Also thanks to Kevin for highlighting a video on how a guitar is built virtually for the Second Life environment (I've linked to the Quicktime version). In his post, Kevin also mentions something about guns. Ah, boys will be boys... (hey Kevin, how can I try out one myself?!)
I've created an avatar for myself in Second Life, but unlike Kevin, I've not gone beyond the orientation island part yet (btw, I cannot understand why the designers of Second Life allow you to strip your virtual character, i.e. Avatar, of clothes and then urge you not to walk around bare-assed, heh).
If you're familiar with First-Person Shooter games, you'll be able to pick up the controls in Second Life easily. Here's what I've learnt so far (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong):
- You can customise your avatar on aspects like body shape, face shape (down to shape of your nose, eyes, cheeks, chin), skin colour, hair-styles (or choose to be bald), clothes, undergarments (yeah, you read me correct!)
- To navigate to places, you can walk, fly, or Teleport your avatar to locations if you know the coordinates or via something called SLurls (i.e. URLs for Second Life locations).
- Your avatar, i.e. You, can touch and move virtual objects
- You can pick up something called "scripts" (think of them as computer codes) that allow your virtual character to perform more complex actions, like dancing.
- Typing onto your keyboard will display the text on screen. That's akin to speaking aloud and those hear you can "hear" you. Or you can choose to initiate private Instant Messenging with your online contacts.
Second Life is basically a virtual meeting/ gaming space represented in a graphical 3-D format, and modeled closely to real life (or what they call your "First Life"). For instance, let's say Kevin and I and a few other people we know in real life have arranged to meet in Second Life. We could set the date/ time, agree on the coordinates, login and teleport to the agreed location.
And why would we want to meet in Second Life? For one, we might be in different locations/ countries so meeting in a virtual environment is much more feasible. Second, having a graphic interface enhances the interactions. You see your friends and contacts in their customised appearances (down to body shapes, clothings, accessories etc.)
In an earlier post, I posited that it's only a matter of time before more libraries entered Second Life. Having explored Second Life, I still stand by that assertion but I think it will take a much longer time for more libraries/ librarians to get involved. The main reason is really the amount of time that librarians have to "invest" to properly understand and exploit the Second Life environment.
Ah, but once librarians are able to do that, imagine the possibilities! I mean, let's start with Library Conferences, where we get to listen/ interact with the speakers and participants. And while we're at it, we could have workshops on topics like "Controlling your Second Life Avatar 101", "How to organise library events in Second Life", or "Case studies on outreach programmes to Second Lifers".
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