Winning the Peace

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As the last bits of the current War wind down into Aether Smoke, we are left, as is so often true of wars, with the debris and the task of rebuilding. In addition, as each stage of this great RP experiment has passed I have tried to assess what we have learned and what lessons we could take away from our failures and missteps.

I can say with certainty that no one who was involved in planning or executing this “Charitable War”, from it’s humble beginnings to it’s grand cinematic finale, ever expected it to become so fraught with contention and misunderstandings. To avoid similar situations in the future, I have put together a few guidelines, based not only on the Caledon-Neualtenberg War, or as I call it The Kaiserin Caper but also on the spirited discussions about Caledonian roleplay that have surrounded it.

Some of these four Axioms may indeed be obvious or have been discussed in these pages previously, but I am listing them at any rate for posterity, and so as to provide a basis for continued discussion.

Axiom 1) No one knows for sure where Theme stops and Role play starts.

Caledon is a THEMED Sim, based on a Steampunk vision of Victorian England, more or less. As such, certain conventions are unofficially followed by most residents (in fact, almost all due to the wonders of gentle peer pressure and positive example). Politeness, a measure of public decorum (for some of us at least), a certain anachronistic turn of phrase, a aversion to modern or futuristic styles….all of these are part of the way most Caledonians behave while they are in the Metaverse. Such behavior is no more “Role Play” in the traditional sense then wearing a chador in Saudi Arabia or an ugly shirt in Hawaii, however you may feel about them personally. It is simply the way one acts so as to fit in and not offend anyone accidentally. Some people are so involved in the Theme of Caledon that they were offended by the suggestion that people in Caledon are somehow playing an artificial role, as they themselves feel they don’t actually role play at all in Caledon but behave and speak in a Victorian manner in real life as well (I find that hard to believe, but if true, then these individuals were dressed funny by their mothers for far too long).

ROLE PLAY, on the other hand, usually goes above and beyond “day to day behavior” and is usually wrapped around a certain situation or scenario which is out of the ordinary for the area.

Let me see if I can make the distinction, as I see it, a little clearer.

For example, I may play mild mannered boffin Horatio Pryce-Ryan in the Metaverse, and true to the theme of Caledon usually dress and act like a typically Victorian absent minded professor while I go about my normal behavior of shopping and partying and romancing the lovely young virginal widow next door. This is all simply the way I live in the themed Sim of Caledon. However, when a proposed launch of a Steampunk rocket to Mars comes up, I may get involved in a Role Play built around preparing for the mission and building the rocket. I could even go so far as to blast off and having a fun filled day twiddling my knobs and saying “Remarkable!” alot, pretending parts of Primverness are the Great Canals of Barsoom. Beyond that, perhaps I even become something of a reluctant young hero, protecting my unsullied young widow when the Martians return the compliment and come around for Tea and Disintegrations…all of this while normal Caledonian life goes on around me, untroubled by alien invasion unless they choose to be.

It’s a fine distinction, but a powerful one..and mutual misunderstandings concerning what is Theme and what is Role Play were at the heart, I feel, of many of the recent upsets over the War.

Axiom 2) In Caledon, Role play/Theme or the lack thereof is serious business.

Just raising the issue of Role Play tends to be seen as a red flag by some, which I had not fully understood previously. Many people took exception to the concept of “Role Playing” in Caledon at all, due to the fact that the Sims are inherently themed (see above). To them role playing a plot on top of that theme during day to day life seemed like over kill, or some kind of plot to change the ways things work here.

Due to this fact, any future role plays must be, in my opinion, small personal affairs. Large history forging events are all well and good, but I must reiterate what I have said in previous posts that they must be RARE or else they will become oppressive (even to the participants in many cases). The only way to mollify those who are opposed to the concept of role play, or do not wish to feel they are forced to be involved, is to make it utterly and totally voluntary and in good fun. No game is fun if you feel you are forced or behooved to play.

That said, I think it important for those who do not choose to be involved in any role play beyond the general theme of Caledon to respect the decision of those who do create a more elaborate fiction for themselves through role play. If someone chooses to role play they are the illegitimate son of Queen Victoria and HG Wells, who are we to say they aren’t (though of course we can make fun of them behind their backs).

Axiom 3) Movies are not Roleplay and Role Play is not Movies

No one has more respect for the incredible machima work done throughout this war by Mssrs Sputnik and Longstaff. However, I feel that the production of such wonderful entertainments are a massive undertaking in and of themselves and should not be directly associated with role play, nor be viewed as the event that role play occurs around or because of.

As anyone who has been involved in film production knows, a few seconds of complex footage takes ages to set up and shoot. This can be torture for a role play scenario that requires a level of energy and improvisation to take on a life of it’s own. Movie making tends to spike that spontaneity as surely as moving things along as a role play pace with everyone free to create their own little corner of it, makes filming impossible. The movies, while works of genius, are not acts of free-wheeling role play but acts of creative, carefully planned artistry. To say that those who are making a movie are role playing is like saying the shooting of a Harry Potter film is playing Quidditch. I think movies should continue to be created, not only for the enjoyment of the viewing public but the pleasure and expression of those who work so hard to create them…but separate from any role plays.

Tying role play and movies together does neither one credit, nor does it give either one their due. In addition, the carefully scripted spectacle of the films turned many people off of the role play overall, making them feel the entire thing was non-spontaneous and only open to certain “FIC” (Feted Inner Caledon) people….which leads to the last Axiom.

Axiom 4) Anyone or no one can be involved.

It must be held as the first and most important rule that even though any role play (or anything at all, really) tends to be driven by a few key individuals or creators, anyone who wishes to can become involved in some respect.

The adverse, that no one needs to feel that they MUST be involved is also true and a key understanding.

I think confusion and misunderstanding over those two concepts were the main source of tensions in Caledon….people felt that the role play was elitist, controlled by a handful of people and at the same time, worried that everyone would have to be part of the War so as not to be considered Second Class Caledonians.

Neither was true, and we must make sure that they are never true in the future, or even suspected to be true. Any Role Play that takes place on our beloved shores must first and foremost build us up as a unified society, not tear us down.

I learned during the discussion of my last ideas on the topic of Role Play that the different views on the matter in Caledon are vast and a consensus may not be able to be reached, or perhaps should not be reached. If one IS to be reached, however, it will require a great deal of involved discussion, and a great deal of tolerance on everyone’s part.

I have raised these points now as a way to open discussion of Role Play in Caledon again, and therefore, eagerly await your thoughts and comments.

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16 Comments

  1. Putting aside the pixie for a moment, I shall enter boldly into the fray for a while…..

    Now while I agree with a lot of what the good Baron has to say, I think our definition of roleplay is a little different (and vive la difference, or we wouldn’t be debating this, would we?).

    Personally, I think everyone in Caledon does roleplay to a greater or lesser extent *unless* they are talking about their real lives with their friends. After all, I’m sure no-one thinks that I’m really a four-foot-nothing pixie with colour changing wings in the real world (sorry Mr B) who fell out of the sky and landed on her future husband whilst he was at a tiki party. Well, at least I hope they don’t….

    From my own experience of table-top and live roleplay, it has to be said that the best experiences have been with the people I have learned to trust over many years of co-operative play. There are situations you can put yourself into and know that they won’t be misconstrued or cause offence because you know the person opposite you; you have a shorthand together that you just don’t have with strangers. We’ve had to be careful ourselves in SL with this; we’ve known Oolon and Emilly for years in the real world and can happily throw ourselves under the bus that is Oolon’s Timelord saga with all the heart-rending, soul-searching you’d find in the TV series at the moment and know that the person on the other end is fine with it.

    But when there are other people around, people that you either don’t know well or who aren’t used to roleplaying, you can genuinely upset them because they’re not part of that circle of trust. And if your first comments to a stranger are harsh, then how are they supposed to know if those comments are roleplaying or actually a personal attack (thinly veiled or otherwise)? People have off days, people don’t mean to say the wrong thing at the wrong time, but we do and if you don’t know someone even that tiniest little bit, its far too easy to make a mistake that causes unhappiness and recrimination.

    There is room for both in Caledon, simulation and roleplay. Lets face it, we’re only taking the nice bits of Victorian life; most of us wouldn’t be here at all and certainly wouldn’t be well off enough to be able to read or write and debate the psychology of our fantasy lives.

    People have felt excluded by this war, precisely because they were being told (on occassion) what they could and couldn’t do or say. And as Mr B so rightly says, roleplaying and films are separate beasties – a good roleplaying event would make a lousy film (trust me, we’ve seen the evidence) and vice versa. There must be direction to produce a coherent film, but don’t pretend its roleplaying or try to use roleplaying as an excuse to justify the control and participation of others in any event.

    Mistakes have been made, some of them unfortunate and some of them really basic and, dare I say it, a little bit stupid/naive. The whole point of mistakes it that we all learn from them: Ardent roleplayers accept that some people really aren’t interested in your personal story-arcs of glory and death but will take great offence if you start ordering them about in the pursuit of your dreams; Simulationists, cut a little slack to the loonies with the virtual equivalent of rubber swords. As a good friend of ours once said “A roleplayer’s IQ halves when he puts on his costume and halves again when he picks up his sword”.

    And I’m sad to say that Alfonso isn’t built like a brick privie in real life and he has far more hair than it is really fair for any man to have (blonde and wavy too, the swine). But I did meet him through roleplaying, so it can’t be all that bad…..;0)

  2. Is the war all over and done with, then? I seem to have missed any general announcements, somehow. (Were there any?)

  3. No, Miss V, there will still be at least two shootings left to go, I believe. An aerial battle and troop landing.

    Re: RP vs. Theme

    Well, I am reeling from the thought of “Professor Avalanche” with wavy blonde hair. I just cannot get the image of a blonde version of his infamous toupee out of my mind. Well, so long as we have hair confessions here, I cannot get curls to stay in mine to save my life. Shove it in a braid and hope it doesn’t embarass me too much when I let it down. My SL bouncy long locks are pure phantasie for me, I’m afraid :/

    I hope it doesn’t affect your mental image of me much. But really, how is my period styled hair much different than my assuming Victorian manners or clothing? These things are part of the furniture, but don’t REALLY affect interaction.

    Believe it or not, Miss Begonia’s pixie appearance is much the same to me. A fun bit of the scenery, but nothing real (of course!) But I expect that while she might not be a stogie chomping pixie in Real Life, she is a fun and kind person.

    That is the key difference between Role Playing and Theme, I think. I might not speak in Victorian argot in everyday life, but WHAT I say here is what I mean, if that makes any sense. I do not portray myself as someone I’m not–I portray myself through a lens of Victoriana.

    How different is RP, then! In an Role Playing scenario, I am an actress. I could take any role assigned me, whether smart or dim, brave or fearful, funny or sombre. I even did an online play once (in another online game) in which I played Jerry from Edward Albee’s Zoo Story (the virtual world brings new meaning to “breeches roles” :P). But I would NOT expect you to think that I really am such a character.

    Unlike Lord Bardhaven, I do not see these as points on a continuum, but two distinctively different activities. The problem comes from the outward appearance of them in an SL themed sim. If not everyone is aware of what is going on, at best Role Playing in a themed sim is akin to a performance art piece.

    I maintain for RPs to work in a themed sim, they must be clearly identified as such. I actually believed that they were in this “war”, but quite obviously, for some the point must be made plainer.

  4. – Concerning Virtual Appearance –
    The indomitable Pixie makes a very good point concerning avatars. While the dark good looks, thick black hair and rock hard Abs of my avatar perfectly reflect my real life form…*coughs*…I do understand that other people tend to wear fantasy or idealized avatars in the Metaverse for many excellent reasons. After all, what man wouldn’t wish genitalia which rose or fell (and could be resized) in an instant based on scripted commands? This to many inherently injects a role play element into the proceedings.

    However, for myself I am more inclined to agree with Miss Tombola’s position, that such matters tend to become invisible to me. At this point, I see everyone around me as perfectly normal, be they pixie or floating ball of energy.

    After all, when one of our Tinnie neighbors drops in for tea, we don’t have the appropriate role play reaction, which would usually be to scream “OH my god, a talking bunny rabbit in a waistcoat!!!” and get the camera or a broom, depending on our feelings about talking bunny rabbits.

    Therefore, I feel that in most cases, avatar appearance does not affect RP unless it is by specific design.

    – Concerning Simulation vs Role Play –
    I completely agree with Miss Begonia’s points concerning “Simulation”…I would even go so far as to call such players Reenactors, similar to those who reenact civil war battles. During the actual battle, they are role playing clearly, but between performances most behave as if they were Civil war soldiers but some do not, depending on their individual tastes and the moment. I would say Reenactors are the dominate player type in Caledon at the moment and I feel that is at it should be.

    – Concerning Trust –
    Again, I concur with the Pixie that at least a certain measure of trust is needed for good role play…after all, for better or worse to role play well, your emotions and fantasies tend to be worn on your sleeve. That takes a certain amount of courage at the best of time.

    The trust needed to role play honestly and completely does indeed require both IC and OOC communication, since as she noted (and I feel was demonstrated in my reactions to the incident described in my post Concerning Good Breeding) misunderstandings when the only contact is in character are thick as thieves and difficult to repair.

    There are few I trust absolutely in the Metaverse (after more then 10 years in online RP, I have more then enough scars thank you to keep me from trusting typed words too easily) but a growing number I trust enough to RP with, within reason. The War, for me, increased that number exponentially and laid the ground work for several evilish plots I have cooking away.

    – Concerning Honesty in Role Play –
    Like Miss Tombola, I do not feel I say anything “IC” that I do not mean as a man and a person, I merely say it a bit differently than I would in RL. Certainly certain aspects of my character are exaggerated in the metaverse, especially during Role Play, but the kernel at the heart of each statement I make and action I take is honest. Does that mean I am a kinky, hedonistic bastard with a tendency to smile darkly and laugh evilly at my own so called wit in rl…actually yes, I just have fewer chances to put such traits to full and proper use.

    Some who commented in previous posts said that Role Play of any kind is dishonest, or at best “flying a false flag”. I disagree strongly with that, at least for myself. I love who I love, enjoy what I enjoy, hate what I hate, both in Sl and in RL…in SL I am just more open and extreme about them, and I feel this is true of many of us.

  5. Oh no – some well written and well thought out pieces to try and follow on from…!

    First, apologies to anyone who finds the fact that I am in real life a five foot eight blonde person a bit of a shock. I will send you some smelling salts immediately, Miss Tombola.

    I’ll try to follow Baron Bardhaven’s example and split everything up. It might force some discipline on my wayward, aside filled, writing style.

    Original Post:

    I pretty much agree with everything you have said, Baron, except that I even view the “theme” of Caledon as a low-level role play. But this is probably more to the extent of where I draw my own lines in the role playing debate and my own style of role play.

    Any game where I find I have to modify my actions or speech patterns, I see as role-playing to an extent. Now, I do try to be nice and polite in RL, but I do tend to be a little more formal and Victorian in Caledon. Even when speaking to people about our real lives I still find myself filtering everything through the Victorian filter to a certain extent (the Filter of the Victorian Aesthetic as made famous by Sir Edward, I wonder?). I suppose the question is, is that “filter” the “theme” or “roleplay”? Or is that “filter” the very definition of what people mean by “theme”?

    In the example in the original post of Prof Pryce-Ryan, I see him as a role playing creation. Even him going about his everyday life in Caledon is role playing to me. Now, if you, as Pryce-Ryan, start chatting to your neighbour about your RL car, but keep a Victorian formalness about it, I can see that is more a “themed” conversation rather than a “role-play” situation. But if Pryce Ryan is discussing his latest purchase of Caledonian flying machine and what he talks about doesn’t break the “fourth wall” I would see that as “role-playing”. The “Caledonian Mars Shot” he takes part in is just a continuation of his story and just an extension of the role-play, but it is a big “Event” or “Set piece” in his role-play life.

    The funny thing is, it’s not until I’ve really started writing this I feel like I’m getting a grip on how I view things – I make very little differentiation between “theme” and “role play” because I tend to see them both as one big fluid whole – In SL and Caledon I happily flow between the two. I can quite happily discuss the state of my (SL) circus animals, chat about someone’s (RL) children, comment on the state of Windows Vista, and finish off asking about the “Caledonian Mars Shot” I’ve heard so much about, all in the space of one conversation. Are the SL specific bits “role-play” and the RL specific bits “themed”? Is it all just a “themed” conversation? I honestly don’t know how I would apply the definitions.

    I suppose the fact we can drop in and out of character like this is what a “themed” area is all about, rather than a pure “role play” area? Have I completely changed my argument since the start of this section? Answers on a postcard, please to the usual address…

    Appearance:

    This is an interesting one to me. Really, underneath it all, the avatar means nothing. It’s a visual cue for us to identify and interact with a RL person elsewhere in the world. It’s a glorified chat room avatar or name. But, of course it isn’t (well not to me). It really is how we see someone. Miss Tombola makes the comment about how strange she finds the idea of me with hair – and why wouldn’t she. She only knows me as a bald, professorial strongman, it is only a visual queue but to us, as people, it’s important. There’s something appealing about the fact we’re interacting with someone with a human (or otherwise) face. I’m sure I can’t be the only one who finds something almost indefinably different in talking to someone via IM (even in real time), compared to chatting face to face in SL. With IMs SL displays it’s roots – we’re back in the days of chat rooms and bulletin boards. As soon as the person is standing in front of us on screen, I find that my interaction with them subtly changes. Again, I’m drifting off the point, as I tend to do…

    I think appearance is important to a degree. It shouldn’t be, but it is. I think SL is open to all the first impression type judgements that we are open to in RL. But the thing is, I’ve found there’s usually something of the real person in their avatar. In SL and especially Caledon, avatar appearance and personality do entwine quite nicely, no matter how close or far from their original RL “operator” they look.

    Simulation and Role Play:

    “Theme and Role Play”, now “Simulation and Role Play”. I tied myself up in enough knots in the theme discussion, so I’m steering clear of this one, other than to say they all take place in SL and Caledon.

    Trust:

    I find it much easier to role play with friends. You develop a “short-hand” and have a feeling for how people are going to act and react in certain situations. If you’re running role playing events for people you know, you’re going to know which buttons to hit to make them happy (mostly).

    With people I don’t know, I find I tread more carefully. As I’ve said before, if you’re all playing happy, amiable Victorians, there’s no problem. Very little offence is going to be caused on either side. If, however, one person starts a rant about how much they hate you. How do you take it? Do you know this is purely in character? Has this person got a real grudge against you? Have they had a bad day at work and are using you to get out all their built up frustration? It all hinges on trust.

    Honesty:

    Tied to trust in some ways. I too pretty much behave as myself in Caledon and SL, except with a few extra Victorian “accessories”, but really that’s also my style of role playing in general.

    Although it may be seen as lazy role playing, I find that most of the characters I play are really just me with bits added on or taken off. I find it much more difficult to portray someone the further they get from my own personality. This may well be a limitation in my own role play ability.

    I know some people can be very “method” with how they play a character, but I always draw a distinct line between myself and my character. No matter how much I may appear to be “in-character” I always know I’m only playing a role and am in careful control of how I act and am quite happy to break out of that role if required.

    The mask I wear as the Circus Strongman, turned Professor of High Adventure, is a very thin one, though. What you see (or rather don’t see) is mostly me…

  6. I generally don’t pretend to be somebody else. That would require actual *gasp!* effort, which is not what my SL experience is going to be – I log on to be in an environment that I can mostly trust and be laid back and if there is an occasional massive shooting at a mansion, so be it!

    I’ll put it this way: I don’t “role play”, but I am “in character”. Merely because my RL persona has a very dirty mouth and a couple of extreme views of life. Would any Victorian woman be like that? Maybe in a brothel – but that’s not what I want my SL experience to be…

    D. Gustafson.

  7. So Professor, does that mean you meant it when you kissed me?

  8. Fuschia Begonia shudders at the thought of both that kiss and the toupee…”It stalks the circus at night, you know Virrginia; even Fred the Lion is scared of it. Still, keeps down the vermin nicely. As long as it stops eyeing up my shoes…”.

    Its an interesting point that people have made about appearance and I suppose myself and the Biggun have a slightly different angle on it to some. We came into SL with definite concepts of what we wanted to be; to a large extent the character followed the design. For me that was “cheeky pixie” (originally a pink alien, but still with butterfly wings) who finds humans endlessly fascinating but a bit, well, odd. Interestingly enough, the fact that she’s ever so slightly alien means that she can say things that a proper Victorian lady couldn’t. Fortunately, no-one seems to mind.

    And as my hubbie said, we do both mostly play what we are in real life. We both try to be honest (and perversely SL in many ways gives you the chance to be more honest), we both try to be considerate; that isn’t Victorian per se, its what people should be to each other. Its an old-fashioned point of view, but what the hey ;0)

    And I also think that some people are wary of the term roleplay because of what else it gets applied to: boring office simulation scenarios or kinky sex games. Not that both don’t serve a purpose, but as with so much else in life (real and virtual), its impressions and associations that count.

  9. The movies are being made specifically so everyone can be included! I don’t know exactly how to say what I mean, but if the action had been a raw, unscripted screen grab, or battles took place in IM, how much would people get out of it? Who would care besides the people who were there at the time? You can argue that scripting the action and editing for best effect is manipulative, I suppose, but wasn’t the whole point of this ‘war for charity’ to get people riled up enough to do something (i.e. donate)? That takes some manipulating.
    I, for one, want to keep making movies after this whole brouhaha. I promise not to involve you.

  10. Miss Picnic I’m glad that you want to keep making movies; that’s a good thing. But this war hasn’t been a big money spinner for SLRFL and, at least in the first few instances, the action was raw, unscripted and grabbed.

    Please don’t forget that at the very first filming, people were told directly not to get involved or do or say anything if they hadn’t been specifically told they were allowed to. That is why several people did get upset about the whole thing.

    No-one here has said that movie making is a bad thing, just that its not the same thing as roleplaying to quite a few of us.

  11. Miss Gustafson:

    Well, that’s it really isn’t it? “In-character”, “roleplay”, “theme” all just words that encompass everything we do and open to so many iterpretations and who can say where one ends and the other begins – everyone, it seems, have their own definitions. Whatever you call what you do, if you’re having fun you’re probably doing it right…

    Major Margulis:

    Of course I did, my dear Major, it’s just I’ve been busy with…er…things and Circus stuff and just haven’t had the chance to call you on the telephonic device..er…yes..that’s it…

    Slipping out of the strongman suit for a moment, I have to say that in some ways, this kind of illustrates what I’m talking about. Major Margulis (and Col O’Toole), I trust enough to do something like this with. People who will take our little kissing booth encounter and have fun with it. Yes, it was for SLRFL, but lets face it, especially with the pose the Major was using, it was, more importantly, amusing (Well, to me anyway – maybe to others it’s a disturbing image scarred on their brain).

    Fuschia:

    Ah well, I can reply to you anytime…I’ll move on…

    Miss Picnic:

    I don’t think anyone is knocking the movies or the fact that they should be made in Caledon. I think the only problem with the “War” is that it suffered from a little schizophrenia in places. At times it was pushed as a role play, at others a film – some got confused, some got upset, some just scratched their heads trying to work out what was going on. But this has all been gone through before, it’s a learning experience and everyone has learnt form it. Saying it could have been handled better in no way diminishes the work put into it by everyone involved and I applaud everyone who took on the task.

    I understand what you are getting at about the fact that a movie can draw people into an event they were not present at, but you will still end up with some people feeling left out because they were not at the filming. Simultaneously a film is an entirely artificial event. Things didn’t really unfold as people see them on the screen, eg the sweeping shot of the air ships, may have taken five takes to capture, with meticulous resetting having to be done between each take – whereas running the situation as an RP the airships would have been up off the launch racks and into the enemy in seconds.

    Which is better? It’s all a matter of preference, and there’s nothing to say they can’t both be great. The satisfaction of seeing your hard work transferred onto a movie screen (even if it is just a little YouTube window) must be amazing, but the spectacle of standing on the dockside of Caledon as airships stream overhead into an enemy attack played out live, will be an entirely different but equally exhilarating experience. In the movie version, you have a lovely perfect shot, in the RP (or “live”) version you are actually among what’s unfolding. OK, the airships may jitter through the air with lag and a naked avatar may run past shouting “LOL”, but you’re there experiencing and ideally taking part in things as they happen. I suppose that’s it. In the movie version you are striving for an end product, in the RP version you’re just looking for the “in the moment” experience of being there.

    I do sometimes wonder (although this will double the work for those involved so is probably completely impractical), if the ideal situation where we have this RP / movie crossover is to run a “live” RP event and then make a more idealised movie version of that event to show people what went on.

    I’m not entirely sure who you are promising not to involve in any further film making, but I don’t think anyone was saying they don’t want to be involved, just, as the Baron put it in his third axiom: Movies are not Role Play and Role Play is not Movies.

    I suppose that’s the crux of being in a “Themed” rather than “Role play” area. If we want to role play we can, if we want to make movies we can…

  12. I concur with what the Pixie says here. But I would like to add one bit of my own. This my thought only I am not speaking for anyone else here and meaning NO disrespect to anyone at all but, the movie really is not all that interesting to those of us who are not directly involved. Even Hollywood is having trouble filling theaters and they have millions of dollars and big name stars with which to draw. The joy and fun and interest in these SL films is seeing ourselves and our friends. A great example is the fantastic film Oolon Sputnik created from the Pirate Rave from last weekend. It has been viewed over and over and shared with friends and much discussed and posted on many blogs.

    He took what simply unfolded naturally and cut it with music that created a simple story line. If there is to be a war film, why cannot it be created that way? A loose outline and then let ALL of us ad lib it. Work with what you get and cut it into something fun. A few pick up shots could be added to round out the plot. Many more would have a chance to be involved and and to have fun.

    Just a respectful suggestion.

  13. I agree, Ms. Beaumont, that a documentary approach would be ideal. Originally, I thought that’s what the filming would be — a RP battle with a few video journalists swooping in and out to capture the action. However, we had to work with the constraints of getting everyone together at the same time and of having only one cameraman. Fantastic as Oolon is, he can’t be everywhere at once.

  14. The original intent with the movies *was* to have the drama unfold, capture it and edit it. In the first instance this worked pretty well. However people may or may not have noticed that there has never been a film from the Battle of Victoria City produced. It was broadly scripted but again the general idea was to let the main points unfold and film them. Even with two people lined up for filming, when your sim lags to the point where you only see grey on the screen and people who don’t want to follow the broad script but want to do there own thing, no matter how great an RP it might have been as a movie it’s rather a loss. That resulted in the current methods of treating them strictly as movies. In my own opinion it also helped lower some of the histrionics of some of our Beloved Caledonians.

    But to comment on a couple of points that have been raised:

    Appearance.
    It does and doesn’t matter to me. I have numerous SL friends who are non-human. I admit I have RL prejudices with furries and I initially brought them to SL. Through meeting various people I have revised many of my thoughts on the subject (and have admitted my weakness for Nekos). Now I just think the furries I know in RL are twats not furries as a whole. But the appearance of an AV can influence my opinions. I have seen RL pictures of some of my closest friends and have shared mine with a chosen few. However if your AV is 6′ with FF cup boobs, tan skin, blonde boofy hair, wearing platform slingbacks, jeans, and bling then chances are you’re not the sort of person I’m interested in talking to. Many of my friends have *interesting* AVs. The effort people have gone to in order to create an AV that’s a little different gives me the beginnings of an insight into what they’re like as a person. Or at least an interesting point to start a conversation with.

    RP vs Theme.
    Ah this one. I’m more in Miss Tombola’s camp with this one. Professor, to me, engaging in a conversation about someone’s RL kids, Window$ Vista while discussing the Caledon Mars Shot to me make it a themed conversation. If it was RP the Kids and Vista conversations would be done via IM (if at all) where no-one else would here them. But everyone has their own definitions of what is and isn’t RP. Like asking a Goth to define the subculture or better yet trying to get a legal definition of spam, everyone’s opinion will be different and yet they’re all talking about the same thing.

    Edward is essentially me, Filtered through a Victorian Aesthetic (yes Professor) and with less behavioral inhibitors. While he may do things I would never attempt in RL the thoughts all stem from the same mind.

    I enjoy my RP. In fact I would like to do more. I’ve been through a variety of forms since the early 80s. But I don’t want to RP all the time. I know one person who is constantly *on* in a variety of Alts and their constant desire to stir up DRAMA has pissed me off no end. However I’ve met another who I knew for 6 months and RP’d the entire time before we started talking OOC via IM (and that was even with only the two of us in the area).

    As for large events becoming oppressive, I was told this some time ago but I didn’t appreciate how true it would be at the time. The SLRFL has become one of those large oppressive events I feel. I missed last year’s but for months the ugly little purple boxes have littered the place and the SL vendors just scream “out of place”. There’s also my parochial misgivings about it being for the American Cancer Society rather than an international organisation, but I tend to put those aside since ultimately it should help everyone.

    I suppose that, like all things, up front communication and moderate indulgence will make it better all round.

  15. Well…

    …Perhaps this strikes at a deeper problem; though we are all playing SL, we are by no means all playing the same game. Some of us are playing Call of Cthulhu, some WoW, and some, apparently Grand Theft Auto *smiles*. Of course, some of us deny we are ‘playing’ at all…We are businesspeople, modellers, scripters, or merely enjoying the visual fripperies added to a glorified IRC program. Perhaps some of the ‘War’ events have exposed the difference in people’s game experiences. When people feel their experience is considered the ‘wrong one’, or feel they are being ‘controlled’ or imposed upon by another without their consent, they’re apt to bridle; even in a consenting situation, no-one *really* likes the DM, do they?

    Even in a ‘themed’ sim like Caledon, we have vistors from the mainland, and (thank the stars) differing opinions within the resident body; how much easier but how fearfully dull it would be if we all had but one mind!

    Oh, and thank you, Mr Pearse, for articulating what I think many secretly feel but wouldn’t admit; the RFL, though undoubtedly a good cause, and the recipient of much effort from many talented people (so many that it would be wrong to pick favourites) is very demanding, and more than a little tiring, even if one is only peripherally involved…Is it wrong to feel more than a little relieved that it will be over before long?

  16. First of all I would like to thank everyone for the wide range of different opinions, as well as the civil, constructive nature of all of them…Caledonian ethics at their finest.

    Next, I have a few comments on the recent comments.

    -On Movies-
    Just to make sure that no one misunderstands, I am in AWE over the excellent films that have been constructed concerning the war, and completely agree with Miss Picnic who says they were never envisioned or intended to be quite so difficult to shoot (or as intrusive) as they became, and Mr, Sputnik especially worked tirelessly as his job ballooned from the difficult to the impossible for sane mortals. This is exactly why I stated that I felt that the shooting of films in future should be viewed as separate creatures from whatever RP is going on. Yes, they were originally seen as the way that more people could be involved in the plot…but they had to a degree the opposite effect. Lets learn from the mistakes we made with all good intentions so that BOTH movies and RP will be better the next time around.

    -On Movies and RP Together-
    As I have stated here before, my experience online immediately before coming to SL was as a beta player and faction leader in Matrix Online. MxO is a MMORP based on and extending the plot of the Matrix films. As such every three months there is a major event, which works as follows:

    *A film is produced by the game designers and released to the players. These films usually involve feature characters played by professionals (such as Morpheus or Niobe or The Merovingean) and set the stage for the event, often including clues or puzzles.

    *One or more large scale events take place, usually involving feature characters, involving interaction with random or well-known player characters.

    *Special missions are enabled in the game, based on or connected to the movie. Sometimes these are quests, other times group battles or events (such as a hunt for a certain thing or person in The Matrix).

    *Smaller events may take place in the game, run by the designers, expanding on the original event.

    *A closing event is held about 2 weeks after the opening event, usually answering some questions and concluding some plots raised by the event while introducing new concepts to be explored and leaving some questions/plots open to be explored by player created RPs, sometimes with designer involvement.

    While obviously this model will not be fully workable in SL (no missions for example, or feature characters), I feel the concept of films being produced separately by a few individuals and used to introduce or advance RPs (rather then films of the RP itself), and then opening up the RP itself to far larger numbers of participants could be worth considering.

    -On The Relay for Life-
    As a veteran of last year’s RFL, I have said to many in Caledon (including my dear friend Mr. Pearse) that by the end we will all be sick to the gills of the color purple. It went on far too long last year, and seems to be going even longer this year. We are only at the half way point? My god, can the bastard be killed? Soon I will be forced to make a post in which I make comments concerning RFL that will be in the worst possible taste, but I won’t be able to help myself (for example, at least there are treatments available for most cancers, not so RFL).

    I also find the fact that the event donates to the AMERICAN Cancer Fund to be awfully parochial considering that Americans make up less then 40 percent of SL today and that percentage is falling fast. Perhaps for next year Caledon may wish to rethink our involvement in RFL and rais money instead for another, more international charity. A poverty relief fund or the World AIDS Task Force come to mind as perhaps more suitable (and more manageable).


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