More on Second Life

A few more opinions on Second Life. After my first post, PJ had some comments on it. In a similar vein, Eric Rice weighs in prompted by Chris Pirillo’s post. Chris’ experience is about the same as mine.

The countervailing opinion of the boosters seems to be that those of us who are bored and perplexed by SL have the wrong attitude. They say we should be looking at it as a freeform tool for creation and interaction, rather than as a game that will entertain us. PJ says I should be looking at it as a 3D modeling tool; Eric says it is true participatory media. All I know is that I was looking for something intuitive and I found something that presented me with a learning curve that I didn’t particularly want. Eric says ‘[…] it’s this wide open “The Earth: What do you do on it?” thing that is way different that something with a specific purpose’. Well, you can put me in any American city and I guarantee I can make something interesting happen faster than I’ve been able to in Second Life – which as yet I never have. I already know how to work the world and don’t need to read the manual. The world has a less shitty interface.

The basic thrust of the SL as a substrate for creativity argument doesn’t much sway me. In fact, every time I’ve shut it off in disgust, I’ve turned around and put some work in something more immediately tangible to me – AmigoFish or a podcast or something. I’m not wild about using my money to buy assets or my time to build value in such a non-portable way. When someone else can flip a switch one day and turn off my work, I don’t like that situation. Lest you protest the unlikeliness of that, I lost a lot of my writing when GEnie shut down, and it’s about to happen again with Dueling Modems. It’s not a question of if but when with this sort of thing. I’d rather have more control over my output than this.

Note that as in all such things, I’m not trying to talk anyone out of liking it. I’m saying that based on my experiences so far, this thing ain’t for me. In fact, I deleted the client off the laptop after the last unsatisfactory experience. Wake me up in a few years and maybe I’ll try it again.

7 Replies to “More on Second Life”

  1. concur dave – i think sl is a great thing for folks that want that type of creative experience and have the time to allocate to it (like eric)…

    i’m just not one of them, nor is my video game addicted and hopes to some day be a game designer son – he tried it for awhile and then went back to final fantasy online…

    different strokes is one of the true virtues of where we are online now – there really is a little for anyone and everyone 🙂

  2. They call it a 3D modeling tool? What a joke. I find the graphics to be horrid. I don’t like it because it is too slow and it looks bad.

  3. Great post Dave… every blog post fascinates me on it. I’m not a 3D modeler, nor gamer. SL is just this ‘thing’ that works for specific things for me– fun or otherwise. The chasm between differing views also amazes especially since trips to the bank are involved for some.

    What will be interesting is how this pans out in a few more real years (beyond our short-term field of vision– actually SL is been around 3-4 years I think)… what has it represented, what has come from it. What will the good ol days of 2006 have meant as a result.

    I don’t know the answer 🙂 I just ride waves.

  4. Hi Dave,

    You said : “I’m not wild about using my money to buy assets or my time to build value in such a non-portable way. When someone else can flip a switch one day and turn off my work, I don’t like that situation. Lest you protest the unlikeliness of that, I lost a lot of my writing when GEnie shut down, and it’s about to happen again with Dueling Modems. It’s not a question of if but when with this sort of thing. I’d rather have more control over my output than this.”

    I really can’t argue with that. And it is a real possibility with SL.

    If you remember one of my comments from way early in your SL discussions, I did say that I agreed you had more important things, valueble to you, that you wanted to do. And when I have written here, it’s not to sway you or hook you, or anyone. I try to write to help people “get it”, to get over the perceptual hump. It seems a lot of people want it to be a game that entertains them.

    Sure, the interface isn’t all that well made. It suffers from network lag and movement jerkiness (they probably can’t afford the thousands of servers and network infrastructure that a game company can put behind a multi-million dollar budget game.)

    But the potential for this to become a metaverse, today, not in some author’s imagination, not in some dark necromantic future, that’s what draws me in.

    Tilted Edge, everything you see in SL, was created by a user. Someone very much like you and me. Sure, it doesn’t compare to any professionally made real-time 3D shooter, RPG, or what have you, PRECISELY because it isn’t any of those things.

  5. Hi Dave,

    I’ve had very similar frustrations with Second Life, from a slightly different perspective: as a former MUD/MOO addict. I’ve just finished a blog post about it (Website link goes to my blog, entry titled “To Hell With Rocket Cars, Where’s My Metaverse?”). In a nutshell: From a user experience perspective, there’s not much difference between Second Life and, say, LambdaMOO or any of the other text-based societies of the early ’90s. I had hoped we would have come further than that in the past 10 years.

  6. Even more reasons to not spend your time, energy and money building value in a venue that you ultimately have so little control over.

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