Qual Blog

Thursday, October 26, 2006

welcome area listening and talking

when i first arrived in the area, the most promient discussions that i noticed were centered around one of two things. firstly, there was a lot of discussion of being new to the game and how to do certain things within it. for example, one pair was talking about how to build things they wanted, like a house. secondly, and somewhat strangely, i noticed twice that there were avatars discussing people they both knew. they found it funny that they had met the same person within the game and briefly discussed a party the person had thrown.
i ended up having three seperate conversations with either one person or two, depending. the first conversation was with a male avatar who approached me first. he said hello and asked how i was. after i responded, he replied there was nothing going on there and he was going to bed. the conversation lasted all of thirty seconds. i then began walking around, and in all honesty, tried to locate the most normal looking avatar in the room. i approached another male avatar and said hello. he responded and we began talking about the relative quiet of the location, even though there had to be at least 30-40 avatars in the immediate location. he said he was just relaxing before bed and the began editing his appearance without saying anything. it was another abrupt end to a conversation. i walked away again and stopped in front of a female avatar and a male avatar who was standing a little ways behind her. she said hello to me and told me she was new to the game. i said i was somewhat new to the game as well and began the "this location is boring" conversation for a third and final time. she replied shd hadnt been to many places and then the male avatar chimed in saying that we should come to one of his parties because they arent boring at all. he told us that we should go explore the area and i asked some question that some random person who i couldnt even see (or find) answered. it was an odd experience. i looked around but this name and answer just appeared out of the air. i ended up kind of just dropping the conversation and said goodbye.
all three of the conversations were somewhat uncomfortable. i cant really get past that these are just total strangers who could be anywhere and anyone. you could be talking to anyone-- which is discomforting. lets face it, their avatar could look like anything and it doesnt mean a thing about who they are. it makes me nervous to think that we have to say we are doing a study and that they may ask where i am from or what school i'm affilated with... and then i'll probably lie. anyway, i think it will be interesting either way. i liked speaking to multiple people within the location and it was reassuring to be approached twice and only have to start up the convo once.

an educational event



i went to a class on how to build a haunted cabana. the woman who was leading it was trying her best to be as detailed as possible. unfortunately, detailed information translated to long, wordy sentences-- that made it seem as though it would take hours to reach the final project.
she had a finished cabana next to her that was purple with ghosts at the top. it was multi-tiered witih benches inside and steps.
i observed others as they began creating their cabanas. everyone began with the large oval shape that would be the foundation. immediately some of the people participating in the class (there were about 15 people) began to stray from what the "teacher" was doing. they changed the color of their cabana, they added more tiers, less open space, etc, etc.
i stayed through the addition of the front steps and then left because it was taking so long to see progress. pictures are up above this... the spherical items on the ground are the foundations of the cabana and the single purple cabana (in a pic of its own) is the finished product.

response to "Conducting an In-Depth Interview"

much of what was discussed in the article seemed like it would be appropriate for us to follow within second life. for example, having an interview guide that outlines the questions we intend to ask subjects. it is important to have said guide so that even if the subjects goes off-topic, we can follow their tangent and then go back and hit the other outlined topics of interest.
i feel as though it may be difficult to pay attention to other things that a subject does, aside from what they say. i believe it is relevant to take note of how he or she looks and if there is anything unusual that sticks out about them but there will be some things you can't see. it will be impossible to judge normal reactions like facial expressions or sighs, the small things that often add so much to a subjects response. unless the subject just up and walks away, not many other actions are possible to record. subjects may take advantage of the "gestures" but i really dont feel as though many people use the gestures when they type... especailly if they know this is for a student project.
i think that the "verifying" step will be some what null and void for us. there is no way to make sure that the subjects are actually telling the truth. we can't ask for information that we could research and then cross reference with what they told us. other than that, the rest of the seven steps seem to be somewhat obvious and agreeable for the type of research we will be doing with the subjects in second life.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

continued...

some of the infohubs are a little more impressive than others... for example the bear dream lodge infohub had a pretty cool main building. the rocks and bricks looked real. again, there was a large amount of people in the main teleport area. i came across a group of people who were being paid to sit in some chairs... which is odd and a waste of money. when i asked what they were doing none of them responded. it doesnt even look like they are really playing. how muchf un can that be? it has just occured to me that there are a number of ways to earn money in somewhat dumb ways... like dancing, one day in class a bunch of people were paid simply to dance.
i was at a waterfront location outside of the westport hotel and i decided to ride the water slide. when i reached the pool, someone had thrown a car/kart into the bottom of the pool. so i decided to try and drive it. when i sat down in it, it launched up out of the water and through the air and then i fell back in the pool. the kart then reminded me that i am not the owner.

general observations

historical places-- scenery is much more detailed. everything from wildlife and nature to stonework, larger buildings and smaller homes are very aesthetically pleasing. there are less individuals in these places-- often only a few and they appear to be looking at the scenery. for example, Caledon Highlands is realistic to the T. From the changing color of the leaves, to the breeze, the birds crowing, and moss growing between the stones. if characters were not to eneter into your view, the whole area looks as though it could almost be real. it is a very calming location. the only constant noise is what appears to be the sound of the ocean. the interior of the homes are eerily lifelike and appear to be livable... there is everything from electricity to furniture to houseplants and multiple floors. there were no avetars that were animal creatres here... the one other person i saw looked like a regular person-- no out of the oridnary characteristics.
i went to a body shop at a yard sale and it is kind of awkward to see "parts" for sale... free eys, shapes, and other body features.

when i was in the ahern welcome area, there was a great number of people. also, there were a lot more random items kind of strewn about. (see snapshot). there was more banter and general discussion. at one point, someone commented that the graphics were terrible. while i still find these graphics pretty impressive, theyre not as impressive as the ruins of fort caledon. there was awider variety of characters here... some naked, some animals, some demonic looking, and then "the regulars".
while in the Anzere Infohub, there was a small amount of people, probably 20, around the general araes that i went. i didnt notice any unusual activity... just people walking around or sitting in homes. i walked into this very interesting looking building which turned out to be the headquarters for diabolical radio. it was scary inside (see picture).
when i went to the scenic ambat infohub, there was approx 10 people in the same location, which is where you were sent went you first teleported tot he area. three male avetars, who i assume did not know eachother were discussing how to teleport. one of them was wear a boc of budweiser on his head. the genral area is busy and there is a lot going on location-wise-- nothing really matches and there is a good amount of ramndon stuff... like a bubble blower with no one blowing into it. and a carpet display and then there is a singl mountain bike... just around.

Monday, October 09, 2006

in class-- spaceship museum, rome, hotel

the spaceship museum was the first place i went to. it was interesting to see all the different types of rockets and specific planets, etc. it is surprising how in depth people will go to show what they are interested in. i would assume that is what a place such as the museum was made in second life--- to show off what someones knows or really just put out there the wealth of information on a subject. i think its good to have places like this in second life because it makes the gaming more educational. overall, i didnt really enjoy this location that much... i think there was a lot to look at but really not that much to do.
the hotel was a very detailed location. when you first walked into the lobby, the furiture and lighting was all matching and classy. i think it would have been cool if there was an elevator that you could have taken to like a bar on the roof or a pool on the roof or something. there was a bedroom and multiple bathrooms you could walk into. there was also a mock-dining room set up with an array of food laid out. i took a bunch of different food and was offered a beer (by the food...?) but couldn't figure out how to take it. it continues to be strange to me that objects will talk to me... when i was first at the hotel i tried to go on this docked sailboat. when i sat at the helm the boat told me that i was not authorized to use it and that i should try sucking up to the owner in order to use it. It is kind off-putting to have these sort of messages relayed to you through objects you are trying to use. i guess its better than a plain sign or something.
rome was cool because it had so much to it. the arhcitecture and the paintings were particularly interesting. there was a gallery full of paintings of Chrisitianity facets. along with the paintings were explanations of the "rituals" having to do with the religion such as baptism, communion, etc. to be continued...

Friday, October 06, 2006

in class-- female day 2

today, i played the game again as a female character. i went to the water slides, which was actually kind of interesting. it was funny that it was actaully kind of enjoyable to watch. its hard to get out of the pool once you get in though. i also laid down in the sun for a little while and the avatar turns itself over. i saw this guy who was a "centerfold" VIP which i seems kind of odd to lable your character as that type of person or that level of attractiveness--- surprise, surprise he was laying by the pool.
i also played the bongos for a while. that was a good time. its interesting to see the others playing as well. The group of dancing people wa sprobably the most interesting to watch. i did not try to dance but i watched for a little while. the characters have some crazy moves. i dont know how i feel about them earning money for dancing. it seems kind of strange.
i didnt really like the bingo area that we went to at the beginning of class. some woman, not in the class was wearing like this crazy evening gown. so i was looking at her and then she yelled at me to get out of the way. which was kind of awkward for me because is till feel like a vistor to the game and not like someone who is taking it seriously. i didnt say anything back but another student in the class also got yelled at by her as well. some people take this gaming business very seriously.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

changing gender- day 1

i changed my avetar from male to female. it wasn't that difficult of a task but it was kind of odd to try and figure out the proportions and stay away from stereotypes or simply a ridiculous image. It was weird changing the face shape and clothese first because I immediately felt I needed to make my hair longer and work on the shape of the body. Having an avatar looking half male/half female made me slightly uncomfortable.
anyway, walking around I did get a different feel from the game. I began to wonder if male players in the game would talk to me. When I played as a guy it never occurred to me that I would be spoken to becuase of my gender but I get a distinctly different feel when the genders are reversed. I feel as though there are more males playing the game than females so any attractive avatar might get hit on the game. I don't really understand the social standards, especially with so many places being labled mature.
It was odd to have my name still be Brandon but be walking around in female form. I went to this place called South 1 and its run by the South 1 Estates. There were a lot of clothing and furniture stores. I couldn't decide which stores to go in and which pictures on the wall were worth trying to figure out. Am I picking up items for a male or a female? I also went into a baby furniture store and sat down on a bed. There was no one around. I saw maybe five people when I first teleported in and then didn't see anyone else for quite some time. I only saw one pair talking and no one spoke to me.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

second life, in class

talking to people was fine when we actaully had a subject. it actaully was easier not talking about the questions, just talking baout whatever we were currently noticing or what we expected out of the game. it was somewhat interesting when people from outside the class showed up. you take into consideration what the people look like because you know they aren't from this class and probably aren't college students and may not be from this country. its a somewhat awkward experience interacting with people who are actually in this game for themselves. its one thing to talk to other students, others who are int he game for the same reason... but what is the appropriate way to interact with adults who are in SL? I feel as though they wouldn't be too receptive to interacting with us if they understood that most of us were there purely to observe how they participated within the game.
i feel as though it wasnt too different from intereacting with other students within the classroom. it was somewhat strange not being able to know who the other people are in the classroom who are playing the game. it was hard not to look around the room and try to figure out who else was in my group.
there were two specific "outsiders" who entered into our area. there was a very large robot looking guy who was in all black and a cape. he was talking about building things that peoplein SL would want to buy. he explained to us how to do it. then just before he was leaving he said "flashbang" and there was a huge white explosion. i take that as an insult. ha
the second guy was fromt he UK and seemed somewhat normal. he said he knew people who would play the game for three days straight without sleeping. he said he was 34 and spoke about Manchester United being an overated football (soccer) club. he looked somewhat more "normal" but he had a lot of tatoos and a shaved head. he looked more normal than, lets say, the black robot man/ evil villan looking guy.
i think one of the most interesting things will be the comparison between what people say to you and how people choose to portray themselves. they are often somewhat contrasting-- especially in reference to people who arent in our class.

Friday, September 15, 2006

in class - second life

I spent the majority of my time changing the appearance of my person. I had a difficult time with the face shape because there were som many different ways to manipulate it and I didn't always understand the difference. I'm not actually sure that my person looks anything like me but maybe the hair color is close. My person kind of looked like me to start with I guess.
I was a little confused in the beginning walking around. To say the least, it caught me off guard when people were naked all of a sudden. I was surprised that I couldn't figure out how to change my eye color. I also wanted to give myself a heavy 5 o'clock shadow but that didn't really work out either.
I think my favorite part of the game was flying. It might be because we can't do that in real life. It was fun to be in the air above the setting. I liked how you could control the angle at which you viewed things.
I wish that more clothes were available at the beginning too.
I didn't walk around the island that much. I know that you can get off it but I was distracted mostly by changing how I looked.
It seems like I could probably play this for hours and the longer I played the more I would learn. I hope that the area you can hang around in is more interesting than the island.