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Friday, February 26, 2016


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pussycat catnap

Its not the graphics but ability to have community across any distance that makes SL more for some people than RL. If you examine MMO communities like World of Warcraft and so on you will probably find the same thing.

And if you examine people's Facebook activity you might find many that feel this way about their Facebook community and friends - even if they are willing to add and drop people faster than they would in RL.

I don't think VR will change anything - we already have what VR will give us in Facebook. SL is just that minus the forced 'outing' of your biology.

pussycat catnap

I probably should have added a paragraph or two more before posting:

SL's ability to not have your biology outed, the only thing Facebook lacks really, lets people who are disabled experience a community without being 'handled differently' - and sometimes the reverse where someone can adopt such. The ability to switch species, gender, apparent age, and so many other things lets people pick a self-image.

A VR that allows that, will be much akin to Second Life, one that doesn't will be akin to Facebook.

In that sense I think the depth of socialization you get will be set by how much you can define your self-image. It will be 'shallow, code-talked, yet sticky' like Facebook if you're forced to out yourself, and be deep yet easy to break off if you can define yourself.

When I say 'code-talked' I denote that many people have to self-censor on Facebook. Your boss, family, and more can all see every last thing you do or say there - so your opinions have to be even MORE guarded than in real-life where a miss-step is just a momentary socially awkward moment.

By contrast SL's allowance of anonymity lets people unleash their self-image. For some this means we see a very nasty, abusive, power hungry, and/or racist individual. For others we see friendly and community, or highly social - the most sociable exploring person I knew in SL was agoraphobic in RL and hadn't left her home in years. For many of us, such as myself - we can be a little more impulsive coupled with social awkwardness (I make a lot of 'gafs' and say things before I should quite often - where in RL my hesitancy can check some of this).

VR... will be defined not by the graphics - but by the rules it sets on community and anonymity.


Just some random thoughts this article opened up.
It is funny to see all the new hype about VR worlds and those creating them, as if this is all new, and they are pioneers of some new undiscovered land.
We who have spent the best part of 10 years and more in SL know exactly what it is like to live Virtually. But these new creators of VR worlds and experiences seem to be selectively blind to the one source of expert advice on Virtual life that could really be of some use them.
This is because SL has always been seen as the Cinderella of online games, even when she was for a brief moment the star of the Ball, all her ugly sisters were waiting desperately in the wings to shove her back into the kitchen and claim the VR Prince as their own.
I used to spend almost all my days in SL, only venturing out for a few minutes each day for food, and stopping for an hour or so to sleep when I absolutely could no longer see the screen through tired eyes. I knew at this time that I had transferred my emotional and intellectual existence to the virtual, and the real had become just a shell of necessities. This may sound like fantasy, but it really was this way for a long time, I can sense many SL long time users nodding in recognition. I cannot imagine for myself how more immersive graphics, or the wearing of a headset for hours on end, is going to make a whole lot of difference to that experience, apart from making my eyes bleed and plead to see the light of day.
To disappear down the rabbit hole of virtual life you need a new mindset not a new headset. Many people every day still sign up for SL but stay only a day or so or a week maybe.
I knew the day I started that I had found my home for the next few years at least, I had found a world of minds just waiting to be explored and no social or physical barriers. This is how it will be for the new set of virtual explorers, if they stick around it won't be because of the graphics or the experience of “really being there”, it will be because they are just that kind of person.
To most people it will still be just another game machine to waste a life on. Or even if it is used for work, it will just be a way to make money.
Maybe the fact it becomes mainstream will catch many more of those pre destined to find their true home. But it will essentially be like drugs, those who become addicts were always going to do so due to social and mental factors.
In the end it will be the same people who immersed themselves in SL that will take over this next phase, that is if the creators are brave enough, as was LL, to give them free reign to their creativity in whatever form that may take. I doubt this will happen. Even LL, now it has cut its ties to bad old SL, will not want to once again be singled out for ridicule amongst the AAA companies. As bad as the wild west of SL could be, it was at least free, Mainstream VR will never be that, and the champion of freedom just wants to be like everyone else.
You have to essentially dislike real life before you need worry about VR taking over your real world, or have some real world problem that stops you living fully there. When your real world is broken VR can be the door out.

Adeon Writer

My opinion: It won't. I don't believe LL has any intention to continue to persue VR in SL. I believe they've deemed the general framerate too low for a satisfactory experience, and have instead focused all VR work on Sansar.

If they haven't done this, they should have.

But I believe they have.


Adult content with be a cash-king in VR. Game companies will avoid that by focusing on more immersive ways to shoot things and make heads explode.

Sansar will, like SL, seem bizarre to many hard-core gamers, even if it looks better and has a much higher frame-rate.

So Linden Lab will face the same naughty but profitable choice about adult-rated content that it did for SL: let it into Sansar and get SL's reputation again, or do not let it in and watch Sansar flop.

Clara Seller

Pussycat is right in stressing the importance of community in SL and Facebook. I think part of this need for a "community" could be fine tuned as a need for an "audience" to accept their idealized self image.

Sansar hasn't given much indication of who "me" is yet and what possibilities we have for making that "me" someone we want to spend time with and money on.

I can relate so well to JonC's story. I had that long period of immersion and the thing that threw me out of it was heartbreak. RL became my escape from virtual pain. Now it's my love affair with myself that keeps me tied to SL.

If there's any kind of conclusion to my disjointed thoughts, it's that I just don't see much appeal to a world where artificial "experiences" just happen to a faceless us. We want a world with costumes, cameras, and clapping so we can experience all of our show.


Most likely we will all begin to lead double lives, as do so many SL users. VR will provide us with what we cannot have in RL. I have yet to see a real virtual world that is not a game though, a consistent parallel reality where you go to live another life. For me SL never really did that, because mostly the people there were not living alternate lives but just using it as a 3d chat room for experimenting with new relationships.
The closest to Virtual worlds were some of the role play sims. Some of the RP sims we created seemed close to that concept at times, and it was something really special to witness real people invested great amounts of real time into another kind of existence, It truly became more than a game for some few people. If VR can provide alternate realities that are not games, and not just virtual chat rooms with dressing up dolls, then maybe we should start to get worried.


The "study" cited probably included mostly Americans who, by and large, are a fairly miserable lot who no doubt prefer fantasy over reality.

But try and include people who enjoy the outdoors, are not generally fearful and have a respect for community and the study results would be different.

Yeah, a computer generated, corporate-run VR experience would be pleasing to those whose RLs are simply miserable

nuff said.

Wagner James Au

It was co-authored by a Berlin academic and seems to have focused on German Second Life users:


We find that people have higher life satisfaction in Second Life than in real life. That's not such a big deal by itself, but the effect size is large and leads to some startling comparisons. Such as: For an unemployed person, the happiness boost for going to Second Life is bigger than that for getting a job. An East German gets more of a life satisfaction increase by being in Second Life than by moving to West Germany.


Like I said, VR, at least in it's early incarnations, will not change what people are like at their core.
Why would a survey about virtual reality include people who are totally happy with real life and spend all their time engaged in outdoor activities with their families etc, etc. Would be like doing a survey on "Does owning a Gun make you fell safer" and including people who don't own guns. There were always loads of regular users of SL who would shout loud in their RL profiles, conspicuously so, about how extremely happy they were in RL. What SL and VR has offered me is an opportunity to mental/emotionally explore subjects and situations that in RL would be far to life changing, and possibly dangerous, to be explored in reality. Far to many people are stuck to their RL personas and when they enter a Virtual world they take them with them, so they experience nothing of note and leave. In VR you reap what you sow. Take for instance one of SL's biggest and longest running communities and money spinners, The Gorean (Although LL have always been in a kind if silent denial of it's existence). How many thousands of straight up "normal" happily married housewives have spent their days in SL, after their husband has left for work, as a totally submissive slave, kneeling at the feet of some, Straight up "normal" happily married bank Manager, who has SL running beneath his spread sheets, as he plays the part of Tharg of Zenthorian, Slave trader. We will never know, because both most likely have "Happily Married" write loud in their RL Profiles, and they are still happily married and never likely to be otherwise. Hopefully VR will one day be a bit like Total Recall, a place where you can go to experience a life that a busy RL will never afford you the time too have. Try spending some time as the opposite sex in SL or in a submissive relationship if you dominate your partner, these can be extremely eye opening and fruitful experiences and show you parts of yourself you didn't know existed. VR is for radical exploration of the unknown, not a continuation of the familiar.


I have never received more pleasure in SL over real experiences. NEVER. And if there are people out there who say they do, then the problems are about them personally not shared by the majority of VR fans.


I HAVE received, now and again, at least as much pleasure in SL as I have in "Real" life. NOW AND AGAIN. And if there are people out there who have not, then the problem, IMHO, is more to do with their ability to let go of their beliefs in what constitutes a true feeling experience, as opposed to worrying that this "letting go" and experiencing of the unfamiliar, might constitute a betrayal of their real life.
And this opinion may or may not be shared by other SL users, who I would hesitate to call VR fans.



It is a cartoon world. You are not making any kind of journey to another destination. You are not sharing breathing space with other people. Is it nice, is it strange plus a mixture of old/new? Yes. But it is in no way better than living a life. I'm sorry it isn't.

And we are pack animals (habits over layed onto our species development thanks to dogs) who NEED to be with other people. We don't need to be talking to them per se but we do need to share space with people in the flesh. It is necessary to our psychological health and development.


"Without going out of doors one may know the whole world; without looking out of the window, one may see the Way of Heaven. The further one travels, the less one may know. Thus it is that without moving you shall know; without looking you shall see; without doing you shall achieve" Lao-Tzu's theory of the benefits of Virtual living. Or what in ancient times amounted to what is now called Meditation.
The whole point about the currant conversation about the impact of VR, is about how we will change because of it's widespread use. People always tend to talk as if human beings are to be forever exactly the same creature, with exactly the same hard wired nature. If anything sticks around long enough in human development it gets integrated into our reality.
And you are overlooking the the development of artificial sensory input. If VR is big, then Sensory input will be next, so the mind is totally happy to believe that it is experiencing full reality.
When you dream at night you not keep thinking " oh this is not real" You fully believe and live in the experience until you wake.
The Human animal is at the very beginning of it's development, if it does not wipe itself out, it will most likely develop as some kind of mind in a biological machine, which has far more chance of survival than the squishy water bags we slosh around in at present. In such a scenario, the emotional life of the beings will be far more important than the physical. VR is our first baby steps towards this new existence. You are missing the big picture completely if you dismiss VR as a cartoon or Game world.


"...so the mind is totally happy to believe that it is experiencing full reality."

BEEEEP WRONG. The brain already looks at current VR tech as reality. It even considers TV and Film Reality. What full immersive VR will do is cause Psychosis because at that point, people will be unable to create a very needful drawing line between being a full person to loved ones and the rest of society vs. a make believe psychotic fantasy.

"You are missing the big picture completely if you dismiss VR as a cartoon or Game world."

No, you are.


No, you are.
I'm sorry, is this the 5 minute argument or the full half hour?

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