Saturday, February 24, 2007

Setting up the Second Life "Singapore Island" sim: Interview with Alvin

After reading the plans to start a Singapore island Sim (i.e. simulation) in Second Life from Alvin's blog yesterday, I met him in Second Life this afternoon. I interviewed him regarding the plans for the sim (which, btw, will be called "Lion City").

Here's the transcript of our chat (edited for brevity). Alvin is "Alvin Korvin" (his Second Life name, pictured on the right) and mine is "IvanChew Link" (blue-skinned avatar... hey, it's SL!)
IvanChew Link & Alvin Korvin

IvanChew Link: What role do you see yourself playing in the sim?

Alvin Korvin: I can foresee myself doing lotsa Builds. apart from that, I will have to think of events and stuff to get people on, but that's when the Sim is done. so for now its still more of a building, scripting role I guess. One thing for sure -- I'll be pushing for more events on the new Sim. I want people to have a purpose for coming to SL. Hope that the Sim would be a great platform for that.

IvanChew Link: What about the roles of those setting up SL island? For instance, as you're paying for it, do you see yourself as Chief Architect?

Alvin Korvin: Hmm... never crossed my mind on the roles. I guess I'll be the Chief Coordinator or something... I definitely can't build up an entire Sim by myself. At the last meetup, I got some volunteers who would build together with me. Or I should be the Chief Second Life Enthusiast of Singapore, lol..

IvanChew Link: How can others help? What roles or activities do you wish others can take up as part of this Sim?

Alvin Korvin: That'll depend on what the individual can do. For those who can Build and Script, they can help to develop the Sim together with me. Some can suggest ideas, host events or mentor new residents that came on. Anything that works to create a pleasant experience for the Sim.

I hope we'll get more virtual "guides" or mentors as SL called it. No point having a dead town with all facilities running, and some new resident come in, no idea how to interact with items, would be an instant turn off.

We'll need many people to volunteer to be around the Sim, talk to people, interact, help new residents. These people have to be patient as some might not even know how to operate a computer properly, lol.

Why do we need alot of these helpers? Because we all have our own RL commitments. Sometimes you can make it to come on, sometimes you can't. In the Second Life Mentors group, we have about 900+ helpers but you seldom see mentors in Orientation/Help Island.

IvanChew Link: What issues or problems do you foresee in setting up this Sim?

Alvin Korvin: I can foresee that when you need to discuss something, the other person might not be on. Not everyone would like to "expose" their RL [Real Life], hence, RL communications like MSN, cellphones, or even email, might not be a solution.

... we should not stop people from contributing even if he/ she might not want to be contactable in RL. You can't fault anyone. So i guess that might be one of the possible inconveniences.
Alvin Korvin & IvanChew Link
IvanChew Link: What opportunities do you think this Singapore sim presents?

Alvin Korvin: opportunities could be endless.. as i mentioned before, it depends on what you want to get out of SL. you set your own purposes.

some people might want to get a life partner or something. that's an opportunity for them. a meeting place.

some people would be thinking of making big bucks or something. its a meeting place to explore the possibilities of SL.

IvanChew Link: Maybe we can ask SDU (Social Development Unit) to co-sponsor an island or event!

Alvin Korvin: lol. That'll be interesting.

IvanChew Link: Do you foresee the Sim being "exploited" or "abused"?

Alvin Korvin: That's one of my primary concern. I need to guard against that. Initially the thought of pooling for funds to open up a Sim didn't materialise because I wasn't sure if would we end up (with a situation where) those who pay more get a bigger plot of land to play with. Doesn't mean that everyone is mistrusted. Just that the island has to stay focused in helping new residents -- showcasing to the world what Singapore is about

IvanChew Link: Which brings us back to the "role" that you see yourself. If you are paying for the island, then it's very clear cut you're the owner.

Alvin Korvin: Yes. That'll be much easier to control.

IvanChew Link: In a way (at least the way I see it) it's within your rights to set certain rules. Especially if you're already not using the word "Singapore" for the island. You're pretty safe, in that you won't be seen as exploiting the Singapore brand.

Alvin Korvin: lol. Now I'm not sure whether naming the group "SL Singapore" would get me into any trouble.

IvanChew Link: I don't think so... unless you are using the Singapore brand to sell something. It's not a very black/ white area... I guess it comes down to the intent, if there's any dispute.

IvanChew Link: Do you think that you being the owner/ sole person paying for the Sim (for now) as a hinderance? Or that it wouldn't matter?

Alvin Korvin: Don't think that'll matter much in SL's context. Item and Builds are all under their respective owners. The Sim is only a platform for things to happen. If one day I'm not able to support the sim anymore, someone can just open up another one, and everyone can just do a right-click, "take", to take back their items, teleport to the new Sim, put it there.

IvanChew Link: What are some immediate plans to get this Sim started? The name has been agreed, and you've contacted Linden Labs. What else?

Alvin Korvin: Once the Sim is online, we'll plot out areas/ zones. (We will need) someone to be in-charge of getting certain parts of the Sim ready.

Also, I asked Alvin how much he'd be paying for the Sim. He said he'd worked out the sums and was prepared to pay the equivalent of SGD$400 - $500 per month. I joked if he's consulted his wife. He said that's been cleared, heh.

Upcoming plans also include the setting up of a email list and a blog to post updates on the "Lion City" Sim and activities of the SL Singapore group.

Lion City Gets Publicity (15 Mar 2007)
Mailing List for SLSingapore (13 Apr 2007)

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