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07/20/2008

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Clubside Granville

All I have to add is the same blather I had two years ago: it'll never be a real world until there is real gaming. I know it means nothing to you or probably anyone coming here, but it makes perfect sense to the dozens of people I sent to check SL out never to return and most likely millions more. If that ad I read before joining was true (the one about making combat games) everyone would be happier because retention would go up and a real reason (to the great unwashed like myself) to be here would energize the current reasons.

In short: if SL had a built-in "shooter" engine (i.e. a real damage/health system that scripters of weapons would have to abide by to make balanced games) gamers would be all over trying out new builds (combat areas), chatting with their friends, get interested in building themselves and then... hey, after this next match I heard about a concert. Or, I want a special outfit for when I "play". Gamers would draw in non-gamers and vice-versa. Thats the simplicity.

But hey, Linden Lab knows users would prefer to drive around in simulated cars from legitimate automobile manufacturers, since that will lead to First Life sales. And LL can't be wrong, can they?

Prokofy Neva

I think you're on the wrong platform for trying to do this, Clubside, obviously. They don't have that shooter system and vehicle passage system and all the rest of it that works. What you envision is a kind of freeform WoW, and I think there is really an audience for such things, that combines building and free socializing with game. But...the game part has to work, and needs a better engine.

Ann Otoole

Sims are too small. they don't measure up in terms of square meters. Vehicles, air, land, water, are useless.

You changed the physics engine. Now you say it is too hard to DO YOUR JOB:

"One of the previous problems with having larger Regions had to do with the physics engine. This is no longer strictly true; the size limit of the physics engine simulation is finite, but it's much larger than the current 256 x 256 x 4096 size of the Region. There are accuracy/performance tradeoffs when increasing the size of the simulation, but they aren't significant when merely doubling or quadrupling the Region's dimensions.

Theoretically, it would be possible to make larger Regions -- this is a software problem, and it's generally considered possible to make software do whatever is needed. However, our current code is not flexible, and it would take a lot of work to allow different Region sizes; for instance, our code currently makes a lot of hardwired assumptions about how big a Region is and how many Regions connect at the edges. Before the Region tile connectivity could be generalized, we'd have to clean up Region-crossings and the general network protocol, and those prerequisites are big projects in and of themselves. "

Here is your clue M Linden: Hire people that "CAN DO". Lose all those "Can't Do" types playing GTA4 in the basement.

Turn this thing around. Grow some accountability for IP protection. Get rid of people that think like criminals.

Here is one for you to see the mind set you employ:

"Well some person could get a job here and get the dba or root passwords and give them away so why have any security at all?"

Sound oddly familiar? That is the mindset in play.

Get serious. Get Corporate. Serve the needs of the customers not some fictitious technical religious theorem.

Ann Otoole

One more thing. Seems to me there is a lot of effort going into interop. Try setting your priorities in stone. Worry about *YOUR* product first. Or are you too stupid to see your staff is busy using you to set themselves up in different companies? Make sure your employment agreements are ironclad with solid 5 year no compete cannot work in any 3D related field in any capacity on departure from LL. Put this bonfire out.

Desmond Shang

Clubside, I think you have a very real point.

Like it or not, this world coexists tightly in parallel alongside the gaming worlds, and oh the possibilities we have here!

It's just a matter of time. Good gaming, though, is a level up from just making a pretend sword or a titler that registers damage after every whack.

I think gaming on the grid is going to be the big story in the next two, maybe three years.

Ironically, much of it will hinge on tight intellectual property control and integrity; issues that are clearly being struggled over now.

Khamon Fate

Jarod coined Wora'uld referring to the Goa'uld System Lords of Stargate ruling the universe with their armies of Jaffa FIC versions 1-3 and variations thereupon.

To me it does just seem something else I do as part of my real life. People laugh heartily though when I compare having an SL account to belonging to the International Rotary Club.

Khamon Fate

I think Jarod's point is that the Goa'uld care only for themselves and their power. They don't care a wit about their slaves or even their possessions if they can abandon one set of riches for something they perceive as a greater prize.

People don't matter to them; lives, code, promises, centuries of history are wiped away at a whim because they are in charge and that's how they think.

Aaron

Well put, Prokofy.

During the past few weeks -- in the wake of Google Lively, Web Flock, Vivaty and other isolated virtual environments that offer extremly limited tools for content creation -- I have been thinking quite a bit about what it means to describe a virtual community as a "world."

In a sound bite in the documentary "Ideal World," you commented on your interactions with Philip Linden. You acknowledged that he always treated you with respect, no matter how harsh your criticisms, because you were at least taking his world seriously. (I'm paraphrasing from memory, so the wording is not exact.)

The philosopher Hannah Arendt also wrote passionately about the importance of a common world, and she drew our attention to the importance of "political friendship" and respect that transcends partisan perspectives. In the words of her biographer, this was "a bond with others who also desired to share a world even if they had differing opinions about how to do so."

You're clearly *not* a socialist or a collectivist, so it is impressive to read the following paragraph in your blog posting:

"The world is a psycho-social space of multidimensions and multilateral developments that house all kinds of transactions and relationships. It is not just some professor's "social capital" externalized in pixels; it is the creation of value in and of itself."

On this crucial point, I think you are absolutely correct.

Prokofy Neva

I never got to see that movie "Ideal World" -- I wasn't sure they kept me in it. The funny thing is I was taken out of Second Skin -- didn't fit. Would love to see it some time but it doesn't seem to be viewable anywhere.

I hardly think that collaboration and interaction in a shared space is "socialism"; what, do leftists think capitalists never get together? That they only live in suburbia lol? Creation of value rather than distribution of goods, very different.

Ciaran Laval

Clubside is very definitely onto something, I've made similar points before, there is no killer app here, if someone comes up with one the place will explode, although then we'd have the issue of whether the place could cope.

Aaron

I strongly agree that collaboration and shared interaction is not the same thing as socialism. This shared world is more like public space or civil society, and entrepreneurs are just as much a part of it as are left-wing activists.

These days, too many people seem to view the entire notion of a public sphere as something quaint and outmoded. When citizens speak up about the importance of preserving this sphere, they are often caricatured as out of touch leftists regardless of their orientation.

It's cool that we can agree on "the value of collaboration and interaction in a shared space." This is, quite literally, a small patch of common ground. At the end of the day, shared ground is what makes everything else possible.

Aaron

I strongly agree that collaboration and shared interaction is not the same thing as socialism. This shared world is more like public space or civil society, and entrepreneurs are just as much a part of it as are left-wing activists.

These days, too many people seem to view the entire notion of a public sphere as something quaint and outmoded. When citizens speak up about the importance of preserving this sphere, they are often caricatured as out of touch leftists regardless of their orientation.

It's cool that we can agree on "the value of collaboration and interaction in a shared space." This is, quite literally, a small patch of common ground. At the end of the day, shared ground is what makes everything else possible.

Clubside Granville

Prokofy,

You're right, it's the wrong platform. Now. It was advertised as the right platform. After joining it was obvious it was the wrong platform. For me, however, despite its pathetic underpinnings, the "design concept" of Second Life makes it a potential platform. Would another system built from the ground-up be better? Sure. Is that coming in the forseeable future? Two years ago I would have said yes. Today, I'd have to say no. Everything from the "larger" concept two-way I described is here. At times I felt like I was beating the upgraded Havok drum solo, arguing from a tech perspective, trying to illustrate how the simulators' very core is beholden to Havok. Now two years later they are almost there, with some of the benefits I described being heralded as their committment to stability.

Ann,
Yes, simulators are too small. In the Far Cry Instincts series on the Xbox/360 the maps were of a slightly karger size and perfect for 16 players. During my work on SL Combat we were able to build Halo and Counter-strike clone maps on 1/4 sims to scale. Would I like larger sims? Of course. Right now we need to start from somewhere, and LSL-based combat is just too laggy and restricted by listeners and repeaters. It needs to be part of the simulator itself.

Desmond,
Thanks, I really think it is just such a simple concept it's being shrugged off. Just imagine what could be done with the basic building blocks: free and pay-per-match combat sims and land areas, new incentive for weapon, costume and vehicle designers. A whole new "training" paradigm to move gamers to the larger possibilities of the world.

Ciaran,
It really is a killer app. For all the love of the capitalist consumerist Second Life trash talk, more people develop freebie "mods" to games. Back in the Doom II days these same guys moved on to commercial development. Second Life could bridge that gap: weapons and builds for free or for sale, in-world profit and the creation of a real "portfolio" to pursue a career. I'm not asking for bleeding edge, just something along the lines of the Torque Engine's capabilities (and coming from the Tribes 2 codebase it is equally an antique).

Prokofy Neva

Aaron, the rule here is that in order to post, you need a recognizable first and last Second Life or RL name or bloggers' name.

Maggie Darwin

"Creation of value rather than distribution of goods, very different."

Now that's a profound insight, Prokofy.

Virtual land is not "land". Digital goods are not "goods". The economics of both "land" and "goods" are based on scarcity. When a new sim can come into being by waving a wand in LL's IT shop, or a cute outfit can become 10,000 cute outfits on 10,000 avatars almost as an afterthought, things are *different*.

I do believe that the worker is worthy of his hire...but we clearly need new ideas of how to incentivize and compensate creators for creating works where the marginal cost of the second copy is nearly zero.

Some folks have interesting ideas along these lines...like Jonathan Coulton and Joss Whedon. Unfortunately we're not all Joss or Jonathan. But then we're not all creating content either.

I agree strongly with a lot of what Ann is saying, too...

Prokofy Neva

No, that's not what is intended by that statement, and I disagree.

I was merely explaining the difference between socialism and capitalism. Socialism is always positing that you can only distribute wealth and doesn't ever seem to trouble itself with how you create it. It is just supposed to be there, from somewhere. Capitalism talks about creating wealth, not redistributing it, and making the conditions for people to create it.

Virtual land *is* land, and I've always held that. It *is* a scarce resource. You cannot endlessly print it. It is server space/bandwidth/CPU/Linden maintenance and that costs something, and that is materially existence in the form form of hardware. You can't endlessly replicate metal servers and endlessly replicate bandwidth -- they are scarce resources and they cost something. That sliver of server space configured as "land" therefore really is like land that is physical and limited.

Yes, you can endlessly replicate 10,000 outfits. But there, too, behind it is the skills and time and material capacity of the creator, their computer/bandwidth/Internet cost/electricity. In having a digital good that is so cheap to produce replicate endlessly, you are hoping to recoup some of that cost and rarely do you in SL, of course. That is, someone works 20 or 60 hours on a dress -- not uncommon! -- and yet they can only sell it for $250 Lindens. How many copies of it will they actually sell, as endless as it might appear? When it is new, when they have advertising or a sale, when they can get *attention* which is the other scarcity in this digital economy.

There is a limit to attention and traffic, and that dress may lose interest, be outstripped by another dress, etc.

And commodities displayed in SL or even on Slexchange.com where there is a fee have to face tier. Let's say I make a $5 t-shirt out of the library and sell it -- perhaps I quickly recoup my time and texture upload charge and even computer cost, but the tier cost to display it to sell it?

The marginal cost isn't zero. They need to make a living in real life with real apartments not pixels. Tier is another fact that is a real cost and real manifestation of the cost of a scarce thing. I'm always surprised when people insist that SL has zero or marginal costs, when bandwidth and attention (which requires advertising, events, etc, to garner) are real costs.

What anarcho-capitalists do in the Lab and in the creator-class in SL is take the truth that capitalism creates value and then makes that an absolute, an extreme.

So you find this Linden admonition, shared by some land developers, that only development/creativity/adding content to land creates its value. It has no intrinsic value as it is "endlessly copyable". So they discourage any kind of "land market" of people who are not content creators, seeing them as interlopers and speculators engaged in loathsome "arbitrage". Because they don't see land as land and as intrinsic value, and see it merely as a frame or shelf to display content that has to be created by creative people, they absolutely loathe and scorn the idea of land as a commodity involving a service to make available, just like RL land and buildings.

I find this fascistic, because it creates a corporativist society where only the talented or connected can have access to the economy to create value, and anyone else, even in their lowly service, or lowly posession and resale of land, is discouraged or even eliminated with enormous hostility as in the vast lower class that should consume, not create by the iron-clad laws of creator-fascism.

I don't think "create value" has such a narrow scope as to mean "I put a beautiful modern prefab home and waterfalls on this property". I view even cutting a parcel into smaller pieces form wholesale and even holding it until people can buy it as a service and as a value-add. That's something Philip Linden who hated arbitrage couldn't concede.

melponeme_k

I've read a lot of blogs about SL and I too have yet to find one written by a college student or even a Teen SL user. It is rather strange.

Occasionally a TSL user shows up on the forums but it is so rare. The place really isn't that welcoming to the young set. Unless we are talking about people who have a proclivity to dress as child avatars.

This is one of the main problems on SL in general. It has an unwelcoming aura. The interface is hard to understand, the introduction areas are ridiculous and the people aren't that friendly. There seems to be this hazing attitude in which oldies went through their suffering to learn the world so new people can't skip that experience either

Its a shame because we do need younger players to build up excitement. The last time the subject came up about merging the TSL and SL grids on the forum there was such a stink. So many people yelling for the babies to stay in their playpen. Is it any wonder younger users flee?

Prokofy Neva

Melponeme, I have my own critique of the Teen Grid and I just haven't thought through all the issues regarding merging of the two. The reality is that teens are already on the adult grid. I think it's less likely that adults are on the teen grid because the Lindens really police this, but like anything, it depends on reporting violations.

I guess my point about this was more about college students. College students make up a lot of energy of the blogosphere especially on tech blogs, causes like Darfur, on political blogs and forums. I'm not saying that teens and college students make up some dramatic portion of the blogosphere, which by its nature is more of a sedentary older adult thing than typical of the life of a young person who has more of a pull to real life and to mobile phones, frankly. Still, it's present, and therefore not to see any well-known college or teen blog seems strange.

I think it's not just the complexity, as teens will hack their way into anything. It's the cool factor. It's lame. It's not cool.

On the teen grid, my son had no problem mastering the wonky interface and learning how to build and script at his tender age in ways that I simply will never adapt to. But he became frustrated with camping, the teen FIC and Linden dynamic (completely on his own, without prompting, I marvelled at this, it was amazing), and the difficulties of grinding not on skills, but customer service and mall maintenance. An adult faces a frustration like the problem of other venues using camping and destroying your own achievemenst in gaining traffic without camping by lobbying the Lindens, filing JIRAs, trying various things. A teen just quits because the system is rigged, isn't fair, and therefore not cool. The disparity between rich and poor -- kids with entire islands versus kids with 512s because their parents refused to drop a lot of money on TSL (like me!) was also grating (he linked up with a bunch of friends to make at least an 8192, but group management problems also plagued them).

Even so, it is a marvel to me that my son and his friends can make more from their little SL stores than we can pay them in allowance, even with much less participation than they used to have. One of them even earns from playing life music and scripting games. And yet, in his life, when I talk to him, obviously RL meetings out on the square with his buddies, or even Facebook and his mobile phone, are more "alive" to him that this SL enterprise which I get the impression still has a bit of a feel of an after-school audio-visual club, as we used to call them in our day.

I'm sure someone will be along to say, oh, but here's my teen blog or my college students' blog -- but the point is that they aren't getting attention and there aren't a lot of them.

As far as the Unwelcome Areas and the hazing, amen to that. If I were running this railroad, I would have made short work of all those infestations of people flying under the radar with impudent literalism and still harassing everybody, and also of course made even shorter work of those

The Lindens have to come forward with a frank discretionary policy. They have to say, look people, the WAs and OIs are for orienting and welcoming, and that means for new people and their legitimate helpers. We can't ban other people from these areas. But we will start to urge people who are merely using them to hawk merchandise except on designated resident ad spaces, or to harass under the radar or over the radar especially, or to heckle and get attention with various antics. This *is* disturbing the peace, and we *do* reserve the right to urge people to leave or remove them if they persist. We all know exactly what this behaviour is -- showing off and trying to get attention where there are eyeballs. Take it elsewhere. We have lots of Linden land now. Go to the Juice Bar in Brownlee if you have a huge yen to flap around in your high-yield monster avatar and strut around in your slutwear with your escort tags on your head.

A way the Lindens could magnetize this sort of show-off stuff is to create a Hyde Park or a Boulevard of Dreams or some attractive congregation area that is not lame. They've never been able to do this. I'm not sure of the recipes for this anymore, as Linden appearances alone or freebies alone are no longer the draws.

They also need to make a distinction from infohubs and welcome areas -- but not in the harsh way that Leandros is always demanding for her own interests. I think here, too, it's a magnetizing effort. They leave the welcome areas open, but police them more with visible Linden presence, even one circuit-riding visibly can create a protective umbrella with "broken windows" style policing. They then can have signage that gets people away from those laggier and noisier areas to hubs where they can learn, and visa versa, in infohubs they can chase out the socializers to the welcome areas or to some central gathering areas.

The antics that occur in WA and IHs occur for only one reason: people seek attention, and new people are a captive audience. The connection between those phenomenon have to be broken very emphatically by the Lindens. They need to get over the extremist notion that everyone has the right to the public commons if they aren't technically violating the TOS, and turn it around and say the public commons' character suffers when under-the-radar harassers and show-offs suck the oxygen out of the room and create an unwelcome environment. It is within Linden discretion to get people to move along, and they need to stop their fears of this.

Outsourcing the function to a third-party that doesn't bring with it the burden of favouritism of mentors and Linden laissez-faire hippie guilt would be a step to overcome the legacy of the past.

Cocoanut Koala

" SL enterprise which I get the impression still has a bit of a feel of an after-school audio-visual club, as we used to call them in our day"

ahahahahahahahahaha! so apt! *inserts rolling in the floor smiley*

coco

none

"College students make up a lot of energy of the blogosphere especially on tech blogs, causes like Darfur, on political blogs and forums. I'm not saying that teens and college students make up some dramatic portion of the blogosphere,"

I notice that college age bloggers gravitate toward tightly knit blogging communities like LiveJournal. Lj gives them firm control over their own pages and circle of friends. LJ attracts people into fandoms. Which means WoW has a big following. I checked lj for Second Life and it is very small group. Even on my own LJ page, none of the younger crowd really knew what SL was nor did they really care.

None of them have blogged about other VR sites either. So what is it about these worlds that doesn't excite them?

"A way the Lindens could magnetize this sort of show-off stuff is to create a Hyde Park or a Boulevard of Dreams or some attractive congregation area that is not lame."

There are so many places that could fill this requirement. Emvee Cuba for one is a gorgeous build and has various spots to sit and stroll. But any time I have been there it has been apocalyptically empty. Which indicates to me that these people haunting the welcome areas just aren't interested in that type of scene. Like you say, they just want to tease Newbies.

What I find sad is that soon, I feel, people who build sims like Emvee Cuba will just stop. Because it is not economically feasible for them to take that kind of cost onto their backs. And I wouldn't blame them. I don't blame Rezzable for charging admission to some of their builds now either.

You and many other users here on your page are right when it is stated that these builds and other creations have value. I really don't understand LL's impulse to downplay user achievements. Perhaps there is some jealousy mixed in among these problems?

Cocoanut Koala

Whoever you are in the post right above this one (probably), I have begun to think, too, that the Lindens are jealous of user creations.

I've been thinking that for about a year now, maybe more.

Course, I figure they also want stuff they can control, and then have it there to show off to whatever corporations or whoever. And they also want a piece of whatever pie the resident has carved out him/herself.

But . . . I never manage to shake the notion that they never REALLY meant for people to do so well, making things, and it makes them a little jealous, in a sort of frustrated way.

coco

melponeme_k

"Course, I figure they also want stuff they can control, and then have it there to show off to whatever corporations or whoever."

They need to sell things to corporations. What makes their grid great are the users and the best SL has to offer is owned by the users. Which has now bitten LL in the backside. They can't sell a gorgeous sim like Straylight and turn it into IBM's Straylight. They can't take Chung's Dreamland and turn it into Coldwell Banker's Dreamland. They can't sell Caledon to Sony's Film company. All they can give is the platform and the users are in their way.

The best of LL's creators are not even in their employ, so they can't even sell their services to corporations.

Its a sticky situation for all involved.

Prokofy Neva

Cocoanut, I don't think of them as being jealous, but I do think of them as in that "You don't look good/we don't look good mode" and wanting to tweak it all their way and have their stable they can control.

Aaron Delwiche

Hi Prokofy,

I am the Aaron who posted the above comments...

Aaron Delwiche
Carbonel Tigereye
http://www.elasticcollision.com

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