Raw Valence

This entry is part of the PBM List.

Email: shatterverse@gmail.com
Frequency: Whenever
URL: http://rawv.xvrealm.net [ dead link ]
Type: steam punk, apocalyptic, modern, war, high fantasy
Last-Update: 2007Sep24
Keywords: free, open-ended, www, human, fantasy, space, modern, rpg


[W]e all have our own little worlds, don't we? Just a place to escape to at the end of the day or maybe when we get mad; a place for us to recollect ourselves when stress gets under our skin. It's cleansing, it's good for everyone. But what about something more than day-to-day anxiety? A tragedy, an atrocity, a murder. That little place becomes bigger and bigger, it becomes more real than ever and before you know it, the desolate valley of reality is just the forbidden lands in your world. Lost within this world, you often find yourself alone and happy, but the real world is still moving ahead while you're hanging back. A little later, well all too soon for you, you're brought back to reality and this big world becomes suppressed.

[A] young child knows exactly what this is like, to have to push this large escape from reality into his head, but he was determined to have his world one day. The boy suffered abuse at the hands of parents, guardians and others that he assumed were supposed to protect him. And for a while his world flourished, but day after day he was wrenched from solemn happiness and shown how painful the real world could be. He refused to live like this any longer and began to plan out a new world. With no help at all, he built a whole new world, one of fantasy and technology, magic and wonderment. Races of all kinds co-existed, some peacefully, others hatefully. But pen and paper wasn't his goal, the boy was going to make this world into his own reality. With technology growing more advanced by the year, the child sought to make his dream come true. Video games seemed like the best medium, they were versatile, anyone could play them, a lot of people did and who wouldn't like the thought of having a new reality to exist in? The boy thought everyone had their own little worlds, too, he just wanted to share his with reality.

[R]eady for acceptance, the boy presented his idea the best he could, taking months to learn what goes into making video games. For such a small child, he had a very big brain and coding and programming was nothing more than a tedious middle man to his goal. With the concept, the presentation, the codes and programs needed, he was still shot down. See, his goal wasn't just a game on the screen, it was a game inside your head. He wanted people to live and breathe this new world, he wanted to live in it. Complete Virtual Reality wasn't quite in the reach of modern technological advances. People wouldn't be able to feel the world around them, breathe the air or see everything as clearly as if you were there yourself. It wasn't possible. Like all worlds we escape to, it was just an idea in his head.

[I]nsisting that this world be created, the child set up a network of rogue programmers and artists, figuring he could make the game underground and slowly bring it back to the big corporations to show them his dream was well within his reach. Sadly, even these radical cyber punks couldn't piece half of the boys fevered dream into one big world. The game, yes they could have made it just as expansive as he wanted it, they could have made all limitless races, but the technological specifications were already being pushed. Completely mind-altering virtual reality? It just wasn't something done in their time, and they were sitting there wondering if they would even want something that unethical as living in a pretend world. They abandoned the project and the boy kept searching and broadcasting his idea to those who would listen. And day after day he dealt with reality, his reality, the reality he was forced to see, but when the world went to sleep he fought to bring his world into creation. Bruise after bruise, broken limb after another, he wasn't sure how much more his body could take, but he knew he wouldn't rest until he stood on the plains of his realm.

[S]ympathetic to his ideals, a little fly on the wall urged the boy to keep searching, to tell more about the story, to give it a taste of this world. He couldn't take the real world and this urge to fall away into his world got stronger. The boy went away for a very long time. Literally.

[H]e returned, however. A month of the boy's absence. A month of not hearing the boy push his idea on underground forums and cyber circles. A month of no pain, abuse or stolen innocence. A month to make his world a reality.

[E]ager to present himself all over again, this time knowing they couldn't deny him, the child laid out completely different technological specifics. New design, new codes, new route of programming, everything. With it came some things they hadn't even seen before, though they couldn't deny that playing on this new design and technology was surprisingly smooth and aesthetically pleasing. It wasn't too hard to make copies of the hardware he brought to them and within a year or two, the boy's world launched on a global scale with the enigmatic name of "Universe Op: Nova Id". Set up in arcades and computer gaming centers, the new game quickly became the hottest thing in pop culture. What made it so appealing was the depth it submerged its players.

[R]ealism. The reviews came in and that was the headliner to each report. It wasn't just a game, it was the most realistic game ever made. It was almost eerie how real it became, how more and more people spent time playing than working. The life in the character's faces and the breath full of air you could take in from the rolling hills of just a video game. The boy had succeeded at introducing his world to reality.

[E]veryone was so busy marveling at the wonder that had graced the gaming industry that they didn't even question how such a technologically advanced game came to be. Interviews were filled with empty answers, tours kept viewers from seeing the core of the game's making and overall people were left in the dark. It was possibly better that way because the boy refused to acknowledge questions of how his world came to be. It was his world, his rules, his law and no one was going to threaten it ever again.

"You're in a field and across the horizon you see a storm. It's coming fast. And you realize that it's not just the sky that's getting dark, it's the ground as well, you look harder and it's a swarm of sickly looking creatures. Your first instinct would be to run and acting on that gut feeling you take off with your tail between your legs. Then you notice you're not alone, there are others just like you trying to run, only they're running in the opposite direction. Why? Because the same swarm is chasing after them. You have two choices: Flight or fight. In reaction you grab your sword and you can feel the cool metal in your hand. In moments you're engaged in the most nerve-wracking fight for your life as hundreds of these swarming beasts come upon you and the few unfortunate souls that happened to be in the same area as you. If you make it out alive then you've got another story to tell the boys back home. If not...game over."

"When you're not logged in, your personal character continues on with his life as if you were never there. He collects food, hunts and fends for himself in your absence. `Why play if he plays for me?' You might say, well because without you directing him, he has a whole new personality that may or may not be aligned with the goals you have for the game. It all depends on the history you create for your character - an actual background for your individual character that other players can read. There's a story to every character and it's only limited by the player's imagination.

"...Not to mention the ability to create any kind of race you want. You follow guidelines and helpful instructions on building a race, a class for your race and the abilities both race and class have. The looks of the character is completely up to you, hundreds of body models for you to mold and shape into the perfect representation of the character you have in mind. The customization is the most advanced part of the game next to the look and feel. There's only a small bit of linear play and that only comes with potions and small items that effect your base stats, there is absolutely nothing holding you back."

"A strange part of the game that gives it that ominous feel of a world-wide story event are these clues that you come across. Sometimes it's a number, other times it's a word or symbol. You know there are more because everyone's talking about them both on and offline. It's really quite exciting, especially when you meet someone whose clue matches right up with yours. To coincide with this feature, the game's company releases clues to the players almost sporadically in an enthralling ploy of viral marketing known better as `Alternate Reality Game', a fitting scheme for the game itself."

"...And the best part is the game field. It takes place across a variety of themes ranging from modern structure such as skyscrapers and city streets to Neo-Victorian cities that seem to blend 18th Century technology performing science fiction functions. Such as a matter transporter that works off of steam, or dematerializing lasers that need to be wound up with a key and given coal to power itself. This is perhaps the widest theme to the game, a "steampunk" design used in tandem with magick. Then you have the alien fields where creatures unlike anything you have seen before are likely to attack you in actual swarms across barren deserts, marshy swamps and even ruined alien cities. The A.I. is difficult to work around and it feels almost like an actual hunt - and you're the prey!"

"The dialogue of the NPCs, both the guides and the guild leaders is really natural and sometimes pretty funny in their misanthropic tones. The guides would rather you jump off a cliff than proceed sometimes and the guild masters' often taunt you for not being the highest rank in your class, the world is just too real for a video game!"

"I have to admit, when I saw what I would be wearing I was a bit nervous. You're given a pair of contact lenses that, how they work is anyone's idea, give you your screen. Your eyes are your screen. You see everything either from your character's point of view or a third person view bird's nest style. Then you have these small circular patches that you place behind your ears and they act as the audio, giving you all the sounds of your world. The gloves aren't hooked up to anything, but you still move your hands as if you are the character, having to perform the correct hand gestures (which are a little too simple at times) to pull off a spell or attack your enemies with your weapons. You move like you have the weapons on hand and if you don't, there's always your fists. To top it off, you have a device that looks like some collar with electrical nodes starting at the base of your spine up to the back of your skull. It's a sensory machine, or so I'm told, that lets you feel, smell and taste your environment. It's brutal because pain can carry over."

"Universe Op...", "...Nova Id...", "...Is the most...", "Realistic game ever..."


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Greg Lindahl