has your use of VWs shifted?


Botgirl Questi (a long time idol of mine for many reasons) wrote a thought provoking post: Indifference and Disillusionment: Has Second Life Changed or Have I?

Botgirl started inSL back in january of 2008 and was deeply involved in many aspects of Second Life. her post talks about the changes inSL from her perspective as well as her own personal changes as far as interests go

things change and people change so seeing a shift in what you are interested in is a part of everyday real life

it would be a boring world (and life) if we could never change. that said, it can be a wonderful life if you learn what it is you love to do and stick with it

i think of people like Kate Booth and her incredible use of OpenSim for her students. i don’t think it’s that she loves OpenSim, in and of itself, i think she loves what she can do with it – as an educational tool. OpenSim for Kate is like graph paper – it is really good for specific uses and does activate different learning pathways

you know my story – started inSL in 2006 and wanted to be a junior Anshe and had as many as 19 sims. having those meant being very social and i loved that during that time. then the service changed and what used to be fun became toil for me. breaking even took over a year of 20 to 40+ hours a week but it was personally rewarding. but once the openspace thing was announced, i lost many of my 101 tenants and simply didn’t have the ener-gy to rebuild it (or the ability to go into the red again)

the service changed and i did too

today, my use of OpenSim is almost purely utilitarian (95%). it’s like Blender 3D – a tool to create 3D assets that can be used in other ways (ie, science field trips). i also love the creative outlet and that’s why i built the freebie store and Hax Nuit (i consider those to be 3D doodles that went on to be completed and shared)

i’m currently looking at using OpenSim to create the cover art for subQuark’s childrens’ books. covers are expensive – $200 to over $1000 each depending on the illustrator – and maybe i can create something inanimate that will work (a farm in this case because neither one of us can draw a chicken or goat to save our souls!)

i had looked for a pose-able OpenSim chicken and goat but no luck. we have since found an illustrator but i’m still thinking OpenSim could work . . .

anyway . . . my shift over the last 7 years has been to OpenSim as a tool

if you have shifted your use – what has been the shift and why?

btw, Botgirl starts her post off with a quote from Alice and the Queen of Hearts and my fave quote is from the Red Queen (chess) to Alice in Through the Looking Glass:

Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!

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written by Ener Hax

November 7th, 2013 at 9:06 am

12 comments to 'has your use of VWs shifted?'

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  1. OpenSim is fun and creative exercise, but it started as work.

    I started out very serious, seeing potential use for Second Life in Higher Education, and then getting started with OpenSim. Because there was not much content (legally) available, I reluctantly sidetracked into learning to build with it. I also did a Learning Technology module on a masters programe, wrote my 5,000 word essay on “Health Professions and Virtul Worlds”, and went quite deep into problem based learning. Then I was contemplating how to proceed with possibly a small department funded innovation project, or another masters module with a pedagogic research project. But the credit crunch and funding changes in HE intervened, and I took a voluntary redundancy. Really a choice of take the money and run, or stay and work ’til you drop. Those of us who felt we could afford to get out, did.

    So OpenSim is, for the time being at least, a second childhood come early. Last winter I built aeroplanes. This winter I’m writing the programs to run them. And the flight instrumentation. You know, a good education is never really wasted. (emoticon for big smile)

    My interest still veers toward education, but I don’t know if I’ll get into it seriously again.
    At the moment it’s more likely I’ll be prepping for Kitely Market.
    Though I did do one of the MOSES role play sessions.

    Any how, the fat lady hasn’t sung yet. This is still a technology evolving who knows where.

    Keith Selmes

    7 Nov 13 at 2:08 pm

  2. “OpenSim as a tool”

    It very much is. I tend to think the arguments over SL v OS, usage numbers, region counts etc. are missing a big point. OpenSim is a software tool like many others, it doesn’t have to be mainstream or famous, if people in specialist activities are finding their own uses for it, then it’s fully justified. And it can be a low cost flexible solution for quite a range of uses, from primary educstion, through machinima production, emergency service training, therapy, and no doubt many others. It can also be a social networking system, but it’s perfectly valid as a tool without that.

    Keith Selmes

    7 Nov 13 at 2:16 pm

  3. “a second childhood come early” bravo Keith! that is how i feel when i do my 3D doodling! i get so lost in it and smile like crazy!

    a tool indeed! and as such it has more flexibility than SL and does not need to win any popularity contests!

    i do like comparing OpenSim to SL and that’s probably because i started inSL and was so deeply involved with it

    Ener Hax

    8 Nov 13 at 11:41 am

  4. Second Life has evolved. It’s bigger, better, more realistic, beautifullerer, technologically advanced, got worse TOS, worse management … but no, it didn’t change or shift its basic style or personality. Not at all.

    Have the residents shifted their use or interests? Of course, some or many have. Like you for example. But the major population of SL, new and old alike, are basically the same silly toons they have always been. They represent a fair average part of the RL world’s population.

    Have my interests shifted in nearly 7 years on SL? Not really, no. After the usual n00bie orientation phase (sex, sex, sex, party, party, party, more sex). I found out my old RL hobby of sailing was possible in SL, so I went away from the useless sexparty crowd and became a sailracer, a race director, a yacht club commodore and stuck to that path ever since. Only made a little excursion when I dabbled with my own OrCafĂ© and art gallery for a while but gave up on that. Like 2 years ago I started my own boring blogthingy about sailing ‘n shit and it’s always the same as well. I know I’m kinda boring :/

    Orca Flotta

    9 Nov 13 at 5:23 am

  5. 2013 has made me bitter, particularly about opensim.

    Until this year, I had a “we’re in this together” attitude where I tried to find ways to support the community in what small ways I’m able to (giving tech support and encouragement, mostly), and I had a sense of expanding possibilities.

    Despite the participation of Intel and IBM, I’ve come to view opensim as being very rinky-dink and amateur-hour, filled with adolescent IRC cliques, hucksters, hustling rubes and people living in ivory towers or otherwise out of touch.

    I also over-extended myself a fair amount, one of the personal lessons I’ve had to learn (and am still struggling with) is that just because I can see how something could be done, doesn’t mean that I am necessarily the person to do it –and it’s perfectly OK to let projects go un-done if I don’t have the cash, time or energy that those projects require in order to be done properly.

    I still help where I can, but I’ve pulled back a pretty fair stretch (there’s no place like!) and I no longer feel as though there’s a cohesive community that I’m a part of (and I wonder if there ever really was).

    So, far that reason, my use of opensim has changed from being an expression of open-source idealism, where I’m social, out-going and trying to network across multiple grids to now where I am introverted and I mostly just work alone on my standalone, tinkering out of boredom because of a lack of more fulfilling alternatives…

    Han Held

    9 Nov 13 at 12:25 pm

  6. […] Has your use of VWs shifted? […]

  7. hi Han Held – don’t be too hard on yourself – i think i know how you are feeling. i have pulled back a ton in the last year and certainly over the last two years

    Enclave Harbour was hot and heavy for a bit but has really slowed down. i think there are several factors

    1) i’m burned out and real life is also taking some energy
    2) subQuark is burned out of doing the Enclave Harbour workbook because of uncertainty on how to offer security to little kids using Enclave Harbour
    3) a seemingly “easier” project of subQuark’s children’s books (not OpenSim related) has becoem the focus for both of us

    so Han Held, you are not alone. last year i had done some freebie stuff for the Kitely store and then Hax Nuit was kind of my last “big” push. i had hoped people would use Hax Nuit much more than they have, so that didn’t fuel my enthusiasm like i had hoped

    one thing that i can tell for sure about you Han Held is that you are a passionate person ready to share with others =)

    but . . . it’s a two way street and you have to get a little bit back – i totally understand that! =)

    Ener Hax

    15 Nov 13 at 10:26 am

  8. I like both vworlds and machinima so that why I went to sl in 2007. but I expected the client and the server to be open source by 2008. the server of course never was. the opensimulator come out with very little content but you could use the free stuff on opensimulator. then LL decided not to let free stuff move outside of sl.

    I am not interested sex, shopping, or dancing. the meshes and pathfinding is incomplete. or I like the game engines better.

    there are good things with sl/opensimulator but I like to use blender for higher quality stuff too. so I am thinking about opensim+blender for machinima. I would rather be an executive producer of a studio where people can come to make virtual movies.

    so I do nothing on sl but I have a little plot left where I pay too much money every month.


    15 Nov 13 at 4:24 pm

  9. Hey Ener! Well, I definitely don’t use VWs as much as I used to, but I’m a lot more busy these days. As I’m self-employed that’s a good thing :D I do still like to tinker and I’m always interested in the latest uses and advances with VWs, and I get inworld as often as I can.

    You might want to suggest to SubQ that if he is concerned with security, he should consider HIPAA standards. While he’s not concerned with complying with the law, it’s a good way to measure his security. There’s a pretty good explanation of the standards at


    15 Nov 13 at 9:34 pm

  10. My use of virtual worlds has certainly changed. Part of the reason is that I’ve become far more adept at creating my own things; making me rely so much less on others for content as simple as different eye textures, to as complex as a complete Rube Goldberg machine (a fun project I did on SL grid!)

    SOAS has helped immensely! While I still enjoy creating on some of the commercial grids, SOAS allows me to “go big”. On most commercial grids, there’s simply no way I’d afford to create region size builds, or even multi-region size builds. SOAS allows me to do so.

    I’m still running version 0.7.4 of course. (lol) I’ve been building my four region SOAS grid for over a year now, and I couldn’t be happier with it. I could never have gained so much experience with entire region creations in any other way.

    My only bother at the moment is trying to understand how I can set up more than one grid on my hard drive. I tried copying the entire SOAS 0.7.4 folder to another location, but it refuses to launch from there. I’m currently doing OAR backups of everything, but I don’t really want to delete the existing regions and grid, as I plan to continue my work on them. I just want to have a second, completely different grid on the same hard drive. I have other projects I’d like to work on, but I think 4 regions is about the most my computer wants me to run at once, especially since I’m not running them as a mega region.

    (If anyone can help explain how to do this… you’d have my gratitude! :p lol)

    Anyway; I feel that my use of virtual worlds has matured thanks to there being more options such as other grids and especially SOAS. I feel like I accomplish more now, and also like I enjoy my time on each grid more, even if I spend less time in total. (This also makes me feel less “guilty” about spending time just bumming around on a grid instead of always working. :p lol)

    Kiko Kenichi

    17 Nov 13 at 3:00 am

  11. I’m based on Kitely and am actually more active than I expected to be this time last year. I’ve done a historical build (which Ener may remember visiting briefly!) and a Mars build thus far this year. It’s very difficult to predict how things will go from one year to the next but my next significant project might be to get students participating in a virtual bioeconomy. The aim is to get them looking at the practical and economic issues in using (virtual) microbes to generate food, pharmaceuticals, enzymes, plastics, energy etc from renewable feedstocks.

    Graham Mills

    17 Nov 13 at 12:45 pm

  12. I too am going through a major period of rethinking/refactoring my approach and utilization of the various technologies in my life – of which virtual worlds play a significant role. I’ve also found that my personal and professional lives have fused into a singular beast where the freedom and luxury of being a “hobbyist” is long gone, but so is the dead weight of institutional bureaucracy. It’s a strange place to be in, but it has definitely changed my motivation and appreciation for nearly every project I take on – for the better I’d have to say.

    As a disenfranchised SL olbie and expatriate, OpenSim has provided me with the perfect non-commercial project development platform for the last 5 years or so. It’s not the only VW in my bag of tricks, but it’s definitely the most accessible and versatile one, especially from an social and educational standpoint. Unfortunately, for me at least, it seems that the larger metaverse is now permanently afflicted with the very things I had fled SL for in the first place – mass consumerism and insect politics. Now, as a developer who has worked on many open source projects, I realize that at some point you may have to open the door to commercial interests in order generate a stronger user base and help support the “practical” end of the technology. That’s just how tech development works, everywhere all the time. However, I’m not here for the STUFF or the ‘-isms’, and there are other paths for me to take to my destination.

    So, I’m basically changing ‘what’ I do with VWs and with ‘whom’, but not ‘how’ or ‘why’. I’ve always been a proponent of decentralized distributable technology and OpenSim is no exception. I continue to promote and develop solutions that embrace self-hosted networked standalones and mini-grids, but I’m definitely not encouraged to return to any large grid (especially SL) until they all work out their respective ‘issues’ – social, political, economic, whatever – if they even can. It’s all mostly white noise and counterproductive – endless discussions and very little action. I do make a HUGE exception for one grid in particular: Metropolis. They represent, both in spirit and PRACTICE, the very nature of the metaverse I seek to preserve and promote. Go Metro \o/

    Anyway, I would LOVE to be part of a larger organization or initiative doing the teaching/visualization thing again – or maybe a community building project – and hopefully I will in the near future, but until then I’m returning to my rogue state and working with people even further outside the VW bubble who might have some fresh ideas about how this technology can be used in other meaningful ways or as an agent of change. It has great potential and is still, for the most part, an undiscovered country. There are still many non-traditional (non-SL) approaches to virtual worlds to be explored and several parallel technologies which would marry nicely with OpenSim, and hopefully will soon, as long as people stay curious and remain forward thinking.

    As always, I am inspired by you Ener and your activities in this platform as well as your motivations :) Sorry if I got a little soapboxy in my post…

    Chibo Ryder

    24 Nov 13 at 5:52 pm

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