Saturday, August 25, 2007

Economy and Linden $

Second Life has its own economy and a currency referred to as Linden Dollars (L$). Residents regularly create new goods and services, and buy and sell them in the Second Life virtual world. There are also currency exchanges where Residents can exchange US$ or other real world currencies for L$. Though the exchange rate fluctuates, as of February 2007 it is reasonably stable at around L$ 270 to one US dollar.These exchanges are open markets, except that Linden Lab sometimes sells or buys Linden dollars to attempt to keep the exchange rate relatively stable. A small percentage of Residents derive net incomes from this economy, ranging from a few hundred to several thousand US$ per month, while a larger percentage derive a gross income large enough to offset most of their expenditures in L$. The currency has become the subject of concern in economic circles in regard to possible taxation.

Features of the virtual world

Residents and avatars:
Residents are the users of Second Life, and their appearance is their avatar (often abbreviated to av, avi or avie). The basic avatar is human in appearance, but avatars may be of either sex, have a wide range of physical attributes, and may be clothed or otherwise customized to produce a wide variety of humanoid and other forms. Avatars may be completely creative or can be made to resemble the person whom they represent. A single person may have multiple accounts, and thus appear to be multiple Residents (a person's multiple accounts are referred to as alts). However, the use of additional accounts requires the Resident to register them and pay a small fee, though after May 2006, there is no verification process preventing users from creating multiple "first" accounts using false information, a common practice.Also, a single Resident's appearance in Second Life can vary dramatically at will, as avatars are easily modified.
Communication in SL:
Within Second Life, there are two main methods of text-based communication: local chat, and global "instant messaging" (known as IM). Chatting is used for public localized conversations between two or more avatars, and can be "heard" within 20 m. Avatars can also 'shout' ('audible' within 96 m) and 'whisper' ('audible' within 10 m). IM is used for private conversations, either between two avatars, or between the members of a group. Unlike chatting, IM communication does not depend on the participants being within a certain distance of each other. As of version, voice chat is also avalible on the main grid using technology licenced by Vivox, a provider of similar services to other MMO worlds.
Moving In SL:
The most basic method of moving around is by foot (also running and jumping). To travel more rapidly, avatars can also fly up to about 170 m above the terrain (meaning 270 m if ground level is 100 m, 180 m if ground level is set to 10 m) without requiring any special equipment, and with scripted attachments there is currently no limit to how high an avatar can fly (although once past several thousand meters, the rendering of the avatar mesh starts to be affected).
Avatars can also ride in vehicles; many vehicles are available—there is a basic go-kart contained in the object library and there are many Resident-made vehicles available freely and for purchase including helicopters, submarines and hot-air balloons. Airborne vehicles can fly up to about 4000 m high (the maximum altitude allowed for any object).

For instantaneous travel, avatars can teleport (commonly abbreviated to "TP") directly to a specific location. An avatar can create a personal landmark (often called an LM) at their current location, and then teleport back to that location at any time, or give a copy of the landmark to another avatar. There's also a map window that allows direct teleportation anywhere.

There are some external websites that allow Residents to locate each other from outside of the virtual world, and allows external links through the Second Life World Map to locations in-world.

Second life for businesses

A short clip illustrating how companies can use Second Life to improve both internal and external communications

Second life - A good Introductory video

Introduction to Second life. Meant as an explanation for people from the business world not as familiar with virtual worlds, or second life.

How to join Second life ?

1. Log on to
2. Choose a name. (At present, last names are chosen from a predetermined list.)
3. Enter the other requested information.
4. All that's needed is a valid email address, to confirm you aren't a bot. You can get 250 Linden Dollars if you tell them a valid credit card number, though.

First Basic account is FREE, and includes access to events, shopping, building, scripting- everything you can do in Second Life. After your first free Basic Account, each Additional Basic Account (known in-world as an "alt" account) costs a one-time fee of $9.95.

What is Second Life and what is Linden Lab?

Second Life, shortened by most to “SL”, is an online virtual world where anybody with a broadband connection and a reasonably powerful computer can interact, create, educate, play, and work in a graphically-rich 3D environment. It is an immersive space where you interact with your surroundings and other people through an avatar (a representation of a human, or non-human, being) that walks, flies or drives around.
Second Life is a 3-D metaverse (beyond the physical universe) or open-ended platform for communication, socializing, creativity, prototyping, gaming, entertainment, business, non-profit work -- and more.

This software and online interactive environment is not the game you may be used to from The Sims Online or World of Warcraft, although it has some of the same features and you can play various games within it and with it. It is big enough so that you can take it very seriously and make a real income from it, yet small enough so that you can always pull away and say "it's only a game".

Linden Lab is the company that created and maintains Second Life. Lindens are the employees of Second LIfe. "Lindens" is also the name of the game currency.