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I just saw a clip on the news about this virtual reality world called second life. They were saying some people are making as much as $250,000 a year “playing” this thing. Real life businesses and colleges are getting their stuff put on there too.

I went to their home page it says they have over 1.5 million users, and:
US$ Spent Last 24h: $651,996

I don’t know what to think.
I looked at some random link on there; you can buy a virtual island for only $1700 plus another $295 per month!

The news clip also mentioned something about a congressional hearing to see if they can tax virtual assets!!

Donnie Darko
This is but a foreshadowing of the eventual merger of biology with technology (some scientists are referring to it as the impending Singularity). When nanotechnology reaches fruition, you're not going to have your second life inside your computer, you're going to HAVE your second life.

One part of me wants to laugh at these people for shelling out REAL cash for FAKE items, but I guess if you're willing to buy a hint book for a video game, as I have done before, then that's really no different from buying virtual property in a game. Like real life, it depends on what people do with it. If it just turns into a vehicle for businesses to bombard you with advertising and sell you crap, that doesn't sound so fun, but if you can build and design all sorts of interesting things in that world that cannot be found in this world, then that could be interesting. I definitely don't like the idea of success in the game being purely cash based though, as it seems like worldly wealthy players are really the only people who can maximize their game experience. I think it would be better if the cash were entirely virtual, and earned based on what you did in the game.

Both Artemis and myself have invested a fair amount of time playing this one game called Oblivion, and a major part of the appeal of the game is how it is extroardinarly open ended for a RPG, and how the environment and people within the game adapt to the actions you make as a character (non player characters even operate within the game world entirely independently of you). There have been moments playing that game where I would have been perfectly happy to make that place my 2nd life. Of course Second Life is way more open ended than the world of Oblivion, but that open endedness seems to be at the expense of quality graphics, story and other things which would make the world of the game more immersive and interesting.

Of course Oblivion is single player, so you're always interacting with a virtual person instead of a real person in their virtual form.
I've always had an idea for a completely open ended RPG. There's no plot, no NPCs, and no in-game rules (hacking accounts and other kinds of cheating would get you suspended of course). In order to make something like that work, you have to have lots of tools available. Your player would start with basic skills and could train and learn from other players. The first few players in the game would start on a vacant world where they have to gather food and make shelter, and soon enough, the focus turns political. After a few generations, you have political entities that war and/or trade with each other, and eventually big cities and trade networks arise.

A couple things are necessary to keep things somewhat realistic- players can permanently die, and hierarchies of skills are way too big for any one player to master in a lifetime. If someone kills all the engineers in a country and burns their libraries, the state of the art in that country is reset and they have to start all over again.

The nice thing about the idea is that you could start two servers out the same way, and history would write itself differently on each one. Also, since human nature is the main ingredient, it would be a very useful tool for teaching the average person about politics and history. I'm certain some of the great battles and blunders in the history of the real world would be recreated, and not necessarily knowingly.

Unfortunately, I'm no programmer, and my friends who are are way to busy to indulge in a huge project like this. I always try to tell as many people about it as I can in the hopes that someone else will take the idea and make it. I'm not in it for glory, I just want to play this game!
I like Second Life, except you can't get really drunk that way! harhar.gif
There was an episode of "Red Dwarf" where people became addicted to a virtual reality game called "Better Than Life". While they lived their fantasy lives, their bodies in the real world were dying from neglect and malnutrition.
Donnie Darko
You should see the World of Warcraft episode of South Park.
Donnie, here's your chance to open up an Absinthe shop.
Virtual Absinthe sold here!

Inquire within.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(Stroller @ Nov 22 2006, 04:19 PM) *

Donnie, here's your chance to open up an Absinthe shop.

Not a bad idea, since the ballz tripping that happens from absinthe in real life is virtual (i.e. not fucking real) anyway.
Apparently IBM has decided to spend $100M on virtual assets. They said they want to put this into 10 different businesses for about $10M each (SL being one of them). They are going to announce their spending plans inside the Second Life universe!

Anyone have a clue what they mean by this?:
Virtual worlds can "provide capabilities we don't have in real life that can be used in the context of others' capabilities that don't exist in real life either."
Sounds like virtual BS.
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Nov 22 2006, 02:54 PM) *

You should see the World of Warcraft episode of South Park.

That episode was just repeated a couple of days ago, so I watched it. Now I see what you mean.
Entropia is similar to Second Life; I signed up for that one, but the user interface was really slow and choppy, even with broadband, so I didn't bother with it.
Second Life just scares me...I tired it once, and I walked into a sex shop thinking it was something far more innocent. Seriously though, who buys virtual sex products for a virtual world? Somehow it just doesn't hold the same interest for me... (I can't imagine why) wacko.gif
We used it for a while as an online meeting space for our offsite designers and consultants. Worked pretty well - better than trying to tele/video conference.

I know IBM has already hosted worldwide meetings in their private space within SL.

Unfortunately it doesn't work as a tool for us anymore since IT decided to block the ports with the firewall upgrade, so we're back to telephones and email for the offsite contractors.


You should see some of the hoops we have to jump through to get a dedicated FTP for files. Yeesh.

Them - "Can't they just email you the file?"

Me - "Well, it's 350mb compressed, do you really want our email servers to have to parse that?"


Back to the topic at hand. I like the idea of SL. It's a pretty intuitive interface, and the community building is very nice. I don't like the whole make and sell virtual stuff aspect - but that's nothing new anyway. Easy enough to avoid. Your financial commitment to SL is entirely up to you, from nothing, to a few bucks a month or more, but I think to reasonably expect to earn anything back requires a lot of time and probably a good initial investment in either talent (ie. scripting items and selling those) or money (buying and reselling property)
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