Posted on May 7th, 2010 at 9:18 AM by Wan
Listen with webreader

What does it take to have a second chance in improving our lives?  In today’s real world, there might be some limitations to explore oneself’s identity; but not if you have used Second Life (SL). It is a virtual world developed by Philip Linden who formed Linden Lab in 2003.  Here, users are called Residents where they could interact with each other through avatars. Residents can explore, meet other residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, create and trade virtual property and services with one another or travel throughout the world.  There is also another version called Teen Second Life, which is specifically more used for teenagers.

There is no charge to create a SL for any period of time.  It has an internal currency, the Linden dollar (L$) which can be purchased using US dollars and other currencies on the Lindex exchange.  Users can earn large amounts of money from using it, which is later used to pay their subscription and tier fees.  Its revenue model is based on premium services where members are required to pay US$9.95 per month or US$72 per year.  This will provide access to an increased level of technical support.

The idea of today’s web services became more like a fashion trend that creates a highly reliable programming environments like Second Life. This is made possible by using Linden Scripting Language that is similar to C programming.  It combines with XML-RPC and HTTP requests for adding functionality to objects and textures for clothing.  Animations and gestures can be created using external software.  It uses a 3D modeling tool based around simple geometric shapes that allows a resident to build virtual objects.  Its RSS feed is running on a text board within their section of Second Nature Island as part of their continuing work to investigate real time or near real time.

SL has several competitors including Entropia Universe, OpenSim, IMVU, Active Worlds and Kaneva. Each has its pros and cons depending on how users adapt its scalability, simplicity and accessibility.  Nevertheless, SL is still significantly popular for being multi-purpose cultural mediums.  For accessibility, SL can now be used by visually impaired users by using force feedback , Text SL and Screen Reader on their avatar.  The biggest barriers for them are its apparent lack of meta data such as names and descriptions for virtual world objects.

In 2007, Linden Lab announced a ban on in-world gambling, in fear that new regulations on Internet gambling.  Consequently, there were in-world protests especially from virtual banks like Ginko Financial; whom later went bankrupt.  They also ban Woodbury University, a California educational institution for not conforming to their Terms of Service requirements.  Users who use a CopyBot or similar client will also be banned.  The SL Terms of Service ensure that users retain copyright for any content they create, and the server and client provide simple digital rights management functions.

In January 2010, 18 million accounts were registered in SL; thus they do not have enough manpower to handle all their customers.  Hence, it suffered from system instability, increased system latency and intermittent client crashes causing inventory loss belongs to their customers.  Furthermore, they were challenged by an open source community.  Consequently, Linden Lab is open sourcing the Second Life server code, dramatically altering the company’s business model.

The future looks bright for SL as to how they control the wisdom of crowd by providing inline help, FAQs for zero training and an ongoing valuable service.  It supports many different written languages and character sets, thus the residents are able to chat in their native language.  It also harnesses network effects as more users using it.



A Second Life Photo Gallery (Require Flash)



Second Life from BKM Texas on Vimeo.

REFERENCES:

37 Signals. (2006). Getting Real: the Smarter, Faster, Easier Way to Build a Successful Web Application.

Gardiner B. (2007). Bank Failure in Second Life Leads to Calls for Regulation. Retrieved May 7, 2010.

IBM. (2008). As the (virtual) world turns. Retrieved May 7, 2010.

Linden Lab Inc. (n.d). Virtual Worlds, Avatars, free 3D chat, online meetings – Second Life Official Site.Retrieved May 6, 2010.

Mistral P. (2007). Woodbury University Island Destroyed. Retrieved May 7, 2010.

Reuters. (2007). Rival grids threaten Linden’s monopoly on SL technology. Retrieved May 7, 2010.

Smithee. (2007). RSS in Second Life. Retrieved May 6, 2010.

Wikipedia. (n.d). Second Life. Retrieved May 6, 2010.

12 Responses to “ HAVING A LIGHTWEIGHT SCALABILITY MODEL IN SECOND LIFE ”

  • Kelly says:

    Hi Wan,

    Interesting post topic and great example of web 2.0 applicaiton – Second Life which is a vitual community. It is good to know what make second life so popular and How it use its virtual money (service/product) – Linden dollar – to trade with auctual money – US dollar. Second Life has incorporate the DIY culture into its game environment. This will help more and more customers want to be part of community, because they are their own freedom to do whatever like they to do such as create their own avators and buy more fashion status using Linden dollars. Again nice post, Wan

  • Nick says:

    Thats an interesting revenue model that has good merit. If users like using their service they will probably pay a couple of dollars for an upgrade. This works well in the “gaming” industry. Although second life is not really a game, is it? more like augmented reality, right? Nevertheless, im sure to some it is very additive, and addition plus a passive revenue model, plus the network effect, equals profits.

    Nice review.

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    • Wan says:

      Thanks Nick. You are right, it can be quite addictive when you play a 3D modelling character. Before we tend to use chat for social networking where i used to be addicted in using them til late night when i was teenager. But now with this new cool tool, what else you could ask for more?

  • Hi Wan..
    I am one of your main audience man ..
    Every week you introduce us with new web 2.0 technology ..
    I have read your topic , it is really intersted ..
    I like that there is no charge to create a Second Life account or for making use of the world for any period of time. So you can earn money with loosing nothing. That is a great evidence that web 2.0 you can have a lightweight scalability with effictive cost

    Kind regards

    Hashem

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    • Wan says:

      Thanks Hashem for being my fan’s blog. I’ve noticed you always commenting on my weekly patterns of web 2.0. Second Life has many benefits towards the social communities. I also noticed Griffith University in Brisbane and National University of Singapore is also one of their loyal customers. I wonder if Queensland University Technology would have the chance of having the same? This is a good opportunity to explore.

  • HAO LONG says:

    Hey Wan,
    This is good blog and good work!
    “The idea of today’s web services became more like a fashion trend that creates a highly reliable programming environments like Second Life.”
    i must to say this is the real one. and in the future i can be support our life and website and web2.0 applications will provide our new left.

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    • Wan says:

      Yes Hao Long, it would be more interesting to embed with a Virtual Reality devices to experience more realism in life.

  • Hey Wan, I’m just responding to your question on my blog about the popularity of selling a product like clothings and foods over the web. For me personally, I wouldn’t buy clothes or food over the web. As you said, these are items that are tangible and best to look at properly before purchasing. However that being said, in my opinion the web is perfect for buying digital items like music and games but not household necessities.

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    • Wan says:

      You are absolutely right about that. It’s a physiological effect that tend us to purchase more easily for untangible products such as music and games. But like tangible products, i found it is quite hard to purchase it without me knowing the details. Just today, i was about to try shopping online at coles store website. Pursuing this further makes me feel uneasy without knowing the ingredients for i really need to know what ingredients i am taking inside my body.

  • Hey Wan,

    Nice post! I’ve actually heard of Second Life. They’ve been around for awhile now, as you said since 2003. I like the images you have posted up as well like the Photo Gallery.

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    • Wan says:

      Thanks Brett. It is interesting to see and know how Second Life could be embedded into the real world. Imagine us without needing to be shy asking questions and giving comments to the tutor, lecturer or even among ourselves. Best of all, you could use those cool avatars like a wolverine X-Men kind of thingy and help the communities where ever and whenever being needed.

  • Hey Wan,

    Nice post! I’ve actually heard of Second Life. They’ve been around for awhile now, as you said since 2003. I like the images you have posted up as well like the Photo Gallery.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ’0 which is not a hashcash value.

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