Monday, October 18, 2010

Avatar Update

It's been very difficult for me to get used to Second Life. I've been pining for that overarching vision and artistic cohesiveness you find in other games (Well, okay, this isn't a game). So many sims have the same look and feel, jumbling together objects bought from artists of varying skill. I've found a handful of beautiful sims, but even those spaces are marred by the ubiquitous venders and advertising. And most of what I've experienced boils down to sight-seeing. Is Second Life all about looking? Looking at architecture, shops, avatars? Taking snapshots in virtual spaces?

I've realized that my interest in virtual worlds lies in authoring experiences for other players - to share with people a vision that's entirely mine. And while Second Life provides a platform and a potential audience, I feel constrained by the choices made by it's developers when they created this framework.

All the same, I suppose it's as good a starting place as any. For my final, I want to play with ideas I've had about connecting online communities to the real world, with an emphasis on environmental simulations. I want to put users in the bodies of other organisms, and to taylor the playing environment to promote awareness of certain biological and ecological issues. My home is in the Pacific Northwest, so I'm considering a focus on repairing urban salmon runs. Not entirely sure, however.

Because of this interest, I've been pushing myself to learn Maya and other programs that can import data into Second Life, to try and get the most out of the visuals. I've got the general theory behind building and animating avatars, but actually modeling and importing sculpted prims has been extremely frustrating. This past week, I tried to model a canine head in Maya (as practice for doing tutorials, and to make a new avatar). But trying to upload it as a sculpt-map failed, and I'm not sure why. It might be because I used polygons instead of nurbs. I really hope not....

On the other side of things, I plan to continue exploring Second Life. However, I want to branch out and find sims that aren't just pretty to look at. I want to try socializing with other users and seeking out sims that mimic different kinds of game-play. I need to see what's possible in that arena.

No comments:

Post a Comment