Growing up i wasn’t into cowboys or knights. From an early age i didn’t want to drive a train or or be a soldier or whatever things i was supposed to be into. I wanted to fly, yeah given super powers i’d go with flight. Given a job i want to fly space ships and stare at the universe from vacuum. Now i need to put this into a bit more context. I despise star trek, i’m a Battlestar fan. I grew up with Battlestar. I used to watch it on a Sunday evening while my granddad snoozed in an arm chair. I wanted to be Starbuck, i still kinda do as she still got the best lines in the reworking.
I wanted to fly a spitfire in space, screaming engines burning through glowing stella dust clouds that ignite in my engine trail. I still stand and stare at the stars these days with a little childish grin occasionally making pew pew noises in my head. That speech in Bladerunner? I want to see those ships on fire. Fantasy novels annoy me and i could comfortably punch a Hobbit up and down it’s bracket. I’m a child of Dune and 90’s cyberpunk, i want me some fly spaceships with sick zapp guns, i want to ogle stella nurseries. I want to run from the ready room to jump into my ship and i want to jump a ship to the middle of nowhere and discover a new solar system.
Now give me that LARP damnit! That’s the problem, my dreams arn’t reallly catered to in LARP. The ways of simulating space combat or eploration in LARP is pretty much limited to running around with your arms up shouting pew pew, repainting your car and strapping some wings on (Direct line don’t insure for that apparently) or using bicycles. Either that or some shite wargame/miniatures system. Also at no level am i going to ‘explore’ Bracknell in a Vauxhall Nova with Viper body kit.
There are limitations to LARP, however the alternatives are not really up to scratch. Tabletop doesn’t really get you in the pilots seat and online games tend to be role-play lite and not really the cockpit action that i grew up with. (I love you EvE online, and as beautiful as you are i’m still not looking out of the window of a ship at the shadows in an asteroid field listening to radio chatter before igniting my after burner and flying into a dogfight)
So whats my alternative? Well i have there is this:
Ok this is a computer game, whats it got to do with LARP? Well the core idea behind it is immersion, fun and player involvement. There are very few things out there with a writers guide for players fanfic or the someone in charge of approving player designed ships for players to build and sell in game, but the main thing that leaps out is that immersion and role play are not dirty words.
Now this isn’t computer game leveling up, or pick your skills role play. Nope its actually creating a character and playing it. Hell the games not out yet and i have an IC job interview next week! This is the kind of insanity that people are at now investing http://bluehorizon.se/about in a game that isn’t out yet!
So if this is all so amazing why do i bother LARPing? Well other than if you connect anything to the internet you will inevitably end up discussing what someone did with your mother last night, there is nothing quite like eye balling someone to their face whilst you discuss their fathers preferred sexual adventures and how you fulfilled them last night. Without human contact you really miss out on a lot. Also even with emergent game play story starts to fall out the window and there tends to be less community as you get more people involved. Think of it as empire, but 200 call of duty players just turned up and all they want is the combat side of things and dammit they are going to roll camps to get it cause the ‘hard’ rules don’t say they can’t only the social contract.
Trust me when i say the guys from something awful will try and play this way.
See what you kind of need is the scale and community of LARP combined with the tech of a game like this. I’m not saying our community isn’t perfect, hell its full of tools like me, but we tend to want to make our community better and we don’t shit in our own games. When was the last time you saw hard core trolling at a larp event? We tend to work together as a community even if we argue about everything on facebook.
So are my dreams dashed here? Am i going to have to trained to be an astronaut and run a larp in space with second hand Russian capsules and laser tag? Hell nerf rounds will go forever in micro g (space isn’t zero g). Yeah i’m thinking this may not be practical. However looking at Star Citizen and the recent Battlestar LAPR on a ship i hold out hope that maybe there could be a meeting of these two worlds. There seems to be a desperate interest in immersion and role-play in the computer gaming world or Star Citizen wouldn’t be one of the best funded kick starters ever.
So can we start to blur the lines between the online game and in person LARP? Can we have the bridge of a ship and pilots jumping into ships using Occulas rift head sets and cheap high end PCs? It’s not like we arn’t seeing servers in the field these days for the admin side of games. We have the tech, we have cheap high end PC’s, Lasertag/BB/NERF, access to industrial units and we now have crowd funding. Are we really that far from seeing this happen? I hope so, I think LARP has the potential to be something very special, something more special than any computer game can deliver.
So what do you think? Is this a brave new world or should LARP stay low tech?