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Playing God in Second Life 42

Wagner James Au reports from the New World Notes blog about events in Second Life. Today, he's got a discussion with a woman growing her own garden of Eden in the alternate reality that is 2L. From the article: "The result of a year's work, Laukosargas Svarog's island of Svarga is a fully-functioning ecosystem, adding life or something like it to the verdant-looking but arid pallette Linden Lab offers with its world. It begins with her artificial clouds, which are pushed along by Linden's internal wind system. 'If I was to turn off the clouds the whole system would die in about six hours,' she tells me. 'Turn off the bees and [the plants stop] growing, because nothing gets pollinated ... '"
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Playing God in Second Life

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  • Her Dwell bonus for the day is going to go through the roof! It's not even her own servers in jeopardy, it's Linden that has to hold up!

    Really sweet area! I'm already there!
  • More please (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Turn-X Alphonse ( 789240 ) on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @03:30PM (#15438204) Journal
    More of this please editors. It's an intresting article and was fun to read. Can we get more of this and less Sony/MS/Nintendo fanboys/rumours please?
  • by ImaLamer ( 260199 ) <john,lamar&gmail,com> on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @03:45PM (#15438322) Homepage Journal
    God was a woman.
  • I just checked this out in SL and it's cool, even if there isn't a lot to check out ATM. Linden Labs should be very intersted in this sort of thing.

    Currently most of 2nd life is quite mechanical. By that I mean there are plenty of landscapes and cool plants in SL, but they are all meticulously hand-crafted by people, and mostly static once placed. Imagine if you could opt to have your SL land on "living land" that would actually have it's own ecology. Water flows and wind could cause erosion, birds coul
    • There has to be a better way to do plants than three or more intersecting rectangles overlaid with a tree-shaped texture, I just have no idea what it is. Done well they look basically alright, but with poorly-done textures they look awful, with white halos and things. Prim plants would be rediculous. Would have to be something in a distant update. Or just let people make Linden trees as objects rather than grown on land you own (thinking, for example, of the recent gardening competition I was in on land
      • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @04:56PM (#15438996) Homepage Journal
        The right way to do plants is with multires techniques; start with a high-resolution model, prioritize points in the mesh by number, and as you need to decrease poly counts for scenes, delete points and generate new, lower-poly-count meshes. Plants will generally have a fairly low scoring bias so that they have lower priority than other items in the scene, and be degraded first, but when you are right up in a bush then each branch can be rendered or what have you; when it's in the middle distance it might have gone from 5,000 polys down to 50 or 100 of them; On the horizon it might be 1 or 2 polys. Because the number of polygons changes smoothly, there's no pop-in problem, objects can be shown at their maximum visible distance, and they gracefully increase in complexity so they don't suddenly "sprout" features that you couldn't previously discern - at least, when done right. Multires is still mostly unexplored country, though.
        • The Linden made trees are like that, but there's not much selection in those.

          Residents can only use primitives to construct stuff. Basically CSG except without all the boolean operators.
  • Swarga (Score:4, Informative)

    by DevanJedi ( 892762 ) on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @04:21PM (#15438649) Homepage Journal
    Swarga means "heaven" in Sanskrit/Hindi.
  • by j1m+5n0w ( 749199 ) on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @04:54PM (#15438977) Homepage Journal

    I would like to see a mmorpg that takes place in a real ecology, where trees can be planted or cut down, animals can flourish or die out depending on how much they have to eat, etc... Perhaps the players could be dependent on the land for food, water, and shelter.

    The downside, though, is that the world would have to have a stable ecology, and be big enough that players can't kill off whole species or otherwise destabilize the system.

    • If players can't kill off species or destabilize the system, it isn't much of a realistic one, imo. After all, isn't that what people have been doing since the stone age?
      • If players can't kill off species or destabilize the system, it isn't much of a realistic one, imo. After all, isn't that what people have been doing since the stone age?

        Well, people have been able to affect their local environment for a long time, but it's only recently that humans have been capable of affecting the environment globally in any significant way. Sure, it may have been possible for humans a thousand years ago to kill off the last of some species that was already on the verge of extinction,

    • It was called UO, it didn't work. They turned it off.
    • You might be surprised to know that something like this exists in Eve-Online [], a space based MMORPG. Almost the entire economy is player based and fed. The ship i bought was manufactured by some guy who had to buy a blueprint copy from a Scientist player and then buy minerals from a Miner player. If a small group of players artifically increase the price of something they control, the local economy will feel it. Likewise, some pieces of equipment and ships are so impossible to make without help, it force
      • Now i realize this isn't exactly what you were looking for, Trees can be cut down and planted or whatnot. But it's the same idea. If your Corporation has a starbase to mine a rare metal from a moon that nobody can get anywhere else, you have a lot of power over the local ecosystem.

        A realistically functioning closed economy (as opposed to faucet/drain in which bad guys drop loot that eventually gets used up and/or sold back to NPCs) isn't quite the same thing as a realistically functioning closed ecology,

        • You're quite right in that the two are entirely different. But to answer you questions about the game. Player's could theoretically destroy parts of the local economy by restricting access to certain resources. Though i think most market manipulation is to create demand for a restricted product and raise it's value. Some ships and equipment are extremely rare because only a few players hold the Blue Print Originals used to create the items. The prices of some of the more rare items are 100fold the cost
  • Creative (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Is0m0rph ( 819726 )
    I just fired up SL and went there (about the only time I "play" SL is when I see a post like this). Cool design wandered around a bit and that was enough. Not enough to make me want to explore anything else in the game.
  • by RoffleTheWaffle ( 916980 ) on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @05:27PM (#15439301) Journal
    I sure wish I had a bee toggle switch for my yard. It'd make mowing the lawn a lot less stressful.

God helps them that themselves. -- Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard's Almanac"