Written by sCessions
“Get help. You’re no match for him. He’s a Sith Lord.“
You have seen him host a weekly build session where his works have been recognized for breaking boundaries, while still staying within the parcel’s property lines. Designing more than just what you have seen, Sithlord has been in the VR game since before the millennium started. High energy, immense knowledge in the spatial aspects of VR and enthusiasm that would make anyone give it a try. If you have watched an episode of Somnium Space Builder he is always thinking outside the box, challenges himself with community input on what to build and is always willing to lend out a helping hand and answer questions. Well we here at Somnium Times wanted to return the favor for all he does and shine a spot light on his personal achievements and projects with an in depth interview on developments and insights with: SM SithLord
Tell me a little bit about yourself?
First of all, hello and thanks for talking with me today. I’m a gamer going all the way back to the 90s era. I played a lot of competitive games like Counter-Strike, StarCraft, Jedi Knight. The first time I played Mario 64 on the display shelf in Toys ‘R’ Us it blew my mind & felt so real to me. I went home & drew pictures of it – imagining what it’d be like to **live** in those worlds.
What got you into building/dev work initially?
I first got into game dev through ‘modding’ old games with new addon levels or gameplay modifications. I created dozens of worlds for the games I was into. I was making a particular level for Jedi Knight back in the 90s, and I was unable to make the doors in my basement behave the way I wanted. I was able to find another user in the ‘modding’ community to write my door script for me, and seeing the logic written out for the behavior I desired is what set me off in learning how to program myself.
What got in to the position of building for Somnium Space?
I’ve been a user in metaverse style apps my whole life. (I used to call them “chill” apps before the word metaverse became popular) Any game where the point of the game was to hang out with friends, build stuff, and chill attracted my attention.
Somnium Space popped up on my radar early on, but I didn’t actually meet Artur amd get introduced to the Somnium Space community until 2020. Artur was at a VR mixer telling us about the project, then I later found him on Twitter and made my way into the Discord. As soon as I saw the passion and excitement that the actual users and builders in the community had, I knew right away that it would be worth the time and effort to create here.
I’ve seen some of your personal builds like your arcade, can you tell us about any other passion projects you are working on now?
In my free time, I actually create addon levels for games still.
So my weekly builds in Somnium Space are pretty near my passion projects as well. But outside of those, one thing I’ve built recently is a replica of a random house from GTA V as a Source engine map. It was a lot of fun because I used screenshots as the reference for the outside, but had to completely make up the interior layout based on the door and window positions seen from the exterior. Interesting thing happens when I drive by that house in GTA V now – as my brain fills in the gaps and visualizes the interior of it being there as if it was my version of the build.
Are there any updates coming for the webXR?
There’s always several big things turning, and smaller ones being pressed out in between. I’m not the one to make announcements, but I can say I’m working on a couple features I’m very excited about right now. Features that will really bring web parcels alive and closer to being on par with the experience that the desktop VR client provides.
What is your favorite part about working in this field?
My favorite part is that I’m making video games, and in some cases I’m even able to Twitch stream myself doing it. It’s often literally my job to launch up games and play them enough to make sure they behave the way I’ve designed them to. Doesn’t sound like such a hassle – until you are doing it all day every day. But even when it turns into hard work, there is the satisfaction of getting the thing working. One impossible task after the next. As Alice said, “Sometimes I believe in as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
As the “Building Guru” are there any tips and tricks you can point out for new builders with an empty plot?
If you just can’t decide what you want to build, I would suggest starting with building a stage. The neat thing about a stage is that anybody can use it, even just walking down the street. You never know when somebody might climb up to the mic on your stage and talk to passers by. Don’t forget to use neons, colored lights, and spawn some animated GIFs from GIPHY into there. With a good stage, your parcel can become a sort of public facility until you are inspired to knock it down and build something specific.
How can people find more of your work or is there anything you’d like to shoutout/ show & tell?
I have a website, smsithlord.com, that has my Twitch stream on it (among other things.) My Twitch is where anybody can get in contact with me – I’m always on there, sometimes just streaming my aux monitor as I code on other computers. As for shout outs, I just wanna mention this guy Jin (DankVR on Twitter) who puts together these weird metaverse mixer things on various social platforms. I actually met Artur at one of his mixers. I’ve even seen Programmer Joe at one before. Anyways, Jin is always trying to connect people with each other in this scene, so shout out to him for his efforts at cross-pollinating between the different projects in the metaverse.
How did Anarchy Arcade idea start and can you tell us the history of that…
Anarchy Arcade is a passion project of mine to turn my desktop wallpaper into a 3D game world. It’s exactly like your regular desktop – it’s got the same shortcuts and launches them just the same. It’s just a 3D game-like world instead of the 2D wallpaper image. I call it a metaverse visualizer – because it lets you personally curate and organize all the stuff that matters to you in a spatial way. The idea first came to me back in the early 2000’s while I was sitting at my computer desk doing Calculus homework between rounds of Counter-Strike: Source. Every time I died, I’d tab out to view assignment PDFs or read the class website, change my music, etc. Counter-Strike was basically my desktop wallpaper, but was just lacking the basic functionality of a desktop – that is, the ability to organize and launch my shortcuts from it. At that point, I knew what I wanted, then spent the better part of a decade trying to find an existing app to become a user of.
After seriously trying several good 3D desktop apps for years, I realized that no modern solution was quite going for what I wanted. I wanted something super focused that merely aimed to replace my desktop wallpaper, not my entire OS. In 2010 I decided I’d try making it myself. After surveying several potential 3D engines, I finally ended right back in the Source engine (for its established community and vast modding compatibility.) By the end of 2010, the 1st version of AArcade was released onto Moddb, GameJolt, Desura, and any other indie-friendly platform that would take me. A couple years later, I got accepted onto Steam. Our small community of users and creators, along with myself, have been using it for over a decade now. A niche I hope to see continue to expand and reach more people.