« Previous Post | Pop & Hiss Home | Next Post »

Hanging at Lemmy's virtual castle in ROCKTropia: Watch out for the demon spawn


Motörhead's Lemmy Kilmister may cut a daunting figure in real life, with his black Fu Manchu mustache and biker duds, but he's larger than life in the virtual world. He's a king, with his own domain, aptly named Lemmy's Castle, guarded by hulking, horned monster security guards and demon spawn inspired by dozens of his own sketches.

His digital dwelling is all part of the newly launched virtual music world ROCKtropia, a virtual planet in the online 3D Entropia Universe, a massive multi-player game in which people interact using avatars. "In my world, you go to jail telling your kids bedtime stories," the 64-year-old says during a break recording Motörhead's newest album, a dirty sparkle in his eye. "I want big stinking bats with horrible noses, or flying anteaters. In my world, most people would die."

For a guy who claims he hates computers, and recently got his first laptop, he's passionate about this brooding online landscape.

"It's goes to show I do know what's going on in the 21st century," he says. "I want to take  over the whole world, in the end. Look at the size of my security guards. Clone them, send  them out. What's the point of having a castle if it isn't scary?"

Lemmys Castle 2 Developed by Swedish company MindArk, Entropia has been on the rise since its launch in  2003. Unlike fellow virtual world Second Life, which has experienced declining currency values, Entropia uses an in-game currency with a fixed exchange rate. Project Entropia Dollars (PED) exchange at 10 PED to $1. Gamers can buy virtual jeans for $30, converting real-world dollars into PED, or snag limited-edition virtual merchandise, from albums to T-shirts. In ROCKtropia, collecting the virtual sweat of bikini-clad video vixens can even earn PED. Gamers spend PED when they use bullets to kill monsters in Lemmy's virtual realm.

According to MindArk, billions of virtual dollars have been made within the universe, with users in more than 200 countries.

"I think about the speed that innovation is happening online. It's plausible this can explode rather quickly," notes Nelson Gayton, executive director of the Center for Management of Enterprise in Media, Entertainment & Sports at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. "You can make money in the real world by marketing in the virtual world. The experience of a musician, an artist, to find audiences in virtual worlds is very appealing."

ROCKtropia creator Jon Jacobs knows this firsthand. The British cyber entrepreneur has launched an empire based on his avatar, which he calls NEVERDIE, propelling him from gamer to owner of virtual asteroid and nightclub Club NEVERDIE to owner of real-life NEVERDIE Studios. Jacobs moved from Miami to Hollywood in 2008 after MindArk, in 2007, said it would open up its universe.

He was already earning money in the virtual world with his own music. It took almost two years, with backing from private investors, for Jacobs and his team to create ROCKtropia, with Lemmy's Castle and the huge virtual Motörhead Stadium within it.

Jacobs, who collaborates musically with Lemmy's son Paul Inder, persuaded the vet rocker to jump on board. "There's longevity in this platform," says Jacobs. "I think what's going to happen is that every artist is going to have a virtual destination. Everybody in the music business can play a role in a virtual industry. Selling music is not the most important thing in the world when you can make money with a destination."

Indeed, ROCKtropia does glisten with a hyper realistic shine. Spikes in the walls of Lemmy's castle appear so sharp they could knock an eye out. Monsters with reddish, textured skin have detailed tattoos of Lemmy's face on their chests. Steely-eyed archbishops sport smooth syringes for arms. 

"It's so far beyond Second Life," says Jordan Halsey, ROCKtropia's senior art director, while showing off complex renderings of Victorian-esque buildings surrounded by floating billboards, a la "Blade Runner."

Kevin Rudolf, whose Billboard hit "Let It Rock," featuring Lil Wayne, catapulted his status in 2008, helped design ROCKtropia's ZOMhattan, an area overrun with virus-infected zombies. Inside sits B.A.M.F. Headquarters, where fans can hear his new music. City of Dreams promotes aspiring artists, letting them gain exposure on Internet radio.

"I hope everybody and their mother does get in on this," Rudolf, 28, says over the phone. "There's really less money to be made because of lack of album sales. In the virtual world, we can generate the interest, and connect people to where they can buy music. This is also something where you can use your imagination to create whatever you want. It's anything you want to make it, which is why it will be around."

Imagine Lady Gaga with a virtual world full of stiletto-wearing demons (she does call her fans "little monsters") or an arena, such as Motörhead Stadium, selling virtual fashion before virtual concerts.

Gayton, though, points out that it still isn't clear whether real-life musical talent will translate, or not, in the virtual world. "If you're a musical artist, you better be a darn good artist," he says. "At the same time, you may suck in reality to a particular audience. But you may appeal to an audience in the virtual world in a different way."

-- Solvej Schou

Top photo: Jon Jacobs (left) and Lemmy Kilmister. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

Bottom photo: A screen shot of Lemmy's Castle in ROCKtropia. Credit: MindArk

Comments () | Archives (8)

I have been playing Planet Calypso in Entropia Universe for a year and have now given Rocktropia a try. I like it. Something makes the world feel really cool, can't really say what. Looking forward to even more music stuff happening.

I think this is awsome, and will be checking it out!

I've been playing Entropia Universe since the days in which it was called Project Entropia - I started back in 2002, before the "Gold" release in 2003. There are many disgruntled people out there that joined the game with the expectation of making big money off of it - many of them spent and blew a lot of money and now scream that the game is a scam... DON'T LISTEN TO THEM. I would encourage anyone that would like a unique game to give it a shot (nothing forces you to spend money). With the launch of ROCKTropia, a new age in the game has begun - the first third-party planet (server) has been launched and more are on the way. ROCKTropia has a very cool look and feel to it - I love running around Lemmy's castle and killing the guards, but running around Zomhattan is a lot of fun too.

I highly recommend that anyone who wants a unique experience try this game. If you like it and decide to spend some money to help jump-start your Entropian existence - great, we will be glad to have you. If you decide it isn't your thing - at least you gave it a shot, right? There is a link in this post to Entropia Forum - the semi-official forum (there is no company sponsored forum) for this game, inside of which is a wealth of knowledge about the game. Enjoy - hope to see you in the virtual world.

Well, what can anyone say about Lemmy - he's the real deal, an inspiration for future generations of rockers and he's fully committed to the Gospel Of Rock. This is direct way for him to reach young rockers with that message.

Bless The Boy!
The Blonde Bomber

If Rock & Roll has saved your soul, it's time to repay the favor. -- Visit http://projectsaverockandroll.com to find out more....

What this article fail to mention is that even 1 month after its launch it only has about 5-10 active particiopating players on it total.

There are 2 planets in the Entropia Universe so far and 1 of them has over 300k usd in loot turnover daily while rocktropia has about 800$ tops.

Jon Jacobs has always been the king of hyping and spreading lies like for instance his "Space Pirates" event he announced at 2006 E3 where he promised up to 5million dollars in treasures to be found ingame. Guess what...the event never ever happened.

This article should be removed or edited to reflect the actual games and the core dynamics which in reality is a pyramid scheme from top to bottom since it requires either a 12hour day grind cycling hundreds of dollars a day to profit on it or to simply resell items hoping they dont lose in value which is hard in todays economy where people buying a gun for 35.000$ 2years ago can barely get 15.000$ for it now.

Do your homework!

I've played in this environment since Project Entropia's early days. It is an interesting platform, where real-world money can be translated to virtual PED and literally dropped behind a tree somewhere for someone else to pick up. Great way to fund drug trafficking, terrorists and anyone else who wants to bypass the law. PED object gets picked up by someone else and they just withdraw the money from an ATM anywhere in the world.

The game itself is pretty boring unless you throw lots of money at buying better and better gear, and every action from changing clothes to firing a weapon not only consumes charges (costing PED/money) but also decays all involved items so you have to pay to repair them for continued function.

The process is the same for any other online gambling site - buy tokens (PED/ammo/mining probes/etc) for money, put these into the slots (guns, mining detectors, crafting machines), pull the lever (fire the gun, trigger the crafting machine, etc) and then see if anything of value drops out into the slot that you can exchange for more money.

The Entropia based environments are nothing more nor less than slot machines in both form and function. MindArk takes its cut as the house in terms of "decay" and expenditure of ammo/PED/etc. The rest is pay, pull the handle, and hope to get the jackpot - which is then announced to everyone on the game using the chat channel just like the bells and buzzers on real-world slots in Vegas.

The same dozen people get the majority of the Globals and Hall of Fame (HoFs) jackpots every few minutes, creating a better come-on than a hawker in front of a strip club. These players started early, deposited vast sums of money, and amassed both gear no longer available (Modified FAPs, etc) as well as hyper inflated stats during early days when limitations were not so well enacted.

Anyone that thinks they can go into Entropia in any of its guises and make money has the same illness that drives people back to Vegas to drop in more money because, if you pull that handle enough times, you'll get the big jackpot!

Well first off.. The makers of the game promise you nothing as far as making any money.. 2nd: Don't blame the game makers for your misunderstanding.
3rd:No one has to pay 2 play this game.. it can be done without paying..
4th:I'm Glad Idot's that think the same way you do.. are gone..
5th: I have more than one person in my soc that hasn't Deposited one dime..

1st off: they never promised you to make anything off of it..
2:Neverdie bought land thats how he made his(not a pyramid)
3: Nitwits bad mouthing a cutting edge game because of jeliousy( Glad the Idiots are gone)
4 it is free to play!


Recommended on Facebook

In Case You Missed It...


Recent Posts

Tweets and retweets from L.A. Times staff writers.



Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: