Rod Humble, CEO of Linden Lab, makers of Second Life, have now at long last announced the new products they are making outside of our beloved virtual world.
Creatorverse looks to me like a 3-D Shareable Etch-A-Sketch. Or is that 2-D? I can't quite tell, because some of the pictures flying by looked 3D-ish like sculpties, although technically maybe it's 3D?
It looked primitive to me despite its sophisticated physics because the shapes look for all the world like the Colorforms on the 1960s Capt. Kangaroo show -- remember those plastic shapes you arranged freely on a backdrop board? It was one of my favourite toys as a child:
The idea might take off and every kid in American might want this new modern Etch-a-Sketch or Colorforms on his i-pad for those long, boring family car rides or just life in the living room while Mom is making dinner and Dad didn't come home from work yet.
It might teach kids physics -- because it's precisely a lack of knowledge of physics that might prove a barrier to people adopting this product. It sure did for me. It lost me somewhere on the frame where it was trying to illustrate something dropping on a see-saw and making it go up. I'm fairly certainly that even with drag-and-drop, I'm not going to "get" this. Girls especially still do bad in physics in school, and it's hard to teach, adjoined as it is with math. Even boys don't tinker like they used to do in the old days with old radios or spare parts of things like alarm clocks -- all those things are now digitalized, on the Internet, and on a flat screen, not in your actual hands.
So this game/world is actually as old-fashioned as the 1950s audio-visual club in high school or the ham radio clubs touted in old science magazines for kids -- it's teaching them a skill that they no longer use in the real world because few things have moving parts relying on physics anymore.
Apparently you draw the shapes with your fingers. The inability to draw free-hand is what always made Photoshop and impossible tool for me and most people. If the writing and shapes look that kindergarten in the hands of skilled Lindens, what will result from my hand?
What I do wonder is whether you will be able to upload and import shapes or images. Imagine if you had these "creativity tools" to put to work not on your own hand-drawn vehicle, but a sports car clipped out of a magazine.
You can make creations and share them with others -- that had to be Will Wright's work, because he had that same idea with the Sims, with the family albums and then later the houses and families themselves in the game -- and then, of course, with Spore, which sadly never took off (I never got it to work. My son played it for awhile but it was hard to stick with.)
I don't have an i-pad and I won't get one to play this game or any other SL game, sadly. I can't afford it. Maybe my kids will?