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"The people who stay are a great asset to the community."Badgirl believes that one of the biggest mistake designers can make "is to tell the residents 'this is what the community is and this is what you're going to do.' The most important feature is the people," she says. It's not your community."Many of JOI's events and contests emerge from the chat rooms.A running joke about capturing other people's panties led to a panty-collecting game with in-world cash awards and prizes.And both creators admit that once the community starts to form, it takes over the product."The first thing that brings people (to Sociolotron) is the sex," says Patric.Patric Lagny is the designer, programmer and publisher of Sociolotron (NSFW), an online role-playing game known for supporting sex as well as violence."Badgirl" is the CEO and team lead of Jewel of Indra, (NSFW) an online environment designed to support sexual exploration and community.The two titles offer radically different experiences.("Existing animation programs not meant for this type of game," he says.) He is also investing in faster, more stable servers and developing a bigger world and more game play.JOI, which is built on the VRML/X3D platform, is also working on improved graphics and animation, although Badgirl becomes uncharacteristically taciturn when asked for details.
For outsiders, the thought of "sex by typing" makes little sense."But a small group stays long enough to explore the real, deeper values of the game, and they really start to have fun."He doesn't mind that, and in fact has been known to suggest to some new players that Sociolotron isn't for them."We're intended to be a small game," he says."We can still be profitable, as I don't have any employees or big expenses."And that's common to JOI, too.Neither Sociolotron nor JOI are static, and both designers are working on new features.Patric wants to take Sociolotron from 2-D to 3-D, and is building a character animation engine from scratch.