Back on track

I should have a bit more free time this month, and, since the summer is over, it won’t seem such a waste to be sitting indoors in front of a computer screen, living in a virtual world, rather than outside enjoying the corporeal pleasures of the real one.

I’ve got a specific Second Life project in mind, which, if I actually get round to it, should give me something to write about.

I know I’ve said this before, but I really am going to try to get this blog into gear sometime soon.

Thinking to do in Denver

Catching up with the news from the DNC has raised my level of interest in US politics again, after a spell when I couldn’t be bothered with it. I figured that the Democrats had blown it again by picking the wrong candidate, thus landing the rest of the world with four more years of Republican nonsense.

Having watched Obama’s speech, read the contributions of the Clintons (say what you like about Bill and Hillary, but you can’t deny that they know the meaning of party discipline), and felt the general mood of excitement amongst the rank and file, I had been feeling a bit more optimistic.

But now McCain has picked Sarah Palin as his running mate I’m filled with doubt again. It’s obviously a transparent bid for the votes of disaffected Hillary supporters, and it might backfire – it undermines the GOP’s ability to hammer Obama for his inexperience, and it increases concerns about McCain’s age and health – but in a close race it might just be enough to carry the day. Brilliant or stupid? We’ll know in November.

Golden Years

So, despite my scepticism, it turns out that it is possible to make a living by working in a virtual world.

The BBC report sums it up:

  • Research by Manchester University shows that the practice, known as gold-farming, is growing rapidly … In many online games virtual cash remains rare and many people turn to suppliers such as gold farmers to get money to outfit avatars with better gear, weapons or a mount.

The full paper is available here.

The opportunity seems to be limited to MMORPG’s like World of Warcraft though – I can’t see how the model would translate to Second Life, since Linden dollars can be purchased directly, without the need to employ anyone to spend time “farming” them.

The returns are hardly stellar by western standards – £77 a month on average. Unsurprisingly, 80% of the trade is based in China, where that represents a decent income. Still, if things keep going the way they are, gold farming might start looking like an attractive prospect here too.

Alone Again Or

I just visited Second Life for the first time in about a month, to find that my annoying neighbour has cleared off of his property, taking his inconsiderate landscaping with him, and restoring my view to one of virgin mountainside:

You can see that I changed the colour of my house from garish blue to a more subdued green, so it wasn’t that that made him move. Maybe he had one of those sub-prime mortgages.

I shouldn’t gloat though – the land is up for sale again, and the people who move in next might be even worse.