Second Life

First, I must just iterate my vehement dislike of Second Life. There is no there, there! Second Life is like going to Disney World but there are no rides or activities, just moving pictures of rides and activities. Secondly, I must admit that I've actually purchased items in Second Life, ridiculous items, virtual items for real money. The only excuse I have is that it was for an assignment but that does not absolve my shame. Thirdly, I think that instead of Google making us dumber, I think spending time in Second Life makes one dumber.

It is a fact that physical activity stimulates brain activity, well sitting on you ass while you virtually walk and dance around in Second Life does not get those axons working.
I would suggest a walk in the park, a trip to the local bar, meeting a friend for coffee at Starbucks, reading a book, taking a class, even listening to bad music while you clean out the toilet is a better use of time and brain energy than logging on to Second Life!

Second Life
Jose Vargas

Second life is a funny game. its so...unique. The idea of Second Life is a good concept because theres alot of things you can do. For me what i liked to do on it is create things. i did have to use real money to buy stuff, but it wasnt any of my own. I had to get a job and other avatars paid me. I do agree that Second is just something to do to waste time. I usually got on it when it was night and i wasn't tired enough to go to bed. I had a good time watching peoples reaction to my avatar because i was a hot picture perfect women. Guy avatars would buy me things and help me out and basically noone would bad mouth me. As if i were a guy, i wouldn't have the luck that i had.

To past the time and my night away, i was usually at a night club in second life. The interface is pretty cool. when i wasn't there i was at a sandbox and create objects. i had created a house and a pool and it was pretty fun to do. I thought might as well use second life for something useful and it was pretty easy to create prims. thats something i enjoyed about it.

Second Life
Andrew Montgomery

Let me start by saying this might not be the best paragraph considering my hate for second life. Alot of people like this game, I just cant seem to get into it taking into consideration the graphics, horrible gameplay, and what not. However the idea of the game is genius and that i will not take away from the game. When I venture to Second Life I see a massive population of people hanging around areas they wish they could in real life. For example the other day I wanted to celebrate christmas, so I went to christmas land! If you want to go to a club or a bar, you can go. As much as there is to do in this game it just doesnt feel like a "second life" due to the restrictions of the game(the main reason I cant get into the game). At the end of the day the only thing you can truly do is live a RESTRICTED second life, your basically playing by there rules, where as in real life you dont HAVE to follow any rules. However the game its self is pretty smart, people make thousands of dollars off of the econmy in this game. Not to mention its the closest thing you can come to to a "second life" The experience to me was bad simply because the game idea has so much prommise but lacks alot. However taking a stroll in Christmas land, or going to a strip club is always a extremely fun, and funny thing to do. No matter how much I hate the game I always have a good time in it.

Second Life
Wendy Lohr
Second Life is a virtual world where people can escape their real life for a while and pretend to be someone else and explore new and different simulations. Most people encountered in Second Life portray characters that are nothing like what they are in real life, but I've had the priviledge of meeting some very unique people that I actually consider good friends. The unique simulations created within Second Life provide stimulating environments for exploration; something that is not easily experienced in real life.

I play Second Life quite often and enjoy the virtual world there. There are people that tend to make Second Life an important part of their life, but I fully recognize that it is an enhancement to real life and not a substitution. Although there are many simulations designed with sexual overtures, that is not the reason for my involvement with this game. Second Life is a place where I go to relax for a couple of hours and catch up with friends, maybe do some dancing or exploring or building, and just have fun.

The economy in Second Life is quite interesting. I have spent some real money in Second Life, but not enough to cringe and go "Oh my god, what have I done!" For the most part, a person could gather everything they would ever want in their inventory and not spend a dime, if you know where to look. There are tons of freebies all over the place, so it's quite astounding to me the amount of money people will actually spend in this virtual world. Not to mention the amount of money people have actually made from this virtual world by creating items and selling them and then exchanging the Linden dollars for real dollars. People can actually work jobs in Second Life to make the Lindens they would want or need to purchase things within the virtual world, but in my mind, why would I want to work in a virtual world when I already do that in the real world? The virtual world is a place to have fun and relax and meet new people, not spend all of my time working. But, the option is there for those who want to take advantage of it.

One thing that I feel I've gotten from Second Life is a fuller understanding and appreciation for various peoples and cultures around the world. I have met and friended many people from all over Europe, from various parts of the U.S., as well as many other countries. They all have varying backgrounds and bring unique perspectives to the table that I would not have received from my daily encounters in real life. These encounters with these different people from all over the world has given me a much broader insight into many different areas of life. Although I play Second Life for the fun of it, I have also grown in my understanding and appreciation for many cultures and beliefs.

Second Life, like any game or virtual world, is what you make of it, just as in real life. This game is not for everyone; just as first-person shooters or hidden object games have their fans, Second Life also has theirs. I fully believe that people should not be judged by whether they like or dislike any particular game genre. As a student of the SDE program, I feel that Second Life should be explored by all students in order to have a full understanding of how this simulated, 3D world works. We should explore what its' strengths and weaknesses are, how it can be made better, and how it compares to other virtual worlds and games. Regardless of whether we personally like it or not, we all have to be cognizant of the fact that it is a popular game, just as WoW and many other virtual online games. As part of the SDE program, we are obligated to be familiar with and understand the mechanics of all game genres. Second Life is a social, simulated game that is played by millions of people and, as in all successful games, it is consumer driven. As game designers and developers, we want to give the consumers what they want because it creates revenue for us.

Second Life
Michael Larrabee

One of the things that becomes very obvious as you work through the world of Second Life is that the main goal of the world is to have the player become apart of an established community or create your own community that others can join. The other focus is on creating objects such as clothing, items, housing and land that can be shared or sold to others. When you look at the interface of Second Life you see all of the options that allow you to communicate with others and find different parts of the world, but you also see the options that allow for you to examine your inventory and to build objects.

There isn't a clear focus in Second Life of what the user is supposed to and they are really left to their own devices. In the readings we have had about other online worlds the users have a specific goal and know from the start what their purpose is. As you enter Second Life, the user is allowed to do whatever they please within the possibilities of the world and if something isn't possible, the player is able to create objects that allow them to do new things through scripts that they have written. Otherwise it becomes very difficult to advance through the world and players are able to purchase items to advance themselves. There is no real story in Second Life either, the player has to make their own story.

Unfortunately I've found little but frustration playing Second Life so far. There's almost nothing intuitive about the interface, it's cludgy and its sometimes very difficult to determine what I need to do to perform an action as simple as putting on an article of clothing. Even signing up was a pain in the virtual rear end because they still have not sent me my email confirming the account. I had to create a new account a few hours later with a different email address before I could even log on.

I've now spent a grand total of two hours playing this game, and I like it less and less every minute. The game plays very choppily, and the graphics are constantly broken up, with items missing or strange gray colored overlays that make it almost impossible to see what is happening. I realize I am supposed to be learning about the economics and other societal systems of this game, but given its coding issues and other problems, I'm finding it very difficult to learn anything other then I'm glad this game is free. Frankly there's nothing here that makes me feel it's vastly better then my real life, other then the ability to fly.

Like Jeffery mentioned signing up for this game was a small pain in the butt. I to had to make a second email account in order to get the confirmation email apparently second lifedoesnt agree with yahoo or something. My take on this game so far is that while being able to visit all these different areas is rather neat, frankly the graphics and controls are horrible. I do really like the fact if one wanted to be able to visit any random place they can at the drop of a dime by clicking a button. Exploring many of the areas i have come accross Ive notices signs where one can buy clothing and others things. Second life was rather smart to incorporate a RL currency to lindon dollar system, it prevents RMT's from invading the game and it allows an income to the creators. While this game has many neat features the games not really my cup of tea, if i wanted to visit all these new places Id do it in RL and not on SL with the choppy graphics. Like Jeffery also mentioned other than the ability to fly the games not much that better than RL.

James Le
The first thing that caught my attention, in Second Life , was the ability to fly straight from the start. The ability to fly in virtual space is not new to me, as I have seen such abilities in other online worlds. I'm used to attaining such an ability after a fair amount of play time so the ability to fly in the first few seconds of play surprised me. It's the first feature that immersed me into Second Life, even if it was only for a few minutes. After I spending a few hours in Second Life and picking up the basics I realized something. That I had a good amount of control or power given to me. I had the power to create and destroy. Of course this power has its limits but it is what made this virtual world different from others I have ventured in before. Much of Second Life seems to have been created by it's users or inhabitants. Buildings, vehicles, animals, clothes, and objects, are just a few things that have been created.
Social gathering places like bar, clubs, or events, for example, are where you would find most users. There are also places for one to share interests and even participate in events. A search feature is incorporated into Second Life so one can easily find places and people of interest. The virtual space is huge and there is no sense of time in Second Life. Through out my agonizing journey, I have interacted with various people. There were those that annoyed me, ignored me, or briefly talk to me. I also have been temporarily banned from a virtual establishment because I did not put my gun away. I have found places that were similar to reality and places that completely broke away from it. Users I socialized with in the bizarre places, based on my experiences, seemed to be helpful and a lot nicer.
The currency in Second Life, Linden Dollars, is produced by real world money. So basically spending money in the virtual world is the same as using your money in real life. Then again, what your using it for might not seem to be worth it. Awhile back I decided to buy a can of mountain dew in Second Life. It cost me about 100 Linden Dollars, that's about 38 cents in USD. Curiosity was the main reason for my purchase but I also expected some type of feedback. Was I going to see my avatar drink this soda? Did this soda grant my avatar some amazing ability? No it did none of that. Instead it did absolutely nothing except visually sit there in my inventory. I concluded that it was a waste of my USD and that for 62 cents more I could have gotten myself a Mountain Dew in real life.

Aula S
As many have mentioned Second Life has no clear objectives or goals, so it call it a game is far from what it is. Second Life is an arena where players can escape their real lives to join a virtual one. Similarly to the game Epic, except it has direct effects in your real world. Epic was used as a domain for players to express violence. Second Life is a domain for people to have social interactions and experience cultures and cities that they would have never been able to experience. Players can sit in a cafe in Paris sipping espresso and have an intellectual conversation with someone from across the world, while still being able to stay in the comfort of their own homes.

Second Life also works similar to Avalon Four, where there are internal banks in the game. In Second Life there are monetary transactions, the form of money that is used is Lindens. Lindens can be changed into dollars, to be brought to the real world. Although I don't really use Second Life, the only types of monetary transactions that I made throughout the brief time that I used Second Life were to import textures and sound files. I found Second Life to be a fairly easy software to use, it was very direct and I found the interface to be easy to understand. Even though there is no clear story or game play, it is up to the player to determine their own storyline and experience, and like real life, effect the game play of others.

John S. Rampersaud
My experience in SecondLife was not a good occurrence, like most of the people in the class. The interface for a beginner can be very confusing throwing off the experience and making it difficult to maneuver around the world but once I got settled in, it became easier. Flipping back and forth between the avatar and the other tools in the game was very interesting because it was kind of like using designing software but at the time very different. The best area to get free stuff was at the starting point, we the avatar is first introduced into SecondLife. I was able to change the look of my avatar to whomever or whatever I wanted it to look like. It was also interesting to be able to interact with the vehicles that I had obtained but trying to control them was very difficult and not like controlling a real simulation. The interface in SecondLife is interesting but it is not something that I am to fond of when it comes to a usable interface.

Interacts in SecondLife is something that can be very easy for any of us to do because the people are open to interaction and making new cyberfriends. SecondLife reminds me of real life but easier to interact with people because, I am not being judged by the way I look or dress. Yes, some people can be into cybersex with SecondLife, but that is only if a user finds interest in doing something like that. I did find it difficult when roaming the area and being transport off to another area because I crossed over some ones land and they do not well come guess. I found this very interesting because it is a video game and there is nothing really saying that if anything happens to the land that the user will be compensated for any lost, especially if the user put money into SecondLife. Trying to make lindens is just like working but kind of mediocre work that does not bring a high reward for the user. I really do not find the interest in SecondLife but it is not a game that I am interested in playing. It has a great reputation and it has to be doing something right to be able to attract as many users that it has and the world that was created for the simulation game.

Mark H-

After many failed attempts at virtual suicide in Secondlife I conclude that the suffering will never end.
The interface is very jumbled and confusing. There is way too much going on in the interface of SL and it is rather distracting.
Only one fourth of the entire interface is used there is no need to have that much crap on the screen. I guess the coolest thing
about the interfaceis the avitar navigation tools. The Avitar Navigation tools allow the avitar to navigate 360* in all directions,
the tools also enable the avitar to fly.
The 3-d modeling in SecondLife is pretty difficult and hard to accomplish. Having to type
to speak is annoying, having a mic in secondlife is much more usable and it was a good idea to include both text based and
audio based communication together to better suit user preferences. Many users are on Secondife constantly , somewhat
like a creepy religious cult(Dont drink the Lindenade). It would be interesting if a Third Life would emerge, it would be
in good interest to include a more usable interface( and a more stimulating virtual world).

Alex Morrow

This was my first experience with Second Life and my initial reaction was confusion - not so much with learning how to use the controls/interface but with what to do. There is so much to do in Second Life with no guidelines whatsoever that it is a bit daunting to first enter the world, eager for something to do, but with no direction on what to do. In many ways, I enjoy this aspect of open-ended gameplay, but I also like goals and story which Second Life doesn't exactly offer. Naturally so, of course, due to the nature of the game. I wasn't particularly thrilled with the interface of Second Life. The HUD menus were so vast; both wide and deep structures made it difficult to navigate. I thought it was pretty useful to have a web navigation bar within the HUD, however.

I began my explorations using the Destination Guide and visited several locations from exotic beaches to shopping malls to dance clubs. I found a lot of interesting things within many of these places - it's interesting how much interaction there is within the world. Some areas had in-game web browsers with for sale. In some shops I found advertisements for avatar clothing and accessories, as well as other in-game items such as pets. I think that this is a quite intuitive economic aspect of Second Life. Users can create external programs, graphics, models, etc. to use, trade or sell within the world and not only for Second Life currency, but for real money. If one is an avid Second Life user they could make some good money selling things within the world. I think it's a bit ridiculous that you can trade money for Second Life currency simply by clicking a button readily on the interface.

However, Second Life had many outstanding social aspects. It was very cool to visit various places in the game and take note of the crowds that hung out their. It seemed like each area in Second Life appealed to a difference niche; as well as several places that were just visually stunning. It was very easy to meet and talk to people - since there is no formal directive in this game, everyone seems to be more willing to socialize. I noticed that most people simply log on just to talk to others; in many places I found groups of friends all using their mics to chat. Although I found many things I liked about Second Life, it doesn't seem like a virtual world that I would prefer to spend time in.

Alvaro Giorgetta

After playing Second life for a few hours I have to say this game doesn't fit in any category because there are no clear objectives ,rewards, bonuses, upgrades, etc. All you can do is either create, destroy, socialize with other people or buy virtual items with real money!! (oh I forgot you can also fly)

I spent quite a long time modifying my character, which in my personal opinion is fun. I couldn't find a lot of people to talk to but I have to say that for those who are into socializing on virtual communities second life will grant them that and more!
A classmate showed me how many different communities where there(ex. the dragon ball z community) and what was impressive about them is that these communities were created from regular people. These gathering places where quite big and complex which makes me think that some people spend quite a long time in creating them.

The interface is not amazing but it is not as bad as some people are complaining either. You have to keep in mind that it is a free game after all... as long as you don't use real money to buy virtual objects...

David Weiss
Despite the infinite possibilities
of second life. I found it highly unusable, even for someone who has already spent time in that game. The controls are spread out, Shortcut keys are not easily accessible, and there are too many menus to look through. On top of that, I found it highly difficult to script in the game. So basically, some guys got together and decided to make a shitty virtual world in which they could make easy money off of. Makes sense I suppose. It's not like that doesn't happen in real life.

It was quite interesting to talk with the regulars of second Life. They all took the game very seriously. "You can make real money off this" they said. "You can make your own business." I suppose this is all true, however, the fact that you can actually do that is pretty sad. Why the heck would someone waste money on a poorly scripted in-game car rather than a car for real life? that is a question that I find confusing. People, who show talent in art, waste their life making things for this pointless game rather than making it for a game that really matters. What's the point of all that? That's what I want to know.

James Gedling
Secondlife has always been a mixed reaction for me. Parts of it make me grit my teeth in frustration at the stumbling interface and graphics, other parts I found to be actually somewhat interesting. This is I believe the fourth class where we had an assignment to do something in Secondlife. Every other class I’ve had something Secondlife related it was basically building a game, (something SL is not really made for unless you are a serious script kiddie) or making some other stupid thing. I remember in Professor Oldenburgs class I ended up making a bloody airplane with a simulator for delays like at an airport before it would teleport you to your location. Secondlife is neat in its capabilities, its just that there is nothing to do with it. You are given a virtual swiss army knife of building tools, but in the end none of them are perticularly speciallized and all are so limited and clunky that it tends to be more hassle than it is worth to make anything substantial.
As for the people that play in it, the vast majority of sims appear to be dead or nearly so. People tend to gather around central Hubs of activity like clubs and bars and interesting stuff, but most of the islands seem to be virtual malls hocking their creations or private homes. I vaugely recall some years back that the simulated world used to be more populated. (Used to be pretty cutting edge graphics too…) But most people seem to have gotten bored with it and wandered off, rather than spend their cash to buy the latest fashions for their avatars. The people who stick around seem to be there to stay. I can only guess its because they sank so much money into it they want to get their worth, since most of the conversations I read seem to be people complaining about organizing their vast inventories.

Peter Quattrociocchi III
It is like the visualization of the internet. All walks of life, fetishes, stupidity, grieving, and other oddities are present. It is a part of the game world that you can do anything, and often people do anything. There are parental controls, however, so it is monitored.
The mechanics of the game itself are laggy and obtrusive. I have gone into places that simulate games, and they are awful. What the game is, is merely a glorified chat room. Some of the simulations are interesting, but at best they sort of work.
Like the internet, it is possible to be sucked in to all these different worlds. One area leads to another like a wikipedia post so one can spend vasts amounts of time constantly experiencing new things.

Zachary Fritz
I have been on to Second Life on and off in my life. Each return reassures my beliefs in the human condition. I cling to the idea that people can be great or terrible, but that it is difficult to be great and many people will become terrible in trying to become great. Second Life is like some sort of homage to this very idea. I’ve seen two people on the streets of this vast world who tried to make the same outfit with grossly varied results. One man’s Master Chief costume can be completely accurate and true to life and yet on that same road you can see a Master Chief costume that has a seemingly impossible lack of quality.
If the amusing differential between the quality of objects was not interesting enough we also find that Second Life has a pervasive sexual undertone. This one time I wandered on to someone else’ Second Life property and into their house and all along the way I found anthropomorphic statues. It dawned on me that if I didn’t know better this would seem innocent. So I gave this person the benefit of the doubt. Then I broke into their unlocked house and looked around. Everything was normal. There were fake pots and pans and fake chairs. It was actually rather nice. I went upstairs to see the bedroom and my hopes for a wholesome experience were shattered. I was surrounded by pornographic anthropomorphic imagery. I must admit a degree of disappointment, but I did find it humorous that the owner teleported to his bedroom at that very moment and cast me from his land immediately. I found it humorous that in a game about socializing and experiencing other players that he didn’t want to talk about his custom content.

Jing Wang
I still think Second Life is a wonderful idea for an online community, however, it's also a very challenging subject to deal with. I remember when I first played Sim Life from EA, I was thinking to myself that if one day such game could be made online, that would be awesome. Making a life game requires unimaginable amount of freedom in the game, and this means the developers need to cover all of the possibilities. This sounds impossible, at least in short term. I think the reason why Second Life is so buggy is because of the free possibilities from users are not covered by Second Life developers.
However, the second life does have some degree of market values. For example, if you and your friend are good at creating virtual objects and apply scripts to them , you can sell them to other users in the virtual world of the Second Life. I'm not suggesting the market value is to sell your virtual objects to other users in Second Life, however, you could make money off that. In fact, Second Life is a very good place to conduct surveys and get feedback for things you are thinking about making in the real world.

Kyle Long
I’ve always heard about Second Life almost everywhere whether the internet or for a gaming class. I went to try it out and I literally despised the game from the very start where you register your character. The registration of second life could have been easier but the amount of unless steps you needed to create character, and afterwards, they would give your login information a day later which I find pointless and irritating. I eventually downloaded the game after registering, I logged into the game and I created my character, and the map of second life was so confusing. I random start off somewhere in second life with some gibberish name and around me was a few buildings with some signs, but no one was around so I didn’t know where to go. I chose a woman avatar with business clothes to look like a secretary or something. The experience with this game drove me crazy. The interface was a mess and I could find out what menu was needed and what wasn’t necessary.

The graphics were much downgraded; felt like second life was created years ago as if was emerging the same year EverQuest was made. I couldn’t around the map without some annoying menu popping up bringing into a bunch of options with no explanation. For a virtual world, I was truly disappointed because I was alone and had no clue how to understand the game. I zoomed out of the map to find different spots to visits so I randomly selected an area where I teleported to. When I arrived to the spot, it was an empty land like a tiny island and the land kept telling me to buy this land but I refused to spend any sort of income no matter what because I hated this game so much by the time. My only experience with another person was some male avatar ported into the spam but didn’t say anything or even move for like four minutes. I immediately exited out of the game with hate for second life. My experience with Second Life was not a happy one.