Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Iggy and Beeble Make a Second Life Phantom

Mother Ushers Spirit
Location: Virtual House of Usher

I'm not a scripter by any stretch, but I'm good at cut-and-paste work. So when I found The Script Me! site a couple of years back, I salted away the URL for just such a day as today, when my colleague using SL, Beeble Baxter, poked his head into my office door.

"Can we get a ghost of Roderick and Madeline's mom to leave clues in the House of Usher?"

"Sure, Beeble," I replied. "I'll just fool around and see what disasters happen." But within an hour of trial-and-error testing, we had a phantasm that would appear when an avatar said a code-word in chat, then disappear after a few moments. In the interim, it would shout a warning whenever an avatar came within 5 meters:

"For the love of God! Do not allow Roderick to do to my other child as he has done to me!"

What Roderick did, as Beeble reminds me, should be left to conjecture: digging mom's bones up, having an "unspeakable" relationship with both her and his sister, or more? Well, Poe did not shirk from cannibalism, incest, rapid putrefaction, and other horrors in his tales. Why should we? But the actors playing the Ushers need to decide, with each visit to the House, what particular horror they wish to roleplay (I mean "simulate," Viv).

The only danger I foresee is that Beeble and I will over-populate the House with pop-up ghosts, each providing clues and, perhaps, responding to each other.

It's a risk we will run. I'm having too much fun, right now, downloading images of Victorian "ghost photos," embedding skulls and decayed faces in the right spots, then uploading them to Second Life.

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