Toward a “Snappier” Second Life


*Don’t blame me, Snappier is Ebbe’s word for it.
There are 2 major improvements coming which will make rezing faster. Not only in world textures but inventory and almost everything else.
1- CDN is a change in the way the sim servers deliver textures and meshes to you. Right now everything comes to you via the simulators. CDN is basicly a method for getting delivery of many things from “the Cloud”. In other words you will get textures, meshes, and several other things from a server geographically nearer you. The provider LL is using is Highwinds.
CDN has been active on a limited number of regions for a couple of weeks. Our home region, Brocade, was one of the first. It has made a significant improvement in load times.
2- HTTP Pipelining is a change in the way the viewer interacts with the servers (DNS and Region). This requires a viewer change, the Official version should go to a release channel in the next week or so. Inara has informative blog posts. See also the Wikipedia article.
The best thing is that these 2 features complement each other. If this lives up to even half of it’s hype it will be a game changer!
Both of these projects have been in the works for some time, not hidden but mostly of interest to those who follow the technological aspects of Second Life. It is time for the general population to stand up and take notice.

“Whatever you are, be a good one.” Abraham Lincoln

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TOSing the (word) salad (or why I think the latest Terms of Service update misses the mark)


Shug Maitland:

Inara offers a well thought out opinion on the latest (non-)changes to the TOS.

Originally posted on Living in the Modem World:

On Wednesday July 16th the Lab issued an update to Section 2.3 of their Terms of Service. I’ve already provided some feedback on the update and how, thanks to the use of parentheses, it appears to be limited to only addressing the issue of the Lab attempting to sell user-generated content for their own profit; something which is also indicated by the official blog post on the matter being focused solely on that issue as well.

However, there was more I wanted to say on the matter, but which, as an expression of personal opinion, I didn’t want to include in what was essentially a “news” article. So please excuse me if I now take the opportunity of doing so.

I’m actually not at all surprised that the Lab has looked no further than addressing the issue of their selling, reselling or sub-licensing user content…

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Second Life’s Future As The Next Generation Comes Of Age


On July 17th Ebbe said:

We already know about quite a few things that Second Life could do better, and there’s already conversations we’re obviously having about how a next generation product could be a leap forward. But it’s quite a ways in the future.

And note we don’t refer to it as “SL” explicitly call it something more nebulous, like “next generation virtual world” because it’s still to be determined how different or similar it is. As if we use something like “SL 2.0″ or as someone suggested, “SL 3.0″, then you already right already make a lot of assumptions of what it should be or should not be, and we don’t necessarily want to constrain ourselves to Second Life as a model for what a next generation virtual world should be.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a tremendous amount of good things in Second Life, so when we discuss the next generation, we describe it as being in the spirit of Second Life, which is a bit vague and definitely people interpret it in a lot of different ways, but it could be many, many, many years before what really works for people in Second Life is something they could replicate and achieve in this next generation product.

Ultimately, I hope to make the next generation product so good that people would prefer to use it over Second Life, but we’re not necessarily going to constrain what the next product could be or force it to be something that is necessarily too similar to Second Life. And how similar or different it will be, I think will reveal itself over time.
Ebbe Linden/Altberg at the Education in SL Q&A, July 17,2014 (Inara Pey’s transcription)

Now that some time has passed and people have had time to think things through, it is worth taking a look at what future we can anticipate for Second Life.
The “next generation virtual world” Linden Lab is working on is “quite a ways in the future” and “it could be many, many, many years before what really works for people in Second Life is something they could replicate and achieve in this next generation product”. In short, don’t panic, most likely it will be a very long time indeed before you will even want to move your entire second life to the new platform!
The Lindens have had a long time to reflect on the failures of other virtual worlds and have no intention of falling into the same traps. Since the early days of SL the world of social networking has not only changed technologically, peoples attitudes about their on-line presence has changed too. Creating a new virtual world is a daunting task, even once the platform is finished, migration from Second Life will be arduous. Creators will be reluctant to move until there are enough residents to make it worthwhile. Residents will be reluctant to move until they see content they want available.
It is possible, perhaps likely, that the first iteration of the new grid will have very non-SL rules. LL must attract the Facebook / MySpace people, and they are very uncomfortable with anonymity. A grid like this would also be more attractive to businesses and educators. Chances are, even if you are able to have a fantasy life there, your profile will always link back to your RL identity.
There is no reason why the “in the spirit of Second Life” grid could not be completely separate, the same platform with the necessary tweaks and settings to make it like Second Life. The two grids could even share a marketplace and use the same currency.
In the meanwhile SL will continue to develop under Oz’s guiding hand. When he can appropriate code or ideas from the Next Generation team, he will. The smaller but more dedicated to SL team gathered around him seems very open to resident suggestions (although they can’t do everything).
Myself, I will probably dip my toes into the new world at the first opportunity. It seems unlikely I will be ready to move there for many years yet to come.

“Whatever you are, be a good one.” Abraham Lincoln

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An Early Birthday Present


Today is the actual (well, generally accepted) anniversary of Second Life’s opening. You really should spend some time at the party, just open the map and search for SL11B, TP into any of the regions. Lag seems lower this year than in the past. I can not pick one exhibit over another, best you just wander around, get lost and cam everywhere!

But that is not what I came here to write about.

Last Friday Ebbe dropped into the Open Development user group meeting and rolled an open can of worms onto the floor. Linden Lab is, and has been for well over a year, working on a new and improved virtual world! Now before you panic, this is not the end of SL, the grid we all know and love will go on for the foreseeable future. Development and improvements will continue, although with a smaller team at the Lab.

I see this as akin to a new Operating System on your computer. There are limits to what the Lab can do on a twelve year old platform. Back in 2003 when SL opened it’s doors to the world you were probably running Windows XP or earlier (or Mac OS 9.2 / OS X 10.2). Things have changed and every time we upgrade some of the things we loved about the old system were lost.

Ebbe made it clear that while there will be an effort made to allow the transfer of content, he will not allow that to get in the way of making the best virtual world they can. While I agree with that in principal, I believe as much transfer as possible is key to enticing us away from the SL inventories we have invested heavily in. That transfer must be at the user level, not the content creator level and I think he understands that. In order to accomplish that there will need to be some kind of interaction between asset servers for the 2 platforms (which goes a long way toward understanding the latest TOS changes, although they are still overly generalized).

It is likely to be over a year before we get an opportunity to take a look at this new endeavor but I look forward to a steady stream of teasers and discussion. That discussion is essential since LL still does not really “get” SL like the residents do.

As for me, I look forward to the new world ([SL2] ?) and the drama of the discussion between now and rollout. I will wait and see before I move all of my second life to a new grid.

Danger ahead, kupo! Do you still want to go on, kupo?”

Update: To follow the progress of this I suggest Jo Yardley’s blog http://joyardley.wordpress.com/tag/sl2/

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2.0


Shug Maitland:

Serendipity posts a well reasoned response to Ebbe’s informal announcement that LL is working on a new virtual world.

Originally posted on Serendipidy Haven's Blog:

tomorrowlandThe cat is out of the bag! Although, with the amount of uncertainty, supposition and speculation going around, it’s very much a Schrödinger’s cat… neither one thing or another until Linden Lab decide they’re going to tell us exactly what it is they’ve been working on for the past few years.

One thing is clear, the pundits may be calling the new kid on the block Second Life 2, but that’s something the Lab are not really going to want to encourage – Ebbe has said that the new virtual venture may be in “in the spirit of Second Life”, (we don’t even know if it’ll be a virtual world in the sense we’re used to yet), but is going to far exceed the capabilities and scope of sl, and possibly our expectations too. Whilst we’ve all been mistakenly watching what Philip Rosedale & co have been cooking up over at…

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A Meeting with the Big Cheese


I attended this week’s Server/Sim/Scripting user group meeting today. Oz, Simon and Kelly Linden were there for the entire meeting. Ebbe Linden arrived about half way through and stayed for nearly half an hour after the meeting closed, fielding general questions, suggestions and comments.
Probably the most significant announcement was that the server code for Group Ban will be grid wide after the RC sims roll tomorrow. There is a Linden viewer with the appropriate code available at the Alternative Viewer Downloads page. You will need this viewer to use the group ban features but your actions will be in force no matter what viewer anyone else is using, even if you change viewers after taking the action.
There was a discussion about problems when terraforming land with pathfinding enabled.
[12:18] Shug Maitland (shug.maitland): so if we do a significant amount of terraforming we should restart the region before continuing with whatever we are building?
[12:19] Mona (mona.eberhardt): Not exactly, Shug.
[12:20] Mona (mona.eberhardt): If you do a significant amount of terraforming, it’s advisable that you do NOT rebake the navmesh before you’re done. And when you’ve rebaked, do a region restart. Because, if you rebake repeatedly, you’ll eat up the memory that can be allocated and you won’t be able to rez a thing.
I am not sure I fully understand all of that since I do not use pathfinding, but you should look into it if it pertains to your work.
From Ebbe:
[13:06] Ebbe Linden: Experience tools are getting closer…Simon may know better how close….we just did a big test of them earlier today…but I’m not sure when they’ll be ready for prime time…soon I hope…
[13:07] Simon Linden: It’s getting closer but I’m not familiar with the plans on making them available for others
[13:07] Bagheera: yes please, what are experience tools?
[13:08] Simon Linden: They’re a set of functions and permissions that lets someone build a more immersive experience. So things can happen that won’t nag you with permissions — you opt-into the experience, for example, and a few regions later it can still animate you without re-asking all the time.

[13:11] Shug Maitland (shug.maitland): re. new avatars; can we expect more sliders to work in time
[13:11] Ebbe Linden: Shug? Sliders work now….
[13:11] Shug Maitland (shug.maitland): not all of them
[13:12] Ebbe Linden: face?
[13:12] jira.phoenixviewer.com (whirly.fizzle): Well not all of them. You can’t for example mod your face with the sliders like you can with a classic avatar
[13:12] Shug Maitland (shug.maitland): yeah
[13:13] Ebbe Linden: Yep, face is not doing anything with the new avatars…bummer…we’re looking at that to see if we can get eyes and mouths cranking again…
[13:13] Nal (nalates.urriah): That would make lots of people happy
[13:13] Shug Maitland (shug.maitland): that’s good news, the face mods are probably the most important for individualizing your av.
[13:14] Shug Maitland (shug.maitland): and I should point out, face customization is one thing SL was way ahead of everyone else on in the beginning.
[13:16] Ebbe Linden: I agree face is critical and having a stone face like my current avatar is not cool…a couple of steps forward and a step backwards…

It was very encouraging to see Ebbe interacting with those there. Is it possible that the us vs. them divide is getting smaller and the ivory tower is, if not crumbling, getting more accessible?

-
ps. I took some editorial liberties with the clips from transcript, consolidating thoughts and correcting spelling for example.

“Some of the best lessons are learned from past mistakes. The error of the past is the wisdom of the future.” Dale Turner

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Some perspective on The Force


By now you are all aware of last week’s login crisis. A little perspective is in order.

Week to week overlays of SL concurrency (users on-line) gives a good visual of the scale of the event:

SL population graph 21 May 14 week to week

As you can see a similar event happened three weeks before, although for the most part we did not notice it. This is the type of disturbance you are likely to see any time the Lindens are working on the Second Life back end. They usually have the situation under control. The problem on the 20th was, if not unique, very unusual. I will take these bumps along the road any day in preference to the old “Shut down the whole grid while we bang on things” method.

http://etitsup.com/slstats/ is my go to site for up to an minute (well, 5 minute) view of the health of the SL grid (The Force). When things are going smoothly the sine wave of SL population is remarkably consistant.

http://status.secondlifegrid.net/ is the official word from the lab, it understandably lags a bit and does not inform of every little hiccup. I go there for advanced warning and explanation of ongoing events.

The fact that LL is actively working on the networks and back-end systems that make SL work is very encouraging. We may not see the improvement with each and every improvement they make, taken together they can not help but improve our experience.

“Some of the best lessons are learned from past mistakes. The error of the past is the wisdom of the future.” Dale Turner

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