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Oct 05, 2007



If you're interested in the future of publishing, I recommend you stay on top of the conversations within that industry. Look up Joe Wikert, Chris Webb, and Jim Minatel. They're all Wiley guys, but they're thinking outside the books on their blogs.


I admire Daniel's writing, and most of the authors of Second Life books. The only problem I have here is the format; Second Life evolves so rapidly, what kind of endurance will these books have? The same thing could be said about web technology, somewhat; I've got quite a few programming language reference books gathering a lot of dust.


Well you have to differentiate between technical guides to doing various things in virtual worlds from books about various phenomena within those environments.

I bought the first guide to Second Life that came out late last year, and it provided a useful introduction to aspects of that world that I didn't know very much about, with links to where to get the latest information. That said, I haven't opened it up since I first read it.

I'm working on a short nonprofit's guide to Second Life, which I think might be useful both as a tool for groups interested in virtual worlds and as a historical document.


@Flipper, exactly.

Remember the books about the early web that categorized a bunch of URLs? "Cooking & Recipes: A-Z", "Automotive"... etc. Those books were obsolete almost the moment they were printed and most of them seem laughable in a modern context with decent search engines like Google/Yahoo/etc.

However, early books about the architecture and design of the internet are still useful today. Although many of the technologies have changed, general ideas like the OSI model, IPs, routers, failure modes, etc. are still very applicable today.

I'd be interested in a book about the architecture and design limits of Second Life, but for the details of where to hang-out, what to do, etc. -- I'd be happy with an online wiki or faq for that.


I think it depends on the nature of the book. I still think that Lynn Cherny's ethnography of a text-based mud has insights about how people communicate online that still are fresh even with the shift to 3d geography and voice chat. And Lessig's Code makes a provocative argument. Human social processes change much more slowly than implementations of technology, which is why I find the short attention span of much of the research on social processes and technology to be frustrating.


jesus, these spambots are out of control.

i was trying to explain to somebody a few months ago how it didn't really matter if they spoiled the last page of harry potter for me, because the whole book that gets you to the last page is the interesting part. it's a good razor to define the type of story i want to read or watch. anything by m night shyamalan is immediately disqualified, because if you know the twist the whole exercise is pointless.

that's a bit unrelated, but i think there can be a similar razor applied to this sort of thing. if the book goes out of date quickly, it was never worthy of being a book in the first place. things like raph's book or julian's book are dealing with the space in a more abstract way, which means they'll be interesting later too, even if only as quaint records of how we used to think about games.

there's a similar difficulty in education at the moment, with so many videogame art and design etc programs sprouting up. students have to make sure they're getting an education in concepts and theory, and not which buttons to click in maya 6.


PS another tangent on the topic of razors just occured to me as i was, ironically, shaving =P

i've been playing lots of mmos lately and trying to determine what makes some of them feel so grindy.

i was trying out an unnamed pvp-oriented mmo the other day, and for the first time ever i thought about buying a max level character so i could just hurry up and "get to the real game." i've rarely felt this way in any of the other mmos i've played. the journey to get there was always part of the fun. i think it might be useful to keep this question in mind and apply it to my own games in the future.

if a book goes out of date in 6 months, it wasn't really a book so much as a manual

if reading the last page of a novel makes it pointless to read the rest, it probably would have made a better episode of a tv show than a novel.

if a player who ebays a maxxed out character in an mmo doesn't feel as though they've missed something, the mmo was less of a game than a grind.


The proliferation of books on virtual worlds lies in the fact that publishers smell money. I don't want to sound negative here, but how many of these books are actually going to be any good? A dearth of literature on the subject may make your bibliographies look more impressive but if everybody is just rehashing the same concepts, the study of virtual worlds as a discipline will be worse off.

I think the biggest test will be if a market for these books develops. As has been mentioned in previous posts, most of the pertinent information about these games is readily obtained by either reading up about it online, or actually playing the game. So who is actually going to buy these things? Or is it going to become just another form of marketing?

Also in response to Mike, you mention that a player who doesn't feel like they've missed out on something by buying a character online is playing a grind not a game. That's a tautology since anybody who buys a character is doing so to intentionally bypass a part of a game. If they thought it was enjoyable they would not have paid someone to do it for them.


very good point. i was just in a grouchy mood because the game i was playing was really oversimple and i just had to use the same 4 moves every fight.

i think i was trying to say a good game builds an understanding of your class etc over time, and you can't just pick it up wholesale at the top level. the game i was playing felt so dumbed down that i could just start at the cap and play as well as anybody else. the lack of new things to learn over new levels really made it feel more grindey.


I usually purchase many sports magazines by online shopping at Couponalbum.com and save lots of money......!!


Daniel knows that the information in his book has a shelf ripeness of about 1 month. Unfortunately, he, like many others is just looking to make a fast buck off an emerging trend. I've met Daniel in real life and can say that he is in fact an opportunist and an arrogant one at that.


lol...oh cruel virtual world.

Ive turned down a few opts over the years to write these "version 2.0" books on 3d since they are DOA almost everytime. This has been the "tech" design book way of publishing for decades.How to 3DMAX anyone? Let the app makings write manuals for their own tools.:)And btw since today every vc driven company wants to give away the tools for free" for the small price to own " all the stuff you make with it.".lol --this model of design book publishing may die soon as well.

some blame goes to publishers and editors as well...they "could" have had longer term books on the art/process of 3d rt immersive. i pitched and almost wrote a few 5-6 years ago...but they also just wanted the quick "bubble bucks" and they ignored the long term transfer of lasting information for short term hype... Swift 3D as WEB3D anyone?....;)yawn.

sadly as blogs give way to even more superficial twittle...books should be there to offer some lasting edited depth of ideas and thought...so very few today do in this market...

btw- 1995-7 there were a ton of web3d books, some terrible how to guides--written mostly by the same makers of the apps or there pals..just like DT..:) and some better-that were actually researched and fact checked.....search out MJ FAHEY's books for MS and Coriolis from then. Both actually have the same info as any would
'waiting" to be published today.. only the "experts" and "companies" tools names have changed.) only thing new is the paper theyre printed on....


what the heck, most just look at the pictures anyway.:)


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