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I am not a massive fan of Second Life, though I do have an account there – as Jascain Switchblade – which I visit on occasion. I dislike it because I don’t like the interface, I find the graphics engine flakey, the streaming content jittery and skippy even before they added voice chat and a lot of the residents to be out of their minds.

To be fair, I have many of the same problems with real life.

My main problem is that I can’t see what it’s for, apart from being an end to itself. It’s not a very good place to talk to people due to everyone talking at once, it’s not good for presentations because of the graphics (although I admit this presents a low bar to entry) and a lot of the customization of the world – without limits as it is – results in the kind of “This is my head, isn’t it fucked up? WATCH IT, WATCH IT NOW” that makes places like 4chan so entertaining/scary, only without the soul saving grace of that site – that they are over there, instead of everywhere else.

And yes, this is kind of an elitist thing, possibly. I want a place where I can be comfortable, and express my unique snowflakeness, without the having to look at the yellow snow drift.

The internet – including the web – is good at this. I don’t like 4chan, so I can instead go to a discussion media with a different tone and feel, like the bits of Usenet I still – sporadically – inhabit, and the half-dozen or so IRC channels I’m on. The people who develop content for the web go to great lengths to develop sites with tone and style to attract a readership. Nothing like that exists in the virtual world.


You could argue that things like There, Sony’s Home or Active Worlds are what I’m talking about, aimed at different people these could become their own thing. But that’s not strictly what I mean. I could never, for example, create my own version of “Home”, run it on Cenote (My hosted machine) and visit it with the same client I use to log into Sony’s own Home servers. Yet.

Two announcements that entirely passed me by due to being slightly distracted by the imminent launch of the thing I’ve invested the last eight months or so in included Linden Lab’s announcement of an architecture for people to build their own grids, which is pretty much what I mean up there. The other is Metaplace – one of the other presenters at Techcrunch 40 (where trutap launched).

Of the two, I’m more interested in Metaplace. Partly because my neophile tendencies drift me towards the more shiny tech, mostly because the architecture announcement looks like ways things can connect to Second Life, rather than each other, but I intend to watch both with care.

For now, though, back to Team Fortress 2.

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