The Tourist Days
- I first found AW back in 1996 by stumbling upon a link on some random webpage. I was new to the whole internet thing and wanted to delve into a more exciting version of online chat since AOL chat was the only thing I had used up to that point. I downloaded the AW software, named myself 'Riff' (Because I am a musician and I also played Riff Raff in a few Rocky Horror Picture Show events.) and then started roaming around the world of tiny little black triangles. Back in those days, that is what you saw while the objects where loading but I didn’t know at that time what I was seeing. It seemed to take forever for any of the objects to load since I was only on dial-up and AOL's dial-up at that. I almost scrapped the whole idea of a 3d chat since it just seemed to be a blank background with millions of those blasted triangles and what fun is that?! Finally after what seemed like forever, they started to turn into shapes!!! First I saw a mirror looking thing, then a sign and then the background popped up; it was amazing! I walked around for a bit looking at the different portals and then stepped into one as it whisked me away to AlphaWorld. I walked in circles for days trying to figure out what did what and how to build; that took me forever to figure out. I stayed in tourist mode for a good year or two building small four walled huts which I felt very pleased with but was constantly reminded from that Immigration Officer that there was much more out there if I only ponied up the 20 bucks a year for my very own citizenship...
Citizen Riff is Born
- On March 15, 1998 I became an AW citizen and was very pleased with the new options I had and even better, I wasn't being nagged by the I.O. any longer--I pushed my "Dance" button and rejoiced! :p After a good few minutes of dancing and jumping I started out on my long journey to find land; land that I could call my own for once without the chance of having my build torn down or vandalized... But where? I had no idea where empty land was and for that matter didn't know what it even looked like! Yeah, a total noob to say the least was I but I still looked for someone or something to show me the way. Queue Mooney... Moonstruck was a wonderful person from Texas who took me under her wing (even though she was a bit on the noob side herself.) and showed me where to go and how to get there... My first real build was along side hers in Colony Alpha; A very primitive glass walled build but it gave me the first few concepts of how things fit together and how to keep them straight. Mooney also found a nice area in AlphaWorld that had nice large sized lots that we could build on which is my very first build that actually used more than one object. It was my first virtual house and I had a lot of fun learning and building there. We had a lot of fun mostly chatting and flying around as birds 'plooping' on people's heads. All that fun kept my building to a dull roar so I only had that one glassy build in Colony Alpha and the lot in alpha. It didn’t' matter to me at that point because I made a ton of new friends which felt a lot like family and I knew I had plenty of time to build in the future since I came to the realization that this 3D AW thing was going to be okay-dokay with me…
The Birth of a Town
- The avatar formally known as Rose (GaiaRose) found me one day and we instantly hit it off. I mean how could anyone not love her building style and creative ideas, not to mention Rose herself? She asked if I would build something in her town, ‘Rosewood’ and I reluctantly obliged since I had never build outside my comfort zone. Well this was one of the first times I had to come up with something new but what? I flew around Rose's town for a few days and it finally hit me that she needed a hotel! So I set out on a very hit-n-miss adventure building the Rifferton Hotel and Plaza. Parts of the roof are missing, some walls aren’t there but it didn't matter to me or Rose and I had a blast! I always think to myself that I should finish it but now I like the history of the place and think I'll just let it be what it is. :) After "completing" the hotel I started getting antsy and thought that I might be able to build a town too but where and more importantly, why? The ‘where’ was pretty easy with the old mapper site that was available to us, I just found a big chunk of green that was near my first lot and started building a long road west. Back then it was either a bot or 20 clicks per road piece so I found a nice bot to help with the road construction. I know I wasn't supposed to use bots in Alpha back then but it was so tempting and I promised I wasn't going to take advantage of the bots extreme powers! Once the road was in place I could start with the town itself but the question that kept on haunting me was ‘why’? When I fist started as a tourist and even a young Riff-citizen I had a very hard time figuring out the whole where and how to build so I wanted to try and help others like myself so that they could start playing as soon as possible after joining AW; citizens and tourists alike. So the idea of making a large town with open lots for anyone made perfect sense, plus I had put up a nice 'builder's resource center' near the GZ to hopefully bring the learning curve down a bit. Once I had the layout of the first phase of the town built I talked with my friend Lara who has a very nice object yard (NW Builder’s Supply) and she put up a little link to my town which was still un-named….. but not for long... I wanted a name that meant 'community' or something that would feel welcoming; 'Our Town' came to mind but that just didn't seem right, a bit on the cheesy side. When I was talking with Moonstruck about that, she had mentioned the fact that I had built the town in the shape like a giant "R" and that it would be a fun play on words if I used 'R-Town' instead and it stuck. R-Town was born on January 1st, 1999, and the first inhabitants came shortly there after…
Keeping R-Town Running
- I puttered for a year or so building up R-Town and divvying out lots but things where getting a bit out of control and I knew I needed help since Mooney had left AW for good and the projects where piling up; that is when I went on a long search for the perfect person to help ol' Riffy out. Enter stage right, Blue Green Gem. It was sometime early in 2000 that I had been hanging around Blue Green Gem more and more and realized he would be the perfect candidate but only if he was interested. I asked very nicely and even made a nice 'city council member' sign for him to try and butter him up and against all odds, he said he would be happy too. He was very good at running around finding unfinished lots and asking if they would finish or delete the builds which really helped clean a ton of R-Town up but that isn't all he did. He also started building some wonderful builds which made the place look like a real town! His builds started popping out daily, almost like he was a machine (which I'm not totally sure he isn't.) which ultimately turned my slow building speed up a notch for a while. I started to look at objects totally different; a rock wasn't a rock anymore, it was the rear end of a guy mooning you or a tree trunk on a giant tree house and so on. The world opened up big time and the things I once thought couldn't be built, could! It’s amazing what a little push can do to a person…
Working with Others
- Another very exciting aspect of AW is the almighty Privilege Password! I have been involved in many group efforts and some of them have been the best experiences ever! Areas like Bald Mountain Castle, Santa Land and a few worlds out there have kept me out of trouble while learning new things and meeting new people. I recommend it to anyone who needs a little jump start or who might have that almighty ‘builder’s block’…
Slow and Low that WAS the Tempo
- For the past few years Riff has been off-line more that he wanted to due to his user getting his pilot's license. It was a good two year ordeal but that has finally come to a victorious end not only for Riff but for me as well. I will be buzzing around the skies and Riff will be online much more entering contests, (MarsEBTS) cleaning up R-Town and with a few new ideas and builds to come!
*Thanks to everyone that has helped my AW experience be all that it has been. I will be here until the end but let’s hope that never comes. :)
- Immigrated: Sunday, March 15, 1998 at 5:34 PM
- Total time online: 117 days, 21 hours, 12 minutes, 27 seconds. (As of 5/7/15)