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Friday, April 06, 2012


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shockwave yareach

When totally fed up with life, I sit in my VR hammock and watch the crabs roam on my beach with some ambient music in the parcel. Amazing how relaxing that is.


Thanks for mentioning this study, Hamlet.

You said: "My sense is that 3D experiences help relieve stress because they're not happening on the web, which people associate with their everyday life and all the day-to-day frustrations and obligations that occur there, but instead, are distinct and immersive and (usually) take up your entire screen."

I respectfully disagree. Many different things cause stress. But studies have shown that a *primary* cause of stress is frustration over one's inability to successfully accomplish a desired task. (This is one reason why games like Farmville and their ilk are so popular. Lots and lots of easily accomplished tasks that require basically no skill whatsoever. But I digress...)

Most people are familiar with using a web browser. They think of it as a window to *everything* they do on the computer. Tell them to use SL, and they are faced with the challenge of learning how to install and configure a completely new program while also giving them the challenge of an overly complex UI that cannot be tailored to their specific needs. All this adds barriers to their ability to successfully use the virtual world. And therein lies a primary cause of stress.

By using a virtual world based on something like ReactionGrid's Jibe platform, one can completely customize the UI to make it as simple as possible. Plus it all runs within a web page, so it is embedded in familiariity.

And if you want fullscreen, you can do that too (example: http://jibemicro.reactiongrid.com/pathfinderlester/getready.html)


Mind you, I still think platforms like SL are cool and have a lot of value. And in particular, I believe Opensim has a great deal of potential.

But if we're talking about "what platform is best for the most stress-free use by complete newbies?" well...that's a horse of a different color.

Ann Otoole InSL

This is why I searched and searched and searched and finally found a sunrise facing waterfront parcel on mainland in the middle of nowhere where nobody ever goes.

Komuso Tokugawa

"My sense is that 3D experiences help relieve stress because they're not happening on the web, which people associate with their everyday life and all the day-to-day frustrations and obligations that occur there, but instead, are distinct and immersive and (usually) take up your entire screen."

I'd have to agree with Hamlet on this one, though it's more important the UI be minimal in addition to full screen to better enable immersion.

A good recent example would be "Dear Esther" (superb graphics in addition to superb music/audioFX), but I have some other examples stored away.

Pussycat Catnap

I have my doubts about this whole barrier to entry from learning the interface thing.

Unless you're part of the Baby Boomer generation, you likely grew up around video games. Barring people from background like my own that were too poor growing up to participate in much of the world around them, and people from the third world who are now online... virtual worlds and digital interfaces have been a human norm since the beginning of the 1980s.

SLs interface is pretty simple. Its real barrier is that its very different from any popular MMO.

But it only takes a few minutes to show someone something like 'use arrow keys to walk, hit enter to talk.'

All of the building and sandbox stuff people get distracted with and confuse new folks over - that can come later.

Today's user wants to play the game first. They'll rebuild it later.

The most complicated thing is teaching them to wear an outfit - and again today's starter avatars are decent enough that you can skip this step for a few hours if you just get them to the chat with friends part first.

And then a few simple screenshots on a blog are your best bet for teaching them how to change outfits (that's the approach I used on my starting guide) - visual works.

As for SL relieving stress.

Sure, so does World of Warcraft or FarmVille. And SL is somewhere in the middle of those.

This is true of any online social video game.

Just avoid the 'my family is so tough and we're all kewl be-otches who will mess you up so bad' types... (read some profiles, they're out there and common enough) and your drama will be low and you'll find some good friends to chat about life with.

Eleri Ethaniel

I frequent a couple of regular meditation spaces- and it *is* relaxing, even if my RL space isn't. I think part of it is being there makes you take a moment to breathe and be mindful and quiet. Something that most of us really suck at doing :)

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