Singapore

Firstly – CNN launched it’s Future Summit: Virtual worlds today.

“Originating from Singapore and Palo Alto, California, the program features creative visionaries and entrepreneurs leading us into a new age of creativity and imagination.”

Impressive list of panelists really. I don’t even know who to list here – but it’s a good mix of social networking sites experts and designers and MMORPG experts and designers. I’m really going to enjoy following this!

So speaking of Singapore – I just got my ticket for 16 August. My apartment’s getting renovated 20 August by my landlords and my adorable father thought it would be a good idea for me to visit him instead of crashing on a friend’s floor. Not a hell of a lot of protest from me! It will be good to get away and have a vacation – there’s so much I didn’t get to do last time around. Besides, I miss him – chillin’ out with dad is always delightful.

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Second Life and the business world

First Tuesday has a branch in Bergen and they’ve organised a talk about Second Life on Tuesday. Imagine my excitement! It seems like the talk is based on discussing whether this virtual world is worth exploring for local businesses. My thought is: “Give me one good reason why not!”

Speakers will be IBM Sales Director, Bjørn Roksvold, the Project Manager of Design Containers Second Life, Ela Oliva and Severin Roald from Burson-Marsteller (this guy intrigues me, because his title is “Digital Media Champion” – which is a completely new word in my dictionary – I’m keen to learn what that’s all about).

Personally, I feel that the local businesses in Bergen don’t really have a sufficient web presence. It’s like they want people to have a hard time of finding out what they’re about, which has to be destructive on so many levels – or have I missed something here? I think it would be lovely for them all to get more involved with Second Life.

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The Joy of Joichi Ito

Joi Ito is such a gem! He’s a joy to listen to and his thoughts encompass so much about what’s going on in cyberspace (although in this presentation he says he doesn’t believe in cyberspace anymore – and with good reasoning). I’m in awe of this man – smart, insightful and sees ‘the big picture’. I certainly enjoyed this presentation of WoW and hope you do, as well. He talks about everything, how players relate to each other, how ‘real’ the experiences are, the use of voice communication in MMORPGs, the interface design of a guild leader, the differences between Second Life and World of Warcraft , user-generated content and so much more. The presentation is from The Chaos Communication Congress. Enjoy!

Joichi Ito is the founder and CEO of Neoteny, which is a venture capital firm “committed to helping entrepreneurs build sustainable information technology businesses”. And I’m just going to cut’n’paste from Wikipedia here:

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Yay – Second Life and Sundance!

I haven’t been excited about Second Life for a long time – but this – this is what I’ve been looking forward to!!

Mark Wallace reports that the Sundance Channel(there’s a channel?!!) is coming to Second Life. From the press release:

“Sundance Channel’s SL screening room will be used to showcase films,
documentaries, shorts and original series and to host unique interactive events
with filmmakers and other independent thinkers”

Yes! Yes! Yes! By gosh someone’s got it!!! They’re starting off with Four Eyed Monsters – which I’m really looking forward to!
I just sincerely hope that they’ll take this new audience seriously and not just think that because it’s a virtual world they’ll only want to watch virtual world themed shows. This is a wonderful place to introduce independent film makers from all over the world!!! Gawww – yeah!!! Just think of all the wonderfulness that’s out there that we don’t get to see because no one’s buying! And experiencing such things is done so much better together with someone! And the communities – ohhhhh! I just see so many beautiful things happening from this partnership I’m going way overboard!
Update: Well – I haven’t been paying attention have I? Tony Walsh at Clickable Culture is a bit more sceptic – with good reason! But if it can really be done! I still say go go go!!!

State of Play – New York Law School

So they’ve had a State of Play conference in New York and Mark Wallace does a wonderful job of summing up the whole thing – bless him! Looks like they’ve really been critical of themselves and looking to see what could be done in future research – which I think is good!

One thing that surprised me however was Jesper Juul’s post on the discussion of ‘games have rules’. I’ve accepted that ages ago, and I really don’t understand what the problem is in acknowledging that games have rules and most importantly NEED rules – but apparently, they still can’t agree on that. Juul breaks the discussion down to two positions – pro-rules vs. anti-rules.

“Pro-rules people generally make pragmatic descriptions of the gameplaying activity, and anti-rules people commonly apply a general poststructuralist skapticism towards descriptions of structure.”

I’m baffled that this is still disagreed upon. In my thesis (which I’d love to write all over again) I broke everything down to two issues – gameplay and societal -> rules and identity. Just because some players choose to defy some of these rules doesn’t mean that they’re not complying with them. Rather acknowledging them to then defy them. The gameplay rules are what makes the world a game – and we mustn’t forget that worlds like, Second Life are NOT games – so we should stop using them as examples. The societal rules are something that is considered by your gameplay method and social communication. Um – maybe I’m not ready to talk about this yet.

Argh!!!

The State of Play conference that I was soooooooooooo much looking forward to in Singapore is postponed! That just sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!! Argh!!! What an absolute bummer!!!!!!!!!!!

“State of Play IV: Building the Global Metaverse, the fourth annual State of Play conference on the future of cyberspace, originally scheduled to be held in Singapore on January 7 – 9, 2007, is being rescheduled to a new date in the spring semester 2007, soon to be announced.”

Argh – and I had changed my ticket and everything!!

Sigh! So it obviously was too good to be true! So disappointed!! What a complete bummer!!!

Virtual World Travel Agency

This is great!!! A virtual guide service, Synthravels!! I love the idea! Clickable Culture reports about this new business that has started to offer guided tours for “those who wish to tour virtual worlds even without the necessary experience” – I love it! I haven’t tried it out yet, but I’ve registered with my preferred time and can’t wait to have a look at all the worlds I just don’t have the capasity and time to experience first hand!

“Synthtravels was conceived by Mario Gerosa and by Matteo Esposito.”

When technology governs

Mark Wallace had a very honest and reflective post in his blog yesterday about ‘the issue of trademark, copyright and intellectual property rights in Second Life’. There seems to be a lot of trust in Linden Lab’s technology to take care of these rights – but that technology can only govern in its space, Second Life. If someone were to copy these virtual objects into another program – what happens to these issues? If then the object comes back into Second Life but modified from another program? And…well…what about when some of the virtual objects become real, without the original creator’s consent? And…oh I’m on a roll now – with virtual worlds such as Second Life, where citizens are making real money from real businesses – well, Linden Lab can’t protect the intellectual property rights of this, can they…would they?
It seems the IP rights issued for creators in Second Life are governed by technology – the ability to protect objects from being copied technolgically. But ideas and creativity go so far beyond technological restrictions, do they not?
Mr. Wallace feels that laws of the physical world should apply to the metaverse as well. And what I think is so funny in these discussions is the assumption that we’re trying to protect the rights of the little man from being stolen from the big corporational man! Or is it just me? These programs were designed to help creators – to create, to be imaginative, to be free – when we start protecting things with an iron fist of the law (real world) and screaming out “You can’t touch this, this is mine ALL MINE!” (wow – it just dawned on me why MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This” is so popular now days) – it tends to put a damper on creativity and freedom to express oneself. If there’s absolutely anything this whole Web 2.0 movement has taught me is that you can actually trust people to create, be thoughtful and respectful at the same time. Give them the trust and they’ll give you a lovely gift economy.
I guess I’m wondering, what’s stopping the Creative Commons being involved in Second Life? I’m actually asking here! Is there really a need to go as far as the courts to deal with this issue? And does someone really have to be sued in ‘small claims court’ in order for people’s creativity to be protected as their own?
I’m very wary of the advocation to get real world courts involved in issues concerning the metaverse, but I find Second Life a difficult issue. It’s gone so far beyond any definition of a game and the protection of ‘the magic circle’, so I really can’t say if I agree with Mr. Wallace’s post or not, I just thought I’d point it out as an interesting read! But I will concur that I don’t think we can trust technology to govern such worlds! As he so cleverly puts it:

“If the focus remains on technology as enforcer of the law, then it will eventually be (as Lawrence Lessig has pointed out) the technologists who are writing the laws. Now, I’m all for technologists, don’t get me wrong. But we didn’t elect them as legislators, did we?”

Second Life

To those of you who haven’t been curious enough to enter Second Life yet – here’s a great little tour of some fabulous stuff Second Lifers have created! It’s beautiful, I must say! And they’ve even made they’re own version of Guiness; Goodness – awwwww…isn’t that sweet?!!

Taken from Pierce P. tv – there’s more machinima there if you want it!