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Companies Continue to Get a Second Life 81

Posted by Zonk
from the better-than-a-real-life dept.
PreacherTom writes "Reuters and CNET aren't the only players staking online claims in the virtual world of Second Life. Yesterday, Wired magazine opened their 1-acre digitized headquarters, complete with neon-pink sliding doors and a nouveau 50 person conference room. Businessweek takes a look at the new virtual offerings from Adidas, Toyota, Lego, and even Major League Baseball in their pictoral spread. 'We are this canvas that allows companies to do what they want to do in Second Life,' says David Fleck, Linden's vice-president of marketing. 'It mimics real life much more accurately.'"
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Companies Continue to Get a Second Life

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  • Third Life (Score:5, Funny)

    by aapold (753705) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @12:45PM (#16471453) Homepage Journal
    I'm waiting for the day someone opens up a virtual world within second life.

    Third life, as it will be called, will be paid for with second life currency. Your characters use SL computers to connect to it, which then runs in a nearly full-screen window within second life (other people who don't play third life can even watch over your shoulder and stuff).
    • by Enoxice (993945)
      That would be SO COOL. I don't play second life right now, but I totally would if someone did that.
    • by BabaYama (899483)
      So clever
    • At which point does the universe implode?
    • Great idea! Remind everyone what pathetic losers* they are staring at a screen all day instead of actually doing something.

      * this post brought to you by a pathetic loser who stares at a screen all day instead of actually doing something.
    • Your idea is great.
      I started my serious online addiction playing LambdaMOO [wikipedia.org] in about 1993. To sum up, it's a textual VR set in the then-house of Pavel Curtis, who created Lambda (and ncurses and other big unixy things) and you wandered around and played with things. One of the things was a computer, and if you could get it to boot (find the power switch, plug in the monitor, find the boot disc -- this was '93, after all) you could play games on the computer. As I recall, Adventure was on there, and I thin
    • by bdcrazy (817679)
      Check out a movie called http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Thirteenth_Floor [wikipedia.org]. Worlds within worlds is an interesting idea.
  • by ackthpt (218170) *
    A bright, new shiny world, without all the problems of the real one? I feel this overwhelming urge to start a homeless character who will sleep in their bushes and pee on their steps.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jandrese (485)
      Interestingly enough, that's pretty much with all new players have to do, since you don't start out with a home and the newbie plots are generally all grabbed up by unscrupulus land speculators with tons of alt accounts.
      • by gstoddart (321705)

        Interestingly enough, that's pretty much with all new players have to do, since you don't start out with a home and the newbie plots are generally all grabbed up by unscrupulus land speculators with tons of alt accounts.

        OK, so I'm woefully ignorant about Second Life, and don't play much on-line games. I certainly don't have any mad skills in making 3d models (OK, I actually don't have any skills in making 3d models ;-).

        So, assuming I decide I want to try it ... you are saying that I sign up, and have notin

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by jandrese (485)
          Here's the 30 second primer on Secondlife.

          When you first sign up, you have a beginners account. This account cannot buy land, I don't think free accounts get a stipend anymore because people abused it like crazy, but you do get a signing bonus. The build system is integrated into the game, and it's pretty easy to use once you get the hang of it. There are some areas ingame that have good tutorials on how to use it. Anyway, you can build anything you want most anywhere, however it is considered bad man
          • by jandrese (485)
            Hmm, I guess my previous post was a bit more than 30 seconds.

            I wanted to mention one more thing, there is an in-game combat system should you so desire such a thing, however it is kind of retarded because you can also make your own guns. Imagine if you will your average online shooting game. What do you think would happen if you allowed players to specify how powerful their guns are and what kind of armor they can ignore and if they can home in on every other player on the map automatically ignoring a
          • That sounds so very, very pathetic.
            How can people waste so much of their time playing a pointless game?
            Now, if you'll excuse me, Battle for Wesnoth [wesnoth.org] is waiting.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by merlin_jim (302773)
      I feel this overwhelming urge to start a homeless character who will sleep in their bushes and pee on their steps.

      They exist... in overwhelming numbers since it became free with no verification or IP logging to create such a beast... they're called griefers... and they brought the whole world down for the last three weekends in a row...
    • by cowscows (103644)
      One of the most fun things to do in SL is to hang around crowds of people but not participating in their little event. Since at least half of everything that goes on in SL revolves around some sort of sexual weirdness, you can see some really strange people doing some really strange stuff. Even if you just stand there next to their land, it'll often really piss them off, because they know you're watching them and they don't like it.

      Of course, Linden Labs is well aware that a large amount of their income is
      • by Onan (25162)

        I must be missing the "fun" part about harassing other people.

        Nor am I seeing the unfairness of the justice you describe. Since your entire stated point it to annoy people, banning sounds exactly appropriate.

        • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

          by Knara (9377)
          Once people start taking things such as online avatars copulating in strange ways too seriously (I'm lookin' at you, furries), then harassing them becomes great fun.
          • by cowscows (103644)
            No kidding. When someone's got their avatar running around with oversized genitalia on it, and when you click on it, it makes some ridiculous moaning noise... how can you not just click it over and over again until it drives them insane.

            I'm generally happy to let people do whatever they want and not be judged, but when given a giant digital sandbox in which to create whatever you want, if you end up making big floppy animal dongs and wearing them around...you're going to get ridiculed. Common sense dictates
  • If you want.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by abscissa (136568) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @12:45PM (#16471461)
    If you want to call this an "MMORPG" then it has much more freedom than any other in existance. You can literally create objects from nothing and make them ANYTHING you want -- we are talking 3dsmax anything.

    But the fact is... this "game" is not fun and straightforward enough for most users (like me!) We don't all know 3dsmax!!

    A game like WOW is sucessful because it has: defined goals, defined structure, and defined limits. People actually like that shit.

    (The download for SL is only like... 30 MB for windows, 60 MB for mac if you want to try it.)
    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by DNS-and-BIND (461968)
      SL is not *for* you. It was made for creative people so that they could better express themselves virtually. It's much easier to consume content created by others (*ahem* us). I'm sure that you have much more fun playing WoW than "playing" a "game" like SL. Don't feel bad because we're better than you - dealing with the total absence of your kind of person is one of the best things about SL.
      • SL is nothing but IRC with some crappy graphics
        Wake me up when they put a virtual world online that more like something from the movie "Tron"
        • by argent (18001)
          Wake me up when they put a virtual world online that more like something from the movie "Tron"

          No thanks, I look horrible in spandex.
        • by Rei (128717)
          I just checked out screenshots, and ... uck. I mean, seriously.

          The graphics of 1996/1997 looked like this [videogamecritic.net] and this [stanford.edu]. The graphics of 2003-present look like this [haslo.ch] and this [com.com].

          Which does Second life (this [amazonaws.com] and this [dragonscoveherald.com]) look more like to you? :P Yes, user-created content adds additional optimization challenges. But this is just rather pathetic. All issues of models aside, their lighting and shading models are just crummy.

          How is it that Linden Labs, raking in millions per year, can be outdone by open-source MMORPGs
          • I play SL and that Eternal Lands is no match for it in the graphics department.

            Remember, content in SL can and is changed at a whim. So you don't have a dozen lookalike guys in camo with M16's., running around in areas that don't change. You've got a dozen very very different individuals. You've got land that anyone could put a giant cow on at any time. A store owner could change their swiss chalet type store to polynesian grass hut in mere moments. Content is streamed on the fly.

            • by Rei (128717)
              Content is streamed on the fly

              That's absolutely no excuse for a lousy lighting and shading model. That's an excuse for a low poly count, but SL doesn't look to have a low poly count, so they can't blame the poor graphics on that.

              An images.google.com search for "Second Life" reveals crummy graphics, plain and simple. Sure, anyone can create them. That doesn't change the fact that they look bad. Not due to the designs that users choose, but because the engine does a poor job with surfaces.
              • The poly counts aren't that high in the environments....I think. It's hard to tell. But judging SL by the screenshots might be like judging HL based on the screenshots that someone took when it was running on some ancient machine with minimum detail at 640x480

                So depending on who took those screenshots and what hardware they were running and what settings would determine how it looks.

                For example I have some settings turned up (for avatars) but environments are turned down (mostly) I've got shiny and bumpma
                • by Rei (128717)
                  You think that these look *better* than the examples that I showed before? If anything, they look even flatter.

                  It's not about poly counts. The curves are plenty smooth enough, so poly counts aren't the issue at all. It's about the lighting and shading model. It's crummy. It makes these surfaces look like they're from the mid nineties.
      • Wow, how very conceited. Virtual crap is still crap, and people want entertainment, not crap. If making crap is entertaining to you, well and good. Just don't expect us all to look in your toilet and applaud. The difference between "content creators" like you, and the people at, say, Blizzard is that the people at Blizzard are getting paid while you are paying for the privilege of creating crap. Making crap on 2nd life no more makes you creative than paying to have a book published by a vanity press makes y
        • by node 3 (115640)
          You're right about this:

          Wow, how very conceited.

          But I disagree with just about everything else you've said. Creativity and money are not as strongly linked as you seem to think. Second Life allows far more creativity than WoW does. On the other hand, WoW is far more broadly appealing.

          Money better measures broad appeal than it measures creativity. In fact, often times creativity is detrimental to income. I really don't know if the person you were replying to is creative or not. He's definitely arrogant, but

          • by spun (1352)
            Ah, I was just being an ass. You are, of course, right. As witnessed by all the folks that history remembers as great and creative who were paupers in their day.

            That was just my knee-jerk, "You call that being an asshole? No, THIS is being an asshole!" response.
  • ... should consider getting a first life before messing around with Second Life.

    • by clem (5683)
      That joke sucked up its last mod point a few stories ago. The well's dry, friend.
    • by node 3 (115640)
      ... should consider getting a first life before messing around with Second Life.
      I think you left of the part at the beginning where you say, "note to self".
  • by sgant (178166) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @12:57PM (#16471723) Homepage Journal
    It was free and even THEN it's not worth it. Now I have about the quickest high-speed internet connection and yet it still just sits there for a few minutes downloading everything you walk or fly through. Go to a new place, it starts downloading again....forever.....

    Ok, so I know it's not all just about how fast your connection is blah blah, but it's a major problem for me as it NEVER feels like you're in another world. It feels like what it is, bad artwork in a bad 3D environment. Fine, but the people that play must really be nice right?

    Well, every place I go where I see on the map a lot of people have gathered usually end up just being either virtual prostitution or porn. Or worse, just people sitting in these chairs that generate for them 1 Lindon per hour or something. Just sitting. Or dancing....AFK people sitting and dancing. Wow, fun!

    Also, don't know what the point is. It's a chat/social/networking thingy that's laggy and unreal. Ok, so basically a instant messenger with badly made 3D avatars that all look like nymphet women wearing very skimpy clothes that still look unreal. We're talking animations and models that are pre Everquest. I felt like I was in some world that was made 15 years or go or something.

    It also didn't seem finished. It felt like a beta of something that was abandoned about 3 years ago and just barely hanging on.

    I don't know...I just don't get it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Andrew Kismet (955764)
      Sigh. Sadly reflective of 95% of the game world, but the other 5% is good. It's just hard to find, like on the internet itself - what is the internet if not filled with porn and idiots trying to earn a pittance of cash?
      The social aspect is good once you find the right kinda people. At that point it becomes a 3D chatroom. Now learn to build and collaborate. Now learn to script and mess with inworld behaviours - maybe go to your desktop, make animations and sell them inworld? There's a lot of possibilities. Y
    • Yeah, I don't think our current technology is really ready for something like this. I would say give it another 10-20 years and try again.
    • by jcrash (516507) *
      That sounds the internet in 1994. Shame it never went anywhere either.
    • Try citypixel.com or faketown.com. They both don't try and be something there not and don't try and meet every need.... Pretty cool concepts, both done in HTML, no flash or anything to download.
      • by VJ42 (860241)
        Thanks for those; great concepts that I'll be trying out soon, no doubt. back on topic, I agree 100% with the GP about Secon Life. It just dosn't feel immersive, and a cursory glance at the links the parent provided (they allow guests to view what's going on) makes them look alot better and much more intresting than SL ever did (for me, atleast).
    • I concur with the parent. Just this week I tried it out, and I came to the same conclusion - it's IRC with graphics. I also did the dancing - this made me laugh with pity and I had to log off. I'm sure that some fool will "buy" the animations or clothes you've created with their fake Linden money, but if you're talented enough to do that, you're probably already doing it in the real world. One of the most annoying things was having to click "yes" to all the objects you get offered, kinda ruins the flow some
      • by Criterion (51515)
        "One of the most annoying things was having to click "yes" to all the objects you get offered, kinda ruins the flow somewhat."

        Wow, I guess now we know who to blame for spreading all the email viruses now, don't we?
        • Fair point, but since I have no way of inspecting what the object actually does, it seems to offer little protection. I'd imagine that the SL environment is enough of a sandbox to remove any real chance of damaging my machine. There must be another way. Sure, have the prompt if someone gives you something unsolicited, but it gets tedious when I click to get a drink, click to choose the flavour then click again to accept the drink I already accepted.
    • Ahh, those places with lots of people on the map or in the event list? Don't go there. Really. You're better off going to less popular places or going to someplace like the Shelter or the GNUbie store and asking passerby interesting places to go. Or perhaps searching the various SL blogs.

      And yes, the club gals tend to look unreal but the fashionista avatars are some better:

      Yes it's slow and laggy, but it's "special" and I think SL or something like it is the future.

  • Presumably there will be people logged in as the companies. Does one apply for a job as a second-life avatar?

    Or is this like 90's web pages - companies know only they need one so you could make $100/hour as a "e-commerce consultant" playing with notepad.

    Now I just need to convince my boss that playing my WoW pally is somehow an important part of the company...

  • Get a Second Life? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Speare (84249) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @01:13PM (#16472049) Homepage Journal

    Okay, I finally checked out the Second Life client yesterday, and flew around looking for something to *do*. There were about two billboards per active person in the world. It seemed like a third of the buildings I flew past were little businesses to personalize your avatar or house or sell real estate, a third of the buildings were nightmarish personal constructions that looked like those paintings done by elephants in the zoo, and a third of the space was blocked off by barbed wire ("not on the access list, cannot enter").

    It seems like the only way someone would think it interesting is if they are playing with people they already know, 100% of the time. There was no call to action. There was nothing drawing my attention as an activity. I mean, I have actually WORKED in the MMORPG industry, have played several games and have thought about online social spaces for years. I still couldn't get a handle on what Lindon expects people to *do* in Second Life, except of course to pay Lindon some actual money.

    What am I missing?

    • by AdamTrace (255409) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @01:24PM (#16472291)
      I completely agree. I started my Second Life account, similiar to you, just to see what it was all about. This was in March or so. I also had heard that people were actually making money by creating and selling objects, and since I'm a coder, I thought that sounded like a fun challenge.

      I spent some time in world, watching what people like to do. Mostly, this involved spending time in some sort of dance club, dancing and chatting. I noticed there are a lot of "mostly empty" casinos. Lots of extremely simple gambling devices, lottery type things, etc.

      So, I made some casino games, based on real life games. I made some lottery balls with my own twist on 'em. I made some fun party game kind of things, and put them up for sale on a popular shopping website.

      I never bought into the system, bought any land, etc. My total investment is $0... I have, on occasion, rented a store spot in a mall, or some floorspace in a casino to test a game, but that was all purches out of profit.

      Now that I'm sort of over the kick, I rarely log into the world anymore. Even was I was more active, I never really "got it". I wasn't looking to make friends, chat, shop, or hook up, and their appeared to be nothing left. But I still get emails that my stuff sells, and occasional messages (that get routed to my email) if someone has a question about a product of mine that they've bought.

      Since March, I've made about $500USD. Certainly less than minimum wage per hour of coding/testing that I've done, but getting paid for programming little games and having some fun is certainly a change of pace.

      I've posted it before... In the real world, you simply cannot make up your own casino game, rent floor space at a casino, and see how it does. It's prohibitively difficult for most people to make clothing and sell it in a shop. However, in Second Life, it's almost trivially easy. I think this is the appeal.

      • Thanks for your interesting comment. It just made me wonder about the gambling aspect... Wasn't there some sort of US law passed about that recently?
        • by Speare (84249)
          In all the MMORPGs I have been involved with, the "bright line" seemed to be that it was okay to allow gambling with the fake currency (e.g., Linden dollars, shells, clams, gamebucks) as long as there was no direct way to convert fake currency back into real money. However, this is precisely what Second Life supposedly allows, so it does seem a bit like an IRS Audit disaster waiting to happen.
        • Why do you think he got out when he did? ;-)
          • by AdamTrace (255409)
            Heh.

            I've seen no evidence of any reduction of gambling in Second Life. I don't pay too close attention to the official boards, but there are still MANY casinos with active games ready to play...

            Adman
      • by writermike (57327)
        In the real world, you simply cannot make up your own casino game, rent floor space at a casino, and see how it does. It's prohibitively difficult for most people to make clothing and sell it in a shop. However, in Second Life, it's almost trivially easy.

        I get your point, but didn't Nolan Bushnell do exactly what you say can't be done? [wikipedia.org]

        Okay, okay! So, it wasn't a casino... and it was a "casino game..." but I've told you a million times to never exaggerate!
    • by vertinox (846076)
      What am I missing?

      The problem with Second Life is that there is no direction unless you happen to know about something or stuble across it.

      From my understanding, there is a Quake like arena in which you can attack each other with weapons and there is a RPG in the works somewhere.

      There are some art projects going around with some rather interesting devices and vehicles...

      I once stumbled across this user made Japanese Castle that was breathtaking... But from my own personal experience there is no direction un
    • You had the same problem I had, not knowing where to go.

      SL is huge, and there's no helpful "quest givers" out there to give direction and purpose to it. So you have to talk to people in world, or read about SL on the various blogs and websites or both.

      Start with the New World Notes That will get you started, tons of links.

      http://nwn.blogs.com/ [blogs.com]

      The communicating is very important, because in SL what you know and who you know is important It also determines your subcommunity. Scripters tend to know each oth
    • by asjk (569258) *
      Okay, I finally checked out the Second Life client yesterday, and flew around looking for something to *do*.

      I concur. My take on The Second Life experience is that it was more for people new to the VR space--maybe an AOL analog. It's more friendly then trying to learn the complexities of an RPG and yet have the elements of the social interaction. VR training wheels?

  • by Cthefuture (665326) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @01:43PM (#16472685)
    Is it just me or do you guys think Linden Lab is sponsering all these stories?

    There have been at least a couple in a last few days on Slashdot and I have seen a few more other places. Feels like a giant marketing plan. I mean this is a hell of a lot of press for something with such a small online community. I think the general consensus about Second Life is "meh, kinda slow, kinda outdated, nothing to do, it has no point, boring".

    I have tried it myself, it felt and looked pretty clunky.
    • Second pretty much typifies what Slashdot is about: geek stuff and real stuff. This article fairly much sums up that the real-world businesses are moving into Second Life; it's news, it matters, it's nerdy. Slashdot has covered SL no more than it's covered Debian and "IceWeasel".
      • by AlXtreme (223728)
        I've seen quite a few SL-articles in the real media recently. Their marketing divison is definitely working overtime.

        Besides, as the OP commented: SL is dull, boring old crap. They are definitely plugging SL here.

      • by argent (18001)
        I think Ice Weasel is a much better name for a browser than Firefox.
    • by mmkkbb (816035)
      Is it just me or do you guys think Linden Lab is sponsering all these stories?

      Sure they are; that's what PR firms DO.

      The podcast scene supports SL heavily. I've no idea why.
  • Considering how many companies are pushing into SL, I wonder if or when players will start getting arrested or sued.

    I'm asking this because there've been many "problems" with players in the past, some legitimate (like players creating a recursive, dissapearing object script that crashes entire nodes) some non-legitimate (like getting banned for objects or scenery "in bad taste"). In the case of the node crashing, some people actually lost "income" since there are players making money off of.

    What woul
  • Have you guys read Snow Crash? If not go get it right now. It's exactly this. A novel well before it's time, hell, it was the book that started using the word Avatar as meaning your online self. "Games" like Second Life are all trying to emulate the Metaverse the way it was put in print in this book. This is just another example the road the online world is taking, and if you read Snow Crash you'll pretty much know where and what the end of that road is.
    • Second Life is modelled on Snow Crash, but in practice it's MUCH more like the "Other Plane" of True Names, than the "Metaverse" of Snow Crash, especially since they abandoned the Snow-Crash style "100% connected" world for one where individuals and companies can set up private estates (to bring things back on topic).
    • I have been thinking about that for a few weeks now in the flurry of all this SL activity. The few things that will make the SL even closer will be when you can go to a store and buy real world items and when game companies like Blizzard, Sony, Valve, Id, etc. will have a presence and allow you to enter their games from SL. Personally I thought Intel's recent SL event was fairly cool. Someone in NYC building a NYC block having folks in NY and SL watching the progress. Cool in concept but most everyone i
  • OK so can I play... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by billsoxs (637329) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @02:30PM (#16473633) Journal
    N. Korea?

    I don't play the game - never have and never will - but the idea of companies setting up locations inside a game intrigued me. While I was RTFA - which was shortly after reading about N. Korea, all I could imagine was having someone 'building a bomb' and removing the stores. How do the 'stores' recover? Is it terrorism? Is there a 'state' that can sponsor terrorism? Do they have 'gangs' running the streets in the game? How about robbing banks? Are there pickpockets? I can imagine a bored 12 year old wiping out large swaths of land. (Don't look at me to do any of it. I am way too old!)

    OK I am a little warped. ;-)

  • Is it's apparently too much work for the average hack and slash player to find something to do in SL. As a very happily married woman, I have tons to do there that doesn't involve sex, gambling, and camping. And it wasn't that hard finding places that don't do those things. I explore a level or creativity I didn't even know I had, and as soon as I figure out how to build things in RL that compare to the beauty I produce in world (and without paying a dime!), I've discovered I have an artistic vision people

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