Second Life is a virtual world in three dimensions that you can enter through the Internet. Users can travel around, talk or communicate with others, buy land and houses, build cars, parks or any other object you can think of. You can go shopping, attend colleges and universities or go to concerts and other events. You can do almost anything you can do in the real world. Second Life was created in 2003 by a San Francisco company called Linden Lab.
The world of Second Life
When you sign up for a free account you become a resident . It gives you the right to create an avatar and travel around in Second Life . In order to view this virtual world you must download a special viewer and install it on your computer.
The Second Life world is made up of different regions. The mainland is the biggest region. It is owned by Linden Lab itself. There are also other areas, owned by private people or other companies.
A membership fee of ten dollars a month lets you to buy your own land. By becoming a paying member you also get some virtual money that you can spend. You also get help if you have problems or run into trouble.
New residents who enter Second Life for the first time start on “ Orientation Island ”. Users learn the rules of the online world , how to navigate from one place to another and how to communicate with others. They are also given a tour of interesting places to visit.
If you have your own land in Second Life you can use it in any way you want. You can build houses or other objects on it, let it to others or even design your own landscape .
Every resident in Second Life has their own avatar . They can choose ready made ones or design avatars of their own.
You can choose hair and skin colour, body parts or clothing from an inventory . An avatar does not have to be human. It can also be an animal, plant or even a robot, like in Star Wars.
An avatar can be changed at any time and many people really have fun constantly changing their appearance .
Travel and communication in Second Life
Avatars can move around in Second Life in three ways. The easiest way is walking. Clicking a button lets you fly over landscapes like Superman and gives you a bird’s eye view of the online world .
The fastest method of travelling over long distances is teleporting. You open up a map and click on the place you want to go to. However , you can’t go everywhere you want. Some places are off limits , and sometimes you must ask owners for permission to travel across their land.
Communication in Second Life is easy. Residents can talk to each other with microphones attached to their computers. Or they may write messages in specially designed chat boxes.
Everything that you see in Second Life was created by one of its members. New residents can practice making objects in the so-called sandbox . You can design your own buildings, houses, cars or other objects by using building blocks that come in all shapes . Complicated or even animated objects can be made by using a special programming language in Second Life .
Landscape in Second Life
According to Linden Lab there are about 10 million user accounts in Second Life . This number, however , does not show the real number of people who take part because a user may have more than one account. Most of them do not log on to the virtual world regularly and only 10% of all registered users come back after their first visit.
Residents of Second Life come from all areas of society . Doctors, students and big company bosses take part, as well as factory workers or housewives. About 60% of all residents are men.
When you live in Second Life you must keep some rules in mind :
- It is forbidden to discriminate against other races , cultures or religions.
- Violence , using bad language or running around naked is not allowed in areas that are marked as safe.
- You are not allowed to reveal personal information about someone else.
Young people are not allowed into Second Life . Youngsters between 13 and 17 must log on to their own virtual world called Teen Second Life . It is a separate 3D world which works in much the same way as Second Life for adults. Additional helpers show youngsters around and help them navigate.
Second Life has its own money called the Linden dollar. Residents can go to a bank and convert real money into Linden dollars. One US dollar buys you about 267 dollars in the virtual world. Members who pay a monthly fee get about 300 Linden dollars a week to spend.
Not everything in Second Life can be bought with Linden dollars. Sometimes you will have to pay with real money, for example, if you buy a larger area of land.
Second Life and the real world
More and more people and even companies around the world are finding out that they can improve their popularity by taking part in Second Life . Some companies organize staff meetings , others organize public events for virtual users.
Real life colleges and universities have started to use Second Life to hold classes. Politicians are using Second Life for their campaigns and to become popular. Even TV stations have their own presence in Second Life .
Although some Internet experts say that Second Life gives people freedom and lets them do things that they can’t do in real life they do point out some dangers.
- Second Life is not that easy to learn. A new member may spend a lot of time in front of their computer.
- The virtual world might make you forget your real friends.
- Some experts say that players sometimes get confused between Second Life and the real world.
Downloadable PDF Text- and Worksheets
- according to = as said by someone
- additional = extra
- although = while
- appearance = the way you look
- area = section, region
- attach to = connect to
- attend = go to
- avatar = a picture of a person, animal or other object that represents you on a computer screen
- bad language = to swear
- bird’s eye view = you can see something from high above
- building block = objects that you can put together to make more complicated ones
- campaign = actions that you do if you want to get elected
- complicated = not easy
- confuse = mix up
- constantly = always
- convert = exchange
- create = make, start
- design = make, create, draw
- discriminate against = to treat a person in an unfair way
- fee = money you must pay to be a member of or use something
- forbid-forbade-forbidden = not allowed
- free account = a membership that you don’t have to pay for
- freedom =liberty, being free
- however = but
- improve = to make better
- in mind = remember
- inventory = a list of objects you can choose from
- landscape = the countryside, mountains or lakes
- let = to give a person something to use for a certain time
- log on = here: to get into
- mainland = the main or most important area of land
- mark as = to show something as
- membership fee = money that you must pay every week or month to be a member
- method = way
- off limits = forbidden; you are not allowed to go there
- own belong to
- owner = a person who something belongs to
- point out = to show important facts
- politician = someone who works in politics or in the government or someone who is a member of parliament
- popularity = when something is liked by many people
- presence = to be active in a place
- public event = an event which everyone can go to, not private
- race = group of people who have another skin colour
- real = things or people that exist
- real life = something that exists in the real world
- regularly = very often
- resident = someone who lives in a place
- reveal = to make known, show
- rule = a law that tells you how you must play a game
- sandbox = a place where you can practice things
- separate =your own
- shape = form
- sign up = to become a member
- society = people in general
- staff = all the people who work for a company or organization
- take part = become an active member of
- user accounts = people who have registered
- viewer = program with which you can see something
- violence = if you hurt, hit or attack other people
- virtual = not real ; something that is on the Internet and not in real life
- virtual = not real ; something that is on the Internet and not in real life
- youngster = a teenager or a young adult