It seems I cannot read a newspaper or magazine these days without some story about Second Life. Somehow this virtual world has crossed a few thresholds and actually arouses common mass interest. Their site says they have almost 4.3 million registered users. If these people have virtual sex every day, which appears to be one of the more attractive features, then there is more sex in a single Second Life minute than in my entire adult life (don’t do the math please).
Anyway, I felt obliged to join in, just to check out how they did the gesturing part. And because it is free of course. Second Life is quite popular in the Netherlands, like all free things. You do have to install client software first.
I had to choose a silly name and will be known as: Jeroen Garrigus.
For a couple of days I have been trying it out for an hour or two at a time. I have not really done anything useful or funny, but I danced, had a drink, and earned a few dollars camping. I found out my avatar can make many predefined gestures, such as waving and bowing. The help on gestures explains how gestures are treated. Sounds (laughing) or chat words can be added to certain movements and are then saved together as a ‘gesture’. It is all a matter of combining things from (software) libraries. I haven’t figured out facial expressions, but I think they do not really play a role.
The question then remains how an entirely new gesture movement is created? And can I do that myself? Or is that the prerogative of the Second Life creators? Well, you can buy gestures or animations or create your own animations.
ps. Check Becoming an Effective Second Life Presenter for more on how to actually behave in virtual public.