Publicly launched in June 2003, Second Life now stretches over nearly 1,000 acres of land containing more than 200,000 user-created objects, including clothing and accessories to buy, nightclubs to visit, and an amusement park owned and operated by residents with more than 30 exciting rides.
Second Life residents typically spend 13,000 hours a week in-world, socializing, building and conducting over 17,000 transactions of goods and services.
"In June 2003, Second Life launched with a single 'general store', a disco, and a couple other attractions we built to get things started. In the hands of our aggressive early adopters it has grown to hundreds of stores, dozens of small towns, and has challenged us to rapidly grow the capabilities of the system to match the imagination of our population. With version 1.1, residents will be able to build and drive their own vehicles, form land-owning groups and communities, and advertise their businesses in a public directory," said Linden Lab founder Philip Rosedale.
Residents of Second Life v1.1 will be able to:
- Instantly find the people and places they're looking for with an improved map and online directories;
- Enjoy an even more visually rich 3D environment, with more shading, depth, texture, and shininess from new bump mapping and environment mapping, and a new advanced particle system allowing effects like smoke, explosions, fountains, exhaust, and fireworks;
- Experience the driver's view with a new vehicle system that allows users to create and then drive sophisticated vehicles ranging from airplanes to sailboats to hoverboards;
- Own land together as a group, with new land features which allow group members to control who can come and go, or even charge for access;
- Fine-tune their looks with improved options for clothing and avatar customization including support for skirts, clothing that moves with the virtual breeze, and bump-mapping for incredibly detailed skin and cloth features;
- Capture movies of their Second Life experience directly to file while online. The resulting 'home movies' can be then be emailed to friends or edited into theatrical masterpieces..