that kind of environment, given the avatar limits, lag, and lack of full combat support (we're all using tools developed in-world that may be decent but will never quite match a built-in system). Then there's monsters. MMORPGs can create a bunch of spawning monsters for you to hunt, but in SL, you're either relying on monsters played by people as NPCs (so there'll only be so many) or scripted prim objects that will never be quite as spectacular as what you get in a proper game.

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I have seen some pretty nice, scripted NPC monsters for use with the Spellfire system but I have not needed to find out where such things are used.  But if you find the Spellfire main store you will probably find notices to places that use it.

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It would be great if SL would reach a technical level, that would allow for MMO-like games to exist. It is not there yet and the various problems preventing it have been outlined above.

But then, I only see this under the aspect of those technical abilites that would allow MMO-like games to exist being of great advantage for many areas as well. For me and my RP they are of very little importance as I like the long and descriptive stories of text-based RP and never put my virtual foot on sims that use a meter. But others like such things and I think that making SL able to deliver such content would benefit other areas as well.

I think the event managers and artistic community would make good use of the technical improvements that would need to be in place for such games.

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The second life engine has serious limitations when attempting to make an game like that ( at least for now ) that makes it really costly like it has been explained, the only way it would work is if linden lab were to turn SL into an MMORPG ( which isn't happening ), just to show you the dimension it requires.

 

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About 2 years ago, for some reason WoW players got wind of SL Gor and swarmed onto it, thinking they had found a free WoW. It was great in a sense that it was the busiest time in Gor with lots of players. But they tended to not be too into the RP. They were all "capture and release" combat. They would down you and then just walk away. To make it worse, they tended to be very good fighters so us regular players would be downed a lot! I also remember they dressed like emos, jeans, t-shirts and ironic belt buckles - not very gorean. RP in SL takes effort and thats something that is hard for a lot of WoW player who just want combat, not RP. 

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I also think that a true MMORPG would be difficult to make within the Second Life environment because of the current limits and I'm not talking about RP sims but MMORPG with AI monsters and creatures wandering about.

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Rin Tae wrote:

It would be great if SL would reach a technical level, that would allow for MMO-like games to exist. It is not there yet and the various problems preventing it have been outlined above.

But then, I only see this under the aspect of those technical abilites that would allow MMO-like games to exist being of great advantage for many areas as well. For me and my RP they are of very little importance as I like the long and descriptive stories of text-based RP and never put my virtual foot on sims that use a meter. But others like such things and I think that making SL able to deliver such content would benefit other areas as well.

I think the event managers and artistic community would make good use of the technical improvements that would need to be in place for such games.

 

I agree with you on all levels, my sim has a meter but we make it absolutely clear that you don't have to use a meter to roleplay because it does put people off, it can ruin the immersiveness and text allows for so many more options than a programmed structure.

 

Second Life will really have arrived in the roleplaying front though, when people aren't talking of joining Second Life, they're talking of joining Ciaran or Rin's world of adventure, that would be the big breakthrough.

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1, a parallel to SL interface where you are connected not to a 256x256m sim, but to an architecture where a dozen servers handle only one thing -- where people are.  And those servers tell everyone where everyone else is, assuming they are in visual range.  Then other servers holding a static description of all the continent tell the viewers what the scenery looks like.  This would need to be in parallel with the one sim does it all SL architecture, so a new viewer that incorporates the new protocol would be required.  furthermore, this would prevent building in the game continent, since the scenery will be static for display, which isn't a big problem since going to LL's game continent means you want to play a game rather than build.

2, a LL created HUD and combat system would need to be required.  All user created weapons would communicate with the Hud, and the HUD would communicate with the world/other huds.  This allows user created weapons but will limit the amount of damage they can do -- no god lances that do infinite damage the first shot.  LL will need to find a way to allow anyone to make anything, but create a power budget vs level control in the hud so that noobs cannot walk around with Moljnir on their first minute in the game continent.  This will permit user content while controlling their powers.

3, the position data for the new protocol needs to be not floats, but 3 32 bit integers divided by 1000 to create identical positions we use today.  This would create a single sheet for the new continent that is 4,294,967m x 4,294,967m - a big honking continent no matter how you cut it.  (edit:  Incidently, this is 1/27th the surface area of the entire Earth, including the oceans).

 

A new MMORPG continent would be a massive undertaking.  The downside is that it would need to operate in parallel with the existing viewer protocols -- which one you use depends on which continent you are in.  But the good side is that much of the hard work of making a game is already done in the current viewer -- create the parallel protocol and you are well on your way to creating a seamless experience for the gaming continent.  None of this is easy, no.  But it's not as hard as it would be starting from scratch, either.

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I started RP, not counting "Let's Pretend" sessions in the back yard with the neighbor kids and sticks for swords, in 1977. It has been my main hobby in one form or another ever since. (Reading is not a hobby ... it is nurishment.)

I tried SL in 2007 and it was over the pay grade of my laptop at the time. Happily I tried it again a couple of weeks ago and there are fewer (actually, NO) griefers where I roam ... but, also, precious little RP of any kind, even "bad" RP.

This all matters because I think I know from RP ... and I came to SL after 2.3 years on WoW left me brutally bored. No good RP in SL? The RP is only greater in quantity in WoW, for the most part.

WoW and most other MMO's (and, come to think of it HMO's can be included) are really, deep down, damage-related video games. If you do not kill, you do not advance. The elites ganks the noobs and the noobs get discouraged and sulky and become gankers ... no time for RP.

What appeals to me in SL is that it seems (I have still yet to RP within any of the many RP groups I have joined) that the "class difference" between the elites and the noobs is reduced. If you have a better computer and connection, or you have been part of some sort of subset RP system, you wil cultivate advantages, but they don't seem, from the outside anyway, to be as vastly superior. Technique and technology aside, a 2-week-old av stands a better chance against a seasoned veteran in SL than in WoW.

But MMORPG is not about DPS. Without danger the RP is just "Let's Pretend" again, but the chance of injury, loss and death supports the RP, not the other way around.

In WoW I addressed the issue of RP by bringing RP with me, not looking for it to be handed out. As a noob in SL I admit that I don't want to annoy the seasoned folks with RP in OOC channels or places or times, and with noob questions ... so I am getting weary of people who may RP not trying it on me so I will know (a) how it's done in that sim and on SL (do we indicate OOC with ((double parens)) as in WoW?) and who is interested. The sexual element that permiates SL makes it a little suspiscious to stop, look at every (usually weak) profile of "Nearby" people. Standing in the newly found plaza of a sim waiting for things to rezz, reading and sorting the confetti cannon of Notecards and Landmarks, and trying to sort through profiles is a daunting hit to "play time." It would be much simpler if those who want to RP, WOULD RP. In chat.

One thing I did in WoW to announce that I RP was to interact with my environment openly. "I say, that's the tallest gnome I believe I've ever seen." "Rain in Westfall. Never thought I'd live to see the day." Anyone interested in RP within chat channel range knows instantly that I RP, and can join me, or mark me for future reference. They, and grinders, can also ignore me and, in doing so, I get an idea of who's in and who's not.

There may be some techical reason for joining groups for RP, but I have explored several themed areas and sims and interacted in character in all of them, regardless of my affiliation. In WoW I found that guild membership forms RP ghettoes (in the original meaning of the term) and isolates RP into awkward cliques. The best RP I had in WoW was on a server with one RP channel where anyone, un-guilded or from many guilds, could share RP "events" and locations. There was an election for an RP post, with several candidates, a public debate, and a vote. I went to the debate and saw representatives from 12 guilds, plus the rest of us who were unaffiliated.

Good MMORPG (almost always meaning combat with a side of forsooths) isn't really what SL is set up for. SL is, primarily, social. It advertises as an MMO because it can be used as such to an extent, but that's not it's first or main purpose. No one will come from WoW or City of Heroes, Champions Online or Star Trek Online, etc., and feel like they have found Nirvana. Looking for MMORPG here is a bit out of place, really.

True RP is clearly possible here. But for the RP to happen, it has to be brought by every member ... EVERY member ... of the RP community. "No deposit, no return" is what the old folks said about the old glass soda bottles, but it also applies here. Anyone who wants "good" RP has to bring it as an investment and work and wait for the dividends....

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There is a 4th point to this also. LL would need to decide on what kind of game the continent should have, make up the setting of the game and hire builders to make it. So given the various interests of people and their own preferences for RP, this continent would have to include different separeted areas with different kind of games on them. But then, I rather build my own ^_^

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Lurken wrote:

(...)

But MMORPG is not about DPS. Without danger the RP is just "Let's Pretend" again, but the chance of injury, loss and death supports the RP, not the other way around.

In WoW I addressed the issue of RP by bringing RP with me, not looking for it to be handed out. As a noob in SL I admit that I don't want to annoy the seasoned folks with RP in OOC channels or places or times, and with noob questions ... so I am getting weary of people who may RP not trying it on me so I will know (a) how it's done in that sim and on SL (do we indicate OOC with ((double parens)) as in WoW?) and who is interested. The sexual element that permiates SL makes it a little suspiscious to stop, look at every (usually weak) profile of "Nearby" people. Standing in the newly found plaza of a sim waiting for things to rezz, reading and sorting the confetti cannon of Notecards and Landmarks, and trying to sort through profiles is a daunting hit to "play time." It would be much simpler if those who want to RP, WOULD RP. In chat.

One thing I did in WoW to announce that I RP was to interact with my environment openly. "I say, that's the tallest gnome I believe I've ever seen." "Rain in Westfall. Never thought I'd live to see the day." Anyone interested in RP within chat channel range knows instantly that I RP, and can join me, or mark me for future reference. They, and grinders, can also ignore me and, in doing so, I get an idea of who's in and who's not.

(...)

There may be some techical reason for joining groups for RP, but I have explored several themed areas and sims and interacted in character in all of them, regardless of my affiliation. In WoW I found that guild membership forms RP ghettoes (in the original meaning of the term) and isolates RP into awkward cliques.

(...)

Good MMORPG (almost always meaning combat with a side of forsooths) isn't really what SL is set up for. SL is, primarily, social. (...). Looking for MMORPG here is a bit out of place, really.

True RP is clearly possible here. But for the RP to happen, it has to be brought by every member ... EVERY member ... of the RP community. "No deposit, no return" is what the old folks said about the old glass soda bottles, but it also applies here. Anyone who wants "good" RP has to bring it as an investment and work and wait for the dividends....

 

Now of course I have stated above, taht I do not care for meters and as such also not for health points and clicking on my opponent to hope that he will fall down faster then I will. This is a game but defintevly not RP for me but everyone has their own definition there. Loss, injury and even death (death scenes are often very special for the people behind the character so they tend to be long and written out with every bit of skill the participants are able to bring into it) are part of a text based RP jsut as when hitting each other with a scripted system. It also levels the field even more since it is independent from lag and does not depend on how well the computer and the connection of the participants is.

But anyway,  the part above about bringing RP to yourself is very very true for RP in SL too. One has often to give people something to react to by interacting with the enviroment. I have seen great examples of this in my time here reaching from people walking up and coughing blood on someone elses shirt, over people searching through dumpsters to something simple as asking for help and directions to find their way in a new city they walked into in character (it also helps to read the entry notecard of course to get the right feel for the RP as there are always hints and directions included in them). One has to give indecation of not being a silent observer (I have actually started as a silent observer before overcoming the language barrier and starting RP by someone actually inviting me for a drink in a bar) so people can react. Innitate RP and it often takes only a few moments to have the doors open for you.

 

Reading other people profiles helps too since even when much information in them can not be used in character, there are often pic-entries about RP limits as well as about what is visible and noticable about the character. Interestingly msot seasoned SL RPers will happilly assist with any questions but I have also made the expereince that observing silently for a few days works just as well to learn the ins and outs of the RP. This is how I learned how great text-RP can be and I have loved it ever since the first day.

Sadly, there is another thing that is true in the post I have quoted. RP cliques happen in SL too and some sims are so infested with them, that it is near to impossible for a newcomer to find their way in. It frustrates people and make them leave before tehy even get the chance to met with those who are welcoming of RP. There are elitist people here just like in every over place who think that they have more to say then others. It is really a pain when a sim gets such people and without seeing it, one would not believe how much damage such people can do to any RP community. Luckily such people are easy to spot and most admins keep them out but a newcomer who runs into such cliques can easily be discouraged to ever try any RP again.

 

And as for the last paragraph quoted ... yes, every member of the RP has to bring their part into it here since the play is always cooperative. As I said, I do all text based RP and this is something that can not be discribed differently then as colaborative story telling. Everyone is a character in everyone elses story and shapes a part in it. The impact is sometimes small and sometimes it reaches a point when one word spoken changes the entire course the story has been taking so far.

I love it  ^_^

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I'm so new that the expression "text-based" just hit me.

I noticed that there are /rock, /paper and /scissors gestures preloaded, and I have heard of LARP groups that use RPS for conflict resolution. This makes me wonder if it isn't possible to use some light LARP (live-action role play) framework.

Still, when we speak (and write) of immersion (which I enjoy so much!), it is really not the same to se and hear an arrow thunk into you and see some meter move than to read, "Scissors cut paper [or whatever]. You have an arrow in your thigh."

So far my melee practice is awful. Just awful. But the jeopardy of walking into a tavern and having a dagger shoved in you rback (depending, of course, on genre) makes some damage-system necessary for tru immersion. Perhaps sims should be distinguished between text-based only, weapons optional, and full-on metered danger. (Maybe they already are. Shopping, screwing up badly designed items while learning to modify [AND to copy first, dammit], looking for new places, sorting inventory and the blizzard [no relation] of notecards and landmarks, and getting hit on for sex have really eaten into my learning RP and combat time....)

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Lurken wrote:

 

So far my melee practice is awful. Just awful. But the jeopardy of walking into a tavern and having a dagger shoved in you rback (depending, of course, on genre) makes some damage-system necessary for tru immersion. Perhaps sims should be distinguished between text-based only, weapons optional, and full-on metered danger. (Maybe they already are. Shopping, screwing up badly designed items while learning to modify [AND to copy first, dammit], looking for new places, sorting inventory and the blizzard [no relation] of notecards and landmarks, and getting hit on for sex have really eaten into my learning RP and combat time....)

Well, lad most sims have their rules set up and most of the meter-based do require some RP before sticking a dagger in your back. So, read the rules, always when venturing in a new RP sim stop and read the rules. 

 

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Lurken wrote:

I'm so new that the expression "text-based" just hit me.

I noticed that there are /rock, /paper and /scissors gestures preloaded, and I have heard of LARP groups that use RPS for conflict resolution. This makes me wonder if it isn't possible to use some light LARP (live-action role play) framework.

Still, when we speak (and write) of immersion (which I enjoy so much!), it is really not the same to se and hear an arrow thunk into you and see some meter move than to read, "Scissors cut paper [or whatever]. You have an arrow in your thigh."

So far my melee practice is awful. Just awful. But the jeopardy of walking into a tavern and having a dagger shoved in you rback (depending, of course, on genre) makes some damage-system necessary for tru immersion. Perhaps sims should be distinguished between text-based only, weapons optional, and full-on metered danger. (Maybe they already are. Shopping, screwing up badly designed items while learning to modify [AND to copy first, dammit], looking for new places, sorting inventory and the blizzard [no relation] of notecards and landmarks, and getting hit on for sex have really eaten into my learning RP and combat time....)

 

The whole idea of text-based RP is something that I have learned .. well .. right on SL. I did not head that much expereince with RP in general before joining a RP-sim in SL but the idea of it instantly hooked me up. So I wander the non-meter pure text sims now and usually the difference between sims using this and sims using a meter is clearly stated in the description of the sim and also in the notecard with the rules (read them .. entering a RP area without reading the entry notecard can end badly).

However there are also different systems in place that provide 'conflict-resolution' in the case where the participants in a text-RP can not agree on something or when the action would be dependant on chance. This is done mostly with different 'dice'-systems and people roll for the result. Sometimes a extremly simple meter is used too, but I think those are getting rearer and rearer. It is by now either text with the addition of dice if people want or need it or full meter. After all, everyone has their preferences.

And the danger of getting a knife stabbed in your back is as big in the one as in the other system. I even think that the danger is bigger in text then with a meter since when one is stabbed with the use of a meter then all they get is the loss of a few points on their health bar, but a text RPer might need to deal with the fact that being stabbed in the kidneys can result in life threatening internal bleeding ... it all depends on the realism one is willing to put into this and the general fun of the, often totally random, scene that then can lead to unforseen and interesting results.

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I disagree with the tangent that mainland should have some sort of game built into it. I do agree that we should have the tools to make "Mini-MMOs" (Yes, I'm aware of the contradiction there) in our own sims.

 

 The big problem is the lack of tools and the lack of support LL has given good builders. We cannot create NPCs characters or creatures to populate a sim, as characters or mobs. SL's built in combat system is horribly undeveloped, scripted combat systems are a huge burden to sims. LL never set up the physics engine to really take advantage its features, instead only giving us minor performance boosts. In addition, LL works against good builders by refusing to address SL's camera and scale problems, making it impossible to build efficiently without shutting out most SL residents.

 

 That's the fundamental problems. In addition, to build an RPG comparable to the professionally made ones you've listed you would need a team of builders and programmers, all up to professional standards at what they do, and putting in an incredible amount of work. Speaking from experience, you can't support that with an SL income which makes it difficult to devote the time and energy when you could be doing the same thing professionally for much bigger payoff.

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