Tag Archives: Second Life

A rebuttal to one-dimensional writing

Sarawak by Loverdag on Flickr, one of the images used in my rebuttal to Marlon McDonald's article on SLSarawak by Loverdag on Flickr, one of the images used in my rebuttal to Marlon McDonald’s article on SL

On Friday, November 14th, erstwhile contributor to Moviepilot,com Marlon McDonald wrote an article about Second Life which, is to say the least, predictably one-dimensional.

The item in question, entitled These Strange Stories Prove Second Life Isn’t The Dreamworld You Believed… takes as its rather predictable focus, the subject of pornography in Second Life. It’s lead to a fair level of upset among SL users – and rightly so; Mr. McDonald goes to considerable lengths to make his case by apparently passing on the opportunity to try the platform for himself, and instead dig through Google searches for articles that are anything up to seven years old (and none more recently written than three years ago).

Marlon McDonald: one-dimensional article

Marlon McDonald: one-dimensional article

There is much that is wrong with the piece; not only does it present a one-side view of SL, it’s clearly intended as clickbait – if not for Moviepilot.com directly (although it doesn’t hurt them!), then certainly for Mr. McDonald himself, a regular contributor there, Most of what is wrong is easy to spot and cane be said through a comment on the piece. However, I opted to present a more direct rebuttal to the article through Moviepilot’s own pages, in the hopes of also reaching Mr. McDonald’s intended audience and perhaps persuading them to look on SL differently.

You can read the article over on Moviepilot.com.

I don’t usually ask for page views – but in this case, I am. Not for myself, but to help the article get right up there alongside Mr. McDonald’s piece and truly give Moviepilot users an alternative point of view on SL. So please, if you wouldn’t mind, follow the link and have a read, Or if you’re tired of my writing – just follow the link and go make yourself a cup of tea / coffee!



Lab asks what would you like for Christmas?

In the run-up to the festive season, the Lab are using social media (though not, it seems their own forum) to ask residents a question.

In the Tell Us What You Want campaign, the Lab is enquiring:

We’re working on a holiday gift item for everyone and want to know: What item would be on your Second Life wishlist?

The question is being asked via Facebook and Twitter,  Second Life enjoying a high level of visibility on both (although I’ve little doubt the use of Facebook will draw some humbugging grumbles!).

In terms of the responses so far, I’m actually not sure people are perhaps giving the kind of response the Lab has in mind. Requests range from from a couple of thousand Linden dollars a head through 24-hour day cycles on regions, volumetric Linden water, functional search, to lower tier (inevitably, even though not currently possible) and the return of gambling to the grid (not possible) – as well as a whole lot more in between, including, in so cases, what appear to be entire wish lists!

At the time of writing, only one person appears to have entered into the spirit of the direction the Lab would probably like the conversation to take:

Responses to the call can be made via the Second Life Official Twitter feed or via Facebook.


The Secret (Store) sauce of promoting a brand (and SL)

I caught a Tweet earlier on Monday April 28th, which came from Strawberry Singh and was aimed at Ebbe Altberg. It concerned a promo video for a fairly well-known (if relatively new) brand in SL.


I try not to do outright product promotion in this blog (with, admittedly, a few exceptions where brands I’ve come to personally enjoy are concerned), but this video is so gobsmackingly good, I am going to include it here.

It’s for Maylee Oh’s Secret Store brand, and is produced by Maylee herself. Not only does it show enormous talent and shines with a professional finish worthy of a TV ad (just count the beat and watch the moves), it showcases the amazing talent that is available in SL which could so easily be harnessed to work with the Lab to produce some really first-rate material for helping to promote SL to a wider audience.

So, how about it Ebbe? How about putting the feelers out to the talent within SL that uses the platform daily, and seeing how that talent can help you promote the platform that so captivates us? After all, your customers are your best ambassdors!

The Rift and the hype

Ever since LL announced they were actively working on integrating Oculus Rift into Second Life, there has been a lot of upbeat blogging and speculation as to what it will do / mean for the platform. Reading some of the more enthusiastic posts on the subject, it’s hard not to escape the feeling that we’re apparently standing on the edge of a new age in virtual worlds interaction, and that Oculus Rift is going to bring new depth, new meaning (and new users) to Second Life.

Not all agree with the upbeat messages surrounding the headset and SL. Coinciding with the appearance of a photo showing the Lab’s CEO trying-out the headset, Mona Eberhardt and Will Burns each blogged on the Oculus Rift and some of the factors which could limit its wider use with SL. Both of them raise some valid points, and while I don’t agree with all their arguments, they do present food for thought.

Rod Humble tries out Oculus Rift in a photo released on July 18th

Rod Humble tries out Oculus Rift in a photo released on July 18th, 2013

Oculus Rift is a first-person experience, and this could immediately limit its appeal. The problem here is not so much interacting with the UI or in-world objects – the UI can be updated to handle such shortfalls; some TPVs already allow far greater access to the UI view and to in-world objects than the official viewer when using the first-person (aka Mouselook). Firestorm, for example, presents users with the toolbar buttons in Mouselook which can then be used to display and interact with various UI elements, and it also allows right-click/menu interactions with in-world objects. Ergo, it’s not exactly that hard to re-work things to make them more accessible when using something like Oculus Rift. Similarly, the  upcoming updated / new experience tools could also provide the means for better interactions with  in-world objects such as teleport portals.

Rather, the problem is that most people seem to intrinsically prefer the third-person view, with the greater freedom (e.g. camera movement, etc.) it presents for the vast majority of their in-world interactions and experiences. Coupled with the price tag for the headset (something I’ll return to in a moment), this could possibly count against the Oculus Rift in terms of general use.

Then, as Mona and Will point out, there is the problem that the headset isolates the wearer from the primary means they have of interacting with other people: the keyboard. While the conversations floater can easily be displayed (CTRL-H), it still leaves the problem of actually being able to see the keyboard in order to type accurately. This leaves those wanting to use Oculus Rift either needing to become very proficient touch-typists, or they’re going to have to settle for using voice.

SL is inherently keyboard-focused for the vast majority of users

SL is inherently keyboard-focused for the vast majority of users (image courtesy of Prad Prathivi)

Will Burns points to issues of headsets and open microphones as being a problem when it comes to voice. but I tend to disagree with him. For one thing, it’s not as if a headset / microphone combination can’t be worn with the Oculus Rift. More particularly, and from the in-world meetings held in voice I routinely attend, people actually do leave their microphones open, as the barking dogs, ringing ‘phones  and the clicks of lighters being flicked in the background tend to demonstrate. No, the problem is actually more basic than that.

It’s this: since its introduction in 2007, voice tends to have been avoided by what seems to be the vast majority of SL users. Many simply will not use it, period. So if voice is seen as the means for person/person interactions when using Oculus Rift, then it is quite likely to further marginalize take-up with the headset, no matter what the promise of Exciting New Things it might bring.

In his piece, Will also points to the limitation of the headset when trying to perform tasks such as building. Such critiques might appear to be unjustly harsh and leave people saying, “Well yes, but Oculus Rift isn’t designed to be used for everything!“. However, while such a reply is true, it actually underlines Will’s central point: that the headset is liable have niche applications in Second Life which could further limit its appeal among the wider user base.

Continue reading