Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Heritage Key's Amarna

New Clothes
Location: City of Akhetaten, 1350 BCE

Mayneyten, daughter of Setmare the Scribe:

"Hello Iggyo Heritage, be very quiet or you will be discovered before we can make you look like one of us!!!"

Well, I don't need to be told such things twice when I'm posing as an Ancient Egyptian.

Getting a sneak peek at Heritage Key's Amarna, "home of Setmare the court scribe" in the age of Tut, shows how many resources Rezzable now is willing to dedicate towards making an industry-leading immersive 3D world for education and cultural tourism.

The area is not quite finished, but when it is, visitors at the Travel Center will be able to choose it as a destination from the time-travel booths. Viv Trafalgar showed me around and got Iggyo Heritage changed from 1970s Ron-Glass clone to a 1350 BCE dark-skinned badass with a topknot and some stylin' and breezy clothes for the hot Egyptian climate. The Rezzable staff is adding quests, games, and a travel journal to this simulation, as they have done at the Valley of the Kings and Stonehenge.

One feels to be at home in a brief period of Egyptian history when some heretical pharaohs dared to institute monotheism. Their names were stricken from the official histories for such impiety.

Viv Trafalgar: we're going to have NPCs ask questions that = "do you belong here"
Viv Trafalgar: ie
Viv Trafalgar: "who's the Pharaoh?"
Viv Trafalgar: "what year is it?"
Viv Trafalgar: "how far are we from Luxor?"
Iggyo Heritage: oh oh
Viv Trafalgar: and if you get them wrong
Viv Trafalgar: you get tossed in the pond.

Okay, when I go back, I'll read all the notecards and copy key names into a text file. I don't want my new clothes getting wet!

Viv notes that "We're redoing all the clothes now; the hair I have on is a prize. There will be skins and hair and braids and stuff and a walk like an egyptian anim as a prize."

Viv give a big hat-tip to LT Bartlett for putting together three different avatar options each for male and female visitors to Amarna. I was impressed; even the stock items, like this armband my avatar wore, show the level of detail on display.
Pheeling Pharaonic

The Amarna build features a building map of the huge complex, a expedition journal that visitors will receive as soon as they arrive, as well as several games:

Uncover - find four clay tablets containing clues to a plot against the royal court, as well as who in the household to tell about it. Be careful to tell the right person!

Explore - a day-in-the-life challenge that has you exploring 7 different tasks - do them all and your reward is a walk-like-an-egyptian AO and ring.

Envision - an exploration of the art of the Amarna period - collect rubbings of all of the items while wearing the charcoal and paper (don't try this in a RL museum) and you'll be rewarded.

Challenge - do battle on a Nile river raft, either against a friend, or against the river gods. This is a classic rock-papyrus-scissors battle, with the added danger of lurking hippos.

Royal-Match - find the royal match game in the house and match the three royal couples to receive your own Sobek mask.

The simulation is more than games, however. Parts of the build supply excellent historical data with a click, such as:

Nefertiti Statue: Attributed to the sculptor Thutmose, this polychrome bust of Egypt's queen is world famous. Thutmose, whose workshop was excavated in 1912, must have been one lucky sculptor, being asked to capture for eternity the ravishing face of the Queen who's ancient name meant "A Beautiful Woman Has Come."

Nefertiti Statue

Compared to the old Amarna build in Second Life, this Heritage Key version provides a new loggia, tapestries, and "examples of period art throughout the house," according to Viv. Many levels of detail are visible in my photographs. I'll close with a slide-show from my Koinup account to give some idea of the treasures that await a bold explorer.

You can also get a sense of the real-life ruins at The Amarna Project's site. I think I'll take the cool shade of the Heritage Key simulation, for now.

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