[iDC] SL, MIIM, knowledge and capital

mez breeze netwurker at gmail.com
Mon Jun 29 11:01:20 UTC 2009

Occasionally I break my IDC silence to engage beyond lurkerdom.
Consider this a re-hello from me. I'm the founding editor of
_Augmentology 1[L]0[L]1_,  a: "...working manual discussing the
formation and evolution of synthetic environments". Thought I'd leap
in here with a blast-from-the-[2007]past in relation to Simon's post
regarding MIIMs....

On Mon, Jun 29, 2009 at 7:17 PM, Simon Biggs<s.biggs at eca.ac.uk> wrote:
> I think SL is an extremely interesting model which portends the development
> of further examples of massively immersive interaction media (let’s call it
> MIIM - I find the MMORPG concept, with its focus on games and role playing,
> limited – I do neither in SL). Somebody asked me the other day whether I
> thought SL is the future. I replied that I didn’t but that it was a
> prototype of what could become the future. If I think MIIM has a future then
> why don’t I think SL has one too?

Hi Simon,

You raise extremely focused points in regards to the conceptualisation
of "massively immersive" platforms. I attempted to tackle this topic a
few years back on the empyre list - as the points are still relevant
so I'll slab it here for you [and other IDCer's]:

"# To: soft_skinned_space <empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
# Subject: [-empyre-] charavatars + fauxtectures: SL limitations
# From: "mez breeze" <netwurker at gmail.com>
# Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2007 11:22:31 +1000

hey all.

here are some notes from a piece i'm working on for my next
Twitter_Theory project 2 do with engagement within networked
alternative environments such as Second Life [SL] and World of
Warcraft [WoW]. I'm a dedicated WoW player + have been for a few years
now whereas my involvement in SL has been fairly minimal [more about
that later].

b4 i start to launch in2 a few ideas regarding MMOEs [Massive
Multiplayer Online Environments] + in SL in particular, i'd like to
explain 3 terms|concepts i've developed in relation to MMOE

1. the 1st is the idea of an player-entity as  _charavatar_: ie a mix
of a fictionalised character concept that actualises in terms of a
projected persona [ie a mechanical|visual shell that houses ego (via
imagined transmission)], character encoding [in the code page|charset
sense], and the willing suspension of disbelief required 4 seamless
avatar adoption. the notion of a charavatar lends a validity 2
in_world MMOE experiences rather than the mainstream ideal of
avatar-as-basic-ego-projection via a similar psychological skin.

2. the notion that a MMOE's functional architecture [including server
setup + performance, actual manifestation of the world's
descriptors|modifiers|engines used, usability, scalability +
reliability of it's "reality" flow] can be rethought as _fauxtecture_.

3. a fundamental shift in relation 2 personality + identity
constructions across networked channels such as social networks +
MMOE's [i've recently completed an article for furtherfield which
details participants in these cross_profile systems are now

"In digitized social networks there is no place for psychologically
defined notions of personality as a cohesive, definable whole.
Identity manifests through notational distributions found in multiple
profiles across various platforms. Ego-mediated variables are replaced
with actuated identity markers defined by the ability to establish
links to others likewise devoid of any traditional geophysical
baggage. For these articulated identities [now known as versionals]
connection is the vital point of communication; not the content, not
the geophysical inflection, not the biologically-saturated ties linked
to survival, competition, and traditional concrete community building.
This method of clustered distribution provokes a type of reality lag
found in capitalistic and ideologically frameworked nations; those
devoted to maintaining established notions of individuals definable by
consumerism and Darwinian drives, monetary wealth,
institution-adherence, and paranoid-inducing security."]

in SL in particular i've noticed many charavatar's seem unable 2 find
an initial reasonable engagement|interaction lvl, with the result that
participation hovers between a type of frustrated passivity +
non_existence after 1st forays in2 the world [continued participation
rates are low + drop-off rates high].

as others have alluded 2 onlist, i c this problem as resulting from a
combination of variables that stem essentially from the overarching SL
fauxtecture being economically driven + geophysically emulated at base
lvl + the corresponding intrusion of 1st-world corporates attempting
to capitalize on this. Linden Labs have recently made fundamental SL
changes [due 2 rising conservative disquiet] by censoring|altering
fundamental aspects of SL functioning, such as:

a) the ban on gambling:
b) outlawing certain types of sexual behaviours [eg furry_sex_play
deemed bestiality]:

this artificial god_like intervention in2 operating MMOE_mechanics has
provoked corresponding detrimental domino effects + spawned SL
Bubble/Impending Hype Crash talk:

my concern is the precedence this sets in terms of future conceptions
of alternative reality platforms. although these changes _shouldn't_
have obvious detrimental effects concerning artists|griefers
endeavours|experiments, my concern is that as SL's underpinings are
created along a capitalistic|cartesian axis, the effect on grassroot
MMOE charavatar's ability 2 maintain an allegiance|adherence 2 the
world + the communities formed there will influence this range of
experimentation [cross-terra(plat)forming seems the most interesting
angle 2 pursue instead]. SL artists|code.performers risk becoming
ghettoised, with less manipulation of teleprescence/glitches/gaps or
worse, their actions being channelled thru stratified, Linden
Lab-restricted categories as the fauxtecture crumbles in2
geophysically-governed detrius - a sign of frozen output. tiering may
even promote a voyeur experience that echos passive
relays|documentation rather than current|'live' MMOE participation.

this [in part] has influenced my creative decision 2 play|express
within technically sophisticated MMOE environments like WoW + combine
this with soc_net experimentation. WoW is a commercial venture +
unashamedly so...on the other hand, SL gives an illusion of functional
freedom that is becoming increasingly restrictive. i'm reluctant 2 let
my own x.pressions become exclusive via platform_tethering + thus
operate more as clusters|mashups of versional output [ref: description
above]. 4 eg, my recent combo of Twitter+WoW channelling called
_Twittermixing_ which remixed prefound identity marker texts from live
charavatar actions in World of Warcraft with aggregated Twitter


Reality Engineer>
Synthetic Environment Strategist>
Game[r + ] Theorist.
::http://unhub.com/netwurker ::

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