More Phunny Physics

As I’ve mentioned before, having actual physics (with gravity and friction and collisions and stuff) in a virtual world (especially one with dynamic and unpredictable content) is really hard, and Second Life has compromised by having just enough physics to make some common things (falling, driving vehicles) work well enough to make us happy, and leaving much of the rest of the physics pretty strange and random. So except for AVs and vehicles and a couple of other narrow examples, very little of what we see in SL is actually subject to physical law.

It occurred to me the other day that one fun physical thing to make would be a simple chain. So I did.

Experiment with Physical Rings 1

“Look,” I am saying to myself up in my unwalled sky-laboratory, “I have made a chain of rings!”

The top chain in the picture is nonphysical, so it stays just where it’s put, floating there. The other four are physical, and they swing freely.

A few days later:

Experiment with Physical Rings 2

“Egad,” I say to myself, “the physical rings are gone! How can this be? Where have they gotten to? Perhaps I should have done this experiment in a ground-level laboratory that had walls!”

I get out a hoverdisc and an object-scanner, both of my own devising, and go ring-hunting. I find the first one quickly:

Experiment with Physical Rings 2b

It is sitting down below my sky-laboratory, right next to the 100m flagpole that leads up to it, hovering motionless in the air, and no longer physical. Don’t know how it managed to get detached, or what could have turned off the physical bit.

I continued hunting, and two of the others were also non-physical and also in midair, somewhat lower down, apparently embedded in a neighbor’s banline wall.

I eventually found the last one, maybe 100m away horizontally, lying on the ground on someone else’s parcel, still physical.

Very very odd!

I have nothing very profound to say about this, except that one should obviously not expect things held together by mere physics to stay together, even if they are (for instance) a set of linked solid rings. I don’t know how long it took them to uncouple, or what did it. They were as far as I know not subject to wind pressure, nor were they set to “allow anyone to move” which might have allowed a passerby to give a good stiff yank. Although I suppose someone simply flying into them at high speed could have imparted enough energy to defeat physics engine and unlink the rings.

Should have left a videocamera going…

Is Second Life too little?

In one of those fun crotchety-old-timer posts, the renowned Prad asks Is Second Life too big?, and I reply, in my usual Polyanna way, that it isn’t.

And then I decide to make a whole weblog post out of it! :)

Yeah, I would definitely suggest doing more grid-hopping and exploration, and saying Hi to more random people! I do alot of both, and it’s great fun.

I don’t think Second Life’s too big. I do expect that there’s some slight effect where early on the people coming into SL were very heavily weighted toward early adopters, the curious, the confident, the creative. We’re still pretty heavily weighted that way compared to RL, but probably not quite as much, so there are maybe a few percent more “normal” people than there used to be, and a few percent more people who are *different* enough from you that you maybe will have to work a little harder to get on with them.

But on the whole I think those are good things. :) It might take a bit (just a bit, I think) more effort to meet new people, but imho the increased diversity is well worth it.

One tip: if you want to hit it off with a new person, you don’t have to just say “Hi” out of the blue. You can read their profile, see what they’ve chosen to present to the world about themself, and then you can say “That’s a great profile pic, where did you take it?” or “Hey wow, I’m a huge Allman Brothers fan too!” or “what kind of art do you do?” or whatever. Not only does this give them an easy and natural way to enter into a conversation if they’re so inclined, it also shows that you’ve gone to the trouble of finding out a little about them, and are a bit less likely to be a random beggar.

And for the last new person that I struck up a conversation with, who had nothing much in her profile, one of the things that I said (not instantly, but early on) was that she should put something interesting into her profile, ’cause it would make it easier to meet new people.

When you did that search for “British”, did you really find *no* places that looked like they’d be good prospects for socializing? Even with “show mature” turned off? I’m sure there were alot of malls and clothing stores and iffy-looking venues in the list, but I’ll bet there are one or two that, if you were a newborn today and found them on the list and went there, would offer some very nice first-week experiences meeting new people.

And in terms of, say, being able to find a group of Italian-speakers, or Allman Brothers fans, or train enthusiasts, the Grid is probably *more* inviting to a newborn now, exactly because it is bigger, and has groups and communities and venues for an even larger set of interests and styles than it did N years ago.

“Rarely will we just go around “grid -hopping” to explore and see new places… we avoid most people, fearing them to be psycho sex-seeking, lolcat-English emblazoned stalkerish noobies…”

The power is in your hands! :)

(These thoughts may or may not be related interestingly to my recent other thoughts about styles of “Hi”.)