Check Out Splintered Rock, a Webcomic Fueled by Reader Interaction (and Second Life)
Iris Ophelia's ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style
At first blush Vivacity Interactive's Splintered Rock might not seem much different from a lot of webcomics still in their infancy, beyond its use of SL for its artwork. Venture a little deeper and you'll see a surprising framework for a one-of-a-kind interactive storytelling experience with a serious RPG twist, which might even be helping to support a venerated sci-fi sim in SL. Here's what I mean:
Though still in its early stages, readers of Splintered Rock will be able to vote on the direction that the story will take in future episodes. In addition to that, die-hard fans may never have to deal with losing their favorite characters since they will be able to buy tokens (50 tokens for $2.00) which can be used to directly boost their characters stats and as a result their odds of survival (in true rpg fashion.)
The Splintered Rock sim has been around for years (it's one of the locations shown in this epic sci-fi machinima from 2011), and it's part of a cluster of sims which were recently covered in detail over on Prim Perfect. While some potential readers might balk at the idea of spending money to keep a webcomic character happy and healthy, but I'd encourage you not to weigh that value based on the webcomic alone. Consider how many passion-project sims just like these have closed in the past couple years in Second Life. Instead of a tipjar, this may be a more innovative way to support and maintain the sims while also fostering further development. Maybe that's not the case (no one's explicitly said that it is), but even so it's one more way that other sim owners might be able to support their sims, their communities, and themselves.
The comic itself isn't perfect -- if I'm being perfectly honest, some of the avatars used could stand to look a bit more current and it would be nice to see them make more use of dynamic lighting, shadows, and depth-of-field to give each panel a more distinct ambiance -- but it's an interesting project that may help a pretty cool sim endure even longer, and that's win-win in my books.
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Iris Ophelia (@bleatingheart, Janine Hawkins IRL) has been featured in the New York Times and has spoken about SL-based design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan and with pop culture/fashion m