Social Networking and Gaming

So many of the predictions from the dreamers are coming true. Second Life game platform is definitely the one that the innovators look to for inspiration.

raftwet jewell in metaverse

There are many worlds now, all vying for a piece of the pie. Some are trying to pull SL members to their platform just as interests do in many of the groups within Second Life.

raftwet jewell on RiverLand

They sneak in, recruit members and then poof they disappear. This is happening now between the different worlds.

raftwet jewell building at riverland

But, I smile, as I write this. This is good news. To know that other worlds are vying for SL members tells us that we are the important world. Light years ahead of everyone else, SL attracts them as they come like moths to a bright light.

meditation : raftwet jewell

But, don’t believe me. Believe the universe of professional social networkers and bloggers who are analyzing the virtual world as I write these words.

rafee at wetlands

Those with their alogorithms, their logs, their mathematical analysis of what is happening with the traffic on the net. They know more then me… raftwet jewell.

 

All photos by raftwet jewell from rafeejewell flickr site.

Check my other blogs out! http://raftwetjewell.blogspot.com

2011 RAFTWET Jewell

So, I’m a little slow in getting the ubiquitous New Year blog out. Que sera. Real life was calling, and commitments, much more fun than the daily grind in Second Life, were overwhelmingly more fulfilling. I like to party.

GOL 8 : raftwet jewell

I’m coming of age. An old avatar from the Beta days told me so. He told me that there were several transitions of aging in this virtual world. And, I am about to begin a new journey.

I now realize the futility of dreaming of a utopian metaverse. It’s impossible. People are behind the cartoon characters and are ever so present with their psychological baggage that all of us carry. That’s ok. But, we can’t expect the world to be peaceful and without strife or drama. Fer shur.

THE A LIST! owners raftwet, xavier

People are people, no matter where they are. There is jealousy, envy, hate, greed, war and one-upmanship, just like my every day real life. Did I really believe this place would be any different?

RUSS SCRIBE : raftwet, xavier

What I have found are great people and creative fun in here. Good and decent folks who care and respect each other. Artful places that are soulfully satisfying have inspired my real life art.  That’s a big plus in any place and time.

The metaverse is the new frontier, and I am so honored that I got to beta the whole thing before the general public. Everything has changed in Second Life. The place has a feel of totality now encompassing everything possible in one’s life. From education to business to services to retail to creation and art; the place reeks of innovation for the future. SL has become a dream come true. (Yes, we still have a ways to go…)

CHRISTOPHER135 QUAN : xavier, raftwet

So, I carry on with my real life and invest there wisely. The time in Second Life should be fun and surrounded by good times and wonderful people.  My focus now is to do the best job that I can do for myself and the alliances that have formed in my groups. The rest of the bullshit just comes with any world’s territory, and now I understand that. I should not invest in the avatars who seem to spend their time undermining and back-stabbing with a smile on their face. It’s just not worth my time and effort in any world.

raftwet at nuclear winter

So, I carry on knowing that things in my virtual life are changing for the best. My old avi friend has told me that I am becoming one of the old guard. I fiercely defend this place, but I no longer will sacrifice the well-being of my own avatar. I love my avi and she is truly the best part of me.

My photos and photo groups can be found here:

Metaverse Future

Sunset on WETLands

Some have said that I am a cheerleader for Second Life. I suppose they are right in that evaluation. When I first read about the world, I could see the infinite possibilities. I wanted to be a part of that place. Art, music, building, programming and business all together in one social environment is already in place in the real world. But, the real world is limited by geography, politics and expense.

The virtual world of Second Life did not have those constraints. It is pure magic.

The economic world’s woes have hit every business very hard including Second Life. We are watching SL cut programs, trim the fat and recreate itself much to the chagrin of the residents and businesses there. Avis/people are upset, and I hear the daily complaints in forums, blogs, group chats and in IM.

A lot of people have left the grid along with their businesses. “The sky is falling!” I hear it everyday and the self-prophecy of the cries are wearing me down.

Second Life as we know it must end. It has to morph into something that addresses the technological hurdles. The improvements are coming, and I am excited about Mesh Project Viewer. What people don’t understand is that the decisions are based on money. How do you pay the electric bill? How do you pay your employees? How do you maintain the servers? It takes money.

I have watched SL, a relatively small band of un-business-like people try their best to maintain the infrastructure, try to address the multiple computer platforms in-use, try to improve the grid and the interface, and try to keep everyone happy.

I am willing to wait it out. I am not leaving until the door closes. But, many can not afford to do that because their own economic decisions are based on personal funding. So, I am watching members of our business community flee to Blue Mars and Inworldz. It’s cheaper. Why, because, it’s new and has a very small user base. And business always expands to new real estate. There is also a psychological comfort in having those worlds out there, especially with a “just in case” kind of attitude.

They will have the same woes; the same problems in their infrastructure. It is inevitable. What I want everyone to understand is that SL is light years ahead of the competitors. But, those nimble little worlds can do things that SL can’t. And, that is react and morph quickly to changing technology because they are so small… or can they?

I poked my head in several worlds recently. Only one was interesting for me as there was no one there, and I could build quietly on an entire empty sim. A good place to practice building the concepts in my head. The other growing world was too complicated and required me to jump through too many techie steps to just get there.

Here is where, I think, the metaverse might be going: a world of social and business apps; a world of builders and creators; a world of youth-orientated markets; and a world that combines all of it in one place (Second Life).

I would be willing to not log in for two weeks to allow Second Life to upload a new grid; new interface that addresses the awful lag, the limitations on numbers on a sim; and a new browser-based app on my desktop. [UPDATE: As soon as I posted this bloggy, I received an update from one of the clubs I frequent. Ambrosia Dance Club is testing a beta on a Browser Based app that works in Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari; the wait is over!] I would be willing to even lose my inventory. I would be willing to pay a monthly fee just to have an avatar here. No more free accounts. It is the ultimate experience that I crave. An experience that all of us dreamers have dreamt about from the very beginning.

BURN2 is Almost Here!

There is definitely a melancholy setting in this month of October. It’s the beginning of another change in the air. Saying good-bye to summer, saying good-bye to all the summer parties. And, of course leaving the memories behind on the desert playa of Burning Man.

In here. In the virtual world of Second Life, there are only a few days left to the BURN2. I wonder how many real life Burners will be there mimicking and recreating the incredible art that I saw just a few weeks ago.

Big Poppa created this video out of a bunch of snaps that he took during the blazing heat and horrific dust storms that probably wiped out his favorite camera. I feel the melancholy in the music chosen as I listen and look at the photos.

This year, I am not part of Burning Life or as it is now called BURN2. I didn’t try to get a plot or purchase one either. Though frustrated with the land grab last year, I really enjoyed that part of the “game.” The attempt was madness and I loved it.

This year, I will be an attendee oohing and ahhing over the rich display of the builder’s art and creations. I will go to the myriad parties and have a blast. And, I will dream of someday becoming one of those fabulous builders.

Art really is my life. I live and breathe it everyday with visual, musical and technical applications. This place called Second Life holds a promise to each and everyone of us. That we can become artists in our own way, in our own time.

Viewer 2.0 Upgraded

raftwet jewell

wet builders in second life

I was a naysayer when I first checked out Viewer 2.0. Argh! I hated the way the right side menu jolted out decreasing the window by half. I especially hated the huge image of the view box. Too big and extra clicks to go back in forth between vertical/horizontal and orbit. In the old viewer, I use both keyboard to navigate and also use the view box when I wanted to use only one hand.

The inventory file list for the new viewer “bounced.” When you scroll or look for something, the entire file list has a tendency to bounce up and down. But, I knew it was a glitch that could be fixed. Several other annoying things discouraged me and I quickly left and went back to the original viewer.

I coud hear the nagging in the back of my head, though. “This is the direction we need to go. Browser-based format.” So, one weekend with a bad cold, I hunkered down with my alt and dove in. My alt is a builder only. She has no friends, no groups; she just builds. I use her when I need to focus on a WET Builders project. There is a vanity in using your main avatar as you want your name attached to the creation. When I use her, I know that no one will know that I built it, and that makes me reluctant to use her for anything but practice.

wet builders

raftwet jewell of wetlands group

At first, I was hovering over the keyboard… hunched over, hands tight, wrists in pain. I couldn’t relax. When I use the old viewer, I am almost in dream state when I build. I reset my entire preferences on my computer to address the tension in my hands. I took off all the soft touches and set it at a default setting until I could get used to the new viewer.

Today, I love the tidiness of my desktop. Gone are all the little windows that I used to shove into corners. Now the window is large and easy to use and with one click it disappears into the right side. The annoying IMs and blue notices are now at the bottom of the screen. Small orange dot highlights tiny thumbnails letting me know that someone has “called” me. And the notices flash briefly, and then, disappear into a nice tidy little envelope.

second life builders

wet builders in second life

I got into a rhythm building multiple boxes stacked on top of each other. Each with the same texture, but I changed the variables of the texture for each box. A simple script was placed into each box; each script was modified slightly so that the texture changes were subtly different. A good practice build for using the new viewer.

Then I went into a sculpty build. Same thing. Get into a rhythm and play. I could feel myself start to relax. My hands were loose and fluid. The inventory though was still a bugger. The bounce is annoying. I kept thinking that maybe Linden Lab was trying to tell me to decrease the inventory load! LOL!

By Sunday, I decided to delete the old viewer. I didn’t want to fall backwards to an abandoned viewer. I have been here for a long time, and I have watched the changes sometimes in dismay. But, each change brings new challenges, opens more doors and I didn’t want to be that old stuck-in-the-mud kind of person who won’t accept change. Better that I jump in with both feet and help to fine tune the system.

riverland and wetlands regions

raftwet jewell building on wetlands group regions

I know there are glitches in the viewer. I have heard from my builder friends that there are issues with machinima, scripting, etc. but I hope they hang in and file the reports necessary for LL to fix these glitches. Second Life is beta and always has been. This is a testing ground for the future and those who leave over a viewer upgrade are short-sighted and probably shouldn’t be here anyway.

wet builders raftwet jewell

wet builders : raftwet jewell on riverland

I am not an expert, but I can see where this is going. The future of digital worlds is the internet. Maybe not the one we have now, but it will be a network of all digital worlds including both real and virtual. There will be no division between the worlds. All worlds will be interconnected for artists, consumers, businesses, retailers, services, educators and governments.

Those of us who stay involved will be rewarded in knowing that we helped with this new world. When I hold my future grandchild on my knee, I can tell them how I helped create the digital world they use everyday. The excitement I feel now is one of a child on the night before Christmas. I can’t wait to open up all those colorful, shiny packages under the tree.

For more pictures, see raftwet jewell in flickr.

rafee dream in second life : raftwet jewell

My friend and I made this video together on my regions. We also tp’ed into several sims to get the running sequences. Aoshi is a machinima artist and creates wonderful videos in the virtual world. He helped make this video while I covered the art direction with my personal concepts.

I am running because of many things. The grid can be stressful and frantic at times. We are real humans behind our digital characters. We hurt, we feel joy, we love and we crash and burn just like we do in real life.

The video is a dream… frantic pace while surrounded by surreal beauty. I love it here… and I love making the videos.

Builder’s Projects in Second Life

Continue reading