November 12, 2008

Noobish SL experience through present

[This is a guest blog post as the result of the Blogger's Mix and Match challenge. It is written by Ari Blackthorne of commonsensible.net - the topic got suggested by Zoe Connolly of aviatrix Zoe Connolly.]

I have always been interested and dabbled in photography, moving-making, sound design and the like since i can remember. Then along came the pernosal computer and I was hooked. I've owned many varients, including the Amiga.

At the time, to me, Amiga was absolutely the best platform because of it's power at three-dimentional modelling and ray-tracing abilities. The demise of the Amiga and other systems is a story for some other time, or better yet, the WIKIPEDIA.

Suffice it to say that I have been modelling in 3D and ray tracing since my first application on the Amiga, called 3D Studio, circa 1988 or so. I've been following the 3D modelling and creation business ever since.

The 3D gaming scene caught my interest with the start of "Unreal". Not so much for the gaming aspect as for the graphics artwork created. I found myself more in-tune with creating worlds and maps for Unreal.

Then, on spring of 2006, I was subscribed to a podcast that was about movie production. And one episode covered machinima and what it is. In that episode, they featured Second Life as a large platform for the creation of machinima and i had to take a look.

My first hour in SL was not the typical experience most might have. Yes, I was a newbie, but with a 3D mindset, in awe of what I was seeing,, even though I didn't know I could actually do anything yet. My first week was simply exploring, looking at all the builds.

Then I discovered how there really is no purpose to SL, other than as a social thing. So I did as most newbies do: I mapped the bundles of dot and TP's my way around. ventually making a few friends. And thus, my SL adventure started.

The first things on my mind, for about the first two months or so had mostly to do with simply exploring, makeing friends and seeing everything that was out there.I had no agenda or particualr crave for anything. In fact, I went to classes back then, to learn the building tools and tricks of buying things and basically learning all things Second Life viewer.

It wasn't until about four or five months into it before I started frequenty the seedier side of SL. That brothels and sex orgy clubs and so on. I rand around the BDSM locations and usually laughed. But hey, I figured, SL is the great experiement. not only for Linden lab, but also for the people using Second Life.

I also frequented the 'child play' cultures. I wanted to see what's up. i learned a lot and I made some friends. They really are just in it for the fun. The whole ageplay fiasco has nothing to do with them, but unfortunately, most people live on knee-jerk emotionalism.

I peeked in at other areas of the world - art, vampire cutlures, BDSM, Gor and so one. I never really got into any sort of role playing. Even when i got my first full-sized dragon avatar (that was a nightmare I'll write about sometime) - I still wasn't much into role playing.

I eventually bought a sim. It was and is relatively successful. I don;t know why i did it - I don;t even try to make any kind of profit from it. I guess it's just fun providing for other people because i'm able to do it. Nothing more than that.

I do now role play. I role play in the Gorean community and before you go rolling your eyes, please - at least read the books and you'll see it's nothing at all like you've heard about.

Now, I spend my time running a role-playing sim and dealing with drama. In the two-plus years in Sl, the "magic" is definately gone. I come into Second Life for the people I know, not Second Life's wonderful worlds. It really is become just a fancy social hangout to meet and be with people you know.

In a nutchell: Second Life was utterly magical and exciting. Thrilling. Uplifting. And now that I have been here a while, all the skeletons are plain to see. The drama, the accusations of I.P. theft, the strife and tribulations that go on among the resdients. The constant controversies.

It really is a different world. It's a lot like real life in fast-motion:

You see the world with wonder and beauty as a child. And as you grow, and gain knowledge and experience, suddenly that same world is full of deceit, danger, and headache.

But I still come don't I?

Don't you?

Ari Blackthorne
http://sociallymundane.com and http://commonsensible.net
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