A Foray into Second Life

I was dreading my first attempt at Second Life.  I’ve never been any good at first person immersion games.  They take up way too much time, the controls always confused me, and they seem ultimately pointless.  My brother is a serious gamer and watching his LAN sessions with his friends and their super-charged computers heating the house to uncomfortable temperatures for 14 straight hours never made it seem very appealing to really get into.

So it was with trepidation that I signed up and downloaded the software.  Within the first 4 hours I was customising my avatar and collecting free alternate avatars, running and flying around, teleporting, making gestures, adding places, friends, and items to my inventory, and even chatting to a few strangers.  Not owning a microphone didn’t get in the way too badly as my days in Yahoo Chatrooms prepped me for typing quick responses.

The first 40 minutes were spent flicking between some intro and help webpages and the Second Life Welcome Island where my avatar was first resolved, figuring out the basics.  All the instructions were really clear and only needed a little practice to become reasonably fluent. After that I was flicking between the Interact Module exercise and Second Life CSU-SIS Learning Centre, where the exercise was completed with minimal hassle.

Afterwards a few hours were spent in unstructured exploration of some random destinations.

Went on a tour the next day to visit some education and library destinations.  It is clear that Second Life does a few things really, really well, like virtual galleries with enhanced information, the ability to add notecards that visitor can collect  and embed links, multimedia and other destinations.  Libraries could build a gallery of their art, photos, and realia, or even build virtual versions of their actual exhibitions, embedding catalogue records, descriptions, essays, audio tour guides, or video mini documentaries into each item on display.

It could also be useful as a conference space or training space for communication and staff development.

The disadvantages of Second Life include the large investment of time needed for each user to learn the basic functions of the software, which are not like any of the regular computer programs most people are familiar with (eg. office suites, web browsers, etc.).  Another disadvantage is that for many of the things that Second Life can do, other software does better. For example,  Skype is better at communications and conferencing.  Flickr is better at displaying and sharing images, and allows social interacting through comments and tagging.  And none of them suck up as much time as Second Life does in customising avatars and playing…  but then, they are not as much fun, either.

Maybe I could handle Neverwinter Nights, or Little Big Planet after all?

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~ by nomidale on January 24, 2012.

One Response to “A Foray into Second Life”

  1. […] “A Foray into Second Life” a platform was experienced for the first time, without any knowledge of libraries that had […]

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