Second Life has been around since 2003, but just recently a wave of heavily polished articles written by Public Relations companies working for LindenLab has hit Germany. It seems like their Marketing department is now trying to reach out to new grounds. I find the concept of Second Life highly interesting, but it simply is not ‘ready’ yet. Read why below, checkout the In-Game images and the review. The closing paragraph offers some ideas of what to do instead of playing ‘Second Life’.
‘Second Life’ reviewed
This review is divided into three parts, feel free to ‘fast-forward’:
PC specs and account used for testing
‘Second Life’ In-Game images
Review of ‘Second Life’
Why play ‘Second Life’ when you can <enter action> in reality?!
So I signed up at the Second Life website for a FREE account and entered my Paypal-Information to
a) verify I am over 18
b) receive $250 Linden bucks (handy if you want to ‘buy’ something in ‘Second Life’).
Next I had to download the Windows Installer for Second Life, it’s titled Windows 2000/XP: 220.127.116.11 (30MB). There are also version available for Mac OS-X (61MB) and Linux (39MB). I have only tested the Windows / PC version.
After the downloaded finished (quite fast – good servers), I run the Installer on my system:
Windows XP Professional (Service Pack 2)
Intel Core Duo 2.667 GHz
1500 MB G.E.I.L DDR2 Ram
GeForce 6200 256 MB Ram
3456 kBit/s Downstream (1&1 fastpathed)
448 KBit/S Upsteam (1&1 fastpathed)
Notes: Not the best system, but a stable mule that keeps running smoothly and silent (21 db measured), with a stable and speedy 3 Meg-line connection. This should be well above ‘Second Life’s’ min. requirements to run the game!
So after some minutes of installing, the game was launched. I had to re-enter the account information and was then connected to ‘the world of Second Life’.
Here are some images, let them do the talking before I begin to with my starfall of criticism. These are just some images I found on google images (I was too lazy to screenshot them myself, because it simply is not worth it..)
Second Life is a 3-D virtual world entirely built and owned by its residents. Since opening to the public in 2003, it has grown explosively and today is inhabited by a total of 2,617,859 people from around the globe. Source: secondlife.com.
PR crafted articles speak highly positive of ‘Second Life’, for the reason of offering ‘a new and unique chance of commencing a new life’. A life in which you can even earn real money. The currency used in Second Life is called Linden Dollar, a self-creation by Linden Labs.
So after some time installing and setting up the game I found ‘myself (my character – 3rd person view)’ on an island, a so called ‘spawning point’ for new players. It seems like I am not alone as there are many characters ‘standing’ around and not having a clue what to do. A father like voice explains the phenomena of lag, followed by a female voice introducing the world and the game.
You can change your character’s outer appearance, the cloths he/she wears, the body attributes such as height, width, size etc, the color of the hair, the eyes, the length of the nose – well nearly everything. As seen on the images above, people highly customize their characters, put custom textures (skins) on them, so that you can even look like papa smurf or a zebra.
The aspect of customization is really interesting, as it allows people to become creative easily.
There is a variety of programming languages that can be applied/used in the Second Life, so for example it is possible to combine 3D designing skills with programming skills to create -let’s say- an arcade/amusement park. I have been to areas where you’d play blackjack: enter the amount of Linden $ you wanted to set, click pay, and voil?: either you win or either you loose.
The possibility of buying your own land and building on there, say a house/villa/pool whatsoever is great, but nearly every place is empty:
how does this match with Linden Labs’ statement that thousands of people around the world play Second Life simultaneously?
What is the high level of customization good for if others can only experience it in a limited way? (e.g. you create yourself nice multi-colored shinny hair, but other players only see a brown blob…)
Second Life offers the option of getting yourself a job within the new world and earn money. This earned money can be exchanged into real US $ using Linden Labs exchange ‘Lindex’. Linden Labs claims that the first Linden dollar millionaire was spotted a week ago. A millionaire, but still playing?
So far so good, but now here is where the criticism comes into play:
Even though my PC suits the minimum system requirements for Second Life, it lags insanely.
Other characters are ‘warping’ bye, the atmosphere (trees, buildings, sea, plants, textures) takes ages to load.
This is clearly a server-side issue as my connection is fine and system does usually not lag at all.
I remember the slow male voice telling about lag and check the ‘upper right boxes’. They are green or even black, which -according to Linden Labs and this speaker- means I am lagfree.
Low world detail
As to be seen on the images above, the world detail is very low. I have checked my settings and it didn’t change at all. I waited several minutes in a people-free spot and let everything load, but yet no increase of quality. So clearly all images shown in magazines, articles and even on the Second Life website are forged or at least some kind of manipulated, because ‘Second Life’ does look like crap in reality.
‘Second Life’ is praised as one of the ‘new chances to life your live’ like you want it to, but this seems unreal for the following reasons:
1. I don’t like a world with Smurfs
2. I don’t want to live in a world with goddamn zebras talking to me
3. Second Life is already commercialized, at two different spots a person was offering ‘free ipods’ if you’d click on his shinny backpack.
4. Second Life features a world which is empty, or at least not really populated.
5. Second Life features cheap adult material, sleazy hookers and strippers. If one wants porn, simply fire up google and look for it.
6. Second Life makes it rather impossible to earn money big style, exceptions are rare. Why would you earn more in an E-True cybergame then at McDonalds around the corner?
7. Why can these people fly?
8. Weapons welcome in Second Life, so at least, was my impression. They can either be bought in arms shops or created using the ‘no limitations create it yourself kit’.
9. What about dying? You can’t really die in Second Life.
10. Membership fees. 10 bucks a month just for a graphically shitty game which is crowded by nerds that need to escape their miserable or uncool life and boast with their e-cool character in Second Life?
With 10 bucks a month that you are ought to pay for Second Life a month (premium account that is needed for buying land etc) you can:
- rent 10 porn DVDs a month
- subscribe to WWF and save some cute little Pandas
- get a hustler membership account
- buy at least 10 cheeseburgers
- get a rapidshare account for downloading
- subscribe to di.fm and enjoy loads of music!
- invest your money into decent stock and get rich
- run a website like this and entertain other people
but for christsake DON’T waste it on Second Life, because this reality is fancy enough. If you need to escape your reality, buy some weed, some liquor or some smokes. It’s better then watching your e-cool character dance in a virtual club whilst you could be out there wasting your money on something cool…
If you somehow can’t get enough of Second Life, you can get even more pictures at flickr
I have no idea why, but according to this article at the businessweek, Second Life is marching on strong. Is our western society so whacky? I mean this is totally f%ï¿½$cked up. Get a job, get a life, get some porn, but don’t waste your time online on Second Life