July 24, 2006

Welcome to "aloft in Second Life - a Developer's Report"!

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Throughout the course of the "aloft in SL" project, this blog will be the documentation of how a project like this is conceived, planned, and executed within Second Life.

But first, some quick introductions.

My name is Sara Van Gorden, and I work for The Electric Sheep Company, a Washington DC based development firm that specializes in project implementation in virtual worlds for "real-world" companies. The platform for the Aloft project is an online virtual world called Second Life, developed by San Francisco-based Linden Lab.

For those of you that haven't heard of Second Life, it may be hard to summarize briefly, but I'll give it a shot. Second Life (or "SL" for short) is, precisely, a virtual world, where you can create literally anything you can imagine. SL has a built-in 3D modeling engine, the ability to upload textures to apply to your 3D creations, a scripting language heavily based on C++ to make your creations functional...and is unique in the fact that the intellectual property rights to your creations are yours and yours alone, not the game company's.

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Where this differs from more traditional modeling programs is the fact that SL also functions as a societal engine as well. Users can interact in real time, exploring the vast virtual world together, collaborate on building, customizing their avatars (your inworld representation), or just hanging out. This adds a huge level of depth to the creation experience that you can't get from a CAD program. If you'd like to read more about Second Life before going further in this blog - and there's a lot more to discover - check these links out.

http://technology.guardian.co.uk/opinion/story/0,,1824034,00.html
http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_18/b3982001.htm
http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,1816270,00.html

If you're interested in some of the press that real-life companies are getting about their forays into virtual space, there's some great articles here.

http://www.trendwatching.com/trends/youniversalBranding.htm
http://nmc.org/sl/

The goal of the "aloft in SL" project is to create a virtual aloft hotel within Second Life. Throughout this project, I'll be blogging about the creation process - how we start a project, what issues we run into, how we implement concepts, and how it all comes together at the end to create a functional and beautiful space that not only achieves the goals of the client, but delights and inspires those that visit it as well.

As for myself, I'm a builder and texture artist for ESC. I discovered SL almost two years ago and fell in love with the freedom and creativity the platform allowed for. I helped co-found a small development company in Second Life in November of 2005, did some projects for the BBC (among others), and my business partner Matthew Sallee and I joined Electric Sheep in February of 2006. My previous work experience is heavily graphics-related, but I've discovered a new love for 3D building as well in SL. Matthew has excellent CAD and scripting experience, and we end up being project partners quite a bit in ESC, as we are on the aloft project. However, since I'm the gabby one, you'll probably be hearing from me on this blog most often.

But enough about us - onto the aloft project! Thanks for joining us for the ride! If you have questions or comments, please feel free to contact me at sara@electricsheepcompany.com, leave a comment on the blog, or look me up in Second Life, if you have an account - my avatar name is Cory Edo.

Posted by Cory Edo at 10:01 AM in Project Overview | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) |