• 08Oct

    I didn’t conciously realize this when I first started writing here, but my feature requests have a very specific agenda. To put it succinctly:

    I want Second Life to be more like a high-level 3D modelling application.

    My education is in 3D computer modelling and animation, and I have a good understanding of computer programming. Thus, my perspective on Second Life is from the angle of someone who uses high-level modelling and animating tools like Maya and Blender, and high-level programming languages like Ruby, Python, and LISP.

    The tools offered in Second Life are technically inferior to just about everything I have used, but it has the definite advantages of being collaborative, interactive, and visible.

    By collaborative, I mean that many people can use it and work on a single project at the same time, in the same working space. Rather than many people working separately on their individual parts, we can come together and build something together, watch each other build, and see how our work fits within the whole project.

    By interactive, I mean that there is a great degree of communication between the user and the tool, and between the user and other users. You can see the changes you are making as you make them. And not only can you see them, but your partners can see them. This makes Second Life an excellent platform, again, for collaborative work, but also for education and error correction: rather than a teacher seeing only the finished product of a student’s work, the teacher can see the student’s process and suggest improvements to it.

    By visible, I mean that the work exists in a “real” space where audiences can see it. Gallery spaces can be created and work arranged within that space for people to see. Multiple viewers can see it at once, discuss what they see and think about it, and interact with each other and with the artist. This has a definite advantage over a simple web page with several images ordered sequentially. It even has an advantage over a web forum where users can post work and comment on the work of others.

    To bring all these points together: the high level 3D modelling applications that I use are missing something which Second Life has; and Second Life is missing something that the modelling applications have.

    But there’s more to the story than just that.

    High-level 3D modelling applications have a lot of features which are not necessary or even useful in the context of Second Life, for reasons technical and otherwise. It is not my agenda to graft unneeded and pointless features onto Second Life. Doing so would waste resources which would be better used on more important things.

    Second Life is a lot more than a distributed 3D modelling platform. It has social, commercial, educational, and recreational value, all of which are undeniably important parts of what make Second Life what it is. It is not my agenda to reduce or remove any of these facets of Second Life. They are the reason and purpose for the 3D modelling aspect to exist; without them, Second Life would be pointless.

    And yet, just as tools without a purpose would be pointless, a purpose without the tools to fulfill it would be squanderage. The scenery of Second Life is a critical part of its social, commercial, education, and recreational value. It is toward the purpose of fulfilling the potential of Second Life that I propose features and changes. Every feature I suggest, I do so because the benefit towards fulfilling important values would be far greater than the cost of implementing the feature.

    I want Second Life to be more like a high-level 3D modelling application…

    …because that would facilitate the creation of new, interesting, beautiful, and useful things which would enrich Second Life.

    Posted by Jacek Antonelli @ 6:46 pm

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