Kaaos Enters Second Life – The Kaaos Effect

In The Void - The Kaaos Effect

I had the opportunity to visit MadPea Productions new game, The Kaaos Effect, which is sponsored by Orange. The concept of the game is interesting, something "wrong" happened with the space time continuum and you need to travel throughout time and solve puzzles to help fix it. Paired with a HUD and Armband, you travel randomly through several time periods, discovering clues and pieces of equipment in order to determine what may have gone wrong.

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SLCC 2009 is ready for liftoff!

SLCC 2009 Logo

The Second Life Community Convention is ready for it’s 5th year. This year’s SLCC is going to be in San Francisco on August 13th to August 16th, 2009 at the Westin St. Francis Hotel! Registration opened last week with content prices starting at $135 for the first 200 registrants (lower than any year’s registration) and hotel room rates starting at $159 with free wi-fi in each guest room! To register for this year’s SLCC visit the SLCC Registration Page.

On the organization side (I am a convention organizer) things are becoming very exciting, with a lot of news coming in the next few days. For those interested in sponsoring visit the sponsorship page and for those interested in volunteering check out the volunteering page. Also keep up to date on the latest convention news through the SLCC Discussion Google Group and the SLCC Twitter Account. I’m really excited to see what is going to evolve in in San Fran for this year!

For additional, up to date information about the convention, visit slconvention.org.

Sparkle IM: Connecting Through Second Life on your iPhone

Being able to connect through Second Life, outside of having to download and run a resource intensive program has been a wish of many SLers. SLim helps alleviate this, for those on the go Sparkle IM seems to fill another niche.

For those who want to keep in touch with SL on your iPhone, Genkii has just released a new app for the iPhone that lets you IM your Second Life or OpenSim friends and contacts (along with some other nice features). It’s an interesting concept, especially the direction that Genkii is going through. The benefit is this app allows for a new means of communication for those who need to stay in touch (if you have an iPhone that is!)

(Source: Techcrunch)

Second Life to Align With The Rest of the Internet

Discreet Boutique taken by Allan Lorde (El Negro Magnifico) via Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/people/elnegro/

Linden Lab’s upcoming change for Adult Content in Second Life is not particularly shocking or new. Years ago there were rumors of an ‘adult’ grid similar to that of the teen grid. There’s always been a struggle in the handling of adult content within Second Life and has been the target of press coverage and politician’s questions. This change for adult content doesn’t surprise or upset me, nor should it surprise or upset anyone else. I believe it’s a move to align with the rest of the Internet and the rules, laws and regulations that exist for everyone else.

When visiting a beer or alcohol website, your asked for your date of birth; when visiting pornographic or nude sites your are warned as the content and type of website that you are about to visit. These are common rules and guidelines, backed by laws handling adult content online. While Second Life is a virtual world, it still exists in an online space that’s regulated by these rules. Segregating adult, mature, and general content is not only a smart move, but better handled by Linden Lab rather than some rating regulation committee (such as the ERSB). I don’t see this as a horrible policy that changes everything, it’s been a long time coming, but some questions arise. Continue reading

How Do You Introduce Second Life?

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I’m working on the finishing touches to a presentation, introducing Second Life to a class at Columbia University. Some of the students in the course have some really good questions, surrounding the topics of brand identification, and the long term validity of the platform. While I’ve introduced Second Life to groups before, I find myself reinventing the wheel a bit. For others who have introduces Second Life to new groups or friends, what key aspects do you highlight in your presentation or introductions to Second Life? Do you focus on the creative aspects? The social workings? Specific builds and locations?

Exploring Ethnic Representation in Virtual Worlds

The Ankh

The Ankh taken by donhosho on Flickr

A study from Northwestern University states social and racial biases are carried into virtual worlds; this isn’t surprising. It’s human nature to stick to the familiar, either by engaging in familiar environments or seeking those with like opinions, thoughts and preferences. This is easily seen by the familiar clothing, buildings, and objects (such as cars) that exist in Second Life. By design virtual worlds do not care for each individual thought, opinions or preferences, they are neutral to human subjectivity. They do have parameters users much abide by, usually these parameters do not penalize you for choosing a specific gender, ethnicity or hair color. Virtual worlds are built by humans, all with different point of views, opinions and thoughts lending for the possibilities of differences concerning the choice of one’s gender, ethnicity or creature.

The representation of ethnicity and avatars does play out in very interesting ways. The same way men create female avatars in virtual worlds, ethnic identity is carried out in very similar but more complex fashion. Like the ability to represent one’s gender in a virtual world, ethnic identification is just as important. Many develop a bond with their virtual avatar as it is a representation of their own identity. In order to delve into the differences of ethnic identity in virtual world, I believe there are four factors to example: accessibility, preference and perception, life experiences, and “the goal.”
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