January 15th, 2012

full moon

Times, they are a-changin....

I haven't been in virtual worlds as long as some, but I've been long enough to see things come, and see things go...

As far as going, we've had a lot of famous sims shut down. Everything in Dusan Writer's estate was shut down, for instance, including Mad Pea and Immersiva, two incredible art sims. Several well-known romantic sims and other art sims have gone their way into memories as well; AM Radio's installation comes to mind.

Tonight Willy and I wanted to spend some time, so we took a look in the SL Events to see what was going on. What I found was very disappointing; it looks like a lot of clubs are either gone or just not putting up event notices, anymore. There used to be a great variety of things to do on a Saturday night, but for the time being, that doesn't seem to be the case.

In fact, the most I see are things where people want you to spend money, or "hunt". Hunting is still quite popular; the reason Hunts got started was to "introduce" you to several new stores and businesses. Now, I know of stores and businesses who spend practically all their time making things for Hunts. At that point, what IS the point? People come to your store to find the free stuff, and hardly ever go back to buy anything.

Second Life - everywhere you go, it's all about buy, buy, buy...and since the world economy is still very repressed, people aren't as willing to cash in their real dollars for Linden dollars. And, why should they, when there's so much being given away and all it takes is a little effort to find it? I never liked Hunts, I've never participated in Hunts, either as a customer or as a merchant. I think they're pointless.

It's getting all the harder to create content that others can enjoy, especially if they're unwilling to part with a few Lindens to support it. At this point, especially, you'd best be ready to pay out of pocket for the most part, and not expect others to help foot the bill. A lot of places have found that out the hard way and have come to an end as a result.

Yes, we run a club. No, we don't expect to make a profit, and we don't. One thing you learn quickly in running a club is it isn't the club that will make you money - it's other surrounding attractions that will, such as shops. If you intend to run a stand-alone club, you will pay every month, so you'd best do it because you enjoy it and the music, rather than expecting it to turn a profit. Many clubs have come to an end because the owners expected to make money and found out the hard way they were paying out way more than they were making.

It takes a lot of know-how to run a club successfully, as well as the willingness to stick with it through the first months-to-year it'll take to truly establish it on the map. We've had ours since May 2011 and we still have a long way to go to truly call it "established".

Don't ask others to help you set up, unless you know them very well. Most club operators don't feel the urgency to share what they've learned, since new clubs always end up being competition. Your best bet is to hang out at successful clubs, see what they've done in terms of building, in how their employees act, in what they do that makes a visit special. There is a lot you can learn on your own simply by observing and asking specific questions. Whatever you do, don't ask for help from scratch. You will be turned down. Others expect you to make the effort of learning. Now, if you want to PAY them to get you started, that's a different story...

...In Inworldz, as well as Second Life...

Inworldz is stagnating, and unless something is done very soon, it'll be over before it really starts.

I haven't been spending as much time there, though I still own three sims. It seems the same crowds are there doing the same things and too much commercialism is pervading the world. I know it isn't what Mouser and others expected when they came in and settled. Quite frankly, what did they expect to happen when the majority of users are coming from Second Life, which is definitely profit-oriented?

Recently a bunch of us left a group because some advertising gig moved in on Inworldz and their modus operandi seems to be setting up dozens of "advertising bots" which then spam the hell out of any group they can get away with it in. One of those groups was a creator's support group which, when created, didn't think they'd have to have any restrictions on chat because the original membership wouldn't have dreamed of spamming anyone.

That's now changed. The spambots have invaded it and that's all you see. My email inbox became filled with offline ads from just this one group. Several of us complained to the owners, who, unfortunately, were MIA. We finally got so frustrated we just quit the group, leaving it to the spambots and anyone who didn't seem to care.

Other groups are spammed, but not by these spambots - by the same people, over and over, every day. Sorry but if I wanted to buy your stuff I would've found your place by now and done it. Stop spamming me about it.

So we're getting it there, too. Desperate people who have flooded over thinking they can make easy money.

I'm sorry Founders, but the vast majority of "action" types are waiting for you to finish Physics. Things really aren't going to take off without it, despite Phlox, the great scripting engine which puts SL's to shame. People must have their toys.

And even after that, will it truly take off? Many are expecting their favorite merchants to be there, instead of originating content of their own. Have too many people become just as complacent in virtual worlds as they have in the concrete? That is the question.

Inworldz is cheap enough that some truly wondrous things can be created there - but will they be? Yes, we do need physics before some things can be done (an installation of Bryn Oh's comes to mind, that involved steps becoming physical and falling away - you can't do that in Inworldz right now).

Let's just hope that people haven't become so despondent, desperate, empty and shallow that they can't ressurect their own imaginations.