Category Archives: Friends and neighbours

Virtual worlds are very sociable places

Sad day at Linden Lab

As pretty much everyone knows now, Linden Lab announced a new direction for Second Life yesterday and laid off 100 staff members. LL announced their intention to focus their marketing efforts at web integration and social networking.

Reaction to the announcement is mixed. Long-time SL’ers, already concerned about the shift of attention toward corporate interests and away from residents, worry that they will lose the tools that allow for collaborative building. Others hope that their socializing opportunities will be enhanced. The free market types, of course, are all in favour. One naive soul even suggesting that the people let go probably “sucked” at their jobs anyway.

In many ways, I left SL months ago. While I certainly enjoy the social aspects of SL – I treasure the friends I have made there – for me, it’s all about the building.

I have been happily creating new work on Reaction Grid since November. It’s cheaper, less politically fraught and far more demanding of my creative abilities (such that they are).

"What is flexi?" Three weeks old and learning to build

I joined SL for the art. In 2007, I had read about a Vancouver curator opening a gallery in Second Life and I joined to see what that was about. I spent about an hour on Orientation Island acclimatizing to the environment. I had to pass four simple tests showing I understood the key tools and then I was off.

I had no trouble understanding the viewer. I found it intuitive and easy to use, the Search took me exactly where I wanted to go. And when I saw what people were doing with 3D building tools, I was hooked.

In 2006, Philip Rosedale, aka Philip Linden, gave an interview on what Second Life was all about. Halfway in, at the 3:40 mark, he tells the interviewer, “the thing about this metaverse is that you can make things there with other people.”

Make things. Not do things.

Yes, you can do things in Second Life – you can shop, you can dance, you can hangout and socialize. But as SubQuark Hax points out in a post on the iliveisl blog, the high end graphics and capabilities have little to do with the success of virtual social spaces.

Who has time to spend hours and hours online just chatting? Not adults, that’s for sure. And young people have never really been on Second Life’s radar, because Second Life is made for adults who want to create.

Second Life’s real strength lies in the stability of its platform. For stability, it ranks head and shoulders over any of the Opensim environments and that is where, I think, they should expend their energies. The art created in Second Life is a kind that has never been seen before. Artists like AM Radio, Adam Ramona, Glyph Graves, Kolor Fall and Miso Susanowa having been exploring immersive spaces and pushing the boundaries of virtual reality to create an entirely different art form, perhaps not seen since the invention of photography.

Losing that focus will turn a truly valuable asset into just another computer game subject to the fickle whims and passing fancies of  children.

Collaborative multimedia event by Kolor Fall, Cypress Rosewood and Skye Galaxy

Alien Plant Life!

Twisty prim man, Scarp Godenot, has applied his clever architectural talents to an installation of alien plant life at the futuristic sim, Extropia. The work was well received by Scarp’s many friends and fellow artists at last night’s opening.

From the artist’s statement:

Alien plant life has virally invaded Extropia from a source deep in space and it is growing out of control. Fortunately the anti contamination squad has managed to keep the infestation contained to the spaceport. See these odd and strange new life forms. They have been determined to be harmless to avatar life so far…..

Scarp is a RL photographer and hobby gardener. Some pieces have witty botanical nomeclature derived from the names of his friends. Merlin and I were honored with the Nikkimartynalia merlinoskopteryx, a white, bushy plant with tall, thin, twisty flower stalks rising from the centre.

Slideshow of my photos

Christmas Eve Skate Party


Originally uploaded by Nestra Careless

A late night skating party on Scarp’s sim made waiting for Santa a whole lot easier.

Seasons Greetings

Seasons Greetings from Nickola & Merlin

Best wishes to all for 2010

Freakout Ween Party

Manx Wharton Freakout Halloween Party

Manx Wharton

Manx Wharton and The Freaksters met in a secret location last night to celebrate Halloween. Manx banged the drum and we danced with the ghouls until time rolled backwards.

Manx Wharton Freakout Halloween Party

Nestra made an awesome party place

Scripter at Work on the Playa

Scripting genius Micheil Merlin making my prim objects do magical things at our BL09 Theme Camp on Quinn

Scripting genius Micheil Merlin making my prim objects do magical things

DJ Mr Honey at Nantucket Yacht Club

The real SL sailors had a regatta today and a big party at the Nantucket Yacht Club to celebrate afterwards. Our friend DJ Mr Honey was providing the tunes so Merlin and I dropped in to join “Queen Bee” Helena on the dance floor and hang out for a while.

Me, Merlin and Helena dancing on Helena's chim to the smooth sound of DJ Mr Honey

Me, Merlin and Helena dancing on Helena's chim to the smooth sound of DJ Mr Honey


Mr Honey has a fine new DJ booth

Mr Honey has a fine new DJ booth