My Second Life has become just as desolate and uneventful as my first life. I just got done totally overhauling Lainey’s look, finally achieving the skin, shape and Windlight settings that I had always wanted…and then I realized…what’s the point? There’s barely anyone to see it, or anywhere to show it off. And even if there were..what’s to be gained?
Second Life typically feels like a virtual wasteland of abandoned homes, shops and dance halls on lonely sims. It’s hard to imagine that some of these places were once populated…or at least intended to be. Now they’re just the ‘sculptied’, scripted detritus of once relevant virtual commerce and community…handing out info cards and freebies to whatever lost individual happens to rez there at 4 a.m. The ‘people’ you do find are often just bots, gamblers, or campers tucked away inside dead establishments, trying to eek a few Lindens out of the owners. And despite the obvious TOS violations represented here, Linden Lab knows they are there keeping these otherwise barren sims warm. Others might be out there engaging in activities or conversations, but appear as sparce pocks on the map…very few and very far in between.
The part of me that craves these types of superficial, artifact-y experiences might find all of this really neat and interesting. Coming late to the party isn’t always such a bad thing. But unfortunately, the worst part about all of this is that if I hadn’t wandered into Second Life to evade the emptiness of my own day-to-day existence in the first place, then maybe none of this would be so bothersome (lol). I understand that concurrence will be an issue for any virtual community…but especially for Linden Labs, who recently introduced a less-than-user-friendly Viewer 2.0, and then laid off 30% of its employees… can any of this possibly bode well?
A nice little trip down memory lane to one of my previous virtual haunts. 12-ish years ago I was pretty optimistic about the prospect of becoming a virtual furniture developer and raking in enough CCs to purchase my own house somewhere near the cyber city center. Now, not only are its rendering engines obsolete, but it boasts a whopping “11 citizens online,” at any point in time, and apparently hasn’t been updated since its inclusion in Yahoo! Internet Life’s ‘Top 100 Chat Sites for 2001’… and if I’m not mistaken, its parent company, Blaxxun, went waay under a long time ago and was later reincarnated into further obscurity as Bitmanagement.
I have this eerie feeling that Linden Labs will soon find itself in similar straits. For now, I’ve got my sights set on Blue Mars.
It uses the CryEngine 2 rendering engine, and pretty much looks like butter. Only problem is, there are some doubts about its potential for user-generated content, and it’s in beta so there aren’t that many people or places to encounter. There also isn’t yet a Mac client available, and I don’t feel so benevolent as to stealth install it on my mother’s PC as per usual with these sorts of things. Soo done with that.