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Malaby shows how the workers of a very young but quickly growing company were themselves caught up in ideas about technology, games, and organizations, and struggled to manage not only their virtual world but also themselves in a nonhierarchical fashion.
The past decade has seen phenomenal growth in the development and use of virtual worlds. In one of the most notable, Second Life, millions of people have created online avatars in order to play games, take classes, socialize, and conduct business transactions. Second Life offers a gathering point and the tools for people to create a new world online. Too often neglected in popular and scholarly accounts of such groundbreaking new environments is the simple truth that, of necessity, such virtual worlds emerge from physical workplaces marked by negotiation, creation, and constant change. Thomas Malaby spent a year at Linden Lab, the real-world home of Second Life, observing those who develop and profit from the sprawling, self-generating system they have created. Some of the challenges created by Second Life for its developers were of a very traditional nature, such as how to cope with a business that is growing more quickly than existing staff can handle. Others are seemingly new: How, for instance, does one regulate something that is supposed to run on its own? Is it possible simply to create a space for people to use and then not govern its use? Can one apply these same free-range/free-market principles to the office environment in which the game is produced? "Lindens"—as the Linden Lab employees call themselves—found that their efforts to prompt user behavior of one sort or another were fraught with complexities, as a number of ongoing processes collided with their own interventions. In Making Virtual Worlds, Malaby thoughtfully describes the world of Linden Lab and the challenges faced while he was conducting his in-depth ethnographic research there. He shows how the workers of a very young but quickly growing company were themselves caught up in ideas about technology, games, and organizations, and struggled to manage not only their virtual world but also themselves in a nonhierarchical fashion. In exploring the practices the Lindens employed, he questions what was at stake in their virtual world, what a game really is (and how people participate), and the role of the unexpected in a product like Second Life and an organization like Linden Lab.
The wholly virtual world known as Second Life has attracted more than a million active users, millions of dollars, and created its own—very real—economy. The Making of Second Life is the behind-the-scenes story of the Web 2.0 revolution's most improbable enterprise: the creation of a virtual 3-D world with its own industries, culture, and social systems. Now the toast of the Internet economy, and the subject of countless news articles, profiles, and television shows, Second Life is usually known for the wealth of real-world companies (Reuters, Pontiac, IBM) that have created "virtual offices" within it, and the number of users ("avatars") who have become wealthy through their user-created content. What sets Second Life apart from other online worlds, and what has made it such a success (one million-plus monthly users and growing) is its simple user-centered philosophy. Instead of attempting to control the activities of those who enter it, the creators of Second Life turned them loose: users (also known as Residents) own the rights to the intellectual content they create in-world, and the in-world currency of Linden Dollars is freely exchangeable for U.S. currency. Residents have responded by generating millions of dollars of economic activity through their in-world designs and purchases—currently, the Second Life economy averages more than one million U.S. dollars in transactions every day, while dozens of real-world companies and projects have evolved and developed around content originated in Second Life. Wagner James Au explores the long, implausible road behind that success, and looks at the road ahead, where many believe that user-created worlds like Second Life will become the Net's next generation and the fulcrum for a revolution in the way we shop, work, and interact. Au's story is narrated from both within the corporate offices of Linden Lab, Second Life's creator, and from within Second Life itself, revealing all the fascinating, outrageous, brilliant, and aggravating personalities who make Second Life a very real place­—and an illuminating mirror on the real (physical) world. Au writes about the wars they fought (sometimes literally), the transformations they underwent, the empires of land and commerce they developed, and above all, the collaborative creativity that makes their society an imperfect utopia, better in some ways than the one beyond their computer screens.
Second Life: The Official Guide is the perfect book for anyone interested in Linden Lab?s fascinating Second Life metaverse. This book explores in detail every aspect of Second Life?s rich and multilayered virtual world, explains how it works, and offers a wealth of information and practical advice for all Second Life residents. The first part of the book, ?Getting a Second Life,? acquaints potential and new players with the Second Life world. It describes the metaverse?s geography as well as its society, explaining the written and unwritten rules. The second part, ?Living a Second Life,? deals with the practical and economic aspects of Second Life: creating and customizing an avatar, building objects, scripting, and making money. The third part of the book, ?Success in Second Life,? discusses ways to enjoy Second Life more. This section includes profiles of successful Second Life residents, discusses fascinating in–world events, and examines how some are using Second Life for business, training, and other purposes. The book closes with a glossary as well as quick–reference and additional–resources appendices. The accompanying CD–ROM features special animations, character templates, and textures created by Linden Lab exclusively for this book. The disc also guides new users through installation and includes a code that grants a special object their first time entering the metaverse.
Live your Second Life to the fullest! Create Your Virtual Life in an Incredible Online World...Right Now! Imagine a virtual landscape where everything is created and owned entirely by residents like you. Imagine a place where you can enjoy sunsets, ride a jet ski, buy land, plant a garden, get a tattoo, go sky diving, spend an evening dancing the night away, or relax at home by the fire. Picture a world vividly developed, socially dynamic, and strikingly real where you can bring previously unimaginable things to life with friends from around the globe. This is Second Life®, the hottest Internet phenomenon in years…maybe ever! Now, there’s a totally real, totally independent guide to Second Life. This full-color book is as rich as Second Life itself! It’s packed with insider tips, easy step-by-step techniques, and interviews with dozens of SL residents telling you what they wished they knew when they started! Brian White pulls no punches: You’ll learn exactly what’s great and not so great about SL...how to thrive in its unique culture, and how to create your dreams! The more time you spend in Second Life, the more useful this book will become...teaching you more advanced skills; everything from vehicle construction, Linden Scripting Language, particle systems, to creating custom animations and the new sculpted prims! Visit the companion site in Second Life to find all the textures and objects from this book as well as the contributor’s gallery and other goodies: http://slurl.com/secondlife/humuli/222/123/29
Synthetic Worlds, Virtual Worlds, and Alternate Realities are all terms used to describe the phenomenon of computer-based, simulated environments in which users inhabit and interact via avatars. The best-known commercial applications are in the form of electronic gaming, and particularly in massively-multiplayer online role-playing games like World of Warcraft or Second Life. Less known, but possibly more important, is the rapid adoption of platforms in education and business, where Serious Games are being used for training purposes, and even Second Life is being used in many situations that formerly required travel. The editors of this book captures the state of research in the field intended to reflect the rapidly growing yet relatively young market in education and business. The general focus is set on the scientific community but integrates the practical applications for businesses, with papers on information systems, business models, and economics. In six parts, international authors – all experts in their field – discuss the current state-of-the-art of virtual worlds/alternate realities and how the field will develop over the next years. Chapters discuss the influences and impacts in and around virtual worlds. Part four is about education, with a focus on learning environments and experiences, pedagogical models, and the effects on the different roles in the educational sector. The book looks at business models and how companies can participate in virtual worlds while receiving a return on investment, and includes cases and scenarios of integration, from design, implementation to application.
"Tom Boellstorff conducted more than two years of fieldwork in Second Life, living among and observing its residents in the same way anthropologists traditionally have done to learn about cultures and social groups in the so-called real world. He applied the methods of anthropology to study many facets of this new frontier of human life, including issues of gender, race, sex, money, conflict and antisocial behavior, the construction of place and time, and the interplay of self and group."--BOOK JACKET.

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