As a beginning blogger I took Blogging 101 in July. It was a wonderful experience both for what I learned and for the wonderful people I met. If this is your first try at the course get ready for some fun!
It surprised me in the July session I was the only person blogging about virtual worlds and people were unaware that they even existed. So some explanation is a good idea.
What virtual worlds have in common is they are done through a computer. They can range from simple traditional video games like “Wild Birds” which you play on your smart phone or non-goal driven to worlds like Second Life, Inworldz, and Kitely. There has been a debate for years whether these more advanced places and non-goal driven worlds should even be called games. As someone has put it you are playing on things like “Witcher 3” or even Facebook you are ON them but you are IN Second Life.
We actually have a virtual daughter also who has to be changed, bathed, fed, plays, and sleeps in a crib.
A game has a goal like killing virtual birds. The fighting virtual monsters usually only takes a few minutes and is a way to while away some time while you are waiting to have your hair done.
Building a new earth colony as in the game “Civilization Beyond Earth” takes hours or days since you have to manage the economy, how you spend resources, where to build new cities, and dozens of other things. Putting it simply it is complicated simulation. As you can see from this picture of the “techweb” for building a new home away earth there are lots of choices even when you chose to do them is important.
This is not just a frivolous and useless activity. Building a new beyond earth colony in a simulation that also gives you an idea of how complex government gets.
Virtual places like these are fairly simple since they take place in your computer. But they can get a lot more complicated when you add other people and have to take place online. Again they can range from games where groups of people get together to reach goals of killing virtual monsters such as “World of Warcraft” to the much more complicated and non-goal world such as Second Life and Kitely.
Yes I’ve tried these “hack and slash” virtual spaces. On the left is my toon or character in “World of Warcraft”. Frankly it gets boring when basically all you do is kill kill kill virtual characters. So I was happy when “World of Warcraft” introduced garrisons. I got to build something on a barren plot of virtual land.
While it was exciting to build something new in a game it did get old and boring fast. There are changes when the vendor makes updates to the game but the changes are fairly small and it soon become same old same old. That is the problem with virtual games like “World of Warcraft” the company that owns them is limited by what their staff has time to do at a reasonable cost.
Which brings this trip through the virtual universe to what I say are really the virtual worlds like Kitely, Second Life, and Inworldz. They are not limited to what the company that runs them can do. The users or residents actually do most of the designing, developing, and selling. All the company does is provides the virtual space where your creativity can flow.
These are the places where using the word “game” is really misleading. There is not a goal set by someone else. How you use these virtual worlds is up to YOU. I’ve been in Second Life for a decade and what I learned is to never to forget there is a real person behind that avatar with wants, desires, and feelings.
Maybe you want to honor Frank Lloyd Wright by building a virtual version of Falling Water.
Maybe you’ve wanted to get really involved helping to run a charity. Try the Relay For Life of Second Life (RFLSL). Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a small time virtual thing. RFLSL is such a signification fund raising team it is one of the top teams in the world. In ten years Relay For Life Of Second Life has raised almost half a million United States Dollars for the American Cancer Society. Which by the way is now a worldwide charity it just started in the US.
Right now Second Life has the largest number of residents. With about 900 thousand accounts with fifty thousand online together. Those people are from anywhere in the world. So want to talk with a Frenchman or throw a few shrimp on the Barbie with an Australian. Follow this link and set up an account in Second Life Try it, it is free to try but be warned SL has a very steep learning curve.
Maybe like Carry Beck you’re an artist that wants to produce and direct an elegant production of Paradise Lost is what you want to do.
Maybe you want to publish an artistic magazine or display your work in a gallery. There is a very active artist community in Second Life.
Maybe you always wanted to try making a music video but buying or even renting all the video equipment was just too expensive for a whim. Well I did it give it a try. So take a look at this video I made for Second Life’s 12th birthday. As you can tell from the video there is a lot to do in Second Life and the other virtual worlds scattered all over the Metaverse and lots of it is the freedom to play. It’s just limited by what you want to do and your creativity. (BTW I found out I really don’t enjoy making videos but I didn’t spend thousands of dollars on cameras that would now be gathering dust in the back of some closet.)
Maybe like me your true passion is still photography but physical injury has meant you can’t really get outside. Well those limits melt away in a virtual world.
You can see more of my work at https://www.flickr.com/photos/tarotgrove/
I hope now you learned something about the Metaverse and are ready to have fun in Blogging 101. (By the way the “whooshing” in this blog’s title is the sound you make when you teleport from one place to another in a virtual world.)
PS. I hope you will follow my blog and leave comments I would really appreciate it.