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  Horrifying the ‘PCD Lounge’  
Posted 2006-05-19 by Tony Walsh
Horrifying the ‘PCD Lounge’
A modified 'PCD Lounge' bears horrific fruit.
I've turned the virtual Pussy Cat Dolls Lounge into Silent Hill. The online nightclub, intended to market music and other products to teens, can easily be altered on the client (user) side. Currently in beta testing, the PCD Lounge runs on the Torque game engine, licensed from Garage Games to San Francisco-based new media company Doppleganger (formerly Evil Twin Studios).

The small virtual environment created for the PCD Lounge has limited appeal. Only 300 users can fit into the area at once, and I haven't spotted more than 61 members logged in at any given time (over 400 users are registered on Doppleganger's PCD Forums). Faced with a stale, virtual space laden with billboard ads and zombie-like teens, I decided to poke around the source files for the client software.

In a nutshell, the client-side files are extremely simple to modify. Modders can easily access and completely alter the graphic images that comprise the material surfaces in the world, including the sky, walls, billboards, and even the skin of user-created avatars. Additionally, sound effects can be re-written in Ogg Vorbis format. Other aspects, such as environment parameters and NPC names can be changed by putting some files through a text editor. Given this level of freedom, I decided to mod the PCD Lounge into the sort of environment seen in the Silent Hill series of games, turning the Lounge's attendees--even the Pussy Cat Dolls themselves--into disfigured monsters. And, just for fun, I replaced all the billboards with images from Frank Fairey's Obey Giant campaign.

I'm surprised that the PCD Lounge's files were laid bare. I realize the product is in beta, but there appear to be a a half-dozen or so junk files included in the installation, such placeholders and unused graphics, as well as initialization files. The disorganization of the files was a minor irritation in modding the graphics, so I only ended up changing about 70% of the content. If Doppleganger doesn't hide the source files in the final release of the PCD Lounge, it will be very simple for modders to create "nude" skins for the characters, as well as easily block all advertising. At present, mod packs can be shared among users, giving all those who've replaced their original files a window to the same modified world.

And, without further ado, here's the horror I subjected my installation of PCD Lounge to:

Above: Wardrobe-modification screen with my own background and zombified avatar. I could have modded the clothes for better effect. Click the image above to view the original wardrobe screen.

Above: The terrifying urban world of PCD Lounge, with a foggy gray sky. Click the above imge to view a pic of the Lounge's usual environment.

Above: Here I am, about to get jumped in an alleyway by a record executive. Click the above image to view a pic of the Lounge in happier times.

Above: Formerly a tower of billboards promoting recording artists, now a tower of Obey Giant. Click the image to see the original tower.
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Comment posted by Burke Prefect
May 22, 2006 @ 12:07 pm
If someone made a fully-moddable version of PCDLounge with hostable servers... well, you see where I'm going with this.
Comment posted by Tony Walsh
May 24, 2006 @ 9:09 am
I'd guess this is not completely out of the question--someone skilled in using the Torque engine might be able to do it.
Comment posted by web_test
August 10, 2006 @ 1:33 pm
Check this :)

I dont know did someone make it yet.


What do you think about that?
Comment posted by Tony Walsh
August 10, 2006 @ 10:07 pm
web_test, I like the model you imported, it looks like World of Warcraft went wild in the PCD Lounge :)
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