May 27, 2007 11:35 AM | Simon Carless
Habitat Chronicles is the blog of virtual world pioneers Chip Morningstar and Randy Farmer, creators of the '80s LucasArts virtual world of the same name, which you can see screenshots of here, and of which even my boss' boss is apparently now aware of, thanks to the virtual world 'micturation'.
Anyhow, Farmer has just posted a new entry entitled 'Second Life History: The Jessie Massacre', and in which he admits to griefing the early Beta Second Life world for 'testing' purposes. He explains: "I'd been working with the object spawning directives in the scripting language. I'd also discovered that I could make an object very small (less than an inch in diameter), and very transparent (virtually invisible)."
And so? "It struck on me that I could make a weapon of mass destruction and do it very cheaply. It worked like this: a tiny invisible floating grenade that would explode into dozens of invisible tiny fragments flying outward spherically at maximum velocity and doing maximum damage and then immediately teleport itself to another random location in the simulator. It would be undetectable, unstoppable, and lethal: The perfect killing machine. It could only be stopped by me shouting the keyword: STOP!"
Lots of tiny objects released, and the result was rampant slowdown weirdness death, of course - this has happened in SL in various variations quite a few times since, I believe.
And what happened in the end to this possibly first-ever outbreak, according to Farmer? "It turned out that my grenades were too small and invisible. Though they were now inert I couldn't find them to remove them. In effect, they were a dormant virus in Jessie. So, I filed a bug report: "Unable to select small, invisible objects." The in next day or two there was a patch to the client to "show transparency" so that it would be possible for me to see them, select them, and delete them - which I promptly did. But the legend remains."