What is Second Life?
Second Life is a virtual environment that acts as a life simulator of sorts. It’s not a game as much as it is a social platform. With over a million subscribers and thousands online at any given time from all around the globe, it is a pretty massive platform for creativity.
A lot of people go in there mainly to create, as the world gives you tools to build things out of primitive shapes and meshes, texture them, script them, etc. Its free to create an account, but if you want your own little piece of property in there, you will have to dish out some money to either the Linden Labs company or rent from another player in-game. Most things can be done for free, such as going to events and building with free stuff.
The daily events are what seem to draw the most attention however. There are events where they teach you how to build things in-world, how to script and other things. There are nightclubs that have DJs spinning all night long, and dance floors to take your avatar on. There are also nightclubs, bars, pubs, jazz clubs, blues halls, etc. that also have live performers playing, and that is where Da Bluez Preacher comes in.
I started playing live shows back in 2006 and have been playing ever since, with small breaks here and there. A common scenario is this: Let’s say there is some guy that wants to build a nightclub and invite people from all over to come to his nightclub so he can socialize. First he needs some land to build on, this can be done by renting a server from Linden Labs, or renting land from an in-game person. So this guy rents some land and starts messing around with building his nightclub out of primitive shapes that stretches, moves and rotates in-world. Then he textures these shapes and eventually we start to see a basic nightclub evolve. Now he stands inside this empty nightclub, because no one knows it exists yet, and he ponders how he will rally some strangers to come check out his club. He decides he will hire a live musician to play, hoping this musician has a good following of people in Second Life. So he contacts Da Bluez Preacher’s manager and requests his services. The manager tells him the fee for me to play one hour, he agrees and we have a contract that I will play his club Saturday at 7pm for one hour. Saturday comes and I arrive at his club, using a teleport link, and I give him something called a stream URL. Basically, when you rent land in Second Life, you have access to a media URL where you can grab something like an internet radio station and plug that in. Now when anyone walks on your “sim” and clicks their Media button in their viewer (the software you download to get inside Second Life’s grid) they will hear the radio station you plugged in. I, as a musician, pay for a stream service that I run on my computer, and any music coming from my computer broadcasts over this stream into Second Life. The owner of the club enters this stream in his Media field at 7pm, and I now have control of the media for that sim. At 7pm I walk my avatar up onto the stage and I start playing my music live. Hopefully a big crowd comes to hear Da Bluez Preacher, and everyone starts chatting and requesting songs, telling jokes, meeting someone new from Ireland, etc. When I finish at 8pm, I turn his stream back over to him and move onto my next venue that I am playing at.
Most nights you will find the majority of people in Second Life are “club-hopping” checking out all of the live music around the grid. My job is to entertain and play what people dig, in this case, the blues. There are a ton of musicians that play in there every night from all over the globe, so it can be quite interesting meeting and hearing all this talent. The other interesting thing is, me being in Austin Texas, I likely won’t ever make it over to Dublin Ireland to play in real life, but in Second Life I can, and I have played multiple times at the Blarney Stone, a recreation of the famous pub in Ireland. I meet people and fans that I never would likely have the chance to due to distance, and it enriches one’s life to get to know such diversity of people.
You may ask, Ray, you said you charge a fee to play so what is that all about? Just virtual money to play with in Second Life? Well, that’s another interesting thing about Second Life, it has a virtual economy that can be exchanged for real currency. Their money is called Linden dollars, and you can exchange around 250 Linden for 1 US dollar. it gets processed through Paypal and then you send it to your bank. So essentially, if you have something that another player would buy in-game, then you could make some money. I have literally met people in-game making a living wage only in Second Life. Some people design clothes for all the avatars in-game, some make hair, some make sailboats and script them to actually sail, and some make money being a live entertainer.. Da Bluez Preacher.
So if I have intrigued you to check this platform out and watch my live shows in there, all you need is a free account at https://www.secondlife.com and a viewer. There are numerous viewers, including the official Second Life Viewer, but most use a viewer called Firestorm https://www.firestormviewer.org/ Whatever you choose, you just bring up the viewer and put in your second life username/password and login. It will drop you off at a noob island with some noob clothes, but your in and now you can start customizing the look of your avatar and start searching around for events. When you find one using the viewers event menu, there will be a teleport button on the event posting, you click it and it zaps you to that location. You can always contact my avatar in game as well and message me at srv4u conacher, and I would be glad to help you understand how to play. I hope to see you on the Grid sometime and keep an eye out under my Schedule page for all the times I am playing live in Second Life.