Month: March 2018

MUV601 Assignment 2 – Participating in a Community

When I was looking for a group to join, I wasn’t too sure what to look for, because of this I decided that I would look for a group that was primarily for new users of Second Life. After having a quick search I saw a group called NCI, or New Citizens Incorporated and I thought it looked perfect! So I decided to join.

The Purpose of New Citizens Incorporated (NCI)

As indicated by the name, NCI is mostly directed towards residents that are new to Second Life. NCI aims to provide a comfortable space that new residents can visit in order to learn the ropes of Second Life. NCI also want to provide a social environment for old and new residents alike, in the hopes that older residents will share their knowledge with newer residents, by providing areas that avatars can socialize such as a dance floor and seating areas, plus the various games that users can play together.

First Interaction

Upon my first visit to NCI, I had a walk around the main island, having a look at what was around to help new users out with their Second Life journey. The main things I noticed were the FAQ Billboard, the Freebie walls, the Tutorial room and… most importantly, the dancefloor!

FAQ Billboard


This billboard is designed to answer the 19 most common questions that new Second Life residents have about how to use Second Life and the various features that it has to offer.

Freebies Walls


NCI has a wide range of freebies for new users of Second Life, ranging from clothing and furniture to textures and even entire buildings! naturally, I decided to help myself to all the free stuff I could get my hands on.

Tutorial Room


I had a wander around here and looked at the various boards that have a lot of information that would be very useful to new users, although, much of it I already knew thanks to Isa and playing with the controls myself, but it was fun to look around and read each board.



The main event for this interaction was by far the dance floor! NCI has an AWESOME dancing script, simply touch the disco ball and you’re off throwing down some moves, plus you have 35 (yes 35!!) pages of different dance moves that you can do, I had a play with many of them and my Avatar, being dressed as the all too famous Batman, cause a stir with the other dancers, many of them happy to say hello, I even struck up a conversation with one of them who agreed to meet with me the next day to take part in the NCI Easter Race!


Second Interaction


So, the next day I showed up to take part in the NCI East Race, however, the person that had agreed to take part with me was a no-show, but I decided to give it a go anyway since it is still a group event!

I entered the booth and signed myself up, which gave a HUD that showed me the course and where to go, next I walked to the side of the booth and selected my vehicle, a pretty cool Race Kart!

So I started on my way, and I saw some pretty colourful attractions on the side of the road, like this cool area below.


Unfortunately, my internet connection began to play up shortly after starting the race so I started having rendering issues and, in the end, I landed myself in the middle of a lake! This meant that I had to leave the race early, much to my disappointment.



Rendering Issues – The Road wasn’t rendering!


Landing at the bottom of the lake ='(

However, determined to finish the race, I went back later, this time using the DeLorean instead, and I got my time on the list, I didn’t quite reach the leaderboard, though, perhaps I need more practice!




MUV601 Assignment 2 – Protecting Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property – “Intangible property that is the result of creativity.” (Google, 2018)

By this definition, Second Life is filled with intellectual property of all different kinds, in fact, the entire grid is made of sims that are the result of thousands of different peoples creativity and skill, there is a marketplace bursting with virtual clothing, hairstyles, tattoos and complete avatars, a lot of which are sold for Linden Dollars, many of these creators make their living off these creations so they need a way to protect their creations and, in turn, protect their income, so following on from my previous post, the permissions system helps them to do just that.

How the Permissions System Helps to Protect Intellectual Property

As discussed in the last post, the permissions system allows the creator to choose what other users can do with, or how they can interact with, their various creations. This is important when it comes to protecting their intellectual property.

For example, an item that a creator is selling in the marketplace for L$ 1,000, the creator would disable the ability to copy this item because they would not want one person to buy it and then give away free copies, along with this, the creator may disable to transfer permission so that the purchaser cannot give or sell the item to anyone else, that way, if another user wants one, they would need to purchase their own.

Similar could be said about creators who publically display their items for advertisement, or creators who have unique decorations in their sim that they don’t want elsewhere on the grid, the creators can disable the move permission so other users cannot mess around with the location of their items and they can disable the copy permission so they other users can look at their creations but not take copies of them or export them to other platforms or places.

These permissions can also work the other way, allowing the creator to give their creations away freely for other users to do whatever they please with them. Overall, the permission system provides creators with the flexibility to protect their intellectual property however they see fit. In essence, the permissions system provides other users with an idea of the “license” that the creator intended to place on their items.


What is CopyBot?

Going by the definition in this wiki, “A CopyBot is any Second Life client which has the ability to export items without any permissions checks.” (Caspertech, 2014) This is the best way to describe a CopyBot that I have found.

Linden Lab actually inadvertently brought about the development of the first malicious version(s) of CopyBot by releasing the source code of a debugging tool they had initially designed as a legitimate backup tool for Second Life that included permission checks. From their, the source code was modified to completely ignore the permissions of objects and, therefore, allow the CopyBot user to export objects that they do not actually have permissions to export.

How Can it be Used?

The original purpose of this tool was to use it as a legitimate backup tool that took creations and allowed them to be re-uploaded to Second Life or uploaded to a different grid, therefore, a user *could* use a CopyBot to take legitimate backups, however, this functionality is already built into most legitimate viewers with the exception that the legitimate viewers will honor the permissions system.

Now, most CopyBot viewers will ignore the permissions system, that means users can use these viewers to steal other peoples creations, without them knowing. CopyBot can be used to steal almost anything, from Avatars, Animations, Clothing, and Gestures, to Prim items, Sculptie items, and Mesh creations, one of the only things that CopyBot cannot be used to steal are Scripts and that is due to the nature of how CopyBot viewers work.

Users sometimes attempt to use this to steal creations with the intention of trying to sell them as their own, others use this to steal items for personal use without having to pay for them. In my eyes, either one is wrong.

How Should it be Used?

In my opinion, only the inbuilt functionality of official viewers should be used, this can be used as a way of exporting your own creations for backup and potential use in other virtual worlds if you want. As for the malicious viewers, I believe that they should not be used and, as per the Linden Lab terms, anyone caught using them will have their account banned.

Ways Creators Can Protect (Or Open Up) Their Creations

Creators should familiarise themselves with the permissions system in Second Life and make full use of it to protect their creations how they see fit, however, at the moment, there is no real way to prevent someone from using CopyBot to steal another person’s creations, the only real defence to that particular threat is for creators to take a pro-active approach and monitor the Second Life Marketplace for replicas of their creations, and keep a lookout in world for anyone that they think is not a legitimate owner.

If a creator sees a Marketplace listing selling copies of their creation(s) they can file an Intellectual Property Infringement Notification to Linden Lab under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to have them investigate the Copyright infringement and remove the illegal content from Second Life.

Another option for creators is to apply one of the open, Copyleft, forms of licensing to their creations, such as a Creative Commons (CC) License or a General Public License (GNU), this would, however, mean that copies of their creations must be given away freely so creators following this route would not be able to make profit selling their creations, but the license would protect their intellectual property by ensuring that they receive proper recognition for their work.

MUV601 Assignment 2 – Permissions System

Second Life gives its users the ability to create some amazing things, from islands and buildings to clothing and even complete characters! This is all a form of intellectual property and, like any intellectual property, there needs to be a way to protect it, particularly when many users create content to be sold on the Second Life Market Place for Linden Dollars.

This is where the permissions system comes in (which I cover more about in my Intelectual Property post) Second Life has various permissions that can be applied to content and there are various reasons to use them, the main ones are Move, Modify, Copy, Transfer, and Export.


This permission, as the name suggests, controls whether the movement of an object is allowed by other users or not. It is useful to disable movement on things like landscape objects (such as rocks and trees), buildings, and decorations.


This permission controls whether or not other users may modify an object by changing the size, shape, texture or any other parameters of the design. It also controls whether or not other users can delete an object. This applies particularly to the “Next Owner”, you would use this to prevent the modification of things you sell in the marketplace or to allow your group to modify a collaborative group object.


Copy applies either to “Anyone” or only to “Next Owner”, either way, the copied item always retains the permissions of the original.

When applied to “Anyone” it means if you place an item in-world with this permission, any user that see’s it can take as many copies of it as they like. You might use the copy permission like this for an in-world giveaway or something similar.

When applied to “Next Owner” it determines whether or not someone with the item in possession can make additional copies, this is important to use when selling items in the marketplace, enable this if you want the purchaser to be able to make multiple copies of the item, such as on a decoration item, or if they can only have one, such as an expensive clothing item.


This permission is again for the “Next Owner”. This permission controls whether or not a user can give the item to another user or sell the item on. This would be important to apply correctly (set to no transfer) to items that you are selling in the marketplace as you do not want the items that you are selling to be re-sold by another user. You would want transfer enabled on things like notecards that you want people to be sharing around or to group items that you want to be shared quickly with the entire group.


Export is a special permission, this is only available to the creator of an object, even if an object is copied with full permissions to another user, the other user will still not have permission to export the object. This permission allows the creator to export an object from Second Life for use elsewhere, such as in OpenSim or another virtual world. You might use this if you wanted to build a local sim on and use buildings or an avatar that you have created in Second Life.

If you attempt to export an object that you have only partially created, such as an object that uses someone elses scripts, or textures that someone else gave you, or prims that are not your own, these parts of the object will not be exported, leaving the object incomplete.

MUV601 Assignment 2 – Second Life Community Standards



Second Life is free to join and use, it is open to the world and it is a community, as such, there are basic rules, known as the Community Standards, that Linden Labs have created, these can be read on the official document.

The Six (Eight) Standards

As of August 10, 2017, Linden Lab has eight Community Standards that every resident of Second Life (and Sansar) must abide by, they are listed and described below.


This standard is about equality, it is to ensure that users of any race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation or religious view can use Second Life and express these qualities without any fear of judgment, abuse or harassment from other users for being who they are.


Harassment – “aggressive pressure or intimidation.” (Google, 2018)

There are many ways that users could possibly harras other users in Second Life and nobody enjoys being on the receiving end of it, so this standard is in place to make Second Life more enjoyable and ensures that users can safely engage with others.


Outside the confines of “Safe Zones”, users are able to push and even shoot other avatars! This standard is in place to prevent users from overdoing it, repeatedly targetting another users avatar or just doing either act to diminish the other user’s enjoyment of their experience.

Invasion of Personal Space/Comfort Zones

I believe this standard was brought in mostly for Sansar users viewing the world through a VR Headset, this is because, from their perspective, the idea of personal space would feel much more real opposed to looking at avatars on a screen.

Regardless, this standard is to ensure that users do not intentionally invade the space of other users, by standing too close and refusing to move or following another avatar too closely, this also ties in with the Harassment standard.

Inappropriate Content

Despite the fact that the Second Life Marketplace quite often looks like a softcore p*** site or an adult boutique, even when you try to omit those results by filtering out content labeled moderate and adult, there are standards around this kind of thing while in-world.

There are three levels of content, General, Moderate and Adult. To abide by this standard, all adult actions and content must be kept confined to areas marked as “Adult”, bringing these outside of these areas is a breach of this standard, this is because Second Life has a wide user base of many ages and beliefs, and not everyone wants to be part of these actions or view this content.

This standard also relates to other forms of inappropriate content, such as content containing illegality, cruel or harmful content, or violent and graphic content. The guidelines for this can be read on the Linden Lab website.


This standard relates to users privacy, this standard ensures that you do not disclose personal information about other users without their consent. This could be information they have given you or information you have from knowing the user in real life. Examples of this would be a user’s real name, where they live in real life or their gender. This is so that Second Life users, just like in the real world, can be in control of what information about themselves they chose to share with others, giving them the privacy that they deserve.

Disturbing the Peace/Global Attacks

This standard is similar to the real laws around this, however, it also takes into account the functionalities of Second Life, this is in place so that all users can have an enjoyable experience without any user performing in a way that diminishes their experience, such as scripts that cause a server slow down, or an example I read online where a disruptive resident wrecked an island by rezing massive red towers all over it and disrupting all the residents.

There are other forms of disrupting the peace including spamming the chat functions or spamming advertising but the purpose of this standard is to ensure that all residents can enjoy a peaceful experience on Second Life.


This standard is to ensure that users do not try to claim they are someone they are not, one example of this is impersonating a Linden Lab employee to exert power over other residents. This standard also branches out to cover claiming credit for other users creations.

Why I Think They Were Created

Like any community or world, laws are required to prevent people from running rampant and causing chaos. I believe these standards have been created out of necessity to ensure that all users of Second Life are given equal opportunity to enjoy their experience the way they want to.

How I Intend on Abiding by the Standards

In my opinion, most of these standards are either common sense or common courtesy and respect, they are the type of things that we would (or should) generally abide by in real life so I don’t see any reason why it would be any different on Second Life.

Granted, I have had one wardrobe malfunction during a lecture with Isa, but in general, my approach to ensuring that I do not violate the community standards is simply to use my common sense, use common courtesy and be respectful of others, as I already do in real life.

What to do if Someone Else is Breaching the Standards

Despite the fact that these standards are in place, it is inevitable that there will be some users who do not respect them and commit acts that violate one or more of the standards. If this is the case then users who witness this abuse have the option to report the abuse to Linden Lab for investigation, this is done by either:

  • Using the Report Abuse dialog in the Help menu
  • Report the user directly by right-clicking on their avatar and selecting the report option
  • Report an object by right-clicking the object and selecting the report option

Report Abuse option location in Firestorm Viewer


Report Abuse Dialog


Report Object in Firestorm Viewer

By filing an Abuse Report, the user will send all the details of the violation to Linden Lab for one their representatives to investigate. Once investigated, if Linden Lab verified the violation they will enforce consequences.

In most cases, first-time offenders will be issued a warning (depending on the severity of the violation) but repeat or serious offenders may have their account or accounts suspended or even permanently terminated.

MUV601 Assignment 1 – MUVE Locations – Unique Breedables

Why I Chose it

I was searching on the Second Life website for recommended destinations and Unique Breedables came up, I was immediately intrigued as I had no idea that you could buy animals in Second Life and I wanted to check it out!

What Functionality/Interactivity it Provides


This area is actually the main storefront for the Unique Breedables business, therefore, the primary purpose of this area is to allow you to browse their selection and purchase “Breedables”, along with their required extras, such as food and accessories.

Unfortunately, I do not have any Linden Dollars (L$) and I do not plan on purchasing any so I was just a window shopper in this “store”, however, I had a good look at this area and there were many “pens” containing monkies of different breeds and there were quite a few others that were just empty, stating that they were up for rent.

I also found that Unique Breedables hold auctions and, looking at their website, they are held every weekend with extra events happening every now and then. Next to the auction stand was there was also a Greedy Greedy Table, which is a dice game you can play with two to eight players and Unique Breedables are keeping a high score table.

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How it Looks, How it is Built and How Much Scripting There Seems to be

I think this area looks really nice, it is divided into what appears to be a number of different “pens” which are “holding” the Breedables, in each “pen” there is typically either trees or a climbing structure, or both, and around each pen are the barrels that each breedable can be purchased in.

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Looking around the area it seems that there has been a lot of prim building in this area, however, there is also a fair amount of mesh, I believe that many of the trees have been built with mesh and the Breedables themselves. As you can see in the comparison below with wireframe picture of one of the pens.


Normal Rendering


Same area in Wireframe

I also had a closer look at one of the UB Gorillas and this cool torch that I found.


Torch with Particle Script


Looking at the make-up of a UB Gorilla

Aside from the complexity that I am sure goes into the Breedables, and although there is a lot of volume of scripts, there is a lot of repetition so I would class this area as not having a great deal of scripting, and most of the scripts here relate to purchasing Breedables, Breedable related items or renting a “pen”.

How it Compares to Others

I have not explored much of Second Life, outside of Koru, Sweet Serenity Estates and the areas that Isa (Aaron) has taken us, but so far this area is nothing like I have seen before, mostly because it contains animals that are for sale, but they are also on display and wondering about their “pens”, however, I am sure there are far more amazing builds around (such as the Realm of Light and The Junkyard) and I will potentially find some of them, but regardless, by the time I finish the MUV601 course I will have only explored a tiny drop of the ocean that is Second Life.

What my Impressions of it are

Although it is very small and there’s not much to do, I found this area really interesting, the idea of buying animals in Second Life is quite strange but, as this is a virtual life people would undoubtedly want virtual pets! and the plus side of virtual worlds is you can have anything, including a massive gorilla!

It was also really cool to see the different attributes of the animals including the really… interesting fur colours, there were even monkies with fire for fur! Overall, I am really happy that I chose to come to this area and learn more about the idea of Breedables.

MUV601 Assignment 1 – MUVE Locations – Sweet Serenity Estates

Why I Chose it

I decided to check out the Sweet Serenity Estates because I am personally a fan of traditional Japanese architecture and I thought it would be cool to see how people have created Japanese style culture and structures inside Second Life.

What Functionality/Interactivity it Provides

To me, the Sweet Serenity Estates feels like an area for people to visit and relax, it provides so many places to just sit and soak in some beautiful scenery, but it also provides visitors with many places to walk and admire the craftsmanship of the builders, there are even places to stop and eat! however, this is, as the name suggests, a location where residents of Second Life can rent land parcels (estates) to build their homes.

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How it Looks, How it is Built and How Much Scripting There Seems to be


Japanese Style Bridge with Ghost Lanterns

As shown in the pictures above, this area is absolutely stunning to look at, it contains many elements of a peaceful and tranquil Japanese township. There are Japanese style buildings, gardens, and decorations, I looked for a long time and could not find anything that seemed out of place. I really feel that this area has been crafted wonderfully.


Japanese Garden


Sumo Wrestling Ring


A closer look at the architecture, and the lantern

When looking into how the environment has been built, there is a mixture of some prim but mostly mesh items, most of the buildings are mesh and many of the objects are as well, however, there are a few items that have been made with prims, such as the lantern above.


Looking at the properties of a bridge made with Prims


A complex mesh sculpture of a Samurai

Looking around, the most commonly found scripts involved sitting, lots of sitting! Almost all of them allowed for multiple poses while sitting on various objects, there were also scripts for bowing to shrines and one interesting script showed which of the important users of the area were online and another was similar to our land impact counter back on Koru, however, it gives the user the information in chat.

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How it Compares to Others

So far I have only very briefly explored the areas that Isa (Aaron) has taken us to and therefore I do not have much to compare this to. However, from what I have seen, this is a really well-constructed area with a good balance, it’s not too busy and looks really good.

The Sweet Serenity Estate is not an area for crazy scripting or teaching users how to do things (unlike the Ivory Tower), it’s not an area for playing engaging games and it’s probably not ever going to be a top-rated area, in fact, while I was there, it was completely empty, but I really enjoyed it there.

What my Impressions of it are

Personally, I am highly impressed by this area, despite the fact that it is not particularly designed to be a “tourist attraction” and there are not many activities to partake in, it is beautifully crafted, the scenery is amazing and it is really just such a nice area to wander around. I love the architecture and I could spend hours more wandering around this area, however, I have others to explore!

MUV601 Assignment 1 – MUVE Viewers – Second Life Viewer


Who it is Developed By

Second Life Viewer is the official viewer developed by Linden Lab in California, the version I have used ( is considered part of the 3rd generation of viewers and is the most current release version of the viewer at the time of writing.

What Functionality it Provides

Much like the Firestorm viewer, Second Life Viewer (SLV) provides the user access to virtual worlds, however, SLV is restricted to only allow access to the Second Life grid, no OpenSim or any other grids.

The login screen of the Second Life viewer provides the user with current Linden Lab news, editors picks for destinations and upcoming events within Second Life, although Firestorm does this as well, I think the SLV does a much nicer job of it.


Second Life Viewer


Firestorm Viewer

Aside from this, the SLV allows the user to chat, view profiles, edit basic preferences and build using prims, import mesh object, manage their inventory and change their avatars outfit, it also helps users to find new sims to visit via the search function, all of which is also possible in the Firestorm viewer.

How Easy it is to Use

I found that the SLV is very simple to use, it has a clean UI that is well spread out and easy to manage cognitively, this makes it a great viewer for first-time users of Second Life, most of the buttons are clearly labeled and those that aren’t labeled provide descriptions when you hover over them.

As shown in my previous post, the menu’s inside SLV are typically easier to read and navigate than those in Firestorm, which makes SLV simpler to look at, however, the selection menu in the SLV is a drop-down list, rather than a Pie menu, which can be handy in some situations but, for the most part, my personal preference is the Pie menu.


Second Life Viewer Drop-Down Menu

How it Compares to Others

As mentioned in my previous post, I have only used this viewer and the Firestorm viewer and I have made a comparison between the two in that post.

Being the official viewer, SLV gets updated more regularly, this can be both a good thing and a bad thing, on the plus side, this means that SLV will be the first to receive any new features, however, on the flip side, reports from many users state that the SLV updates regularly “break” things and they have to wait for a fix to be released.

What my Impressions of it are

If I had decided to start using Second Life independently of the MUV601 course I probably would have never found the Firestorm viewer and I would have just used the official viewer instead.

In my experience with the official viewer, I found it easy to use and I think it would be amply sufficient for most newcomers to Second Life, however, I personally have found the Firestorm viewer to be more pleasing to use and, for this reason, I have un-installed the Second Life Viewer from my computer.

MUV601 Assignment 1 – MUVE Viewers – Firestorm


Who it is Developed By

The firestorm viewer is developed by The Phoenix Firestorm Project Inc. a non-profit group of around 80 volunteers who work on the viewer with the goal to provide extended functionality and more flexibility than that of the official Second Life Viewer and to deliver an improved experience overall when it comes to virtual worlds. ( 20/03/18)

What Functionality it Provides

First and foremost, Firestorm provides the user with the ability to access, or view, virtual worlds, hence the name “viewer”. It’s similar to the way a web browser allows you to access, or view, websites so you could say that Firestorm is like a virtual world browser.

Virtual Worlds consist of grids and sims, sticking with the web browser analogy, grids are sort of like domains and sims are kind of like the individual pages that exist on that domain. This is, of course, a loose analogy, however, each sim has an XYZ position and a name, which is also similar to how a domain name matches an IP address of the server hosting it.

I have been using Firestorm to access the Second Life grid, however, firestorm provides the user with the ability to access several others, including OpenSim, Kitely, and even your own locally hosted grids.

So, aside from allowing you to view the worlds, Firestorm has a number of other features, over and above those that are available in the official Second Life Viewer, such as unique building options, such as copying and pasting a prims full XYZ position (and other manipulation parameters) with one click and chat commands, which allows you to alter certain preferences, change your avatars XYZ position and even use “rez plat” to instantly rez platforms.

How Easy it is to Use

At first glance, I thought that the Firestorm viewer looked very busy, the menus were highly overwhelming and, like many open source/non-commercial projects, they appeared reasonably unpolished, however, after downloading and trying the official viewer, suddenly it didn’t seem bad at all and, overall, I think that the Phoenix developers have done a fantastic job at cramming in all the UI elements necessary for all the functionality Second Life has to offer, plus all the extras.

At the login screen, the Firestorm Viewer makes it incredibly easy to access different grids, provided you have an account on the grid you are wanting to access you simply need to enter your login details and select the grid from the drop-down.


Once logged in, you’re thrown into the world and slammed with a wide view of the world with the overwhelming GUI elements tucked away in the top and bottom of the screen.


You could spend weeks investigating the various options contained within the top menus, however, all of the basic and commonly used options (and everything you need to get started as a newcomer) are right there in front of you, such as the home button, chat functions, inventory buttons, etc. in this aspect, Firestorm is very user-friendly and once you learn the common keyboard shortcuts it’s even easier.

Another great feature that makes Firestorm more user-friendly are the pie menus, these were a feature in v1 of the Second Life viewer, however, they were later removed in favour of drop-down menus, both of which have their advantages but, in my experience, the pie menus are more practical (as the drop-down menus can often have options appearing out of view!) and easier to navigate.


Firestorms Pie Menu

Where Firestorm becomes more complicated is when you start exploring the preferences and the menus, with so many options to choose from it’s very complex, which is great for power users or those who know what they are doing, but for new users, it’s overkill, for example, the graphics menu shown below compared to the Second Life Viewer.


Firestorm Viewer


Second Life Viewer

The Second Life Viewer is far less “busy” and gives the user an option of looking at the advanced settings that are available or to blissfully ignore them. This is just one of many examples where Firestorm does this and it depends on the type of user you are as to which one will suit you better.

Overall, I think Firestorm is a great viewer that has a good balance between ease of use and power features, you don’t need to dig too far into the menus to get started and have a great experience in Second Life but it’s nice knowing that they are there and so there is room to grow as the user becomes more confident and curious.

How it Compares to Others

Other than Firestorm, I have only used Second Life Viewer (3rd Generation) and therefore that is the only viewer I can compare it to. Between the two, Firestorm viewer is certainly richer in features and, from what I have read online, Firestorm definitely appears to be the most preferred viewer over the Linden Labs viewer and other third-party variants, as shown by the pie chart below which was based on a survey taken in 2015.


Average Viewer Usage April 2015

Not only does firestorm provide features it also has an ease of use around those features and not just for the default Linden Labs features but the additional features unique to Firestorm. On top of this, Firestorm is said to provide more stability, mostly because it is updated less frequently than the Linden Labs viewer, and each update of Firestorm is tested rigorously before being properly released.

What my Impressions of it are

When I first started I felt highly overwhelmed by the complexity of Firestorms user interface but I think I would have felt very similar if I had used the Linden Labs viewer first as well. However, as I mentioned above, I feel like Firestorm is a fantastic viewer with a great balance between features and ease of use.

After using Firestorm for a while I have started to become accustomed to the various menus and I have found it to be much nicer to use than the Second Life Viewer, particularly when it comes to building with prims and because that is a major part of Assignment 3 I will definitely be sticking with Firestorm for the remainder of the MUV601 course.

MUV601 Assignment 1 – MUVE Platforms – Minecraft

Who it is Developed By

Minecraft was originally designed by Markus ‘Notch’ Persson in 2009, Minecraft was fully developed under his gaming companies name, Mojang, and it was officially released in 2011, from there it made its way onto gaming consoles and then, in 2014, Minecraft, along with the Mojang company, was sold to Microsoft for 2.5 million.

What Functionality it Provides

In terms of functionality, Minecraft has some similarities to Second Life, such as the fact that Minecraft does not have any specific goals or objectives, it offers the ability to build your own creations, explore the creations of others and to be social within the community, however, that is about where the similarities stop. At its core, Minecraft is still a video game.

Minecraft has a variety of in-game activities and five game modes to choose from: adventure, creative, hardcore, spectator, and survival.

Game Activities



This aspect of Minecraft makes me want to describe it as “Digital Lego”, this was my first time playing Minecraft and this is a simple house I built. For the most part, buildings are limited to “blocks” which are either square or half a square, however, small details can be added such as the torches by the door and the fencing around the pathway, there are also other slight variations to the standard blocks.

Although I say only being able to build with blocks is a “limitation” it is highly intuitive and an extremely simple process, I can certainly see why this game is so popular and, on top of this, there are some pretty incredible builds online, such as this palace that blows my simple house out of the water.


There are a tonne of items that players can “craft” by joining the resources they’ve gathered together in various different combinations, almost every item in Minecraft can be crafted, from building blocks to tools, armour, and weapons, there are a few websites that show the various items that can be crafted, along with their specific “recipes”, such as


In multiplayer modes, players are able to chat to one another, this is currently only text-based, and players are unable to chat using voice (for example with a headset), however, there is a text-to-speech “narrator” that can read messages out for the player, which is really quite neat.

Resource Gathering

Although there are no set goals or objectives in Minecraft, resource gathering is a key element to the game. Outside of the Creative and Spectator game modes, players are required to gather resources in order to build structures or craft the various items that are available, without gathering resources a player cannot progress.

Game Modes

Survival Mode

This could otherwise be called “normal mode”, in this mode the player is given limited resources and they must explore and gather further resources while they can in order to build and craft new items and, as the name suggests, survive.

What makes this mode difficult is the fact that the player must survive hostile attacks from the dangerous creatures they will encounter during the nights and while exploring. This mode has varying degrees of difficulty, including a hardcore mode, which sets the difficulty to the maximum.

Adventure Mode

Adventure mode was added in later versions (1.3) of Minecraft and this mode allows users to explore maps and worlds created by other players, the creators of each adventure are able to apply restrictions and game rules for the players taking part in their adventures.

Spectator Mode

This mode allows a player the freedom to fly around a map and move through blocks as if they were a ghost. As the name suggests, players in this mode are unable to “be part of the action”, they can only watch, either from their own perspective or through the eyes of another player.

Creative Mode

This mode is my personal favourite, in Creative Mode the players are simply given unlimited resources to build with to let their imaginations run wild, in this mode the sky (or the block system) is the limit, but as you can see by the palace build above, certain creative souls are more likely to reach the sky than be limited by the shape of the blocks!

How Well it Runs


After blowing up my beautiful house with TNT!

From what I can see, Minecraft runs on just about anything, including a Rasberry Pi! However, I assume that how well it really runs will depend on the device running it. For me, as I have a relatively powerful computer, I can run Minecraft at 1080p resolution without any form of jittering or slowdown.

From the research I have done, Minecraft relies mostly on CPU power for performance, so any computer with a half-decent processor could run Minecraft with a high level of detail. Although not as impressive as the Second Life Engine, Minecraft does an exceptional job of running very well on just about anything.

When it comes to Multiplayer modes there are other factors that would likely influence performance, they are your network speed and the server that is running the world, if the server or your network is slow you would probably experience lag, however, I only had access to an old trial version of Minecraft which didn’t include Multiplayer modes so I could not test this.

How it is Used

Minecraft is used for a variety of purposes including being social and purely for fun, however, I believe that its primary use is for entertainment and relaxation. Regardless of what the user is doing, Minecraft inspires its users to be creative and to channel that creativity into critical thinking and problem-solving.

Minecraft is also being used in education and has proven to be a great way of engaging young learners who find it difficult to focus or apply themselves. The “Minecraft: Education Edition” is being used to teach things such as chemistry, coding, math and much more.

How it Compares to Others

I first heard of Minecraft in a YouTube video by Extra Credits. In their video, they talk about how Minecraft will change the gaming industry in the future because it has such a radically different design compared to “traditional” games (rather than being action and goal oriented it requires time, patience and thinking and it has no set goals) and because it is so popular with the younger audience. That gives me the impression that it is very different to most games.

However, as I am not a gamer, I really only have Second Life to compare Minecraft to and I believe they do have some similarities for example,

  • Neither Platform has any specific goals, allowing the user to choose how they use the platform.
  • Both Platforms allow the user to build and create
  • Both Platforms provide the user with a chance to be social

However, Minecraft does have the survival modes, which do give the user the goal of having to survive and, in that aspect, Minecraft is more of a video game which is quite different to Second Life.

The building system in each platform is very different as well, for example, in Minecraft, the player is given set blocks with set textures and those are the only block that can be used to build things and those blocks cannot be modified or sculpted in any way, although this is limiting in some ways it is also so simple and intuitive that almost anyone could do it.

In comparison, while building in Second Life the user is not limited to what they can create, being able to contort and mould shapes, apply unlimited textures and make object interactive with scripts, users are even given the option to design objects and structures in 3D modeling software and import them into the world, this allows the user to create structures and objects with far greater detail (and curves) however, this added complexity also makes building in Second Life far more complex which means it has a far greater learning curb.

Being social in either platform is completely different, in Minecraft users can interact via a text-based chat system (and that handy text-to-speech narrator!) in Second Life, however, users can also use text-based chat but they can also make their avatar perform a variety of different gestures and they are also given the option to use a headset and communicate more naturally, although the text-to-speech function would be extremely handy!

What my Impressions of it are

Although I don’t typically enjoy video games, I found that I strangely enjoyed myself while playing Minecraft, it reminded me a lot of my younger years when I would spend countless hours playing with K’nex and Lego being so engaged that I had no way of realizing just how much time I had spent on it. This is exactly what Minecraft did to me and I spent approximately 4 hours building the house shown in the picture above, only to load it up with TNT and blow it to pieces! What fun!

Overall I think Minecraft is a fantastic game and I think that I will definitely allow my son to play it when he is older, along with Lego and K’nex of course! and the more I have looked into the educational side of Minecraft, the more I believe it could be a highly valuable tool in the classrooms of primary schools.

MUV601 Assignment 1 – MUVE Platforms – Second Life



Who it is Developed By

The idea of Second Life was initially coined by Philip Rosendale, the founder of Linden Lab, Rosendale has said that he was always fascinated by virtual worlds and had been experimenting with creating them since his early years in college.

Rosendale founded Linden Lab in 1999 and just a few years later in 2003, the first public version of Second Life was launched.

What Functionality it Provides

Second Life provides its users with an experience, a place to create, build and explore, a place to learn, grow and experience new things, a place to express one’s self without the usual confines of the real world.

Users can join and enter Second Life for free and from there, they join the virtual world economy, based on Linden Dollars. This platform can be used for leisure, education and even business, in fact, there are many successful businesses currently running inside Second Life.

Users can buy land with Linden (or real) Dollars and from there, their creativity can really flow, allowing them to build almost anything they can dream up, using things call prims and scripting can result in some amazing creations, like Isa’s (Aaron’s) lamp (shown below), or even entire buildings and cities!


Aside from building their own creations, users can also explore the creations of others, some of which are truly awe-inspiring and obviously have had countless hours poured into them, like the spooky city Craig showed us in our first class!


How Well it Runs

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I believe the two main factors that determine how well Second Life will run are the user’s computer and the user’s internet connection speed.

I have not had much (any) experience with virtual worlds before and I do not play video games so I don’t have much to compare the performance with, however, I have personally found that, on my computer, Second Life runs extremely well in the Firestorm Viewer, it is very smooth (as long as I have a strong internet connection!) even with higher detail settings.

The fact that it runs so well even when there are often thousands of details and multiple users in your view at any given time, is a pretty amazing feat, especially considering that all that information is “streaming” from a server.

How it is Used

As mentioned above, Second Life can be used for leisure, education, and business. Currently, there are thousands of Second Life users who log on just to have fun, be social and create, there are also thousands of users who log on to run their Second Life businesses and, in my case, I log on for educational purposes, to complete the MUV601 course, but there are also users logging on to learn a new language, such as English or Chinese.

How it Compares to Others

I don’t have much to compare Second Life against, except for Minecraft and I feel like I made a relatively strong comparison between the two in my post about the Minecraft platform.

What my Impressions of it are


I am amazed at how vast the Second Life landscape is, the time and effort that must have been put into creating this virtual environment really blows my mind, the snippet above is just a fraction of the entire map with each dot representing an area that you could potentially spend days exploring, and all of this in just 15 years! It’s quite incredible really.

I feel like Second Life is a great platform that is really only limited by your imagination, those who can dream can create and, although I will probably never have a chance to explore even half of this gigantic world, I’m sure I will see some pretty amazing things by the end of this course plus you can teleport and, in most places, you can fly and who hasn’t dreamt of doing that at least at some point in their life?