Virtual World Directions

Ciaran Laval in his blog has an article on Neoliberalism And Cardboard In Virtual Worlds And Games. Despite the title it is about the direction virtual worlds are going. He quotes from Elliot Murphy’s essay on computer games and politics:  Always a Lighthouse: Video Games and Radical Politics. This may give us another hint on Sansar’s economic model.

A cunning plan

A cunning plan

In America I suspect many will confuse the liberalism intended with the popular liberal/progressive ideology the mainstream media touts. In a 1984 style, radicals and socialists have taken over the word liberal for their use in describing socialism/collectivism, which are not liberal. But, in Ciaran’s quote we see neoliberalism is being used in its more classic meaning, i.e., the core tenets of neoliberalism: privatization, deregulation, commodification, and a celebration of personal profit. My kind of thinking. 

Ciaran is pointing to how Second Life™ is mentioned in the essay. SL is pretty much a free market (liberal) style environment. From there he projects that will likely be the style of Project Sansar’s model.

Ciaran believes: “The directions are potentially endless and whereas Second Life does have a strong emphasis on the market, there are also plenty of freebies, sharing of ideas and resources at play, which aren’t really touched upon in the essay.” [emphasis mine] Unfortunately, not all things work. In a free market environment resources have to be used wisely or the business or game goes bankrupt and employees move on to something that works. In more totalitarian governments taxes are raised and wasteful failing ideas and programs continue. Things stagnate. It would have been interesting if Murphy had looked at those things and how they affect games.

Ciaran quotes Loki Elloit’s recounting of how he is working with Google Cardboard in Second Life. I think Loki has found what will be the low cost approach to using VR to build in Second Life. Basically similar to how we use the Preview Grid. Build something then test and proof it in the Preview Grid where it is free to upload. Loki seems to be building and then checking how it looks in his VR headset and adjusting the build.

I suspect that to some extent this workflow will hold true for Sansar too. I know I use Blender by placing a camera at eye-height and add a copy of the Ruth avatar to see how things I am building look size and proportion-wise. Then when happy in Blender I bring them into the Preview Grid and look at them. With a VR headset I would add that check too. With Blender adding VR headset support I will be able to use that check in Blender and in-world, whether SL or Sansar.

Murphy is on about how games can be used to radicalize players. In my article Thought Controlled Elections I pointed to some of the conditioning and information control that Facebook and Google can exert on our thinking. Murphy is pointing to how games can provide a false sense of how the RL world works.

If one is knowledgeable in the areas of propaganda mechanics and the behaviors of totalitarians, the difference in  ideology and game play stands out. MMO’s do NOT lend themselves to the lone individualism needed for totalitarian propaganda and ideology to adhere. That isn’t to mean totalitarian ideology can’t be promoted or perpetuated in MMO’s. They just aren’t ideal for it.

Murphy’s essay is interesting. Quoting his final point:

This final point is crucial: Many games surveyed here do not in themselves have the depth of exposition required to deliver the sort of counter-narrative seen in polemical essays or academic lectures, but they can nevertheless suggest a particular direction, as when the BioShock developers point the player in the direction of Bakunin. Video games are permeated with a mindful and lively sense of optimism about the possibility of change, both political and personal. It’s for this reason among many others that they will continue to be embraced in increasing numbers, exposing the contradictions and flaws of the modern world.

4 thoughts on “Virtual World Directions

  1. As a lefty, I felt the essay had a strong lefty bias. However it still made for an interesting read and whereas I prefer balanced articles, biased articles whether they swing right or left are good for us all as they present different points of view.

    These days there are far too many toxic debates, rather than nuanced debates, which is a shame.

    • I see more and more people on the Left adopting the Alinsky model for their idea of debate/discussion. Even those on the far right are adopting his tactics. Others are adopting the tactics without even any knowledge of Alinsky. They imitate those using his tactics that are prominent in mainstream media.

      Nuanced debate… even actual debate, is becoming a thing of the past. What FNC called the season’s first political debate was a misuse of the term debate. I suspect most Americans living now now have never seen an actual debate.

      Now that we have Net Neutrality as part of the FCC new rules are coming out to limit speech. (References: – ) By posting information on the net one will be restricted in what they can say via broadcast. What is said on the net will be limited too. These new rules are unbalanced and favor the Left. The California University system run by former DHS director Napolitano is being taken to court for limiting students’ free speech… at a university! No diversity of ideas at UC. (reference:

      I have yet to understand how anyone that favors freedom and free speech can stay with a Leftist ideology…

  2. Eleven things to be kept in mind by all politicians:

    1. Any lie told often enough will eventually be believed.

    2. To advance any program, however hair-brained, say it’s, “for the children.”

    3. The American public is largely disinterested in politics and will believe almost anything you say just because you said it, and will make no attempt to verify your statement.

    4. The average American under the age of 20 likely has no idea who Alexander Hamilton was and don’t care (aside from being the guy on the $10.00 bill). Yet they can vote at age 18 and can probably name every person on any reality TV show.

    5. To block any program that involves cost cutting, say it will, “harm the children.” Saying it will harm the elderly will have similar results and may be an easier sell under some circumstances.

    6. If you have no facts to back up your claim, simply say, “Studies have shown….” Almost no one will check to see if any such study exists or how reliable it was.

    7. Start as many sentences as possible with, “As we all know….” This will give the impression everyone agrees with you, no matter how off-base you actually are.

    8. Promise what ever the group you’re speaking to wants, even if it’s the opposite of what you will promise to another group. Seldom will the two groups compare notes.

    9. Always say you will create more jobs, even if you have no way of actually doing so and don’t mention that the jobs may be in other countries.

    10. Say you will cut taxes. Even if you are promising things that cannot be funded any other way, no one will notice.

    11. Never answer a question with yes or no, even if it’s a yes or no question. Always have several talking points handy on several subjects so you can “song and dance” around nearly any issue.

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