Voice is finally coming to Second Life!!!!!
Linden calling: Second Life voice to launch by June – Reuters, 2/27/07
Looks like voice will finally be integrated into Second Life. I was a beta tester for There.com back around the time Linden Lab launched Second Life in 2003. I roamed both platforms for close to a year and the one thing that kept me coming back to There.com was the built in support for voice. Every other aspect of that platform was technically well beneath that of Second Life, but the voice added so much that I kept coming back.
Looks like the voice support in Second Life is coming via Vivox. This spacial sound support looks to be similar to that of There.com (sans the lip synching), as you will hear from which direction the sound is coming, and also be able to judge the distance based on the volume of the voice. Now we’re all going to need to get a good headset for chatting in-world. I am hopeful that there will be settings to amp up the distance for speaking in front of larger crowds in private spaces. The conference call feature looks to mimic group based chat and will be excellent for those using Second Life for education.
Discussions on the SLED listserv have already popped up about voice masking. The Reuter’s Article states that some think the “magic circle” will be broken if you pair real voices with virtual avatars. I can’t imagine, in an education setting, how this would be a negative thing. The one group that will definitely be impacted by the adding of voice support are the virtual red light services on the main grid. Those masquerading as their opposite sex will definitely have the covers pulled back, and be exposed for who they really are. I guess we will finally find out if the demographic numbers of male and female players are based in reality or fantasy.
I think this is a milestone for Linden Lab and their Second Life platform, and it can only enhance our educational pursuits in-world. I can’t wait to “hear” from all of you.