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For those of you keeping score, and track references to SL: I was just sitting here reading my textbook on mass communication, and in the video game chapter, Second Life is referenced.

 

Intro to Mass Communications 6E

Stanley J. Baran

 

Ch9 Video Games

pg 250

 

"Home computer users, able to interact with other gamers for decades via MUDs, have flocked to massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMO) such as Ultima Online, World of Warcraft, EverQuest, and Second Life."

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Well, technically, SL is an MMO (massively multiplayer online) environment :) An MMO is not the same as an MMOG or MMORPG, although many people falsely use these abbreviations synonymously. Everquest is an MMORPG, FarmVille would be an MMOG, and SL is an MMO platform. The textbook still got it wrong though, since they abbreviated "massively multiplayer online role-playing game" as MMO.

Strictly speaking, SL also qualifies as a role play environment. The term "game" is debatable, but we all engage in role play by playing dress-up with a virtual 3D doll and pretending to chat and dance at clubs or shop at malls that don't really exist. We can call it a role play simulation rather than a game, but it is undeniably a role play experience. If you hold a cursor key down and think "I'm walking" or "I'm flying", you're role playing.

ETA: This is exactly why SL will never be anywhere near as popular as 2D social networking sites like Facebook or Google+. Most adults have no interest in RP environments that require them to steer a virtual alter ego through a simulated 3D world. Only very playful individuals who are young at heart and mind and lack a rigid self image can possibly enjoy such a place. I am one of those I guess, but even I couldn't imagine a serious business meeting in a 3D fantasy world.

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Charolotte Caxton wrote:

No. If I am being myself in a virtual environment using a virtual representation of myself that in and of itself does not necessarily constitute roleplay.

But you are not in this virtual environment :) That is not yourself on the screen. It doesn't make much of a difference if you look at your avatar and think "hey, that's me, I can fly and teleport", or if you look at the jolly image of a portly Italian-American plumber called Mario and think "woah, I'm stomping on turtles". Neither of those pixelated characters is you, and by identifying with them, you are playing a role.

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Cool find!  That's cool! 

I got SL into a google search quite by accident.  It was the thread about The History of Screaming in Music, and in one my posts I mentioned that The Kinks were banned from America for a long time during the height of their touring years because they were thought to be communists.  (lol)  Anyhow, that was how the story was told to me, but actually The Kinks were banned from touring in America during the height of their populaity not for being thought to be communists but because a type of guard or police officer said that the English were/are no better than communists, and one band member of The Kinks punched the guy in the nose, and that is how The Kinks got banned from touring in America.  Anyhow, whoever looks up why The Kinks were banned in America and the communist myth, they may stumble upon my thread and find SL.  I thought that was kind of cool.  Come on down Kinks fans!

I think the future is going to be like SL.  Bill Gates needs to get with the times though so we can run these types of platforms.  Mr. Bill Gates, please get with the program!  I think a lot of communication platforms will be like SL say in about 20 years or so.  So much less violence, so much more fun, and Facebook and Twitter make me *yawn*.  I think Facebook is boring and platforms like SL will be what is happening in 20 or more years I believe.  The violent games will still be there, but they are not for me and not for a lot of people.  SL type platforms I believe will be the future, and on our wide screen televisions because it's great, non-violent, fun, awesome entertainment! 

I think what SL should be labeled is as "inter-active" entertainment.  It's like listening to your favorite Dj, only being there with him/her, IMing and talking about music or just how your/their day went.  It's an inter-active type of entertainment that for it's most part is not violent. 

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I have to expound on this. If SL was nothing but a communications platform with 3D avatars, I'd be inclined to agree with you. Bruce Sterling described something he called "video makeup" in his cyberpunk novels. Basically digital representations of  video chat participants, an optimized version of the real person. Some webcam software packages offer something like this and allow you to replace your own image with that of a puppy or a cartoon character that imitates your facial expressions. The 2D avatars in the Yahoo IM client also come to mind in this context, and of course forum avatars.

Second Life is different though. It has not just chat rooms but virtual locations such as shopping malls, dance clubs, and beaches, as well as all kinds of objects (vehicles, furniture etc). People let their virtual representations walk around, sit down on chairs, drive vehicles, and do all kinds of things that don't correspond to whatever they're doing in reality (which usually comes down to sitting in an office chair).

That is the role play component of SL. As long as you remain in one spot and talk to another person that really exists in RL, you may not be role playing. But as soon as you let your avatar interact with the countless nonexistent items and environments in this virtual world, you definitely are.

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I kind of agree that 3D business meeting will not replace real one-on-one meeting but those meetings could eventually be done via internet or TV.

I do, however, agree and expect that SL should run itself as a professional business and that land owners should stick to the basic standards of running a professional busines, i.e, no cuss words.  Don't just take for granted that because I am an adult that I want to be speaked to in unprofessional manner because I do not.  I expect good business ethics from SL, just like a real business.  No cuss words, the customer is always right... etc.  And hire help for newbies don't just expect them to know everything and be more explanatory in your group invites in the events section.  If you are running an event and u want only no prims and no scripts, let the people know before hand so they can shop and dress; don't tell them when the event is starting. 

Some people need to learn some basics of how to run a business and/or hire management.  It's a bad economy tho, yet still that is no excuse for cussing someone out, nor having that be exceptable as an appropriate business approach.   Scream in your pillow, don't scream at someone else.  Some things have a lot of scripts and that is not explained.  I recently just bought two new hairs thinking they were unscripted; but ended up being scripted. ...

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Quite an interesting read.

I think SL is like getting to be a part of the entertainment; thus interactive entertainment. 

I don't like 2D platforms as much as I like 3D platforms.  Facebook I find boring.  I didn't like My Space much either.  Also, email is boring.  I'd rather IM on SL and talk in group chat live and in the moment. 

3D is more difficult, and SL is pretty much community run, but still standard business practices should apply, and I think are doing fairly well.  Only one person cussed me out and that ended my relationship there as there was no reason for it.  And I only say fairly because I've talked to other people who had the same problem and that pretty much ended it for them; or in some cases they are used to it and cussing doesn't bother them.  However, I'm not.  I don't care for being treated that way especially since I hardly knew the person and/or there was no notecard (i.e., being told at the last minute!  All they had to do was say so in the events section.)

Better more cohesive business practices could help SL.  Also, SL is a capitalist "game" for many and has capitalistic aspects in it; also SL costs a lot more money than the average MMO. 

SL is a capitalistic, interactive MMO type of entertainment in a lot of ways. 

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roleplaying is assuming an identity that you are not, like a pirate from the 17th century or an alien from mars, there are people that their avatar is an addition of the proyection of their identity, keeping intact their personality.

roleplaying is not manipulating software, like moving a slide with an arrow on the screen, we are not doing it physically, but we are doing it virtually, the same as using an avatar to sit on a virtual chair.

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I'm going to agree with the two C's on this one... RP generally requires that you are representing someone besides you own self. and while I can see the conceptual point of taking virtual actions, if you consider it as above, it's an extension of action, rather than a mimicry of action.

there's also the difference of perspective to consider. To the user it may be one thing, but an observer it may be another. I tend to favor the users perspective, because they are the only ones who can reliably define their motivation and categorization, but the empiricist in me does note that this requires self reporting which may not be completely reliable.

 

back to the topic, it's interesting that SL made it into textbooks, it's kinda sad to note that it's still miscategorized in the limiting "game" category... unfortunately, being the rarity that it is, no one has come up with a name for the category that it fits. The closest I've come is to call it a "Virtual Environment" which allows it to encompass more elements, but the multiplayer in MMO would have to be recast as multiuser to truly give it the right overall sense.

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Quoting Ishy:  "I am one of those I guess, but even I couldn't imagine a serious business meeting in a 3D fantasy world."

 

I guess what I am trying to say Ishy and could have said it better by trying to point out that SL IS 3D business meetings because SL IS a commerce platform, and business owners should approach their conduct as such within the standards of RL commerce, AND take their approach to their business meetings seriously, especially how one treats their customers, and those business meetings are going on all day 24/7 on SL whether one believes it or not.  IM's and local chat should be approached with appropriate guidelines like RL businesses.  And on the other side of the coin, customers should work within guidelines of appropriate customer actions.  Because SL is a commerce community. 

As far as cost, SL is more expensive than other MMO's on average, and often times SL seems for the rich.  Yet, I know in this community, SL ranges from the ultra rich to the ultra poor who have an ability to play SL thru basic, but plus including every type of budget in between.   Basic is not fun for me.  I want to make my own avatar, but I hardly call  it inexpensive for a "game" nor does my rl bf.... he's like AHHH! SL costs to much in his opinion.   SL also has elements of the old Monopoly game in it as well.

I think SL could improve itself in a lot ways, so actually more inworld business meetings need to be held so as to avoid chaos when an event is starting.  One of those improvements has to come thru appropriate communication, however, as well as good advertisment because SL IS a commerce community.  This is a community yes, but it is a buying and selling community which also gives people a chance to learn about appropriate business conduct.  And if you want to learn about appropriate business conduct, than simply think RL and what should come first are your customers.   It's really that simple, conduct business like u would in RL and that needs good communication skills, advertising, and constructive ways to reduce the dreaded lag.  I also believe busisness owners should have the right to advertise their SL business any way they want, whether it be an internet ad, passing out flyers at rl events, etc....

In short, SL actually is business meetings all day becuz' these are businesses and this is real money. 

Not to mention that LL needs to advertise so that SL can run better; i.e., less lag, new servers, guidelines for appropriate creation in clothing and limits should be set for when a sim is full, but tell people before hand what is included in the event; don't just post this happening fill in the blank at 4pm SL time.  Because who wants to spend hard earned money on something that is just going to create a lag envirnment that the users cannot enjoy half the time.  Let alone the cost of the sims, I believe, is way too expensive.  If LL would advertise, I think we would all have a much improved SL with more space for the sims. 

Also, inworld advertisers/advertisements, such as Coca-Cola or whatever/whomever should be allowed to help people afford a sim.  Advertising IS how businesses are run in RL to add to a better overall experience in any entertainment, from sports to the kitchen sink, and SL definately needs more help on the advertisement scale of things to create a less laggy environment and that would thus give more sim space and financial support for the sim owners. 

 

 

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Mayalily wrote:

Quite an interesting read.

I think SL is like getting to be a part of the entertainment; thus interactive entertainment. 

I don't like 2D platforms as much as I like 3D platforms.  Facebook I find boring.  I didn't like My Space much either.  Also, email is boring.  I'd rather IM on SL and talk in group chat live and in the moment. 

 

I agree. I never had a MySpace page or Facebook account, and I never felt that I would be missing out on anything. I also prefer SL as a social networking platform. And as I said, I wouldn't describe the social interaction and communication aspect of SL as role play. But things like sitting in a deckchair on a virtual beach definitely cross over into RP territory.

 


...

Better more cohesive business practices could help SL.  Also, SL is a capitalist "game" for many and has capitalistic aspects in it; also SL costs a lot more money than the average MMO. 

SL is a capitalistic, interactive MMO type of entertainment in a lot of ways. 

The same could be said about many "free to play" type MMORPGs. Their business model is to offer the basic gameplay for free, but if you desire things like a mount or high end armor and weapons, you have to pull out your credit card. One can easily spend hundreds of dollars on those supposedly free games in a single month. And of course players are also running business in MMORPGs. Just think of organized gold farming in WoW.

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Of course I take my SL business seriously. But it is still quite hard to imagine an RL company hosting a business meeting in SL. It might go something like this:

Meeting Chairman: "If we are all here, let's get started. First of all, I'd like you to... Peterson, could you sit down please? Stop bumping into the table, it's really distracting. Just right-click your chair and select 'sit'. No, not the... great, now he's sitting in the ficus tree.
Ok people, stop laughing please. Let's try and be serious here. Peterson, stop hugging that plant! Climb down and come back to the table, will you? And by the way, where are your pants? My god, man... you've been grey before, but now you're half n... are you sure? I don't see any pants on you. Could you rebake please, before Ms. Patel sues us for sexual harrassment? Speaking of you, Ms. Patel, would you do me a favor and stop dancing? Thank you so much.
No, I don't know where the conference table has gone, somebody must have deleted it. Peterson, good lord, you're wearing a skirt now. You know what, just pick a random avatar from the library. Everyone, let's use this moment to calm down again and focus while we're waiting for Peterson to put on a... box bot? Really, Peterson? Nevermind, let's get started already. Simmons, why are you hovering? Would you please come down from the ceiling and... omg, would somebody please tell me where all these flying penises come from?!?"

I've been in a number of RL business meetings and I just can't see this work. SL works fine for geeks like me, but for a serious meeting with people who are not very computer-savvy and have never played an MMO, it is way too chaotic and distracting. Too playful, in other words.

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I've never been on Wow.  I have no desire for any kind of killing or warcraft or warfare, even if it's virtual.  So I know nothing of any games that have a war type advertisement.  One could spend hundreds of dollars in a month for WoW.  I never knew that. 

Email is needed if you have an online business.  And email seems necessary for SL merchants.  However, I was a merchant on eBay for awhile, and all I needed was their in-home IM system to talk to my customers back and forth.  We never even needed email on eBay anymore, except for confirmation of Paypal related things, etc. And I'm 100% on eBay since their grading system started.  I've maintained a 100% feedback rating on eBay for tons of years. 

2D communication is not only boring, but could become a passe way of communicating.

I like 3D internet environments for social internet entertainment, rl phone calls, and rl cards as my means of communication.  I hate email!  Facebook is extremely boring to me.  It's like I got all those photos, etc, in my email already.  So Facebook can be redundant and so can email.  Facebook is a different type of email to me because it's just 2D attachments and a profile basically.

I think some of these MMO's could be classified as trying to climb up the ladder of success games, but it still costs a lot of money to get up the ladder of success.  However, thanks to Marketplace and their free or 1L items, I've gotten a lot more success than I could afford without Marketplace.  The 0 to 10 linden items really do help a lot.  However, the expensive items are extremely tempting so I go cash only; no credit as my rl bf doesn't believe in credit; he believes cash only, so that is how I budget my SL.  I have expensive items too (some were crappy and didn't work), so the free or nearly free items balance a lot of things out with SL.  I have liked some of the free items more than some of the items I paid a lot for because the picture might look good as it's photoshopped but once on my avatar was a total dud or disappointment.  Marketplace is what keeps me coming back as it adds a great balance to the items that are duds or look bad compared to the actual photo shown.  So, at least with SL, we've got Marketplace!  I don't know if other MMO's offer such a place as Marketplace which has helped me greatly!  I'm always like bless u Marketplace people!  Thanks for that! 

 

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Void Singer wrote:

I'm going to agree with the two C's on this one... RP generally requires that you are representing someone besides you own self. and while I can see the conceptual point of taking virtual actions, if you consider it as above, it's an extension of action, rather than a mimicry of action.

Let's agree to disagree on this one :) The way I see it, even if your avatar represents your RL self and not a completely fictional character, it still interacts with a virtual fantasy environment. It's a "what would I do if I was on a tropical beach right now" RP situation.

But I also understand that for some residents, the virtual SL environment is just a colorful backdrop for very real social interaction and not a role play stage. I've seen people who never sit down, for example. They just stand in one spot and chat away. In that case, I'd agree that there is no RP involved.

 


back to the topic, it's interesting that SL made it into textbooks, it's kinda sad to note that it's still miscategorized in the limiting "game" category... unfortunately, being the rarity that it is, no one has come up with a name for the category that it fits. The closest I've come is to call it a "Virtual Environment" which allows it to encompass more elements, but the multi
player
in MMO would have to be recast as multi
user
to truly give it the right overall sense.

I agree. As far as I'm concerned, the second M can stand for multi-anything (there are 239,000 Google hits for "massively multi-user"). Some smartphone apps classify themselves as "massively multi-user augmented reality", which perfectly fits the augmentationalist approach to Second Life. For me, it's simply an MMO platform or a virtual world simulation.

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I just heard a talk (in SL) by one of the Mayo Clinic's people. They do in-world meetings and classes, and much more. IBM was holding meetings in-world, but I believe they went to a private grid. Any company that wants to hold serious meetings is likely to use a closed estate and RegAPI. That way their people register through the company and can be/are restricted to the company's estate. They'd be invisible to the rest of us.

I've been in meetings held via telephone conference call. I'd much rather meet in SL.

I don't classify my in-world activities as roleplay, but that's because we have different definitions of roleplay.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Wish I had run across this thread sooner.

I have to side with C & V on this.  Roleplaying to me means playing a role.  In SL, I usually play myself, perhaps an optimized, glamorized version of myself but myself non-the-less.  So even if I were to be on a beach in SL, swimming or laying out or whatever, that doesn't mean I'm trying to be anything other than myself while I do it.  To me it's more akin to playing with toys and pretending.  Just interacting with your environment isn't enough to constitute roleplaying.

That doesn't mean that I don't sometimes dress up as a demon or a xenomorph or Jesus or a sweet transvestite, but even in doing so, sometimes I actually play the role of one of these things and other times I'm just me dressed up as one of these things.

But the question remains, should SL be classified as a roleplaying game simply because you can roleplay when you're there?  I like Void's multiuser suggestion, it seems more inclusive to me.

...Dres

 

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