I have been experimenting with building in Second Life! Just a tiny little bit! Nothing ambitious! I am slightly embarrassed about my modest attempts when I know so many fabulous builders. On the other hand there are others who think that it will take years to master so they avoid it altogether. That is, some people think you need to know about programming and ‘whatnot’ to build, or you must be a bit clever with computers and technology generally. Well, its easier than you think! Another thought is to beware ‘experts’, those who mystify what they do to make it seem more difficult!
I will be teaching a class introducing people to Second Life in September and this has motivated me to start building classroom spaces. At first I wistfully wished to be very stylish, and monochromatically beautiful, along the lines of Alpha Auer’s Syncretia Sim. But the truth is I can’t pull off such sophistication in Second life or Real Life (sigh…) I quickly gave up such notions in favor of creating a friendly virtual place for my students.
Well (small fanfare of plastic toy trumpets) I created some simple chairs for one small meeting space. (I plan to build a number of meeting places on the island.) My thought, as I built these chairs, was to opt for the ‘Not Possible in Real Life’ approach. Why put legs on my chairs? I could not think of a good reason (and legs would spoil the line) which means that I now have floating chairs. I added cushions (for comfort) and for the practical reason that the seat must be rotated every which way, to achieve the right seating position for my ‘sit script’. (It is much easier to spin a cushion than a chair!)
This dabble at very modest building was intriguing as it had me wondering about the social presence of virtual furniture. Just think how a spiky chair would look compared to one with a cushion. The effect would be different, a distraction. No spiky chairs then! The social presence of furniture is intriguing, it got me thinking how there are layers to the social presence of virtual environments. Second Life bloggers (including myself) have spent endless hours attempting to comprehend the social presence of our own avatars (virtual navel gazing?). Taking a look at the effect of virtual environments, and what goes into creating their atmosphere, is like peeling away another layer of the social presence ‘onion’.
For some reason, I found that it helped me to wear a Star Trek uniform, and take advice from a little alien called ‘Greypet’ as I twirled hollowed-out prims. Maybe it’s time for more virtual navel gazing? No time just now. I have more building to do! I am quite proud of my Second Life Landmarks gallery with pictures hanging on walls of water, maybe I will blog about that sometime? Though it sounds more exciting than it is, but you have to start somewhere after all… eh, Greypet?
‘Greypet’ created by Flea Bussy at Grendel’s Children.
Flower baskets created by Honour and available at Aintree Common.