Saturday, December 31, 2005

a site with a word game


free now - but will cost money in the future

a word game - combo of scrabble and boggle - fun - but hard to play only because i couldn't figure out where to stand so the letters were clear and that weird name above my head didn't cover the letters up

(notice - if you have second life loaded, you can put a link on a wepage to a site in second life)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


We study games in class - second life is a virtual world which i'm goiign to call a game until we have the big class discussion on what is a game.

Anyway - we need some games to play.

I think we will play hide and go seek. And tag. Maybe in the sandbox - then there's be other people who might play with us and things to hide behind. And as my studnets got more confident - they could quickly build something to hide behind

There is supposedly a game-within-the-game called DarkLife. It's a MMORP. that could be interesting

A class we can attend

Bob Bunderland (SL name) has a weekday class for SL newcomers. It is very cool. It's a question and answer session. Bob has a shoutcast server so he streams his audio of the course. the students type in questions and comments and he gives answers, suggestions, tips. He walked us thru creating a default avatar and then gave us some costumes so we could play with them without losing whatever we were wearing originally. I learned that one avatar can give another avatra something by dragging it onto them. That will come in handy in class. And you can ecome someone's friend (makes IM easier) by right clicking on tehir avatar and doing the make friend option. I have to figure out the whole notecard/greeting thing. I got some good newbie tutorials too.

This is a picture of the class - they have a great amphitheatre for their class. And it is available for anyone to use. We could have a speaker there - and put it on the event calendar for SL to attract other people.

And then - there are signs to click that teleport you to a pool area and in the evenings (aboout 8 our time) they ahve a pool party with a dance machine and piped in music and free swim suits. and free beer too - but not during class time.

Turns out there are classes on building too and animation. That would be good for students after class activities are over if they want to stay in the world. Those classes would also be a good way to meet people who are after a different experience in the world - and would give my students a chance to see more of the SL culture.

A cool thing I found

There are some museums in SecondLife - here's one under construction about space exploration. Could be pretty cool.

It would be fun to help develop the content - write info cards for exhibits, program some music for background while exploring. that kind of stuff.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Some More Ideas for Class

I think we'll start by making our avatars look as much like our real world selves as possible - we might as well look familiar while everything else is new.

We have to go thru all the steps in the orientation island because ya earn Linden bucks - but only the first time you go thru

We have to go to some events - there's one that happens pretty frequently for new residents - that should be cool. I found some spaces where hopefully we can have a class meeting online - there's one in the building for hte educators in SL group. ANd one cool one that of course I forgot to bookmark. So guess I"ll have to go find it again The spaces have seating predefined -very cool. Otherwise we will have to just stand around.

We have to have a class in the sandbox - build stuff, play with textures, talk with people, check out the avatars
Same with the welcome center - lots of people just hang there talking

Then - we have to experience SL as something other than ourselves - if i can figure out how to save the first look. I would like to see people become the opposite gender - but becoming an animal might be interesting too.

Then we have to take a "grand tour" - here are some places to visit mentioned in the second life forums - places with things to explore, potential for in world games and role playing, interesting scenery, interesting malls, etc. - maybe we each take a place and write a travel brochure style description on the blog as a way to help others see what the world is about/what's possible. Or we each look at 3 or 4 places and try to come up with some commonalities and description of what SL really is/SL culture - here's the list of places so far:
Nexus Prime - like the world in Stephenson's Snow Crash - very modern and cyber-techy
Devils Moon - another cyber-techy city
Midnight City - a big city themed area - like NYC
Akasha Village - underground area to explore, a cemetary
Amsterdam - like the real city
Vail Art Museum - an art museum - this could be neat - I'd like to see a video wall with videos from park students - imagine iCTV promos running
Island of Dragon moon - has dragons!!! and a cave with cave paintings and lots of places to explore
Anango Island - supposed to be danger
Isle of Bliss
Disco Inferno - 70s themed disco
Nerd Emporium - low prim furniture
skydiving in Abbotts
Rizal - has Linden made games including laser tag
Parrot Islan - has jetskis
Big Easy
Blarney Stone
The Forest of Kahruvel (space ball)
Mars Japanese Gardens
Clementina Park
The Scurvy Pier
Pop's Roadhouse
Megabux Games Rides Fun (182,37,123)
Lost Gardens of Slosser
Telador Island - a recreation of hte land from the game Myst
Eldamar - an elven island
Lauk's Nest - has ruins of a Mayan temple to explore
Miyajima - a japanese themed sim
Taco - cartoony colors
Castle at Verloren
transylvania nation/vampire empire - vampire land
ALchera Winter Wonderland - has ice skating
Silver Island has a race track for cars called hte Silver City Motorsports COmplex
Tompson - quiet, place to sit and think
Portage - ditto - just pretty scenery - quiet
Chaos - has underground tunnels - lots of streat noise

and since we're media people - we need to seqarch out the media in the world - the infohubs, movie screens, radio, there's supposedly a newspaper (maybe is sort of that newspaper)- i wonder if this is something we could get involved in - making media available to places to improve dwell - we get artieK to DJ, how about some instructional podcasts, interviews with residents, machinima travelogues (i like that idea).

so how do these things fit in with qualitative research - part of that research is understanding culture - and part is understanding the different between observation and participant observation, part is interacting with people for interviews and such - and one of hte things I want peole to learn/get better at is writing in lots of different styles - for academic journal articles, for newspaper stories and for online venues - - so i think these things still fit - - and if one of our goals is to figure out what is or isn't a game - then playing more indepth in SL might help us make that definition

Friday, December 16, 2005

Some photos

Interesting - SL has daytime and night time. I wonder if there are different things going on in the dark as opposed to in the light. Now - get your minds out of the gutter. I'm not talking about that kind of stuff. I'm thinking about things like dinner and walks on the beach in the moonlight, and dress up dances.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Winter/Holiday Themed scenes

I saw a post on another blog about all the themed areas dressed up for christmas/the holidays. So i checked them out tonight. There are some incredibly talented people in SL. Makes me want to start learning how to build and animate. That's one of hte things I want to do over winter break from school.

old and new (for now) me

This is some ghoulish makeup and skin time - yuck!


Ok - I'm cruising around, looking at SL christmas decorations (pics in future post)

and then i decide to look at popular places - went to IceDragon's Playpen

they have these dance pads - they animate your character for ya and you dance, and dance, and dance

and get paid - $3L per 10 minutes.

I can't figure out what the deal is - it's not like a party, people aren't talking.

Then i remembered sites with big "dwell" get money - so they have these dance pads to help you earn a little and they earn more

Odd - there's a character there dancing who's been there more than an hour dancing - he's made about $20L. I'm going to dance my 10 minutes to get $3L just to see what it's like

You can go off and leave your character tho and they keep dancing so you can multitask

They also have music - streaming music with a DJ - can't tell if it's recorded or live. Bu it's definitely not my kind of music.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

some ideas for class

I saw a presentation by a male student who's been palying in SL as a female and thought - hmm -0 i wonder why he thought of doing that? And then at an online conference about edcuational gaming, someone mentioned doing this gender switching too.

People always say - on the net you can be anybody. But can you really - or can you just be a stereotype of people - how you think they act/think instead of being in their skin. that's not very clear. I think guys can act like how they think girls act - but they can't act like a girl.

However, what was interesting was that people reacted to the girl avatar like it was really a girl. Going by appearance alone, or maybe the stereotypical actions and speech are all we look for online?

I think we will play with this in class - gender issues are interesting and I think it would give us some different insights into the culture of online games.

Friday, December 02, 2005


I have to remember to point student to the SL forums. There is a lot of good discussion going on there. And tips on scripts and textures.


Ihave to admit - I like teleporting - it's like star trek. You get to a major place near where you want to go and you can check out cool stuff - fly toward the beacon which would be more fun if the land underneath you appeared more quickly. Maybe it's not the quickest method of getting places - but you see some territory, see some new stuff that might be fun.

I guess if you were going to an event and were running late, you might not want to have to fly or drive to the actual spot from the teleport hub.

Land developers have built up the land around the hubs and invested time/money. I wonder what will happen to them iif the hubs go away?

Why bring this up - there's some discussion about a proposal to do away with the hubs. Instead we'll go right to the place when we teleport. I guess that makes all parts accessible. Does it weaken neighborhoods tho?

Tied in with this discussion I read a chain of forum posts on privacy and how in SL there's no privacy. People can walk into your house without knocking. YOu can get doors that lock, doorbells. You can type "knock knock". But most people can walk right in. I wonder if people can teleport right into your house?


Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Lag and its effect on conversation

So I teleported to the junkyard (see previous post) planning to check out free stuff. when i tried to walk tho - it was like molasses. I couldn't walk or fly. Just slow motion flaying. Then all of a sudden - poof =- i was walking - actually I was falling because when the lag caught up with me, i was supposed to be in mid-air. Talk about a wicked first step.

I got tothe junkyard - talk about visual overload. I'll have osme pics tomorrow - no time to do photoshop right now to turn the bmp's to jpg's. There were a few people talking but they were all noticing hte lag too.

Here's the problem - you walk up to someone you don't know and say hi. Then you wait....and wait....and wait. You don't know if they're blowing you off because you're a newbie or what. I think in this case - they still hadn't seen the message I typed. THen I'd have to wait for them to think of something cool to say and type it and then for the lag to clear up enough to send me that message.

Not exactly conducive to the conversational give and take that I think people re looking for in the world.

So - what are the rules for polite conversation in such a situation? How long do ya wait before you wander off to talk with someone else?

Two sites to check out

a search engine that looks for locations in SecondLife - -

a junkyard - - leda (224,32) - you can teleport kind of close, then you have to fly, lots of stuff to look at, stuff to buy for a buck - textures, clothes, info

wouldn't it be cool to start something like this with student projects - share with others in the world, get feedback

Friday, November 18, 2005

might be interesting to look at

how close do people stand in second life when they're talking - might be hard to tell when people are actually talking to each other and when they happen to be standing next to each other but talking to others

could make a nice comparison exercise - do second life - do real life - talk about differences (more than just duh one's a game, ones real life) - gotte be better answer

Playing in the sandbox

I found a new sandbox area on the list of most popular places - at least it was tonight. Here are some pics I took.

In the sand box you can create stuff. So far I just know how to build shapes. I can color them and give them textures. I can twist them. Above is a pic of a big ball I created. The texture is a floor tile from the provided library. You can tell it to apply gravity laws - i discovered i can sort of push it. I can pick it up and drop it to watch it bounce which is pretty cool.

Here is a pic of two shapes I created propped up against each other. I was trying to drop the point of hte pyramid into the circle and stick them together but that didn't happen. I like the texture on the pyramid - it's part of a waterfall texture but i changed the color from blue to green.

Here's me trying to bounce the ball i built - i can lift it up but not very high. when it drops tho - it bounces into the earth which is weird but then it comes on top and you.

All I can make so far is shapes. But check out these people - they have programmed scripts tomake the cows dance. There's music playing - tonight it was that theme song from the Six Flags commercials with the dancing old guy. All the lights flash and change on the dance floor. There are sparkles int he sky. It's very chaotic and really has no purpose except to show off what the owner can do.

so I made a box. A big box. And covered it with repetitions of a photo they include in the package. I wanted to make something big - some people have built buildings in the sandbox; all i can figure is that the public

I discovered that several dance moves come in the standard moves inventory. i neeed to take a couple of hours and check those out. Here's a pic of me dancing, which is hard to show in a still photo, but I was having fun.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Here's my avatar - well at least the way it looked when i started playing yesterday. I figured out some of hte camera controls and got it zoomed in a bit. I used the snapshot feature in Second Life to take the pics. It makes .bmp files so i had to edit them in photoshop - made them smaller in size and saved them as gif files.

I played with my avatar again. Someone gave me some free clothes. I was playing around with them and really liked the black leather look. I think in another life I was a biker chick. So I guess my avatar is going to play out that fantasy.

Here's a different view - i found a cool chair that you could snuggle up into. And you can see my cool leather pants. I think the black really looks good with the blue and pink.

I started talking to people too. I saw a guy practicing some kind of "magic" - scripted actions - to balance a chair in the air. It was in the welcome center.

One thing I noticed as I was flying around - there are a lot of empty areas in the world. I wonder how many people actually log on each day. And where they all go. That's my job this weekend I guess - find the people. And those junkyards I read about.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Some tidbits i picked up online

There are junkyards in SecondLife where you can pick up cool stuff for a buck or two. Not sure how you find them though.

Another good place to pick up stuff is supposedly called "Yadni's Yard" which can be found by searching under the Places tab.

and we're supposed to check out the den of randomosity in the Baku region, coordinates 170 by 173

there's supposedly something called Learn Island - with educational stuff (I'm a prof ok - educational stuff is exciting)

but so are comics and here's a SL comic -

another blog named SLOG -
and another -

Playing with the look of my avatar

I decided to play dress up with my avatar - some ofhte blogs i've been reading talked about how hard it was tso make the avatar look like the user. I look at my face everyday inthe mirror - I don't want my avatar to look like me. I want to look completely different. Then i can act however I want.

Anyway, I finally took time to play around with the settiings for appearance. II gave myself blue skin, not tooo dark but not light pastel blue either. And white hair. It has some interesting colorful undertones. And its all long and wild - in my dreams my hair looks like that

Picking out clothes is tough - limited choices int he pants -tight or tighter Actually there were some good choices - long, not tooo tight, not too wrinkly. I made mine out of brown leather. And my shirt is out of something called pink toile - looks like sunset clouds to me. So I'm feeling stylish.

So I've learned to get around in second life by flying and teleporting. Got my avatar looking snazzy (ok -I'm old so snazzy is apropriate). Now I have to get out there and talk to people. I want to try out some of the games. I hear (well, read in a blog) that somewhere there is a DDR game.

Using the menus to create the new look was kind of clunky - lots of choices, but you have to wait for htem to load before you see them. You change one little thing and the menus all have to update to reflect it and you have to wait. It's not too bad a wait, but still when the caffeine kicks in, I'm impatient.

One thing you can do with the Linden bucks you earn is to buy outfits so i might do that in the next couple of weeks to try out new looks.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

SL Resources

you have to remember - i'm a prof - and specifically I'm a prof who teaches research methods. that means I like to read and poke around on the net for things related to topics in which I"m interested. Like SecondLife (and podcasting, and horror movies, and personal media, and video games - - but those are topics for other blogs)

Here are a couple of SL resources I found the other day.
- - a list of links about secondlife
- --- the Education Wiki at secondlife
- --- the blackLibrary on secondlife
- --- second life discussion forums

Plus check out the blogs by people who have second life accounts - some of the graphics are exquisite.

I really want to have the students in qualitative research methods next semester hang out in the game. It might be an interesting experience for them (and me)

Saturday, November 05, 2005


flying is cool - you watch the scenery sort of build up under you as you fly. there's the wind sound. you can rotate and hover.

But teleporting is cooler. I discovered some addresses in blog posts - for online class instructin stuff that I want to check out - and found the teleport function on the map. zoom - and away you go to the new location. It's disconcerting tho. You don't know how far you've traveled. You don't go right to the place you indicated - rather you go to the nearest teleport pad and you have to fly to your location, following the red beacon in the sky and hte red arrow.

Assorted stuff I noticed today:

1) All of a sudden, wherever I was (don't remember now unfortunately), the sun started to set. The sunset in the sky was really pretty. But then the world got dark and hard to see stuff. Signs glowed and were easier to find, but not so much fun flying around.
2) Where are the people? I can't figure out how to find people. I think it involves the map and scrolling. There's a popular indicator on the map and an event flag. SO I guess you ahve to be patient and just look around to find the typical hot spots.
3)Linden Labs has a plan for educators to use SL - for a semester you get a chunk of land big enough for events and for students to congregate. They hve alist of classes up too - quite a fwe about architecture which i thought were kind of neat. You can even buy your own island if you want to have private classes. I don't think I"m ready for that yet. But I am planning on putting 2nd Life into the curriculum for the spring semester. Be really good for when I'm at a conference or the weather is particularly crappy.

Friday, November 04, 2005


Ok - you can fly but sometime you have to land. I've just been clicking on the fly button and my poor avatar goes plummeting to the early. Crash. Like a trouper tho, she gets up, dusts herself off, and goes off in search of adventure.

So far - nobody has notice my graceless exits from the sky. Fortunately

One of hte problems with playing on the Mac is that we don't have all the keys on our mice that the game expects. We have to do unspecified key comboes - today i discovered that you push the fn key and the up or down arrow to fly/stop flying. Very graceful take offs and landings. Unless you happen to be under a ledge. Ouch. Made my real world head hurt just to think of how hard i smashed the head of little avatar.

so flying good, crashing bad.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

What's It All About Alfie?

(don't know who alfie is, but it was a movie and song - so - there ya go?

For a class I teach students get to choose to make a blog, a webpage, or create an identity in a game like or

I know how to blog (duh) and how to make webpages. So I'm going to be playing in second life along with the students.

My character is called Kim Gretzky. I'll be posting about my experiences in the game, putting up some screen shots as I develop my character, and describing things I think are cool.

You can now make basic accounts in both Second Life and There for free. Seems like they're trying to attract new players - a try the basic level of services, get hooked, and hopefully you'll want more and be willing to pay for it. so far - I'm not willing.

I really like that you can build stuff in SecondLife. I found a sand box area near the welcome center where you can create temporary items. I don't own any land yet, so temporary creation is all i can do right now. I like to build big geometric shapes and then twist them. there are a lot of textures you can apply too - i like the tile patterns right now. But there's also dirt and water and twirly colors.

You can fly in second life. I like that a lot. It even makes a whooshing noise as ya fly. Cheesy realism. One of my students found a money tree while he was flying around. He also found a Batmobile - and he took it. I wonder if there is grand theft auto in the virtual world?

The next post - should have some screen shots. that should motivate me to "dress up" my avatar. I found a frog prince costume. That should be interesting