I was excited about Second Life. Hadn’t ever used it, saw some potential in the way that folks in the library speak about its use and positive presence. I also think it helps people who maybe are shy, or nervous, around others to interact in a way that they feel more comfortable. But what a trying experience it is just to do anything in Second Life! My user experience was so negative, that I am having an honest moment of confusion trying to decide how anyone uses it.
I can’t figure out the hang up. Essentially, Second Life just wouldn’t run in an enjoyable way for me at all. Frame rates around 10fps or less, graphics taking 30 seconds to load, bugs in clicking buttons, it crashed twice for no reason…
Allow me to elaborate. My computer is new. MacBook, 2.4GHz dual core, 4GB ram and a fairly decent graphics card (according to their promotional materials, a very very good graphics card). There is just no reason for me to be getting that kind of performance from a piece of software. And I just keep thinking, if my computer won’t take it, what does everyone do? Deal with horrid polygonal graphics and slow frame rates? For me, it just reminded me of trying to play new computer games on the old 486 we had when I was growing up. Frustrating.
That aside, I did take the time to craft a rather dumb “look” for myself and battled with how to actually remove some clothing that I had inexplicably worn from my inventory. For a while there I had two hairstyles and two shirts on because I couldn’t find any sort of “reset” button. Then I transported to Info Island, but there was no one around to talk to so I just sort of wandered around, reading info cards and waiting for billboards proclaiming an Edgar Allan Poe reading to come into focus.
Perhaps it is better when there is something to interact with. But the idea of spending hours in a world that can’t even replicate a decent brick texture on the side of a buliding in under a few seconds didn’t excite me very much. I think I’ll stick to instant messaging.