Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I is are a creature of teh nite!

Watch owt, I bite U!
Photo taken in Sammie's hip pad.
Alright, so here's a run down of my adventures thus far in Second Life. Why? Well, real life is less interesting to blog about.

First of all, I've put away my orange bugs bunny shirt. Now I is a Vampire Bat! My wings are awexome. Semi translucent. they flap realistically while I fly: especially in complicated maneuvers. My Bat avatar has more features, knobs, and dials to play with than a new car! I can hang from stuff, and as an added bonus, if you mess with me I BITE YOU wif my HOLLOW FANGS! >:[''' *chomp*

I got this getup in Luskwood. I'm really having difficulty locating a comparable area to hang out. 90% of Second Life is myspace-3d, and then there are areas like Avilion Mists that while finely crafted, have such atrociously high prim counts that even my burly laptop grinds to a halt.

I hung around for a group shot. Codex is the gator, far right. Samara is the fairy sandwiched by rabbits on the right. Angelus is the shadowy ball of fluff, claws, and tobacco on the left. The ginger rabbit flirting w/ the camera is Ashton and the narcoleptic giraffe is nighteyes.
I hung around while they were having some group photos taken, so you can see that here. The exercise was described as being like herding cats. And then inevitably Starlight (a cat, not pictured) came wandering in and had the hardest time facing to camera.

I heard a photographer for National Geographic one time describe the process of acclimating wildlife to your presence. He was photographing meerkats, which are notoriously shy creatures. So he would set up his camera equipment, and sit for hours, half the time not even taking pictures: just going through the motions of his daily routine so that the subjects would come to understand that he is not a threat, and he could document their doings uncolored by his proximity.

So, while I only know a handful of the folks who flow through here now, one day everyone will be used to the vampire bat ninja in their midst and I can walk in greeted by "norm" soundclips.

Unusual Precipitation: Griefer attack in Nova Albion. I am hanging from the gang plank, RL compadre Kuro is editing appearance at the end of the plank. LisaHot Juan seen center in pirate garb prepares a proportional response.
Meercats are shy because if they don't keep their guard up, you might eat them. That obviously is no danger in second life, so.. why would anyone here be defensive, or difficult to befriend?

The answer is: Griefers. Wired Magazine ran an oddly troll-feeding article about them last month. Griefers are simply immature pranksters who only feel important when they can successfully frustrate other people. Wired's outlandish article suggests that they keep virtual autocracies in check, and that they are well organized. Neither of these claims are true. They simply spend all of their time flitting from one virtual area to another letting off bomb scripts. Even if the area only has a handful of people in it talking about the weather.

Wired makes them out to be the Socrates Gadfly. Anyone who would actually research their behavior can see it's the same activity as defiling a public restroom. I fear their motives are also congruent.

Duck Pond '08!
Ashton, pictured with me agrees the place could use a "feed ducks" animation.
Luckily, griefers can be avoided. Lusk is an area I am told has some hefty security measures in place (though I have not felt them, so whatever they are don't seem to generate false positives), and I have not seen a griefer attack in this area.

It is also a collection of well developed sims (aka "simulators", as individual server machines tend to specific hectares of virtual land). Most other areas have a small gathering place to host many avatars, and tons of wasted land without. This being because the load of all the avatar connections and the prims needed to decorate their surroundings often draws all the power of a machine that tends a rather large geographic area.

In Luskwood the design appears to be more broadly maintained. If you leave the main social area, you are greeted with 2 sims worth of entertaining environment. On a recent journey I found a duck pond (pictured), mocked up RF and server rack mount network operation centers, general store, gazebo, playground, RC race track, well stocked pub, lighthouse, art centers, endless walkways between intricate treehouses, and the incomplete workings of a 2005 series TARDIS.

All of these places are abandoned relics from as long ago as 2003. But I wasn't alone for all of my travels, as a friend spotted me wandering around the grounds and came to join my expedition.

So there you have it. The Second Life universe appears to be obtaining a critical mass sufficient to make it interesting enough to outweigh all of it's current shortcomings (griefers, closed-source architecture and all) that I may continue to visit often.

If you stop by, look me up. My gamertag is Happ MacDonald.


Namowal said...

Second Life is a fun place to explore. Lots of neglected and abandoned builds- it's like visiting a well preserved ghost town sometimes.
The thing that baffles me about griefers is how unoriginal most of them are. Like I've never seen a particle bonb before!

Sally said...

I can't grasp what it's about I fess.

Jesse said...

It's just a digital world, that's all. :) You log on, talk to people, make things, play games if you want to.

Go exploring, go shopping, Didn't somebody say it's a lot like the sims? It's a lot like the sims. Except your avatar doesn't need to be coddled so badly. XD

Sally said...

But are they still or animated? Do you walk/drive to get places. Stand up/sit down? Does the space turn in 3-d? Who designs the stuff? I remember namowal you showed some things you'd designed a few years ago for Second Life. Is it proprietary design software?

Jesse said...

Ah, these are good questions that have good answers. :D

Many things are animated. It's all up to the designer: an unlimited number of animation options exist. The space you are in is fully three dimentional. You have an avatar, and you can change how they look and add costumes to them in-game.

You can walk around in game (realtime) and interact with your environment. You can also fly (regardless of having wings: good wings just make you look more kewl :3) and there is a world map with which you can also teleport to where you want to go.

There are vehicles, and you can ride them. My friend Noiz, for example, is quite fond of his motorcycle. Vehicles in-game are interesting, quaint, fun to ride in groups (in theory) and in this version of the game environment almost entirely unreliable and more trouble than they are worth (in practice).

You spend most of your time standing up, but if you find a suitable surface you can click on it and choose to sit down there. Also there are unlimited avatar-animation possibilities like dances, poses, gestures, etc. My hanging-stance for example is a pose I can use while I am sitting on a thing. So then suddenly I am hanging from it by my paws instead.

The "stuff" is primarily designed by the people who reside here. For example Olympia made her chess pieces, though I do not know if she animated them at all. I made my china hat. I also recently made a flag pole and the flag flaps pretty nicely in the breeze.

Most of your stuffs you go ahead and design in-game. They have a sort of 3d modeling software ingame, and you can upload textures from tga or jpg. (I think the next server version coming soon will support png as well :D) These get stored on the "grid" of central servers, along with all of your in-game assets.

I recommend the Ivory Tower as a great in-game location with tutorials on how to build and make things.

Does the space turn in 3d? um.. There are zero ways in which it fails to. :D By default you are in "third person" view, so your virtual camera follows your avatar around. You can scrollwheel and your camera gets closer or farther away from the back of your avatar's head. Get close enough and you are in mouselook view, which is first person.

You can also look at things by alt-clicking on them. by combinations of alt-click-drag and alt-ctrl-click-drag you can orbit and zoom your virtual camera around anything you want within a hundred meters of your avatar. Then press ESC to get back to third person view.

Finally there is an in-game currency called "Linden Dollars" or just "Lindens", L$. You can buy and sell them for usd$ at the lindex exchange, roughly $4 usd for 1000$L. Then you can use the L$ in game.. there are shopping malls full of clothes, animations, toys, people own land in game so there are places to buy entire houses, spas, furniture..

And people make these and sell them so they earn L$ and can funge them back into real money. To be honest artists do NOT make enough money to wholly justify the time spent online, it would be less than minimum wage: they are normally just supplementing their own purchases and covering their land expenses, etc.

Noiz for example has to pay monthly for the land he holds, and buy schwag when he wants to put things in the new house: so he's sublet the land and built skyboxes for renters, and found a plethora of ways to make the land pay for itself.

I'm holding off on more data like "how does the animation worx" since you'll need to digest this in pieces XD

Sally said...

That's a really great opening to an understanding of Second Life. It sounds as if you need a second life to devote the proper time to it though! Your avatar is very cute.