Making Virtual Worlds

Author: Thomas M. Malaby
Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 0801457750
Size: 74.50 MB
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The past decade has seen phenomenal growth in the development and use of virtual worlds. In one of the most notable, Second Life, millions of people have created online avatars in order to play games, take classes, socialize, and conduct business transactions. Second Life offers a gathering point and the tools for people to create a new world online. Too often neglected in popular and scholarly accounts of such groundbreaking new environments is the simple truth that, of necessity, such virtual worlds emerge from physical workplaces marked by negotiation, creation, and constant change. Thomas Malaby spent a year at Linden Lab, the real-world home of Second Life, observing those who develop and profit from the sprawling, self-generating system they have created. Some of the challenges created by Second Life for its developers were of a very traditional nature, such as how to cope with a business that is growing more quickly than existing staff can handle. Others are seemingly new: How, for instance, does one regulate something that is supposed to run on its own? Is it possible simply to create a space for people to use and then not govern its use? Can one apply these same free-range/free-market principles to the office environment in which the game is produced? "Lindens"-as the Linden Lab employees call themselves-found that their efforts to prompt user behavior of one sort or another were fraught with complexities, as a number of ongoing processes collided with their own interventions. Malaby thoughtfully describes the world of Linden Lab and the challenges faced while he was conducting his in-depth ethnographic research there. He shows how the workers of a very young but quickly growing company were themselves caught up in ideas about technology, games, and organizations, and struggled to manage not only their virtual world but also themselves in a nonhierarchical fashion. In exploring the practices the Lindens employed, he questions what was at stake in their virtual world, what a game really is (and how people participate), and the role of the unexpected in a product like Second Life and an organization like Linden Lab.

The Making Of Second Life

Author: Wagner James Au
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0061747246
Size: 54.47 MB
Format: PDF, ePub
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The wholly virtual world known as Second Life has attracted more than a million active users, millions of dollars, and created its own—very real—economy. The Making of Second Life is the behind-the-scenes story of the Web 2.0 revolution's most improbable enterprise: the creation of a virtual 3-D world with its own industries, culture, and social systems. Now the toast of the Internet economy, and the subject of countless news articles, profiles, and television shows, Second Life is usually known for the wealth of real-world companies (Reuters, Pontiac, IBM) that have created "virtual offices" within it, and the number of users ("avatars") who have become wealthy through their user-created content. What sets Second Life apart from other online worlds, and what has made it such a success (one million-plus monthly users and growing) is its simple user-centered philosophy. Instead of attempting to control the activities of those who enter it, the creators of Second Life turned them loose: users (also known as Residents) own the rights to the intellectual content they create in-world, and the in-world currency of Linden Dollars is freely exchangeable for U.S. currency. Residents have responded by generating millions of dollars of economic activity through their in-world designs and purchases—currently, the Second Life economy averages more than one million U.S. dollars in transactions every day, while dozens of real-world companies and projects have evolved and developed around content originated in Second Life. Wagner James Au explores the long, implausible road behind that success, and looks at the road ahead, where many believe that user-created worlds like Second Life will become the Net's next generation and the fulcrum for a revolution in the way we shop, work, and interact. Au's story is narrated from both within the corporate offices of Linden Lab, Second Life's creator, and from within Second Life itself, revealing all the fascinating, outrageous, brilliant, and aggravating personalities who make Second Life a very real place­—and an illuminating mirror on the real (physical) world. Au writes about the wars they fought (sometimes literally), the transformations they underwent, the empires of land and commerce they developed, and above all, the collaborative creativity that makes their society an imperfect utopia, better in some ways than the one beyond their computer screens.

Second Life

Author: Michael Rymaszewski
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 047009608X
Size: 31.82 MB
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Second Life: The Official Guide is the perfect book for anyone interested in Linden Lab?s fascinating Second Life metaverse. This book explores in detail every aspect of Second Life?s rich and multilayered virtual world, explains how it works, and offers a wealth of information and practical advice for all Second Life residents. The first part of the book, ?Getting a Second Life,? acquaints potential and new players with the Second Life world. It describes the metaverse?s geography as well as its society, explaining the written and unwritten rules. The second part, ?Living a Second Life,? deals with the practical and economic aspects of Second Life: creating and customizing an avatar, building objects, scripting, and making money. The third part of the book, ?Success in Second Life,? discusses ways to enjoy Second Life more. This section includes profiles of successful Second Life residents, discusses fascinating in–world events, and examines how some are using Second Life for business, training, and other purposes. The book closes with a glossary as well as quick–reference and additional–resources appendices. The accompanying CD–ROM features special animations, character templates, and textures created by Linden Lab exclusively for this book. The disc also guides new users through installation and includes a code that grants a special object their first time entering the metaverse.

Second Life

Author: Brian A. White
Publisher: Que Publishing
ISBN: 0132714493
Size: 78.74 MB
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Live your Second Life to the fullest! Create Your Virtual Life in an Incredible Online World...Right Now! Imagine a virtual landscape where everything is created and owned entirely by residents like you. Imagine a place where you can enjoy sunsets, ride a jet ski, buy land, plant a garden, get a tattoo, go sky diving, spend an evening dancing the night away, or relax at home by the fire. Picture a world vividly developed, socially dynamic, and strikingly real where you can bring previously unimaginable things to life with friends from around the globe. This is Second Life®, the hottest Internet phenomenon in years…maybe ever! Now, there’s a totally real, totally independent guide to Second Life. This full-color book is as rich as Second Life itself! It’s packed with insider tips, easy step-by-step techniques, and interviews with dozens of SL residents telling you what they wished they knew when they started! Brian White pulls no punches: You’ll learn exactly what’s great and not so great about SL...how to thrive in its unique culture, and how to create your dreams! The more time you spend in Second Life, the more useful this book will become...teaching you more advanced skills; everything from vehicle construction, Linden Scripting Language, particle systems, to creating custom animations and the new sculpted prims! Visit the companion site in Second Life to find all the textures and objects from this book as well as the contributor’s gallery and other goodies: http://slurl.com/secondlife/humuli/222/123/29

I Avatar

Author: Mark Stephen Meadows
Publisher: New Riders
ISBN: 9780132704861
Size: 43.29 MB
Format: PDF, ePub
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What is an avatar? Why are there nearly a billion of them, and who is using them? Do avatars impact our real lives, or are they just video game conceits? Is an avatar an inspired rendering of its creator’s inner self, or is it just one among millions of anonymous vehicles clogging the online freeways? Can we use our avatars to really connect with people, or do they just isolate us? And as we become more like our avatars do they become more like us? In I, Avata r, Mark Stephen Meadows answers some of these questions, but more importantly, he raises hundreds of others in his exploration of avatars and the fascinating possibilities they hold. His examination of avatars through the lenses of sociology, psychology, politics, history, and art, he will change the way you look at even a simple online profile and revolutionize the idea of avatars as part of our lives, whether first or second.

Second Lives

Author: Tim Guest
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 1588366723
Size: 32.43 MB
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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We’ve always dreamed of perfect places: Eden, heaven, Utopia. Imagine gambling without loss, love without heartbreak, sex without exposure, experience without risk. Welcome to the fascinating world of online virtual reality, the land of invented places and populations that is entered and inhabited every week by nearly fifty million people worldwide. Each participant creates a virtual body, works at virtual jobs, and makes virtual friends and family. In Second Lives, Tim Guest, an internationally acclaimed young journalist, takes us on a revelatory journey through the electronic looking glass as he investigates one of the most bizarre phenomena of the twenty-first century. From Second Life to EverQuest and beyond, here are the computer-generated environments and characters that can easily become more engrossing and fulfilling than earthly existence. With the click of a mouse you can select eye color, face shape, height–you can even give yourself wings. Your character, or avatar, can build houses, make and sell works of art, earn money, get married and divorced. In this fascinating and groundbreaking book, Guest meets people who found meaningful love and friendship despite never having met in person, catches up with the companies that have used virtual worlds to make big money, investigates the U.S. military’s massive online global model that trains soldiers to fight anyone anywhere, and travels all the way to gaming-crazed Korea to get a taste for just how big this phenomenon really is. At first glance, these new computer-generated places seem free from trouble and sorrow. But Guest examines the dark side of this technology too, including the online criminals who plague imaginary worlds, from cyber mafiosos and prostitutes to real hackers and terrorists. It seems that one cannot escape greed, corruption, and human weakness–even inside a computer screen. Are these virtual worlds a way to enhance life or to escape it? Guest explores this question personally as he lets himself be transported into myriad parallel universes. By turns provocative, inspiring, and disturbing, Second Lives is a crucial book for this millennium. After all, real life is so twentieth century. Advance praise for Second Lives “Tim Guest is a young writer with the literary goods. My Life in Orange, his hit memoir of growing up in a commune, looked at his past; his riveting new book, Second Lives, looks at our future: the world of virtual reality and the spellbound people who inhabit it. The book is some kind of revelation–by turns compelling, chilling, and illuminating. Curious, intelligent, offbeat, and artful, Guest is at the beginning of a big career.” ——John Lahr, senior drama critic, The New Yorker, author of Prick Up Your Ears: The Biography of Joe Orton Praise from England for Second Lives “An anthropological adventure but also Guest’s personal voyage . . . a fascinating portrait of rainbow landscapes and their inhabitants.” –Time Out London “Rich and colourful . . . an important mapping of a new social frontier.” –The Guardian “Remarkably timely.” –The Sunday Telegraph “Astonishing.” –The Sunday Times From the Hardcover edition.

Synthetic Worlds

Author: Andreas Hebbel-Seeger
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 146146286X
Size: 30.88 MB
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Synthetic Worlds, Virtual Worlds, and Alternate Realities are all terms used to describe the phenomenon of computer-based, simulated environments in which users inhabit and interact via avatars. The best-known commercial applications are in the form of electronic gaming, and particularly in massively-multiplayer online role-playing games like World of Warcraft or Second Life. Less known, but possibly more important, is the rapid adoption of platforms in education and business, where Serious Games are being used for training purposes, and even Second Life is being used in many situations that formerly required travel. The editors of this book captures the state of research in the field intended to reflect the rapidly growing yet relatively young market in education and business. The general focus is set on the scientific community but integrates the practical applications for businesses, with papers on information systems, business models, and economics. In six parts, international authors – all experts in their field – discuss the current state-of-the-art of virtual worlds/alternate realities and how the field will develop over the next years. Chapters discuss the influences and impacts in and around virtual worlds. Part four is about education, with a focus on learning environments and experiences, pedagogical models, and the effects on the different roles in the educational sector. The book looks at business models and how companies can participate in virtual worlds while receiving a return on investment, and includes cases and scenarios of integration, from design, implementation to application.

Anthropological Futures

Author: Michael M. J. Fischer
Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 0822390795
Size: 67.60 MB
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In Anthropological Futures, Michael M. J. Fischer explores the uses of anthropology as a mode of philosophical inquiry, an evolving academic discipline, and a means for explicating the complex and shifting interweaving of human bonds and social interactions on a global level. Through linked essays, which are both speculative and experimental, Fischer seeks to break new ground for anthropology by illuminating the field’s broad analytical capacity and its attentiveness to emergent cultural systems. Fischer is particularly concerned with cultural anthropology’s interactions with science studies, and throughout the book he investigates how emerging knowledge formations in molecular biology, environmental studies, computer science, and bioengineering are transforming some of anthropology’s key concepts including nature, culture, personhood, and the body. In an essay on culture, he uses the science studies paradigm of “experimental systems” to consider how the social scientific notion of culture has evolved as an analytical tool since the nineteenth century. Charting anthropology’s role in understanding and analyzing the production of knowledge within the sciences since the 1990s, he highlights anthropology’s aptitude for tracing the transnational collaborations and multisited networks that constitute contemporary scientific practice. Fischer investigates changing ideas about cultural inscription on the human body in a world where genetic engineering, robotics, and cybernetics are constantly redefining our understanding of biology. In the final essay, Fischer turns to Kant’s philosophical anthropology to reassess the object of study for contemporary anthropology and to reassert the field’s primacy for answering the largest questions about human beings, societies, culture, and our interactions with the world around us. In Anthropological Futures, Fischer continues to advance what Clifford Geertz, in reviewing Fischer’s earlier book Emergent Forms of Life and the Anthropological Voice, called “a broad new agenda for cultural description and political critique.”

Cyber Zen

Author: Gregory Price Grieve
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317293258
Size: 77.41 MB
Format: PDF
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Cyber Zen ethnographically explores Buddhist practices in the online virtual world of Second Life. Does typing at a keyboard and moving avatars around the screen, however, count as real Buddhism? If authentic practices must mimic the actual world, then Second Life Buddhism does not. In fact, a critical investigation reveals that online Buddhist practices have at best only a family resemblance to canonical Asian traditions and owe much of their methods to the late twentieth-century field of cybernetics. If, however, they are judged existentially, by how they enable users to respond to the suffering generated by living in a highly mediated consumer society, then Second Life Buddhism consists of authentic spiritual practices. Cyber Zen explores how Second Life Buddhist enthusiasts form communities, identities, locations, and practices that are both products of and authentic responses to contemporary Network Consumer Society. Gregory Price Grieve illustrates that to some extent all religion has always been virtual and gives a glimpse of possible future alternative forms of religion.