Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Batman

   I arrive in a subway, it's dimly lit and a layer of grime covers the walls and floors. Brightly lit signs are arranged on the walls with various labels, one warns pedestrians to stay of the subway tracks. A tall blue "Police Box" stands in the corner, looking barely used. It's not surprising though, who needs the police when you have Batman.

   Welcome to Gotham City, not only a Batman role-playing game, but a large and highly detailed re-creation of Gotham City. You can visit a large amount of the famous landmarks found in the Batman comics and cartoons, from Wayne Manor to the Iceberg Lounge.

Iceberg Lounge

Wayne Manor

   What's really interesting to see though is the level of detail that has gone into the city, from the micro to the macro. Snow covers the landscape, slowly melting away in certain places, leaving behind bits of its residue. A Gotham City Police Department blimp hovers over the city, its spotlights dance across the dark streets below. Directly across from Wayne Manor is a tiny graveyard where one can go and pay their respects to Thomas and Martha Wayne, Bruce Wayne (Batman's) parents.

   For role-playing, it is a very immersive environment, and the labor of love can be seen in the details. Time and effort have gone into making Gotham feel as much like a real city as possible, with convenience stores dotted around town, banks ready for villains to penetrate their walls, a radio station playing all of the latest hits, and a university. All of these buildings are fully explorable, in fact, most of the buildings that stretch high above the city are explorable, and their insides are very nicely detailed.

The entrance to Arkham Asylum

   This is the power of Second Life, this is what makes it great. These worlds, like Gotham, that we only read about in books and comics, that we only get glances of in movies and video games can be close to fully realized with Second Life. All that it takes is some imagination, and some creative and hard working individuals. But Second Life isn't confined to certain intellectual properties. As I said in my first post, it opens up the possibility for anything your imagination can come up with, and that's what we will be looking at in the next post.

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