Second Life - First Look

I’ve finally given in and taken my first tentative steps into Second Life (it’s legit once it has an Economist article; or something…). My first impressions are so-so; it’s obvious that there’s a lot to explore and do that I’ve only just scratched the surface of (see Andy Piper’s blog for a lot more posts on Second Life; including how IBM are getting involved). But the system obviously needs some work - the client crashed twice within the space of two hours, once bringing down Windows. The movement is pretty jerky, despite turning the detail down to minimum, and the graphics flickery, almost unusably so. I’ve already been forced to upgrade the client once (~25MB download). It’s possible my T43 just isn’t up to the job (dodgy graphics drivers?), but I don’t have anything more powerful or different to try it on.

What I’m more interested in, though, is what’s available in this virtual world and how easy it is for me to create and trade. The Economist article above touches on some of the theoretical economic differences between Second Life and ‘First Life’, but it’s obviously going to have to grow a lot bigger before the implications become obvious. I’m still doubtful, particularly given the technical problems I’ve seen above, that this particular technology can cross the chasm, but it would become an interesting lab if I were proved wrong. I suspect there’s a future for something like Second Life, even if Second Life itself is not it.

I shall continue to explore.

Update 2006-10-15: Link to Andy’s blog fixed.


I'm quite new in second life and I was impressive when the first time I join it, but after this post maybe I'll come back in my firt life because SL is a lot time consuming, isn't ?
Yep, thanks for the tour, James. See the post linked above for my thoughts.
[...] James has just given me a brief tour of Second Life. Once again I had problems - cracking graphics and a crashing client - but I was a bit more impressed than last time - having a guide to show me the good stuff and get the hang of the controls helped. I also met one or two of the other IBMers using Second Life. It’s clear that there’s still a lot more to explore. I’ve decided that I should attend one of the virtual IBM events - this seems to be one of the best uses of Second Life I’ve heard of so far. [...]
Just shown him around and had the good fortune to bump into a couple of the infamous eightbar members doing a demo. I wonder what he made of Second Life - Take 2.
Andy, thanks for the comments. There are certainly plenty of people in Hursley more familiar with SL than me, so I'll see if I can get one of them to give me a guided tour and assess whether the performance problems I'm seeing are normal. Watch this space...
Just a couple of quick thoughts: - the link that purports to be to my blog points at the Economist. Which I'm not, although it might increase my readership if I was. Or something. - if you want to talk more about SL, drop someone like Roo or James T a line... I've done a guided tour or two now, as well. - shame about the problems with the T43, although I have to say that it ran on my T40 (albeit with settings turned down to improve performance), it runs on an R40 fairly acceptably, and it is much nicer on a T60p :-)