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Saturday, April 5, 2008

So, what is Second Life?

It turns out that Second Life (SL) is a MUVE (Multi-User Virtual Environment). In every-day language, MUVEs are 3D virtual worlds that exist on server space. Second Life was created in 2003 by Philip Rosedale and his team of Linden Lab employees, based in California.

Essentially, SL is a world built entirely by its Residents (users who inhabit SL). This world consists of a Mainland and many Islands. Each island is about 65,000 sq. m (approximately 16 acres). There are approximately 65,000 islands inhabited by approximately 8 million Residents world-wide. There are approximately 50,000 Residents logged in world-wide at any given time.

Islands (also known as "Sims") may be purchased by individuals, organizations or corporations.

Just as the owners and developers of each island vary, so do their purposes; education, commerce, entertainment, and role-playing sims are just a few examples. The possibilities are limited only by the creativity of the Residents. Here are a few examples:

Spaceport Alpha: International Spaceflight Museum. This sim contains scaled replicas of a variety of spacecraft, including a Space Shuttle, Vehicle Assembly Building and the International Space Station.

Biome Island (Northen Michigan University) is an island dedicated to the life sciences. It features a large microscope with a drop of water that Residents can walk into, learning about various protists.

Genome Island is a sim focusing on the genetics of prokaryotes and eukaryotes. This island houses a replica of Gregor Mendels' Abbey as well as a multitude of interactive laboratory simulations
designed to interest and engage university-level students

Meteora Island - ride a weather balloon, fly into the eye of a hurricane, and stand on the ocean floor and experience a tsunami.

The Ann Myers Medical Center is a sim dedicated to the furtherance of interactive collaborative medical training.

There are many sims in SL which house a variety of venues design for education and meetings:

For Residents interested in creating and leaving their mark in SL, there are a variety of tools they may use to build, as well as tutorials and building classes. In addition to building, Residents may learn to script (program) an SL-specific language, Linden Scripting Language (LSL).

The most proficient of builders and scripters produce landscaped sims such as the one below, produced by The Magicians, a real-world company for hire which builds and scripts within SL:


EdTechLady said...

Hi Chris,
I was able to see some of the neat things at NOAA today. I am working through the Real Time Weather progects right now. I tried to get to the Anne Meyers Medical Center but I could not figure out how to teleport there.

Chris Baker said...

I'll pop in-world and look for you...