Sunday, 19 August 2007

Swedish Orientation Smörgåsbord

You know how it is when you get an idea into your head and can't let it go? Checking out non-Linden Lab orientations zones is the idea currently stuck in mine. The most recent addition to my collection is Second House of Sweden's. As with other orientation zones, there is a registration portal for new residents on their website, which you can find here.

This orientation zone seems to be following the "5 and out" model I've mentioned before - with only a few of the most basic basics covered off in a handful of lessons, before sending the newcomer on his/her merry way into Second Life.

While I agree with the objective of Keeping Things Simple, missing out on such basics (once again) as how to fly in SL, or Inventory 101, seems like a mistake. I did like the list of Swedish-themed sites available by TP from the Swedish Institute.

I have not actually visited the Second House of Sweden sim itself before this little trip. But as it was the destination for new arrivals, I thought I would take a look. I have to say, I was impressed. It looks like an Electric Sheep build, and indeed much of it is. I like the depth provided by the baked textures, and the content (at least downstairs) is well laid out and easily accessible. These days I tend not to feature the "big boys" of SL, like the Sheep, preferring instead to look at the lesser known names. But it's good, once in a while, to get a reminder of the quality that made their reputations.


Dirk Singer said...

I had a look at the Swedish orientatin zone the other day and I was really impressed.

I've always thought that the cumbersome orientation process, coupled with a bit of grandstanding you encounter when you have 30 or so AVs standing around, is off putting for a lot of newcomers.

To me, 5 and out is the way forward. After all, when you buy a game for your PC, how many times do you open up and try and digest the instruction manual, and how many times do you prefer just to get stuck in?

Aleister Kronos said...

I agree that it has to be simplified and made more engaging. I just think "5 and out" is maybe too superficial.

Hmmm... interesting point about PC gaming. In my experience, most games are so complex (far more so than SL) they need to take you through a simple "learn the interface" scenario before dropping you in the brown stuff. AS you say, the manuals are almost useless until you've actually experimented a bit (by which time, they're unnecessary). I wonder if anyone is looking at that approach.

Stefan Geens said...

Thanks for the feedback! I noticed from the image in your post that you tried the video channel in the auditorium and didn't get anything -- that's a temporary thing while we work on getting the new season's events lined up.

You can read more about the sim, and the project behind it, at (building the) Second House of Sweden, and if you want to know what's in store for the video, read this post on

One final thing: This Wednesday, Aug 22, at 6.30am SL time, we're having the curator of Sweden's National Museum give an in-world gallery talk (using voice) about some of the art they are showing at the Second House of Sweden. Hope you can make it.

Stefan Geens (Project manager, Second House of Sweden)

Team Mascot said...

On the "5 and out" front, I'm with Dirk on his comment about game interfaces - for me if the controls for a game can't be summarised on less than half a sheet of A4 (Letter) paper, then it is too complicated.... so with SL, you ought to be able to gain enough movement /chat / inventory management information to start exploring SL in under 5 lessons.

(but then, I can have the attention span of a goldfish, so anything more complex than a few simple instructions & I get bored!)

Aleister Kronos said...

Not giving info on how to fly in SL is something of a glaring omission in my view.

The Avatar Island take seems better - but then I don't recall seeing a lesson on Chat and IM.

5? Paring it too much IMHO... Show me otherwise.