Second Life Sketches

August 17th, 2006 | researchmaterial

Why on earth would anyone in Second Life need a simulated suitcase nuke? There are areas in SL designated for combat simulation, it’s true. But a suitcase nuke? (Along with a note asking you not to detonate it in one of the creepy Gor sims? I envision a pile of burnt collars and singed, disturbingly stained loincloths.)

(People have been roleplaying Gor pretty much as long as there’s been message-boards on the Web. There used to be an AOL chatroom full of housewives sitting around waiting to “serve” men who entered the chatroom and spoke in top Gorean tones.)

Some of the stuff in this armory — one of dozens in SL — looks like a collection of old CIA wet dreams given form. Take this: inducing a bad acid trip.

 

 

  

In Transylvania, the One Blood group are selling an SL-readable magazine. I’m in Goun, looking through a digital art gallery. I mean, why not? I use the web to read magazines and look at art all the time. Though I have a feeling the erotic art I’m looking at is actually the artist’s SL avatar with no clothes on. The Klimt-inspired work by Erin Talamasca, though, I’d be as happy to see on a webpage as I am to see in here in this gallery (with the unfortunately-located teleport point that has you materialise knee-deep in a pond).

Fabbing — personal fabrication, rapid prototyping, 3D-printing — has reportedly recently attached itself to Second Life. Which is very interesting to me from the perspective of SL-as-germ-of-future-OS. Many of you will doubtless recall fabbing being touted as a leak from the future over the last couple of years. According to the Second Thoughts blog, there’s a guy out there using three-dimensional printing to output avatars, with a high level of detail, in styrofoam. The guy apparently said “everything in SL is copyable.” Which is a deceptively huge statement, really. It means that, in theory, anything in an entire 3D-simulation virtual space can be output back into the physical world. It’s the reverse of scanning.

Outputting an avatar is essentially not very useful, of course. But as an experiment, it points out huge potential. As fabbing gets cheaper and more sophisticated (and uses better output materials), people can spin more practical and clever objects into SL — and a virtual world becomes a traffic conduit and searchable storage space for literally millions of Useful Objects You Need Right Now. And that right there is a piece of Future.

Of course, right now, the best you could do is a plastic version of a Gor loincloth with simulated semen stains. But you have to start somewhere, right?

Warrenelliscom official meeting place on SL is Integral Castle, at http://slurl.com/secondlife/Rogla/174/120/124/ — which is to say, Integral Castle, Rogla (174, 120, 124). Switch your music control on if you go in, I’ve got an old Apparat Programme podcast streaming to that location at the moment.


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  1. You can find Warren on Twitter: @warrenellis