I dont get second life…but here’s my dream game

so i had an extra hour to kill today and figured i’d give second life a try. just like world of warcraft, i didnt get the alure at all. i’m trying to come up with a word other than *gay* but that’s my take on second life and world of warcraft. just like the sims, they’re for people who want to be *cool* within online communities. it takes enough time and effort to be *cool* in the offline world. i couldnt give a shit whether i have the coolest virtual outfit and it’s not worth the time to learn how to navigate these worlds.

now what i’d really like…is a virtual version of the real world where i can *play* at life in ways i cant in the offline world. that’s why i was addicted to risk growing up and recently to pc war strategy games like ‘rise of nations’. now these would be super fun to play online *except* you run into the same type of phenomena of the geeky kids who know all the tricks. for me that means i find myself fighting some cocky 20 year old with spears against tanks after 5 minutes.

ok. here’s my dream game…a virtual earth that combines risk – world domination – with grand theft auto – ability to drive cool fast cars and beat people up and steal their money (the fantasy part that we cant do for real) with the rise of nations ability to manage resources, research, tech, taxes and government and wage wars.

what i’d really like is a virtual version of the real earth. none of these goofy made up worlds. i want to go buy up buildings on park avenue for virtual real. all the real laws of nature should apply. that means our characters can get killed. that means we may want to be careful to hire a lot of protection.

in my game, the early part will rely heavily on the rule of guns and firepower until we get to some order on a world level and then an urban level too. this is pretty much how the real world works. so at first strong countries may invade weak ones. and cities that lack a strong armed police force will have huge crime and murder. people will happily pay lots of taxes and personal payoffs to make sure their characters and properties dont get robbed, killed and blown up.

also other physical laws will apply. you will need transportation to get around. none of this teleporting or flying. you can have your character walk slowly or pay to get on a plane or bus or buy a car.

public officials will be able to take bribes just like in the real world but maybe justice can be doled out more swiftly here.

in terms of the economic model, i’d let anyone join and be *peasant* for free. you’d have to pay $10 per month to be a *citizen* . peasants can still accumulate money by taking jobs in production or protection/armies and police (which are dangerous but high paying). citizens get some armor so they wont die from the first bullet as well as money and land/property. citizens can get rich and powerful much faster but that doesnt mean a peasant cant rise up to fame and fortune (like they do here in our world).

people could build businesses as arms dealers, airline operators , casino kings, powerful politicians or captains of pvt armies or creators of weapons exchanges.

this world would have to be way more *open* than second life too. that is, anyone could add a server and expand or host part of the game. ideally, there might be a new domain extension (.earth) that would let any web browswer find this world and any server host part (eg. vegas.earth or markscasino.vegas.earth).

if anyone knows of projects like this in our world, i’d love to hear about it. and to those who just love second life, no offense intended. get on wit yo bad fantasy self and all your swanky cloths:)

6 thoughts on “I dont get second life…but here’s my dream game

  1. Funny you say this. I was driving through my town just the other day and I was thinking how interesting it would have been to see the place…the geography, the buildings, etc…at earlier eras in time. In other words, a virtual time machine game, but set in the real world at set intervals (1944, 1900, 1852, 1776 etc..) …it would be so interesting to see what main street looked like 50 years ago, 200 years ago, etc.
    Not sure what the game play would be; could be a combination of Battlefield and Second Life. What would be especially cool is that people might actually learn something about history, etc…and town historian types might get very into making sure all the buildings were right, etc.
    But totally agree about the real world aspect–I dont have much interest in flying around on a pink pegasus.

  2. did you catch the long now talk on this topic last week? if not here is stewart’s summary…
    see you around!
    -tracy
    What is real life coming to owe digital life?
    After a couple years in the flat part of exponential growth, the steep part is now arriving for the massive multi-player online world construction kit called “Second Life.” With 1.7 million accounts, membership in “Second Life” is growing by 20,000 per day. The current doubling rate of “residents” is 7 months, still shortening, which means the growth is (for now) hyperexponential.
    For this talk the founder and CEO of “Second Life,” Philip Rosedale, tried something new for him— a simultaneous demo and talk. His online avatar, “Philip Linden,” was on the screen showing things while the in-theater Philip Rosedale was conjecturing about what it all means. “This is a game of ‘Can I interest you more in what I’m saying than what’s going on on the screen?'”
    He showed how new arrivals go through the “gateway” experience of creating their own onscreen avatar, explaining that because intense creativity is so cheap, easy, and experimental, the online personas become strongly held. “You can have multiple avatars in ‘Second Life,’ but the overall average is 1.25 avatars per person.” The median age of users is 31, and the oldest users spend the most time in the world (over 80 hours per week for 10 percent of the residents). Women are 43 percent of the customers.
    The on-screen Philip Linden was carrying Rosedale’s talk notes (handwritten, scanned, and draped onto a board in the digital world). Rosedale talked about the world while his avatar flew (“Everyone flies— why not?”) to a music club in which a live song performance was going on (the real singer crooning into her computer in real time from somewhere.) The singer recognized Philip Linden in the on-screen audience and greeted him from the on-screen stage.
    “More is different,” Rosedale explained. People think they want total and solitary control of their world, but the result of that is uninteresting. To get the emergent properties that make “Second Life” so enthralling, it has to be one contiguous world with everyone in it. At present it comprises about 100 square miles, mostly mainland, with some 5,000 islands (all adding up to 35 terrabytes running in 5,000 servers). Defying early predictions, the creativity in “Second Life” has not plateaued but just keeps escalating. Everybody is inspired to keep topping each other with ever cooler things. There are tens of thousands of clothing designers. Unlike the aesthetic uniformity of imagined digital worlds like in the movie “The Matrix,” “Second Life” is suffused with variety. It is “the sum of our dreams.”
    The burgeoning token economy in “Second Life” is directly connected to the real-world economy with an exchange rate of around 270 Linden dollars to 1 US dollar. There are 7,000 businesses operating in “Second Life,” leading this month to its first real-world millionaire (Metaverse real estate mogul Anshe Chung). At present “Second Life” has annual economic activity of about $70 million US dollars, growing rapidly.
    As Jaron Lanier predicted in the early ’90s, the only scarce resource in virtual reality is creativity, and it becomes valued above everything. Freed of the cost of goods and the plodding quality of real-world time, Rosedale explained, people experiment fast and strange, get feedback, and experiment again. They orgy on the things they think they want, play them out, get bored, and move on. They get “married,” start businesses with strangers— “There are 40-person businesses made of people who have never met in real life.” Real-world businesses hold meetings in “Second Life” because they’re more fun and encourage a higher degree of truth telling.
    Pondering the future, Rosedale said that every aspect of the quality of shared virtual life will keep improving as the technology accelerates and the number of creators online keeps multiplying. (“Second Life” is now moving toward a deeper order of creativity by releasing most of its world-building software into open source mode.)
    Real-world artifacts like New York City could become regarded like museums. “As the fastest moving, most creative stuff in our society increasingly takes place in the virtual world, that will change how we look at the real world,” Rosedale concluded.
    –Stewart Brand

  3. …your thoughts also remind me of the long now talk given back in June (well, whatelse would a single girl do with her friday night ;^). with Will Wright and Brian Eno. They were talking about “Spore.” I know nothing about video games, so you’ll have to excuse me…
    But, from the powerpoint that I saw on “Spore” it leads me to believe that this might be the civilation software for you!
    -tracy

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