By Nazz Lane
I’d first become aware of MadPea Productions while working on a story where I’d come across a poster about a game created specifically for a grand opening event at a business related SIM. I’d taken the informational note card offered by the poster into my inventory and reviewed a little later. When I did, the concept fascinated me and I’d decided to find out more about a company that builds games within a game. So I contacted Kiana Writer, the founder and director of MadPea Productions. She graciously accepted my offer to meet and be interviewed for the SL Newspaper.
When the arranged date and time arrived, so too did a TP request from Ms Writer and I took the ride over to MadPeas Production Headquarters on Orange Island. We exchanged pleasantries before moving to the community area where she said she liked to be while working. She then warned me that we may have multiple interruptions from visitors, so we should do the interview in IM.
Nazz: What bought you into second life Kiana?
Kiana: hmm... I came here out of curiosity and got instantly addicted.
Nazz: What was it that caused the addiction?
Kiana: SL is what you make of it. The only limit is your imagination. I just loved meeting people from all over the world, and the possibilities in SL are endless, you can really lose yourself in here.
Nazz: I’m reading from your profile "We create fantasies that are beyond your imagination..." that and from what you'd just said, was that the inspiration for forming MadPea?
Kiana: Definitely, when I came into SL, I was really surprised how “little” there actually was going on … you can create anything here ... and yet people were choosing the same activities as in RL. I saw the potential to bring my stories alive in here and I absolutely love it.
Nazz: How did you come up with the name MadPea?
Kiana: *Laughs* … a moment of madness I guess. It just seemed to fit us perfectly. We wanted something cute and crazy to describe us.
Nazz: It is memorable. You've been in SL for nearly two years now ... have changes in SL changed your vision for MadPea?
Kiana: hmm... let me think about that one … From the technical point of view the engine has improved, which enables us to make the games more realistic. And of course more and more people are joining SL, which is great.
Nazz: I was recently at the Sigma-Aldrich SIM and saw that MadPea had developed a game for their opening last October ... did you approach them or did they approach you?
Kiana: They came to us. They saw what we had done here at Orange and wanted a fun little game for their opening.
Nazz: Was the idea for "Reaction" MadPea's?
Kiana: We sat down with Georgianna from Sigma-Aldrich and talked about what they would like and then proposed Reaction to her.
Nazz: How many other RL companies have done something similar?
Kiana: We just finished a game for MacMillan Publishers/ Nature Publishing group, and the game 'Notes from the Voyage' will come out on soon, and we're currently working on a game for Orange … which will be the biggest game we've ever done. We have several proposals at the moment, but since we are a small team, we usually carefully select the clients.
Nazz: Earlier you'd mentioned that SL has allowed your stories to come out, are you a writer?
Kiana: Like you, I'm a journalist … but I've been writing stories since I was little. Actually I came to SL when I started writing my first novel in English, because I wanted to learn more English ...that was nearly two years ago, and I only completed one chapter … I got so hooked on making games instead.
Nazz: Do you think you'll finish the novel eventually?
Kiana: I think it's going to turn into a game here.
Nazz: Which MadPea game has proven to be the most popular with SL'ers?
Kiana: Eek! That's a tough question. The games we have out at the moment are very different yet, we have the same players playing them all. “Within” and “Firefly” are more challenging and “Swamp Hotel” is currently on the Linden Showcase, it's a smaller game.
Nazz: Why do you think the games have gained so such popularity in SL when a number of people consider SL a "game"?
Kiana: I think everyone here reaches a point ... when the shopping and clubbing just aren't enough. We don't make just games, we provide a whole community. You get to meet like-minded people … and one thing I was thinking actually ... you get to play our games as yourself in a strange way. For example, if you play a game on a console, you have to choose a character, but in SL, you tend to spend a long time making your avatar into your persona and you truly get to live the story as yourself. We build the games from the player's point of view, to give the player a true experience. The feedback we get is so funny at times … some people have been really scared
Nazz: You'd mentioned "community", since the inception of MadPea how big has the community gotten?
Kiana: We’re at 1058 members at the moment and we have a Hippogroup for those that don't have group space. And now we have a problem, because the group is so big, the notices don't reach everyone and the group chat fails all the time, we need that for communication.
Nazz: Do the members of the community interact in SL and RL and in the "game"?
Kiana: I don't know about RL, although I've heard rumors that some members have met in RL after they met each other in MadPea games … but yes, we have events where they come to meet each other … we are also working on making our website more interactive www.madpea.com … and one thing I think is so fantastic, members that have completed a game, help out others that are just starting.
Nazz Lane: Any closing thoughts or comments you'd like to share with my readers?
Kiana: Stay tuned, as we'll be bringing out some really big games during the next couple of months, they will truly blow you away.