Epoq 2.2 Center for the Study of Virtual Worlds
Dr. Anthony Curtis – UNCP Mass Communcation – 910.521.6616 – acurtis@uncp.edu
Bali Paradise temple Dragon Back Isle
A temple at Bali Paradise, a place for contemplation, reflection and renewal on Dragon Back Isle in the virtual world Second Life
What is a virtual world?

A virtual world is a computer-simulated environment inhabited by users who interact through their on-screen avatars.

Social life in the virtual world is depicted by multiple users appearing together in three-dimensional graphical scenes.

The world being simulated has real-world physical characteristics such as gravity, topography, locomotion, real-time actions, and communication.
more about virtual worlds »

Best known of the 3-D virtual-reality environments is Second Life created by the San Francisco company Linden Research Inc.
more about Second Life »

What is Second Life?

Linden Research Inc. (a.k.a. Linden Lab) brought Second Life (SL) to the Internet in 2003.

Since opening to the public in 2003, SL has grown explosively. It had 180,000 residents by April 2006. By October 2007 it was inhabited by more than 10 million people from around the real world. In March 2008, Second Life was the best known virtual-reality world with about 13 million residents.
population statistics »

Second Life is a 3D virtual reality world entirely built and owned by its residents, who are referred to as avatars. Members use their avatars, or alternate personas, to participate actively in the creation of media. Basic membership is free, although there is an advanced level called premium.

Second Life is not a game. It doesn't have points, scores, winners, losers, levels, an end-strategy, or most of the other characteristics of games. Instead, it is a semi-structured virtual environment where characters undertake social, cultural, political and economic activities for personal enjoyment, fulfillment or financial gain. Some visit Second Life to escape from RL – their real world – and have fun exploring and social internetworking, while others view Second Life as useful for education and for-profit businesses.
how to get into Second Life

What goes on in SL?

Second Life is a social networking environment – a community – with educational institutions and charities, media and art, businesses and commerce, recreation and entertainment, oceans and forests museums and libraries, historic recreations and futuristic places yet to be.

SL's more than 12 million residents build and create objects of all sorts, including clothing, shoes, hair, skin, eyes, jewelry, tools and toys, house and other kinds of buildings, cars, planes, boats and other kinds of transportation – anything you can imagine can be built and used productively in Second Life.

The residents interact with each other in the settings they compose in this user-created virtual world. SL has its own economy in which residents may own land and build on it if they wish.

A downloadable Second Life viewer – like a browser – enables residents to interact with each other through their on-screen representatives, those avatars, providing an extraordinarily advanced level of social networking combined with the general aspects of a metaverse.

A metaverse is an immersive 3D virtual-reality space – a cyberspace environment where humans interact socially and economically with each other's avatars.

Adult residents of Second Life age 18 and up can access the entire SL grid. They can move freely through tens of thousands of regions with content rated general, moderate or adult. On the other hand, residents age 16-17 have access only to the several thousand SL regions rated general, which contain content appropriate for all ages. They are not able to enter regions labeled moderate or adult. Residents age 13-15 are restricted to general lands operated by their sponsoring school or institution and are not able to enter any other regions. There is no access to the SL grid for persons under 13.

Information Resources for the Study of Virtual Worlds
Virtual Worlds Second Life Scholarly References Linden Research Inc. Real Life
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The names Second Life and Linden Lab, and the hand logo and logotype, are registered trademarks of Linden Research Inc.