Second Life and Beyond

slipperhangingAI and Robotics

Nov 14, 2013 (3 years and 7 months ago)

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Second Life and Beyond


What is Virtual World


Second Life


How Second Life Works


Business in Second Life


Research in Second Life


Problem with Second Life


Other Virtual Worlds


OpenSimulator


Wonderland


Summary

2



A
virtual world

is a computer
-
based simulated
environment intended for its users to inhabit and
interact via
avatars
.


-

Wikipedia

3


Virtual world evolves from:


Social Networks



Online Games


World of Warcraft
: a very popular
massively multiplayer online role
-
playing game (MMOG) that takes
place in a
fantasy virtual world
.



Simulations

4


Besides
World of Warcraft
, there are also more
realistic virtual worlds, which do not focus on
gaming.



These virtual worlds can be used for:


C
ommunication


Business


Education


Social Networking

5


Second Life is the most popular non
-
gaming virtual
world right now.



Statistics:
(
source
)


User
-
to
-
User transactions

in 2009 totaled US$567 million in
2009, growth of 65% over 2008.


The total amount of
virtual currency in circulation

reached
L$6.95 billion, growth of 23% over December 2008. (1$ ≈
270L$)


Residents spent 481 million hours in Second Life in 2009, 21%
growth over 2008



Monthly Repeat Logins

reached an all
-
time high of 769,000 in
December 2009, 15% growth over December 2008

6


Users download the Second Life
client

to enter
the virtual world.

7


Client/Server Architecture


Server:

Like web server, stores all
the information (avatar, object,
finance, land) about Second Life
and deals with all the requests.
All servers are hosted at Linden
Lab



Client:

An open
-
source 3D
virtual world viewer that renders
the graphics to users.

Internet

Server@Linden Lab

Clients

8


All the objects and activities in Second Life are
created by its residents.



Residents have different tools within Second Life:


Communication tools


Text Communication


Chat (Public)


Instant Messaging (Private)


Voice Chat


Using Gestures and Animations

9


Transportation tools


Walk/Fly in a region


Teleport to other regions




Build tools


3D Primitives Building


Linden Scripting Language


Texture, Sound and

Animation Import

10


Second Life currency: Linden Dollar (L$)





1 US$ ≈ 260 L$



L$

can be used both on Web or in the virtual
world.

11


Business Opportunities


Selling virtual goods (C2C,
B2C, B2B)


Building communities


Customer support


Training & research


Public relation


Marketing

12


Despite the economic crisis around world, business
in Second Life ,including user
-
to
-
user transaction
(lower
-
left figure), and virtual store sales (lower
-
right
figure), has been growing steadily.

13


Real companies in Second Life

14


The burgeoning of Second Life has attracted
researchers from various fields. Interesting research
questions are raised in disciplines across
business
,

education

and

social sciences
.
(
Messinger
,
Stroulia
, et al.
2009)



Business domain:


Strategy:

How can virtual worlds like Second Life support
themselves? By single up
-
front fee, periodic subscription fee,
advertising or virtual product sales?



Marketing:

How should an avatar agent’s appearance be designed?



Organizational Issues:

Can virtual workspace improve group
productivity?

15


Education domain:


How can virtual worlds be used for education and distance
learning?



What topics are particularly suitable for classes in virtual worlds?



Will most Internet learning evolve to use virtual reality
technologies?



Social sciences domain:


Sociology:

Do behaviors and attitudes learned in virtual worlds
affect behaviors and attitudes in the real world? How? In particular,
do virtual worlds influence attitudes toward violence, sexuality, and
conservatism?



Psychology:

What are people’s motivation within virtual worlds?

16


Though most research on virtual worlds are still at infancy, we
see several existing research that have addressed some of the
questions.



Education


Franceschi
, Lee, et al. (2009) conducted experiments in three learning
environments:


Traditional classrooms


Text
-
based e
-
learning


3D virtual world.


The experiment results show that virtual classroom in Second Life is a
better learning environment than text
-
based e
-
learning.



Lester and King (2009) did experiments to compare the average grades
between two classes of students, with one class taught
face
-
to
-
face

and
the other in
Second Life
. The findings show that face
-
to
-
face learning
results in a slightly higher average grades: 84/100 compared to 80/100.


17


Sociology & Psychology


Yee (2006A, 2006B)

studied the
motivation of people playing
massive multi
-
player online role
-
playing games
(MMORPGs) and
virtual worlds. Based on his study, user motivation consists of five
factors:
achievement
,
relationship
,
immersion
,
escapism
, and
manipulation
.



Yee and
Bailenson

(2007) used experiments to show the
Proteus
effect
, which states that individuals’ behavior conforms to their
digital self
-
representation independent of how others perceive
them.



Yee,
Bailenson
, et al. (2007) and Friedman, Steed, et al. (2007)
studied the nonverbal communication (NVC) in social interaction
among Second Life residents. Both research shed light on how
social norms evolve from real world to virtual world.

18


During the past two years, Second Life did not gain its
popularity as expected (compared to
Facebook

and
Twitter). Some companies even began to close their virtual
companies in Second Life. We can see there are several
problems with Second Life, and all other virtual worlds:


High system requirements



few personal computers can run
Second Life client smoothly.



High learning curve



May be difficult for people new to 3D
environments. And the object creation techniques is extremely
difficult to manage.



Little integration with Web



Though there are websites selling
virtual products, we see little application that utilize the power of
both Second Life and Web 2.0.

19


There are several open source projects that provide
people the chance to host their own virtual world.
Among them, two projects have gain some success:


OpenSimulator (OpenSim)

(
http://opensimulator.org/
): a C#
based 3D application server that emulates the protocols of
Second Life. With OpenSimulator users can build a small scale
Second Life
-
like virtual world.



Wonderland

(
http://www.projectwonderland.com/
): a Java
based virtual world server that is undergoing fastest
development. It supports
more operation
between virtual
world client and other programs running on users’ computer.
Users can drag “anything” from their computer to create virtual
objects in Wonderland.

20


Why having other virtual worlds?


Scalability:
While Second Life is a world
-
wide virtual world, sometimes
people may only need a small
-
scale virtual world, whose settings can be
freely adjusted per users’ request.



Accessibility:

These virtual worlds also allow data to be stored on local
servers. Hence there is no access problem for a virtual world deployed in
a local network, as many companies enforce strict network access
policies.



Confidentiality:

As 3D application server and databases are hosted
entirely on local machines, instead of on Linden Lab’s servers, there is no
risk of leaking confidential data when using these small virtual worlds.



Cost
-
effective:

The cost of setting up these open source virtual worlds
are far less than buying lands from Second Life. So these virtual worlds
are more favorable for education and research purposes.

21


Who is using OpenSim and Wonderland?


IBM released
Lotus
Sametime

3D
last year, which is a collaboration
product based on OpenSim. It targets at large organizations
needing integration with other Lotus products and corporate
LDAP directories. Current customers of Lotus
Sametime

3D
includes
Northeastern University
,
Northcentral

Technical College
,
and
Raytheon.



ReactionGrid

provides OpenSim hosting and maintenance
services. It also created tools to facilitate region building for
users. Current customers of
ReactionGrid

includes Intel, Microsoft
and the American Cancer Society.



The
MediaGrid

Immersive Education Initiative led by Boston
University is doing cutting
-
edge experiments in
Wonderland

for
learning purposes.

22

23

Screenshot of OpenSimulator

24

Screenshot of Wonderland


As of today, Second Life is the most popular and most commercialized
virtual world. It is most representative of the status quo of virtual
worlds.



OpenSim

has been widely adopted by companies to develop virtual
world
-
based communication and collaboration tools.



Wonderland is more widely adopted for education purposes.



It is expected that in near future, Second Life,
OpenSim

and
Wonderland regions will be interconnected, allowing avatars to teleport
freely among regions hosted under different technologies.


This breakthrough will transform virtual worlds into a “Web”, where every company
or organization can host their own virtual world regions.



Virtual world client can serve as a web browser to direct users surfing within the
“Web” of virtual worlds.

25


Franceschi
, K., R. M. Lee, et al. (2009). "Engaging Group E
-
Learning in Virtual Worlds."
Journal of Management Information Systems 26(1): 73
-
100.


Friedman, D., A. Steed, et al. (2007). Spatial social behavior in second life Intelligent virtual
agents 2007 Springer
-
Verlag



Lester, P. M. and C. M. King (2009). "Analog vs. Digital Instruction and Learning: Teaching
Within First and Second Life Environments." Journal of Computer
-
Mediated
Communication 14: 457
-
483.


Messinger
, P. R., E.
Stroulia
, et al. (2009). "Virtual world
-

past, present, and future: New
directions in social computing." Decision Support Systems 47: 204
-
228.


Yee, N. (2006A). "The Demographics, Motivations, and Derived Experiences of Users of
Massively Multi
-
User Online Graphical Environments." PRESENCE:
Teleoperators

and Virtual
Environments 15: 309
-
329.


Yee, N. (2006B). "Motivations for Play in Online Games."
CyberPsychology

& Behavior 9(6).


Yee, N. and
Bailenson
, J. N. (2007). "The Proteus Effect: The Effect of Transformed Self
-
Representaion

on Behavior." Human Communication Research 33: 271
-
290.


Yee, N.,
Bailenson
, J. N., et al. (2007). "The Unbearable Likeness of Being Digital: The
Persistence of Nonverbal Social Norms in Online Virtual Environments." The Journal of
CyberPsychology

and Behavior 10: 115
-
121.


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