Who it is developed by
Imprudence is an open-source OpenSIM viewer that was first made available in 2008. It is developed entirely by volunteers.
The software is regularly maintained and updated, and the development staff hold a weekly in-world ‘meetup’ where users can discuss development ideas with the team [source]. Transcripts of all the meetings can be viewed at the source link as well.
What functionality it provides
Imprudence is a very slightly scaled-down viewer, primarily used for Second Life, but I was also unaware when I first used Imprudence that it could also be used for other OpenSIM based platforms, such as Kitely.
According to the Second Life Wiki [link], Imprudence lacks several features of the Second Life viewer, including Mesh Object Rendering, multiple attachments, and support for managing large groups, which means that your Second Life experience may be less than ideal.
Who it is developed by
Released in June 2003, Second Life was developed by Linden Lab. The road to the launch started in 1999 when Philip Rosen pioneered the concept of computer hardware known as The Rig. This allowed people (residents) aged 16+ to participate ‘virtually’ in a three-dimensional online environment known as Second Life using their avatar. Avatar forms can be either created by the user, or bought pre-made. Now this multiplayer online platform entertains millions around the globe with an expansive online community, a unique virtual currency and a robust marketplace.
Who it is developed by
Kitely is an Israeli based commercial provider of OpenSim regions. The public beta version was launched in 2011 and they now have hosting in more than 3,000 regions (as of January 2013). Kitely claim they are now “the leading provider of affordable high-performance OpenSim hosting solutions”, despite the fact that Second life has been established for over ten years so has many more community members.
In stark contrast to the first location I chose (MeltingDots) the second location I visited could not have been more loud or ostentatious. I was greeted by Marilyn Manson music blaring, the strangest looking avatars imaginable, and surroundings that wouldn’t have looked out of place in a Steven King novel.
I’m not sure what else I could have expected from a place called ‘Death Row Island’ but rest assured I was unaware of the name of the island before I visited.
Death Row Island
The first location I chose is a place called MeltingDots, which is a place built specifically to provide support for new and struggling Japanese users of Second Life.
Why I chose it:
I found this location by using the Second Life Destination Guide (http://secondlife.com/destinations) and then selecting the ‘International’ category. I had hoped to find a place like this because I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to make use of my Japanese skills and perhaps gain some insight on how Second Life is used over there.
I know from my own personal experience of spending time with Japanese people that Second Life has achieved a huge amount of success in Japan and in other parts of Asia. I was unable to find statistics more recent than 2007 (link) but these statistics show that 8% of Second Life residents are Japanese.
How it looks:
Today, during some downtime that I managed to find, I watched a documentary produced by the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) called Life 2.0. It explored the physical and virtual lives of several users of Second Life, and as a new user myself, it really helped to give me some background knowledge of the program.
I have included a link to the documentary below
It is an unbiased look at both the good and the bad sides of Second Life, focusing not only on users living happy and successful real lives, but also delving into the stories of users who are heavily addicted and the terrible impact that can have on their real life.
I was unsure what to expect from this class but after a great first lecture I’m very excited about getting stuck into MUV601! It’s quite a different subject from any I have taken previously so I’m looking forward to all the challenges it will bring.
As requested by Clare, here is my first blog post, in which I will answer the questions posed to each of the students on the class blog.
What is a virtual world?
As far as my understanding goes, a virtual world can be defined as a simulated environment through which users can interact with each other. This does not necessarily have to be defined as a game, although I feel that the most popular and easily available virtual worlds are MMORPGs, or Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games.
What is interesting to me about virtual worlds?
I have to be honest and say that I can be quite closed-minded when it comes to the subject of virtual worlds. I remember last year in ITC501 when we first touched on the matter, I was slightly skeptical about the practical and perhaps constructive uses of this kind of software. This is one of the reasons that I joined MUV601 in the first place, because I would like to broaden my knowledge on virtual worlds rather than make an unfair and uninformed judgement about the subject.
How important do you think virtual worlds are?
Now that I have spent slightly more time researching, it’s safe to say that there is huge potential for the uses of MUVEs, but I am unsure as to whether the software is being utilised to its full potential at this point in time.
How important do you think virtual worlds will be in 5-10 years?
I have now heard of MUVEs being used to teach new procedures to medical staff and for training military personnel for combat, which can be invaluable and life-saving exercises, but I feel as though there is a way to go before this kind of software is made completely mainstream. I do hope that in the near future these kinds of programs will become more readily available, as they will certainly make a difference in the world.