A young small business owner with a weakness for Manolo Blahniks decided that she wanted to create an installation unlike anything she was familiar with in Second Life, one that would preferably feature zombies and blood-sucking ghouls. So she plunked down $400 of her own money to rent the land she needed for what she had in mind, and then converted $400 more, to hire the staff to make it happen. Just the thing for Halloween, Sim Horror is a macabre, sci-fi tinged adventure (if it was a standalone videogame, it would easily fit in the genre known as survival horror.) It begins in a chamber of dancing flames, with a corridor that takes you past a graveyard and an industrial area full of rusty machinery, all beneath a foreboding sky.
“We tried to create like an abandon-type feel to this area,” Ms. Xevious tells me. “It’s all inside of a cube underwater, to give it that creepy feel it has.”
I’ll hold off on revealing too much of Sim Horror’s story, but it involves a satanically-cursed town with blood-splattered homes, near an evil creek and a death valley maze, all swarming with dangers that must be avoided, and a series of goals that must be accomplished, before you’re able to confront the source of all the evil plaguing the town, in the bowels of hell itself. (Using Second Life’s XML functionality, player scores are recorded and displayed on a website, tallying items collected and goals met, with the winner taking a cash prize exceeding 20,000 Linden Dollars-- or well over $100, at current market rates.)
Foxy counts Sim Horror a success; as of late yesterday, with a week of operation left, it’s attracted 669 ticket-buying residents. But at just L$75 a shot, she won’t be making anything like what she spent to put it all together, or even for the leasing of SimQuest and Jamaica, the two simulators she owns, or the Linden Dollars she spent, to pay a thirty-plus staff that includes builders, scripters, writers-- and bouncers.
“I don’t mind paying the monthly fees,” Foxy explains. “I had to pay off all my workers and scripters. Yeah, I pay them, [and] some of them have land on one of my sims. I don’t build, I don’t script, but I love to plan, and create up ideas, and have people [build] them for me.”
When Foxy Xevious first came to Second Life, she actually hadn’t planned on building something so ambitious.
“I came here and didn’t even know you could do [something like] this," she says. "I did the going-to-clubs at first, and then after awhile, I just wanted to do something more to keep me busy and having fun.” Now, she says, “I barely ever leave my sims.” Because by then, she had noticed that so many other residents were also spending most of their time in nightclubs, too, and in shopping malls, as well—and she wanted more.
“I see a lot of sims right now and they are all doing the same things,” she tells me. “All that space just to do the same things.”