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‘Second Life’ As Stressful As First

Posted by SIM on April 5, 2007

Developer Finds ‘Second Life’ as Stressful as First
By Gerald M. Gay
04/05/07

Shaun Hull is a “Second Life” entrepreneur, building objects in the online world for users who pay him real money for anything from virtual homes to virtual babies. He started a year and a half ago, when the realm was relatively new and he felt a “God-like ability” to create anything he wanted. Now, however, he’s beginning to view “Second Life” as more a job than a hobby.

There are two types of people on “Second Life”: Those who buy things and those who create the things that people like to buy.

Tucsonan (Ariz.) Shaun Hull falls into the latter.

While residents pump millions of American dollars into clothing, land and other material possessions on the game, Hull — a Linux systems administrator who goes by Hiro David online — spends three to four hours a day holed up in his virtual home, building products on commission for eager “Second Life” consumers.

The creative process involves constructing the objects with the software provided by Linden Lab and then writing scripts, the codes that make the objects act the way they do.

‘I Was Hooked’

Anyone can create on the game, but not everyone has the patience to learn the sometimes-difficult nuances involved.

“When I first started out there were only about 60,000 members, so everything was a lot more open,” said Hull, 28, who joined “Second Life” a year-and-a-half ago. “There were wide open spaces where you could create. You had this God-like ability that you could build anything you put your mind to. That’s what I started out doing. I was hooked.”

Hull has since logged in countless hours honing his craft, building things like his spacious Japanese-style home complete with rice paper walls and his own koi pond with swimming fish and dragonflies buzzing about.

Building Babies

The commission work he has done for others, fulfilling some unusual requests along the way, have covered his monthly gaming dues for more than a year.

“I had one lady who wanted me to make a baby,” Hull said. “One that would cry and have different moods. It was very aggravating. But she paid me a couple hundred (American) bucks, so I did it. Some people go a little too heavy on the realism. It is kind of insane.”

Despite his success in the game, Hull doesn’t see himself being a permanent “Second Life” resident.

“I am at the total whim of my customers,” he said. “I started playing “Second Life” for fun and it has kind of turned into a part-time job, essentially. I’ve been cutting back on projects and I am not sure if I want to do this anymore. It pretty much kills the fun aspect, and both of my lives are stressful enough as is.”

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