Sunday, March 7, 2010

Full Steam Hunt

Just got back to me office after checking out a few places on the 2nd Annual Steam Hunt, a grid-wide scavenger hunt that has shown me all the various awesomeness the steampunk culture has added to our virtual home. A few of these places were fixes by the owner, and two others were in hopes of being able to find some well hidden gears. I succeeded in finding one that had eluded me.

I have been on a few other scavenger hunts since I rezzed a few months ago, stumbling upon the first at the shop of one of my friends. The Bitten and Frost Hunt was a great idea, and did introduce me to many cool things on the grid, and other hunts, but the two path concept lead to confusion that the organizers and store owners could not seem to eradicate. I eventually gave up about 50 stores into the Bitten Path, having been lead astray by other hunts and non existant snowflakes quite enough for my taste. I dabbled in various Christmas hunts, and my inventory exploded with much higher quality free stuff than I was used to.

I had to take a break from hunting during the Valentine's season, though I do have a few bleeding hearts in my collection from stores I frequent anyway. The Steam Hunt is very well organized. I happened to be on late last Sunday, so received the notecard containing all the landmarks in a group notice right at midnight on the first of March. You can join the hunt group yourself and receive the hunt information here. They are also on top of fixing any broken links in the chain of stores.

The purpose of these hunts is for there to be a benefit for all parties involved. The theory is, by hiding a small object - usually associated with the theme of the hunt, the Steam Hunt uses bronze spinning gears - you keep the hunters in your store long enough to count towards the traffic rating of your shop and also, long enough for things to rez properly and customers to be won, groups joined, and landmarks picked up because the hunters wish to return another day. But why let yourself be exploited in this way?

Well, the contents of the gears are not your average freebies. Some joker put in this crazy, oversize, mechanical steampunk bonnet, but overall, everything I have opened has been fab. The dress at Arieala Andel & Serrita Ember Store has garnered ten compliments this weekend. The jewelry set from Amaranthus is high quality as well, my avatar is wearing the earrings. This is a stretch for me in any life. Jewelry has to be perfect, or I just won't bother.

There are plenty of adornments for male and female avatars. +ezura+ even has a guys' suit in their hunt gift, as do about half of the clothing designers participating. I have two new pocket watches to try out, and all bracelets and necklaces seem to have male and female versions, at least in terms of size. Gadgetry and fantastic buildings abound as well. Builder's Brewery created an awesome Steampunk Cottage just for this hunt, and the Tripod house from Enzo's is a green windowed whimsical dream. The monocles from my favorite dark Alice in Wonderland store, ..::Rasetsukoku::.., and Mire, an excellent men's store, are perfect for any aspiring inventor or creator.

So how do you get all this great free stuff for your very own? You go hunt about the stores, of course, searching high and low for those elusive spinning bronze gears. Some stores have hints, some do not. Some participants try to hide the gear near their steampunk inspired creations, others shrink it and hide it behind, or even embedded in, their displays. The hiding of the gears is at the participating creator's discretion. Now, I will admit to not being the most observant person in the world, and I found 127 of 130 gears. You can too.

My favorite friend while on a hunt is my camera controls. If you do not already have them up on your screen, they are under View in the upper taskbar (unless you are using the Beta of Viewer 2.0, in which case they are on the bottom). The control to the left rotates your view, the slider in the middle is zoom, and the control to the right moves you side to side and up and down. You can only zoom so far, so sometimes you will have to play with the two crosshair controls to see behind things and find the gears, or whatever object is being used for the particular hunt you are on. There are at least ten hunts going on gridwide at any one time. Linden Lab would do themselves a favor by adding these scavenger hunts to their main site, it's a good way to get a new person oriented with the controls of their avatar and the true vastness of this virtual world we call home.

In short, if your inventory has been feeling a bit lean, you feel the need to get out of the house on a LOW budget, or you just want a slew of new things to play with, head over to the start point or any of the stores listed in this blog and get yourself full of steam, like my clockwork squirrel buddy and I.

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