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Friday, June 14, 2013

Review: A Look At One Shell Shocked Company For Shell Shocked Sims – Margie Zeplin Reporting…

    When one first hears the term Second Life Military Community, or SLMC, they may think of an in world Second Life group that revolves around real life military veterans. This is where the name might be misleading for some. Although there are real life military veterans within the SLMC, the community itself has nothing to do with real military affairs. In actuality, it's far more civilian and gamer friendly.

   The SLMC is a community on the grid that consists of various in world militaries, each with a different sim, theme, heart and soul of their own. To fund the high costs of their sims, sometimes SL militaries take to selling the weapons, uniforms, vehicles and other gear they issue freely to their members. The obvious advantage of buying weapons is that you don't need to be wearing the group's tag in order to equip and operate them. 

    Many weapons in the SLMC don't originate from any SL military. Instead, they come from individuals and in world companies who make and distribute their merchandise to the grid, either for profit or for pleasure. One such company that makes and sells a variety of weaponry to the grid is Shell Shock Industries, or SSI. I managed to gain an interview with an invaluable member of SSI known as R3D Emerald. 

    R3D was able to shed insight on what it's like in the weapons making business. According to him, there are unique challenges in ensuring his merchandise is high quality. He has to make sure his guns are aesthetically pleasing and of good builds, for one. For another reason, he has to make sure they sound good and realistic, whether his guns are supposed to represent solid bullet firing, modern day weaponry, or if they're supposed to be more akin to ray guns from sci-fi genres. 

    The other challenge is the scripting, which in of itself presents a whole slew of challenges, according to Mr. Emerald. SL military sims are very strict about script numbers and lag, and therefore SSI must keep its guns' scripts to a minimum. Inevitably though, lag will occur. SL military sims are notorious for lag, and that is to be expected with many combatants running around and shooting bullets and rockets at one another, or driving tanks or bombing from above with aircraft. To ensure his guns will still fire under heavy lag, R3D tests his weapons himself in laggy sims. 

    Even if the gun doesn't freeze up, it still has to work up to par with what buyers want. The "feel" of the gun, as Mr. Emerald puts it, must be good. To help ensure customers will be satisfied with the "feel" of the gun, Mr. Emerald makes sure it doesn't feel "choppy" when fired and that it has a good spread, rate of fire and a good clip size, among other things. 

    Some weapons on the grid may be made entirely by one individual. For SSI, Mr. Emerald assures this writer that more than one person is involved with the weapon making process, as is common in these companies. One person may create the actual build, while others search for the sounds and another will create the scripts. 

    I have actually known R3D for quite some time and used many SSI products before, and can therefore personally attest to their high quality at good prices.

But why did R3D Emerald get into the business of making and selling weapons? Was it due to profits or passion?

When asked why he indulges in the often time consuming task of making a gun for SL, R3D assured me that he does it simply for the joy of it and will often hand out free copies of his work to close friends. 

    Sadly, SSI has no in world or Market Place store of its own any more. What weapon making R3D does do now is usually for the military, he is currently associated with, known as Eclipse.

 Sadder still, Eclipse no longer has a sim of their own. What burdens will SSI and Eclipse face in the future? Will Eclipse once again have their own sim, or will they be forced to continue to share a sim with another SL military? Will Eclipse even last that long? The answers to these questions and updates to the situation are something I promises will come in future articles.

Margie Zeplin

Join the  Shell Shock Industries  group to stay in the know


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