MetaReality Podcast Week 37

11:00 – There are more changes than just the Material System coming to SL and these are going to be driving nails in V1 viewer’s nail coffin. I just heard somewhere that still 8% of logins are with V1 viewers. Some feel that eliminating V1 support will allow SL to move ahead and have better performance. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your view point, the Lab is taking a softer approach and trying to support light weight and older systems.

12:00 – The Exodus team is building the viewer side of the Materials System. Lindens are doing the server side of development. When mesh was being developed the Lab was saying we would see it soon. That turned out to be: soon = 2+ years. Gianna and others think ‘soon’ in the case of Materials will be months, not years. I tend to agree.

13:00 – Steam – Gianna sees adding Second Life into the offerings of Steam as a good thing. Karl and Drax make a bit of fun of the doomsayers, it’s funny. They both agree this is a good thing. I agree too, but I am not sure how the thing is going to look.

14:00 – Drax thinks it is good and believes a large number of people have never heard of SL. Placing SL in the category of creative tools should give people coming into SL a different expectation and could improve player retention by reaching the right audience.

15:30 – An objection we often hear is: Steam is for gamers and SL is not a game. Garry’s Mod (GMod) is apparently very popular ‘game’ or tool at Steam. On Steam it is described as:

Garry’s Mod is a physics sandbox. Unlike regular games there aren’t any predefined aims or goals. We give you the tools and leave you to play. You spawn objects and weld them together to create your own contraptions – whether that’s a car, a rocket, a catapult or something that doesn’t have a name yet – that’s up to you.

The Wikipedia describes GMod as:

Garry’s Mod (officially abbreviated as GMod) is a sandbox physics game using the Source engineGarry’s Mod has been available on Valve’s content delivery service, Steam, since November 29, 2006.[2] Despite being a standalone game, Garry’s Mod requires the user to own at least one game on Steam based on the Source engine, such as Half-Life 2Counter-Strike: SourcePortal, or Team Fortress 2.[2] It is also commonly used for the creation and publishing of videos[4][5] on YouTube, mainly from Team Fortress 2Half-Life 2,PortalLeft 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2. Garry’s Mod was originally a modification for Valve’s Half-Life 2, but was later made into a Steamgame that was officially released on November 29, 2006.

While hardcore gamers probably are not going to drop games for SL. This could add a good number of GMod type players into SL, builder types.

SL will still have the same problems of new people wondering what to do. But, notice GMod is promoted as having no predefined aims or goals, which I think is ideal for promoting what SL is to the Steam user base. Time will tell if that works.

Karl asked, what does a Gary’s Mode player/user do that is popular with so many? If we can answer that question, we might figure out how to improve player retention in SL.

18:50 – That SL is such a large complex game, hard to learn, and is so many different things to different people is not going to be solved by being pushed out on Steam.

Other game companies have tried to figure out how to get on Steam and haven’t been able to work a deal. So, to get into a deal with a large distribution network like Steam is a good thing and an accomplishment. It will be interesting to see the details.

19:20 – Botgirl (a sponsor of MetaReality) has an article titled: How Will Steam Change Second Life? A good article, short and worth the read.

22:00 – Steam/Valve is doing lots of interesting things. One is wearable computing, a Virtual Reality headset. The Steam engine is being used in European movie making and GMod is apparently a part of that. Some compare it to Apple’s  Final Cut but rolled into a virtual world.

Gianna mentions rumors new tools for photographers and machinamists… is this the Photo Tools thing appearing in Firestorm? Not enough info to know. Or is this something else? Will some ability of GMod be usable in SL? That’s a pretty long reach to go from one engine to another, so probably not. But, Gianna thinks something is shaking.

23:30 Valve’s internal structure – The discussion turns to Valve, the company. If you have not read about the company, it is worth checking out. They are rich enough they do not have to deal with all the pressures of a for profit business. They exercise much more freedom in their structure and work philosophies.

25:00 – Linden Lab is like Animal Farm warping into the standard fascist corporate structure… another less political way to say that is: fewer dreamers having time to dream and more worker bees turning out product.

26:30 – There is an article: Why Anyone Who Cares About the Metaverse Needs to Move Beyond Second Life that many are discussing. Some are saying: If you care about the Metaverse, move beyond SL now.

I’m not going to describe the discussion. I do think one having an interest in the subject should listen to discussion on the podcast. It is clear the SL universe has changed from a Metaverse targeted product of Phillip’s to a game targeted product of Rod’s.

The panel’s discussion on the Metaverse really puts things into a RL perspective for those wanting to see the Metaverse concepts move forward. The telling question is, “Where do we go, if not SL?”

28:00 – Drax talks on the reality of SL and for profit companies. Discussion touches on Google, Apple, and non-profit companies.

31:45 – Gianna asking, “What visionary feature in or use for SL has been expressed in the last x years?” There really isn’t one.

32:45 – Limited access to Internet… One of the challenges for many of us is: understanding our just being in SL marks us as being on the leading edge of computer technology. Consider that statement in the light of most people in Kansas do not have good Internet connections. Consider that of the 7 billion people on the planet now, only 2.2 billion use the Internet, 31%+/-. In about the last decade the number of users has increased by 500+%. That means there are about 5 new clueless beginners for every experienced user on the net.

So, while we talk about the 3D Internet and Metaverse we are minority so far ahead of most users it is ridiculous. Most people on the net are still learning how to read and navigate a basic web page.

35:20 – Botgirl and Metaverse – the MetaReality panel gets into a bit of the ideas expressed in Botgirl’s: My take on the future of the Metaverse: If there has been a failure, it is ours.

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