Thursday, April 29, 2010

take me in, and throw out my heart and get a new one

Is it wrong that I'm so fascinated by the graphics in Dante's Inferno--and by that, I don't mean the people, I mean the grass, the ground, rocks, puddles...? (Slight note of warning: you may be asked to provide a birthdate to view this Unskippable, there are virtual breasts involved.)

Also, I'm terribly amused that in Jon Wood's latest article on MMORPG, Second Life is referenced as a type of game that has no goals, no levels, no distinct point. I'm really amused that he then adds, "Second Life has no real, true, unifying factor. One zone may be fantasy, the next Sci-fi, the next a proper shooter game, etc. etc. etc. the world is what its players make it, literally."

And to be fair, he's not wrong, because in SL, it's just life, virtual. Everything we do there is in acknowledgement of something else. We make games for ourselves, from small (think Tiny Empires) to large (Midian, anyone? Or Caledon, fifty-plus sims of roleplay?). People have developed an insanely successful in-world game where fishing is the point. (Collections of fish--and the intriguing uses some businesses have put to it, giving away everything from textures to clothing bits for special outfits, actually started out as a secondary point.) We dress how we wish we could in RL (and some of us dress--and look--how we do in RL), we play with avatar looks, avatar relationships, avatar employment, and re-face the challenges we've faced in other lives. See if the outcome changes.

City of Heroes celebrates its sixth anniversary. I'd say I'd love to see something with the same passion and love for the game for Second Life, but...damn, the avatars were dorky when SL started.

Interesting article over on the Tidal blog about the breaking of the metaverse. I will be honest, as a creator of content and consumer both, I want what I want with me--but to me, that means the ability to export sculpt maps, and textures off the grid to revise them as I need, since I own them...and for everything else? I don't care if I can export it to other grids. I bought it here, for Second Life. Second Life is where it will stay.

More to the point, if people really want content they can export to other grids, why on earth don't they talk to the content creators, and ask them to go over to X grid and import it there? Pay a fee, have it where you want. It may not be practical now, but a) that's a great additional revenue stream for creators, and b) it gets around the whole 'importing what you didn't make' argument.

Will all creators be willing to do this? Hell no. Will some? Maybe. Why can't people just do that, though? We're getting to the point where some online resellers are selling things for specific grids; why can't merchants offer the option? Or even, "For use on X grid, please contact me"?

Right now people are right to dismiss alternate grids, beyond SL, that use the SL architecture. For a lot of reasons, they're just not up to par. But neither was SL in the beginning. Give 'em a few years, a little more mileage, they might just surprise us all.

The options should be there. Maybe not now, but soon. Because I do believe in creators' rights for the things they make, but I also think there's nothing wrong with that same creator selling versions for multiple grids. They could even run limited-edition whatevers--everything one shade for Y grid, another for X grid, still another for Z grid...but the main point is, it's not beyond expectation for people to want what they bought with them, if they travel to another grid.

I just don't personally believe they need the unfettered right to full-perm copies of whatever, wherever they go. Because I'm sorry, but that's just crack-headed.


Lalo Telling said...

Brava, Ms Emilly! I am so pleased that someone else besides me has arrived at the same common-sense solution. One problem is, nobody wants to be "first", so the OpenSim pioneers among us are having to rough it (as pioneers should expect to do, anyway).

The other problem is the (intentional) lack of an official economy and currency in OSGrid, the largest of the SL-compatible alternatives. There are, however, "3rd-party" Web-based ethods of payment available for good and services, with another on the way. If more SL merchants were educated about that, they might not be so reluctant.

I, for one, would pay to have a few "luxuries" in OSGrid that aren't currently available -- an AO and a furry avatar top the list.

Emilly Orr said...

I think a lot of folks would.

My main problem with any 'alternate to SL' OS offering is that they haven't decided completely, whether or not they want an economy. I'd be fine if they decided not to have one--though the urge to create when it's just creation, not supported creation, can net some odd developments--but they go back and forth. There's more than one off-site shopping point that offers delivery across multiple grids (okay, maybe there's just two but that's still over one), but they ask for payment in Lindens.

I do realize the hassle it is--developing an in-world currency is fraught with difficulty, at the best of times, and then one must factor in delivery and transfer--will other sites sell that currency for your world? Do you want to offer an X-currency-to-RL-currency option?

Even so, I think the gains outweigh the potential negatives.