How the West Was Redone

5/18/10  at 3:23 PM

Greetings from the roleplay sim of Deadwood 1876, where the gold rush is in its first stages. We're getting ready for some fun and education when one of the sim's owners, Caed Aldwych, gives a talk on his second design for Deadwood, the design in which we are roleplaying now. "How the West Was Redone" will be noon, Saturday, May 22, at Fort Laramie.

Here's the background: Deadwood was open from about mid-2007 to February 2010, proceeding day by day as if we were living the spring of 1876 to February 1879. 1879 was the month when a fire burned down the real town, and its equivalent year in real life was when Caed chose to stage a fire to wipe his sim clean. Caed's original design for the sim was based both on history and on the HBO series. With the big fire, Caed closed the sim to rebuild it, not based on HBO, but on the real town's design.

For the 'new' Deadwood, Caed found maps and a trove of historic pictures of Deadwood that he blew up to enormous size and positioned over the sim as he rebuilt it. Just as one example, in the first Deadwood, my newspaper office was in a very prominent space on Main where both my ego and the TV series wanted it to be. Now, the office is located in a clearing where the Black Hills Pioneer really was located in the spring of the real 1876. My avatar now walks the same paths and routes as his predecessor in the real town. There are all sorts of details scattered around the sim today that speak to how a town really got built from scratch.

Caed will talk about how he found rare records about early Deadwood and what he learned about the chaotic development of Gold Rush cities. The original Deadwood looked a lot like something built from crates, and he'll talk about how he tried to create that look in Second Life. We think the talk will be of interest to people interested in the history of pioneer era and the Wild West, as well as to builders.

This talk is part of a lecture series sponsored by the Black Hills Library, proudly affiliated with the Alexandrian Free Library Network. The Lena Kjeller Memorial Lecture Series is named for the avatar that founded the Deadwood Library and whose typist passed on to Third Life (died) in 2009. Previous talks were about the nature of the pioneer press and about Wild Bill Hickok. We always welcome ideas for these lectures; in world, drop your ideas on our library director and town drunk, Blitzer Renfold.

Hope to see you Saturday!

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