No DRM for Second Life, please

Today is the day – September 5 – when Steam promised to unveil a whole new stable of creativity and productivity programs on its site. Nothing in sight yet. I am watching the Steam site like a hawk, and I see no announcement of new apps yet. But then, Steam operates on what is affectionately known as “Valve-time” – in its own universe, a little sideways from the rest of us.

If this leak from Steam’s iOS platform is correct, we could be talking design, video production, accounting … accounting?  Imagine doing your taxes while getting your next achievement in Portal 2!

(Photo “leak” courtesy of http://www.joystiq.com) Continue Reading “No DRM for Second Life, please”

What is Steam anyway: A Second Life resident sits on Steam’s porch and looks inside

In a discussion over at Wagner Au’s corner of the blogosphere yesterday, the fascinating question of “What is Steam?” came up. This topic always gets my attention because … I’ll go out on a limb here … I think Steam is going to become, very soon, one of the biggest software distributors around. I also think it will become, through its Workshop and Greenlight programs, the mentors of the best new indie developers, as well as the distribution channel for the best new indie work.

Also – and here’s where I stop gushing – I predict that Valve (owners of Steam) will wrap every single piece of that beautiful creative artistic work up in DRM chains so tight, locked with a TOS padlock so un-pickable, that none of those creative products will ever see the light of freedom again. Continue Reading “What is Steam anyway: A Second Life resident sits on Steam’s porch and looks inside”

My steamy travel diary, from Second Life to Steam

Here is the steamy travel diary I promised you all a couple days ago when I wrote about  Steam’s impending partnership with Second Life and its effect on Second Life machinima.

First off, I have to disappoint you all by reporting that I encountered no hacking, meanness, insults, or mayhem while in Steam, despite dire warnings from the blogosphere about what those Steamers are like. But my calendar tells me there are still a couple weeks before the September 5 Second Life/Steam nuptials. That’s when the real mayhem is expected to break out in our tidy little Second Life gated community, when 40 million gamers try to crash in all at once. I have a different take on this, siding with the comment on a blog I can’t remember (sorry!) who said something like: “I imagine the Steamers will take one look at Second Life, say LOL, and move on.” But still, I’ve got my Steamroller ready to roll to the scene of any mayhem that should arise. I promise prompt uploads to Youtube. Continue Reading “My steamy travel diary, from Second Life to Steam”

Full Steam ahead for Second Life, and that’s a good thing for machinima

A lot of Second Lifers are getting steamed up about Steam, now that Linden Lab has announced it will put a portal to our little backwater enclave of Second Life up on Steam, home of 40 million gamers. D-day apears to be September 5, at least that’s what Valve, the technology company creator of Steam, says here. This has a lot of SL residents worrying we will be overrun with griefers, gun-toting hulks, and general mayhem once the “Portal” opens.

One of the more thoughtful posts along these lines comes from Darrius Gothy here who predicts that the rush of gamers into SL will erode our world into a “poor reproduction of a well-crafted 3D online game” and move SL toward game play and further away from the “My World, My Imagination” ethos. The more alarmist posts like these from Prokofy Neva here and Crap Mariner here predict griefers, mayhem, and even a shooting rampage down the Destination Guide yellow-brick road (that’s from Crap, who else?)

Well, after reading all this exciting doomsday stuff, I had to head over to Steam to check it out. What is missing from these analyses, I think, is the fact that not only will Steamers be joining us, we’ll be joining them – if we want. We will have a new playground with amazing technology, distribution structure, mentoring, and 40 million new friends to play with. 40 million! Steam is just as much – in fact millions of times more – of a community as SL is. The complexity, brilliance, and technical skill of the Steam community is dazzling.

What’s a Pansy Hopper like Bay Sweetwater doing on Steam?

Now don’t get me wrong – anyone who has watched my machinima, like Twinkle’s Journey and Pieces of My Heart, knows I’m not exactly the shoot ’em-up, mow-’em-down stereotypic gamer. In fact, when I first began talking about Valve’s new Source Filmmaker software a couple months back, one Second Lifer who shall remain nameless asked what a “pansy hopper” like Bay Sweetwater was doing on Steam. I never could figure out what a “pansy hopper” was, though I loved the name and will definitely use it for a character in a machinima someday. Even after thumbing through my urban dictionary I still don’t know what it is, but it didn’t sound complimentary. Continue Reading “Full Steam ahead for Second Life, and that’s a good thing for machinima”