This week’s show is titled: The Noob Experience. There is some interesting information in the podcast. I didn’t find much actionable information. The result is the index of the audio tape is a bit sparse. I have some comments in the summary.
The index starts after the fold…
00:00 – 01:30 – Introductions
01:30 – 2 Billion hours of use. Discussing user growth. They, the MetaReality peeps didn’t have good concurrency numbers.
07:00 – Trying to figure out how many bots may be in those numbers. Discussing how many sign up and stay.
09:00 – Player retention problems. Signups at 20k per day. I guess they have never seen Tateru’s stats. Peak concurrent users this month is about 64k.
14:00 – What to do to get player retention? They discuss the thread on SLUniverse that Rod (Linden CEO) is participating in. Discussion with a new user.
17:00 – New user problems and challenges.
18:45 – Cory relates his experience. Hard to learn to move. Point and click movement didn’t work so well.
21:00 – Problems created by third party viewers: different user interfaces make it hard to tell people how to do things.
22:20 – Where is everyone? Destination Guide not solving the problem of what to do and where are the people?
25:00 – How do I dance? How do I stop dancing?
26:10 – What make you stay in SL?
27:00 – How to start building a skybox was a problem.
28:00 – Linden homes.
30:00 – Stipend vs monthly cost. Gianna thinks having an Invisible mode would be an incentive to sign up and pay for a Premium account. Discussion on what would be good features for Premium accounts.
36:00 – Back to what helps player retention. Discussion on Player tutorials.
43:15 – Ash has to get on plane…
44:45 – Rez lag would be a primary reason to leave.
45:45 – The problem of transition from the web site to the viewer… seems some people are not making from the site to the viewer. I see a number of those people in the Answers section of the forum asking for help.
52:00 – new user still trying to find something interesting to do…
56:00 – Finding good stuff is hard.
57:15 – We’re not the customers the Lab wants…
59:00 – Cloud Party stopped growing.
1:02:00 – Exodus Viewer now in Release Mode. Nightly builds are nice.
1:05:00 – Botgirl plug – Inside the Avatar Studio interview.
1:06:00 – Gala made her goal. Please stop by Indiegogo and provide more. The goal was the minimum and it will likely take way more to pursue the case.
1:08:30 – End
No comment on the Mesh Deformer status… which sucks… the no comment part not the status.
The discussion around the new user experience reveals some of the problems new users have. The Lab has been testing the new user experience for some time. They have testing labs where they bring in new users and video tape them and their experience. Rod discusses some of what they have learned from testing in the SLUniverse thread.
It’s hard to argue with stats that show the helpers and help islands were not working. People dropped into those scenarios were way more likely to leave SL than those just dropped into the world at random and left on their own. The later stayed longer.
The tutorials that the Lab was providing were not working. People would take them and immediately forget them. When challenged to use the knowledge they did not know what to do. Some think it is a matter of the ‘length’ of the tutorial. Human nature is to learn the things one needs to know. So, unless the need to do something has arisen related lessons are not likely to be retained.
Think of it as a memory connection process. A task is analyzed by the brain and a need defined. Memory is searched for a behavior that has satisfied that need, or is at least associated with it. We can consider it a type of indexing. If we learned to solve the problem in a vacuum, with no associated need, then the task and the solution are not connected to each other and we cannot recall the pertinent lessons. The length of the lesson doesn’t affect the task-solution recall indexing and so does not matter for purposes of actual learning.
As an example: when we want to get a door open we look for the door handle. If turning it fails, we look for a lock. Finding a keyhole, we look for a key. We do that because we have associated opening a door with door handles, task and solution. We have associated locks with various types of keys, again task and solution.
We learned and made the associations because at some point we wanted to get a door open. The lessons of the handle and keys were provided in the context of opening the door. The need/task and solution were strongly connected, indexed well if you will, and remembered with a good ‘recall’ handle or access to memory. We know how to effectively teach people, we just aren’t applying that knowledge in SL new user experiences. I suppose that happens when one has programmers trying to figure out how to teach humans.
When it comes to player retention, we have lots of history on various experiments for getting new users to stay. We even have a number of scientific studies of the issue. Some made in Second Life and a number in other games. We have interviews with people from successful and failed games. Forensic studies of failed and successful games have revealed a lot about what encourages player retention and what has no affect on it.
Coming from the Myst community I’ve been through these types of discussion for years. People provide their opinions and ideas of what they think will work without any knowledge of the wealth of information that is available. We have huge amounts of information on what has and has not worked. Most individuals are ignorant of the information and suggest ideas that have already been tried and failed. Understanding the information and how it applies or not in specific scenarios is where the challenge is. Then one has to figure out how to implement the applicable solutions in a specific scenario.
I find most people propose what they would personally like but it seems they cannot go beyond their personal frame of reference. In general I think people deal with surface issues without being able to delve into human nature and habits. Doing that requires we move beyond our personal experiences, which is difficult for many. It is only when we can do that, that we can deal with causes as opposed to symptoms.