Thursday, January 29, 2009


amoderia, originally uploaded by seredwoollahra.

A planet in Amoderia, a low security system in the Verge Vendor region.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Lost Body

Lost Body, originally uploaded by seredwoollahra.

There's something eerie and artistic about this Twinity snapshot.. this poor fellow lost several bodyparts in Twinity's virtual Berlin. He didn't respond to my enquiries, so perhaps he lost his tongue too :)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A carebear with claws

Tonight I had a little bit more excitement in Eve Online than I initially bargained for: someone very nearly destroyed my Myrmidon. If that would have happened, I wouldn't have survived either.

But first, let's go back a bit. I bought this ship a few days ago, because the Vexor cruiser I was flying just didn't have what it takes for some of the more heavier missions. The Myrmidon is more resilient and has more options, so I bought one, fitted the modules I was allowed to use or saw fit, and did my first level 3 mission. That mission happened to take place in a 0.4 system, which makes every pilot there fair game for pirates, griefers and other scum. Between 0.5 and 1.0 systems are reasonably safe (with 0.5 as least safe and 1.0 as the safest) because Concord provides a certain degree of protection against these guys, but below 0.5 that's no longer the case.

After this mission I returned to this 0.4 system and even though I knew it wasn't secure, I was still quite shocked when another pilot locked on to me and opened fire, completely unprovoked. I tried to warp out but that wouldn't work; the other guy used a warp scrambler which effectively disabled my engines. I was dead in the water! There was no option but to fight and as fast as I could I enabled my damage control and armor modules, while simultaneously returning fire and launching my scout drones. So the battle was on and initially it didn't look good for me, as I lost shields and armor in a quicker pace than he; I just couldn't match his firepower. It seemed to be only a matter of time before I lost my ship and lots of my possessions. Then I remembered to enable my armor repair units and that seemed to turn the battle; my armor held steady, while his was quickly blown away.

In the mean time, I completely lost control over what was going on around me. Our ships, our drones, and then to my surprise someone elses ship and drones circled one another, exchanging rapid fire at only a few thousand meters apart. I couldn't figure out who the third ship was, or who exactly was firing at whom, but I assumed I had a whole gang of pirates blasting away at me - and yet my armor held, while the assailant's didn't!

After two or three agitated minutes, the enemy exploded, which broke the warp scramble, so I attempted another warp at the nearest stargate. Ordinary, after a kill, one would try to loot and salvage or at least take the other guys' drones, but I was happy to be alive and completely unsure about the third persons' intentions so I just tried to get out as fast as I could. As luck would have it the third person didn't scrable my warp and I got out - in one piece. I survived a PVP encounter!

Later, while checking the Battleclinic killboards, I found out that the third person was not fighting against me, but with me. He was the one who destroyed the enemy; he inflicted significantly more damage. I don't know why he sided with me, but he saved me, and for that I am grateful.

A little while later, I returned in a fast and small frigate to see if there was anything left to loot or salvage. I found the enemies' drones still flying around, so I quickly scooped those to my cargo hold and flew back home.

I've learned a valuable lesson: trust no one in space if you're in low sec sectors - i.e. anything below 0.5. And, even when you're a carebear, remember to bring your claws.. they may save you one day!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Twinity: Mirrors

Twinity: Mirrors, originally uploaded by seredwoollahra.

This Twinity room looks a lot bigger than it actually is, because of the large mirror on the wall in the back. I'm in there too! I can't remember seeing mirrors in Second Life, by the way. Do those even exist?

Been there done that? Nope

I just read up on Jeran Tek's epic trek across all of the EVE Online universe - yes, all 5000+ systems. A great achievement, for which he got a nomination for the E-ON Magazine Award 2009. I never quite realised how big this place really is! Here's the map of the entire EVE galaxy; the grey dots are systems I haven't been to yet. Still lots of room for exploration!

I can't imagine something like this in Second Life, though. In SL, the map changes continuously as islands are added or vacated; buyers change the names of the regions they just bought on a whim. But then, Second Life isn't intended for travel or exploration, even though there are some really nice places to explore.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


I have, for quite some time, been publishing snapshots of all sort of virtual worlds at Flickr, and I'm quite happy about the service there. The tooling is sufficient for me, generally it's not too difficult to get things done, and there's a sizeable (potential) audience. Yet, something is missing: an audience!

Flickr is not really geared towards the virtual audience; it's aimed at real world photograps. At Flickr, you're welcome with your Second Life snapshots, but it's not what Flickr is really about. For a while I was wondering if I should stick to Flickr or if I should look for another service, and in response to a blog item about that dilemma, a reader of this blog pointed be to Koinup. After checking it out I decided to give Koinup a go, and so far, the results are positive. The audience at Koinup is specifically interested in virtual worlds, meaning there's quite a bit of interest, even in non regular virtual worlds like Eve Online where I am currently quite active. In plain language: my snapshots get more eyeballs, and I am happy with that.

An added bonus: one can automatically have the snapshots uploaded to Flickr as well, so even when I'm not really paying attention to Flickr, my pictures still end up there too.

So for those of you who have an interest in sharing visual impressions (pictures, but also movies for instance) of virtual environments: give Koinup a try!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Second Life and Eve Online market comparison: geography

One of the more interesting areas of virtual worlds, is their economy. Much has been said about that in recent years, most of it by people much smarter than I. But, living in multiple virtual worlds makes for some interesting observations, and today I’d like to make some comparisons between two virtual worlds I’m familiar with: Second Life and Eve Online. More specifically, I'd like to discuss the impact of geography on the markets in those worlds. And I'll throw in some Twinity as well; the picture here was taken in Twinity's Wundervoll underwear store.

Second Life shortcuts
Before entering Second Life, I imagined it to have cities, more or less like real life: concentrations of people, goods and services, lots of these available (preferrably) within walking distance. Pretty soon however I realised that almost no one walks to a shop in Second Life. Instead, you'll look for something in the Second Life viewer's search menu, and when you find it, you teleport to the location where the item is on offer. Once there, you make your purchase and teleport out again; sometimes you’ll shop a bit in the neighbourhood if you see something appealing nearby, but usually it ends there. Granted, there are a few (RPG or themed) villages where one might find multiple shops, and there are shopping malls, but the main locator for goods or services is still the search directory. This means there’s no need to physically concentrate shops or services; hence, there are no real large shopping or trade hubs in Second Life as far as I know of. Shopping is not driven or constrained by geography; it's governed by the search directory.

New Eden's rocky roads
In EVE Online, the situation is much different. The EVE galaxy (called New Eden) is divided in some 5000 solar systems, connected by stargates which allow pilots to travel between them. Solar systems are grouped into regions, regions in empires. Each region has it’s own market for goods, because in New Eden, geography is a factor: travel and transport take real time! Flying from stargate to stargate, jumping from system to system, a trip from one place to another may take a lot of time (perhaps even more than an hour), and there's no shortcut or instant teleportation like in Second Life. Add in the constraints on the amounts of goods ships can carry (not everyone can transport large amounts of goods in the cargo hull) and the risks of low security systems where you might be ambushed by pirates, and it will be clear that in EVE Online’s marketplace geography is a strong factor, much like real life I might add. Most people are lazy, they are willing to pay a bit more if they can get an item here and now instead of flying around the galaxy to acquire it. they just prefer to buy their goods as close by as possible, for a acceptable price of course.

Lorry drivers in space
And this is also why Eve Online has a logistical sector and professional traders, the haulers and merchants of space. Price differences between certain items in different regions can make for good trade! Buy low in this region, sell high in another.. merchants and traders know these differences and act upon them. Other players do the transport of these trade goods, they are the lorry drivers of space, flying their enormous freighers from station to station. They will - if the price is right - transport the trade goods throughout Eve Online, as per the agreed contracts. In Second Life, you'd just transfer stuff from your inventory to another person's, but in Eve Online, real transport is involved, and real players accept the transport contracts offered by traders and haul the goods and materials all over Eve Online for a real reward.

Natural change
Still, even with all the hauling and trading going on, supply and demand will vary per system or region and, more or less naturally, certain systems will emerge as preferred places to do trade. And so, Eve Online has real trade hubs: well known across New Eden are places like Jita, Oursulaert and Dodixie for instance. But most regions too have their hotspots; regional hubs with less appeal and a smaller market, but still interesting places to sell your stuff. These days, I sell most of my goods at Alentene, a regional trade hub of the Verge Vendor region.

Interesting things happen to trade hubs. They were not intentionally created or maintained to be hubs. They just happened, probably because of the circumstance which the gameplay made possible, for instance the availability of good mission agents or the opportunity to do factional warfare. This means they are not static, and changes in the circumstances (gameplay) will affect their regional and supraregional markets. Todays’ busy trade hub may be a quiet backwater in a years’ time. As alliances and balances of power shift, as corporations, agents or certain types of gameplay move to different systems, pilots and merchants might find themselves compelled to move to greener pastures in order to keep their businesses going, and within a short time, the place may be virtually deserted. A natural process, which has happened uncounted times on planet earth, repeats itself in New Eden.

So where does Twinity fit in? Is geography a factor? How about teleportation? As said before, Twinity attempts to be a mix between real and virtual life. Twinity does have virtual recreations or real world cities: Berlin most notably, but there's talk about Singapore and London as well. If you own a store in the real Berlin, you can hire the same spot in Twinity's Berlin as well, and you can sell virtual copies of your original goods there. You can teleport to this location, but geography is still a factor; not in terms of distance, but certainly in terms of location.

In a next post (expected later this weekend) I want to explore some more differences between these three virtual environments!