The Surrealistic Playground of Brainiac HQ

by Alphaville Herald on 29/07/05 at 11:12 am

by Leon Mechanique

Where the brains are

There’s just something about visiting Deevyde Maelstrom’s Brainiac HQ that really gets the mind working in odd rhythm’s. When the Herald asked me to check out the new games Deevyde released in July, I thought to myself, “That sounds like fun” (and “I could make a few quick bucks”). So, like any good reporter, I Googled my subject and found not a few interesting links including this brief entry in the SL History Wiki. It’s not much, but it’s more than I’ve got. But when I visited Deevyde in Second Life, I found myself in the midst of a surrealistic playground of SL science that no wiki entry could even begin to describe.

It’s an understatement to say that Second Life is populated with creative souls. It seems as though everywhere you roam in the world you will find someone building something cool and unique. But my previous in-world sightseeing tours had not quite prepared me for Brainiac HQ. It was difficult to concentrate on the questions I was asking Deevyde simply because I kept wanting to look around. He does marvelous things with simple primitives and bright colors where others go in for complex scripts and textures. But like a good reporter I soldiered through and actually managed to retain some information about Deevyde’s dual release of Warbots v2 and Portal Wars v7.

The Brainiac himself: Deevyde Maelstrom

Leon Mechanique: I’m interested in what you have going right now. Are you entered in the game dev. competition?
Deevyde Maelstrom: Nope. I thought long and hard about it and decided against it.

Leon Mechanique: Ah, but you know you’ve got some pretty nice writeups on the Web about your work?
Deevyde Maelstrom: I do? I know about the Game Slave one which I contributed to myself, and I think I have a few mentions on various blogs and forums. That’s about it though.

Leon Mechanique: Yeah, but you got written up on Torley’s blog. That’s pretty good cred.
Deevyde Maelstrom: Oh, and the Brainiacs have the briefest of mentions on wikipedia, which I’m quite proud of :) Torley’s cool, he helped out in the v4 tests.

Leon Mechanique: So what’s the latest and greatest coming out of Brainiacs?
Deevyde Maelstrom: Well, atm I’m focusing on 2 big games. In Warbots, players build a bot, equip it with weapons and fight in an arena to try and kill the other bot. Kind of like Robot Wars or Battle Bots on TV. Warbots is in a much earlier stage of development than my other game. With v2 I’m basically saying, “I’m back, ready to do something with this, heres proof, enjoy!” :)

Leon Mechanique: Has it been code, or just overall design?
Deevyde Maelstrom: Code. v1 is functional, just doesn’t have many features

Leon Mechanique: So there are more things you’d like to add then, like what?
Deevyde Maelstrom: Well, the health system was the big one. Warbots have a great community (these days) and I talked to lots of them about what they wanted, health and improved controls were the big ones.

“Violent competition is massive fun!”

Leon Mechanique: So, the player controls the bots?
Deevyde Maelstrom: I’m hoping to add a system of ‘special abilities’ via a similar submissions system to my other game, and when Havok 2 comes out I’m planning to have some fun with that :)

Leon Mechanique: What about autonomous bots?
Deevyde Maelstrom: Hmmmmm… I haven’t really thought about that. I guess that would fall under ‘special abilities’, would be easy enough to implement then. Also, for players looking for more ‘autonomous’ fighting, I’m developing another game but thats far, far from ready atm.

Leon Mechanique: What’s the other game that debuted alongside Warbots?
Deevyde Maelstrom: Portal Wars. It’s basically an FPS where anyone can create their own weapons and equipment, from scratch, and get them officially added into the game. It’s been eating up most of my SL for a while now, v7 is most of the stuff I wanted in, but I plan to take it at least to v8 to add things like player bases.

Leon Mechanique: Wow! cool concept. Can I or anyone else bring weapons from other parts of SL into the game?
Deevyde Maelstrom: Can you be more precise? You can’t, say, shoot someone with a mega pushgun from outside the game but you can take an (appropriate) weapon you’ve developed elsewhere and have a PW version made.

Leon Mechanique: Ah I see, so my “Jedi LightSaber” wouldn’t work in the game environment?
Deevyde Maelstrom: No. It doesn’t have the right code, basically it’s a seperate damage system to the innate SL one.

Leon Mechanique: So how does a player get into building a weapon and participating?
Deevyde Maelstrom: Right… erm, well people join the game by picking one of the 2 basic teams from the dispenser downstairs, and they get their basic gear from that too. Along with that there’s a detailed guide on how to get ideas for submissions, how to submit stuff ideally, etc. It’s quite interesting though- we have several people who submit equipment because they like the creative aspect, but who don’t fight.

Leon Mechanique: I like that. Encouraging creativity, and allow a positive channel for aggression at the same time.
Deevyde Maelstrom: Exactly! :) In both games I’m trying to teach the players something. I’m a big supporter of the ‘learning through fun’ approach. That, and violent competition is massive fun :) But yeah, at least one person even used the warbots to teach a building class (they come with very detailed instructions).

The Warbots arena

Leon Mechanique: what’s the L$ cost of entry into Warbots?
Deevyde Maelstrom: Both games are totally free, I’m not doing this for the money :)

Leon Mechanique: What about the idea of a Warbots league?
Deevyde Maelstrom: It’s something I explored back in v1. I wanted some sort of regular championship heats system, going through to a final heat where the winner is declared supreme and wins a trophy or something. I’m hoping to start running heats again after the launch.

Leon Mechanique: Any problem with someone else building bots for play in the league and reselling them?
Deevyde Maelstrom: I know one of the Warbot ‘cells’ (theres a few groups in world atm, I’m trying to merge them all) have a collection of player-made bots that they sell, but I don’t mind too much as it’s only L$1. If someone started trying to sell bots for signifcant commercial profit, I’d step in. I might include a license or something with v2 actually, we’ll see.

Leon Mechanique: Ok, same rules for the weps in Portal Wars?
Deevyde Maelstrom: PW is slightly different, because I’m hoping to get submissions of existing weapons to PW-ize. When you send me something for PW, that’s effectively a ‘copy’ you give me to add to my game. You’ll still have all the rights to the original object that you made all by yourself. With the Warbots, as they run solely on my code, its different.

Leon Mechanique: Well, thanks for your time.
Deevyde Maelstrom: I appreciate you stopping by. I hate advertising in almost all its forms, which puts me at a disadvantage in getting news of these out to the general populace.

Leon Mechanique: You don’t need to advertise, you need to publicize.
Deevyde Maelstrom: I’d love to, but documentation doesn’t write itself!

3 Responses to “The Surrealistic Playground of Brainiac HQ”

  1. Prokofy Neva

    Jul 29th, 2005

    This is one of the coolest places in SL and you are so right, it is one of those unsung creative places. And it’s not all war bot stuff if wargames aren’t your thing, so definitely check it out even if you don’t care for all this bot stuff. They have all this other hilarious thing like a gadget that hurtles you way up in the sky and stuff to track scripts and whatnot. There is a lot entertaining and thought-provoking there. It’s different. Not the usual SL stuff.

  2. Elle Pollack

    Jul 29th, 2005

    And Giant PONG! You can’t go to Brainiac HQ without playing at least one game of Giant Pong. ;)

    Much “woot”-ness. Dee is the person who introduced me to Second Life in the first place and I was just thinking the other day “dang, someone really ought to write up an article on him”.

    I still reserve the right to tease him in private about his non-use of textures though. >:)

  3. Leon Mechanique

    Aug 1st, 2005

    Thanks for your kind comments on the article. I couldn’t put in the few words I had, how I really felt about Dee’s work. I still don’t have the words 2 weeks after the article. He is friendly, engaging, and a real asset to the community.

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