Tag Archives: SL Future

The Spirit of Second Life


Second Life Past:
Do you remember: Telehubs? — Rubberbanding? — When selecting Help in the viewer menu would access an actual Linden, who would then come to you in world and help? — Swarming penis attacks (green with a Santa hat at Christmas time)? — Weekly grid wide shutdowns so they could “bang on things”? — 88,000 users on line? — Your avatar stuck with her head between her legs and hair & shoes in her ass? — A large bump in users right after Christmas as people got their new computers up and running?

Second Life Present:
We’ve come a long way since those early days but there are still problems to solve:
The Avatar, or should I say avatars. With 3 classes of avatar to choose from (Basic, Linden Mesh and resident creator Mesh) I don’t know how newbies cope. It would help if LL finished their mesh avatar so it is fully adjustable, including all head adjustments and with at least as much facial animation as the default avatar.
Mesh Clothing. What can I say, the present situation sucks! Once you find an item you like it usually will not fit YOUR shape, or your avatar class/type. Shoes often require special mesh feet, which then will not blend with your skin. I could go on and on, it is extremely frustrating. In fairness, the clothes look great once you find something that fits.

Second Life Future:
Oz Linden has been doing a good job of overseeing SL development. He knows the problems and maintains good lines of communication with the resident community. My only concern is that there is a tendency to become enamored of the latest toys and ideas. Oculus Rift and it’s ilk are toys for the privileged and adventurous few. I still doubt that experience tools will have much of an impact on most people’s daily second life.


2015 will bring our first glimpses of a new virtual world from LL “in the spirit of Second Life”. Given that SL pushed the boundaries of what was possible back in 2003, I wonder if today’s Lindens still have that same courage. I remember that few people could run SL flat out, it was clunky, we bought new computers and got better Internet connections, it was only gradually that the world became truly comfortable to live in.
My expectation is that without the sword of reverse compatibility hanging over their heads, the present avatar and clothing problems will be a thing of the past. But will they have the courage to bring us something like this? or perhaps some kind of facial sync like Philip is developing at High Fidelity?
One concern I have is regarding land. Will there be someplace like the Mainland, where we can “own” land (without setup fees!), paying our tier in US$ directly to LL vs. L$ to a landlord who could change his mind at any time . While some people put the Mainland down, those of us who live there find it’s haphazard anarchic community more interesting than the carefully controlled uniformity of private islands.

2015 should be another interesting year for Second Life, I look forward to the adventure.

“It’s a bit like The Matrix . We provide the land, and the community builds the actual world, which gives everyone a huge sense of being pioneers in a great experiment.” Philip Rosedale

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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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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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Something-for-nothing or The Sky Is Falling (again)


There has been a rather steep decline in the number of private sims. This was reported by Tyche Shepard of the Grid Survey and has been picked up by several bloggers. This is to be expected given the state of the RL economy. More distressing is that concurrency is also down, this is not expected! There is nothing quite like unemployment to give you time in world (I know, I have been there).

Looking at comments in other blogs there seems to be 2 main areas of concern:

1- Tier – Many people have suggested lowering tier so land was more affordable. Tateru and Inara explain why that is just a bad idea better than I can. It is paramount to demanding less taxes and more services in RL. Ain’t happenin’.

Now, my own self-serving idea is that we should have a larger land allowance with our premium account. Maybe that would actually entice more people to go premium (could not work worse than occasional gifts and access to LL’s wilderness build). Of course the land barons would bitch, but I have never been especially sympathetic to their plight.

2- Marketplace – Now here is a good idea truly badly implemented! There has been a huge loss in land usage as more and more stores close in favor of selling via Marketplace only. You need only follow the links in marketplace to “see item in world” to find that many of them lead to empty plots or non-existent sims.

As I commented on New World Notes:

Why I like stores in SL:
1- Shopping is part of the shared user experience, or in other words, community. I will frequently say hi to other shoppers — used to be they would say hi back.
2- Shops, especially on the mainland, are in neighborhoods or malls. I can not tell you the number of times I have gone to a shop for something only to find something completely different that I did not even know I wanted in a neighboring shop 🙂
3- Shopping in stores exposes you to the goods displayed in an environment that gives you a feel for the pride in craftsmanship and ability of the creator.

In short it is the difference between traveling to Freeport, ME to shop at the LL Bean store and spending the day in the town vs. thumbing through the catalog.

My solution for marketplace is to change the pricing structure. Have a listing fee, something like L$100, and charge a Delivery Fee to the customer. Back that up with an in world vendor system that would sell from marketplace without the delivery fee and, if it was priced carefully, many creators would find in world stores worth while again.

It is certain that some kind of action is called for before a temporary setback evolves into a trend.

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Re-assessments at the Highest Level


As I sit here Monday afternoon waiting once again for Unscheduled Maintenance” to allow me access to Second Life I am looking through the blogs and seeing a pattern.

At this blog There is need for a “Lite” Second Life Viewer (posted January 8th) has come back to life in comments. Activity at this page has never died; people are really wishing for a more efficient / equipment tolerant way to enjoy SL.

Nalates most recent post speaks (near the end) of problems with the avatar mesh that no deformer will ever be able to overcome. The avatar mesh itself was pretty good for 2004 technology but the world of 3D graphics has come a long way baby. Unfortunately any attempt to “correct” the avatar we have now will break existing content.

Thinking back to past blog posts and MetaReality Podcasts there has been steady, if unfocused, chatter about LL complicating the server and viewer code in order to maintain backward compatibility. Obviously this can not keep up forever.

It is time for LL to split off a team to do a feasibility study looking forward toward a true Second Life II. Essential to this team’s job would be inclusion of carefully selected long time residents; there are many intelligent, insightful and discrete residents available to choose from. They should start by fearlessly looking at past decisions and how they have impacted SL (both the community and the business). Then look forward, how will people access SL 10 years from now? What new technologies are on the horizon that SL could be ready for? Lastly, how much of today’s SL can move forward to the new version and how much must be left behind in the dust of progress?

I would not advocate abandonment of what we have now. Done right people will want to move over to the new world. Perhaps it would even be possible to “jump” between them.

The only sure thing is that something like this will happen, if not by LL then eventually by some competitor. LL should make a move while they still have our attention, and our inventories 🙂 .

Like everyone else I have some ideas, but what do you think?

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