Keeping Up with the Lindens
Morbus eventually convinced me to get a secondlife.com account, and as far as these things go it's pretty good. The frame rate is somewhat slow for me, and the input lagged, but there are some nice folk playing, and as an artistic vision it's fun to see what people have been working on.
In fact, the folk are almost too friendly. It's like how the world would be if it were run by Ned Flanders—if Ned Flanders were into butterfly wings, that is. It's also fun to see people changing their clothes with such rapidity. If the world were a really safe place and we could change our clothes instantly, I suppose that this is what it'd be like. On the other hand I have the suspicion that beyond creating stuff and talking to people there isn't really much you can do there, so if you're not good at design and you can't find anyone to talk to, it's a bit of a bust.
Morbus's avatar (or "av" to the residents of the game) has, for some reason, a giant cat on its head. I really must ask him about that. Mine wears clothes that were entirely donated, including some natty jeans and bikers gloves. Strangely, the combination works, but don't ask me how.
I still think that MMORPGs have a long way to go, but they're starting to show signs of real promise. The graphics aren't yet photorealistic, and the physics engine on this game at least is still not as good as, say, Exile, so there's definitely room from improvement there. But it has the potential to be a step up from IRC, much in the same way as collaborative editing programs are, once processing speeds are fast enough to make photorealistic graphics as fast as line-mode text programs are now.
I was wondering about the role of "Up" in the title of this entry, and decided that as part of a phrasal verb it should be capitalised. I really do prefer Every Word Capitalised, but that's style for you.
Cite: Palmer, S.B. (2005). "Keeping Up with the Lindens", in: What Planet is This?
Archival URI: http://inamidst.com/notes/lindens