Most all of you probably know we have a virtual campus in the 3-D world of Second Life. I won’t revisit all of the reasons why we began this effort (you can read about it here or here). We’ve already had a number of stories about people who have become followers of Christ through this virtual campus. We also have recently had people visiting our physical campuses who first attended LifeChurch.tv in Second Life. In fact, some readers of this blog are only here because I met them in SL.
All of that is exactly what we hoped would happen…BUT, it has not come without challenges. The most significant challenge has been the reliability of the Second Life platform. We have had multiple experiences where our island has crashed under the stress and load of people attending. Unlike all of our other web applications, we have pretty much no control over the actual server that runs our island, nor do we have the ability to seamlessly throw more servers at the problem. We simply have to hope that Second Life improves their infrastructure over time. Because we are seeing changed lives…we will of course press on.
The good news is that Second Life is just one of a growing number of companies building 3-D virtual worlds (aka metaverses). One company that I’ve been following takes a different approach than Second Life and appears to be picking up steam…Multiverse is a platform for developers to build their own “Second Life”-type of virtual world or multi-player game. They give you the client software, and the server software runs on your own servers (I like that). You only pay them money if you decide to charge users (and their cut is only 10%). This means that it’s basically free for most of our uses.
Now…I am not interested in building private 3-D “club houses” for Christians since I am focused on using these tools to reach people who are not followers of Christ. I do, however, think there are ways to use a platform like this to build 3-D environments (even games) that can engage people who would never step foot in a church otherwise.
Our digerati team currently has a very full plate…if some of you are seriously interested in developing in this environment, I would love to hear from you.