sept 2007
Second Life in 3600 seconds

or “My life in the bush of avatars”
           Andy Powell, Eduserv Foundation
    ...
Second what?
                                     www.secondlife.com



• 3-D virtual world
• run by Linden Lab
• ‘proprie...
So it’s just a game right?
• looks and feels like a              image by J0@nn@ @ flickr.com

  gaming environment
• but ...
Ain’t you got a first life mate?




Oxford Brookes Business School   sept 2007
Joining SL
                                 • two steps
                                    – register
                   ...
What does it cost?

                                 • basic accounts are
                                   free
        ...
Naming / identity


• every avatar has a
  name
• chosen at
  registration
• can’t be changed
• though can have
  ‘Alt’s
•...
Identity / appearance

• on the Internet no
  one knows you’re a
  dog
• in SL no one knows
  you’re a bloke
• appearance ...
Communication

                                 • chat
                                 • IM
                             ...
Getting around
• walking
• flying
• teleporting
   – locally via scripted
     objects
   – longer distances
     via ‘lan...
Virtual land
                                 • rent or buy
                                 • needed for permanent
      ...
Land-use fees




Oxford Brookes Business School   sept 2007
Building stuff
                                 • anyone can build
                                 • in sandboxes or on o...
Scripting
• scripted objects
• C++ like, event-driven
  language
• move, change shape, etc.
• interact via clicking, chat,...
Multimedia
• limited integration of
  audio and video files
• SL client has built-in
  support for Quicktime
• can play an...
SL and Web 2.0
           • scripting language can issue HTTP
             GET and POST requests
           • can integrat...
IPR

                                 • IPR on in-world
                                   objects rests with
            ...
Money

                                 • in-world currency
                                 • Linden dollar (L$)
        ...
Commerce




                                 • many big brands
                                   in SL
                 ...
Entertainment

                                 • hard to tell hype from
                                   reality
      ...
Machinima

                                 • the use of SL to
                                   create movies
          ...
Crime
                                     image by ay1ene @ flickr.com



• not a significant issue (yet!)
• some anti-so...
Hype




                                 • SL very over-hyped
                                 • significant complaints t...
Usage statistics




Oxford Brookes Business School   sept 2007
Demographics
                                                                            Average Age
 Country             ...
Student attitudes




                             J uly 2007 s urve y of 501 s tude nts a g e d 16 to 18 from a c ros s t...
Student attitudes (2)
Second Life appeared to be an idea for people
older than themselves, for the generation above
who we...
Uptake in UK

• July 2007 snapshot of use of SL in UK HE and FE
• undertaken by John Kirriemuir
• funded by Eduserv
• frag...
Major findings
                             • some SL activity at 43
                               institutions
         ...
Eduserv-funded projects




Oxford Brookes Business School   sept 2007
Time


                                 • SL runs on US West
                                   Coast time (GMT-8)
       ...
Gambling and porn

                                 • both used to exist… in
                                   abundance!...
SL rules


                                 • code of conduct in public spaces
                                    – no gr...
Politics
                                     • RL politics surface in
                                       SL every so ...
SL and learning
• widespread interest in use
  of SL in education
• explicitly encouraged by
  Linden Lab
• not clear that...
Teen Second Life

                                 • note that SL is
                                   segregated
       ...
SL and research



• even less clear
  what is possible
  here
• but note that
  Nature Publishing
  have an island
  (‘Se...
SL in context
      • SL is one of many virtual worlds
      • there.com, World of Warcraft, Entropia
        Universe, Ac...
Finding out more

• SLED list – run by Linden Lab, US-centric but is
  the main forum for learning-related SL issues
• sec...
Conclusions…

    too much hype
   •
   • no clear best-practice (or even much
    practice) around e-learning
    high...
Conclusions…

     • sustainability, ownership and privacy
      issues around use of and reliance on US-
       based co...
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Second Life in 3600 seconds

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An updated version of my regular Second Life introductory session, prepared for members of ASKe staff at Oxford Brookes University.

Published in: Business, Technology

Second Life in 3600 seconds

  1. 1. sept 2007 Second Life in 3600 seconds or “My life in the bush of avatars” Andy Powell, Eduserv Foundation andy.powell@eduserv.org.uk www.eduserv.org.uk/foundation
  2. 2. Second what? www.secondlife.com • 3-D virtual world • run by Linden Lab • ‘proprietary’, but public commitment to open standards and OSS • populated by avatars, aka residents • a ‘metaverse’ (from the book: Snow Crash) Oxford Brookes Business School sept 2007
  3. 3. So it’s just a game right? • looks and feels like a image by J0@nn@ @ flickr.com gaming environment • but no purpose as such – use it to buy / sell, entertain, learn, • can use SL to collaborate, … build games – including shoot ‘em ups • but such activities frowned • do not approach it on in public simply as a game – spaces you’ll be disappointed! Oxford Brookes Business School sept 2007
  4. 4. Ain’t you got a first life mate? Oxford Brookes Business School sept 2007
  5. 5. Joining SL • two steps – register – install client software • note technical requirements Oxford Brookes Business School sept 2007
  6. 6. What does it cost? • basic accounts are free • need to pay monthly subscription ($10) to own land • land can be quite expensive • ‘land use fees’ for owning more than smallest plot Oxford Brookes Business School sept 2007
  7. 7. Naming / identity • every avatar has a name • chosen at registration • can’t be changed • though can have ‘Alt’s • mine is Art Fossett - not an anagram! Oxford Brookes Business School sept 2007
  8. 8. Identity / appearance • on the Internet no one knows you’re a dog • in SL no one knows you’re a bloke • appearance can be changed instantly • wings and tails (‘furries’) seem oddly popular! Oxford Brookes Business School sept 2007
  9. 9. Communication • chat • IM • group IM • IM <-> email • voice – however support for voice fairly recent and not clear what impact it is having Oxford Brookes Business School sept 2007
  10. 10. Getting around • walking • flying • teleporting – locally via scripted objects – longer distances via ‘landmarks’ • in-world search engine • locations exposed to Web as SLURLs Oxford Brookes Business School sept 2007
  11. 11. Virtual land • rent or buy • needed for permanent buildings – shops, galleries, universities • mainland areas • private islands (~$800 for non-profits) plus monthly land use fees • issues with ‘land barons’ buying up available land and selling for profit Oxford Brookes Business School sept 2007
  12. 12. Land-use fees Oxford Brookes Business School sept 2007
  13. 13. Building stuff • anyone can build • in sandboxes or on own land • objects made out of basic building blocks – prims (cubes, spheres, …) • prim limits usually apply • prims can be textured for realism – but uploading costs L$10 • objects as HUDs Oxford Brookes Business School sept 2007
  14. 14. Scripting • scripted objects • C++ like, event-driven language • move, change shape, etc. • interact via clicking, chat, sensing the env. • modify avatar behaviour • in-world physics engine Oxford Brookes Business School sept 2007
  15. 15. Multimedia • limited integration of audio and video files • SL client has built-in support for Quicktime • can play anything that QT supports • pulled in from URL associated with land parcel • however, significant limitations currently Oxford Brookes Business School sept 2007
  16. 16. SL and Web 2.0 • scripting language can issue HTTP GET and POST requests • can integrate with Web 2.0 services • but significant limitations currently • no built-in HTML, XML or JSON parsers so need to parse externally • SLURLs can be bookmarked in del.icio.us • some good examples – Second Talk, SLoodle, SLtwitter, BlogHUD, RSS readers Oxford Brookes Business School sept 2007
  17. 17. IPR • IPR on in-world objects rests with creator • e.g. rights to game designed in-world subsequently sold to Nintendo by its creator • however, objects essentially remain locked in-world Oxford Brookes Business School sept 2007
  18. 18. Money • in-world currency • Linden dollar (L$) • $1 = ~L$280 • fluctuates • but supply influenced by Linden Lab • currency market to buy and sell L$ Oxford Brookes Business School sept 2007
  19. 19. Commerce • many big brands in SL • hype => presence • some criticism from older residents that SL is becoming a ‘brandscape’ Oxford Brookes Business School sept 2007
  20. 20. Entertainment • hard to tell hype from reality • some experimental use of SL to host events and/or mirror RL events • e.g. BBC One Big Weekend, SecondFest • but significant problems with scalability Oxford Brookes Business School sept 2007
  21. 21. Machinima • the use of SL to create movies • application in film studies and related areas • of interest because the techniques are the same but costs significantly lower Oxford Brookes Business School sept 2007
  22. 22. Crime image by ay1ene @ flickr.com • not a significant issue (yet!) • some anti-social behaviour • some reports of people pretending to be shop owners when they are not • some reports of fraud around land sales • one major incident of hacking into SL databases Oxford Brookes Business School sept 2007
  23. 23. Hype • SL very over-hyped • significant complaints that stats are misleading • i.e. worse than Web stats • LL have improved the way they report usage but… • SL also (inappropriately) touted as Web NG Oxford Brookes Business School sept 2007
  24. 24. Usage statistics Oxford Brookes Business School sept 2007
  25. 25. Demographics Average Age Country % Adult United States 31.19% Age % Grid France 12.73% 13-17 1.23% 33 Germany 10.45% 18-24 27.16% United Kingdom 8.08% 25-34 38.88% Netherlands 6.55% Average Age Spain 3.83% on Teen Brazil 3.77% Grid 35-44 21.13% Canada 3.30% 45 + 11.61% 15 Belgium 2.63% F M Italy 1.93% 2006 September 43.76% 56.24% Australia 1.48% 2006 October 42.65% 57.35% Switzerland 1.29% 2006 November 42.14% 57.86% Japan 1.29% 2006 December 41.42% 58.58% Sweden 0.95% 2007 January 41.11% 58.89% Denmark 0.88% 2007 February 41.07% 58.93% China 0.61% Oxford Brookes Business School sept 2007
  26. 26. Student attitudes J uly 2007 s urve y of 501 s tude nts a g e d 16 to 18 from a c ros s th e UK, c om m is s ione d b y th e J IS C h ttp:/ tinyurl.c om / / yw8m vx Oxford Brookes Business School sept 2007
  27. 27. Student attitudes (2) Second Life appeared to be an idea for people older than themselves, for the generation above who were interested in technology for its “own sake”. This is perhaps why the idea amused our participants and why they felt it was “sad”. The implications here for HEIs are that they cannot assume that presenting new technologies h ttp:/ tinyurl.c om / / yw8m vx automatically makes their institution more youth-friendly – this new generation like to see J IS C , J uly 2007 the concrete benefits of technologies. When discussing Second Life, students felt that games and virtual worlds as part of learning could easily become “tragic” – technology being used for its own sake, and used rather childishly. They would need to understand the educational benefits of virtual worlds or games, it is not enough that they are simply ‘new’. Oxford Brookes Business School sept 2007
  28. 28. Uptake in UK • July 2007 snapshot of use of SL in UK HE and FE • undertaken by John Kirriemuir • funded by Eduserv • fragmented and somewhat cloudy picture • activity happening at multiple levels – sometime within same institution – not always visible, even within the institution • series of snapshots planned over next 12 months h ttp :/ www.e du s e rv.o rg .u k/ un da tio n / l / fo s Oxford Brookes Business School sept 2007
  29. 29. Major findings • some SL activity at 43 institutions • 15 of those building an institutional presence • what are they doing? – small-scale activities… – hosting exhibitions of students’ work – researching possibilities – building tools Oxford Brookes Business School sept 2007
  30. 30. Eduserv-funded projects Oxford Brookes Business School sept 2007
  31. 31. Time • SL runs on US West Coast time (GMT-8) • many events tend to run on that basis • SL tends to be empty during our working day • actually, SL tends to look empty, full-stop! • in-world daylight hours run on 4 hour cycle Oxford Brookes Business School sept 2007
  32. 32. Gambling and porn • both used to exist… in abundance! • porn now banned • as with early Web, both areas quick to exploit the technology • indicative of flexibility? • causes problems because of load on ‘sims’ • not possible to choose who your neighbours are! Oxford Brookes Business School sept 2007
  33. 33. SL rules • code of conduct in public spaces – no griefing / hassling of other residents – no use of offensive language – no nudity – no public sex • no police as such • but breaches can be reported to Linden Lab • areas can be explicitly marked as ‘mature’ (or for gaming) Oxford Brookes Business School sept 2007
  34. 34. Politics • RL politics surface in SL every so often – anti-war, anti-NF, … • SL politics also feature – pricing, land policies, IPR, open sourcing of SL software Oxford Brookes Business School sept 2007
  35. 35. SL and learning • widespread interest in use of SL in education • explicitly encouraged by Linden Lab • not clear that people really know how to use SL yet • but some interesting examples of use • arts, social sciences, law, psychology, archaeology, languages, … Oxford Brookes Business School sept 2007
  36. 36. Teen Second Life • note that SL is segregated • Teen SL (14-18) and SL (18+) • no cross-over allowed except in limited cases (e.g. teachers) • well enforced • presumably to prevent threat of legal action in US Oxford Brookes Business School sept 2007
  37. 37. SL and research • even less clear what is possible here • but note that Nature Publishing have an island (‘Second Nature’) Oxford Brookes Business School sept 2007
  38. 38. SL in context • SL is one of many virtual worlds • there.com, World of Warcraft, Entropia Universe, Active Worlds, Croquet, Metaverse, … • not clear that SL is the answer • SL client now released as open source • clear demand for server to made OSS also • some commitment to this by LL (partly because people are reverse-engineering the server anyway) Oxford Brookes Business School sept 2007
  39. 39. Finding out more • SLED list – run by Linden Lab, US-centric but is the main forum for learning-related SL issues • secondlife@jiscmasil.ac.uk (UK list) • in-world UK Educators group (open and free to join) • UK Second Life Educators Facebook group • pointers to other resources on the Linden Lab Second Life Grid education page h ttp:/ s e c ondlife g rid.ne t/ / prog ra ms / duc a tion e Oxford Brookes Business School sept 2007
  40. 40. Conclusions…  too much hype • • no clear best-practice (or even much  practice) around e-learning  high technical requirements • ? impact of voice not clear • • but… useful experimental environment  • building and scripting environment very  powerful • seems likely that 3-D virtual worlds of  some kind will be part of the future Oxford Brookes Business School sept 2007
  41. 41. Conclusions… • sustainability, ownership and privacy  issues around use of and reliance on US- based commercial-run, externally hosted service • unclear what student perceptions and ? attitudes are • ? but generally accepted that SLandais likely is minority sport at the moment to remain so • SL appears to be most suitable for active, ? constructive learning styles Oxford Brookes Business School sept 2007

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