I suppose that only a handful of my readers remember the days when this blog was CubicleDweller.com. Back in the heyday of personal blogs, I wrote frequently about life at the office, working the cubical farm — you can still read those posts in the archives here. Fewer readers will know that this is how I got the name “Cubey”, which I carried forward as “Cubey Terra” for a decade and a half of building aeronautic fun in the virtual world.
As of last week, I’ve headed back to the cube farm. I’m once again working full-time as a software technical writer. What that means is that Cubey Terra will only be around on weekends, and that new hoverboard will be delayed.
If any of my Second Life customers need help, please go ahead and message me in-world — I get those as emails, and I’ll try to get back to you as soon as possible.
So Second Life, I’ll see you next weekend. Real life, I see you all the time, don’t I? Stop being so clingy.
Warning: What follows is purely for a Second Life audience. All others, flee now while you still can.
I have an idea, but I’d like to introduce it by rewinding back to the start, where virtual flight began in Second Life.
When I first logged into Second Life in 2003, aircraft were rare things in the virtual sky. There was one airport on the grid — Gray Airfield — and it was populated with flight enthusiasts who struggled to create airplanes that flew at all realistically. Borrowing the words of Douglas Adams, they were almost, but not quite entirely, unlike planes.
For fans of Second Life and virtual worlds in general, today there’s both good news and bad. Good news: Oculus Rift, the VR headset compatible with Second Life, after years of anticipation, is available for pre-order by consumers. Bad news: It’s really effing expensive.
In the lead-up to the pre-order today, Oculus kept the introductory price of their consumer-model VR kit a closely-guarded secret. Speculation was rampant. Would it be an affordable $299 investment, or would it be priced out of casual reach? It turns out it’s the latter. And then some.
At $599 USD, the Rift will cost Canadians around $850 CAD before taxes and shipping. They’ve priced it up with high-end tablets and phones, or mid-level computers. In short, only the wealthy get to have one.
As an avid fan of virtual worlds myself, I was hoping to be among the first to upgrade to a fully immersive consumer-grade VR setup. I can’t justify the expense even though I produce content for Second Life and would probably use it almost daily. $850 CAD is too much.
So my dream of immersing myself in Second Life — seeing Bay City or 1920s Berlin, gawking at the buildings, airships, and landscapes — all that will have to wait until the price comes down by at least half. VR isn’t a reality yet.