Free Virtual World
Second Life, a free virtual world, has been compared to old school computer software games on steroids. In an attempt to do something new, Second Life creator Linden Lab opened the doors to a whole new virtual world and started the virtual revolution. The result is a complete online virtual world you can enter after choosing or creating your online personality called an avatar.
And So It Begins
Second Life is the first free virtual world to allow users free reign in creating the environment. Linden Lab operates in the background quietly assuring everyone obeys the few rules of the site and members work in the foreground building, selling, learning, and creating. Second lifers are the legal owners of their creations.
Traditional virtual reality games came prepackaged with worlds that did not change. You could interact in these worlds but all outcomes were predetermined. In Second Life users can either visit and interact in worlds built by others or start with a blank canvas and create their own worlds. The virtual world is growing thanks to its member’s creativity.
To become a member of Second Life you must begin by completing an online registration form. You will then have the chance to choose the starting look for your avatar – a 3D animated figure that represents you in the free virtual world.
Once your form is sent and your email confirmed, you will download and install the second life viewer/interface, and you will be transported ‘in world’ to Second Life where you can customize your avatar. The environment is composed of islands where users own land, engage in retail endeavors, hang out with friends, have fun and do just about anything you can do in real life and much more.
Your free virtual world membership also allows you to interact with others, buy goods, attend classes, network, and visit many cultural, sportive, and historical sites. You will never lack for things to do in Second Life. How could you when there is the opportunity to enjoy an unlimited number of activities online you may never get a chance to do in real life?
Paid virtual world memberships allow access to more content in Second Life. For example, paying members can buy and sell land and run their own businesses. Memberships can be purchased for 1 month or 1 year. Experts suggest choosing the yearly option because of the discounts offered with this package.
Paying members have several advantages like premium support, a 300 linden dollar (L$) weekly stipend, a 1000 L$ signup bonus and the possibility to purchase a 512 sqm of land without having to pay any monthly fee. Additional land purchased is subject to land use fees.
So, what is your second life? This is a question popping up at water coolers, cocktail parties, and local pubs across the globe. The ability to go online and recreate yourself is so fascinating to so many people, it has become a cultural phenomenon. Many people enjoy a second life completely different from their real life.
The advantage of the free virtual world is that you can open an account, choose or create an avatar, and visit without making a lifetime commitment. This gives you the opportunity to determine if a paid membership is right for you. Many Second Lifers find the free option to be perfect. Your choice will depend on what you hope to gain from your time in world.
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