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Source: ELF CIRCLE EVENTS CALENDAR WEEK OF JANUARY 12-19, 2016

The deadline for the 9th annual Elf Circle Bardic Competition has been extended through Dec 6th. See full details here.

Source: Bardic Competition Deadline Extended

SKYRIM MUSINGS

Meeko, Karto, Strawberry Girl, and Merilwyn

Meeko, Kharjo, Strawberry Girl, and Merilwyn

I’ve been playing Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, through Steam, pretty seriously since sometime in July. I know, I know … I’m a step or two or three behind the times. This is the first game of it’s type I’ve played and I really enjoy it because of the storyline.

Remaining true to myself, I created a boring female red-headed Norn warrior named Merylwin (Rose in Sindarin).

During the first several weeks I completed the intro quest lines, got used to the UI, and learned to use things. Lots of online research. Also I’ve done ALOT of just exploring, getting the symbols on my map.

I’ve joined the Thieves’ Guild, the Companions, and the Stormcloaks. I’m considering doing the Dark Brotherhood quest line next so that I can get Shadowmere, whom some consider the best horse in Skyrim. I think I can make him essential using the setessential <base ID> <1/0> console command. On the other hand, I’m pretty happy with the horse I first bought in Whiterun, whom I call Strawberry Girl.

My dog Meeko, is a big help, even if he barks a lot and dies often. Because he’s a good dog, I just reset and redo.

I love having Kharjo, a male Khajiit Warrior, as a follower. Marrying him would involve some console finagling.

Thanks to some online video tips I got my home and furnishing (except for one room because I was hurried) in Whiterun and Windhelm for free. It really was easier to use the “Slow Time Shout,” even though the process is boring and time consuming overall.

Main Quest Line – Act I is proceeding okay but I’ve got to figure out how to use the Whirlwind Sprint more effectively.

After joining the Stormcloaks I completed the Civil War quest line for Ulfric Stormcloak. He reminds me of Thorin Oakenshield and is voiced by the actor who played  Buliwyf in the film The 13th Warrior, Vladimir Kulich. I wanted to stab him in the back myself by the end of the war.

On a side note,  buy and furnish Breezehome before the Battle for Whiterun.

I haven’t figured out how to take good pictures in Skyrim yet, but I’m working on it.

An Apologetic Announcement

I am not able to be in Second Life as much as I would like and my blog has suffered. Apologies to my reader.

Welcome to SL High Fantasy

EC RFL St Pat Hunt

The week-long Elf Circle’s Elven Place Hunt event, organized by Tira’allara (Amber Batista) for Team Circle of Life to benefit Relay For Life of Second Life 2015, begins Sunday March 8th and runs through Saturday March 14th at 5PM SLT. We encourage you to donate whatever you can to this great cause throughout the hunt. Complete information is available from the poster located at the Elf Circle Welcome Center at ElvenGlen.

Your goal? Be the first to find 10 magical colored shamrocks in the correct order sprouting around the Elf Circle sims.

Playing is simple. Sometime on Sunday March 8th magical colored shamrocks will sprout in the Elf Circle Sand Box in ElvenMoor. That’s your first clue🙂

Choose a color and click on the matching shamrock. Wow! The shamrock will give you a magical clue to the next shamrock in that color course. 10 shamrocks in each…

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IN WHICH I REVEAL THE LOCATIONS OF ALL THE CAPSULES!

The C-Me app is activated.

The C-Me app is activated.

Okay, so here I am at the main island in the Pierus Camping area, ready to continue MadPea’s Buried, Having gotten the C-Me app activated I am ready to begin the search for clues in the disappearance of Lily Morano, an author who was researching geocaching.

This is what the C-Me Capsule looks like. The green band blinks.

The C-Me Capsule. The green band blinks.

At this point the game changes from a sim-based puzzle to a grid-wide hunt through merchant sponsored locations, with one major change – no hints. The HUD is affected by lag and doesn’t always display properly. The “Help” diagram isn’t clear on what to do with the HUD, whether to press the display or the glowing green bar or bang your head on the desk. Many players are confused by this.

Although the C-Me application does tell the player to locate 25 C-Me Capsules, the player doesn’t really have a clue (pun intended) at to what to do at this point. There are no verbal or chat clues telling the player what to look for or giving hints as to where to look. The only clue is the wireframe graphic on the HUD. The geocache capsule is shown on the left.

For those of you unfamiliar with wireframe, it is “a mode of viewing the world by seeing only the edges that connect the vertices of objects, avatars, and terrain. The client wire frame mode can be toggled on and off in Advanced > Rendering > Wireframe (or via Ctrl-⇧ Shift-R).” I liken it to the chicken wire frame under a paper mâché sculpture.

Capsule location in normal view

Comparison of HUD location graphic in normal view

These photos demonstrate how to use the HUD graphics. Use your camera controls to look down at the area. Locate shapes or terrain similar to the graphic on the HUD. In some cases, switching to wireframe view may help.

Same location in wireframe view

Same location in wireframe view

As I stated in my first post, players have been chastised for cheating by using wireframe view as a search tool. However, I feel it is no more of a cheat than “camming” around locations.

When a location is unlocked one of the grey dashed lines turns green and an image appears on the HUD with red X. The display on the HUD is an overhead wireframe view of the general area where the C-Me Capsule is located. The red X shows the location of the C-Me Capsule. Click on the display to be teleported to the region. You will not necessarily land at the location shown on the HUD. If you wish to return to a previous location, click on the corresponding green dashed line.

Although the C-Me host asks questions, the player is simply a spectator.

Although the C-Me host asks questions, the player is simply a spectator.

Once you find the C-Me Capsule, click on it and a mystery host will speak directly to you. Or actually to the character you are playing. Although it helps to hear sounds from objects, the text will appear in local chat.

These comments are not clues. They help to explain and advance the storyline, but give no hints as to upcoming locations or information to assist your search.

Occasionally the player will be asked a question but your character will supply the answer. The player does not have to type anything in chat. By the time you locate the C-Me Capsule #9 things start to get a little weird, as they tend to do in MadPea games.

Half way through we get our first glimpse of Lily. She seems to be enjoying herself. We meet the player that Lily choose to follow and the game gets darker. By C-Me Capsule #16 the true nature of the game is revealed. The locations of the C-Me Capsules become more difficult to find.

The player learns that their character is a participant in a reality show and that viewers of the show are voting on the odds of survival. Not only that, but the player’s character must choose another player to “follow” and make decisions at to their fate.

045 Capsule 25b

Gameplay would be more fun if the player was actually allowed to make a decision and the outcome of the game was based on that. As it is, the player just walks through the scenario without affecting it.

End Game

End Game

The ending is sadly anti-climactic. The C-Me Capsule #25 is very difficult to click and you may have to repeat the animation several times. Once you get to the prize area you’re in for an unpleasant surprise. All 25 prizes are buried and you have to dig them up individually. It takes 5 clicks and 45 to 60 seconds per prize. And you don’t get your half million dollars either.

I’ve read that this hunt is the most boring MadPea game to date and also that it is the most successful. For me, it fell short of satisfactory. More interaction, more pertinent information from the C-Me host, clearer graphics, the ability to enlarge the Hud graphic, better explanation of geocaching and the capsules used, and finally … a point. There was just no point to this game other than finishing it to get prizes.

Speaking of the prizes, I am not going to critique the prizes individually. As a creator, I know how difficult it is to please everyone. As a gamer, I am tired of blood, gore, dirt, and sadism as a reward. I appreciate most those prizes I can display in my General sim home.

I suppose that the real point is that the game earns funds that are desperately needed in order for MadPea to continue development. It would really make sense for Linden Labs to contract MadPea to provide user content and entertainment, but that would probably never happen. I also suggested they try Kickstarter but they removed that comment from their site.

One of the best things about MadPea games is the cooperation of the community. It is one of the few, if not the only, chat community of its kind, for the most part welcoming, polite, and helpful. The community contributes to the joy of the game.

A few notes: There needs to be a warning at the beginning that at least one of the locations (#24!) is in an Adult rated location. If you are not age-verified you cannot get the last capsule.

Who is behind C-Me? Who is watching this awful reality and how? And where are Morgan and the other “players”?

And, as promised, here are the locations for C-Me Capsules 1-24.

C-Me Capsules 1-12

C-Me Capsules 13-24

MADPEA BURIED GAME ~ PART ONE

MadPea "Buried Game" starting point

MadPea “Buried Game” starting point

I always look forward to MadPea games, not so much for the prizes but for the challenge and the great resident community chat. The mad Peas are fun, entertaining, and helpful.

The games have great storylines, the prizes are above average, and the gameplay is usually challenging.

All of that is true for the latest offering, Buried ~ except the challenging part. Don’t get me wrong. The objects for which you search are downright hard to find, but not because the player has to decipher complex clues and solve puzzles. It’s because the graphics on the HUD are small and poorly defined and at the beginning there are no clues to let the player know what to look for. Listening to chat shows that this has led to great frustration for many players.

I enjoyed the game once I figured out the key to deciphering the HUD display. Although players have been chastised for cheating by using wireframe view as a search tool, I feel it is no more of a cheat than “camming” around locations.

That is game designer Kiana Writer in the background

That is game designer Kiana Writer in the background

So, on to my Buried experience. The first part of the game is good ole straightforward MadPea at it’s best.

Camp Bulletin board at start point

Camp Bulletin board at start point

Start by teleporting to the main island in the Pierus Camping area, once a public camping site and now home to super couple Lily and Joshua Morano. We know nothing more than that Lily went missing while researching a new book on geocaching and Joshua is offering half a million dollars for the first one to find her.

The Pierus Islands Camping Area

The Pierus Islands Camping Area

After a quick shopping jaunt to the camp store, I purchased a HUD/Tablet ($300L) and, following instructions, I boarded a small fishing boat and set out to explore the area.

The island environment is a joy to explore

The island environment is a joy to explore

With my usual middlin’ thoroughness, I circumnavigated each island before stopping to explore. There are things to find if you look. The islands are very beautiful, if dark and misty. There is a lot of gray.

Lily's Writer Studio Gazebo

Lily’s Writer Studio in the Folly

The first island to the north, Thelxinoe, contains little more than a shabby chic folly, obviously Lily’s writing studio. Josh has left it untouched, awaiting Lily’s return. Oddly enough there is a hatchet buried in the window sill. On the desk are two documents, a loving letter from Joshua and an unfinished letter from Lily, written in her native language, to her mother. Luckily my tablet’s equipped with a universal translator.

Faded Photographs, scattered now it bits and pieces

Faded Photographs, scattered now it bits and pieces

The Moreno’s beautiful home is located on Melete, the northernmost island. Josh hasn’t been able to bear being here and except for the dust, it looks like Lily just left. Books and pictures lie scattered about.

Arche is more important than it looks

Arche is more important than it looks

Avoiding the reefs, I swung south along the western coast line to the southernmost island, Aolde and then back north to Arche to explore Lily’s greenhouse. Lily is an avid natural gardener, having written a book on the topic, and evidence of her efforts fill the island.

Catching my breath before starting the search for Lily in earnest

Catching my breath before starting the search for Lily in earnest

After wandering around for a bit, I find the clue needed to start the search in earnest.

At this point the game changes from a sim-based puzzle to a grid-wide hunt through merchant sponsored locations. Although the C-Me application does tell the player to locate 25 C-Me Capsules, the player doesn’t really have a clue (pun intended) at to what to do next. The HUD is affected by lag and doesn’t always display properly. The “Help” diagram isn’t clear on what to do with the HUD, whether to press the display or the glowing green bar or bang your head on the desk. Many players are confused by this.

Continued in Part Two.

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