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March 08, 2005

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» User-created content in Second Life: Ondrejka's GDC talk from Boing Boing
Cory Ondrejka is VP of Product Development for Linden Labs, the company that makes the massively multiplayer online world Second Life, where users are expected to create, improve upon and trade objects using a rich scripting environment. Alice Taylor w... [Read More]

» Cory Linden Speaks on Second Life from Clickable Culture
Linden Lab's VP of Product Development Cory Ondrejka spoke at the Game Developers Conference yesterday on "Building Serious Games MMPS using Second Life," and Alice of Wonderland took notes. Ondrejka brings up some of the standard SL se... [Read More]

» Second Life from Ming the Mechanic
Second Life is a massively multiplayer online world. One can build stuff, design one's own avatars (virtual bodies), one can program it. One is the owner of what one creates and there's opportuties for trade and business. Via BoingBoing, here are some ... [Read More]

Comments

Jonathan

It is partly-subscription. If you have land, then as well as paying to buy the land, you also have to pay 'rental'. The more land you own, the more you pay per month.

It's a very interesting place though. In a couple of weeks I pretty much completed an in-game Go game. Now I just have to find someone with land and spare prim allocation who might want to give it a permanent home :)

Torley

Alice! Way cool of you to put Cory's presentation up. A lot of insights which I wholeheartedly agree with.

I'm a Resident of Second Life and I have Asperger's Syndrome -- although I'm not on Brigadoon... yet. I have a number of communication difficulties and such offline, but on here, I feel a lot more free to express myself creatively using the tools I'm given. I tend to be an explorer-nomad social type, although I find it strange how I'm in this position (considering what an antisocial isolationist I *should* be, by all accounts).

Well, it's such a thrill to be in SL. 7-day trial (14-day if you go through MMORPG.com I reckon), nice people with mad skillz doing some tastily talented things, and just a lot of growth and progress on the timeline. I think that's the thing, like having a baby and seeing what your beautiful offspring will grow into (despite the emotional pains and terrible twos and all that over the years -- learning to drive would count too). It's all worth it because of the ultimately fulfilling experiences you get out of it.

And heck, it has a lot of smile factor.

I have a cute peppy blog primarily about SL, the URL's WWW.TORLEY.COM so feel free to check it out if it piques your interest... have a good one. =^_^=

Alice

Thanks Torley!
Hey, a little birdie tells me you're somewhat of an in-game celebrity...

A.

Torley

*blush*

Are you in SL, Alice? If not, why not? ;) *grins*

Alice

Ah, so many games, so little time! I'm currently up to my neck in Jedi trials in SWG and questing in WoW..
I can't put it off much longer though.

FlipperPA

Great summary! Thanks so much for posting it. Cory is a very neat guy... in fact, all of the Lindens (employees of Linden Lab, who makes Second Life) are wonderful folks. Feel free to look me up in world when you join, Alice!

Cheers,

-FlipperPA

RODNEY

I hate to play online games that costs money! CAN SOMEONE PLZZ GIVE ME A ACCOUNT :D

csven

very interesting read. thank you. and there's so much more...

Gwyneth Llewelyn

Game? What game?

Second Life is a collaborative environment and/or a virtual reality. Some people are calling it a MMUVR (spelled: "mover") - a Massive MUltiplayer Virtual Reality. Looking at Second Life as a game is like saying that the Web is for kiddies to write blogs. I wonder if Tim Berners-Lee did any presentations of his way-cool hyperlinking technology in game conferences and had people telling "wow, this hyperlinking stuff does really work well for games!" Yes, back in 1994 I remember playing Tic-tac-toe in HTML, and "early gamers" like myself thought that the technology wouldn't catch, despite being "multiplatform" and "adaptive to several screen sizes", which would be neat for doing games. Some of us were crazy enough to think that you could use HTML for doing serious stuff, like work forms online, to replace paper. Wow, were we laughed at! I remember silly stories of crazy people saying that they could interface with the library computer and have a Web front-end for people "around the world" to search the index. Kid stuff! What a laugh! Kids playing games!...

Well, this is precisely what I feel about Second Life. Just after a few hours of logging in and designing my avatar, I thought, so, where was the "game"? This was listed as a "3D game" at Apple's site. Where is it? I couldn't find it, and was slightly disappointed, so I wandered out to one of the public building sites and tried to do some creative work instead. Perhaps someone would explain to me sooner or later where the "game" was that everybody was talking about.

As you may imagine, that never happened. Sure, there are also lots of games done on the Web nowadays - but do we think of the Web as a "game platform" and tell to friends "I can't join the Web right now, I'm already playing too many games"? Sure, there are lots of games in Second Life as well. Jonathan, for instance, after two weeks or so of being online, designed a Go board from scratch. That certainly qualifies as a "game". There are some more. Some are very entertaining. Some are being ported to other platforms. But does it mean that being online in a virtual reality is "playing a game"?

I think I made my point. In my current line of work, I use SL as a platform for teaching people computer-related skills, have them develop their socializing skills, use it as a free (well, a really cheap) e-learning system with a virtual classroom, where I can do business presentations as well. Some days are hectic, running from meeting to meeting - but the great about it is that I don't physically need to move from my (real world) home. I do work meetings in SL. I have a way to do presentations, distribute flyers, keep records.

And when the work day is over, I go over to my favourite club to chat and dance to some great music, and generally hang around with friends. Sure, it's a wonderful way to "chill out"! I could play some games instead, if I were in the mood. Or visit an old friend for a chat. Or say hi to Torley, look what she's recently discovered in Second Life, and get amazed, as usual. :)

Hmm, the Web does not "give" me that. "Life" in "Second Life" sounds "too real" - after all, we're all humans, and we do similar things in Second Life as we do in this so-called First Life (but is there really a difference?). My "real world" customers, who are beginning to use Second Life as a new tool, certainly don't think like that at all. They just say "oh, so this is the new killer application in the Internet. Way cool. Finally we get a humanized interface, not those silly rectangular things on the desktop that a non-tech can't understand how they work". That's what Second Life is to them - a communication/collaboration tool. That's why they're willing to spend money in training, to get their staff acquainted with a new technology that appeals to them. And, of course, the price tag is incredible low, compared to multi-million dollar e-collaboration or e-learning or e-something tools out there, who work on 2D and on clunky web interfaces...

So to Rodney I can only say: wow, you get all that for US $9,95 (lifetime), and are you complaining? But if you're thinking that you're joining a "online game to play", you're choosing the wrong platform. It's wiser to download some free games from the Internet. There are really amazing ones, some are even 3D.

To Alice I can only say, welcome to a brave new world - but beware of what you may find inside! You'll probably understand it only when it's too late. For me, it was at a time, four weeks after joining Second Life, when I received a copy of Simcity 4 ordered by snail mail, which is still shrink-wrapped somewhere. There is simply no more free time to "play games" any more when you have something much more fascinating than "games" :)

gdkjones

I have to say that Cory has done a fabulous job of explaining or at least demystifying Second Life. It is a truly expressive environment for those who are looking for a way to create something unique for everyone to enjoy and it is also a place to play games if that's all you want. The thing is...sooner or later, regardless of how you see or treat the environment, a time will come when you just have to take a step back and say "WOW", where am I?
The potential of SL WILL catch up with you eventually I think, regardless of your original intentions for entering. It simply can't be helped. You WILL join clubs, you WILL meet people you love and equally those you loathe. In that respect it's just like the real world. The difference lies in the fact that you can represent yourself however you see fit through avatar manipulation, which instantly erases the "you're ugly" or "you're fat" syndrome which stops a lot of humans interacting with other humans. The upshot of all this is that people will like or dislike each other based on WHO they are and not what 1st physical impressions have been projected. The list goes on and the plethora of possibilities makes SL an impossible place to rate or judge. It quite simply IS; and that's enough for most people. No dissection is required because none of the why, how, or what's of the real world matter in here. It is truly a world removed and myself, like most SL inhabitants are truly thankful for it.

Morgaine Dinova

Gwyneth has summed up the current Second Life perfectly. It's an online virtual world, and whether one considers it an online game or not is more an issue of personal outlook and worldview than anything about SL itself. While the system does have clear technological limits, within those constraints the limit really is (despite the horrible cliche) your own imagination.

That is nothing compared to what's coming though. In addition to Gwyn's very practical use of SL, I look at it also as a precursor to the open metaverse that seems quite likely to emerge in the not too distant future.

Remember the original, closed, proprietary, and very inward-looking AOL that tried to create the impression that its managed environment was the only game in town, and that the Internet was merely a network by which one could reach it? Well, that's a pretty good description of the current Second Life too, except for one very important difference. Linden Labs are most definitely not inward-looking but seem to positively look forward to an open metaverse, whereas AOL of course had to be dragged kicking and screaming to accept an open Internet (as did many other large portals).

When that open metaverse does finally materialize, Second Life can be expected to be just one more world that is part of it, although the Lindens obviously hope that theirs will be a major one. Be that as it may, one can certainly get a glimpse of the future by taking a look at SL now. For under $10 for life, that's got to a bargain as tools of clairvoyance go. :)

Morg.

[I'm not affiliated with LL in any way. In fact I give them a pretty hard time pressing for that open future.]

Harald Korneliussen

Sounds really cool. Of course, I am happy and have my hands full in my first life ATM, but I think I know someone this will appeal to...

Of course, when I read about a virtual world where everyone can create everything they like, and nothing is real, I have to think of C.S Lewis' description of hell in "The great divorce" :-)

Jim Gleeson

I suppose part of the question about what Second Life is can be a question relating to the computer itself, what do you use it for? I would be hard pressed to call it one exclusively without the other. As their are games in real life, there are games in Second Life. There are certainly game-like features to it.

There is a sandbox quality to it, similar to Grand Theft Auto and even Halo. You can shoot people too, if you choose to, but it just seems silly to do it since most people are not out to get you.

Also like first person shooters, there is an inventory you have, but the inventory can go on forever, and it includes some rather novel material as inventory. Your inventory to a great degree is yourself, your animations, scripts, clothes, body skins, are included in this inventory.

You can create things, this is where there is a divergence with traditional games. this is where it becomes more a virtual world. You can own land, get married, chat with whoever you want, buy and sell things, etc.

There is no goal in Second Life. But maybe that too is like real life, there is joy in the journey.

 Still Driving to the Shopping Mall ??

Second life is more of reality than virtuality. Games are going to be only a small fraction of the virtual experience in the near future. Its like Reality TV to the online experience

lovelyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

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