Harry Prefect Remembers

On 20 October 2007, Harry Prefect, Co-Owner of the Hogwarts Reborn role-play group, shared this history of how the role-play was born.

20 Oct 2007

The OOC History of Hogwarts Reborn:
according to Harry Prefect
or the annual state of the union message
or a rambling, hard to follow, self serving montage of half truths and rosy cover ups of some our group’s activities over the past year
Very soon will be the first year anniversary of any sort of organized version of our role play group. I remember discovering the group through Trenton Merosi, who suggested I join. I had recently met Trenton and Dobby Eggplant by joining another group with a Harry Potter theme. At the time I joined, Tyann Lapointe and Petra Carpenter were owners of Hogwarts Reborn. They were working on a Hogwarts for all of us to roleplay at. It was top secret and was finally unveiled to the public when our first Halloween party was held there last year. Basically, our first Hogwarts was a big ugly gray castle-stoned rectangle of a building from the outside. It was multi-floored and took up about four 512m lots in the corner of Tammora Sim. But it was ours. Petra had donated the land and Tyann coordinated the building of the structure. It was a good lesson in using limited space. It had a great hall, four house common rooms, a library and various other offices and rooms. Compared to what we have today it was comically small and cramped but it was ours.

It was around this time that I met the very talented Lily Lewellan, who still has a shop on the wizards alley and is still very active in our roleplay today. Through Dobby and Trenton, I met other members: Hermione Ranger, who was building her own Leaky Cauldron Inn and Diagon Alley at her private land. The alley she made was very simple but charming and it was located up in a skybox above her Leaky Cauldron Inn. Her version of the Leaky was a single roomed Building with a bar at one end and multiple harry potter related posters hung on the walls.

Through hanging around with Hermione and Trenton and Dobby, I met other members such as Chr0nic Mackay and another Harry persona named Corey who also wore a harry potter avatar. Chr0nic is a very friendly outgoing and generous guy. He invited me to learn to build things at his own building platform. We spent days together there cleaning out our inventories, sharing good stuff, and I slowly learned to build things watching him and Cleo at the platform. We talked about eventually getting a sim for the hogwarts reborn group. We dreamed of the day when we could move out of the small Hogwarts at Tammora sim.

I had been a member of second life for a year previous to that time, but had only visited the game about three times. I had joined out of curiosity and was already a member of other older virtual worlds. At those other worlds I had been successful at building things and had built several large elaborate worlds at worlds.com. I also had a very extensive background in the computer game industry and my time spent on Chr0nic’s building platform was all I needed to get up to speed and I learned very quickly how to make things and how to work with scripts.

Not too much later, Chr0nic and his wife left their home in the UK to visit his in-laws in the United States. They were away for several weeks, seemed longer to me. But during that time, Petra announced to the group that she had purchased a sim called “Magic Alley” and was offering it up to be developed for our role play. Her good friend wanders nowhere, who had a long history of building castles would build the new Hogwarts castle there. Tyann was tasked with organizing and building the Alley part. Some private land was rented out to members who wanted to develop HP themed dwellings: I rented a small plot, wylder pan rented one, and Chr0nic Mackay rented a large parcel that he intended to develop into the village of Hogsmeade. All of this was very bad timing for Chr0nic. I know he wanted to work on the alley in that sim. But all he could do, being off line and in the States was reserve the hogsmeade parcel and wait till he came back to develop it.

Since Hermione had already started a Diagon Alley at her own land, Tyann asked her and me to build the new Alley, which was planned to be several shops strung together along a cobbled road. Sometimes working together as a team building things is difficult. Usually one person will emerge as the planner and or organizer. In the case of the first Alley, my previous experience as a game builder and a builder on other programs kicked in and I found I was much faster than the others and I had a vision of the alley that is very close to the alley we currently have at sunset harbor. But Petra, the owner of the land, was worried that too many shops would complicate her life too much and she insisted that we make the shops very large. Some were 20×40 or 20×30 compared to the 10×20’s we have in our present alley these shops were very expansive and of course had higher prim allowances. Hermione focused on her own shop, and Gringots bank. I built the Leaky Cauldron Inn around this time, which is one of the few structures still in use at our present role play that survives from that era. Lillian Levi volunteered and built several new shops in the alley while I worked on the Leaky Cauldron. It was around this time, that I met Kapu Ren. Kapu had been given the task of helping wanders nowhere out at the castle, but he is a hard dude to help out and she frequently flew over to visit with those of us who were working on the alley. Poor Chr0nic was stuck in America during this time. It was frustrating for him because he had always intended to help build the role play’s sim. When Chr0nic returned, we had a sim with a finished alley and a nearly finished castle and several residences already in place. People were already being allowed into the alley area. He had his hands full building hogsmeade, which he renamed titworth or some similar name.

Although the castle wasn’t completed and was closed off and restricted so wanders could work there, the rest of the sim was open to members and visitors and it became crowded fast.

The castle, looking magnificent from the alley was a natural draw to griefers and the generally curious and growing amount of impatient members waiting for it to be finished. Around this time, Tyiler made the scene. He first appeared as a “griefer”. Chr0nic discovered him building things at the castle one night and called out all the wizards in the alley to chase him down. It was hillarious. Eventually we discovered that Tyiler wasn’t a griefer but just a noob who wanted to build and help out. He eventually rented a shop in the orig. alley. And has been a constant pain in the ass ever since. LOL (but by no means the only one)

As the castle work slowed to halt and activity at the sim picked up and a sort of chaotic ribald form of roleplay evolved, it became apparent that all was not right at Magic Alley. People were getting very impatient about the castle and the fact that it was totally off limits to sightseers. Petra seemed to be distracted or else fretting about rents and troublesome members. Around this time I started work on Knockoff Alley. I felt it would fill a niche because people were already looking for new areas and needed some more space to roleplay in. I built it in semi secret underground at my residence at the sim. I planned to connect it to my shop via a long dark cobwebbed tunnel next to my alley shop. The day I had planned to announce knockoff alley’s grand opening, Petra decided to announce that she had enough and wanted us all gone in a week’s time.

I had met darcy and rick by this time. Darcy had recently rented a shop in the alley and I met her when I customized it for her. She had a purple and stone colored shop that looked very much like her present shop at the alley.

I happened to be standing next to Petra not long after she announced the group had to leave her land and she was about to eject all members and abandon or destroy the group. I asked her not to. She then asked me, “who would ever want to own this group?”, and I answered quickly and purely on impulse, “I would”. So she quickly added the “under new management, Harry Prefect” to the top of the groups’ info header, made me an owner and then left the group herself.

I suddenly found myself the owner of Hogwarts Reborn. Not sure if I had done the right thing. Wondering what the hell we all would do. Trying to think of ways to save all the work that had gone into the original sim. Networking with Chr0nic and others, we explored various options. Darcy and Rick stepped forward with the offer of using Oahu sim. And In a short time (a matter of days) work started on the physical incarnation of our role play environment we have today. It was soon after this I asked Darcy to be a co-owner of the Hogwarts Reborn group. I felt that her contribution and the hard work she was doing to help preserve the group justified that. (btw I still feel that way LOL)

Wanders Nowhere is a great guy. He is very sensitive and artistic and a wonderful builder. His passion is castles. His Hogwarts was especially beautiful and very different from the movie versions or even the descriptions in the books. This worked fine for us then because we all feared that warner bro. Co. would try to stop us if they thought we were developing a sim based on their properties. After Magic Alley quit the role play, I talked with wanders about him either selling or giving us the castle he had built. Wanders didn’t want us to have it. He told me that it would go into his inventory and probably never be used again. Unfortunate and sad for us since it was truly a work of art and a thing of beauty. Knowing wanders as well as I do and having talked to him a lot over time, I’ve come to my own theory about his reasons for not parting with his castle:

Wanders built the castle wearing multiple group tags, so sections and pieces there were set to various groups (as many as three or four). These sections were not discrete but mixed so much that sorting it all out to set to one group would have been a logistical nightmare. One of the main issues of the castle area is security and setting it all to a builders group is very important for auto return to work. If the building is not set to the officially set builders group then its impossible for it to stay on the land once the auto return is turned on. It is returned automatically. Wanders must have realized this late into building his castle and as he did, his interest in the project and his actual progress ground to a halt. He was too proud or maybe just too embarrassed to talk much about it. I offered to volunteer to go through and convert all his prims to set to the right group, but he declined my offer. I think it was easier for him to just quit and walk away than stay and try to fix it. The sad thing is that for months our members got to view it from the outside and only imagine what it looked like on the inside. Only a few of us got to actually walk around and explore it. It was magnificent. It even had a chamber of secrets in the lower area that was very well done and very creepy. It also had open grounds and gardens amongst the towers and buildings. I’m afraid the castle I designed and built at our present sim will never match wanders’ castle in scope, originality, size or beauty. I had tackled the castle simply because I had to, not because I had the kind of passion for it that wanders had for his.

When we started on the first sim, it was made clear that the castle was wanders nowhere’s project and that he really wanted to do it all himself. So other builders and myself were never invited to work on that area. That was fine with me because I felt that making interesting spaces outside the castle was my true passion. When I started working on the alleys’ and the leaky cauldron, my goal was to challenge wanders’ castle area and prove that we could have very interesting spaces for our role play besides the castle. Before starting the castle at Oahu, after we were made to leave magic alley, I had always seen myself as the “uncastle builder” or “anticastle builder” in the role play. The alley and other smaller wizard like places captured my imagination and passion and I intended to role play as an adult in those spaces.

Its nearly Halloween, 2007 as I write this. A year has passed since our fledgling group got their first dedicated space to role play in. And a lot of positive things have evolved and developed in that time.

I look back on this past year and marvel at the progress and growth this group has sustained. We have in place now a Game Master Council or gm council. These fine people are tasked with meeting each week and discussing role play and sim related issues, from policy decisions to group rules, and also what punishments need to be dished out to those who break the rules and what other ways we need to enforce rules or deal with problems as they arise. Its also tasked with planning for our future and monitoring progress of fundraising and managing and protecting our growing treasury fund. This is a wonderful step towards the group being self-managed and self owned.

Over the past year, our role play itself has evolved into something more focused and more organized than the chaos we originally had before. Some people couldn’t tolerate or adapt to this change to a cannon game play and chose to leave or were ejected for breaking our rules. To some these changes were not acceptable or very hard to deal with. The changes in role play here were brought about by Danton, who has given ic role play organization and structure. Danton is a wonderful organizer and has created a drama dept. that I think is the best run and most effective of any on second life and even the web. This more organized approach to role play has also helped curb many problems we had before and has actually enriched the experience that is possible when we dive into role play now. Its also contributed to a safer saner environment for those who want to truly role play. I could never do what Danton has done here. And when I see the army of estate keepers and new member ministers at work effectively dealing with various issues and problems, as they do, I clearly see that this group has truly evolved and grown in a very positive way in the past year.

The fact that the castle is still not completed makes me smile. The castle has always been a work in progress from the very beginning. A curse maybe. A symbolic thing maybe. But there is something very important here: Our castle is not finished but its being used.
We currently have about five or six people who are working on the castle. Collaborative work like this is really difficult to do. Darcy and myself have been the primary overseers and coordinators of work at Hogwarts Castle. I would like to acknowledge some of the people who are currently working and who have worked in the past on the castle:

Chr0nic Mackay— did a lot of preliminary work and was a wonderful person to bounce ideas off of
Darcy Rutledge— has stepped in at various times to coordinate and also build and texture sections of the castle
Wylder Pan— built the wonderful greenhouse section that she and Peter teach in near the back of the castle
Piper Erato— has textured the ravenclaw and hufflepuff commons with original textures. He has also done a lot of work in the hospital wing
Peter Sakai— who has scripted common room doors and done many other helpful things
Riko— has also textured with orig. textures and built sections and generally helped out with the dorms
Tyler_Scarborough— has textured and skinned the slytherin commons
Luthien Biziou— has also worked on the slytherin commons area
Lily Lewellen—has worked on the slytherin commons area
Taylor Berzin— has created a score of low rez furniture designs for chairs desks, beds, and tables that we may use in the future. He also helped with some very tedious chores like looking for improperly set to group prims before we turned on auto return – a very helpful task I am grateful for
Scores of Professors IC who supplied their own objects and personal touches to their offices and classroom spaces
Gwion Merlin— has set up the website
Harry Prefect—created the orig. models, roughed out the orig layout of the castle, built all the major buildings, supplied most the textures, created two levels of classrooms and one ballroom, built and textured the great hall. And plans to add more fiddleybits to the finishing touches as the castle nears completion Currently is used as master builder for hard-to-do sections and dodgy corners. Also in charge of keeping Darcy’s blood pressure at dangerously high levels

All of the people on this list deserve to be put on a master plaque of some sort honoring the builders of the castle.

I know that I may have left out a few people who have contributed to the castle area and I’m sorry if I did. It wasn’t intentional. Anyone who can remember others whom I have overlooked please contact me and I’ll edit this list to make it look like I have a perfect memory. J

In this document I haven’t acknowledged others who have worked very hard in other parts of the role play only because my focus for the past year has been on building.

In a nutshell: I think the group is going places and making wonderful progress and changing for the better. Our development and growth in numbers, when taken into consideration that we have only been doing this for less than a year, is awesome. I really feel very good about the group’s future.