Sunday, April 19, 2009

Bucc'ing the Trend

I am pleased to report that the monthly trivia event, the Buccaneer Bowl, held its fourth team-based event this weekend. BBowl IV was hosted once again by the intrepid Lette Ponnier, Lillian Shippe, and Thornton Writer, and a wonderful time was had by all! I am even more pleased to report that my team, the Trivial Corsairs, placed second out of ten teams, losing out only to the resurgent Triviators. The best part about coming in second is that the Corsairs beat out last month's winning team, Boomfire Circeschism (the name is a pastiche of the names of the team members), who came in third…and that should put an end to the "schism" member's Month of Gloating. This marks the second time the Corsairs have placed second in the competition, and I'm extremely proud of the showing my team-mates put in this month—they really truly lit up and proved their mettle, while Lou mainly battled Bad Lag. And, sadly, we did it in the absence of our gallant captain, Rain, who was unexpectedly kept away by real life.

The Trivial Corsairs: Lou, Lebn, and Nia (Accidently blocked in the picture: our good luck charm Preston! I'm sorry Pres!)

Although I missed the first Buccaneer Bowl due to a real life emergency, I wrote up the second and third Buccaneer Bowls. In a nutshell, the Bowl is unlike any other trivia event in Second Life because it is based on teams: during the general rounds, everyone can answer questions in open chat, and the first three correct answers earn points for their team. At the end of the round, the team with the highest score for the round gets a special bonus question only they can answer: if they get it right, a nice lump of Linden Dollars gets added to their pot; if they miss it, the sum gets distributed to all the other teams. Teams can collaborate on the bonus questions, and of course all the teams are constantly chattering amongst themselves in private instant messaging working out their strategies.

Hunting and pecking for Lindens at Buccaneer Bowl IV

Oh, and the Buccaneer Bowl is also notable amongst Second Life trivia events because it has substantial prize money: over $10,000L is on the line every month, with the result that the game attracts top players. And it rewards players for having low Avatar Rendering Costs (ARC scores): if you got your avatar's ARC under 500, you got $100L just for showing up. Having lower ARCs reduced lag, and makes the game more enjoyable for everyone.

This month's Buccaneer Bowl introduced a new feature to the bonus questions: if two teams are tied for the lead after a round, there's a special tie-breaker question to decide who can answer the bonus. The hosts announce a category, and the teams then pick one member from their team to answer the question: whoever answers first (and correctly!) wins the shot at the bonus question for his or her team. The Corsairs got to participate in two tie-breaker questions this month, and we won them both! Because we rock.

Even with ARC scores kept low, though, putting 40-odd avatars in a sim together can introduce lag and rendering issues—and they can persist a while because trivia players tend to turn of much of Second Life's graphical rendering in hopes of speeding up open chat and instant messaging. Even so, several of us were stunned at the height of Lillian Shippe's avatar during the game: she was gigantic! Although she was aware of it during the game, it's the kind of avatar deformation that can only be fixed with special tools (or logging out and logging back in again), and Lillian didn't really have an opportunity to do either while frantically scoring the fast-paced game. Even so, the ever-impish Chaddington Boomhauer asked me (since I'm short!) to stand next to Lillian for a photo:

Lou barely comes up to Lillian's belly-button.

I feel kind of awful posting an image of a distorted Lillian, who is routinely one of the most gorgeous and sophisticated avatars on the grid. Please check out her own Flickr photostream to put things in perspective. But it's not the first time Chadd has used me as a "compare and contrast" with some of the altitude-enabled avatars in Second Life. Here's a picture he took of me and my friend Rachella last January at a trivia event:

This month, the Buccaneer Bowl featured several new players (yay!) and new teams—whoo hoo!—including some seen-too-infrequently faces of avatars from around the world. I'm already looking forward to next month!


  1. Hurrah for the Bowl! Glad to have the Corsairs there to give us some competition, Lou. ;) Heh, I'm also glad the Month of Gloating is over (I don't gloat much -- I leave that to Lotus and Nelly) and that you guys knocked the Schisms down a peg. Woot trivia!

  2. The Triviators have never been big gloaters. Neither have three quarters of the Boomfires!

  3. I always enjoy your coverage of the Bucc Bowls, and am so happy to be a tiny frantic part of the team that puts them together. And thank you for bringing light to the tragic issue of SLgiraffism. It strikes down so many in the prime of Slife.


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