The power of mass media

As some of you know, I have been busy helping to prepare the launch of the Lisbon 1755 project on Kitely. I’m not a modeller, nor a historian, so my work for this project is reduced to shifting content from one grid to the other (my own scripting contributions are still a year away, at best 😉 ). No, the little I was expected to help with was to try to get the project a bit more promoted.

Promotion, as everyone knows, is hard work. Academic projects have completely different goals than what the majority of virtual world users like to do, and don’t necessarily live up to people’s expectations. For instance, in this case, I had to patiently explain to some people who complained that there are far better things done in Second Life that the purpose was not to get people immersed in a Triple-A-quality environment, like it’s possible to do in SL these days. Instead, what mattered was historical accuracy with factual documentation. Many things simply cannot be recreated more accurately than what is shown on existing paintings, engravings, and so forth. In SL, one has creative freedom to do environments “inspired” by heritage sites, and these can be modelled to look as intricate as possible. On academic projects, this simply might be not only impossible, but undesirable — how can other historians validate the claims on historical accuracy, if the modeller just says, “I did it like this because it looks cooler that way”?

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