I just got a comment from Fire Centaur (as the person is known in 2nd Life) about a 3D simulation of the BP oil spill.Fire created the simulation as both an educational tool and a means of grappling with the sense of helplessness that a great many of us are feeling as we watch oil pump into the Gulf of Mexico for months now. From Fire’s blog posting in response to a comment that the simulation is in ‘bad taste’,
I’m Fire Centaur in SL – I created the Oil Spill simulation on my island English Village.
I hear what you are saying, and value your opinion.
The reason I made the simulation, and the reason why I have been SL from the beginning, is because I see “gaming platforms” as a viable delivery platform for education.
In a way, SL is quite enabling, because it allows ‘us’ to enter a gamers world… – where we are able to create immersive content – and connect – through simulations – with gamers and others who are interested in virtual worlds.
Most of the people I have met in SL, are engaged in higher education. (University professors etc)
I think gaming as a delivery platform for education certainly should never replace real life education – but it certainly has its merits.
After living in Korea for 5 years, seeing how many youth play games, I think there can be something said for using gaming to “enter” a users world…
In some small way, I was hoping that my experience in programming simulations and manipulating LSL code, and in building this simulation, could somehow help to contribute to the cause – and give users something they could engage with, and perhaps even reduce the disassociation attached with just reading the news…
Creating a gaming simulation where users attempt to plug a flowing oil pipe enables highly immersive user engagement (for those who try the simulation) and I’m hoping that it might even cause some people to feel that they too could be a part of a solution…
It’s very easy to feel helpless when these things happen, and since in some cases where we dont see the immediate effects of this tragedy, we can easily feel disassociated from the problem altogether.
By getting people into a game – simulating them being at the bottom of the ocean… repairing a pipe – helps them to be being part of a solution, through engagement.
I am hoping, this might reduce this feeling of helplessness… or at the very least, encourage discussion of the tragedy.
If you try the game, it would take you about 2 minutes to plug the pipe I created that is spewing oil…
That’s two valuable minutes of a users time.
From a webmasters point of view – 2 minutes is quite a lengthy time to immersively capture your audiences attention…
If I can do that – and have them focussed on important issues like the BP Spill… heck – I think thats pretty good!
Thanks for taking the time to check it out.
Anyhow, if anyone else would like to try the simulation, or use it as a space for a discussion, I most certainly welcome you to the environment…
You can gain access and instructions by going here.
I haven’t been to the BP oil spill in 2nd Life yet but I’m looking forward to it. Thank you, Fire Centaur.