First we had flat prim plants and trees, then multi prim followed by sculpty plants leading on to some amazing one prim plant/trees.
All of these advancements or versions of SL nature have been in the visual or artistic sense, the variations in creativity and evolutions of plant design are so varied it would take months to track them all down and classify them, but where does VW/SL nature head from here, or does it even need to go anywhere apart from the visual.
SL and it's use of scripting and interaction could be used to modify nature in such a way that would not be possible in the RL, by injecting abilities into organic objects we could potentially create an evolutionary design model that could communicate not only with the avatar but also with the surrounding environment and objects.
Creation of a simple sculpt plant with free scripts injected into the leaves (natures plants/leaf design provides an almost perfect 3D menu system to choose from).
In this example the scripts were all freebies to show the potential of the designs, eg a plant on an avatars land parcel could be used to track avatars movement on the parcel, or a communications branch could provide newsfeeds, sl to rl email, drop boxes for busy avatars etc. Media/Entertainment branches could contain online status for visiting avatars, parcel media stream options for radio/video.
Bouncing these ideas seemed like fun, like the design was going somewhere, but when I looked hard at what was there, is it not JUST an object, by adding scripts and options to a once visually organic shape are we not removing the essence of its nature? It may as well be a plastic model with the same menu, just passing it would look like any plant or tree but closer inspection would show it to potentially be just a gimmick.
For all this, after asking a few people about the design and options they came back to say that something like this would be "cool" and perhaps could replace a number of items in their SL homes into one plant. Which kind of went against my whole ethic for VW nature creation, when you can create the marvellous and fantastical in the true sense why not take the ideas to a greater level?
Which led me on to using VW nature as a communications system that can interact with the Avatars/objects/environment around it and essentially mesh together with itself (oooh, just realised how very AVATAR that sounds!.:)), anyway, will continuen in part 2, The Whispering Trees.