While it may seem hard to believe, 2013 marks ten years since Second Life first opened its doors fully to the public. While SL has been around a little longer than a decade when you take into account the closed beta programme of 2002/03 and, even before that, Linden World, 2013 is nevertheless an important milestone in the platform’s history.
That’s why the organisers of this year’s Community Celebration have chosen to celebration SL’s “tenth birthday” with the theme Looking forward, looking back.
But what does that mean? Well, as mentioned above, SL has been around a long time. Some of those who were there right back at the start – as long ago as 2002 – are still here. People like Dr. Fran Babcock, who is already recalling those very early days, when Second Life was just 16 regions, and taking a look at them as they appear today. Many more of us will no doubt recall 2003 or the magical boom period of 2006 / 07, when Second Life was the media darling of the world.
Looking back: the birth of Second Life – Linden World – with video footage by Andrew Linden, who is still with the Lab today
And that’s what Looking back is all about: looking back over our involvement in Second Life and celebrating what it was that drew us here and what has, over the months and years, kept us engaged in-world since taking those first few hesitant avatar steps. Whether we’ve been involved with the platform for six months or six years, it is an opportunity to celebrate our time with Second Life: what we enjoy in-world, the communities and clubs we’re a part of, the things we love to do in-world and how Second Life has been a part of our lives as it has grown from a mrer 50-or-so regions in June 2003 to the digital world it has become today. Ten years is also a long time for
The Community Celebration theme is designed to be a launchpad for ideas and opportunities in which we can all express how we personally regard Second Life and what it means to us, and the hope it that it will lead to many fascinating builds and displays which reflect our memories of times past and our enjoyment with, and enthusiasm for, the platform.
At the same time, the looking forward part of the theme give all of us, no matter how long we’ve been involved in the platform the chance to consider what Second Life might grow into or give rise to in the course of the next ten years. Right now, we’ve only scratched the surface of what immersive 2D worlds might bring by way of entertainment and practical use.
Just what will Second Life look like in 2023? What might it have given rise to a decade from now? Will it be purely immersive, or will it be augmentive – or a mix of the two? How might immersive 3D works better entertain us and how will 3D environments augment our everyday lives at home and / or at work? Let your imagination run free and bring your vision of the future of SL and virtual worlds to SL10B, and let us see where you think we’re headed in the years to come.
Bruce Branit’s moving glimpse of a possible immersive 3D world of the future (2009).
Applications for Exhibitor space on the Community Celebration regions will open on April 15th. So why not use the time between now and then to mull over ideas and seek inspiration – perhaps by visiting some of the earliest locations and builds in-world or for peeking into the future of Second Life and virtual worlds – and then apply to be a part of SL’s tenth anniversary?