Created by Linden Lab in San Francisco, California, Secondlife is an online virtual world that was built around 2003 for people to create their ideal life, virtually, and interact with others through an online platform. It first attracted curious tech-heads and then grew to include more than a million users as of 2013.
The world gets a lot of the design values from its players. People who join can mold the world as they see fit. People not only design avatars of themselves, but also to create and build their own surroundings through code and 3D modelling. Users can also import things like textures, animations, and gestures through external software, so there’s quite a bit of creative freedom in this ‘world.’ They even use gifs and have programs that work specifically with Secondlife.
One of the best ways to get inspiration is to research a bit about design history, or even look at catalogues of what is being manufactured currently. The best way to do this is through auction houses, which sell both antique and modern work. Auction houses often have beautiful and rare design relics that you can either visit in person or online. One great auction site is Barnebys. They not only have fashion, vintage items, antiques, and jewellery, but also actual art. So whether players are making things with their hands, or building new worlds and identities in Secondlife, visual references can be a great tool to get inspired.
The avatars are one of the more exciting aspects of the game, as users can choose their body type, hair colour, make-up (if worn), and choose from a sizable variety of clothes – meaning thousands of items. This creativity is a way of exercising your creative muscles if you can’t as much in real life, and also a great way to attract like-minded friends within the game.
With so much freedom and anonymity, it’s possible to be just about anything or anyone, and change as much as you like. It’s possible that this may even be used as a tool to work out what you really connect with and enjoy, which may make your real appearance, and life, as cool as your second one, who knows?