Archive for September, 2008

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The end of SL’s Age of Innocence

September 13, 2008

In many ways, the age of innocence in Second Life has long been over. With scams and controversies hitting the banking and stocks exchanges sector, with griefing, and with other kinds of scams, it looks like SL is starting to become our FL or RL.

But nothing like this sort of news to really confirm that cold, hard fact.

So now a discussion ensues on who is really to blame for this kind of event. One person thinks that SL is a kind of enabler, while others think that Second Life is another place where one can also meet all sorts of people, a really public place like the park or library, so SL cannot be blamed.

I tend to agree that SL has become too open for everyone, including those who can be sick in the head, to come in. In a way, I also agree that Second Life also empowers, enables and feeds to their deluded mind, in a way that is different to us. True, Second Life affect all of us in one way or another, and such changes that SL has injected into our real lives impacts us in ways we don’t really understand. We hear of stories about how people with disabilities turn to Second Life and feel that they are equal to us abled bodied people in the grid, that people are able to unleash their inner creativity, find true love, learn to actualize their great SL to their FL, and change for the better.  

However, it doesn’t impact us in a way that makes us want to hurt people and animals.     

There is this train of thought that the ease of accessibility to Second Life has been its bane. It used to be that SL is this closed community, now it is very easy to get into SL. Heck, I got into SL thanks to its being free, but I am no scammer, I am not sick in the head (though family may think otherwise–lol), nor am I the violent kind. 

Yet, that argument can also be debunked. Even if SL charges for access, there will still be untrustworthy people coming in. Insane and evil people can have access to money to buy a computer, and a credit card in order to join Second Life, and thus unleash themselves into the virtual wild. So no getting away with that argument now.

Thus, only one thing remains as fact and no matter how or why, the age of innocence in SL is TRULY OVER. It was already over years ago, but the after effects can only be felt now, and yes not all can feel this and be victims by it. Most of us can sit comfortably oblivious, for SL is a BIG BIG world, and really, how can this happen to us? But it can, and it probably will if we aren’t careful. Now we have to watch our backs in SL too, as if doing the same thing in RL is already tedious unless you plan on living inside a cave and never get out.

How many more news stories like this will come up? I’m sure there will be plenty more, however, the disturbing factor was that SL has become involved with it. Many people think SL is an addictive activity, senseless fun, unrealistic, etc., but the shock that came as a reaction to this news is the effect of the people becoming jarred at the reality that it can also happen in SL, where everything is supposed to be fun and games, or that geeks don’t go around hurting fellow geeks.

But soon, the fact that it occurs in SL will no longer be a troubling thing as time passes. With news such as this, I really don’t care where or how it happened, what matters is the fact that something like this still happens and that evil has no boundaries. The virtual world is just part of its haunts now.

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Rez Town brings The Sims Online to SL

September 11, 2008

I never really bring this up until now, but my RL used to make up playing The Sims and The Sims 2. I have heard of The Sims Online, but I never got to try it until I’m already deep into into Second Life months ago and discovered that TSO has become more accessible through becoming EA Land.

So I logged in EA Land, tried it three times and concluded I’ve become way too spoiled by SL.

Graphics-wise, they could have done better if they used the same graphics technology EA Games used for The Sims 2. I’ve always found the UI in both SIMS games easy, so that’s a great bonus for them, but the limitations in game, like not being able to create content freely, has become a bane to the game’s longevity. People needed more to do than just socialize and make sure all their needs are green, so as other games started to come up showing more promise, people left, and EA Land failed to attract people in, and ultimately closed down.

But people who used to play TSO and are now in Second Life really miss the game. I don’t blame them, for Will Wright, the game’s creator, who also happens to be the creator of Spore, has a goldmine of a concept. Its just that EA Games failed to see what else can be done for TSO, and Yo Brewster, former TSO player and a very active SL resident saw opportunity to recreate the game in SL. Thus, Rez Town is born.

Rez Town in SL is essentially a role-playing game mimicking the TSO environment. Like many role-playing sims, they also have  a HUD that monitors your needs, but like The Sims, each object has the capability of increasing the avatar’s skill in something. One can paint, create and socialize in order to keep their needs in the green.

Rez Town has tokens, and this constitutes as their currency within the sim. One can earn tokens by selling their painting (the more skill, the more value your painting), organize events, creating content, and selling them. In a nutshell, TSO meets SL, but can it actually be successful? One will find out.

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Space Junky’s new music video

September 9, 2008

[blip.tv ?posts_id=1158645&dest=-1] I just finished interviewing Shakti Cianci, lead singer for the band Space Junky. I first got the opportunity to interview the band for one of my projects and an encounter with them is a refreshing and cosmic one each time.

Space Junky gives a rousing performance each time that makes great use of particle effects that makes their concerts a rich visual experience, their music is catchy, creative and also relatable to Second Life culture.

Such is the song Killer Coat, the anthem for fashionistas in Second Life…:) Enjoy!