Second Life, 2015 A.D.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008 Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I often read suggestions for improving Second Life, particularly related to the viewer. Things like sorting the inventory window a different way, or perhaps rearranging the buttons so that they are more usable. Good ideas, all of them. I wish those projects well and support them as much as I can.

But today we’re going to look beyond that level of change. Way beyond.

Imagine the world of 2015. You’re entering the virtual world. What might you see?

You open your browser. Yes, there is no viewer. You need only a browser to access the virtual world, and all popular browsers have the required 3D plug-ins. You poke a bookmark that invokes the plug-in and starts up the virtual world.

It’s not exactly Second Life you are entering, either. Yes, Second Life sims are still around, but they’re only a small part of the InterGrid. The InterGrid now contains more than 10,000,000 sims, most of which are operated independently of Linden Lab.

You rez in your own sim. It’s one you’ve been renting from a big-name SSP (Sim Service Provider) for the low price of USD$15 per month. There’s no one else here at the moment. And why should they be, when the InterGrid now contains so many sims?

You decide to go for Full Immersion, which is the latest interface technique. You slip on a very light jacket that is covered with sensors on the arms and torso. Next, you gently place an unusual set of glasses on your face; they detect the proximity of your face and turn on automatically. Suddenly your sight changes to a true high-definition view of your sim. The startlingly clear scene shifts very precisely as you turn your head left and right.

And it’s a true three-dimension view. Far away things appear to be actually distant. You feel as if you could reach out and touch close-by items.

A calendar item pulses with a soft glow at the edge of your vision. It shows there is an event you intend on attending tonight, but of course you need a different outfit. Some things just won’t change, ever.

But how do you put on the new outfit? First, you call up your inventory, but not in the way you do today. Instead you lift your arm, which directly controls your avatar’s arm. You see your virtual hand rise up and touch a HUD-like button, which swiftly and smoothly expands into an inventory window.

The inventory window is a list, but much improved over today’s inventory as icons provide an instantaneous recognition of each item. Your finger touches an item and drags it down, causing the list to scroll, somewhat reminiscent of iPhone scrolling. You stop on a folder containing a good outfit.

You reach into the inventory and grab the folder by closing your fingers around it, and you pull it towards your chest.

The instant your hand touches your chest, the outfit is worn, rezzing instantly. The outfit, containing more than 48,000 prims is truly immaculate, but not unusual as outfits go in 2015. All these prims are sculpties, each uniquely shaped by a generator used by the maker. More than that, the shapes are automatically subtlety different each time they rez, so that no outfits are truly identical.  

Having completed your change of clothes, you are now ready to attend the event.

To be continued in part 2.

1 comments:

radar said...

Interesting ideas, and no doubt a lot of them are things being moved towards, but I only have one issue here: the date. 2015. SL's been around since 2003, so that's 5 years, and look at the snail pace of progress.

Granted, more companies are working on this and open standards for VW's are emerging, but it will take time. Lots of time, if history is any indication.

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