“Our dreams are a second life.” ~Gerard de Nerval
By Cat Boccaccio.
MadPea games in Second Life often unfold in dark and mysterious surroundings, shrouded in fog, shadows of unthinkable shapes looming – and yet all are created by a bright, even brilliant team of scripters, 3D modellers, designers and testers from around the world. In episode 8 of the Drax Files: World Makers, machinima artist Draxtor Despres introduces us to MadPea team leader and inveterate story-teller, Kiana Writer.
Spell-binding immersive games like The Peatonville Mystery and Sanity Falls are MadPea’s speciality, with story components and props meticulously designed and modelled to propel the disturbing, but ultimately rewarding, story lines along.
Second Life offers a unique opportunity for immersive gaming. “In a lot of console games, you become a totally different person,” Ms Writer says, “but in Second Life so many people identify themselves as their avatars. So they get to play as themselves, and that’s really huge.”
While Kiana Writer admits she is no artist or designer (“I’m like the painter who can’t paint!”) , she has assembled a talented group at MadPea. “They are like my paint brush,” she says. “You can explain the vision that you have in your head, and they can bring that to life.”
Second Life also lends itself well to collaboration, especially when participants are separated by oceans. They can meet inworld in real time; work, discuss, plan interactively as a group. “It doesn’t feel like we are in different countries, because we are all in the same space.”
But MadPea and Second Life are confined to adventure and exploration games, not action games, correct? Wrong. The technology has evolved so much, Ms Writer explains, that the MadPea team are actively developing an action game called Unia, of which Drax gives us a sneak preview.
Throughout the interview, Drax provides his usual ingenious combination of behind-the-scenes action with stunning Second Life vistas. The scenes Drax shows us of Unia, the action game in development, do look fast-paced and exciting, but still retain the signature MadPea dark suspense, quirkiness, and attention to detail on a grand, dramatic scale.
My only question is about the Unia elephant. A friendly elephant, yes? The elephant is on “our” side, right? Right?
Screenshots from Drax Files: World Makers Episode 8.