THE ‘OPENSIM’ EXPERIENCE
Worlds of difference but ones that Kiwi
developers should probably try out
My experience in OpenSim, OSgrid, OpenLife and New Zealand’s own ONGENS would suggest to me that the variety and usability of multi-user virtual worlds are really opening up and educators should not rule out any of the possibilities.
I have not previously quantified/qualified my feelings about the OpenSim movement, which is based on Second Life software – as opposed to being a resident of Second Life itself – and I must admit I have had problems in a number of OpenSims, which have at times made me somewhat critical of them
But I am not as critical as some of the Second Life experience, still having fun, building memories, and feeling it is a “real world” despite the Linden’s often-criticised, totalitarian-appearing regime and changing rules – many changes that I believe, in hindsight, have been beneficial.
However, Zonja Capalini (pictured right and below), in a recent article, “The Open Space fiasco: six months later,” clearly sets out the benefits and pitfalls of joining the OpenSim movement.
At times I feel she is hypercritical of Second Life but her article and the comments are worth reading if one wants to really get a feeling of what a move to an OpenSim is like.
But I will let you form your own opinion: I think it is essential reading if you are interested in multi-user virtual environment technology and the changes that are taking place every day.
Although there have been some stability problems in the past the best opportunity for Kiwi education developers to get a look at the OpenSim movement is probably through ONGENS, running on KAREN, but accessible via Broadband internet.
The major thing these worlds don’t yet have for the general user is people, clothes, SHOPPING (products and goods to buy in world) entertainment, both live and recorded, and social networking.
Social networking to me is the major advantage of Second Life.
One can choose to benefit from the Second Life world, with up to 100,000 people on-line at any one time, and make “friends” from around the world, or one can choose to ignore them – become a recluse on your own little island – and get on with building, terraforming or just exploring a far richer environment than any of the Second Life-based other virtual worlds currently have.
For education, however, the opportunity to be on your own server and in an education world of your own creation might be attractive.
Even if you don’t move now you should watch these spaces.
PS: I’m indebted to SL resident Wendy Steeplechase for pointing me to the Capalini blog.
Update your viewer
For Second Life residents Dessie Linden has announced: “The third iteration of the 1.23 viewer, Release Candidate 2 (RC2), is now available for download as a mandatory upgrade. As always, this RC may be installed along side any official viewer, and remember… on Thursday, May 21, anyone still using version 1.20 will be required to upgrade to either 1.21 or 1.22.”
It should be noted that the new release viewer also gives you the option of choosing whether you are PG, Mature or Adult, in the first page of preferences.