Clone Drones

by prokofy on 10/11/06 at 1:52 am


By Prokofy Neva, Stepford Wives and Trumansville Desk

So I was flying around the Scion City sim last night, having missed the big party to launch the new car. I was convinced I’d find 717 traffic and 2 green dots — which I did. I startled a coupla kids at a drive-in movie in their Scion with skulls decals — seems you can not only buy the Scion for $300 but also retexture it.

I flew around thinking that this dismal future urban noir look was kind of a Bladerunner-type Hollywood set (the better to show off car bling, a visitor explained to me) when suddenly I screeched to a halt.

Clicking on the build in “edit” mode, I saw a name that was familiar…but different. The builder, “Neil Millionsofus” turned out to be the famous Neil Protagonist; the Scion City sim was a kind of sepia-toned off-print of his more finely-built, depth-filled and lively and pastel-coloured Nakama anime sims. Neil, like Baccara Rhodes, Versu Richeliu and other top designers of Second Life have been cloned as Millions Of Us workers.

I quickly made up a Protest-Mobile then fiddled around, finally settling on my Kool-Aid special (see below) which I left out overnight on the 0-autoreturn lot…only to find some helpful Minion had deleted it this morning when I logged in.

Prok pulls up in his retextured Scion Kool-Aid-Mobile and asks the gas station attendant for “25 cents worth of Good Gulf”.

I first noticed that Versu Richelieu had built a set for the Crayon people but still with her original distinctive first and last name. Later, I realized she had let the Minions take over her last name. In a pattern established by Torley nee Torgeson Linden, who opted to shed her distinctive moniker for the company’s name, people going to work for metaversal consulting companies are dropping their trademark inworld names when they go to work for the Man.

I asked Reuben Millionsofus, former Reuben Linden (Reuben Steiger) who is the CEO of Millions of Us, to explain why he was stripping SL’s famous builders of their names.

Prokofy Neva: I can understand having branding with this name thing
Prokofy Neva and why YOU might want this name or perhaps some PR flaks or accountants or something
Prokofy Neva: but why are you making Neil Protagonist or Baccara Rhodes take it?
Prokofy Neva: or Versu Richelieu?
Reuben Millionsofus: Great question
Prokofy Neva: These are all names to conjure with in SL
Reuben Millionsofus: totally
Prokofy Neva: They all have years of tradition like fine furniture craftsmen you know?
Prokofy: like “I have a Neil Protagonist” you could say about some fine piece of craftsmanship from these people
Reuben Millionsofus: Hamlet asked me yesterday
Reuben Millionsofus: I’ll cut and paste my whole response

(So now our readers are treated to a scoop of the clone-quote that was pasted to Hamlet before Hamlet had a chance to paste it into one of his columns, this is getting very meta!–PN)

Reuben Millionsofus: We don’t insist that anyone use the Millionsofus last name: in fact, our new policy is that it’s a badge of honor that you get after finishing your first project.
Prokofy Neva: Reuben could you brighten up this place?
Reuben Millionsofus: There are a bunch of reasons that it’s useful in our business and none of them has to do with “credit”. We find that clients find Second Life somewhat disorienting — knowing that people with the Millionsofus last name work for them is comforting.
Prokofy: I was saying it looks like the inside of my gramps’ lungs, and he was a 3-pack-a-day Camel straights smoker
Reuben Millionsofus: Additionally, since we own the Millionsofus accounts, it allows us to create the avatar equivalent of a “work computer”. Lots of people like this — it allows them to seperate the work they do for hire from their regular Second Life activities.
Reuben Millionsofus: It’s a really interesting and thus far imperfect system, but the last thing in the world we want to do is decouple people from their identities, famous or otherwise.
You: ok wait I have to get all this paste of yours
Reuben Millionsofus: Unfortunately, there’s no perfect way to accomplish all our goals in SL so we have to loudly and publically give credit to people project by project.
Reuben Millionsofus: And I have to remember which avatar people like to receive the credit. ;-) Enough to make one’s head spin
You: Well, I’m not getting it because it diminishes their profile.
You: It implies that when they work for you they don’t do their personal best
You: they just do hack work for the man
Reuben Millionsofus: why?
Reuben Millionsofus: who you calling the man?
You: you’re the man Reuben?
Reuben Millionsofus: lol
You: lol
You: or the Man’s man
Reuben Millionsofus: why does the account imply hack work?
You: Because Scion City isn’t Natoma?
Reuben Millionsofus: that’s true, it’s something else
Reuben Millionsofus: but you know me by now, I hope
Reuben Millionsofus: I’ve never been the man
You: Reuben, you’re now not-the-man man now, you’ll have to adjust to this
Reuben Millionsofus: nor have I ever tried to do anything but increase people’s fame and reputation
Reuben Millionsofus: anyway, like I said, it’s imperfect, admittedly and not set in stone
Reuben Millionsofus: and I’d never force it on people
You: well I suppose now they have reputation among all your clients and whatnot, who wouldn’t know who Neil Protagonist was before, but that’s sad
Reuben Millionsofus: no, he’s credited publically on our log as Neil Protagonist
You: well but just coming out here to Scion City you don’t see his name
Reuben Millionsofus: others, like Lucky Millionsofus are famous as alts
You: and I guess that’s the puzzling thing
Reuben Millionsofus: but don’t want to mix worlds
You: um what is Lucky Millionsof us famous for?
You: well you aren’t mixing them, you’re obliterating one by the other : )
Reuben Millionsofus: his alt has been famous since beta
You: I missed the memo
You: on both things
You: him being famous since beta
You: and him being famous now with MOU as a last name
You: sorry!
Reuben Millionsofus: hey, let’s continue this,I’ve got to start a presentation here in 2 mins

I’m sure this idea will be kicked around quite a bit on the forums, and we’re likely to hear many high-toned and mighty justifications of this curious practice. I’m just not getting it, however. I mean, you didn’t have Michaelangelo Medici. The fear is that SL’s finest indigenous builders and designers may never return to their workshops for the world, as they will be kept busy working for big corporations making lifeless company towns.


40 Responses to “Clone Drones”

  1. Cocoanut Koala

    Nov 10th, 2006

    Been famous since Beta? Must be Eggy!

    I wonder how many in these, what, top three? developer groups are Lindens. I wonder if there IS a developer group that has gotten these contracts that doesn’t have Lindens in it.

    I believe they changed the rule that a Linden couldn’t profit from his SL work because

    (a) half the new Lindens were old residents in disguise (Ben Linden said one reason was the people they were asking to become Lindens didn’t want to give up their lucrative in-world businesses)

    and (b) they knew these corporate gigs were going to come up, and that they were going to organize into the developing companies that would serve them.

    Pretty lucrative sideline for a Linden, I think. Wonder how much of it they do on their Linden time? Wonder if there’s any rule against that?

    Nice work if you can get it, and you can get it if you . . . know a Linden or are one.


  2. Nacon

    Nov 10th, 2006

    Ha ha ha ha ha, I don’t think you understood what Neil did. Ever thought maybe because he didn’t feel famous enough, so he just forked over his last name?

    Neil had the choice, not Reuben. But then, I do agree, having “MillionOfUs” last name sound too corny than “Linden”.

    Bacon + N – B = Nacon. Tasty, am I?

  3. Urizenus

    Nov 10th, 2006

    Wait a sec Prok, are you saying that Toyota/Scion just paid probably hundreds of thousands of dollars for a weak copy of Neil’s already existing work? Lol, that is just too funny. Kinda sad that no one is going to look at the Scion build though; they will never know how shitty Neil’s work *can* be, so they will never appreciated how good his real work is.

    I like your Kool-Aid textured Scion. Can I have one?

  4. TP

    Nov 10th, 2006

    I’m interested to see how much money these car companies are paying for the re-textured prefab builds they are getting.

  5. Tad McConachie

    Nov 10th, 2006

    This is a pretty sad development. I don’t agree with you Prok on some of your corporate issues, but I’m totally on board here. If corporate customers don’t “get” SL to the point that they demand a nameless mass of workers to build their sims then they need to just stay away.

    Great post.

  6. Niko Donburi

    Nov 10th, 2006

    There is another reason why “Millions of Us” (and presumably their counterparts) want the builders to use the “Millionsofus” surname rather than their own SL-surname when working on these big-budget SL projects: IP ownership.

    An independent creator of content owns what he/she/it builds in SL. While they can sell the object, the IP must be conveyed by a separate contract (or at a minimum the issue must be dealt with in the terms of the contract for the build). Imagine how fun it would be to have to explain to the Board of Directors of one of MoU corporate clients that they have been sued for a copyright violation in their $US half-a-million, “first-whatever” build in SL!

    If the work is done using an alt with a corporate surname, however, then the ownership of the IP belongs to the employer, in this case “Millionsofus”. All IP is automatically owned by MoU and the corporations can sleep peacefully at night knowing their SL builds are safe and sound from such litigation….

    Reuben essentially confirms this he mentions:

    “Reuben Millionsofus: Additionally, since we own the Millionsofus accounts, it allows us to create the avatar equivalent of a “work computer”. Lots of people like this — it allows them to seperate the work they do for hire from their regular Second Life activities.”


    P.S. One other item: how did MoU get the surname “Millionsofus” anyway? While custom-surnames have been discussed, I wasn’t aware that LL had made them available to users at this time. Perhaps this is one of them “FIC” benefits I’ve read so much about. It would be interested to know if MoU was required to pay for the custom -surname….

  7. Tad McConachie

    Nov 10th, 2006

    That makes total sense Niko, but it also brings to light some of the stuff that Prok has been complaining about concerning RL corporate interference with SL. While it may make business sense, this sort of identity whitewashing seems to lessen the creative impact of the individuals involved.

    But then just having a last name in SL of the company you work for already removes an awful lot of one’s identity. I get the feeling that Mr. Reuters does nothing at all in-world besides report for Reuters. What a sad, boring existence.

    At least in the real world I don’t have to have my identity subsumed when I go to work. So, for some of these people working for MillionsOfUs logging into SL seems even worse. They’re not individuals – just kind of corporate branded shells.

    No one should be forced to have two SL accounts – one for work and one for play. It’s not Second Work Life and Third Play Life…

  8. Prokofy Neva

    Nov 10th, 2006

    Uri, I can only tell you of my *impressions* that Scion City looks like a kind of knock-off of Nakama, yes. Nakama is a rich, deep experience — it’s multiple sims with all kinds of neat stuff happening on it — go and check it out. and of course it has people with stores and activities and socializing. Scion Scity is rather this…Hollywood set. It feels more fake, and while socializing does happen on it and people are having fun getting the cars and driving around in them and texturing them (so Toyota gets points for at least having an activity that fits in the world), there’s still a sterile feel to the whole thing. It’s like the feeling you have when you get one of those pre-packaged Ronald McDonald sort of birthday parties at McDonald’s for your kids, instead of having one yourself at home.

    Niko, companies can now buy their own names for $1500 a year US, and individuals I think for $150 or something with a fee after that to maintain it. This practice has been public and is no longer just for the FIC. You can get your own real name this way.

    Reuben seems to make it clear that it is voluntary to have your name cloned — and I’m getting the impression he’s more eager to get branding recognition for the concept of “Millionsofus” as the idea and the company name than the corporate clients are eager to strip craftsmen’s names away from them.

    Still, the *effect* is that people are being stripped and merged into the giant Metaverse Machine.

    As an aside — to me, there seems to be a shocking lack of awareness among the corporations about the problem several of us have learned from really nasty, bitter experience in SL: if you don’t instantly buy the build on the spot and work the “You are now the owner of this object” lever to keep the build on the ground the way it was built, and if you don’t instantly get a copy of the entire build, its textures and its scripts opened up on ALL permissions BEFORE you pay, then you can very likely be screwed.

    I wrote Adam Reuters several times about this — Barnesworth Anubis still shows as not only the creator but the owner of the buildings. Perhaps Adam has a monster copy of 1117 nicely-labeled pieces of that build and a giant rez-foo that would make it pop out again, but I wonder. He seemed unconcerned about the ownership transfer issue. Of course Barnes is hardly likely to wipe his Reuters build if he doesn’t like something in the news wire, but hey, that’s the essence of Second Life: vindictive, nasty actions against people whom you perceive have slighted you. So all these big companies really need to buy those builds for $0 — itself a vulnerable activity as someone can swoop and buy it while it’s waiting out in the open to be transferred — there needs to be better permissions and templates built into the game itself for this.

    As I noted, Versu kept her name for Crayon, but hasn’t for other things. Does that mean Crayon is more enlightened? No, I’ll bet they didn’t even think about these issues.

    I suppose right now, a Sony or a General Motors don’t understand the worth of a Neil Protagonist. Perhaps they pay them a lot of money, but they don’t know their intrinsic worth to the world. I hope that by the time they find out they haven’t destroyed the world.

  9. Artemis Fate

    Nov 10th, 2006

    People making alts for business is nothing new, it’s useful in a couple of ways. But look at the Welcome Area and you’ll notice the creater tags are a no-name newbie, in other words an alt. It helps in one way because someone who is already famous or popular in world is likely to get IMed quite a bit, and if a person wants to go and work uninterrupted or is getting paid by the hour, an unknown alt is a good thing. Another thing especially with a big SL company like MOU as Reuben said, it helps that all these accounts are accessible and owned by MOU thus they can just log into each others accounts if they need something. It’s a segregation of “work” account and “play” account in SL.

    Honestly I don’t see the big deal, Neal Protagonist isn’t gone, the account is still up and running and I can only assume he still plans on using it. The Neil Millionsofus account I can assume is for work only.

  10. Artemis Fate

    Nov 10th, 2006

    Also, Scion city doesn’t look like Nakama at all. If you’ve ever seen the Scion commercials on TV, you’ll know what they’re going for.

  11. Prokofy Neva

    Nov 10th, 2006

    Michaelangelo didn’t have to take the name “Michaelangelo Medici” and he didn’t even take it for his “work computer” equivalent of the day.

    William van Alen, architect of the Chrysler building, once the world’s tallest building in Manhattan, didn’t have to become “William Chrysler” and be known through the ages by visitors to the famous Chrystler building as William Chrysler.

  12. Artemis Fate

    Nov 10th, 2006

    And whatever Neil’s real name is didn’t have to become “Neil Protagonist” If this really bothers you so much shouldn’t you be supporting Neil’s real name being in use instead of both?

    There’s really no island of comparison for this prokofy. Michelangelo and William Chrysler weren’t building in virtual space on computers. Making a new account of something that wasn’t even his real name to begin with for convenience cannot be compared to someone not having to change their last name to paint a chapel. Or how about all the famous people who do use fake names that are more famous than their real ones? Nichalos Cage for example.

  13. Urizenus

    Nov 10th, 2006

    Art, the point is that it is one thing for us to pick names for ourselves that reflect quirky aspects of ourselves, or that are meaningful to us in some way. So, of course, ‘Urizen’ is from William Blake’s Book of Urizen, and Sklar is in honor of philosopher of physics Larry Sklar, but also ‘Urizen’ itself is thought to be a pun by Blake on “your reason’ or perhaps ‘horizon’ and then ‘sklar’ originally meant glazier or window maker. Put that all together and you get a message. If, when I work, I adopt the last name of a corporation that I work for, you get a different message altogether, and it is deeply anti-utopian.

  14. Artemis Fate

    Nov 10th, 2006

    Well Uri, two things, Neil did chose his name Neil Protagonist, and he also according to Reuben chose to use the MillionsofUs last name, maybe he does feel meaning to himself for using it?

    Either way, I don’t see what the big deal is with Neil making a work account for MillionsofUs to use. I equate it to people wearing suits to work. It’s more professional looking.

  15. Urizenus

    Nov 10th, 2006

    It is one thing to wear suits (or jump suits like Reuben does) or badges or name tags, but it is quite another to change your name to that of your employer.

    There is something very personal about the way we ask other people to refer to us. Of course it is your choice. You can choose a number to be your name if you wish, or you can choose the name of a corporation if you wish — even a coporate name that conjures images of a metropolis-style Orwellian anti-utopia. I’m just saying people should think about what they are saying about themselves when they do that.

  16. Artemis Fate

    Nov 10th, 2006

    I think his decision about changing his name and the concequences of that are entirely up to him and not something to write a news story about.

    Interms of the part of the name that really defines a person or is customized as well, that would be the first name which remained the same in the “Neil Millionsofus” name, after all you can only pick the last name from a prechosen list.

  17. Hamlet Au

    Nov 10th, 2006

    Uri, I did actually run Reuben’s quotes– on Monday:

  18. Urizenus

    Nov 10th, 2006

    This is Prok’s story, Hammie. And we are just doing our part to jump on the Fake First Bandwagon (FFB).

  19. Satchmo Prototype

    Nov 10th, 2006

    In between the lines of The Herald’s great Hype Machine there is always beauty. This article raises a number of interesting issues about business, IP issues and above all Avatar and Identity. Unfortunately the comments have turned into a personal attack against a consummate SL’er, Neil Protagonist. Issues regarding avatar and identity are incredibly personal and on-lookers have no right to question someone decision. Art and Identity issues have been around forever as artists sometimes use identity to separate bodies of work.

    zOMG Stephen King is Richard Bachman is John Swithen. Pen names and House names, we’ve seen this all before.

    At Electric Sheep we have a culture of keeping our original avatar names. To many of us (myself included) it is our identity. At the same time there are others who feel an ESC last name would be more true to their SL identity than whatever random name they were forced to choose at registration. To each his/her own.

  20. Urizenus

    Nov 10th, 2006

    How on earth is this a personal attack on anyone? We are raising an abstract point about what it means when people begin naming themselves after the corporations they work for. Maybe we should do it like this: “Imagine a possible world in which some people named their avatars after the corporations they worked for. If such a world existed and the possible inhabitants of said world took such corporate names, then if we were also inhabitants of said world and were to witness the practice would we be right to question what the practice meant?”

    Sometimes an example is just an example.

  21. Prokofy Neva

    Nov 10th, 2006

    No, Uri, actually Hammie pwns me on this one. It was HIS story first. Well, great minds think alike of course.

    I kept reading and reading his blog trying to see if he’d already pasted Reuben’s quotes into his columns yet and didn’t see it anywhere and figured I was scooping the paste-up.

    But…I was wrong! Because if you read deep into this story:
    “Mixed Reality Mondays” you’ll see down towards the end, the line “Your Name for Millions”

    And there he does indeed have two paragraphs of the exact same paste-up that Reuben pasted to me, it’s just arranged differently. I pressed it further merely asking Reuben more questions about it, but Hamlet had the exact same question I had, which is, doesn’t this subsume the artist’s identity?

    Well, 10 raps on the knuckles with a rolled-up copy of the Herald for me, and I need to work on my pasting skills!

  22. Prokofy Neva

    Nov 10th, 2006

    Satchmo, you are totally insane on this one. Neil Protagonist is a public figure, and a very famous pubilc figure, and one of the people who was always featured as making a lot of RL money in SL with his content.

    He has made a very, very VERY public decision converting his name to “Neil Millionsofus” and chosing very PUBLICLY to subsume his name — coterminous with his marketing of his product in the inworld economy — into the name of a company that is one of the new metaversal consulting giants squiring in Big Business.

    This is a very public issue, discussing it is in the public interest.

    It’s not a public attack, and it’s just downright silly to get all neuralgic and touchy and imagine it is.

    It’s symptomatic of the hothouse, cloistered atmosphere you all live in that you cannot realize that you are PUBLIC figures doing things that are PUBLIC that affect other people who are in that PUBLIC. The press is right to cover these issues.

    And Hamlet asked the exact same question to Reuben, and got the same exact paste-up and pasted it first, and then I pasted it. Where’s your indignation about Hamlet’s “personal attack”.

    I don’t attack Neil Protagonist, whom I’ve always respected; I asked questions about his very public decision which to me, seems a part of a trend of diminishing the specialness of Second Life and allowing it to be subsumued by corporate America. No doubt Neil doesn’t see it that way at all. Regardless of what Neil himself and his close circle of friends and ESCers like Satchmo in this little cloistered world imagine is right or appropriate, other people will have a different take on it.

    I can’t at all agree that the act of subsuming into corporate culture involved in taking a name like “Neil Protagonist” and becoming “Neil Millionsofus” is *anything* like the act of taking “Joe Smith” and becoming the more swashbuckling Second Lifer “Neil Protagonist” and having Samuel L. Clemens become Mark Twain. An author who takes a pen name makes a profound act of projection and creativity by CHOSING HIMSELF his own pen name, or an actress choses a stage name.

    How on earth can that profoundly individualistic and creative act, involved in chosing a pen name, a stage name, or an SL name, be compared to becoming a clone???

    To adapting the name “Millionsofus” just because you work for this company?

    For companies that are building brand identity and service facility, it makes sense, for example, to have them all have the last name. Take the name “Linden” for example. Or “ACS” for Anshe Chung. People go to work for that company and take that identity to keep a uniformity of the employees. It’s something the Lindens started, but it isn’t new. I can’t think of any other RL example offline where this kind of things has been done, but it seems reasonable.

    But to take a craftsman’s name and have his own label under his own name, but then have his work for that company under the company’s name just seems strange and even wrong to me. You would never to that with a RL architect, designer, or PR manager. That’s insane. Xerox or IBM or Sony would never do that to their employees.

    So why do it here? It seems to me Reuben Steiger, or for that matter Philip Rosedale, are playing with the idea of doing this company clone stuff in a kind of acting out of their imagined futuristic worlds of franchulates and Snowcrash-like stuff, finding it arch or humorous. I don’t think that these companies asked Reuben to wear overalls or make all the names sound like clones. I think that’s HIS idea of how he can somehow send a message of efficienncy to his clients.

    But others of us are finding it creepy. Artemis is just being contrarian here.

  23. Urizenus

    Nov 10th, 2006

    Prok I didn’t mean it was your story in the sense that you scooped Hammie, I meant it in the sense that you posted it, not me. It seemed that Hammie thought I posted it. I see how that might be misread.

    Dang this medium of communication bites.

  24. Prokofy Neva

    Nov 10th, 2006

    Right, it was my story but he had gotten on the story before me — but perhaps he merely spoke to you in your capacity as editor emeritus.

    I feel I gave a more critical and lively take on it : )

  25. TP

    Nov 11th, 2006

    The real scoop is still how much these guys are making to provide virtual ad campaigns.
    Hoping to see a real scoop one of these days.
    If Nike starts a virtual dunk company in SL for instance it would be almost as retarded as the japaneese paying $300 dollars for a pair of limited edtion sb skateboard dunk with some shitty art attached.

    God forbid Nike jumps on the SL bandwagon.

  26. tp

    Nov 11th, 2006

    I think it’s obvious these companies are putting the lowest people in there own ad campaigns on these SL projects or they would actually demand some content worth half a shit.

    I haven’t seen an ounce of creative scripting or advertising from the lot of them besides maybe the color picker scripts on the reeboks and that is still old hat for SL scripting pros and not at all invovation.

    They would do well to take note of sims like the Space Museum and a large number of other scripted builds that take advantage of interactive content.

    I got a sentra out of the soda machine and besides the fuck all gear that lets you blast over mountains and destroy your dome piece it’s so unimaginative I can’t see anyone spending more than a few minutes with it. The radio control mini cars are shit due to camera problems even.

    Hers an idea… why didn’t they take that wierd reebok world and besides some faux basketball courts make them scripted ones. Or give you a reebok gun so you can sell reebok drugs in a cartel gang war versus your rival color reebok gang and have a shootout over who has the blinginest boks. Didn’t they watch how much news media grand theft auto gets? Shit mang CJ got some boks on he’s gonna get some hot coffee and tag up the block.

  27. Satchmo Prototype

    Nov 11th, 2006

    Nice to be the insane one around here sometimes. I thought the article was great but the comments got seedy. I think Uri and Prok cleared that up for me. Still, fascinating stuff about Avatar and Identity here and what the avatar means to each of us. I’m not going to take the Sheep last name for what that’s worth. I’ve toyed with buying my own real last name but decided against it for the very same reasons. I am Satchmo Prototype. I also agree with keeping a craftsman last name but understand on the occasions when contractors would rather use Alts. Though I guess using an Alt for contract work is not the same as adopting a corporate last name.

    Thoughts on using an Alt for corporate work?

  28. Artemis Fate

    Nov 11th, 2006

    “I got a sentra out of the soda machine and besides the fuck all gear that lets you blast over mountains and destroy your dome piece it’s so unimaginative I can’t see anyone spending more than a few minutes with it.”

    I’m curious to what sources of resident creativity you’d point to as examples? Since clearly, if you’re going to call the Sentra uncreative then you had some comparison in mind of the height of SL car creativity. I maintain that the Nissan Sentra is one of the most well scripted and designed cars thus far, and in terms of creativity, it had a very creative idea in rezzing a high detail interior when it’s not in motion so it looks very nice. Surely, i’ve not seen much else in other popular car vendors in SL that do anything more than the Nissan does, or better: does it for less lag.

    I don’t know what you’re expecting if you’re saying these are lacking in creativity, so far most of the business in SL items i’ve seen have been high quality, high efficiency (except for Adidas’ 205 prim shoes), and usually have one thing creative about them or for that matter what you’re refering to, are in a creatively designed sim.

    What irritates me mostly about people attacking corporations is how either they can do no right, or they’re not doing things good enough. Why aren’t you criticizing all the other countless resident stores that have less creative store/sim design, less quality goods, less efficient scripting, that don’t have some silly game to distract your interests, god knows there’s plenty of them without these qualities. All the places out there that instead of making a creative design, decided to copy their neighbor or favorite club, and added another Casino to our literal PLETHORA.

  29. Aimee Weber

    Nov 11th, 2006

    This reminds me of a joke I made a few weeks ago about placing my last name up for bid to corporations, much like stadiums do today. (“Hi! I’m Aimee Verizon!”)

    As a voluntary option, I don’t see anything wrong with corporate last names. It’s all about corporate culture and every company does that differently.

    In a recent meeting with my own team I brought up the idea of a uniform last name. That didn’t go over very well with the passionate creative types. They likened it to the paper hats you wear while working at a fast food place. :O LOL It’s hardly that bad, but the inverse relationship between conformity and creativity was sorely felt.

    So you aren’t likely to see AWS employees in uniform any time soon.

  30. Urizenus

    Nov 11th, 2006

    I think the AWS employees should all be forced to wear Aimee Webber avatars! Now *that* would establish some corporate identity.

    fast food employee paper hats is a nice idea too, however.

    I will say this, however: back in Minnesota I’ve seen people encourage farmers to stop wearing seed caps (you know, with Cargille or Dekalb printed on them), because it was almost like they were identifying themselves as serfs of agribusiness. Changing your last name to your corp name strikes me as being problematic for exactly that sort of reason (and more obviously so than in the seed cap case, which I consider benign); its like saying “I am a serf of this corporation.”

  31. Neil Protagonist

    Nov 12th, 2006

    Interesting. I’d like to address some of this, since I am actually in a position to speak with authority on the subject. You can stop comparing Nakama to Scion, one gets no where comparing apples to bowling balls. Two entirely different concepts, executed entirely differently, different time schedules, different goals, different ideals, different creation techniques etc. Nakama was a years worth of work all told, four of which were the actual in-game development. It was my own project start to finish and thus I could spend whatever time I felt was necessary getting it to the state that I wanted it to be in. I had a clear personal vision for it that was my own and no one else had any say. The textures were all hand painted to mimic a specific look (watercolor on cardboard and traditional cel animation). Scion city was light maps rendered in 3d overlayed on photo based textures…night and day different in techniques. And as a custom build for someone else some things must be done a certain way (i.e. the clients way) and with specific goals (i.e. the clients goals) and within a certain time (i.e. the clients time frame). What does this all add up to? A typical for pay project in the professional world of content development, be it website development, sim development, game development or movie development. The games I have worked on in the past have been no different. I initially had a month to do it in, I ended up taking two, far over budget, just to try and squeeze in the look that I did get. Is it as detailed as Nakama? Of course not, nor does it need to be, its not supporting 8 other developers. Its a place where people can pick up a low cost car that is fairly well developed and drive it around in a sim that is fairly well developed. As for the name, I never thought it was a big deal. I took the name for my own reasons, primarily because it allowed me to have a nice clean inventory that didnt slow down every other aspect of SL. My fresh clean avatar runs a lot smoother than Neil Protagonist does…..a lot(and consequently looks as close to Neil Protagonist as I could get it). When you are making a build that has (no shit) over 2000 textures, you dont want to waste time waiting for your slow ass inventory. If SL didnt have that little problem or had an inventory browsing system that didnt suck, I would have used Neil, but thats not the case. Not that I think it makes a damn bit of difference, either way I’m still Neil Nafus, no matter what my av’s name is. I hope this doesnt come off as bitchy or anything, it wasnt meant to be, and I dont mean to offend anyone only explain in my piss poor manner why things are the way they are. I have a hell of a time expressing myself via text so I hope this all makes some kind of sense.

  32. Prokofy Neva

    Nov 12th, 2006

    Great response, Neil! I appreciate all the detail about how different the builds are and how they are apples and oranges — all understood, all conceded. Of course, all through history, artists and artisans have made things for themselves and their creative audience and also had to do commercial or commissioned work. There’s all those corporate memos about insurance adjusting that Wallace Stevens had to write by day, and his poetry he wrote by night, etc.

    I just don’t recall this kind of subsuming of the persona in the company name, however, in any historical period or modern RL equivalent situation, and I couldn’t accept it. It’s strange to me that *you* accept it, but I guess you probably just do your thing, secure in the knowledge that the Scions of the world pay the bills, so to speak, but the Nakamas are down more for as creative works. Of course, you are trying to make Nakama a commercial sim with shops and such.

    And that’s why I think to myself, hmmm, you as an artist *and* an entrepreneur make this great set of sims like a city with different things happening in it — and it has one effect and look and life. And then there’s what a company like Toyota or Nissan commissions, and that seems to have less life. Of course, it’s on another deadline, for another purpose, blah blah. All understood.

    But what does it mean if our world fills up with these corporate launch stagesets that have no intrinsic purpose? perhaps in time they’ll commission better cities or add to them or simply wipe them and leave, who knows.

    I know that great feeling having the fresh, clean avatar.

    I’m afraid I don’t accept that fully as an argument about your choice of Neil Millionsofus. You could have chosen Neil Tapioca or some brand new name completely that would become your “corporate workhorse avatar”. Instead, you branded in with Millionsofus. And that process, and your thinking and your decision-making about it, seems an important process to chronicle, to me.

    If you’re pissed off that someone has written publicly about this process, well, be pissed, that’s fine. But the public who consumers the view of buildings and the launches of corporations and the entrepreneurship of inworld artists might have feelings about this and something to say, it seems to me, that is beyond you personally.

    Reuben Millionsofus seems to have a problem to me, now. To make the name really mean something, he’ll have to get some builds out there that are really compelling using these same people. Of course, he’ll have no time for that — there’s a kind of great hollow place all through SL now as builders — even some not that stellar — are rushing off to build the grand pyramids of our day, subsuming their names into those of our latter-day Pharoahs.

  33. Athel Richelieu

    Nov 12th, 2006

    I agree that taking the last name of a corporation seems odd, but if Neil does not wish to take original credit under his name for this project then that is his choice, I am sure the financial compensation for these projects is enough credit for him.

    It would seem to me that if I was an developer in SL, I might wish to keep my professional developer personas and personal artist personas separate.

    I do not see why anyone would say the sim he made has no life. Of course when a corporation commissions something, they don’t always expect “life”. How many RL cookie cutter retail stores have an artistic creative side, or “life”. I think of Wal-Mart, Target, MacDonalds. For that matter, how many Scion dealerships probably have “life”. The purpose of the sim is to promote and raise awareness for a product, not show a creative artistic masterpiece. Their not really marketing to a crowd that cares.

  34. Artemis Fate

    Nov 12th, 2006

    I think it’s rather unfair to say Scion City is “without life”, it seems like an unqualifiable description that Prok applies to this simply because a corporation is behind it.

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  36. Versu Richelieu

    Dec 14th, 2006

    I know this thread is a tad aged, but i’ve not seen it until now, so i am tossing in my belated 2 cents.

    “Thoughts on using an Alt for corporate work?”- Satchmo

    oh, yah…

    Firstly, everyone that creates content working with MoU is well aware that MoU owns it. If you work for the RL Toyota, and say, build Scions, does it belong to you, the guy that welded the fender on or to Toyota? And do you, the consumer, even know the name of the guy that welded your fender, or are you just glad it looks shiny and doesn’t fall off as you pull away from the dealership?
    No matter what our name is, that is the agreement and that is why they pay us.

    No one put a gun to my head to take the MoU name to build for them. Yes, i did the crayon gig under my main av because, as Reuben said, we get the new account after our first build; crayon was my MoU cherry.

    I also did the Intel gig with Versu R. rather than MoU- solely because of the severe time constraint of the 72 hours and Versu MoU was fresh out of the oven with nary a texture or a sit anim to call her own. I wanted the vault of my inventory- textures and dojobbies- to snag if i needed them in a pinch and was simply not up to the task (read: there was no fekking way i was going to spend DAYS staring at my texture folder)of sorting and transferring them over to the new MoU AV prior to the build.

    Now, however, I prefer to build with the MoU AV. Do I feel cloned? Lawdy, no. Unless you consider it a clone of Versu R. – I now look like the original recipe Versu (my choice); anyone that knows me knows it’s me. But my calling card list is microscopic compared to my main -kept to coworkers and clients only. Why? Because I am not paid to chitty chat in IM. And on my main av, i get tackled on entry with IM’s and remain face down in the IM turf for the duration of each log in. And that’s ok, because it is on MY time. Can i ignore them or go to Busy mode while working? Sure, but i prefer not to. The ppl that IM Versu R. are my friends as well as my SL customers. It is just a good idea to respond.

    Can people search me under the MoU name, yep- but my friends know when Versu MoU is on line, she is there to work. Period. And they respect that.

    Do I have to wear the blue boilersuit? Nope- no one is making me do that either. I choose to wear it because if a client pops in on a build in progress, i am immediately identifiable to them. And since they are paying for the build, this is also a good idea for many reasons I am sure you can imagine. I did, however, alter the suit quite a bit in PS to suit my taste a little more :P . Besides, if i dressed normally (for Versu R.) I would have to beat the noobs off with a stick and i just don’t have time for that- :P heh heh.

    Seriously though, I understand the outcry to maintain our original SL identities on a single level- the consumer side (quick product identity) – but honestly, if you build, script, create something, YOU did it, no matter what your SL name is. Your flesh and blood hands on the mouse and keyboard, your throbbing gray matter. And contrary to what some posters in this thread seem to believe, we as content creators of MoU, despite the same last name, are not not blindly thrown at projects simply because we work for the company and have a few spare days on our hands. We are assigned gigs based on our strengths, skills and styles, i.e. no one is going to tell me my next project is to build a car- I stink on ice at cars. Seasoned creators that are KNOWN to build the best cars in SL will get that job.

    Unless you are just hoping to add to your original AV’s portfolio (to what purpose, I don’t know- since you are still free to say to anyone that cares, “I made that,too”)the moniker on the linked lump of prims doesn’t matter. I realize that not all worker bee alts kept their same first name, so yes, it is harder to know who their so-called “famous AV” is, but so what? If you called a dog a cat, will it stop barking and sniffing crotches to then hack a hairball?

    If I did a good job as Versu MoU, should i, the human behind it, not feel glad about it? If i make something that is crap, wouldn’t i feel disappointment (or whatever gamut of self deprecating emotions we flagellate ourselves with) in myself? If someone says to Versu MoU, “hey, that is cool” should I stifle my RL smile? Or is all that reserved for when Versu R. is up on my monitor?
    Shit, i made her up too! If a name matters so much in artistic recognition, why have we not balked about using our RL names from the very first time we rezzed a box and turned it into something else?? Because we didn’t want to. We all wanted the promise of something different – our look, our species, our gender or yes, our names- using our RL names would negate that. Ok, so think of the company name as a step beyond that. It is simply (and it really is simple) a way to ease into a new way of utilizing the metaverse. This isn’t RL folks, and using RL comparisons is like comparing apples and hedgehogs.

    While I appreciate the sentiment behind the defense of maintaining our more recognizable identity, i sense this argument is about something larger. If you want to howl about the entry of RL corporations into SL, so be it, i can dig that. But isn’t that something else altogether, with it’s own can of worms? But you saw it coming, i know you did, Prok. You also know that stopping RL corporations from entering virtual space is not going to happen. If you build it, they will come.

    And being upset about a surname in virtual reality and setting THAT as the rage against the machine because you don’t like the influx of RL on your SL, is like arguing about the color of the carpet in the White House because you disagree with the the war in Iraq. Stomping about the superficial in lieu of biting into the meat of it.

    If those of us with the surnames of the company don’t care what our names are when we work for the company, isn’t that in and of itself representative of no one feeling robbed of their artistic integrity?

    Bottom line…
    Quality is quality, shit is shit. And whichever one you create, you get to take the credit or the blame. Personally, i always shoot for the former- no matter what i call myself.

    Ok, that was my 25 cents…

  37. Versu Richelieu

    Dec 14th, 2006

    One more thing…

    “The fear is that SL’s finest indigenous builders and designers may never return to their workshops for the world, as they will be kept busy working for big corporations making lifeless company towns.”

    I still make stuff for my own in-world company and I know that other MoU folks do as well. It may take us a little longer to get it out there, but it is still coming.

    And there ARE corporate builds with lots of life- keep your eyes peeled for the launch of the Leo Burnett sim (among many others in the works) at the end of this month or so. We had a blast building this enchanted island- a great example of a corporation that sees and appreciates what SL is about. At least I think so.

  38. Prokofy Neva

    Dec 16th, 2006

    I find everything you say ridiculous, self-justifying, and in some kind of sequestered bubble, Versu, sorry, but there it is.

    First, buildings in RL are not welded fenders. A building with style and architectural character is a landmark. Of course people know the building by the name of its commissioner more often than the architect — it’s the Chrysler building, for example. But that doesn’t mean the architect is forced to take the last name Chrysler.

    Buildings are really distinctive works of art, especially in Second Life. The texture design and baking alone is art, let along all the other aspects of it. Works of art aren’t named for mass-marketing companies, they are named by their designer, who wishes to keep their design name intact and not have it be diluted by having a clone-drone name.

    What’s truly sad about this situation is this whole shtick and both you and Neil Protagonist foist on us as an argument about this situation: Linden Lab’s poorly working central-asset service, badly organized inventory, and nasty lag and nearly-crippled search.

    So merely to do your art, you are only to grateful to ditch your inventory-laded main character in SL, and take on the clone-drone’s name merely to have a clean and crisp working avatar not laden by your huge inventories.

    That’s just sad. And I hope that eventually with all the cloning and CopyBot, that one thing the Lindens make is the ability to take an account like Versu Richelieu and suspend its inventory somewhere and have its “clean workslate instance” for a job retaining the original name.

    Trying to build an entire argumentation around the limitations of SL strikes me as just plain unpersuasive.

    If the inventory did NOT lag and you had the ability to make “clean work slate” or merely be able to search in a snap, you’d be far less likely to pick up that fresh, unused avatar.

    Versu, perhaps you’re busy in your own workshop; not seeing it, sorry, as a collective phenom. Taken as a whole, the class of the several dozen most talented and recognized architects and designers of SL have been completely coopted, and are all busy working for the Man. Their own art is languishing. If there’s a hypervent coming that will persuade us otherwise, I’ll withold the adulation until I see it, and still ask pointedly whether your own content-creation business has been junked. Because, I understand perfectly well that you have no motivation, abstractly speaking, to make something by yourself and for the world anymore — the pay is just too lame in micropayment amounts.

  39. Prokofy Neva

    Dec 16th, 2006

    >While I appreciate the sentiment behind the defense of maintaining our more recognizable identity, i sense this argument is about something larger. If you want to howl about the entry of RL corporations into SL, so be it, i can dig that. But isn’t that something else altogether, with it’s own can of worms? But you saw it coming, i know you did, Prok. You also know that stopping RL corporations from entering virtual space is not going to happen. If you build it, they will come.

    Retaining more recoznizable identity isn’t just a nice add-on, it’s the essence of worldism. I’m very much for worlds and for immersion. Augmentation dilutes and even destroys worlds. The whole reason the augmentors even bother coming is because the immersionists already created something for them to latch on to and suck from. It wouldn’t be interesting to the media or their potential customers if SL wasn’t a cool, 3-d streaming world where people made their own content. This Golden Age may not last, as corporations begin to make bland set-ups like company towns in which they will get a team of high-end content creators to make the Pontiacs and road races to entertain others, or they figure out whatever cheap formula is needed to provide lots of Barbie dollhouses or whatever. The Golden Era will remain as an age inspiring the basic values of the world, however, just as in RL. That’s why I think it’s worth defending.

    And not only did I see it coming, I was the first to complain systematically 2 years ago about the heavy influence over the forums, the access to the Lindens, the contests, the economy, the feature set, and the whole world by the monopolist companies in SL — the very same that went on to become sherpa consulting companies like ESC. I was permanently banned from the forums. So, please, no little homilies there.

    >And being upset about a surname in virtual reality and setting THAT as the rage against the machine because you don’t like the influx of RL on your SL, is like arguing about the color of the carpet in the White House because you disagree with the the war in Iraq. Stomping about the superficial in lieu of biting into the meat of it.

    This is a kind of condescending and unnecessary remark. It implies that I live in a happy little bubble with my friends and my little SL-created dollhouse world, raging at the rude interruption of big companies whose aspirations for many eyeballs is driving the hunger of LL to fill up the numbers and lag the entire thing, as well as abandon certain earlier precepts in defense of the world.

    But I don’t have any little immersed life — I’ve always lived the meta-life in SL, making different experiments, commenting conceptually on the world. My writings about this are from a position of principle, not from being somebody whose dollhouse suddenly either got broken into or made hugely expensive.

    This issue of names is not trivial — not at all. If it were trivial, you’d be able to close the account Versu Richelieu in a heartbeat, merely because her laggy inventory and her IMs were driving you nuts, and open up a fersh Versu Tapioca. But you will never do that because of her age and credibility and association with landmarks in SL. So don’t be silly.

    Of course the issue of identity and artistic recognition matters greatly. Your anology of the carpet in the White House and the war Iraq is preposterous.

    What would be more believable is an analogy that would say something like, my protest over the war in Iraq must begin with a demonstration in front of the White House, the symbol of the center of power responsible for the war in Iraq, and you coming along and saying, oh, no, don’t demonstrate near that big white building, it has no meaning.

    I simply find all your argumentation completely self-serving — you need to justify the use of these names and the work for these corporations, and so you do. I don’t need to justify your taking of the names and your work for them, so I don’t.

    I do understand completely that for you and Neil Protagonist, it’s not an issue. You simply feel secure in your identity. I don’t at all feel your identity is as secure, and point that out to you. I see this definitely as a “put up a parking lot” kind of situation.

  40. Versu Richelieu

    Dec 16th, 2006

    Prok- from your response, I see that you skimmed my post at best. You attributed Neil’s reasoning to me. Despite that we both have avatars that share a last name, we do not share a brain, or necessarily the same thoughts on why we use the MoU name. Reading his post and assuming I feel the same way makes you guilty of doing to us what you claim to fear for us. You are concerned that we are being cloned, but you yourself just cloned our thought processes in an attempt to make your point. So what is the worry? That the “Man” is running over our individuality, or people such as yourself that twist and turn our individuality to make your own name in virtual reality?

    If you actually read what I wrote, as opposed to skimming while prematurely preparing your rebuttle, you would have seen that I used my main avatar for the Intel gig because I WANTED TO HAVE MY INVENTORY available. Inventory lag is a non-issue for me; I have long since gotten used to waiting for it to load and I do other things while I wait. Not a problem. No sense in repeating more of what I already wrote once- I don’t expect you to read this anymore closely than you read my first post.

    And yes, I am very secure in my identity- how I put together prims in virtual reality is only a small part of that. Who and what I am does not revolve solely around SL. If you understood that for yourself, perhaps it would be clearer to you why a last name in virtual reality is not the concern you think it should be for those of us who also have a first life. Sorry, Prok, but there it is.

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