Second Life 2.0 Coming

Ebbe Linden spoke at the TPV Meeting 6/20. We learned that Second Life 2.0 is in development and will likely go into Closed NDA Beta late this year. EARTH SHAKING! I’ll relate the comments below in the order as Ebbe did. He did not seem to be at the meeting to announce the news. But, it has gotten out.

The World - by: Nicolas Raymond - Flickr

The World – by: Nicolas Raymond – Flickr

Ebbe, the Linden Lab CEO was at the Friday TPV Meeting. He says he is enjoying popping into the various meetings. I think in general the users meeting him are happy with him.

Ed Merryman asked about Ebbe’s plans for player retention. See: TPV Meeting. I’ll touch on the things I think are interesting. But, listen to the video/audio for a sense of Ebbe.

Ebbe clarified what he means by making Second Life easier. He definitely does not mean making it dumber. He wants to keep the power and find ways to make things easier for new users to understand and learn. 

Another thing he is looking at is finding a way to allow creators to attract audience directly to their work. Consider. If you build a region, how do you get people to come there? For web sites we have various optimization processes and promotional tools we can use, think SEO and Google Adwords. We do not have to rely on our web host to promote our web sites. As it is in SL we currently depend on our host to help with promotion. We have a big challenge getting people from outside SL to our based world.

Ebbe says they are doing A-B tests with welcome regions. One region has no mentors and another has one live person. They are testing having voice on or off. So far, there seems to be a tiny advantage to having voice off. Other A-B tests are being done.

Ebbe seems to be saying that as they gather stats they will be making them known to the community.

Ebbe is working on changing the ideas the press has of SL.

Ebbe says they will be investing in a next generation platform to move SL up a level. This isn’t rebuilding to use HyFy tech. It is a different idea based on SL and independent of HyFy. One aspect of the advancement is reducing the hardware needed.

As to hiring, Ebbe is looking at hiring. Will he hire in places other than the 3 main centers they have now? Ebbe says they are taking it on a case by case basis, but yes. But, I did not get they will be open more offices.

1:17:00± – Ebbe talks about some of the challenges in marketing SL. I think this is a good section to listen to. Ebbe has not dug into the adult side promotional or demotional efforts…

1:23:30 – Latif brought up the old effort of improving the scripting language. Ebbe says that is something he expects would be planned for the new platform.

Jessic asks if the new platform will be compatible with current platform. There are bloggers saying it WON’T  be. That is not totally accurate. So, keep things in perspective and real. Ebbe says they would rather make it better than make it compatible. But, his intention is to carry forward the spirit of SL. (Later explained as meaning focused on user created content.) Where it can be compatible it will be. But, not at the sacrifice of BETTER. So, no one knows how compatible or incompatible it will be.

Peter Gray is reported to have sent emails to some bloggers (Jo Yardley was one). Part of what he says is:

The next generation virtual world will go far beyond what is possible with Second Life, and we don’t want to constrain our development by setting backward compatibility with Second Life as an absolute requirement from the start. That doesn’t mean you necessarily won’t be able to bring parts of your Second Life over, just that our priority in building the next generation platform is to create an incredible experience and enable stunningly high-quality creativity, rather than ensuring that everything could work seamlessly with everything created over Second Life’s 11 year history.

They are even considering making it open source. But, it is not a requirement to be open or closed. Oz tells us the hostility toward open source at the Lab is way less than it once was. But, starting out the new project will not be open source. They have too much complexity as it is to also dealing with open source. Think trying to come to consensus in large groups. It slows things down. Its like trying to get the government to fix the V.A.

There are bloggers saying it will be closed source. Well, that probably is a mix of true and false. Will the viewers be open source? I think there is a good chance. Will the server side be open source? Starting out no. But, Ebbe left that door open too. So, it may eventually be come open source. Think Apache web servers.

The new platform is anticipated to run in parallel for a long time. Ebbe says that there is no plan regarding how parallel or replace is going to work or for how long. The intention is to make the new platform so awesome everyone will want to be there. But, if people stick with SL 1.0 it will remain around as long Linden Lab does.

Will content be transferable? To some extent. But, bringing in old poorly made content would burden the new platform in ways that are undesirable. So, exactly how compatible it will be with old content is being considered. But, what I am hearing is that it probably won’t be all that compatible. I particularly think system clothes will be a major issue. I think the avatar just has to change.

I do think Fitted Mesh and plain rigged mesh clothes are most likely to be transferable. I suspect system clothes will not be compatible. I also doubt that sculpties will make the transfer, but… no one knows.

Ebbe is saying that the number of people working in Second Life will be a smaller number of engineers than in the past 2 years or so. Some engineers will move from SL to the new platform project. Others will be hired specifically for the project. While some bloggers are implying the number of engineers remaining on SL development is SMALL, that is not what I got from Ebbe and Oz when they were talking about it.

5 thoughts on “Second Life 2.0 Coming

  1. “As Latif pointed out, Blue Mars developed a platform that required professionals to build content for it. We saw how that did not work.”

    That’s quite a misleading statement… Blue Mars failed because of the developers kept changing their mind about what they want to do with their platform. The biggest cause was changing it toward mobile platform instead of PC. This killed a lot of profession and interests. People were leaving and canceling their estates, developer reacted too late by reverting back their plan and try doing both platform. The damage was done.

    If they hadn’t dramatically changed their plan. They would have gotten more professionals and agency pouring in their work to make this happen. In fact, BlueMars DID had quite few top and famous professionals hooked on. There are few I can’t name because of PR & NDA stuff… but I can say that I’ve met Syd Mead. The man is a legend in artist’s world… He and his Warner-Brothers staff wanted to have few Sci-fi locations from few movies. I was almost hired to do some work with them. It was my highlight moment I’ve had on BlueMars. Well now it’s dead.

    Dev’s way of changing their plans scared everyone away. Not because there was few creators. There’s a lot of jobs demand riding on CryEngine skills these days. Even hobbyists would’ve love to try fleshing out their skills on BlueMars to get better work experience and better work views.

    So to make a point here… No, just don’t dumb-down the tools or you won’t get anything better than what SL has already. If you want a good looking platform, ditch the children’s art-box. Creators will only go where there’s money to be made.

    • I disagree. BM was more complex to build for than it needed to be. Thus limiting content creation to professionals, which has historically proven to be a significant limit on participation.

      I agree changing direction did not help. But, BM was suffering from low participation rates well before the change toward mobile. The change sped up the collapse.

      CP and SL’s simple parametric building tools seems to have led to far more people creating content. Minecraft’s highly simplified building attracted even more users. I expect some highly simplified building tools for use by new users for the SL 2.0. Those tools will have enough power for the more advanced builders coming from SL. Professionals will most likely use Blender, Maya, 3D Max, etc. But, there are just too few professionals that are willing to build for VR. Without hobbyists and novice creators, there will never be enough people creating.

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  4. I agree, it is better when anyone can be creative in your virtual world. But I’d like they introduce better rules to promote better optimization. While a professional will create an item with the proper texture size and possibly a single texture for the whole object, what I see in Second Life are novices that may still attain a good look, but their items have the largest possible textures, even if the object is tiny as a ring, and even worse, one per each object face. So, even if the item looks ok at first glance, it creates a number of issues within SL: things become slower to load, the viewer slows down when texture loads, the graphic memory is filled quickly and textures discarded and blurred and so on. Then people gets angry with Second Life. But it is like being angry with WordPress or Blogger when you open a SL blog with many pictures and the page is so slow, because the blogger didn’t discover jpeg images yet and uploaded anything as png (and guess what? Many SL blogs are like that). These people make even the Internet \laggy\, guess with SL. But if there are good rules to discourage these behaviors (e.g. you pay more L$ to upload bigger stuff, the Land Impact depends on the textures too etc), it is less likely that SL 2.0 (or how it will be called) will sustain this burden.

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