Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Mix'n Match Guest Post: The Do's and Don'ts of Hosting a Treasure Hunt in Second Life


...let as many people find out about the treasure hunt as possible
Even before the treasure hunt opens, announce it to as many people as possible. Obviously, your contacts are the first ones. But, also take advantage of already active groups in SL who are keen on treasure hunting. List the event in SL's Classifieds a week before. And for best exposure, do your best to get the treasure hunt blogged by Hamlet Au.

...provide enough hints so that participants are not endlessly searching
Spacing the clues are critical. If they are so far apart, the hunter will most likely lose motivation to go on. So, make sure that along the way, they are either getting mini-rewards or are receiving additional clues. Also, clues should not only be interspersed when the hunter is getting "warm". It is just as important to lead them back to the right trail when they are getting seriously "cold".

...make the treasure worthwhile to find
Inform the participant on what the treasure would be. No one wants to spend hours and hours looking for a "treasure" only to find a freebie shirt in the end of the trail. Not cool. I've also seen some treasure hunts with only L$100 pots in the chest. I do not think it is enough of a motivation for most. The only ones you will attract are the camper types who are probably just bored of sitting on a chair. Be creative! It does not even have to be a pile of money.

...make the search process a social event
There are so many activities in SL that can be done solitarily. I think what the world needs the most are events that bring avatars together. So, design the hunt as a group activity instead of just a one avatar mission. Try setting up pairs to do the treasure hunt. It is always more fun with friends.

...test out the hunt process first before releasing it to the general public
Many forget to do this and only find the quirks when they are reported by the participants. It is important that the clues and trails are seamless before it opens to the general public. So, do a couple of test runs first with some guinea pigs.


...make it so difficult for the directionally challenged avatars
I was at this treasure hunt where the clue was embedded in the middle of a prim and can only be found if you switch to flycam and point it at the right angle. Too challenging for most I think. Don't make us sweat so much.

...write the hints in a culturally biased manner
Although North America has a significant number of participation, SL residents come from all over the world. So, keep in mind the universality of the hints when writing it down. In other words, avoid geo-centric clues such as..."this is where the Brady Bunch vacationed during the reunion episode". It does not mean you have to avoid Pop Cultural references entirely. Just make sure it as accessible to most participants.

...turn off flight abilities
In RL, hunts are done on foot. But, it is unnatural to force avatars to do the hunts in this manner. Remember, it is a 3-dimensional environment. So, allow the possibility of vertical searches without the need for hiking up long stairwells.

...leave the treasure hunt all by itself
The "build it and they will come" attitude will not work. Keep a narrow window when the treasure hunt is open to the public. And as best you can, be present to host the event. No matter how well organized the treasure hunt is, there are bound to be questions and comments from participants. At the very least, be present so that participants have someone to interact with.


After graduating from the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in Computer Science and Economics, Chenin Anabuki worked for various companies in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has also been involved with small to large-scale software engineering projects for consumer goods, finance, biotech and industrial design institutions in Silicon Valley. In addition to his Bachelor's, Chenin holds a Master's Degree in International Development Studies from the Universiteit van Amsterdam in The Netherlands. His graduate school thesis is an assessment on the impacts of micro-finance on rural poverty. Chenin Anabuki started Avatrian because it fulfills three of his most fervent goals...entrepreneurial, technological, and developmental. During his free time, Chenin enjoys drinking tea, reading Harry Potter and snowboarding down a black-diamond run at Lake Tahoe. Fortunate enough to travel and visit over fifty cities in the world, he considers Barcelona as his favorite. View Dennis Bacsafra's profile on LinkedIn When asked about his proudest achievement, Chenin recalls the time he hiked by himself to the peak of the High Atlas mountains in Morocco. "It was when I realized how much more I am capable of doing". Chenin can often be found in Second Life teleporting to various sites while overseeing in-world projects at Avatrian.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have been meaning to comment on this wonderful post for some time, but alas and indeed alak the ruddy duck that eats time in my life has prevented me thus far. But here I am!

What a great read the post was - clear, concise and full of useful, interesting information. I had often wondered how one would go about organising a hunt and like many things in SL it is a clever combination of inventive people and hard graft.

I'm currently partaking in the amazing Avarian Expedition and if Chenin had or has anything to do with that, please accpet my congratulations on what is a wonderful game in a beautiful seroes of sims :)