Fiddled around a little bit more with Second Life last night… I guess I’m learning the system fairly quickly as I’ve already been stymied by functions that don’t work as advertised in the manual… No matter, I’ll figure out a workaround.
The next step in my SL adventures will be the building of a place to live… SL is really just like a muck in most regards.
You first deal with how you look in SL which is very easy for the basic things like hair color/style, clothing color/style, and body and face details, etc. On a muck your looks are text-based and handled by describing yourself which is probably the easiest thing to do. You eventually, as you learn the in’ and out’s of the system, graduate to more and more complex descriptions and other tricks… On SL this is the design and scripting of your avatar beyond the built-in facilities.
Then things progress to the procurement of a space and the descriptions of it. On a muck you have to learn a bit about how the underlying system works so that you can link exits to rooms and whatnot. On SL it’s a similar learning curve as you need to have a passing familiarity with some of the deeper functions of the system such as alpha channels in textures and some basic scripting.
The biggest difference between mucks and SL is money in both a good and bad way… Everything on a muck is usually free as far as real-world money is concerned and you can have in-world money that is really only used to control the flow of new objects into the world. Meanwhile SL costs a minimum of $10 which gets you a character in the game permanently, but that’s it.
Now to get some land costs anywhere from $10 a month for a basic yard on which you can build your house to $200 a month for your own “sim” which is basically a city. You’re also limited in the number of objects you can have based on the amount of land you own. This is to keep things running smoothly on your computer by ensuring that no one gobbles up all of the ram in the sim you live in. You want more objects, buy more land.
Now SL can, and does, pay its users. There is in-game money called “Linden Dollars” ($L) of which you get a weekly stipend of based on how much land you own. Right now I don’t own any land and only get $L 500 a week as “income”. It costs $L 10 to upload a texture or graphic, and in game items that other people have made cost $L to purchase… Yes, SL has its own economy.
Now you can also earn real-world money from SL for hosting events, donating time to teach other folks how to do something, or other “big” things. You can also earn $L for the same things from what I gather… I’ve not done any of this stuff (yet) so I’m not completely clear on it, but I know that someone Aryntha knows got a $40 check from SL a little while ago for some in-game activity.
All in all SL is the best parts of a muck (building, limitless possibilities, etc.) mixed with a really nice 3D MMORPG. Based on the time I’ve spent with SL over the last three days, the name “Second Life” is really quite appropriate. 😉
I’ll post more as I find out more… For example; the other day I discovered that if you own your own sim (or by the consensus of the residents) you can change the “rating” of your sim from “PG” to “Adult” and along with this you can decide that avatars can take damage… I saw a light saber sword fight last night that was pretty spectacular.
Well, off to “First Life”… I gotta get to work. 🙂