The Playing Columbine Trailer

The trailer to the documentary about Super Columbine Massacre RPG is out. Some may remember the controversial debate that followed after it was pulled from the Slamdance Guerrilla Gamemaker Competition. If anything at all this game has spurred great discussions about gameplay as documentary/storytelling/art. I’m not very opinionated about this documentary yet, except that I adore the debate and I’m looking forward to seeing the whole thing. But for some opinions check out Kotaku, Water Cooler Games and Game Politics.

"The top tier of Second Life is run by the women"

Excellent Metaverse Territories introduced me to a great blogpost about Second Life from Broken Toys called “Utopia Hidden Underground: Another Look at SL“.

All in all it sums up nicely with:

“That core of the singularity is what is actually Second Life’s core
strength, and what keeps its users struggling through the level grind and the
broken client and the lack of governmental, er, Linden oversight. Because as a
social MMO, once you get past all the clutter and dross, SL actually works. I
can honestly say that nowhere else online have I argued about Islamic
fundamentalism at one in the morning while lounging in a pool with a half-naked
demon-thing. Much like how people played Ultima Online despite its rampant
peekay and endless bugs simply because it was the promise of something new,
people find the core of SL is actually the other players. That’s something
that’s difficult to break.”

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Naw – lawsuits can’t happen here because it’s virtual FANTASY world!

This is an odd tv segment. I found it interesting and just really weird (even odder – I was absolutely certain I’d blogged about the case – but apparently not, must be getting confused with my del.icio.us’ing).
So for those out of the loop:

Those Creative Spammers

Goldfarmers in World of Warcraft are becoming desperate as Blizzard has now inserted a new ‘text-filter on broadcast chat messages to prevent gold farmers from spamming users about their websites’ – I don’t get how it can work, but I guess it really does!

This just impressed me so! Dead gnomes dropping out of the sky to spell an url?! I’m sorry, that just blows me away! So now I guess WoWers will have to put up with rainy days of dead gnomes instead of text spam? I have such a hard time disrespecting such creativity, but then again I’m not a WoW’er so I’m not hassled with goldfarming spam. ;)

William Gibson coming to Second Life!

Wow! It’s a whole event, not just a lecture!

“Over the next few weeks – to celebrate and, yes, promote his new novel
Spook Country – we’re planning a range of William Gibson activities in Second
Life; we’re screening his fine and strange movie No Maps for These Territories;
there’s a competition to design an avatar for the man himself; we’re giving away
shipping containers packe with Gibson goodies and at the beginning of August,
William Gibson himself will be coming into Second Life to read from Spook
Country and answer questions.'”

Sounds like a kids tv show only for grown-up nerds. I’ll be signing on – I have no intention of trying to design his avatar (what a daunting task) but I wouldn’t mind watching No Maps for These Territories in Second Life.

You know what I’d pay to see? A debate between William Gibson’s Cyberspace vs. Neal Stephenson’s Metaverse – with visuals! Gorr! That’d actually be a great movie, if done wisely and creatively! ‘

Seems like we need to sign on to get the schedule.

South Korea claims tax on Virtual Goods

Worlds In Motion (which I’ll get back to later) reports that Korea’s National Tax Service (NTS) “has begun adding the new tax automatically to all virtual transactions involving real money as of July 1st, says the report, translated as follows:

Sellers who do between 6 and 12 million won ($6,500 – $13,000)/half year in
business will have VAT auto applied by transaction’s middle-man.

Sellers who do more than 12 million won/half year in business will need a
business will need a business license and will pay the tax by themselves”

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Social Networks in Virtual Worlds

Here’s a video of one of Aleks Krotoski‘s presentation entitled “Social Networks in Virtual Worlds” – it was a refreshing find. Aleks doesn’t focus too much on the ‘OMG!’ factor and is very straight to the point about her research. She’s also willing to share her methods of research which I found extremely interesting and helpful. This should be useful to some people out there! ;) The more I think about my own thesis the more I wish I had spent more time on methodology techniques, so methodology has started to interest me. I feel like my thesis discusses more what we’re talking about and why and chapter 2 should be something like “Ok, now we know ‘what’ now let’s concentrate on how to really research the ‘what’!”.

It’s a great find – but I’m writing this already late for an appointment so I haven’t done enough digging from where and why this presentation was held. All I know is that it’s from an event called “Massively Multi-Learner” at The University of Paisley.

Virtual World Politics News

Where to start?
How about the “u gotta be kidding me!” news:
The US Congress has announced that it will be issuing a potential taxation of virtual goods report in August. I’m a bit perplexed about this. Firstly – how are they going to define what is virtual? And second of all, I don’t think we’re anywhere near ready to discuss this issue ‘officially’. I’m a bit worried that they’re going to ruin the creative gaming freedom that these virtual worlds offer by bringing up such invasive things as taxes. And when there’s just a handful of gamers this could apply to – is it really worth it? I’m all for that academics, gamers and designers discuss it, because it is important that we think about these things and have ready proposals and not in the least definitions before such matters do become official – but not the US Congress! Maybe I’m just skeptical because I’m European. I’m just not as thrilled as everyone else seems to be. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in the ‘real’ value of virtual goods – I really do! And I abhore all the journalists writing headlines about virtual goods being fake – yet worth real money. I just think that the ‘realness’ of such things has to come about another way than through a governmental force like the US Congress. But I’m getting ahead of myself here, they do say ‘potential’.

Second Life

So I’ve been cruising through Second Life this evening – starting to get my grips – but my lag is just awful! I still haven’t actually invested in any Linden dollars, but I suppose it’s just around the corner.

I’ve just stopped by the Social Simulation Research Lab and found bunches of interesting reads! I’ll have to print out some stuff so I can enjoy the summer as well – I want a sun friendly laptop sooo bad! Life would just be near perfect then!

But for now I’m happy to have found SLED Picayune that has taken the trouble to gather several tutorial videos. Time for me to stop being a tourist and really start getting involved with this world that I have such high hopes for – so tutorials are a blessing!

I was really impressed with DnB Nor’s island (Slurl). A few weird things – but that’s half the fun! The Second Life Newspaper – Finance, has a good description of their tour.

This whole copyright licensing of media thing


Like the rest of the world, I became enchanted by ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent when I saw Paul Potts‘ remarkable performance on YouTube – oh the tears! This of course led to hunger for more and I randomly went through some of the related YouTube videos. At one point I thought ‘hang on – I’m sure they’ve got a website with better quality clips and a much better organisational overview’. And they do -yay! But no – I get this picture up. “This content is not for viewing outside of the UK due to rights reasons”. Urgh! My thoughts go to the delightful Ben Hammersley‘s words:

The audience is actually quite happy to pay for these things. Witness the sales of DVD box-sets, or the success of the downloadable episodes of hit shows in the iTunes Music Store. Again, though, the television industry shoots itself in the foot. Would I pay for downloadable episodes of the Daily Show? Yes. Will anyone take my money from me? No. Why? Because I’m in the wrong country. Well, I tried. I’ll be thinking about how little their broken business model is my problem as I boot up my torrent software, download the show, and watch the whole thing, including the adverts and any in-show sponsorship.It’s a curious business indeed that turns away customers. It’s exceptionally puzzling when an industry ignores offers of cash. The reason for this seemingly counter-intuitive approach to business – where those with the supply actively avoid those with the demand – is that selling programming is not the business channels are in.

The Guardian, March 20, 2006

“Get with the programme”

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