Thursday, August 25, 2005

Mulch Preaches About Second Life

When your First Life Sucks, Get a Second Life

I have alluded to Second Life in my profile, but my new friend Clyde posted some questions about it in a comments post. I answered it, but I figured I needed to touch base on it in my blog.

I don't want my blog to exclusively feature Second Life subject matter, as there are many who do this already (including my Girlfriend), and my First Life is the one I have issue with, but i will include a primer for those of you interested but not sold on the concept.

As a disclaimer, if you use my links to Second Life in this blog to sign up, I will get an in game bonus for introducing you and you will be logged in to my property when you first play. In return, I agree to help you get oriented, and give you a load a freebies and tips to help you out. Sound fair?

Most questions about the world of Second Life can be answered on the main site prior to signing up. But there are some questions I am sure you have, so I will answer Clyde's questions as I did where he asked them and if you have any further questions, you may use the comments field to ask. Any future discussion of Second Life in this blog will assume the reader has read this entry.

Clyde Asked:

OK, so boredom finally pushed me today to see what the big fuss was all about over this 'Second Life' cyberworld... The website makes it sound like a pretty interesting game with no limits (except financially). And for US$10 for a basic account, I was actually half considering signing up just for the sake of "checking it out". But then I saw the 'Live Video' feed. Just a fixed camera position next to a water fountain with some ppl chatting. You wanna enlighten me perhaps on what ELSE goes on in Second Life?

What scares me a little I guess is the fact that 'online' money can equal real-world money. Sounds pretty hardcore for an alternate-reality. Do you actually have a job in that game???

The excitement of the live feed is determined by where the camera is placed.

The real money connection is actually a positive. It ties into your question about jobs.

There are no jobs given to you to train experience points, like in other games or mmorpgs. You do not have levels or advance in levels. You cannot win this "game." You do get an in game stipend depending on your membership levels, but your creativity and marketing will be what makes you real world cash.

The developers do not consider it a game at all (although there are games within the game). Detractors call it a glorified chat room. It can be a strictly social experience if that is what you want.

you can be a consumer or producer. producing requires real world skills, such as building and 3d modeling (the tools are pretty easy to learn), scripting, animating, texturing, or other similar computer type fields. You an also invest in land (or currency) to sell, but you had better understand the market and be good at sales to do so. You can also create your own supply and demand if you want and are creative enough to do so. You can even trade on a virtual Stock Exchange, but remember, since the in world currency has real market value, you do all of the above at your own risk.

2 notable people in game have made a lot of real world money. From what I hear, the #1 land baroness is on track to make 6 figures USD this year. A game creator created a game within Second Life, and sold it to outside developers for a reported 5 figure price tag. It is called Tringo.

The reasons I play are as follow in no particular order

    1) 98% of the content is user created, so you have many different inspirations, not a tunnel vision company line. You can be a person, a dragon, an elf, a vampire, a bdsm master or slave, or a bunny rabbit. If its not there already, you can make it and sell it.
    2) Anything you create it in game, you own the rights to it worldwide. It is YOUR intellectual property, not the game developers.
    3) 18+ only, no bratty kids!
    4) Creative people bask in an interactive environment as this. I have put together a few places I love being at, and like minded people often end up there with me. I have even hired a resident I met for a real world project currently under development. His talent in game convinced me he could handle the job when elance and local contractors failed me.
    5) Huge proportion of women!
    6) You can create things in game that you cannot in real life because of constraints such as time, money, gravity etc.
    7) No censorship. There are very few rules, most deal with interfering with other peoples experience. Hate speech and copyright infringements is about where they draw the line.
    8) Employees can be found in game with the last name Linden. They can help you with in game problems, give you advice or point you in the right direction, or even give you collectible bears named after them. They don't hide behind a customer support ticket.


    1) It can be a money pit, but I own a lot of land and still spend less then 1 real life date per month on it. If you don't have skills or something to sell, you won't be able to buy the toys you want (unless you purchase currency).
    2) Buggy. It's a revolutionary concept in interactiveness started by the guy who created the Real Player technology (he left after 3 years as CEO of REAL to start SL). As such, it is a streaming dynamic game, not a static one. That can lead to problems from time to time that make it seem like a beta. That being said, it really is a small price to pay considering the outlet for pent up creativity.
    3) Non - Creative people tend to get frustrated and leave as they don't feel like contributors.
    4) Fairly steep learning curve. It can take awhile to acquaint yourself with all the options, possibilities, and tools. But the good news is most residents are very kind and friendly and helpful. I have met a few assholes, but the ratio is far lower than any other online game experience i ever had.
    5) You need a pretty good computer to truly enjoy this game. High end graphics and audio put this out of reach for many people with old computers or on board graphics cards. Some settings can be lowered to help, but that dilutes from the experience IMHO.
    6) You MUST have broadband, cable or DSL. Dial up will not work.

There is a free 7 day trial, so no risk (although they do require your credit card for age verification.) If you don't want to join cancel before the 7 days and you won't be charged a thing. But for $10 USD for life, it's not really a bad deal anyway you slice it, even if you are just a tourist there. I have 2 accounts I pay $10 a month for plus land use fees (I own a lot of land)

MY girlfriend and I own and run a Hippy Dance-hall, A Hippy Amusement Park with rides (the Acid Drop, the best roller coaster in Second Life), a drum circle, a cafe in "France" based on the cafe from Amelie, a mansion my darling decorated, and I am now working on a recreation of a 10 in 1 sideshow.

The demographics from what I understand are males 18-25 and females 35-45. Women love socializing and playing "Barbie," dressing themselves up and going out on the town. Guys love building, scripting, and yes, playing army man or space invader. I have a full arsenal of weapons and have a functioning Transformers Skywarp "costume." I keep things in perspective and only shoot people in fake worlds, unlike some people.

There is also a heavy element of sex in the game. There are PG and mature regions, so it won't be in your face if you don't like it. I could care less preferring the real thing, but I will admit to owning a few sexual gadgets because they are kinda fun, although hardly fulfilling. BDSMer's really have taken to this game. I don't understand it, but to each his own.

You can check out my girlfriends blog at for her perspective. She is a writer and teacher in real life, and is trying to use the game as a teaching tool.

Give it a shot and give me a holler, I have tons of freebies, help advice, and can show you around a bit.

And if someone helps you out (like me), rate them in return. It is polite and most will happily rate you back (like me).

My in world name is Mulch Ennui. Look me up and tell me if I influenced you to join. Also, please use my name and links to tell them I referred you because I will get an in game bonus. I would appreciate it =)


clyde said...

So roughly how much is one Linden dollar worth in real dollars? Are stuff pretty expensive to buy? If I were to join, I'd start off as a homeless drifter right? hehehe Yeah, what a better way to kick off cyberlife as a BUM.

It's a pretty weird albeit not new concept I think. It's a bit like the Matrix, except people are paying to get INTO the fake world. And before that there was Arnie's Total Recall. Oh well, more proof that when real life turns out to be shitty, there is always SL. Though it does become a bit worrying should you stop playing SL to find you have no more

Sansarya Caligari said...

Thanks for mentioning me hon :)
No thanks for the barbie comments :( Women also love to build/script/create in SL, we just wanna look good doing it!

If I were to describe Second Life, I'd say it's more like a chance to live life as you would live it if you didn't have real world challenges that you can't avoid (children/childlessness, poverty, loneliness, geographical isolation, shyness!, disabilities, inability to fly :), lack of tools or access to tools, etc.) There is stuff you can do in SL that can't be done anywhere else, never will be done anywhere else, so the only real test is the limits of your creativity and imagination.

What I like best in SL is the relationships I've made. I'm a social person in SL, unlike in RL, and I've made great friends, have a great (usually) boyfriend, and I can find people who are thoughtful, caring, compassionate, creative, non-judgemental, and fun. This is not true about where I live in RL, so SL provides that need/want for me, and I provide...whatever I provide to my friends in SL :)


Mulch said...

Clyde, the developers would like the Linden dollar to trade at about $4.00 USD to L$1,000. Right now it is trading much lower.

The higher the quality and more demand, the higher the prices. You can find a lot of not expensive stuff, so I wouldn't worry too much about that. And I never thought of starting SL as a "bum." I guess, in theory no home no job no money, yeah, that would technically be true, but seriously you don't feel like a bum. The Junkyard has many free or nearly free items to start you off so you have an inventory. I have pretty much everything free and am always willing to share. There are also "money trees" people put on their property that give cash to people younger then 30 days old, so there is cash for the taking. Much of what you get out of SL is based on what you focus on. If money is your main concern, you can find that. Same with socialization, combat, sex, or building. It is fairly easy to find like minded people in world.

As far as alternative reality, I live in a desert. This desert has many golf courses, imported palm trees (not indigenous), concrete and asphalt. Reality is subjective, and the "reality" that has been created here is hardly what was here before man's creativity developed it.

Furthermore, the mind reacts the same way to experiences whether experienced, remembered, or imagined. Therefore, you can submit that the reality outside your window is the only one, or you can explore alternative realities.

But you do have a point, too much SL and RL may disappear. But I am 30 Clyde, and honestly, most of your friends will disappear anyway when you get my age, or you will get sick of them (or vice versa). Moderation is key in everything i guess.

Sans, of course the Barbie/building/army men was a generalization. I know several female builders and scripters, and have met guys who do nothing but be pretty. It was you after all who gave me the Barbie analogy back in Superior, remember?

I guess it does sound sexist, but seriously that was not my goal. Was just generalizing on that, and I do believe you agree with that generalization based on many conversations we have had.

Sans also has a good point. There is a group of disabled people in SL who use SL to experience things they cannot in RL, like running, walking, flying. It illustrates the points about doing things you could not normally do in Real Life quite well I think.

clyde said...

Cool... thanks a bunch guys for the insight. It sounds like you got quite a "hippy" thing going on with your hippy dancehall and hippy amusement park. Do you by any chance have a "hippy circle" growing in SL? hehehe...kindsa reminds me of that SouthPark episode (I watch too much man) where Cartman goes on his conquest to rid all hippies from Southpark, pest exterminator

Anyway, should I decide to part with $10 and experience the 'Second Life'...Im afraid it won't be anytime soon. Im moving house over the weekend and I cant say for sure when I'll have internet there. But I'll definitely hook up through your link. And when I do, how bout say you me go hit that 'PG Region' eh?? Down a couple o' pints on the way...hhaha just kiddin'.

Mulch said...

Well if you join you can make the giant drill to tunnel trough the hippies. i had a tree with a hug animation at one time, wanted a sample of Cartman saying "it's all a bunch of tree huggin hippy crap"

My dancehall has a bar, but it is mature area. Was going to put it in PG because land is cheaper in PG and I took a strong no sleaze/sex approach, but a Linden advised me that my Ganja plants and pro pot propoganda posters might offend some

mature isn't that bad, and the sex isn't just out in the open everywhere, but yeah, we'll have a drink.

i have about 30 freebie drinks you can have, but I had to pay for my pint of Guiness (as it comes with an animation fo a "manly dance," which just has me standing there drinking my pint while tapping my foot)

remember, after you get settled in your new place, it is free for 6 days, 23 hours, and 59 minutes, so you can find out for yourself if you like it free. I just added to my list of weaknesses, but you MUST have broadband. there is no other alternative.

Good luck in your new pad, will miss your blog entries, and lay off the southpark, it will make a BEEFCAKE out of you!

clyde said...

Ahhhh...f*ck it. I think I'll sign up now. I only have less than 2 days before I leave. And should really be packing stuff up. But it's a friday night.. I guess if i like it, it wont really make much difference since it's a one time fee. But if I get too engrossed in this that I'm not ready to move out by Monday, I blame YOU! Come on guys, it's time to hit the redlight district.

Mulch said...

Be Careful, this is a terrific time waster. what is your in game name? You can send me an instant message in world even if I am offline, then you won't be bothered by the Mulch haters by posting it here. I'll log on in a few. I don't know if you noticed, but have been adding some bells and whistles to the old (new) blog


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