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Thursday, February 18, 2021

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Pulsar

Eventually Linden Lab also jeopardized the "Sims/Minecraft-type sandbox construction game" part. It used to be fun to build your own home inworld, wall by wall. Nowadays, instead, you usually purchase an already made one and the furniture, and you place them around. Imagine if to play The Sims or Minecraft you had to learn to use a professional 3D modeling software, otherwise you couldn't create anything nice enough.
SL has become so unfriendly to inworld construction and creativity, that many merchants don't bother to mention the mod permissions in their vendors anymore, as typically they aren't modifiable, and usually for no rational reason.
In your 2010 article you wrote: "in the next couple years, what really matters is making Second Life fun". Instead of making SL funnier, Linden Lab may have made it looking it prettier, but they raised the bar so much, that they made that kind of fun accessible to only an handful of people. And even for those, the construction "fun" happens in Blender or Maya, not in SL.

Pulsar

Dwight Schrute's attitude to Second Life may have fueled extra drama too, as some people took SL as real life a bit too seriously (especially outside the education niche, but educational games do exist anyway). Instead "SL is for fun" is probably one of the most sane approaches to the virtual world.
It's pretty likely that SL would have had a larger and more positive user-base by now, if it were more focused on fun and it encouraged a more relaxed attitude.
Also anime and furries, that are generally ok in SL, are frowned upon by some people, even outside roleplay places that require special settings, although they are around SL since the early days, and they aren't necessarily meant to be adult content (on the contrary, I know some woman that uses those avatars to be annoyed less by creepy guys who take SL as a real life dating website).

And if you look at VRChat and Neos growth vs Sansar flop, it looks like the history has repeated itself again.

Wagner James Au

It's really wild, I don't quite understand the resistance to calling Second Life a game, even among the few people who use it for other reasons. Especially educators! Minecraft has always described itself as a game, and yet the education edition used to teach programming etc. to kids has been downloaded 50 million times.

Pulsar

Good point about Minecraft Education Edition! And learning through play / gaming is quite a thing.
In this magazine published by UNESCO
https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000372386/PDF/265758mul.pdf.multi.nameddest=372386
they quote the game designer Chris Crawford:
«Games are the most ancient and time-honored vehicle for education. They are the original educational technology, the natural one, having received the seal of approval of natural selection. The question: Can games have educational value? is absurd. Game-playing is a vital educational function for any creature capable of learning.»

Games like Minecraft, Roblox and Kerbal Space programs are mentioned:
«One of the advantages of digital project-based learning is that it is much easier to set up multidisciplinary projects than in real life. Kerbal Space Program is a good example. It is a space simulation in which the player impersonates the director of a space programme operated by small humanoid aliens, the Kerbals. He/She has to build rockets, rovers and all sorts of vehicles to explore the solar system. The game gives him/her missions such as escaping the atmosphere, reaching a stable orbit, landing on an asteroid, creating space stations, etc. While the simulation of reality is not perfect, the developers have paid special attention to reproduce the actual laws of physics as accurately as possible (as accurately as playable, in fact). While playing the game, the player will learn, literally, rocket science.»

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Wagner James Au
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