The very best take away for me was an introduction to Second Life. The symposium was broadcast live to an audience inside Second Life, and at one point a presenter displayed the scene “in-world” where avatars were sitting in an amphitheater on benches watching the live presentations on a big screen. It was an amazing sight and at that moment the concept of these virtual worlds really hit home.
Joining Second Life has been on my “to do” list for a while now but seeing those avatars attending the symposium live pushed me over the edge. So yesterday at noon I signed up in Second Life, selected a name (Bubba Fride), and started learning the basics of moving, communicating, and generally getting along in the incredible virtual world of Second Life.
Mostly at this point I just stand around watching in amazement the richness of activities and interactions. I really want to understand the implications of this new technology and gain some insight into what it may mean for our future…from a social and business standpoint. The photo is of my avatar “Bubba Fride” watching the live symposium.
Back to the symposium…one thought that struck me as I listened to Katie Salen, the morning keynote…that game design has many similarities to business system design. Like games, business systems represent a negotiation between stakeholders; the developer, sponsor, end user, and sometimes domain expert. And like game designers the system developer attempts to constrain the end user so they move through a process of interacting with the system in a specific manner. Also much thought/effort is put into creating a good “experience” for the end user. And finally both games and business systems are highly abstracted versions of the actual system they are attempting to model.
So my two big “take aways” from the symposium were (1) finally getting involved in Second Life and (2) new insight into the relationships between game design and business systems design.