I’m not a massive fan of the CSI franchise (although my mum is, and I play Horatio signature poses bingo with her sometimes) but I was interested to see what CBS and Cisco had set up around episode #405, "Down the Rabbit Hole", which aired last Wednesday in the States (also streaming from the CBS site – I can’t view it however, either it’s not open outside of the US or it’s way busy). There have been mutterings from the Second Life community about the show’s extensive use of the (newly introduced and not universally used) voice chat. My feeling is you wouldn’t expect a realistic portrayal forensic science from an episode of CSI, so surely asking for Second Life in all its lag, rezzing, getting bumped and getting ruthed glory is a bit much.
You can find the virtual CSI:NY home here, and if you already have SL set up you can you can find the slurl (= Second Life URL) here. Will newcomers be able to overcome both the excessive use of acronyms, the notoriously un-web 2.0 entry (ie it isn’t the most intuitive environment), and the fact that SL is going to run your computer ragged if it isn’t big and powerful?
Well, to get you started there’s a bunch of video tutorials. If you have no interest in CSI whatsoever but are working in SL or helping people work in that environment, these are worth a peek. They’ve also got a quick start avatar creator (far better shape, hair and skin than the SL defaults). Helping lower the entry barrier is the first commercially licenced viewer, designed to make accessing and navigating SL simpler. There are a couple of in world greeters hanging around the main location to help people out as well, so if you do have any looming SL inductions CBS could potentially be doing you some big favors.
In world attractions include the props area & store (pretty interesting actually, but a shame they didn’t throw in some poses for photographs – the huge advantage SL has over regular displays is that you can crawl all over the exhibits); some of New York; a crime lab; and a cool looking detective game that I haven’t had the time to check out properly.
Speculation about somewhere in the region of a million new people checking out SL on the back of the episode are yet to be confirmed – it will be interesting what the final figures are, and also what happens to the percentage of the CSI fan community that end up sticking around.
On the fan-culture cross over theme, of course Henry Jenkins has already got it covered with an interview with two of the producers of the project for Electric Sheep, Damon Taylor and and Daniel Krueger.