Lowell: So what are you hoping to achieve with this build?
Ashley: Well, basically, I wanted this place to be somewhere people could come and learn what it’s like to be an A.N.Z.A.C. or for ex-servicemen like myself whose time was cut short for them. We roleplay Australian army soldiers mainly, but there are a few Kiwis as well.
Lowell: So is it a commercial venture?
Ashley: No, i pay for everything out of my own pocket, or from donations people make to us. in the future, we may look at opening ourselves up to doing security type work, but we will not do nightclub style stuff….purely patrolling and such.
Lowell: And with the sketches on the walls – where do they come from?
Ashley: I actually downloaded these from another internet site a while back, they’re from a book written not long after the Second World War by T.A. Miles….havent quite finished everything yet, but I will be putting up info on the author of the book. The site i sourced them from was http://www.firstaif.info/anzac-story/.
Lowell: Ok – so will you be promoting activites etc you’ll be running?
Ashley: Yes, we will be running activities, doing lectures and such… I hope that there will be places around SL that will also let us do parades and such. Would you like a tour of the base?
Lowell: That’d be great!
Ashley: Ok, please follow
Ashley: Obviously this will be the public area. this is free for anyone to enter any time they wish. We will conduct free history lessons here too.
Ashley: These are the barracks. i house all my men for free during the first little while they are here. The rooms arent very big, but they’re home.
Lowell: When you say they are ‘here’ – what sort of timeframes are you talking?
Ashley: Well, I haven’t even filled one room yet, so that will be determined later on. i think a month is fair before they must find accomodation…that will also depend on whether we get more land. I have set it up so it’s 1 section per room plus 1 officer- 15 beds per room. Not very spacious, but this helps them bond together as a team.
Lowell: So why would an avatar ‘sleep’ here or is it more a close-quarter bonding opportunity
Ashley: More a close quarter bonding opportunity….this is where they do all their prep before going out on missions. Out here will be a dorm area, we will have a lounge with streaming music and TV, I’m going to try to set up a free to air TV here… I dont know if that’s possible or not, but I’ll try.
Lowell: How long have you been building?
Ashley: About a week here, we were in another location, but I found this place had cheaper rates and were more flexible with what we could do. We have 2 platoons, with 3 sections in each, with 15 men per section…..so I can fit around 90 men here.
Lowell: How many do you have on board at the moment?
Ashley: LOL, about ten, but we’re getting there.
Lowell: Ten is a good start!
Ashley: Yes, well we have only been active for about 3 weeks, so that’s not bad.
(We then go to the third floor which is a shell)
Ashley: As you can see, we are still building. However, this room won’t look much diffrent. This will be the kill house, where my men can learn close quarter combat. This is the only base that I know of in Second Life that can boast that.
Lowell: So what will they be killing?
Ashley: Target dummies only here. Later on I may create a squad to play bad guys. We have these little walls so that they can get a better feel of the layout of the kill rooms. It allows the instrustor to see exactly where all his men are at any time.
Lowell: What sort of men are joining up – what are they hoping to get out of this?
Ashley: Well, at the moment, it’s a bit of a mixed bunch – men and women. Some want to play a purely combat role, others want to just study. Some even more…we will be teaching officers as well.
Lowell: Can you give me some idea on what areas you’ll be teaching?
Ashley: Military tactics, communications, leadership, drill, engineering, and diplomacy.
Lowell: And do you think those skills will be used by participants in their real lives?
Ashley: Well, they could, but I will greatly limit what i do teach – there are some things for example with communications, that I will not teach.
Lowell: That was what I was wondering – in the RL military there’s psychological screening prior to knowledge being imparted in some areas.
Ashley: Yeah, I have pondered that problem, but the stuff I’m teaching will be limited to stuff they can find themselves by reading or watching movies….in essence, its pretty basic stuff really. Besides, i speak to each person who enters and there is a screening process.
Lowell: So you do some screening?
Ashley: I do, there is an application that must be filled out, asking what they want to do here, whether they have any former experience, and so on. I would also like to say for the record, that there is a huge diffrence between this and the real thing….playing vidoe games does not enhance your ability to use a weapon in RL. Unless the game you’re playing is on the wtss system…you heard of it?
Lowell: I haven’t actually – what is it?
Ashley: Weapons training simulation system- don’t worry, anyone who does a tour of Duntroon gets to see it. It’s basically a badass version of duckhunt….you ever played that?
Lowell: I haven’t actually sorry 😉
Ashley: LOL well, basically it’s a huge screen that you shoot at with a converted weapon. the weapon uses lasers instead of bullets, and has recoil by use of air pressure. Any weapon used by the defense force can be trained with there, and all the weapons can suffer the same issues as their RL counterparts – stoppages, empty mags, you name it. The only downside is that the recoil is slighty weaker than the RL weapons. That is the only videogame I have played that has improved my ability to shoot. I should add, we are in no way affiliated or endorsed by the real army, and that it is an unofficial ANZAC group.