By Bixyl Shuftan
In the past few years, the game "Animal Crossing
" and it's sequels have gotten more popularity. So it's no surprise the game has a few fans in Second Life. One such fan made a place in Second Life clearly modeled after the game: Retroville. Hearing about it, I decided to take a look.
The entry area is the Retrovile welcome station. The sim rules are what most would expect of a family friendly sim, no griefing, no nudity (at least none showing bits), etc. Diapers are also not allowed, and while not specifically prohibited, it's a given moderators will be unhappy with hearing any profanity. You'll also get an experience HUD for the sim and two gestures (more on those later). There's also a single piece of cabbage that when clicked on will say and do something, notably cover the room with more veggies, "Cabbage for all!"
Activating one gesture will bring up the HUD, which shows you what materials you've gathered (which of course at the start is zero). The other will carry out actions. One example is if you're next to a tree, activating the action gesture will cause you to shake the tree and cause sticks and sometimes fruit to drop (or a coconut if you shake a palm). Going up to the dropped items and doing the action gesture again will cause you to pick them up, and add them to your inventory HUD. There are also a few large rocks with small rocks next to them, and you can pick up the small rocks. Next to one building, "Gam's Cranny," there's a workbench where you can craft items. With just rocks and twigs, you can only make a few items at first, such as stone hatchets and simple fishing rods. But with the stone hatchet, you can chop trees a few times to get some wood, which can be used to make more items like wooden shovels. Digging at a rock with a wooden shovel, you may find some ore, which can be used to help make a metal hatchet or metal shovel.
There is of course more to the place than just crafting. At the north edge of the sim are the shops (watch out for that train). Some of the shops are empty and available for merchants to rent, but there are a number that are active. Gamatech is the main store, owned by the owner of the sim Gama UwU, and usually has a bot there. Over much of the sim, there are roads and rivers. There are houses that people can rent and make their homes. There's a sandbox area where group members can rezz items. There's also a soccer field, and a playground area. To the south is the beach area with palm trees. There's a boat next to a dock, but I wasn't able to ride it around.
On occasion, I could hear a gust of wind, and looking up there was a wrapped box tied to a balloon floating across the sim. Those with slingshots can try to shoot them down and get a prize. Sometimes, you may hear a dragonfly buzzing around. You can try to catch it with a net if you have one. And you may see fish in the water. If you have a rod and reel, you can do some fishing.
When I was at Retrovile in the summer, there was another sim next door, Carrington. It was the home of "Camp Pocket." Around the place were a number of small RV campers. Dropping by in September, however, the sim was blocked. It may be it was just temporarily down for some remodeling.
Eventually, I would make contact with the owner of Retrovile, Gama UwU. When I asked him how he came up with the idea of Retrovile, he answered, "A multitude of reasons, really! I'd often see people in Second Life complain that they were bored, that there was nothing to do. Since I spend most of my time scripting in SL, it seemed like the perfect excuse to see what Experiences were capable of! Another complaint was that it was hard to earn Linden dollars other than Linden Realms, so I wanted to try to create a fun way to earn L$ that was supported by the community itself and thankfully it seems to have worked out. The theme itself was due to restrictions. At the time I couldn't afford full region so I was limited to only 5000Li in a homestead. I've always loved Animal Crossing, and it's simplistic style was the perfect fit for a limited space like that."
When asked how long did it take to develop the sim, Gama answered, "They've been around for about three years now I think? I've never reached a point where I've felt "That's good enough" and left it as it, it's constantly being worked on an improved! The Experience HUD itself has had two iterations, the most recent of which took around four months to complete and was how I spent my time in lock-down."
I then asked about the HUDs and gathering materials, and what else was there to do. Gama told me, "You start off gathering materials from trees and rocks as you said. You can then use the materials you've gathered to craft tools such as bug nets for catching bugs, fishing rods for fish, axes to gather wood, shovels to mine for ore or slingshots to shoot down present balloons! Anything you gather can be sold at the shop in the north-east of the sim for Bells, our sim currency. The Bells you earn can be used to purchase furniture that's only available at Retroville, or you can trade in your Bells for L$ at the ATM. You can earn up to 49L$ a day just by having fun.
"In the past we've had Fishing Tourneys where all the fish you catch are measured and prizes awarded, a similar type of event for Bugs, we have yearly Halloween event where Jack visits and gives you a Trick or a Treat depending on which items you bring him, snowman building in winter and a few spontaneous ones. You can go back through the Announcements channel in our Discord server to look back on most of Retroville's history, including some pictures from past events (smile)."
I then asked about the homes. Gama responded, "They're designed to be super customizable, renters can do things such as change the roof/mailbox colors, wallpaper, flooring, add/remove doorways or windows or add new rooms all with a control panel on the wall inside. I don't feel super creative myself when it comes to homes, but some of the interiors people have created really blow me away. There's also the choice of private or public access homes, so if you find one that lets you I'm sure the owner doesn't mind you looking around. (smile)"
When I asked about Camp Pocket, Gama had this to say, "It serves a few purposes. I've crammed as much functionality into a single script as I can for the HUD itself, meaning memory is sparse. Because of this, most events take place in Camp Pocket! As the shop & ATM are in Retroville, those parts of the script are removed while in Camp Pocket and that leaves enough memory free unique events. The RV's are a kind of budget-home, too but pretty unique. Once rented, you can drive them around and park them anywhere you want. Entering it TP's you to it's interior (a skybox above) so I THINK they're the only homes in Second Life where you can freely choose where to live. ... they were free to drive and park them anywhere in Camp Pocket! If they fell into water or tried to enter Retroville they reset their position back to the RV parking lot where their rental meters are.
"For a while there was a trend of RV stacking. People would drive them of off cliffs to land and park on top of another RV. Then someone would park theirs on top of that RV and so on ((big grin). It was pretty entertaining to log in and see stacks of RV's, always interesting to see how people use the things you create in ways you'd never imagine."
I then brought up the shopping area. Gama informed, "Yeah, that's inspired by the Main Street from New Leaf. There's lots of video-game items in general there, as you'd expect (smile)." When I brought up Gamatech, "That's me! Sad to say I've not added much to it recently, most of the things I make for SL these days go straight into the Bell shop to give people things to buy with their earnings (smile). SparklingSheep is next door and is my partners store best known for the Puchimono avatar. People often think the avatar was made FOR Retroville, but it was a complete coincidence that I made a sim based around small animal people while she made an avatar that fit the theme perfectly (smile)."
Gama stated that anyone with questions was free to message him. People are also free to join the Retrovile SL group, or the Discord channel. Besides Gama and co-owner Sheepy Cloud, there are three moderators: Vinny Mold Littlepaw (m0ld Resident), Loppy Bunny, and Ambi (Ambialin Hapter).
Bixyl ShuftanNote: I planed to write about the place in late July/early August. But real-life has been kicking my behind a lot lately. Sorry for the delay.