Beam us up, Scotty!

tumblr_mbj1bv6VmQ1rt6xixo1_500_largeApparently, my last post has been construed in some quarters as me ‘saying nice things about the Lindens’. Perish the thought! What on earth is the world coming to? Of course i wasn’t being nice to the Lindens… i’m never nice to anyone! i was simply trying to look objectively at the current state of play in sl, which if we’re absolutely honest, isn’t really all that bad, after all.

Unfortunately, trying to being nice or objective generally results – by virtue of some unexplained butterfly effect – in something unpleasant happening in return; much like it always rains when you’ve just had a haircut. On this occasion, my generosity of spirit seemed to provoke the pixel gods of sl into biting me on the butt, and the very next time i logged in, my appreciation of the Lab’s efforts at making sl fit for purpose quickly turned to the more usual curses and insults.

My problem – or, at least, the problem that was causing the most grief on this particular occasion – was a complete inability to teleport anywhere. Every time i tried, it was to be faced with that painfully slow, interminable TP progress screen that you know is going to dump you unceremoniously out of sl… eventually.

The worst part, of course, isn’t the failure to teleport, or even the crash itself… no, it’s the discomforting knowledge that if you then attempt to log in directly to your intended destination, there’s a very good chance that you’ll wind up completely naked and surrounded by a whole bunch of laughing people. So inevitably, it was a case of log back in at home, wait for the curry cloud to resolve itself into an avatar, check for missing clothing, hair and superfluous pairs of shoes, and try, try, try again.

SL just wasn’t having it… Conventional wisdom said TP somewhere else and try from there… Crash! Get someone else to TP you… Crash! Try a different viewer, change of clothing, slug of neat whisky… Crash! Crash! CRASH! Nothing doing: it seems that i was doomed to walk to my destination, which by my rough calculations, would take me about 3 weeks and, according to the map, still require me to make about a million TP hops between sims anyway.

telehub_001It all made me wonder how on earth people managed back in the dark ages prior to late 2006 when travel around the Grid was limited to – horror-of-horrors – telehubs. There are those of you who will remember the virtual world where a stout pair of walking boots, or decent flying skills as a bare minimum, were an essential accessory for any shopping trip, night out at your favourite disco or visit to the virtual in-laws for tea, since any TP would only get you as far as the local hub, leaving you to make the long slog – compass and map in hand – to your ultimate destination. Point-to-point teleporting was a luxury that sl residents were denied, a luxury that we take completely for granted on today’s accessible Grid.

Whilst the benefits of unhindered access to pretty much anywhere on the Grid we choose are undeniable, i can’t help thinking that there’s a downside too – for me, travel is every bit as much about the journey as it is about the destination. We think nothing these days about jumping into a box or tube of steel, with the sole aim of getting from ‘A’ to ‘B’ as quickly as possible and complaining vehemently about the delays and rigmarole that surround such arrangements, and spare not a thought about the joys of the journey itself. Modern travel has lost much of the romance and ambience of an earlier generation of explorers who revelled just as much in the journey and the means of achieving their destination, as in the arrival itself. The same may well be said about sl.

The romance of travel

The romance of travel

A typical shopping trip for many of us consists of a rapid series of TPs from favourite store to favourite store – how often do we take the time to wander from one shop to another… what indeed is the point of many stores even having doors? How many of us have a club or gathering place we regularly frequent, yet have no idea what lies beyond its four walls, simply because we always directly TP onto the dance floor? And how much of sl remains unexplored, unseen and unloved, simply because we never have cause to wander through its pathways and streets, or fly above its fields and towns?

The warnings that sl is shrinking may well be true, but far too many of us will never notice anyway, because the Grid – for us – is a very small place anyway!

s. x

Do you want to see the world?
Do you want to see the world?
Do you want to see the world?
In a different way
The Kooks – See The World

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This entry was posted in Philosophicalisticality, Rants, RL, SL, SLarcheology. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Beam us up, Scotty!

  1. I agree completely, entirely too many of us are hardly aware of the greater SL around us. This is a product of several decisions which, for better or worse, are now woven into the fabric of SL.
    1- Direct TP, as you point out, is not without it’s drawbacks.
    2- The shift in emphasis toward private island and away from the mainland. Today even if you do look around for shops in the neighborhood, chances are there is no neighborhood to look in, you are in an island with only one shop.
    3- Marketplace. Don’t get me wrong, I use marketplace, it is very convenient. The way it is priced is the problem. There should be a delivery fee, just like shopping on line; and a way to sell from vendors in world that taps into a content creators Marketplace account without the fee. This would *encourage* in world shops, especially for the smaller, more marginal businesses. Dare I hope for more mainland shops and malls clustered around roadside intersections?

    • It’s interesting what you say about the move to private islands, or for that matter isolated skybox stores, and i’d certainly agree. As for the Marketplace, i wrote about my concerns back in April last year and i still have them. Not sure that a delivery fee would work for me, but i’m pretty much a stalwart inworld shopper anyway, however there seem to be a lot of good ideas and strong opinions out there, saying that something should be done, it’s just a question of what, and whether the Lab are interested!
      s. x

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