Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Get de-noobed via one easy volume

I spend nearly all my time in our pixelated world trying to understand what happened, what makes things work, and who is behind it. Every day feels epic. Often times the information is so tangled that I cannot even being to unravel it. Multiply one day of discovered and extrapolated facts by five years and imagine that in an intelligent volume you can hold and read over a weekend.

HarperCollins has just published Hamlet Au's (aka Wagner James Au) The Making of Second Life, and Lainy Voom, whose machinima I delight in, has teased just some of the stories from that book, in this entertaining promo piece.

The Making of Second Life from TheMakingOfSecondLife on Vimeo.

For those of us who read his blogged column daily, Hamlet/James' grasp of our world comes as no surprise, nor do the facts that he was the first embedded journalist and historian in the metaverse or that he majored in philosophy. Take this gem from the preface:

"The physical world of Second Life... is a kind of 3-D palette for the avatars within it. Standing on a hill like a demi-urge, a Resident can wave her hand and cause the ground to swell, expand, or even collapse into the sea. Moving her palm above the ground, she can make wooden shapes emerge from thin air (there is a deep rumble as these objects take on substance), and once there, her hands can mold and transmute their shape, even their substance - stretching a cube into a flat sheet, twirling a sphere into a torus made of shimmering silver..."

It's prose like this that makes reading The Making of Second Life effortless - a factor to consider since so many of us now prefer to expose ourselves to new information in 3D real time - and while I'm just about half way through, I've already experienced an Olympic leap of understanding.