Very early in my Second Life experience, an IBM colleague asked me “So, are you dreaming about SL yet?” Ha, harumpf, of course not, I replied. Now, of course, I sometimes do and so do many others to whom I’ve asked the same question. You are not alone.
This really shouldn’t be all that strange, because dreaming is really virtual and based on your experiences and your imagination. You do things in dreams that you couldn’t or wouldn’t do in real life. Sound familiar?
A serious side of all this is knowing how much of your SL experience to make as RL as possible and how much should you allow the programming magic of the virtual world infrastructure let you do otherwise impossible things. I touched on this briefly in my last note in this series as it concerns building business office space for your virtual team members.
If you do more adventurous things in SL, you can and probably have figured out where you personally draw the line between what resembles real life behavior, ethics, and actions, and where you let the magic and separation from your physical identity take hold.
On my way to the airport today I saw a truck that was labeled “Warm Water for Your Pool.” In the first second this seemed reasonable, warm pool water is good in the very cold northeastern United States. In SL you can buy or make things that have persistent properties, so why not permanently warm water! Presumably this service allows you to save on the heating bills of bringing initially cold water up to a swimmable temperature, but I’m still not sure I would bet a lot on that business model in RL. I mean, presumably people only get it once and then heat the water themselves. I hope so, in any case.
While SL does have money and it does have objects with various more or less dynamic properties, it has no sense of temperature. It does have the notion of health so that in the warfare areas you can be sent home to be rejuvenated when your health drops to zero. It does not have the facility for built in obsolescence for objects. Would you buy things for less money if they wore out in SL after a certain period? There are other similar examples.
These ideas are not specific to SL and do or do not exist in many kinds of games, both online and offline. I would bet in the future that the common virtual experience will be far more sophisticated than it is today with respect to all these sorts of external factors that can affect your health, your possessions, and your experience. It may or not be a future version of SL, because we’re only at the beginning of the adoption of these technologies. (I’m aware of the great popularity of online games like WoW, but I still assert that we’re only at the start of the virtual or 3D Internet.)
What do you think?