Continuing on with our studies over gamification in my Emerging Instructional Technologies course, we've been asked to begin using the game Second Life to learn about virtual worlds, virtual environments, and using avatars to interact with people around me in a collaborative manner. I am a pronounced and avid gamer, however I have never played Second Life before. I've played several different role playing and multiplayer games before so I'm sure that I'll adapt quickly to the game. So far, I've been playing for a couple of hours and I think I've got the basics down. I've figured out how to move around the various worlds and easily transport being different locations. Here are some various pictures of me hanging out in Dr. Z's house, and yes there is a picture of me playing a video game where my character is playing a video game. Don't think about that too long...
So far, I've been playing for about 3 hours and I think that I have the basics down. I ended up meeting up with another student in my class, Ian, and we flew around the Iowa location. I also made a visit to a place called "Freebie Island" where I tried choosing some new clothes that I didn't have to pay for. I can see that micro-transactions are a big deal in this game. It seems like everywhere I look when I go somewhere new, there is a bunch of stuff for sale.
I will say that the big advantage and disadvantage is that the entire game is played in a browser like window that you have to install. This is good because it makes it easily accessible by players with different types of computers and graphics capabilities, but the downside is the draw distance and loading of in game objects. I've got relatively fast internet, however the connection to the servers and the amount of stuff that has to be loaded can be excruciating at times. To me, this is where the program is really showing it's age as so many massively multiplayer games have long since passed this technology.
I look forward to continuing to learn how to use Second Life and seeing how technology similar to this could potentially be used in a learning environment.