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Second Life: For when your first life’s not good enough

May 6, 2010

First of all, I successfully avoided getting sucked into World of Warcrack (despite the fact that for months, several of my friends would literally talk about nothing else), so I find it ironic that I now have to essentially play Sims for school. I see how people get addicted to this kind of thing. I do. I spent some time flying around a place called Pteron, which has temples, moonlight, and a gorgeous blue ocean that apparently offers no impediment to breathing when you’re in it. (I fell in the water a lot.) It was pretty and peaceful and something I couldn’t do in real life. That, to me, is the strength of virtual worlds: the opportunity to stretch the realm of the possible, to create new communities and new identities.

One of the problems with Second Life is that it’s very difficult to create a (visual) identity. I was excited about the opportunity to create a customized avatar, but the interface turned out to be limited and unintuitive. All I wanted was blue hair, but it turned out that doing that would involve either a purchase or complex programming to create new prim hair to wear on my head. Seriously? To say nothing of the fact that a jacket was composed of about five different pieces, which wouldn’t always rez in at the same time, so it looked awkward AND lagged. Other character creation interfaces–Rock Band’s, for example–have more options and are easier to use.

On the other hand, it was very cool to actually “see” some of the people from my class. There was something about seeing a gathering of people in real time that made the experience feel more communal–I felt like I was part of something that wasn’t just words on a screen.

I may play around with Second Life periodically, but right now I don’t see it becoming a huge part of my life. If there is a Second Life revolution, it will have to take place without me and my non-blue-haired avatar.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Theresa permalink
    May 6, 2010 3:51 pm

    LOL. I also thought that seeing and interacting with classmates was fun. I can see that would be useful for our online learning environment. I agree that the hair and clothing sucks. I’m not sure why it has to be so detailed…

    I was also thinking it was like Sim City, only with other people involved. I’ve never played Sim City though.

    I liked the flying part, but found the wayfinding to be extremely difficult and I was disoriented most of the time. Finding people, such as Derek, was really awkward. You have a specific person you’re looking for, but you can’t look up where they are. I didn’t get that.

  2. rqpdx permalink
    May 6, 2010 5:43 pm

    The views can change but it is awkward. Imagine me trying to find my own hair, it took forever to find, flying up above me in the air.

    I agree I loved the communal part of SL up until the moment I was propositioned. Even that was hilarious. I wouldn’t know how to have sex virtually even if I really wanted to, and why would I want to? I’d much rather learn something new, like the book shelves I saw in one of the offices from an alumnus. (sp?) Now that I am going back to see, so I can read ones that are new for me.

    I loved being able to fly and search around. It was awkward when I was actually trying to find something specific but exploring and doing whatever took up tons of time and was fun. Not much time for that now or in the future. I’d much rather be outside meeting real people.

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