Resident Building in Second Life: A Short Historical Overview

Note: The following is a brief overview, from my SL point-of-view, of the  Resident "building experience" in Second Life (SL) over the years.  While others coming from another perspective may see the history differently, what I write is what I experienced over the last seven years.   SL was my first "gaming and/or social networking" experience so my point of view is somewhat biased.  My opinion is just that and is not meant to be a total end experience...this is how, when I look back, I interpret the events as a participating SL Resident.

 A long time ago in a far away virtual world, a realistic-in-height red head, started her journey to learn how to build items in the incredible world she found herself in.  Second Life was a vast untamed and wild frontier of creativity. The use of the built in primitive 3-D modeling tool system not seen or available to the common Resident in other venues when I joined.  Residents  pushed the limits of these tools to  make fantastic creations come to life all in the name of making  SL world a great place to live and play in.

After a time of exploring the vast world oooing and aaaaaing over what she saw, the little red head wanted to learn how to make things like other Residents were making.  It was a time when Lindens were actually in the world, they helped residents, and listened to them about their specific wants/needs.  It was also a time when Linden Labs (LL) supported the education volunteers  in-world, who taught others about how to be just as creative.  If I recall correctly, Linden Labs provided land space and small Linden stipends, who provided education to other Residents.  This set-up was great for LL.  It freed up their paid employed staff for other things while allowing actual Residents to share what they had learned and knew in exchange for a small amount of Lindens for their efforts.

I always felt that LL was receiving far more gains by funding these in-world education volunteers than what they actually paid out of pocket for them.  Was the same with the Help Island Mentors, who volunteered to assist new Residents since apparently LL didn't have the person power to do it.  Now, what was once a great concept is reduced to Orientation Island that does little to assist and/or retain new Residents with their limited and confusing workstations.  I feel you need a personal touch when assisting and retaining new Residents, but I think LL has decided it should be sink for swim for new residents.

Anyway, back to the blog at hand.

The funding of educations venues (providing land to hold classes...tiny stipends for those that taught classes) seemed to work well for awhile.  But, it seems like every so often LL has to destroy the parts that work well and replace it with something that is totally crap while never fixing the parts that need to be fixed.  Talk about oxymoron  

When LL withdrew support from the voluntary education venues, the educational resources for Residents dried up and/or dwindled to a vast desert of near desolation.  LL turned their vision to the real world (RL) education system as a possible teach platform while the in-world Residents suffered.  If you wanted to learn anything, you hoped and prayed to find a suitable group to join or had friends, who knew building that would help you.

New things and expanding creativeness seemed stagnate for quite some time before little by little private educational groups were formed to fill that vacuum.  Eventually, places like Builders Brewery http://www.buildersbrewery.com/, New Resident Incorporated (NCI) http://www.nci-sl.info/blog/?p=4, and Happy Hippo, to name just a few,  started to emerge in-world and provide much needed building education in SL.


Also, somewhere along the way, the ever vivacious Torley Linden appeared on the educational scene to provide short videos on various aspects of SL.  These short video vignettes provided to the point information on a narrow scope of subjects. These videos were posted on the SL website and I think the SL Wiki.  Currently, many of these videos seem to be on YouTube.com if anyone cares to check it out.

Blogs started becoming popular in the world and enterprising SL Residents found creating a blog for their personal or SL business was a great tool for sharing. With easier to set-up  blogs that didn't require knowledge of HTML programming skills and with FREE hosting, by such places as Google Blogger and Word Press, many Residents stated posting what they knew about things like skin making, clothing, prim building, scripting,animations, etc.  A couple of great blog examples, thought sadly I do not think they are kept up currently, from the ever popular, Mermaid Diaries http://www.mermaiddiaries.com/2006/11/getting-started-blogging.html that has articles that touch on most creative modes in SL to Chimera Firecaster's great guide on clothing and textiles  (http://chimerafire.wordpress.com/sl-clothing-creation-guide/ ) started filling the education gap with peer to peer "How Tos" education.

Another education resource has always been the SL Forums.  The Forums have undergone a number of revisions during my tenure.  Some very important educational users posts have been retained, much has still been lost. Residents could sign in, read the latest updates, search for answers for their questions, or post a question.  Generally, someone would reply at some point, but the answers were not always friendly nor timely.  It is still a great resource for answering questions.

As we slogged along, our ever savvy and creative Residents eventually started using videos to record the information they wanted to share with others and started posting to YouTube.  It was another way to learn various buildings skills in a non-traditional classroom sense.

I heard someone pouting the other day there was just no information available on what they wanted to learn.  When I asked them if they had Googled it, they said no they didn't have time, but wanted me to do it for them.  Sheeessshhh!    I thought no wonder you can't find the answer, you are too lazy to even look wanting others to hand it to them on a silver platter.

Another person complained there is not such and such out their for my particular project.  I asked if they look for alternatives on web for things similar they could learn then apply to that project.  Well, no they hadn't looked.  They wanted someone to do the work for them.  Sorry, but I have worked my ass off to gain my skills, why would I wish to help you when you are too lazy to put the time in and think outside of the box!  No one is going to do it for you and most people that sense you won't put in the time and effort to learn will refuse to share what they know with you. 

If you want to learn to build or create in SL, no one is going to do it for you.  There are huge amounts of resources out there if you are willing to put the time and effort into your search.  Once you find what you need, then practice, practice, practice. 
 
For anyone interested in learning to create and looking for in-world training experiences, check out the SL wiki for a "List of Second Life Skills Training Schools".  I am not sure how up today this list but, is a good starting point on for any journey.
 http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/List_of_Second_Life_Skills_Training_Schools

Check out the SL Building Forum.

Use Google to do some research.

Building skills are not acquired in a day or even a year.  A good builders learns something new every week if not every day.  

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