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Reader Comments (29)

Posted: Mar 15th 2012 12:15PM tk421242 said

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So how does Second Life fit into the sandbox debate???? Open world, full crafting... but no full loot PVP :) Full loot open PVP fans always claim if a game does not have that it is not a sandbox, but how is Second Life anything BUT a sandbox.

Posted: Mar 15th 2012 12:30PM Space Cobra said

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@tk421242

That's where I have problems with that term, abducted and used by those who prefer PvP, too.

The thing they forget is, once they or their guild(s) get in a position of power, it may be a sandbox for *them" but it stops being one for everyone else not on their power-level, especially new players. And really, the whole term of "sandbox" really means, "to build" and, while some can and do kick over sandcastles, that tends to be a destructive term that doesn't really engender any new "buildings".
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Posted: Mar 15th 2012 3:27PM BaneBergan said

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@tk421242
When people discuss the ever elusive "sandbox", it is just pure silly to ignore Second Life. The title was (right up until 2010 and Humble taking it in... odd... directions) 100% pure unstructured sandbox. I'd go so far as to call it the ultimate sandbox, and the title every MMO maker on the planet needs to look long and hard at for inspiration.

PVP has absolutely nothing to do with sandbox MMOs. Historically, many sandboxes have featured FFA loot PVP, but PVP has nothing to to with the nature of the sandbox itself.
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Posted: Mar 15th 2012 12:32PM Space Cobra said

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It's pretty interesting that there are many subscribers and the game makes money and is now tweaked for more money, but wasn't there some problems with Linden Labs opening up some "new areas" that were mostly on big "advertisement" for a company? I heard they limited items and such, did Humble have a say in this or did he do away with it? (I am remembering hearing of this from an old massively article; maybe even 2 years back, before Humble's time).

Posted: Mar 15th 2012 3:34PM BaneBergan said

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@Space Cobra
That's the "odd direction" I mentioned above.

Second Life was best as an unstructured sandbox, where every person could grab some property and enjoy themselves any way they saw fit. The more "modern" and "profitable" version has areas designed by Linden Labs to act almost as "themepark" areas, where users cannot really change a thing. IMO, the whole concept of these areas seems completely the opposite of everything SL has always been.

Even more bothersome to me is the quote, "Linden Lab has been very successful with one innovative product, but I want to stretch the company out again, to make it a really exciting place where people can't wait to find out about the next unusual title we're going to release".
Sounds like the plan is to keep churning out these "new" and "different" areas, giving new players things to do with their time other than explore user-created content and learning to generate their own. And that's the exact opposite of what makes a sandbox... WTH?

Granted, I haven't logged into SL very frequently at all since the whole "Viewer 2.0" crapfest... so I don't have a dog in this anymore. It just strikes me as odd to see this sandbox get shoehorned into something that seems the very opposite of what made it everything it has always been.
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Posted: Mar 15th 2012 12:45PM (Unverified) said

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@tk421242 - sounds like you're trolling a private argument you had with someone?

It's clearly a sandbox game, which is a "world" in which you can pretty much build whatever you like. Full PVP drops has utterly nothing to do with it.

Would someone assert that Minecraft isn't a sandbox, seriously?

Re the OP, though: I've never really "gotten" Second Life. It had (when I tried it) hideous graphics, an absurdly clunky interface, clumsy controls, lag of staggering proportions, and pretty much wasn't fun beyond "look, I can fly" (which by itself got old for computer gamers what, in 1992?) or "look, I can build a giant penis!" (which apparently never grows old, right Spore?) Certainly, if that header screenshot is a measure, it's gotten much prettier, but as much as I personally LIKE sandbox worlds, I don't see the point of this one.

As far as the use of it as a storefront (or chatroom, like for Science Friday) that's like taking all the BAD bits of virtuality and real life and combining them - the awkwardness of geographical location, times the lag of server-based architecture, to the power of the resolution of your 15" LCD screen. I can't see the slightest advantage to 'going to a store in virtual space' that's even the slightest bit quicker/easier/more intuitive than just browsing to their website.

Hey, I'd love to live in the Snow Crash virtual space as much as anyone, but we're not there yet.

Posted: Mar 15th 2012 1:11PM tk421242 said

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@(Unverified) Perhaps it was the use of multiple ? that made it seem as a trolling comment. That was not my intention. I actually think Second Life is a great example of a game that has been around for a long time that people forget about when debating sandbox vs themepark is all.

I have never really enjoyed SL myself either, but like EVE I find it fascinating to read about some of the things done in the game world.
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Posted: Mar 15th 2012 1:31PM dudes said

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I occasionally play Linden Realms in Second Life. It's a time sink but I like the way they are going with that and look forward to future developments.

Posted: Mar 15th 2012 2:16PM (Unverified) said

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Second Life always made me kind of sad. Some people created some really incredible places and sights with the tools available to them and I enjoyed visiting them very much, but it seemed like 95% of SL was just devoted to virtual sex. Meh. Just seemed like a waste of time and effort.

Posted: Mar 15th 2012 3:40PM BaneBergan said

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@(Unverified)
Alot of people do seem to think all SL can be is a sex-playground. And yeah, there is an awful lot of that. I certainly would not call it "95%", though.
Let's not forget about the on-grid schools, business offices and even high concept fashion design. When it comes to "user created content", Second Life is without peer, nothing else is even in the ballpark.

Second Life has always been a highly accurate reflection of a unique virtual reality. Does there seem to be alot of pointless sex? Sure... but are we talking about SL or RL? Because I see roughly the same amount of it in both places.
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Posted: Mar 15th 2012 4:29PM (Unverified) said

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@BaneBergan

You see a lot more RL sex than I do! o.O

I know there is a lot more to SL than virtual sex, but what saddens me is that with so much potential and so many creative tools available, a significant number of people choose to use their talents and these tools for virtual sex. It's just - silly. Wandering into a room full of adult "fully equipped" avatars having simulated sex is depressing.

I have nothing against sex in RL, but really? Virtual sex? That's just sad.
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Posted: Mar 15th 2012 7:24PM BaneBergan said

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@(Unverified)
In all fairness to both you and Second Life... you cannot "accidentally" just find yourself in an adult sim. They are clearly labeled, and easily avoided. It is easier to "accidentally" walk in on your roommate having sex with their BF/GF than it is to "unknowingly" walk into an adult/mature sim in Second Life, because some of the places people do things in RL is not *CLEARLY* labeled.

In real life, sex is constantly being used to aggressively market everything from soft drinks and beer to automobile ads to MMOs. I literally see something intended to trigger sexual thoughts in RL pretty much everywhere I go. Sex sells. It just does. So, it is no surprise that sex sells in SL, is it?

When most people (males more than females, yes... but sometimes they can be just as bad) got their first computer with internet connection, exploring the internet was exciting and new. With that exciting newness, there was *ALOT* of adult material to be found, often giving folks the feeling that all the internet was good for was porn. There was no real basis in fact for this viewpoint, the porn was just readily available.
Second Life is no different. Sure, there is alot of sex available... but just like the internet, there are filters and better ways to search that allow you to find everything else just as easily.

I guess what I am trying to say here (for those TL:DR people)... if all you find (on the internet or) in Second Life is sex, then you were looking for nothing but sex. The failure is not in Second Life, it is in the person exploring it the wrong way.
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Posted: Mar 16th 2012 12:17PM Zyrusticae said

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@(Unverified)

I just feel the need to point out that a LOT of people have no real outlet for their sexual needs, and that a good chunk of the US looks down on any sort of sexual content or behavior. Keeping in mind that sex is a big part of an human's life cycle, the way it tends to be treated in the public sphere leaves little room for much in the way of sexual expression.

If you think about it, the proportion of sex to violence in video games has absolutely no relation to the actual proportion IRL. That's just fine and dandy, of course - they serve two very different, often opposing, purposes, after all. And especially when it comes to sex, you would much rather be a participant than an observer, right? But still, you have to think about it from that lens - because of the limited outlets, people will go to where they CAN get an outlet, whether that is a brothel, a chat room, or Second Life. That's just human nature for ya.

Also, while you may see virtual sex as something "pathetic", I must repeat the old adage here: "Don't knock it 'til you try it!" There's a whole host of rather fascinating psychological underpinnings to the whole experience, such that, even without the direct physical intimacy, there's still a level of connection to the eroticism that appeals to the participants in its own way.

I like how Kieron Gillen put it in this article (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/12/30/erotisim-sex-the-sims/):
"The second precedent is cyber-sex – text-based exchanges between anonymous individuals on the internet, via one of the many communication systems (Instant Messenger, IRC, MUDs). The comparison here is that it’s a form of erotic stimulation only made possible by a machine. When collected into a text document, cyber-sex looks like a badly written sex story – reading one is high comedy. The kick is in the process of its creation, the improvisation, the waiting between words, the place for the mind to run rampant. It’s sex cut to the ideas. We know that sex exists primarily in the mind, but, as Julian Dibbell wrote in his book charting his time living on LamdaMUD, My TinyLife, “It’s one thing to grasp the notion intellectually and quite another to feel it coursing through your veins amid the virtual steam.”"

So, don't look down on people just because they're using the program as an outlet for something that they just don't otherwise have access to. Don't look down on them because the act somehow seems "inferior" for not being the real, physical thing. In fact, don't look down on people in general - that tends to not be a good thing in any case...
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Posted: Mar 26th 2012 12:29PM BanMeAgain said

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@(Unverified)
let me guess you probably have no problem with games and movies that feature brutal violence, but sex is not ok. Am i right? You are whats wrong with society.
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Posted: Mar 26th 2012 9:21PM (Unverified) said

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@BanMeAgain

/sigh

I responded to you but it posted in at the end of the thread. C'est la vie. But I think there is a lot more wrong with the world than someone who wishes for more creativity in life. :P
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Posted: Mar 28th 2012 5:56PM BanMeAgain said

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@(Unverified) i got your response, and good point. I just hate how prude this country is now.
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Posted: Mar 15th 2012 3:47PM Azzura said

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I just dont see SL surviving or growing like they say - Open-Sim is now the way to go. It is so much cheaper and less controlled. Why pay them $1000 for a sim and then $250 a month or whatever it is these days when you can get all the same space for $50 and then $25 a month? Of course it depends on if you need traffic for your project...but if it is for classes...or experimenting, SL is NOT the place to go. Dancing and socializing is SL's domain but even that is starting to be replaced by larger more popular Open Sims.

More people are leaving than coming... there are now more Open-Sim sims than Private sims in SL. And the number of abandoned plots in SL increases each month...they are at like 8% abandoned (I abandoned mine) The big companies that were really doing something special with SL are closing down and moving to other hosted servers to save money.

Heck you can even run a sim on a USB flash drive now! http://iliveisl.com/sim-on-a-stick-posts/

Posted: Mar 16th 2012 2:17AM timayo said

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@Azzura

Sorry I disagree. I've been in SL for a long time now and I've been on most of the bigger Open Sims, and spent significant time in some of the better ones. Yes they are cheaper, but there is a reason for that. They are all provincial and very sparsely populated compared to SL and have more problems too. Even the largest of them can't compare with SL's population. A number are run by amateurs and it shows.

Yes they appeal to some techies, or hobby content creators who are satisfied with just building stuff over and over on 'their' cheap sims. Some OS's may even develop over time, but SL is still way ahead and with the introduction of the new tools will be even farther ahead.

I constantly run into people in SL that left a while ago to migrate to open sims and they tell me they are coming back to SL because they have lost patience with the OS's. A lot of the big content creators that branched into some OS's are withdrawing too.

SL is far from perfect but its stil the best of its kind.


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Posted: Mar 15th 2012 4:17PM deejrandom said

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@Azzura I'll tell you why Second LIfe will survive and grow. It has the facebook effect: Why hasn't google +, a product many say is superior, over taken Facebook since it launched? Because so many people that use facebook are already entrenched. They have friends that have friends that have friends and family that use it... And people invite fhteir friends and family to use Facebook as well. It's the same with Second Life - there are so many people that are already entrenched in Second Life, it's hard for them to switch to other places like Inworldz, open sim, etc. These people, in turn, invite others to join and the cycle continues. That is why Second Life won't end and will continue to be successful - because of the people that are historically there.

As for abandoned land: I'm seeing the abandoned land get bought up in SL now. In the years I've been in SL, I've seen it go through cycles. People buy up stuff, abandon or sell it, buy up stuff, abandon or sell it... I'm sure the other places will go through the same cycle as time goes on.

I"m not dissing the other places, but I think the death of Second Life has always been a bit exaggerated. I don't have the hard numbers but I've been seeing more new people in SL than I have in a long time.

Posted: Mar 15th 2012 4:40PM Empress Aurora said

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As someone who owns five sims, I can tell you that it is in fact growing... Not the pre-2007 sort of growth, but not bad.

The big thing SL offers that OpenSim doesn't is marketability - it's pretty trivial for someone to sell enough virtual whatsits to actually make a few RL bucks.

The thing LL *really* needs to do is help us content creators out - I literally spend more time in SL swatting griefers than I spend at my RL job that pays for it. When the residents have to build systems to shore-up LL systems just so random /b/tards cant crash the servers every hour, that tells me making 'new stuff' should probably wait a while.

But, hey, what do I know - I just pay LL a bit over $1000 a month to keep my community of 700-ish people happy.

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