Tuesday, November 22, 2011

status report

Well, two blog entries in nearly six months.  How productive is that?  I never promised you a rose garden...

Summer brought increased real life demands, culminating with Hurricane Irene's grand finale. Nevertheless,  I responded to SecondLife's siren call.  I've always loved games, board games, card games, likewise computer games.   Adventure, Zork, Myst...where I'd try to see how much of the environment I could interact with.  My absolute favorite was the original SimCity, where the simulation, the model, fascinated me, so much so that it was then, in the early 90s, that I decided that I was an addict and chose self-imposed abstinence as the wisest path.  I always wanted to experience SimCity from the viewpoint of a sim, to be "inside" the model.  So, although I came to SecondLife in January to attend Just Genealogy meetings, it's no surprise that I soon wandered off to explore the temptress-grid, to find out what was out there.  That exploration now dominates my time on SecondLife, so much so that it's significantly impacted real life.

Last May I found the Lucky Tribe, a wonderful group offering the kinds of activities I like--puzzles, many requiring teamwork.  My real life counterpart spent years creating team-building activities and group challenges for others.  What a gift to be able to experience the process as a participant!  to be "in the game".  More important are the tribers...so diverse, generous, funny, kind, each one unique...Lucky Tribe is family, an anchor where I know I'm always welcome, my idiosyncrasies accepted.  and they make me laugh, dance, and sing!

Many tribers create SecondLife content, many are "long-timers" too.  So although Lucky Tribe isn't explicitly about building per se, it's a stepping stone in my search for answers to "what's happening here in SecondLife, why, and how does it work?"  I decided that learning how to build would be a way to better understand "how does it work."  To learn by doing...and maybe, perhaps, eventually to give something back, to add value, if I'm lucky enough to progress that far.

July-ish I started taking building classes.  There are many places, groups, offering classes.  I've taken classes at NCI, Caledon Oxbridge University, Happy Hippo Building School, and my favorite, Builder's Brewery.  There are many self-paced tutorials available both in and outworld.  College of Scripting Music and Science, Ivory Tower Library of Primitives, videos on YouTube, in the Second Life wiki, to name a few.  I soon learned there are many skills and tools involved, both in and outworld.  Right now my major focus is on learning to script and to create with prims.  Animations emerged as another strong focus, but I'm at the very beginning phase there.  I've dabbled in in-world clothing design, but haven't done much.  Likewise, with applying textures.  There's a lot to learn here for the "how" and I consider myself just beginning and can absorb only so much at a time.  The past month or so, I've averaged 12 hours or so weekly in classes. some have homework, let alone practice time applying what I've learned.  so this is a major commitment.

One aspect of "what's happening here" surprised me.  It shouldn't have, if I had thought about it, but I hadn't and it did...surprise me and engage me.  There are so many people here...from all over the world, each with their own personalities, interests, quirks.  A kind of heaven for someone like my real life counterpart who likes people, likes learning about them, their hopes, their dreams, their "stories", what "makes them tick", and, if possible, wants to help them along their life's path.  My only excuse for not anticipating this dimension is that I came to SecondLife to attend specific meetings, went to explore the grid for the same reason I had explored earlier game environments, "to see what I could do".  I did not come to "meet and greet", something I now suspect is a primary reason for many.   The realization that behind each avatar is a real life person [duh] and that each one of us, living our SecondLife story, is contributing to a network of stories, interacting, interdependent...this was  a "wow" moment.  Just like real life...and so, so much better than the computer games I knew about.  So, this too, getting to know people, being open to experiencing them, this is a defining aspect of my time in SecondLife.  I spend a lot of time asking questions, listening, and talking in SecondLife...all through text, the written word.

I've taken a break since mid-August from genealogy meetings in SecondLife. At first for real life reasons, but since September for SecondLife ones.  Right now there's no time, although obviously I could make time, but I'm already feeling over-scheduled.  Think of how crazy that statement is!  There are only so many hours in the day... my real life-SecondLife balance is totally off.

that's where I am, right here, right now.

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