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Video Game / Second Life

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Real Life is your first one, this game is your second one.

Second Life is a virtual world by Linden Lab, originally launched in 2003 for Windows PCs, with Mac and Linux versions also available. It's like a sandbox MMOG heavy on user customization, or a world-sim meets 3D-chat-program, or the Internet's largest alternative-digi-porn-emporium. No matter which of the three definitions you prefer, Linden Lab states that Second Life is not a game or even a work of fiction so much as it is a simulation of real life made much more interesting.

There is no story-line and no goals, instead putting an emphasis on chatroom-like conversations with friends and buying virtual property. It's the sort of environment where a hacker attack involves self-replicating spheres spreading across the biosphere, and banned users find themselves in an endless corn-field with only a TV showing a promo for Linden Lab, the company behind Second Life. And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack. You may find yourself married to a large automobile. You may find yourself pole-dancing while what can only be described as a sentient light-show stuffs cash into your G-string. You may ask yourself, "Why am I wearing this beautiful house?". You may ask yourself, "Why am I running through the junkyard in a swimsuit with my beautiful large automobile wife?". You may say to yourself, "My God! Where are my pants?!"

It may be the dawn of The Metaverse in Real Life. Also a bit creepy at times, especially when it comes to the default "human" models, and the user-created ones can be disturbing in a very sexy way. Or sexy in a very disturbing way.

On the technical side, a user can create nearly any item within the simulation, using the built-in editor to manipulate "prims" simple 3D shapes that can be combined however you want, "sculpted prims" were introduced later and allow the importing of 3D models from an external program, via the same method textures could be uploaded before. An in-world scripting system that allows a large amount of control over prims, which nearly everything in-world is made of (except for the ground and basic player models). Streaming audio and video are another feature, with the latter acting as a special texture for a prim's surface, which some people have used to make blended meetings with video from the simulation projected into the same room that's being streamed. (There was also a cordoned-off area for teens that was merged with the adult grid in early 2011.)

Open Simulator is intended to be an open-source alternative.

Tropes include:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: Many a griefer was kicked out of a sim (or banned) by a mod who admitted their behaviour was actually somewhat amusing.
  • After the End: Many Community Combat System RP sims are set in a post-apocalyptic world with vampires, werewolves, demons, angels, and other assorted races running around.
  • An Interior Designer Is You: You also get to play architect.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: The default skins for avatars are non-detailed, although custom skins and..."attachments" are readily available.
  • Berserk Button: Calling Second Life a game is this to some residents.
    • Some participants are notorious for taking Second Life a bit too seriously. Accidentally stumble across two avatars virtually making out (or more), or stumble across an area where an activity or a meeting you weren't invited to is taking place, and players might react similarly to how they might in the real world.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Averted. While players are expected to buy things with real money, there's no real "progress" to be made, making the victory part of the trope moot. It's best to think about spending money on the game as DLC to enhance the user's experience if nothing else. In some cases, if you know what you're doing and have the skills to do it, you can actually make money on Second Life and convert it to real life money. Some people managed to make an actual living this way, which caused Linden Labs to change several policies regarding virtual money so that there's no hyperinflation. However it's not easy to make money off Second Life and very few people will actually make a ton of real life money this way, so don't think you will be able to quit your day job to make money from Second Life.
    • At the game's peak of real world exposure in 2007-08, out of about 4 million accounts, 117 people made $25,000 or more. Just to show how long your odds are.
  • Collectible Card Game: Second Life has its own, Logos and yes you can play it on motorcycles!
  • Controllable Helplessness: RLV was designed with pretty much this in mind. Also crosses over with Videogame Perversity Potential/Videogame Cruelty Potential in that whoever holds the key to your restraints chooses exactly how long you stay helpless. note 
  • Cosplay: It's very easy to find avatar sets or parts that can let you dress up as your favorite fictional character.
  • Digital Avatar: While having avatars is pretty universal to MMO settings, Second Life is renowned for the lengths and variety to which avatars can be crafted and customized, given its Metaverse inspirations of which the tropes share the same codifier.
  • Everybody Has Lots of Sex: As noted elsewhere on this page, Second Life is a den of iniquity for every fetish you can imagine, except pedophilia, which is a banning offense.
  • Flash Step: You can buy a device that teleports you several feet in the direction you want to go, allows you to go through walls and effectively fly in areas where you are forbidden to fly. (Just flash step upwards.)
  • Free-Love Future: Well, a Free Love Present, for good or ill. As noted elsewhere, because there are no lasting consequences, sexual promiscuity is rampant and monogamy is almost never adhered to. One running joke is "Second Life, where a One Night Stand is too much commitment."
  • Game-Breaking Bug: There are a lot of things that can cause your viewer to chug or simply crash, outside of the typical bugs and glitches that Linden Labs introduces with each update. Having too many objects clustered in a sim can cause viewers to have drops in framerate, and people/objects that use too many scripts or scripts that eat up a lot of memory can also cause the same result. Griefers tend to abuse objects and scripts to force sims to crash, while others may not even know that their objects or scripts are eating up resources. Because the coding of Second Life is heavily outdated, and Linden Labs themselves have been extremely slow to resolve outstanding issues, expect many bugs and oddities to remain for a long time.
    • Many potential players abandoned the sim early on due to issues such as inability to control avatars in flight or even while walking if a connection issue occurs.
  • Gender Bender: Your choice of gender only affects which avatar you're wearing when you log in the first time. After that, you can easily switch to a different body of whatever gender you prefer as often as you want. You start with several of both genders. A sizable number of players opt to be both in some form or other.
  • Griefer: Second Life is heavenly for these guys. Ranging from the mildly offensive (text spam or wearing offensive attachments, both which can be easily remedied by muting the user) to the heavily disruptive (constantly rezzing prims or using several laggy scripts) which can hamper the sim's performance, making everyone suffer (which require a land owner or moderator to kick and ban the offenders).
    • And just as worse in privately owned areas such as ones used for role-playing and are managed by one person or a small team of moderators; if the owner or the moderators are not online when a griefer is running wild, things will get out of control fast. Private areas that show if owners or moderators are online or not will attract griefers if they see nobody is on to stop them.
    • Griefers always seem to have all the time in the world to put effort into into whatever they're doing. So fight less, avoid more. They're more likely to leave when they have no one to grief. Unless it's a main account - which can be reported.
    • The same level of annoyance applies to the polar opposite of griefers, that call themselves "Anti-Griefers", though it varies. Some anti-griefers are actually helpful, letting the ones in actual power handle things themselves while giving the newbies tips to help them out. Some, such as the Justice League Unlimited, annoy sim/land owners that are trying to resolve the problem themselves through simple, yet effective, mute/eject/ban commands, by taking charge and doing things that egg griefers on and make them grief the sim more, such as demanding that they leave, using their own scripted tools to try and repel the griefer, and in general antagonizing him/her to do more damage, causing an even bigger mess for the sim's owner to clean up.
    • Amusingly enough, there is a sim where you are actually encouraged to try and crash the sim. If you do manage to crash it, you're asked to explain how you did it to the people running the sim, and then they can give other advice to people running their own sims to prepare against griefers.
    • There are also groups that are invited by sim owners to help keep griefers away. Using objects built by players in the game, owners can delegate their admin powers to what are effectively teams of on call moderators who assist multiple sims.
    • Even Griefers have Standards: Some griefers may have fun doing things like flooding a sim up with Tetris blocks or sending silly images flying around the sim, but draw the line at actually crashing the sim or putting up shock images.
  • Guide Dang It!: Linden Scripting Language. Want to create an item that does something other than just sit there? Have you ever written code before? If "yes" to the first and "no" to the second, have fun looking up documentation for hours to get up to speed. However, once you get acquainted with the syntax and layout of LSL (which is child's play compared to the big boy programming languages like C and Java), there's not one, but two wikis that list every function, event, operator, constant and statement in the language, complete with all their uses, caveats and issues. It can be a little outdated (often articles have been untouched since 2008), but it's a damn sight easier to navigate than the average computer science textbook.
  • Hide Your Children: While you are allowed in general to make your avatar be a child, all sims with adult content prohibit child avatars. This is due to the terms of service from Linden Labs prohibiting any form of sex or violence against child avatars.
  • Historical Fiction: There have been a lot of historically-themed roleplay sims over the years, covering a wide range of settings; Ancient Rome, The Wild West, Victorian London, the Weimar Republic, World War II, Renaissance Italy, 18th century Europe to name but a handful... The approach such sims take to historical accuracy tends to vary; a lot of Wild West sims, for instance, take a kind of broad brush strokes approach to history, turning a blind eye to anachronism in favour of the ruleofcool. Others, notably the 18th century courtly roleplay sims, feature strict period dress codes, painstaking recreations of actual palaces, and casts of players taking the roles of obscure historical domain characters. Other sims may even verge more on Historical Fantasy.
  • Hitbox Dissonance: Avatar hitboxes are directly underneath the avatar's name tag, even if said avatar is away from the center. This can make some forms of combat very tricky if an avatar's animations moves them away from their center.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: Expect to pay out the nose or take a crash-course in 3D modeling to acquire or make them, though.
  • Impossibly Cool Weapon: Yeah, like you're not going to find this in a 3D-chatty-thingy where people can make their own stuff. Often tied to combat sims, too.
  • In-Game Banking Services: Averted and ban actively enforced due to numerous scams such as the infamous Ginko Financial and regulatory hurdles, no player can open any bank (defined as any institution accepting funds and promising to pay interest) inside the game, unless they get an official authorisation from public regulators.
  • Interface Screw: It is notorious for the ridiculous amounts of lag you can find. The game is utterly massive and thus will slow down your internet. One of the most common errors (and regularly joked about) is your character refusing to move an inch no matter how many times you press the button. Others involve your character refuses to stop moving and clip through solid objects as if you turned on a no clip cheat. This is to say that if the error occurs while your character is walking, they will keep walking after you've stopped pressing the button and will walk through walls and if you encounter a hill, they'll just walk right through the ground. These issues happen when you're temporarily "disconnected" from the server when lag gets bad or when your connection is dodgy.
    • Even if your computer and internet are running fine and the area you're in is fully loaded, the place can still lag if the server is having problems. Sometimes sim owners have to force a restart on their land to flush out the lag.
  • Invisibility: Wearing an alpha skin or body parts with invisible textures can accomplish this.
  • Invisible Anatomy: Possible to pull off with alpha texturing in certain places.
  • Invisible Wall: Every sim has invisible barriers at the edges and trying to go beyond them gets your avatar pushed back. You can also create your own invisible wall by making a simple rectangle object and making the textures invisible.
  • The Internet Is for Porn: With all the possibilities of a 3D environment with customizable avatars and features, pornographic material is a given here.
  • Loophole Abuse: If Linden Labs sees an item on the marketplace that violates copyrights or other rules, they'll delist the item so that no one can buy it. However, people quickly found out that delisted items can be brought back by simply giving them different keywords and it can also include alterations of the offending keywords.
  • Magic Skirt: Flexi-prim or flexi-sculpt skirts more or less follow the rules of physics. Layer skirts baked onto the otherwise invisible skirt part of the system avatar and rigged/fitted mesh skirts, on the other hand, follow the legs, no matter what.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: Avatars exist for various characters from various fictional universes. Optimus Prime, Sonic the Hedgehog, Dante, Twilight Sparkle, Superman, Son Goku... To name a few.
  • Mini-Game: Tringo, and a few other player-created games, such as go-karting.
    • The breedable animals, if you have enough land and breedables (you can get horses, dogs, cats, chickens, corn and other vegetables) you essentially have an expy of Farmville. A fair bit of controversy follows breedables, as they're technically not allowed under Linden's TOS, and have been exploited by griefers to crash sims by way of sheer spam.
    • There are even MMOs built within SL. There are some open source stat tracking engines such as DCS meant to allow others to develop their own MMOs without having to figure out all the coding and game mechanics themselves. Eventually, even Linden Labs got in on the act and now offers its own MMO in world for premium membership.
    • Combat Sims were/are a thing, with flavors of PVP and PVE, often dying and returning due to the lag and models required.
  • Money Grinding: When SL was young, there were two ways of making money in the game. One was to actually buy in-game funds with real money, and the other was grinding to generate in-game currency by going to special areas where one would park an avatar, sometimes for hours at a time, to generate modest amounts of currency by dancing, performing work-related animations, or simply just ... sitting. Some farming locations paid more than others, and there were also locations where one could find money as "treasure" that became honey pots for savvy players. (For example, one area had a haunted house; if you were willing to put up with random Jump Scare images, you could collect a few dozen Lindens that were lying about; come back a few hours later, and the money regenerated and you could do it again.
  • The Moral Substitute: The Teen Grid, which was a Closed Circle created to keep younger players out of the more ... interesting regions of the Main Grid, is a half-example. Eventually, it was shut down and age verification implemented on the main grid for the more adult areas.
  • This Loser Is You: Unlike most escapist "games", it is genuinely possible to utterly fail to accomplish your goals in Second Life, which can be pretty devastating for somebody who was escaping from a bad life situation anyway.
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: In sims where the health feature is enabled, having your health reduced to zero just teleports you back to your home point.
  • Oh, Crap!: Pretty much everyone's reaction when there's a forced sim restart by Linden Labs. Anyone who doesn't leave the sim before the timer expires will be forced to log out. Needless to say, this can get annoying if you're in the middle of role playing or are building something. If you log in and the sim you logged into is down, you'll be teleported to one of the many newbie hubs designed to show newbies how Second Life works. More often than not, an "OH CRAP" was had by many of a player that got teleported to a newbie hub while wearing questionable stuff on their avatar.
  • Old Media Playing Catch-Up: For a few years, Second Life was a media darling and a headline commonly ripped from. Dozens of corporations set up in-game buildings and facilities. Then it eventually got around that nearly everybody uses it for sex...
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Quite literally. On roleplay sims that maintain a distinction between In-Character and Out-Of-Character (IC/OOC) posts, posting OOC (usually denoted by [] brackets), especially during an ongoing scene, is often frowned upon as it can disrupt the flow of the narrative, and it is encouraged to only do so in the most exigent of circumstances; otherwise, it is more accepted to privately message a participating member if there is an issue that can be resolved without going "public".
  • Permanently Missable Content: Because items sold in world or on the marketplace can be removed at anytime without notice (whether by Linden Labs themselves, the sim owners, or the creator of said items), you'll never be able to obtain them ever again should they vanish one day, although if you did get such an item, you keep it.
  • Polyamory: As might be expected from a place filled with horny people that has no lasting consequences. Almost no one maintains a strictly monogamous relationship for very long.
  • Powder Keg Crowd: A "virtual riot" managed to break out in SL in 2007, between the French National Front and anti-racism activists.
  • Power Perversion Potential: You have the power to create almost anything you want in this world. So what do you do? Why, use it to have sex or send giant penises storming through the G-rated sims!
    • To the point where they created a separate continent just for that (at least, for the more explicitly sexual sims.) As a result, outside of that continent there are more and more creations that are not based on some kind of sex.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Where to begin with this?
  • Role-Playing Game: Entire regions can be dedicated to just this.
  • Rule 34: With avatar possibilities that include characters from popular media like video games and movies, it's quite easy to run into someone that have made such characters incredibly kinky.
  • Rummage Sale Reject: It is very easy to dress this way. Tidbits of outfits are cheaper than whole outfits, so it is easy to mismatch items around, quickly becoming a cluttered mess. You can attach something like fifty items to your avatar, and those fifty items can have hundreds of pieces (although this is frowned upon). The avatar creator Bare@Rose is a big culprit for this style of dress.
  • Scenery Porn: Some sims are very artistically detailed forimmersion bliss. Of course, if you take the trope name literally, look three lines up.
  • Shout-Out: The three servers which run the grid of sims are named Magnum, Le Tigre and Blue Steel.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: One user is actually creating an attachment that "enables" this. The endless possibilities that can be done with scripting...
  • Steampunk: A sizable community within Second Life, concentrated in a loose confederation of sims called the Steamlands (Caledon, New Babbage, Winterfell, Steelhead, Steeltopia, and others).
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Water serves nothing more as an aesthetic appeal and have no affect on your avatar's performance other than possibly a change of animations.
  • The Fashionista: This is what you get in a Virtual World that is more popular than one expects amongst Generation X women, where Avatars are The Ageless if you want them to be, the Rule of Glamorous is always in force, and you can engage in Bribing Your Way to Victory with Impossibly Cool Clothes and get as close to an Unlimited Wardrobe as your Real-life cash can take you. In Second Life, The Fashionista is often part of The Beautiful Elite
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: Inventory is not limited, so Bribing Your Way to Victory with lots of Second Life fashion can lead to this. There are literally millions of different clothing items from completely free to a few dollars.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: The things that you can do with Restrained Love Viewer...
    • And let's not forget those who find love in SL, only to have their emotions purposefully played with by others because "it's only a game."
  • Video Game Perversity Potential: With the vast freedom of the customization options in this game, was it inevitable that half of it would be porn, hardcore fetishes that can't be done in real life, or furry porn?
  • Virtual Paper Doll: The sheer variety of clothing options, along with skin, hair, complete furry avatars, and other clothing/body related items available runs into the millions.
  • Wallbonking: Avatars wallbonking can be a side effect of lag. Sometimes there's a delay between your avatar's actions and what you're seeing, and sometimes there's a delay in the commands your avatar is responding to, either way you're guaranteed to unintentionally walk into a wall at one point.
  • Wide-Open Sandbox: Kinda. Sorta. It's not a sandbox game in the usual sense, since it's not a traditional game, more of a mediated environment, partially under the control of its denizen-creators.
    • Put another way, there are vast areas that can be explored, but almost as many areas that are restricted to authorized avatars and owners. And some of the more, shall we say, serious citizens can get very touchy around intruders.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: VWE, Virtual Wrestling Entertainment, which is broadcast on one of Second Life's television channels as well.