Second Life was the Brainchild of Phillip Rosedale aka Phillip Linden.
Ever since he was a child he envisioned massive multiplayer worlds that were run on multiple different servers.
Second Life at the start was a simple shooter game, where players ran around with grenades and guns shooting at the world and others, here in this early footage you can see it. Interestingly the foot sound has remained the same.
Wasn’t long before the focus was changed from creating a fps to a virtual user generated world, and in 2002 the first public beta started in October, the first of 16 zones was called “Da Boom” and is still very much a place today.
As the population grew, they added a currency to the game to allow users to sell their ingame created content.
First trailer for the game
The game continued to be developed and advanced upon as time went on, eventually becoming what it is today.
But I think what is more interesting is the concepts that Second Life imagines, and even with its aging engine somewhat clunky systems it is something truly special.
It allows users to live their own “Second Life” within the virtual world on land purchased from Linden labs and filled with User created content.
People can be whatever they want within the world, from regular blokes to dragons. With enough time, effort and skill the options are nearly endless.
Objects are created via “Prims” simple polygonal objects that can be shaped, moved and combined to create whatever the user wants, as time went on “Meshs” were added. Allowing users to import models from outside the platform.
But without textures they are just intersecting blocks and flat patterned models. Textures are easily uploaded and applied, then can be tested and uploaded when the user is ready with right now a 10l charge, not much but a good way I guess to prevent people griefing
The “Game” concepts that second life introduces are also very interesting, allowing users complete and free control of a world to do whatever they want is something seldom seen with other platforms, even with other products that are close in terms of design like Minecraft, they cannot get close to the sheer creativity on display.
It makes me wonder what we will see in the future with this type of platform is, People have been saying VR since the start of advanced electronics and maybe it is. But with current tech I can’t really see it taking off to a high degree until its heavy and uncomfortable headsets issues is grasped.
Linden labs themselves are currently working and testing on a VR platform called Sansar, following the same type of thing as second life, allowing users to create and interact with the world with true freedoms.
What I have to hope is that it’s not just a VR only thing though, having a brand-new engine to work with and the possibilities that brings to advance the platform is a great idea, and just tying it to big bulky headsets is a mistake.
VR is very expensive, requires powerful computers and to be constantly tethered to a single location.
Maybe in 10 years? Assuming the platform really takes off and doesn’t just remain a niche product.
And to tick some boxes.
- Who it is developed by
- What functionality it providesSecond life provides a space for people to create their own content and live out a “second life” in effect its a extremely complex chat room with deep scripting and building possibilities. in a chat room your just a name in a chat box, but in SL you are a person with a story, appearance and can create and exist in any word you wish.
It’s basically a role players dream.
- How well it runsIt runs okay, the base game runs fine but if theirs a lot going on with particles, scripts, lots of players and builds it can get laggy.
- How it is usedI’d just be repeating what i said in the Functionality tab, but in essence its somewhere for people to live a “Second Life” with all that concept entails, it’s a little rough in comparison to modern day “games” but yknow. it is 13 years old so it gets a pass on those grounds.
- How it compares to othersSecond Life, and its contemporary’s like Opensim [tbh i think of them all as the same thing. just different servers] don’t really have any direct competitors for multiplayer lead experiences that run on a PC, sure stuff like D&D can sort of hold a candle but that’s all writing and pen and paper.
- What your impressions of it areI think its pretty cool, I’ve been messing around with it for a while now and spending far too much money on linden [theirs so much cool stuff on the marketplace…i always get so obsessed with stuff like this that offers a strong customization option..]
I’m super interested to see how their next game ends up being.