On behalf of the Lead Team, I would like to thank everyone who came to the debut of Project Genesis.
You may have come for different reasons, but in the end, you all stayed for the same reason, to have some fun. I hope we succeeded in providing a fun platform and we will do our best to continue to do so.
Yesterday was a victory for us at Team Genesis. It was 18 months ago that we were approached with the opportunity to try what we were repeatedly told was “impossible.”
It was “impossible” to get anyone to take any interest in a Battlestar Galactica game, that was not based in the 12 Colonies, did not have Vipers and Raptors, and did not feature a Battlestar prominently.
It was “impossible” to overcome a reputation that the sim had been given, perhaps partly of its own accord, and partly by the actions of others, wishing to malign it for their own reasons.
It was “impossible” to rebuild from scratch, an entire sim, its sets, its combat system, its uniforms and player base.
It was “impossible” to get ANYONE to take notice of a storyline that was as “full of plot holes” that you could “fly a Battlestar through it.”
And my favorite of all, it was “impossible” for a handful of amateurs, with no experience and a shoe string budget, to lead a group of lemmings, much less a Role Playing simulation.
Well, yesterday we did the “impossible.” And we are still working to make the sim better. We have a ground build in progress, complete with an orbital elevator, a section of London, and store fronts for venders. We are still working on all new aircraft, for both Humans, as well as Cylons. We are going to debut a whole new Cylon Centurion, Raider, and Cylon fleet. And before long, Galactica herself will appear, and then the story gets even more intense.
We know our debut was not the largest, it was humble. We know that we are not going to be the talk of the SL world. And for that, we are delighted. We never went into this project with that goal. We are a different kind of simulation. We exist for the players. Don’t take our word for it. Ask those who joined us, see what their impressions are.
While it may appear that we are gloating, please understand, we are not. We are simply thanking those who have given us a chance to try our hand at providing a game with a different focus. A focus on the players. A focus on letting players decide more about the storyline, about their characters, and about the direction the game goes. It is THAT, which we are proud.
And to get here, we overcame some HUGE hurdles.
When we took up the offer to start the project, we first took inventory of the sim, its sim owned avatars, and the staff that remained.
What we saw was devastating. Sim avatars held only a small amount of useful material. The sim itself was stripped of almost everything. The player base was reduced to a handful, and that is being generous. There was nothing for a combat system, nothing that we could point to as a “shovel ready” item supply, and the staff that remained was largely demoralized and exhausted.
So before we set down the first pixel or Linden, we spent a few weeks debating, my hand picked team and I, about if this was even possible. For the record, I voted to not try. It was in that sad a state of destruction. I am glad that I was out voted. Though the road to where we are now proved far more difficult than any of us could have imagined. If our story were a Role Playing simulation, it would be a damn depressing game to be sure.
We came up with a basic premise, a storyline that was largely fantastical, but unworkable given the restrictions of Second Life. There are limitations to the capabilities of Second Life that simply can not be over come.So we had to refine the storyline. time and again we cut, cut more, cut even more, rewrote, re cut, then threw it away completely only to go back to it and revise it some more. And THAT was only the damn storyline! We had not even begun to address the other problems.
So we set out with a storyline that seemed to draw together some ideas that we all found interesting. A little bit of Hunger Games, a dash of Battlestar Galactica, some Star trek Enterprise, a bit of Jericho, some Johnny Mnemonic and a whole lot of cooking, baking, and seasoning. In the end we found ourselves with a dystopic world, where hope is difficult to find, where tragedy is as common as water, and yet, we could all relate. It works off the troubles we experience today in the headlines, and gives us each a sense that we could live in such a world, very much so.
But that was just the first step. Then we had to figure out, where do we even begin with this sim? So we started by cleaning out everything that we could. It was stripped so badly that there was nothing left anyhow. So we finished the job and started with zero.
As we began to set down the initial ships, we had originally planned to use Mercury. However, the builder and scripter for the ship and a key member of the staff that had remained, left us for an extended period of time. This was a difficult problem to work around and in the end we found we couldnt work around it at all. So we all felt our stomachs rip apart as I gave the final order… derez Mercury.
I think we all sat there, stunned, for several minutes when it disappeared. It still brings chills to remember that moment. The anchor piece of work that the sim was built around, gone. I wondered if I had just killed the sim for good. But there was no going back. None of the sim avatars had a copy of Mercury, and Xavier was out of communication. One way or the other, we were now on a course that would either end in disaster, or victory.
About half way through the process, we tried to befriend another sim. The help seemed like man from heaven. We were staggering under a series of leadership coming up missing. Of the initial six members of the team that seemed willing to help, half were gone for extended times, and those left, myself included, were at a loss as to how we would build a sim by ourselves. It looked like it was impossible.
So we tried this, and we scrapped the storyline that we were uncertain about anyways, to go a new direction. It looked like it was working and we were within days of opening. But things fell apart. And once again, we were back to square one, with the ships stripped from the sim, and now, demoralized and depressed, we just about gave in. But once again, my team voted, this time I agreed with them, and we reinstated the storyline we had worked up and set about replacing the ships. By now though, we had lost a huge amount of time.
What I had not disclosed to my team was, the sim owners had given us a deadline. They could not afford to continue to put money into an empty sim. It just was not something they could justify. So we set about how to get the sim going again, with what was now an even tighter budget. And now we also had an approaching deadline that threatened to end whatever progress we made, before we could roll out some attempt. So the few, and I mean FEW of us left, set out to do what even WE felt was as close to impossible as it can get.
We scoured the Marketplace for the best ships we could find. Since there was no way in hell we could build several starships in the time left, we had to turn to prefabricated ships. but we were not willing to settle for anything less than the best we could find. We settled on the Icarus and Prometheus from Moo Spyker. Beautiful productions that met our criteria and have received raves from those who have visited the sim. I conferred with Credo, our scripter, and we got the modular space station. it saved us 6 months of work, easily.
We also had the assistance of Ruath, our Cylon leader. She contributed her work, and created a whole new Cylon ship, the Scout! Thank you Ruath!
About that time we lost another member of the staff, and we were sorry to see them go. It was a set back because we all love them. It was the second time I had to give the order to do something that I did not want to do, but knew was necessary. We scrapped their ground build. I spent weeks putting off the decision. I just hated to say it, hated to give the final order, but with all the set backs we had faced, we needed to think outside the box. We needed to create a ground build that would be able to stand against any other sims ground build. Most of all, it had to be something recognizable to players immediately. So, because the storyline centered around the United Kingdom, we chose to create Piccadilly Circus in London. That build is still under production as of the posting of this memo. It will, when completed, stand alone in and of itself, and also provide a beautiful framework for the game.
We built the Arena. A place where we hope to host Hunger Games style events. Right now we are still working out some bugs in the combat system. What we are going to use is a custom built system, but like all things built from scratch, it is not working quite like we hoped, and those events are still on hold until we can provide an experience that the players will enjoy.
The fighters are still in production for the Genesis side of the sim. As it turns out, the design is nothing short of advanced. It is not a design that can even be built using the prims of Second Life. It must be built completely as a mesh. This was a hurdle we could not overcome, as a team. The single member of the team capable of working with mesh was already busy with a dozen projects. The other member of our team that has mesh experience was also busy with a dozen more. Sadly, I am only a writer, so I was useless. But days before our opening, we received the assistance of another addition to our team. He is very experienced with scripting and mesh. We hope to have those aircraft very soon.
It is unfortunate that our newest member of the team arrived so late, but their RL obligations were many and heartbreaking. But we know that now with the team we have, we can do more to bring the vision of Genesis to life, than ever, and to that end, we are delighted.
So let me thank the member of Team Genesis, past and present.
Xavier Pomegranate, Rhonda Streeter, Anaxamander Barbosa, Maximus Slade, Credo Rolland, Elena Torrez, Venice Ditko, Ruath Hazelnut, Tex Kelberwitz, Donney Dagger and Macy Wezzog.
Most of all, let me thank YOU, the players. And I hope that the challenges we overcame and will overcome, with be remembered long after we have told our story, and moved on to whatever comes next.