First off, My mom is at home and has been totally cleared of the pneumonia, which is great news. Now let's hope she keeps away from the damned cigarettes!
More good news is that I have landed my first print feature article! G.E.A.R. magazine, a gaming publication by the same publishing house (Intelligence) as the South African version of PC Format, was recently introduced. I wrote a feature article for them on mobile gaming, which has been accepted and will be in the next issue. Now I just have to come up with ideas for a few more article pitches..
On the geek side, I discovered Second Life through a Business Week article. No, this isn't some kind of tech spin on being born again, it's a rather unusual MMO that ditches the common theme of violence and replaces it with community. Second Life could be described as an MMO version of The Sims, or perhaps as a 3D chat client in which your profile picture is replaced by a full 3D avatar, and the context for your chats is a full 3D world. The truth is, however, that it is much much more.
What really makes Second Life interesting though, is it's take on player created content, the ability to buy and sell land, and it's connection with the real-world economy. The game is built around the concept of player created content. Just about everything in-world was created by a player or 'resident' using a combination of the built in modelling tools, and imported textures. Rather than laying claim to created content though, Linden Labs, the creators and owners of Second Life, allow the content creators to keep IP ownership rights. Residents can also buy in-game 'land' which they can then build on, rent out, or simply resell for a profit. Additionally, Second Life has an in-game currency that is hooked into the real world currency and fluctuates in value based on in-game and real world factors, this currency (the Lindon Dollar) can legitemately be traded for US dollars and vice versa. These three elements have created a world which has offered residents the opportunity to earn real money by employing real-world and in-game skills such as object modelling, texturing, animating, communication and many others.
The bad news is, this sort of practice would most likely be all but impossible in South Africa in the short term, due to the bandwidth intensive nature of the game and our insanely overpriced broadband services. It's still worth a good look. If you happen to try it out, drop me a notecard (you'll find out when you start playing ;)), my avatar is Flint Beika. It would also be really nice if you use me as a reference..