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Thursday, October 13, 2011

On the Hunt

"Gridwide hunts" are a very popular activity in Second Life.  I'm not a big fan of them myself, generally speaking.  I quickly get tired of swinging my camera all over the place, looking for a tiny little prize item hidden away somewhere behind a potted plant.  It's the same frustration I felt when trying to solve the "Where's Waldo?" puzzle books we gave our kids (were those educational, fun, or just a subtle form of torture?)

Still, hunts can be a great way to see new places, meet new people, and find new stores and designers.  They are a lot more active than just standing around and waiting for a lucky chair to decide to display your name's letter, or slapping a Midnight Mania board.

If you haven't tried a hunt yet, here's the basic idea:  The hunt organizers come up with a prize object, a single recognizable container for all the prizes.  For instance, in the Steampunk Hunt, it was a gold cogwheel.  Merchants sign up to participate, and each merchant submits a prize to be put into one of the hunt "prize box objects", and then hides the prize somewhere in their store.  Each merchant also creates a clue that's supposed to give you a hint.  The prize, and the landmark and clue for the NEXT prize in the hunt, are all put into the prize object.

There is usually a website for the hunt, with a list of the prizes.  Often, there is also an in world group you can join, to contact other hunters and ask for help with a particularly tricky prize or a clue you have no clue about.

You start out at the first location, find the prize, and gleefully teleport to the next location, where you repeat the process.  There may be well over a hundred locations to visit in a given hunt.

Sounds simple, yes?  Only one problem...those prize hiders are diabolically clever, and very often the prize objects themselves are very small and blend in well with the surroundings.

If you are using the Phoenix or Firestorm viewers, you have a tool that makes hunting a LOT easier:  Area Search. For Phoenix:  Phoenix/Area Search; for Firestorm: World/Area Search.  Open the Area Search window and enter the name, or part of the name, of the prize in the search window, then hit Refresh.  You will get a list of the objects within range which meet the search criteria you entered.  Double click one of them and you will see a red arrow and a beacon highlighting the location of that object.
Using Area Search to Find a Radio

Some merchants try to foil us "cheaters" who use Area Search, by placing a number of decoy objects with the same, or very nearly the same, name as the real prize.  That's only fair, and it makes the hunter's life a little more...interesting.

For a ton of information about hunts, see this blog:  http://slhunts.wordpress.com/

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