L-Word Beats the P-Word

by prokofy on 23/01/07 at 9:55 pm

By Annyushka Apparatchik, Dept. of Worlds, Planets, Universes, Metaverses, Spaces, and Lovely Tea-Party Places

Tired of having friends you’ve send to join SL tell you later they turned around and left, after be bopped over the head by a giant phallus? Or caged on a laggy welcome area knee-deep in naked gun-totating newbs, unable to move?

Leave it to the lesbians of L-word to figure out how to beat the P-word. With this kick-ass build and superior orientation island by the Electric Sheep Company, you will want to become a lesbian just to live in this world, it’s so different from the SL we all know and barely tolerate.

First, check out Show-time’s fan site devoted to a new TV show called “The L-Word”. I don’t have a TV and would be unlikely to watch it, but Max is definitely cool.

From there, without any in-your-face furries, katana-slashers, or 14-year-old robots like our own favourite game company’s site, you will gently be led to L-Word’s SL page. Press on “Join for Free” and be ushered to a version of the Second Life site to chose a name — you can start all over again as long as you don’t use the same email you’re already signed up with.

Now here’s the fun part: after you get the new name and log on, you aren’t going to be taken to that old clunky Orientation Island with all those nudgy signs telling people not to shoot or get naked (wasn’t that why came here in the first place?!). You’re so past all that now that you are with L-Word. As you rez into the world you will notice you are in paradise — like SL was meant to be. Low-lag, spacious, particle-free, with winding garden walks and beautiful landscaping. In the distance, a lovely lady in a frisky polka-dotted swirly dress is walking toward you…


…not to offer you hippie-pay or work as an escort, but to help you learn the game. Wow…like…wow!

She discretely inquires if you want any help — but you may not need her. Arranged around in intuitive, easy-to-see stands are machinima videos with fun how-to instructions and something you rarely see in machinima — a large-eyed, close-focused avatar face that keeps your interest on the screen.

No one tells you to learn to build or script, instead they help you to fly, pick out a dress, and figure out where you are going shopping. You can see this is definitely going to be a girls’ game.


I chose a sort of Alice-in-Wonderland tea-party lesbian look and loitered around the orientation a bit more, before pressing on an easily-marked board to get to the main island with clubs and shops. Turns out I need not have worried — any time you like, you can fly back to the L-Word’s OI for a refresher, unlike the stock SL OI and HI that turf you off and bar you for evermore.

As I landed, not one, not two, but three staff people from Showtime were hanging around chatting, ready to help and socialize. That’s the key to having an island in SL — staffing it up so that the users don’t arrive to empty fairgrounds after the trade show.


I left the guy in the pink bunny slippers to help somebody whose dream was to open up a dance club and checked out the builds. They had that baked, pastel Barnesworthian look though built by DNA Prototype — I don’t know how they always happen to find the exact ochre colour favoured by Soviet psychiatric institution planners, but there it is, it’s the rage.


I sat for awhile in a lushly-textured cafe called “The Planet” listening to a woman describe a sort of party/cafe she had in RL, the web, and now in SL.


Now, time to go shopping. Of course, I would have to buy some Lindens because L-word-world was definitely not the one of camp chairs, casinos, and sexscorts, but with $1000 for $3.70, what’s not to like?


My one beef with the ESC-built paradise is that in well-worn fashion, they streamed the content-sales windfalls directly to their best pals. That’s why you see Ingrid and Barnes and their shops there, even though — to be perfectly honest, girls — what at first seemed like Barnes’ skins but turned out to be Launa Fauna’s skins look like road-kill — he’s just not a skin maker, although given that everything else he has ever done is fabulous, it seemed odd, but was hard to tell because the skins were in Barnes’ shop. I can’t imagine why they don’t have the really excellent skin-makers there — I guess they just aren’t in with the right people. And that’s the problem — rather than being business-like and opening up bids for shop space on islands like this, which could have gadzillion visitors if they play their cards right, they fete and steer, in the usual SL way.

I arrived back this evening to find one of those arduous prim-rustling classes underway — there’s never an easy way to explain building in SL and the faster they get over their engineering bias and just make ready-to-rez walls and parts like we had in the Sims, the better, for my money. The pink-hued HUD thingie meant to replace laggy and frustrating inworld SEARCH functions on the UI worked pretty well — it has EVENTS PLACES and HELP spelled out at the top of your screen in an unobtrustive yet can’t-miss fashion.

As I stood around in my appearance-mode hair-do watching girls with enough store-bought hoochie-hair to sink three sims, I snuck a peek under the hood and was rewarded by two numbers I never see anymore: 1.00 Time Dilation and 45 Sim FPS. Three more women greeted me and asked me if I needed any help — 20 minutes went by and I hadn’t seen a single penis. Were we not in Kansas anymore?


All of this wonderment was made with the new 3rd-party registration API

UPDATE: Since there seemed to be so much fascination about these skins, I went back to examine them again, and post the picture. And I stand by my evaluation: they *are* ugly, and I am baffled what they are doing on this premiere island.

My original point in even mentioning these stores was to illustrate that the ESC, instead of just opening up rentals or bids for this very high-profile store, picked their friends. You have to figure the L-word website, attached to network TV, probably gets way more hits than anything associated with Second Life. So it’s a very high-profile gig, and the sherpas awarded their pals, as happens on every gig needed content purchases or concessions.

It is very easy to mistake this for Barnes’ product; the store says “Barnes Boutiques,” and Launa Fauna’s logo, tiny, and blinking, is very easily missed. When you see the store, it looks like his whole store; you then see he is sharing it with Shai and Launa. The skins didn’t look like anything Shai would make; I’m familiar with his clothing and buy it now and then. So the impression I got was that somehow men’s skins were needed in a pinch, and they put Barnes up to it. This turned out to be inaccurate, but I stand by my evaluation that a) they didn’t look good and b) they were there merely because the maker was a friend of the ESC. There are many other better male skin makers in SL.

The purpose of this comment, not the central point of my positive review, was not to trash somebody like Launa’s skins, but to point out that in their quest to just find berths and entrees for their friends, and reach only for their friendship cards in a gig like this, the ESC and other metaversal agents making purchases of content aren’t doing SL a good service, or upholding the standards of excellence they always claim to represent. And by God, in this creator-driven society, I will stand by my right to pronounce a skin ugly when everyone can see it is a Neanderthal man.




33 Responses to “L-Word Beats the P-Word”

  1. Jade Lily

    Jan 23rd, 2007

    Wow! This was a very kind review. I believe the shops were populated this way due to the fact that folks were operating under a tight deadline. But I read that the new residents would have some say in how the area expands. Hopefully they’ll be afforded the opportunity to sell their creations as well.

  2. Pie Psaltery

    Jan 23rd, 2007

    As if SL didn’t have enough wanna-be lesbians.
    I think I’m going to go pretend to be straight for a while.

  3. My Name is Kate

    Jan 23rd, 2007

    The L-Word in Second Life .. now its starting to get interesting

    No, not because of the lesbians (ahem), but because of the control and design of the user experience. I just read this great piece over at the Second Life Herald L-Word Beats the P-Word where they describe an SL newbies

  4. Anya Ixchel

    Jan 24th, 2007

    This was a great review and I rushed to the L World website hoping to click a button and go exploring for myself, only to be told the following:

    “sorry. We at Showtime Online express our apologies; however, these pages are intended for access only from within the United States.”

    Um… what the…??

  5. marilyn murphy

    Jan 24th, 2007

    ahh ha ha pie!! you kill me! i laughed out loud. come have tea. wear jeans.

  6. Barnesworth Anubis

    Jan 24th, 2007

    “That’s why you see Ingrid and Barnes and their shops there, even though — to be perfectly honest, girls — Barnes’ skins look like road-kill — he’s just not a skin maker, although everything else he has ever done is fabulous. I can’t imagine why they don’t have the really excellent skin-makers there — I guess they just aren’t in with the right people.”

    I dont sell skins pal, never have and never probably will. I’m glad you like my other stuff though!

    <3 Barnes

  7. Prokofy Neva

    Jan 24th, 2007

    What are those big pictures of naked, Neandrathal-looking bald men then? They looked like skins.

  8. Barnesworth Anubis

    Jan 24th, 2007

    Dunno! All I know is I don’t sell skins.


  9. Seola Sassoon

    Jan 24th, 2007

    Firstly, the L Word isn’t anywhere near new. It started somewhere in early 2004.

    Secondly, I think it’s a cool way to introduce into SL for people instead of that crappy orientation island.

    Thirdly, for use inside the US only: many countries have banned these types of websites (ones that deal with sexuality). Instead of having to list as a ban root IP’s of each banned country, or coming up with some sort of PC statement as to why those countries can’t view, they just allow US originations only. Showtime doesn’t exactly have millions of dollars, so they went for cheap.

  10. Bob the Tomato

    Jan 24th, 2007

    Just because Electric Sheep built it doesn’t automatically make it “good” … there are many other good builders out there, you know, that can do as good a job for a fraction of the price.

    I frequently see time dilation 1.00 and sim/physics 45fps whilst out on my travels; evidently the author of this article doesn’t go outside of a few laggy sex clubs often.


  11. Jade Lily

    Jan 24th, 2007

    Since I left my first comment, I’ve been told that there is already a variety of sellers there, to include some new designers who were very excited to have their creations sold. So there you go. :)

  12. otakup0pe Neumann

    Jan 24th, 2007

    Looks interesting, shame the site is closed outside the US. On the other hand, it’s great to see something launch with the registration API.

  13. Kingston

    Jan 24th, 2007

    I am in total awe of the Electric Sheep Company (ESC). They consistently bring meaningful, well-designed, user-focused/friendly content to SL.

  14. Garnet Psaltery

    Jan 24th, 2007

    There have been public copies of Orientation Island and Help Island for some months now.

  15. Bob the Tomato

    Jan 25th, 2007

    How much were you paid to say that, Kingston?

  16. underpants

    Jan 25th, 2007

    Finally, a place where penis envy is the norm, and Prokofy is amongst friends! Prokofy….you have arrived!

  17. Prokofy Neva

    Jan 25th, 2007

    1) Garnet, it’s well known that there are public copies of Orientation Island and Help Island *to oldbies and midbies*. But the incoming newbies often get confused and can’t fly back to the place they just left. This is to prevent non-filtered contact with newbies in the interests of “protecting” them. It doesn’t achieve that goal, confuses them, and makes them wonder why on earth they can’t fly back to a learning place they should always have access to. In fact, the whole idea of trapping newbies in the sterile OI/HI chamber originally is silly – let them rez and find their way, and let other businesses and nonprofits interact with them besides the mentors/helpers racket and the sex clubs.

    2) Jade, excuse me, but you need to LOOK at the shops, not just be “reliably informed”. The shops range from A to…B. They are the usual very tiny collection of FIC shops, with perhaps one token non-FIC. It’s a very short list — and Ingrid’s and Barnes’ shops stand out.

    3) underpants, I don’t have penis envy, but I’d suggest *you* don’t have any balls at all, lobbing nasty comments from behind the usual anonymous Nolan-Nash nick. Big man!

  18. Garnet Psaltery

    Jan 25th, 2007

    Where do you get your statistics from on the newbie experience, Prokofy? They “often” get confused? How do you know “non-filtered contact” doesn’t achieve its goal? Could it be you just want access to newbies to direct them to your rentals?

  19. Prokofy Neva

    Jan 25th, 2007

    Garnet, the main rebuttal I can make to *your* hostile question is another question: what statistics can YOU cite that the current, LL-made OI and HI lead to greater user retention? None, I’ll bet. The Lindens never publicize the results of any testing they do to see if this or that form of orientation leads to better outcome (and they *should* do this if they don’t). Do the Lindens ever try to track retention of people landing at this or that infohub, staying on OI for longr periods or heading to NCI? We know that for a brief period of like 30-60 days, they put teleportation portals in the OI to have people land at Cubey’s Aerodrome, the furries’ forest, and clubs. They discontinued this option because apparently they found it wasn’t leading to greater retention (maybe it led to worse?!)

    We don’t know what the Lindens have actually gleaned from their own considerable capacity to study the matter of retention — it would be nice to know, so that all this ideologically-driven fussing with newbies could stop. For example one thing I found surprising even to me was that most people answered the question “Have you bought first land?” with “yes” and “I sold it for more than $5000″ or “I sold it for under $5000″ or “I still live on it,” not “No, I never plan to get it” or “not yet”.

    Come on, here we have none other than Philip himself saying there is only 10 percent retention after like 60 days and 90 percent fall out.

    What does that tell you? That the orientation and help system is broken and non-functioning and that SL itself is just too hard for people to bother with — that other ways must be found.

    I appreciate the heavy suspicion that prompted your barbed comment about my rentals — narrow-eyed, surly distrust of one’s fellow avatar is the hallmark of Second Life –but I hardly have any need whatsoever to have newbies in orientation directed to my rentals. Could it be that you need them to come to *your* rentals, Garnet?!

    Without any direction whatsoever, newbies come in droves, and I cannot even accommodate them all; I literally cannot get to all the IMs as I log on, especially having to add in many more steps now as I go to translation sites and try to speak to people in German, French, Italian, etc. (Internet translation enabling the pasting in of a whole paragraph ust works faster and cleaner for me than these clunky HUDs and commands you have to keep pulling on and manipulating with a line at a time in SL’s clumsky communication interface). All my subsidized newbies’ communities tend to be full, and even more expensive rentals are overflowing with all the new people. There’s honestly no need to behave like mentors and helpers and steer anybody to rent from me, indeed, it would cause an inundation.

    I sponsored the reconstruction of the infohub at Ross, beautifully done by Jessica Ornitz. So I spend a fair amount of time there, working on help cards, trying to add things and make it better, talking to newbies and seeing how they are doing. I have newbie polls there and also polls and orientation at Baileya on my boardwalk. I’ll put the figures up in my blog at some point but the single greatest complaint and query I get from the thousands of people pouring in nowadays is that there are no ready-made entry mobs and no ways to make money outside sex and scams. This is discouraging for most people who actually don’t want to camp or scam but do want some kind of employment.

    I periodically make alts and go through the OI and HI experience, I talk to people constantly IMing me and I can see that people find that first few hours in SL a rough ride. I have to explain a thousand times a day about the SEARCH button down at the bottom of the screen — “no, your other SEARCH” — and the PlACES and EVENTS at the top, etc. etc.

    In the L-word, there is a HUD that puts up in bright pink HUD right in your view — a simple clickable thing saying EVENTS PLACES etc. I don’t know if donning HUDS all the time is the ultimate in workable usability, but it’s a start.

    In fact, it’s my firm conviction that if the ideological overlay of handling newbies, which is currently designed to feed a utopianist and content-creators vision of SL, not a more common users’ path, were dropped, and more normal outsourcing or bidding out of customer service/community management were done, we’d see lots more people staying. The Lindens’ idea of how to handle this immense challenge is to turn everybody over to that clunky Knowledge Base that loads slowly in F1. I don’t know a soul who wants to sit still for Knowledge Base — I find myself that when Skype or EA.com keeps shuffling me off to Knowledge Bases with circular, pat answers that I start looking for the trouble tickets and live help lines because they are just “handling” me and putting me off.

  20. Cristiano Midnight

    Jan 25th, 2007

    Prokofy’s razor sharp grasp of facts strikes again. Never mind that Barnes doesn’t sell skins, don’t let that get in the way of taking a dig at him over imaginary products. Also, the L Word is currently in its fourth season on Showtime – hardly a new tv show. Top notch blog journalism.

  21. urizenus

    Jan 25th, 2007

    For those of us who are still in mourning because Mr. Ed went off the air, L-Word still counts as a new show.

  22. Cristiano Midnight

    Jan 25th, 2007

    Fret not, little one, I found this for you:


  23. Prokofy Neva

    Jan 25th, 2007

    I know Barnes doesn’t sell skins, which is why I simply couldn’t understand why he had big posters of what sure looked like skins — I even clinked on them. I’ll get some screens and post them. They were ugly *shrugs*.

    I don’t watch TV. I actually don’t have one working except if there is like a terrorist attack or something. It just kind of evolved that way, I can read all the news and see all the news videos on the Internet for work, and go to YouTube or whatever. Why would I sit and watch Roseanne re-runs when we have Second Life? I can’t even sit still for TV anymore when I’m like stuck in a hospital ER. And even if this show is old, the Second Life presence of it is brand-new. So the sentence should merely say, “new Second Life portal” or something, that’s all. Certainly not worthy of a nasty snark from the white-robed one.

  24. Urizenus

    Jan 25th, 2007

    Thanks for that link, Cris. mmmmm 143 episodes of Mr Ed. I guess I know what I’ll be doing in February!

  25. Garnet Psaltery

    Jan 25th, 2007

    Prokofy, I’m not the one making claims to know all the facts about the newbie experience – you are. I haven’t been in the rentals business for months, by the way.

  26. Garnet Psaltery

    Jan 25th, 2007

    Just checked – F1 and the Knowledge Base are two distinct entities.

  27. eE~Nig'Ma

    Jan 26th, 2007

    super cool…

  28. Prokofy Neva

    Jan 26th, 2007

    Just checked — F1 IS the Knowledge Base. They’re essentially the same body of materials. The fact that the Knowledge Base may reside on a server to be accessed from the web doesn’t change that. The fact that the Knowledge Base is arranged as ostensible user questions with answers doesn’t change that.

    And what is your point here, picking on something like this? The point of the comment is that F1 is laggy, boring, fine print, and just plain hard to use, like so many other tekkie things. People do not use it. You refer them to it, they can’t really access it. Ditto the knowledge base. These are for tekkies and people who are nerdy enough to read tech manuals.

  29. Prokofy Neva

    Jan 26th, 2007

    I think I’ve accurately portrayed the newbie experience. I’m well aware that you don’t have rentals anymore. Why do you have this stick up your ass, Garnet? Can’t you have a normal discussion without being a dick?

  30. Cristiano Midnight

    Jan 26th, 2007


    If you know Barnes doesn’t sell skins, then why make a stupid remark about his skins looking like roadkill? I know, because you can’t admit being wrong! What you ended up actually doing is needlessly dissing the work of Launa Fauna instead. If you had taken half a second to mouseover the skin display, you would have noticed at least who you were insulting. I guess when you are trashing someone’s work, it’s not important to get the details right. Then again, you miss the details constantly, so I’m not surprised. You are right about one thing though for once – Barnes work is excellent.

  31. Just a thought

    Jan 26th, 2007

    If you do not read the instructions, you do not deserve the help. It is that simple. I do hate to break it to you but even a child knows that you should read the manual, no matter how difficult it is, before asking some inane question.

    Add to it that even a child can understand the instructions put out these these days. Ever read the directions for a PSP? DS? Wii? How about the directions for a VCR, DVD player? DVR? The operations manual for your computer?

    Second Life is no different. If you don’t read the manual – well then it’s your own bloody fault when things go awry.

    Oh, and by the by? F1 and the Knowledge Base are two different things. One is filled with (mostly anyway) user articles to help newbies. The other is more of an FAQ page. Some of the content may be mirrored, but not all of it.

    It helps if you actually, you know, read the thing first. after all, only the most inept could possibly not understand something as cut and dry as:

    “How do I clear my Cache? Ctrl-P for Preferences, choose the Network tab and click the Clear Cache button. Then log out of Second Life – wait a couple of minutes – then log back in.”

    Or how about:

    “How can I post a Classified Ad? Stand on the land you wish to advertise. Right-click on yourself and choose Profile, then choose the Classifieds tab. Click on New.

    Classified ads appear on the classified section of the Search window for one week. The price you pay directly determines the placement of your listing. The more you pay, the higher the listing goes on the Classifieds list.

    To remove your ad, highlight the correct ad and click the delete button.”

    If you cannot understand entries such as THAT then you really need to consider NOT using technology. Christ.

    Oh, and I fully expect you to take sections of this out of context or some other equally silly thing. go right ahead, you’ll skip over this little section here at the bottom telling you that this is coming from someone that long ago decided he wasn’t going to waste his time attempting to help those that expect everything to be done for them, and to be so easy tp use that a newborn infant or some senile old person might be able to use it. There is only so much one can take before one decides to tell the hopeless case off and walk away.

    Case in point – for a while I attempted to help a friend of the family with her computer troubles …. only to find that the entire family was as dense as a block of concrete. The EXACT same issues each and every time ….

    You’ll forgive me if I have no sympathy for those who are babied to the point of SHOWING THEM what to do …. and they still do not understand, despite clear, concise step by step directions, AND being SHOWN how to do it.

    That is where I draw the line.

  32. Prokofy Neva

    Jan 27th, 2007

    Becauset here were skins there? Right with his stuff? So it seemed double odd. I will post a picture. It seemed as if they just put him in there and had him make skins or something, which was very odd, of course. The male skins looked like something Barnes might draw, and they were in with his stuff. My mouseover doesn’t work on most patches, I find, so I don’t tend to use it. It looked for all intents and purposes that it was Barnes. If it turns out to be Launa Fauna, what of it? I’m sorry, but they still look like road kill. Really, not what you’d want to put in a island with this high profile where people will really want the best. On what strengths was Launa Fauna put in there, because she’s oldbie, charter FIC, etc.? Why can’t we tell the truth about this? Seriously, I don’t get why we cannot be honest and criticize things. It’s really stupid to have to go around and be in a constant fake ecstasy, air-kissing all our little friends and gushing about their work.

    Barnes work is always very detailed, quality, even finicky. He has the skillz. Other people like this Launa may be skilled at dresses, I don’t know, but these skins were awful. It has to be said.

  33. Launa Fauna

    Feb 2nd, 2007

    Uncalled for harsh words aside…
    I agree with you completely Prok. You’re right, they needed mens skins quickly and since my hair was already out, I was asked. I almost didn’t put them out because they are quite dated. I don’t care for the skins, but they are quite good for their pricerange.
    At any rate, this sim is geared towards women. In this context I’m pretty sure most of them wouldn’t care if their men look like “Neanderthals”.

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