Nov 13, 2017

Arcade Exchange Update

Revision 2.95

Arcade Exchange Magazine [Attention]


What’s New

AES (Audio Engine System)

When we first built the arcade series, we weren’t entirely knowledgeable about scripting in the high-end. Of course, there was the llPlaySound command to handle short clips, but when you’re dealing with arcade machines that have audio loops measured in minutes, even for the attract modes, you can see how this falls short as a solution. Stringing together the audio commands with llSleep in between only goes so far, and when you begin extending the amount of files needed in that loop, the rest of the menu system begins to stall while it waits for the audio and sleep commands to complete.

This has been an ongoing issue for the life of the Series III Arcade Exchange, but we’re proud to announce that as of Revision 2.95, it is no longer a problem.

We’ve re-written the audio engine system (AES) to be more dynamic, pre-load items in advance, and handle hundreds of audio clips in a loop without interfering with the main script.

What his means for you: The menu system is now responsive, even when playing the audio loop, as the AES has been separated into its own script and handler to multi-task.

As a result of the AES upgrade, your arcade machines are now able to loop many minutes of audio when toggled – in many cases, an entire run through the game itself.

That being said, please keep in mind that the pre-loader is not an indication of actual time to pre-load but merely an estimation. The actual time to pre-load and play those clips is entirely dependent on your connection speed and other various factors such as sim lag and Second Life itself. You may not hear the entire loop the first time through because of this, but we’re pretty certain the second time through you will.

Support Call Decal

Warranty StickerOn the back of every arcade machine, there is now an Andromeda Games Support Decal (Upper Right Corner). Because your arcade machines are under “Second Lifetime” Warranty, you can always trade-up to the latest revisions or have broken machines fixed for free. However, it hasn’t always been clear who to contact or get in touch with to handle this. Sure, we put that warranty information into your Instructions card that is included, but we also know that customers aren’t always interested in reading.

As a result, we’ve put the support call decal on the back of every machine, and made it an active call sticker. Which is to say, if you click on them, it’ll give you the warranty information, and contact for support. It’ll also page me (Aeonix Aeon) in-world and let me know who is requesting support and what machine you’ve invoked it on.

We don’t think it gets any easier than this, really.

Various Updates

There have been some amount of various issues (minor) which have gone unfixed in the past on our arcade machines. While not all game-breaking, they did warrant another look during this update and a correction. TRON, for example, had a minor alignment issue with the side panels which left a small gap. The Glow was set way too high, and so on. It is also currently one of two arcade machines that do not have an animated screen (Space Invaders being the other). With this machine there are some technical limitations in-world which we haven’t quite sorted out yet – the screen is not uniform and due to the complexity involved with the build (geometry and faces) it isn’t feasible to animate the screen as of yet. We’re still looking into it.

Fix-It Felix Jr has had the animation set for the screen re-done with better quality, and the audio is now much better without the lag. However, this game is only available in the Arcade Exchange Mega-Pack as a bonus.

Joust had the same panel alignment issue as TRON, and so it was also corrected in this update.

Tetris as of 2.91 and earlier is now broken – the game itself no longer works. The 2.95 update corrects this.

Instruction Card

The instruction cards on all of our Arcade Exchange have been entirely redone for legibility and to include new information. This includes a better explanation of your warranty so you know what is and is not covered. I’ve made the card more unified with ASCII headers and such, so now it should be quite easy to discern all the main topics as you scroll through. The same has been done to the card for “How to fix Flash for Second Life”.

Marketplace Availability

During the long tenure of the Series III Arcade Exchange, our customers will have noticed that the original premise of the name meant that you could purchase only the Polybius arcade machine on Marketplace and then trade it in-world for the one you really wanted. While available in-world via our vendor boards at certain locations, we didn’t make them available on Marketplace directly.

That is until recently.

There are many pros and cons to doing this, and most importantly is that being a near perfect replica of the original arcade machines in real life poses a bit of a problem. Many hours of debate and discussion have happened over the years about this very issue – IP Infringement.

While we absolutely will not contest that our arcade machines are IP Infringing, there is a deeper explanation about why they should be left on Marketplace. If you read below, we’ll get into those details.


One of the other things you may have noticed as of recently is that the ad-copy and marketing for our products has been updated to be more uniform and professional.

Arcade Exchange - QBert [512]Having a real life marketing background helps in this case, in that I used to work for Pulse Point Media as a VP of Operations.

Now, just as a reminder, when I use “we” and “I” in these posts, it’s a matter of who in AMG I’m talking about. I refers to me (Will Burns, the founder) and We refers to the rest of the team involved with the products (such as RobsterRawb Jaxxon, Jon Dragoone, et al) inclusive.

When writing these blogs, I’m writing them on my own and so it’s always coming from “me” as a representation of the group interchangeably. Just wanted to clear that up in case you were wondering.

In any event, as I have had years of marketing experience, I decided to go ahead and apply that to our forward facing image by creating proper ad-copy for our arcade machines. A unified look and feel so to speak. It is purposefully reminiscent of an Atari logo in a subtle fashion.

I think it’s something you don’t normally see with a lot of items on Marketplace or in-world. Of course, the bigger brands do this properly, but that’s the difference between the big kids and inexperienced. Doubly so for the listings involving Arcade Machines on Marketplace – but we’ll get to that below.

The ad-copy is mirrored on our boxes now, and the look/feel is also in our magazine advertisements (as you see above at the beginning of the post). We regularly advertise in both Attention! Magazine and Playdolls as a two page spread. It is clean, gets attention, and gets to the point with a visual and short, witty slogan.

We’ll be using this format going forward.


In the course of the Series III Arcade Exchange, we’ve undergone quite a lot of updates and revisions. Originally conceived in 2010 before Second Life had mesh ability, it was a major overhaul when we started updating them all in higher quality mesh.

Back then, and even today, we spent quite a lot of time sourcing our materials and pouring over reference photos for the arcade machines in real life. There was and still remains a lot of points to why we would go to such painstaking trouble with these builds for what amounts to a virtual product with a limited audience.

VIPER Licensing

One of the biggest issues with doing something like this is the obvious elephant in the room: IP Infringement. In the modern age, it is considered the scourge of IP Holders, and takes up quite a lot of time attempting in vain to police their Intellectual Property online.

The standard tools for this give those IP Holders the legal precedent to DMCA or issue a Cease and Desist order. On Youtube, we see this as “Copyright Strike” where a claim is filed against a video.

But does this really solve the problem? It’s a never-ending battle that is both costly and time consuming, with little result. You win battles but arguably are losing the war.

In the example of the fan created game AM2R (Another Metroid 2 Remake), it was a brilliant game made by fans out of the love of the game. In my opinion, it absolutely did justice to the franchise and IP. However, it still remains that they did not have permission from Nintendo to use that IP and so Nintendo issued a DMCA to take it down.

But here is where it gets tricky.

The tools of DMCA and C&D are not effective in the bigger picture. If anything, it is akin to cutting the head off of a Hydra and being surprised when it grows back a thousand heads. What DMCA and C&D invoke in the modern age is known as the Streisand Effect – which is to say the thing you want to get rid of instead draws more attention and becomes more available as a result.

In the case of AM2R, this was true. Yes, the fans who made it took it down and complied with the DMCA, but those who had already downloaded it simply mirrored the files all over the world and on BitTorrent.

If anything, AM2R ended up with far more visibility in the media and higher accessibility as a result of the DMCA from Nintendo. In short, it had the opposite effect they wanted. Their strategy backfired spectacularly.

Back in 2013, I wrote a chapter in a college textbook whereby I outlined the solution to this miserable state of affairs: VIPER.

In the beginning, I outlined that IP Holders rarely (if ever) have a clear avenue to pursue in the instance of user generated media. For instance, most companies have a clear protocol to handle either a Producer of content or a Consumer of content, whereby a producer is seen as a large media firm that can pay a large licensing fee up front and a consumer is just the person who is expected to buy such items or be exposed to what the producer has created.

But what about the prosumer culture? The user-generated media made by the consumers as non-professional producers?

This is where we get into the grey area of legality and approach as we look at spaces like Second Life. Yes, those companies have every right to issue DMCA notices to take content down – but is it effective? In this case, the answer is absolutely not. If anything, it only exacerbates the problem as we see with AM2R.

You take one down and twenty more pop up to take its place.

So the premise of VIPER is to be an effective tool for IP Management in a user-generated content environment. Something that Second Life is sorely lacking, and companies in the real world do not currently subscribe to, which is exactly why we see this Streisand Effect continually playing out despite their best efforts.

VIPER is an acronym for: Virtual Intellectual Property Engagement and Recourse. The premise is simple: to manage IP on the prosumer level effectively and without the content explosion back-fire otherwise seen with typical DMCA approaches.

In the case of the Arcade Exchange, the premise is quite clear – to make available the best options for those media examples as a poison pill approach to IP Infringement. If high quality versions exist, it makes the countless low quality knock-offs irrelevant and so they will slowly cull themselves. By leaving the best options to fill a need in a space whereby a company would otherwise not be engaged, it has far more positive impact in regard to IP Management and Protection than had the same companies sent an army of lawyers to issue a paper storm of DMCA notices.

In short: Absolutely, these arcade machines are IP Infringing. By no means should DMCA take-down be implemented as a recourse. They are there to actually cull the plethora of existing knock-offs that are low quality, and in effect have the actual intended outcome that the constant DMCA take-downs and account bans have tried to accomplish all these years.

VIPER is a mindset that follows one of the biggest rules in user generated worlds; Whether that is the hobbyist at home making a fan game, somebody making creative content on YouTube (Adult Wednesday Addams for example), or virtual worlds like Second Life: Work within the system.

In this case, “the system” means not the legal recourse you’ve been given (DMCA etc) but the mentality of the community by which the IP is existing.

In order to understand VIPER licensing mentality, you as a company must ask a few questions to qualify the action:

  • 1. Will a DMCA result in the desired outcome, or will it backfire and cause a Streisand Effect?

  • 2. If our end-goal is to reduce or eliminate the IP Infringement, protecting our intellectual property, then would engagement in the system to fill the supply where there is clearly a demand actually achieve this end?

  • 3. What is the least involved manner by which we can accomplish #2 on this list?

  • 4. Does it make sense to engage and ask for a marginal licensing fee on each sale of said item in a virtual world (percentage) or is it enough to sanction the item as a preventative measure to cull the majority?

The answer in this case is obviously to identify the best version of the IP Infringing material and sanction it. However, one must also be willing to leave the other low quality versions alone to their fate as a result. This is how to eliminate the Streisand Effect in virtual worlds and elsewhere while actually accomplishing your end goal.

That doesn’t mean as a company that you should be saying “This is an official product” of our company. What you’re really saying here is: This is a licensed product in a virtual sense, we acknowledge it, and it represents the IP and brand in a positive light. It is the responsibility of the content creator to handle the sales, the marketing, the updates, and customer interaction.

In the event that said virtual item no longer represents the IP in a positive light, then you have a dialog with the end-user about how this can be corrected (reasonably). Again, we’re not going into things DMCA-Akimbo. After all, you’re running the risk of punching a hole in the dam of IP infringement and letting the torrent of knock-offs take its place.

We clearly don’t want this to happen.

This is also entails that companies (internally) set up some sort of “Best Practices” guidelines exactly for this purpose, and to convey to the end-users (consumers) that should they wish to use the IP in this manner, these are the rules they must follow.

Of course, in this document, the point is to be fair about it. So don’t go into it with massively unbalanced disincentive. In example – saying “Sure, you can make and sell this in a virtual world, but we expect a 90% cut on money earned.” or “Sure you can make this but you cannot sell it in the virtual space or make any money on it.”

Let’s be real here. If your goal is to cull the IP Infringement and protect your IP, it does you no justice to create a hostile environment whereby it makes more sense to just ignore you and do as they please, albeit in a less visible manner.

See also: BitTorrent and AM2R.

You absolutely don’t want to drive those virtual goods underground, because then you’re really screwed. So be fair about it, make some light concessions, and be willing to work within the system and with the end-users themselves to achieve these means.

The perceptual cost of those virtual goods sales versus the amount of money you’ve been burning trying to DMCA everything is like night and day. The perceptual loss of revenue from said virtual goods is negligible by comparison and is far less than what you would spend to police it otherwise.

So instead of approaching as a loss, approach it as a quadruple positive in your favor -

1. The loss of perceptual revenue from said virtual item costs you far less than trying to police it via typical DMCA means. Instead of counting it as a loss, count is as time and money saved. You could be paying lawyers ten or one hundred times as much to have zero impact on the state of affairs versus the negligible loss of the virtual item for sale having a massive impact on the state of affairs. It just makes perfect business sense.

2. Because the items in question are high quality, consider them as a marketing gain instead of a lost sale or cost. You’re not paying for that marketing, nor the time it takes to create the items and maintain them. You’re not paying the person responsible for making it either. You, as a company already know how costly this normally would be if you hired a marketing firm to develop this sort of content and maintain it. Again, this is advantageous to you.

3. High quality items in a virtual world represent your brand in a positive light and are the antithesis to low quality knock-offs, thereby killing two birds with one stone that costs far less than the DMCA nuclear bombs you’ve been using that apparently couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn. It is actually effective, and that’s what you’ve been trying to accomplish all this time – isn’t it?

4. Instituting negative penalties for IP Infringement when it is presented in he best possible light to do justice to the brand is actually counter-productive in the most exponential fashion possible.

Allow me to expound a bit on the last point further.

Normally, yes the companies can issue a DMCA to Linden Lab concerning said items. Linden Lab would, therefore be legally required to comply, and as a result likely issue a temporary or permanent ban on my account in the process. This, again, is typical. It happens the same way with YouTube, and elsewhere.

But here’s the fallout from those actions:

1. The highest quality items would no longer be available, thus creating a void to fill in the market.

2. That void would quickly be filled not with one but likely dozens of IP infringing materials to take the place of the dam you just broke.

3. What is eliminated on the open marketplace will thrive in-world under the radar, making it impossible for the same IP Holders to find.

4. You’ve punished one creator for doing the one thing you actually needed done, and undone the positive outcome of those actions while vastly multiplying the negative outcomes. You’re back to square one.

It wouldn’t make any logical or reasonable sense to therefore issue a DMCA or Account Ban. There’s literally no positive outcome to doing so, and it amounts to dropping the bomb on your own foot making matters worse instead of better.

That doesn’t mean companies will listen to reason.

VIPER is simply an appeal to reason, and to accomplish the IP Management companies so desperately need in a world that is exploding with content. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results.

What the Arcade Exchange represents is a viable means to accomplish exactly what the owners of the IP have been trying to do all along and have been failing at.

High Quality vs Low Quality

When it comes to virtual worlds, or any other media, there is no shortage of high quality examples. Just the same, for every high quality example there are ten times as many low quality “cheap” knockoffs.

Vendor-GALAGAYou can very well buy a Galaga arcade machine on Marketplace for 99L$ and you’d get something like what you see to the left from Brazilian Surf.

Yes, it works (if you’re lucky)… but that’s about it. What you’re getting is a generic cabinet haphazardly retextured with a media prim glued to the screen.

It doesn’t have the game history, it doesn’t have an extended audio loop, it doesn’t have an animated screen, and more importantly it looks nothing like the actual arcade machine. We’re not even certain it has any sort of warranty or support if it breaks. This is the standard fare when it comes to arcade machines in Second Life.

Arcade Exchange - Galaga [WIDE]Then you have the Arcade Exchange version of Galaga to the right which, as you immediately notice is of much higher quality and detail. It has far more features than the cheaper knock-offs, and is jam-packed with attention to detail.

If you were Midway (or whomever owns the rights to Galaga), which one of these would you want representing your IP?

Only one of them actually does it justice, and that is the entire point of VIPER.

We’ve supported the Arcade Exchange since 2012, with bug fixes, updates, and revisions. As of Revision 2.95, there is a service call sticker on the back of them all to quickly and easily contact us if ever your machines break or you would like to trade-up for an update.

So long as you own one of our arcade machines, we will support them and continue working to make them better.