Minecraft Vs. Second Life

Comparing Minecraft to Second Life is a difficult task, especially when you consider exactly how different these two virtual world engines are. Each has its own appeal, yet they are constantly compared to each other to new users.

Second Life is a massive virtual world made up of islands and regions, each tied to a different server but crossable within the same client and login. In Second Life, players can walk around virtual malls and clubs, attend events, build and maintain homes, fly around the heavens, visit 3D recreations of historic sites including the Titanic, and play in a band. Second Life’s open coding platform and 3D modeling environment allows users to create virtually any object in its own 3D environment. Sculpted objects created in third-party modeling programs like Povray and Blender can be imported into Second Life in the form of custom object shapes, which can be applied by way of a multi-colored texture. The currency of Second Life — referred to as Linden Dollars — is directly transferable with real-world currency from a variety of different countries. Because of this, some creative users have built profitable businesses within the virtual world that are directly responsible for paying their real-world bills. While it’s more difficult to create a profitable business now that the platform has aged and population is dwindling, it remains one of the driving forces behind the platform.

Minecraft is a world built on blocks, with each server existing as an island unto itself. There is no centralized virtual world the entire community shares, though there are more than a few larger multiplayer servers that act as such. Everything built in Minecraft has to meet a certain set of stringent requirements, with the basic building block being… a block. In Minecraft, you can discover caves and other formations just by digging. In order to build things, you need to have a specific set of materials that can be mined, gathered, and forged together to create something new. If you want to gather a specific resource, you’ll need the right tool.

Minecraft Vs. Second LifeIn Second Life, you can own a specific property and set permissions that allow or disallow others to enter, build, or alter the landscape. Minecraft is considerably more open, where virtually everyone shares the same giant world within a given multiplayer server. Everything is free in Minecraft, as long as you can mine it. Some servers and hosts give you unlimited resources so that mining isn’t even required. In Second Life, you just need to create or purchase the materials you want from other players through virtual purchases made with Linden Dollars.

Second Life allows you a viable way to open up a store and sell your creations to others. Minecraft does not, since most unique creations are stationary and couldn’t be transported without breaking them down and moving them to another space. Virtually everything created from textures to clothing in Minecraft is available free to the community while Second Life thrives on an active commerce system where free items are traded, but commercial items tend to be of greater quality and detail.

Minecraft has a single player mode, while Second Life does not. If you want to load your own single-user environment in Second Life, you’ll need to go through one of the open derivatives of Second Life, which are based on an outdated version of the engine.

If Second Life is an MMO like World of Warcraft, Minecraft would be Neverwinter Nights. While they both allow you to wield swords and slash at enemies aplenty, they are very different types of gaming environments.

Each game is extremely popular in its own right, but one caters to smaller communities within a larger player base while the other is built around a single, giant, persistent world. Comparing Second Life to Minecraft makes sense only when you speak about an open virtual world where you have the ability to build things. Beyond that, they’re worlds apart. At least for now, it appears that Minecraft is capturing more attention.

CC licensed Flickr photo by Laurence Simon

4 comments On Minecraft Vs. Second Life

  • SL’s population is dwindling because it’s enormously expensive, and with the over abundance of mass consumerism, it’s degraded into a glorified version of IMVU, except you can build content.

    What’s been pulling large numbers of SLers away by the droves is Open Sim, the open source, free engine that allows people to set up multiple worlds (regions) for free, or host with an outlet that allows for multiple regions for a fraction of the SL cost. A stand alone region in SL is $295 a month, which forces sim owners to constantly chase tier payments or lose their region. In OS, the same amount of land space can be picked up for as low as $20mo. Kitely – another world provider offers multiple worlds for a range of pricing and uses Amazon’s cloud services so regions “fold up” when they’re not being used. Instead, users pay for time in, like a cell phone plan, and can create content, download the entire region in an OAR file and distribute it around to others. For $50mo users can have 30 regions and 12000 minutes of use time. 

    Open Sim Grid links up all kinds of regions, from stand alones run for free on a local computer to hosted, so instead of one provider with all the worlds, many providers link up in a multiverse network and roll their own. SL has seen the writing on the wall and has decided to ease in another direction – world gaming like Everquest and WOW but the down side is it’ll still cost players a ton of money at the end of the day.

    So while still worlds apart, at least Open Sim is a teensy bit closer ;-p

  • SL’s population is dwindling because it’s enormously expensive, and with the over abundance of mass consumerism, it’s degraded into a glorified version of IMVU, except you can build content.

    What’s been pulling large numbers of SLers away by the droves is Open Sim, the open source, free engine that allows people to set up multiple worlds (regions) for free, or host with an outlet that allows for multiple regions for a fraction of the SL cost. A stand alone region in SL is $295 a month, which forces sim owners to constantly chase tier payments or lose their region. In OS, the same amount of land space can be picked up for as low as $20mo. Kitely – another world provider offers multiple worlds for a range of pricing and uses Amazon’s cloud services so regions “fold up” when they’re not being used. Instead, users pay for time in, like a cell phone plan, and can create content, download the entire region in an OAR file and distribute it around to others. For $50mo users can have 30 regions and 12000 minutes of use time. 

    Open Sim Grid links up all kinds of regions, from stand alones run for free on a local computer to hosted, so instead of one provider with all the worlds, many providers link up in a multiverse network and roll their own. SL has seen the writing on the wall and has decided to ease in another direction – world gaming like Everquest and WOW but the down side is it’ll still cost players a ton of money at the end of the day.

    So while still worlds apart, at least Open Sim is a teensy bit closer ;-p

  • The exception to this would be the Minecraft MMO servers that are run by the multiplayer communities. Just like regular mmo’s, they have economies, currency, buying & selling of goods, blocks have value, depending on what they are, in a player-run free market economy. Things like wood would be next to worthless in many of these types of servers whereas items like charcoal, glass, diamonds, and other items that takes time to acquire, would have more value in currency.

    These servers use mods to create and manage all of the features that you’d expect in an mmo including everything that I’ve mentioned, chat channels, skill levels, a main city, player-operated towns that allow other players to purchase a pre-sized lot in which they can build their own permenant home instead of building out in the wild, and other things like player levels that increase based on skills that the servers have. (Skills like woodcutting, harvesting crops, mining, running, and other skills gain exp by performing these actions. Each action gives a certain amount of exp and the total amount of exp in all skills determines the player’s level. Also, as the level of the skills increase, the ease/performance/bonus rewards given in performing these actions increase.) Housing lots where players can build their own home in the wild and then make it their personal lot by paying for the space using in-game currency, usually based on how big the area of the house is, is another feature in these MMO’s.

    It is indeed true that Minecraft, inherently, isn’t based on an MMO structure, however, thanks to the fans and the programming community within them, being able to experience an MMO-style of gameplay is more possible than you might think.

    All you have to do is find the right Minecraft MMO server.

  • Wolfee Darkfang

    One of my friends named Tamias constantly states he wishes he had something with minecraft’s unlimited building capacity, along with Second Life’s prim/model design, voice chat built in, SL’s large community right there with you, while not having to buy the land. I wish it could happen. Both places have their perks. I use both. 🙂

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