Sandbox (vocabulary notes, 1)

(from a Second Life Google Group glossary)

“SANDBOX – a public space available for anyone to build on. Objects built on sandboxes and not taken by the owner will be automatically returned to them after a given amount of time (be sure to read each sandbox’s rules).”

Obviously, a sandbox is a type of space within Second Life, where anyone can build things. The interesting thing that is not explicitly mentioned by the definition above is that the sandbox is where you learn to build things in the first place. Any avatar fresh off the Orientation Island can search for “sandbox”, teleport to one, follow some brief tutorials (or click around in trial and error) and start making things. Granted, maybe they’re not very exciting things at first– cubes, cones, spheres, all with a neutral woodgrain print. But these are the building blocks of everything else.

So the terminology choice is a good one, as it reflects real life. The “sandbox” is an oft-used metaphor for different aspects of grown-up human life, but here it really fits. The sandbox is where we play at building a world, and in the process, we produce the one we have.

Only a few select parts of RMB City will be “sandbox” in the official SL sense, but it seems the project as a whole is nothing if not a sandbox. A place for a global kindergarten to play with forms, concepts, and experiences.

Blog — Miniature Tigerpaw, August 20, 2008 @ 12:50 am