Saturday, November 8, 2008

Wyatt Tries Second Life

Ok, I've started a little essay in frustration. I clearly have no time for new projects or frivolity (what, Pan, frivolous? Never!), but I have just joined Second Life to figure what the buzz is about and compare the experience to my virtual life on As a writer I definitely prefer my familiar worlds of Pan Historia with its low tech forums, home pages, and instant messages where I create my visions and worlds with text and mainly static graphics. I feel in control of my universe and it's entirely crafted in a collaborative way by me and my co-writers.

Stumbling around Second Life as I am now as Itet Prax (they create all the last names for you apparently - or certainly at this stage of the game) it is a major learning curve just to walk around the rather crude 3D landscape. Of course people have added little bits of pointless bits and pieces to it, and it's only the introductory phase so I'm sure it gets way more fascinating, but right now I feel like I have been taken out of my wonderful fluidly working mind and body and dumped in a badly automated simulacrum. Give it time, Wyatt, give it time. It must be great because so many people love it. It's just the writer in me that's so frustrated with such a largely animated and game-like environment.

You know back when I was a spotty youth I played Dungeons & Dragons and then the Arduin Grimoire sort of underground version of the game with its greater complexity of imagined world, and I was really into it for a while, but only because I became a dungeon master right away and created my own worlds and scenarios. I vaguely remember it was subtitled the Gate World because you could teleport from different worlds at various focus points and it had space ships and dragons as well as insectoid warriors. I spent far more time writing the scenarios, drawing the maps, creating characters, and then writing the histories of the various countries as well as creating grimoires and other artifacts than I ever did actually playing the game. In my early thirties, my history of D&D far behind me, I got sucked into playing Vampire, the Masquerade with some very Goth but cool college kids who forgave me my age because of my obvious geekdom. I was very excited by this new gaming because it involved far less game and far more making shit up, and naturally as soon as I learned the rules I ran a campaign because I just had to make up a story and start running with it.

At Pan Historia I have done away with the game element all together and I just imagine my stories and worlds with my friends. And that is of course the difference between writing a novel by myself and writing stories at Pan. It's the wonderful social aspect and the way stories can move in very unexpected creative ways because lots of different creative minds are working together. When it meshes it's great fun and quite addictive.

Ok, so what the hell was I on about? Oh yes, I'm trying to figure out the appeal of Second Life over a writing site like Pan

Oh wait this is kind of cute. I'm having a chat with some stranger called Scarletta. She's got a magenta dress on and is sitting in one of their little fabricated environments. When I type my avatar types… ditto hers. Ok now we're all wandering around like we were abducted by aliens and dropped on an alien world without good motor control and bizarre rules of physics (like we can fly and walk through supposedly solid objects). It's getting all too tiring and arbitrary for me. I need to get away and get back to my nice warm comforting words.

Holy shit… I picked what I thought was the logout command and went bald.

1 comment:

Viridian Green said...

You got a lot farther with Second Life than I did. I joined and downloaded all the gubbins, then discovered I'd need a new graphics card if I wanted to... er... interface. I suspect I would only have got motion sickness from lurching around out of control of my virtual body and losing much more than my hair though.