categories: Second Life, social networking, technology, working together
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July 18th, 2007

by Bobby Gruenewald

11 comments (+ Add)

Second Life and Multiverse

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.

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Comments

there are a total of11
  1. Jul 18, 2007 at 1:44 pm

    Bobby,

    When you say “3-D environments” or “games,” do you mean fictional narrative stories that are RPG-esque or do you mean puzzles and boardgames?

    I’d love to get involved in an interactive narrative metaverse. I know many individuals who would never step foot in a church but have discussed the finer points of Christianity as it relates to aspects of “Final Fantasy” games or Star Wars/Lord of the Rings, etc.

    I look forward to hearing from you!

  2. Jul 18, 2007 at 2:47 pm

    Bobby,

    I completely agree with your assessment of the platform’s capabilities and potential.

    I would love to contribute in any way I can.

  3. 4Adrian
    Jul 18, 2007 at 3:09 pm

    Interesting stuff… I may load Multiverse up and see what potential this thing has. I agree with you on trying to find a way to use this software as more than a ‘game’.

  4. 6Jimmy Paravane
    Jul 19, 2007 at 10:36 am

    Second Life is a social environment with a pretend environment and an idealized avatar to play with. But you can only spend so much time exploring the pretty environment or dressing up and/or tweaking the idealized avatar. It’s the interaction with others that makes any multiverse work. Even a solo’er’s motives in an MMRPG are suspect, as there are plenty of Single player RPG’s and FPS’s that are better for single play than most if not all MMRPG’s. What would be your vision for this multiverse? How would you keep it “staffed”? How would you make it both known and accessible to your target users?
    I’m often amused when I’m the only one online at Experience Island and visitors who drop in assume that I’m staff, or at least a member of Lifechurch.tv. You’d think the outfit I wear would give them a clue. (grin)

  5. Jul 19, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    This is pretty cool.

    From my experience in christian gaming online as part of communities etc. (in Halo, Call of Duty 2 and other PC games), we don’t really have platforms inside a game to use, since they are mostly simple multiplayer games like Halo, or not customizable like World of Warcraft. What we have found works in ministry with fellow gamers is other tools we use while gaming - ventrilo (www.ventrio.com), teamspeak (www.goteamspeak.com) and xfire (www.xfire.com) to have online bible studies, prayer meetings, etc. Last christmas, a bunch of us organized a Christmas event for gamers, and around 80 people in total dropped in and out (not too many I guess, but I think it’s a lot :P)

    The way evangelism works best is building relationships with gamers you meet online etc., and sharing with them when you feel led using chatting tools like xfire, or even msn/aim etc.

    A lot of gamers (especially the competitive communities like Call of Duty 2, CounterStrike etc.) meet and socialize in IRC channels. One popular CoD2 channel has between 100-400 people on it at anytime (Some might be just idlying). We have a christian channel in one of these networks called #jesus

    I think there is still A LOT OF POTENTIAL to tap in and minister to gamers, but it would take, like any venture, a lot of time, planning and effort :P

    One big christian gaming team I know of is Men of God (www.menofgod.us) - They have chaplains etc. and yearly meetings as well :P

    It would be a dream to build a good Christian singleplayer/multiplayer game. Maybe when I grow up, I’d be able to find an organization interested in sponsoring something like this.

    I liked the idea of second life, and what Bobby mentioned - tapping into communities that are out there and reaching others for Christ and discipling others, not simply building games for Christians/us to socialize in.

    Sorry for the long post :P

    God Bless ‘_^

  6. Aug 5, 2007 at 4:16 pm

    [...] Lifechurch.TV continues to amaze me. First it was a Second Life church and now it’s a Facebook church. Second Life is here if you haven’t visited yet. [...]

  7. Aug 6, 2007 at 12:43 am

    [...] Jag måste bara återigen säga att jag beundrar Lifechurch.tv:s strävande att använda ny teknik till något gott, även om jag inte tror på att kopiera alla idéer till Sverige. I en post om Second life och Multiverse skriver Bobby Gruenewald: 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. [...]

  8. Oct 5, 2007 at 10:31 am

    [...] So stay tuned. No telling what the next technological and sociological mergers might bring. Could it be that the Virutal Church of the Resurrection is just around the corner? LifeChurch.TV thinks so. [...]

  9. May 31, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    We are newly network member, we are building our youth media department hard core online and different forums like these mentioned. We have accounts in both, every time we try to go to yalls secondlife campus it doesn’t let us enter…Do yall still have that campus?

    Do yall have a campus in Multiverse? We would love to connect with yall to build the youth part up.