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How To Go Pro in Second Life 43

Wagner James Au writes "Soon after Second Life crossed the 100K subscriber mark in January, there's been a rush of big companies itching to develop and promote their brand in the world: first it was MTV, then Coke, and now with SL at 225,000+, they keep coming: this week, for example, Twentieth Century Fox had a virtual world premiere of X-Men III in Second Life. Since SL is completely user-created content, this entrance of big money has helped create a whole new profession: freelance metaverse developer. Aimee Weber, who got her start designing and selling avatar fashions for fun, has since become one of the best in this field, recently creating a promotion environment for a Warner Brother's singer in SL. So I asked her to come to my blog and give advice on how to get your scripting and 3D building skills to pay the bills."
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How To Go Pro in Second Life

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  • by popeguilty ( 961923 ) <popeguilty@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Friday May 26, 2006 @02:37PM (#15411358)
    Traditionally, going pro in SL involves a female avatar and a selection of special animations...
  • Pyramidic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Golias ( 176380 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @02:46PM (#15411446)
    As soon as Second Life becomes mainly populated by people hoping to make a living off it, it will become pretty much impossible for anybody to make a living off of it, because it will become a world with lots of producers and no consumers.

    During the California Gold Rush, the people who made money were the outfitters. If you want to make money off Second Life, write a book on how to make money off Second Life. Or sell programming tools. Or training seminars. Then use your vast wealth to soothe your guilt for having ripped off a bunch of saps until you die and go to Hell where you will burn forever with everybody who ever established a pyramid scheme or other means of exploiting the ambitions of fools.

    Just sayin' is all.
    • So, what about highwaymen and brigands, such as the legendary Black Bart? I think the Gold Rush analogy deserves to be carried further...
      • Ooo... Good call.

        Basically, as soon as you have a gather critical mass of people willing to take big risks for the sake of a get-rich-quick scheme, the fleecing can begin, both legally and illegally.

        Then there are the people who don't know what they are doing, but want to "get in" on the fleecing. They show up with shears and leave without their wool, wondering just what the hell happened.
    • the lawsuit may also make it impossible for anybody to make a living off of it
    • You mean like the "investment" seminars on how to get rich in real estate, or with our day trading program, or in commodities.
    • Re:Pyramidic (Score:5, Interesting)

      by vadim_t ( 324782 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @03:26PM (#15411772) Homepage
      Why no consumers? Coding in SL isn't a very easy thing. To start with, LSL is their own language, which means you need to invest an effort to learn it. IMO, coding in SL isn't much easier than an actual coding job. Then you to have need business sense, advertise, etc.

      There certainly seem to be quite a few consumers in SL. For example, making avatars doesn't require any special tools, but takes serious skill to get right. Any moron can attach a box to their head, but it takes months to develop the skill to make this: http://www.luskwood.com/ [luskwood.com]. One of these costs about $3 US, which would make it worth it when the alternative is spending months to learn.

      Of course, this can fail. It is possible to have too many producers indeed. But to suggest that it's some kind of pyramid scheme is nonsense, IMO. If SL gets flooded with people trying to make a living, some will be worthless as artists, and some bad at coding. With some luck, enough normal people will join as well. The first two will team up to sell to the later.
    • Re:Pyramidic (Score:5, Informative)

      by merreborn ( 853723 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @03:46PM (#15411933) Journal
      "...because it will become a world with lots of producers and no consumers."

      That'd certainly be a change. SL's biggest problem has always been a lack of producers. In the begining, it was *useless* to consumers, 'cause there wasn't much to play with. You had to build it yourself. For casual players looking to just log on, goof off for an hour or two, and log out, that's a deal breaker.

      And of course, the more producers you have, the more toys their are for consumers, and thusly the more consumers join.

      The SL producer market is fairly analogous to the real-world software market. They're both skilled, technical jobs, and fairly inaccessible to your average user. Of course, the real-world software market has had its ups and downs as well. But if you ever suggested that there'd be more software producers than consumers, you'd be laughed out of the room.

      Techies are still a minority.
  • pyramid? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Burlap ( 615181 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @03:03PM (#15411605)
    I can't help but wonder how many people will lose their shirts when the SL pyramid collapses. There is only money to be made so long as people are willing to put money into the system, as soon as there are too many people trying to take money out of the system the whole thing falls flat.

    there isnt any 'natural resorce' in SL, you cant generate weath, just get it from someone else, who gets it from someone else, who gets it from somebody who was willing to spend a buck on something... but if that first guy is too cheap to buy the first thing then the last guy cant make any money.


    and what will happen to all this money if the server resets?
    • So how do programmers make a living in RL, then?

      What's the natural resource involved when people write code?

      From my limited experience, programming business in SL works as follows. You spend some time writing a LSL script. If that does something useful somebody else wants, another person pays $ to convert them to L$, and pays you in exchange for the scripted object. Then you convert L$ to $ and get real money.

      Effectively, SL is acting as an easy and convenient way of connecting programmer with customer. No
    • Re:pyramid? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ab0mb88 ( 541388 )
      This situation could actually be every Economist's dream. Anyone who has taken macroeconomics has heard the speech about how economics is at least in part theory since it would be irresponsible to play god with an actual economy. I am sure that there are a number of people just watching and manipulating the economy of SL to see what happens, and maybe write a book about the experience. A potential collapse of the economic model from SL may hurt a few people who thought it was a good idea at the time but
    • Re:pyramid? (Score:2, Informative)

      by wjamesau ( 221905 )
      > as soon as there are too many people trying to take money out of the system
      > the whole thing falls flat

      That's actually not what happens-- people don't take Linden Dollars out of the system, they just sell L$ to other SL subscribers. So the currency stays in the world. Linden Lab adds more L$ to this pool via a tightly controlled monetary policy (they have an economist on staff) to keep inflation in check.

      > there isnt any 'natural resorce' in SL

      There is: new content created by the Residents. A
      • I think the big issue is when there become so many content creators hoping to make a buck and not enough consumers.
        • The figure I keep seeing thrown around is that the SL population currently consists of about 15% content creators (people who make stuff and sell it or give it away), and 85% consumers (people who mostly buy things, and rarely make something, let alone sell it), and that the trend clearly shows the former decreasing and the latter increasing.

      • creating new content that people are willing to pay for

        aye, and there's the rub. if people arnt willing to put money into the game (buying lindens, or content to sell for lindens) then what will you sell your new content for?
        • Same as you do in the real world, either you make goods so compelling that people will spend their real money to acquire them or you leave the market. If people aren't buying virtual money that means it isn't worth it in their oppinion, either because they don't want to pay money on a game at all (those aren't your market) or because they don't think the virtual money allows them to get anything that is of equal or greater worth than the real money they are parting with. The latter are your market and as a
      • money does NOT just stay in the game.. there are people making a living buying and selling content for real cash. They are taking money out of the system to buy food, pay bills, and have real world fun. Unless the corner store starts taking Lindans these people have to take value out of the game to do this.

        to take money out, someone needs to put money in.
      • Re:pyramid? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Erbo ( 384 )
        I've just started in on SL myself, and I can tell you that economic issues are currently a hot topic of discussion there.

        Statistics are showing that Linden Labs is dumping way more money into the economy than is getting taken out; as a result, the L$ is now trading at 340/US$ and going down from there. The primary way money gets poured in is through stipends; LL is trying to cut off the spigot by eliminating the weekly stipend on free accounts, and there are those that would like to see them eliminated for

        • Actually, the whole 'economy is failing' issue is a hot topic among maybe 10 regular forum goers who are extremely vociferous about their doom-and-gloom scenarios. They want Linden Labs to eliminate all 'free' income for players, so that they can make USD selling their accumulated Linden Dollars (gained through stipends) to other players who, if these people get what they want, won't be able to get it any other way.
        • Statistics are showing that Linden Labs is dumping way more money into the economy than is getting taken out; as a result, the L$ is now trading at 340/US$ and going down from there. The primary way money gets poured in is through stipends; LL is trying to cut off the spigot by eliminating the weekly stipend on free accounts, and there are those that would like to see them eliminated for "premium" (paid) accounts as well.

          You might just as well say that the US dollar is now worth more, at least relative to t
    • Not true.

      The most important resources are information and creativity.

      When I make something I'm creating value, thus making you want to (hopefully) buy it.

      It's not a pyramid scheme: there is nobody "at the top". Instead, folks who want to get creative can be financially rewarded for their time and effort.
      • It's not a pyramid scheme: there is nobody "at the top"

        then call it a trapazoid... but those who jumped in early are making money of those who jumped in late and are spending said money to catch up.

        take the "real" estate economy. those who got in early were able to snag up properties that have exploded in value. but now that so many people are playing the land game to go in now and make a living out of it requires a HUGE investment in money.

        for you to make 10$, ten people need to spend 1$ each
        • >take the "real" estate economy. those who got in early were able to snag up >properties that have exploded in value. but now that so many people are >playing the land game to go in now and make a living out of it requires a >HUGE investment in money.

          Except not really; land is currently being brought online at about 64 acres a day. There is no shortage of land; if you want to be in the land business you have to go by volume. Furthermore it's easy to start small and work your way up. Anshe Chung,
          • there isnt a huge vacume sound because the system is already presurized. If i sell a plot for $5000, where did that money come from? the outside world. someone already put that $5000 in there months, even years ago. but when i cash that $5000 out of the game it's no longer availible for others to try to get me to spend on their stuff. It's left the island if you will.

            the reason people are doing better today then before is simple, the growth rate of the game. More people coming in = more little peopl
            • You've just described capitalism. Is there a magical kingdom I can move to where the little guy is never screwed over by layer upon layer of corporate sharks? :D
              People don't buy stuff in SL to get an ROI. They do it to be entertained, have a pretty avatar, a pretty house... disposable income.
              As long as some people have a need to create and others have a need for entertainment, stuff like SL will succeed.
    • I signed up for SL just to check it out - I started out with 1000 SL bucks or whatever they are called, or something similar. I went around and bought some things, played some games, goofed off... eventually, no more money. I never logged in again after that one time, just wasn't my thing. But my 1000 spacebucks are still in the economy... I imagine that same scenario plays itself out several thousand times a day.
  • Just Me? (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Am I the only person alive that has not heard of "Second Life" ?

    I thought this was something to do with your heart stopping then starting again...
    • Am I the only person alive that has not heard of "Second Life" ?

      It has been mentioned on Slashdot previously, so it seems like you haven't been paying attention.

      However it's a Windows game, and I can't accept a new life that can only be reached by running Windows. Not that the old life is much different these days, if you want to have an income.

  • by AdamTrace ( 255409 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @04:01PM (#15412043)
    Seriously! It's not much, but it approaches "real money" for some people.

    I'm a programmer in RL, and the idea of creating and scripting 3D objects sounded like a lot of fun to me, so I signed up for a FREE account, and started playing around. Soon, I'd created some casino games and other little gadget-y/holiday products, signed up for a FREE account on slexchange.com, and listed my items for sale. And people actually bought them! And the more people who bought them, the more they got exposed in the world, and more people bought more!

    As with any game, I kinda lost interest (Guitar Hero had a *teensy* bit to do with this). However, to my delight I found that even though I wasn't actively working SL, my items were still listed, and still selling. Pretty cool.

    The point is that motivated people (like me) can actually HAVE FUN and MAKE MONEY at the same time.

    That was my experience, at least. And the other day, I thought of a product that I thought will be VERY popular in SL, and have started scripting it. I'm excited to see how it goes.

    Seriously, where else can you come up with an idea, implement it, and see how it works? In real life, could you build your own slot machine and rent floorspace in a casino and have people play it? Not likely. But in SL, you can do stuff like that all the time. That has some value to it.

    Adman


  • Instead of Second Life, it should be "Advertising Life", because that looks to be where it's heading.

    No thanks, frankly. There's too much in the real world, I'm not sure why I'd bother using a virtual world to get still more.
  • I tried Second Life but found it to be extraordinarily ugly, buggy, and ran like crap even on my system which is tuned for gaming horsepower.
    Even the supposedly "custom" player characters look like old Poser 3 models. The game world itself is mostly empty and has the appearance of a retro CG demo. Look! Blue sky! Look! Green ground! Lumpy green hills!
    I have played alot of online games but Second Life is so ferociously ugly and poorly made that it boggles my mind that it is so popular.

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