Well, I have one question - has anyone seen an educational SecondLife presentation covering design theories of virtual space? This isn't about how to use SL, or showing social simulations/behaviors but on what we build and why we should build it. There is a great deal of written, but everyone seems to treat virtual worlds like Barbie Dreamhouse's and avatars like Dolls. I've read a lot, but haven't found a decent text since Benedikt's "Cyberspace: First Steps"
My question is rooted in Lev Manovich's statement in his book "The Language of New Media"
He states that there is no understanding of virtual space, only a loose collection of articles related to realism in rendering or behavior. Realism is big term for me, and while I like it, I find most people let it dictate what they build. Moreover, they tend to get lost in realism's ties to narrative, and forget that virtual worlds are also GUI's (graphic user interfaces) and all the lessons of HCI and Usability still apply.
The reason I'm looking for a presentation on how worlds should be designed is two-fold.
1) Seeing a world/presentation designed to a new set principles that exploit the nature and power of a virtual space AND explains those principles would be helpful to me (and others I suspect)
2) Well, I've actually put something to together on this subject and am doing my due diligence. I'm fairly certain nothing beyond a few virtual slide presentations on basically realistic looking stages has been done. Maybe a few include a simulation, or a little roleplaying.
PS: Please don't mention books like Mirrors Worlds. If you have it, take a look at his illustrations, they are blank squares a top an isometric cityscape - useless. And texts like Hamlet on the Holodeck, really highlight my point on realism and narrative. (Murray was prof of mine as well) If you think its useful consider if early filmmakers declared - the future of movies is Shakespeare on the Cinemascope...
PS 2, I'm not always gruff... people like John Klima, Patrick Keller, Adam Nash, Cristiano Bianchi, Andy Best have all done innovative work (IMHO)