Internet

The Final Frontier Within the Final Frontier

|

Skypods

The online world Second Life has a built-in feature where your avatar, or virtual self, can fly over the landscape. So it's only natural the the final frontier within Second Life is being colonized at a fast clip.

NASA reps and other space geeks can meet and greet at Space CoLab Island, pictured above. They can discuss project already underway like "floating launch pads, mini-planets, space shuttles and an international space station." Or they can talk about future ventures to create "environments that look and feel like the moon, for instance, or simulated lava tubes that could help researchers build real-life bases on the moon or Mars."

Second Life is "a natural test bed for building scientifically accurate representations of other worlds, based on data flowing in from interplanetary probes." Said one NASA Second Lifer: "Imagine your online 'avatar' standing beside a rover as it makes its way across the Martian surface — in real time." 

NEXT: Disney Legalizes Same-Sex Unions

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Neal Stephenson is a smart, smart man. Read Snow Crash and compare the Metaverse to Second Life.

  2. Not one to stand in the way of progress, but are they playing this at work?

  3. How long before Second Lifers colonize the solar system, abandon earth, go on to establish a galactic empire which eventually collapses and return to find the original code upon which Earth was built upon?

    All before the rest of humanity even establishes a lunar colony.

  4. shouldn’t you being getting back to filling out those TPS reports?

  5. “Second Life” isn’t really a good name for the game, is it?

    Wouldn’t “First and Only, Lonely, Lonely Life” be more descriptive?

    *returns to blog trolling, a much less pathetic pastime — according to some*

  6. NASA geeks playing/experimenting in Second Life sounds neat and all, but . . . shouldn’t they already have the CAD tools necessary in the first place?

  7. Ok – I don’t really GET second life. Yeah, I could look it up, but would any second life fans like to explain it?

    You create an avatar and then…. what? Do you “build” things by programming them, or by purchasing them, or by commanding your character to labor to build them? Do you own land by virtue of occupying it, or do you program it into existence, or do you buy it with some sort of currency? How does one earn this currency, are there “second jobs” or do you buy it with real currency?

    Anyone willing to give a brief explanation?

  8. My sons (7 and 10 years old) play on 2nd Life all the time

    not social games so much as building stuff (both are very good/experienced at using the 2nd Life CAD like interface)

    The other day, they were in a conflict over time on the computer. The younger says to his big brother “it’s my turn on the computer, if you don’t give it to me I’m gonna tell Linden Labs how old you really are, and then they’ll make you play on the kid version!”

    It proved to be an effective threat, his brother gave up the computer immediately with only a muted “you better not tell them that or I’ll…” veiled threat.

    It’s all kid stuff to me…

  9. his brother gave up the computer immediately with only a muted “you better not tell them that or I’ll…”

    set up a fake myspace account and get you solicited by online sexual predators.” would’ve been a pretty good counter-threat.

  10. Read Snow Crash and compare the Metaverse to Second Life.

    And have the immediate geek reaction of “OK, so where’s the rest of the Internet where people actually get anything done?” once again. 😉

  11. Actually, I think of Philip K. Dick and the Perky Pat layouts from Palmer Eldritch when I hear about stuff like this.

  12. they can talk about future ventures to create “environments that look and feel like the moon, for instance, or simulated lava tubes that could help researchers build real-life bases on the moon or Mars.”

    Or create models that predict doomsday weather scenarios? Scary stuff in the hands of a few ideologues. Good thing it’s not real.

  13. I asked my kid how he makes money on 2nd Life

    “there’s lots of ways, when I was a n00b, I used to sit in ‘camping chairs’ and get paid L$1 (Linden dollars are the coin of the realm) for 5 minutes. But that doesn’t pay very good and isn’t much fun. Now I go to Fur Nation and find this small furry guy that just sits there, I give him L$10 and he gives me a cage, if I can find these little monsters that run around and get them in the cage (once you get them in the cage the monster and the cage are turned into one object, so the monster can’t escape), I can get L$100 for each monster I catch. There’s also holes in the ground that I can jump into and fall down to the core of the planet and fight the monster’s queen (in the game, the monsters are called ‘the unknown ones’), if you kill the queen, you have a small chance of getting a very valuable egg.

    “you can also go to ‘Japanese Island’ and get a job with the Yakuza, or the Police, or this other group, and make money robbing banks, or stopping others from robbing banks, or attacking other gangs. you can keep any item you get off of people you attack, and some items are very valuable if you can find someone to buy it”

    I asked him how much money he has on 2nd Life

    “right now I have around 2,000 Linden Dollars”

    Is that a lot? I asked

    “It’s enough for me”

    and then he grabbed his dog and scooter and headed out for the park

  14. Huh, thanks “Cruisin'” – I guess it’s a lot more “video-gamey” than I had thought it was.

  15. I, too, am having a hard time believing that NASA has to resort to a commercial videogame for its CAD needs. They must be really hurting for cash… And I don’t know about this “natural test bed for building scientifically accurate representations of other worlds” silliness, either. It’s a game that bears no resemblance to the real world, let alone a scientifically accurate one.

  16. It’s a game that bears no resemblance to the real world

    How so?

    “you can also go to ‘Japanese Island’ and get a job with the Yakuza, or the Police, or this other group, and make money robbing banks, or stopping others from robbing banks, or attacking other gangs. you can keep any item you get off of people you attack, and some items are very valuable if you can find someone to buy it”

  17. How so?

    Well, people fly, for starters. About the only thing it has in common with the real world is the presence of three dimensions. Beyond that, pretty much anything goes. Anyway, using it for “scientific” purposes strikes me rather like, oh, using Etch-a-Sketch to create architectural drawings. In other words, it’s a toy.

  18. I tried Second Life for a couple of days, yet I found it to be kind of boring. Warty’s “Snow Crash” allustion is close, but it won’t be spot on until you can access it using VR gear.

  19. Second Life is, first and foremost, a social environment; a place where folks can get together and chat about things that interest them. It’s also populated by some very creative people who invest a lot of time and energy realizing a virtual world. Nothing in Second Life “comes with” the game. It was all created by its inhabitants: every blade of grass, every tree, every building, even the birds and fish.

    I don’t even think it’s appropriate to call it a game. It’s more like an environment. Maybe even a frontier. A place where people make things or provide services that other people want and pay for. It’s unruly sometimes and often rude. But the best thing about it is the blissfully unregulated nature of the place. Do you want to make sex organs for people? Go right ahead, there’s not a single authority to tell you you can’t. Say what you want, do what you want, and your only worry is being banned from someone else’s property.

  20. Every time I hear about Second Life in the media, it always sounds incredibly silly. Whatever people do there, whatever kind of wacky stuff they create… it ain’t real, people. Creatively wasting time is still wasting time.
    (Much like commenting on blog entries…)

  21. I don’t even think it’s appropriate to call it a game.

    No wonder it was so boring. I got as far as completing the tutorial, wandered around a little bit, and fiddled a while with a beach ball which was supposed to “do something” but wasn’t working for me and that’s when I gave up.

  22. If you enjoy window shopping, you could spend a whole life in there.

    Actually, the next door neighbors to my island in there are real-life architects modeling new concepts, which is neat to watch, except when they rent out rooms to sex-crazed Brazilian girls who fly over to my house, lose their virtual clothes with no finesse and rudely demand favors from me in broken English.

    That gets annoying after a while. Which is how I know I’m old.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.