Second Life General News

There are lots of little things happening in Second Life that don’t fit into the updates I normally do. But, they are interesting and some affect what residents do in SL. So, here are a few that interested me.

Search

In April Linden Lab changed their search engine. See: Test Out New Search, Delivering More Relevant, Faster Results. The title is a hype. But, the new search engine is in place. With that release my sales went down the tube. With earlier releases others sales due to search placement went down and mine went up.

If you want good placement in Second Life Search, you can read Darrius Gothly’s blog DGP4SL. Darrius has released his new search tool. It is designed to help you figure out how your store will rank in the SL Search engine.

Igor Ballyhoo "Metamorphosis"

Rod Humble Interview

Daniel Voyager has an article pointing to and interview with Rod Humble (you do know he is now the CEO of Linden Lab?). The Mark News has the full interview titled The “real world” can learn a lot from the creativity and imagination unleashed in virtual realities. (7/11/11) Rod puts forth some interesting information and opinions in the interview. Did you know SL’s demographic is people in their 40’s?

SL Basic Viewer Mode

The basic mode of the SL viewer now has voice. Soon it will have all the new avatar bodies and vehicles. See: SL Viewer Basic Mode Now Has Voice.

OpenSim and Mesh

Justin has changed the OpenSim software to work with the new Linden Lab Mesh Beta Viewer. I have not tested the viewer with OSGrid. I am hoping things are working. My last try with Kirsten’s Viewer messed up permissions. All my mesh imports lacked permissions so I could not work with them once uploaded.

There are some physics problems with mesh in OpenSim. This means you can walk on mesh and bump into it. But, that can mess up if the mesh is scaled within OpenSim. The article explains the problems and work-a- rounds.

Graphics Cards and Mesh Problems

From the forum comes a thread on some people having problems with “error code: 8”. It seems that a roll back of the video and in some cases the network drivers is the fix for the problem. There is currently no solid information on a fix.

Mesh Cost

We still have no firm cost information on upload and PE (Prim Equivalency). However, Vivienne Daguerre has found that the new server software for Mesh in ADITI is in Sandboxes 20,21,27, and 28. There the mesh cost calculations with the radius vs. diameter error are fixed, essentially halving the PE. See: Mesh Experimental Regions PE is MUCH better.

Cost with Size

The costs for mesh are complex. It seems the majority of people do not understand the reasons for weighting mesh as the Lindens have. One resident again asks, Why PE Has To Go UP with Larger Mesh?

Drongle McMahon and Runitai Linden both provide answers in the thread. While both are in English the answers seem to assume the reader knows more about mesh than most of us probably do. I’ll give you my translation.

First, one needs to understand costs are based on CPU cycles consumed on the client and server and the bandwidth used to transfer data. Also, included in the costs are data storage costs. In one way or another these affect RL costs for hardware, programming, electricity, and bandwidth.

The CPU cycles consumed on the client are not a direct cost to the Lab, but they do contribute to the users’ impression of SL and are thus an image or PR cost. The Lab has to improve the SL infrastructure to reduce lag and that is a direct cost that has to be covered.

All of these costs deal with how many triangles a scene has and the client must render. The servers have to deliver the triangles and textures. The client (viewer) has to handle all the triangles and render the textures on them. To reduce the number triangles and the amount of texture that has to be downloaded and then rendered the Lab has used some nifty technology. We know it by the name LoD, Level of Detail.

LoD in texture uses JPEG2000, an image compression algorithm, that breaks images into various resolutions. The farther away an avatar is from an image the fewer pixels are needed so a low resolution image can be used.

LoD in objects reduces the number of triangles used in an object. The farther away an avatar is the fewer details are needed. In sculpties we can often see LoD kicking in as we walk toward or away from them. They change shape as more or less triangles are used for the render. The levels of LoD kick in at set distances or at least some size to distance ratio.

The larger an object is the more detail we can see from a greater distance. So, we need more triangles to reveal the detail. Also, since the object takes up more space on the computer screen the more pixels are needed for the texture. More triangles and more pixels means more work for servers and clients and thus more cost.

While the above is not a technically precise answer, it should get the idea of why size affects cost across. As to the WHY of what the Lindens are doing or hope to accomplish with pricing, that is speculation on everyone’s part. Gaia Clary gives as good an opinion as I’ve heard. See: Reference.

Strange Places

Honour McMillan finds the most unusual places in Second Life. Today, as I write, she has Metamorphosis or How I Learned to Duck Sharp Objects in Second Life posted. I used one of her images in this post. I thought I got around the grid…

Google+ and the Names Controversy

Everyone seems interested in Google+. My interest has waned since Opensource Obscure got booted for being an avatar. All the controversy swirls around the issue of real identities. Facebook and Google+ have a commercial interest in being profitable and that comes from being able to market to real people.

Tateru at Dwell On it has an article up titled, Of nyms and names. It is about the identity controversy. She makes lots of good points. It’s worth a read.

Gwyneth Llewelyn has posted an open letter to Google’s Larry Page. It also deals with the issue of RL indentities.

Virtual Land Squatting

OMG! What an idea. Alphaville Herald has a post about squatting on land in SL. See: Squatting Second Life. This is an interesting crack in the system.

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