Thursday, June 26, 2008

Go Jump Off a Cliff!

Tonight, my "Creativity in Second Life" teacher told me to jump off a cliff. Or, rather, Nettrice showed me how to jump off a special platform someone built on the artists' island Artropolis and try to land on a target. Like so many things in Second Life, this simulation of a physical experience was weirdly, hilariously, giddily, fun.

I wonder why that is. If something like dancing (or watching your avatar dance) is fun because we've done it in our real bodies and so the mirror neurons fire, then what about something that we haven't done, like jumping off a cliff?

In addition to our field trip to Artropolis, we worked on building an art installation around the concept of lilypad. My ability to make images in SL lags far behind what I can do with Photoshop or Flash, and so I had to overcome that frustration. Working with the third dimension is really challenging, and makes me recall my very short-lived attempt to learn 3-D animation about 10 years ago. I'm trying to stick with this, and so it was really helpful to be able to voice (or type, in this case) my frustration and get some real-time direction from Nettrice. The lilypad flower I was building was unintentionally abstract, but I was able to get to the point during class of being able to understand how to manipulate my object given enough time and patience.
So here is my lilypad flower next to Nettrice's dragonfly.

On the technical side, I crashed constantly tonight, including twice before class even started. Switching back and forth between the laptop and mac mini is better than not, but it is so very frustrating. I guess everyone was crashing tonight, and it is clear when someone in the class goes offline what is happening, but still, it pulls you right out of the experience. Not nearly as much fun as landing with a nice solid thud when you jump off the cliff.

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