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Friday, July 30, 2010

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Toxic Menges

The motivation is their jobs, the wake up call was those who lost their jobs. There's nothing like fear of losing your livelihood that makes it a more compelling prospect to do what's needed at your place of work than the threat of not having a job to go to.

That's not a thoughtless paragraph, that's a life lesson I learned recently.

Ann Otoole InSL

All I can say is:

The steady drip fills the bucket.

Melissa Yeuxdoux

Toxic: that's motivation to put in one's time, to "work to rule", not to excel. If LL can't do better than that, they might as well give it up now. I hope they can.

Ignatius Onomatopoeia

Bring on the fast, easy, fun girls in shorts that look like belts!

They are our only hope. Hamlet, you gonna be doing Post 6 Grrrls around here?

Maybe if we plumb the depths, we'll retain LL's user base.

isle lunasea

So ... out of curiosity, where is the shot and study of the new users trying to measure up to the fast, easy and fun veterans?

That would be interesting. See what the end result of one hour of n00b sexy looks like. If, of course, that is the goal of users, right?

Ananda Sandgrain

so for new Linden Lab improvements can we say "oh they've been FEFing things up again?"

isle lunasea

And I know.. sorry, tar and feather me and run me out on a rail but why the hell do we (you)(whomever) have to encourage the mindset of "a successful look in SL is booty shorts, high heels and skimpy tops" as a meter of accomplishment in the first place?

Maybe the "fast, easy and fun" slogan should be on the bathroom wall with the phone number of the head office instead of the next possible wave of intelligent practical users of virtual worlds.


bronxelf

Isle- Agreed.
Agreed.
Agreed.
Agreed.
Agreed.

I was just coming to say this, and you beat me to it.

Otenth Paderborn

Isle: it's called a visual pun. No one said looking like a whore is the measure of success in SL.

If you don't like that look (I don't, myself), then why don't you try creating your favorite look, take photos that show it off as well as these photos do, and then consider how many steps it took and whether a new user could do it.

THAT is the point behind Philip Linden's emphasis on fast, easy, and fun. He happened to use the example of a pair of shoes. Someone has to find them (we know that isn't always easy), they have to buy them (he used the example of XStreet, which is a legitimate choice and perhaps the easiest one), and then they have to find them in inventory, rez the box (where does a new user do that? how do they find a sandbox?), put them on, and perhaps adjust them.

What do you think an "intelligent practical user" would want to do? Can a new user accomplish that? Would the new "intelligent practical user" be more likely to stick around if achieving their "intelligent practical" accomplishment were fast, easy, and fun?

I've never heard Philip speak before, and I was heartened to hear how he "gets it." Of course, actions will speak more loudly than what he said today.

Pyewacket Bellman

Won the lottery - went to the show. Was hoping for a "and now we return you to our originally scheduled program". Got a boob slogan instead.

Been touring around SL recently. Looks like a strip-mine. Just like RL. Kind of sums it all up.

The only hope was that they'd get the hell out of his way - but that doesn't look like it's gonna happen.

L. Knoller

"...the goal also requires substantial fixes to the user interface, for performing basic activities like riding a vehicle or putting on clothing..."

"Wearing these outfits aren't easy, and aren't put on quickly."

Are you kidding me? Do you honestly think that putting on a pair of jeans is what's stopping people using viewer 2 or SL?

Viewer 2 Usage figures have been said to be as low as 14% of the total:

( http://www.your2ndplace.com/node/1830 )

Emerald Viewers: 50%
SL Viewers: 42%
SL 2.0 Viewers: 14%

Emerald is more complex than 1.23 or 2 with its pages of settings yet MORE people use it? The Lindens keep adding shiney new bells and whistles to the "easier" V2 and people give in a look and dump it... web on a prim .. multi wearables ... etc etc ... people give it a look and just say "no thanks"

So, I'd say, its probably not the complexity of SL, or the tasks in SL a user has to carry out, or the complexity of the viewer, that stops people using SL

Its more likely that the V2 UI blows, and the Lindens give their customers short shrift.

The Lindens think SL has to be "EASY" cause, it seems to me, that they believe people that use SL, or are likely to use SL are stupid. (or perhaps the Lindens just think themselves smarter) This belief manifests itself in contempt for the customer...Yes a mindless hollow slogan "Fast, Easy, Fun" is contemptuous... And now we are expected to believe the Lab has had one huge attitude adjustment?

Lag and Sim crossings have been a problem for how long? (forever)

I'll believe things are getting fixed when I see them getting fixed.

brinda allen

as per L. Knoller...
YES!
"Emerald is more complex than 1.23 or 2 with its pages of settings yet MORE people use it? The Lindens keep adding shiney new bells and whistles to the "easier" V2 and people give in a look and dump it... web on a prim .. multi wearables ... etc etc ... people give it a look and just say "no thanks". "
That says it all.

Pixel Dunst

OMGPOP.com is "Fast, Easy & Fun" and after 2 weeks people lose interest. Hollywood mainstream cinema is "Fast, Easy & Fun" and after sequel 2 it bores the crap out of us. "Fast, Easy & Fun" every noob can have on sex island for one month and then is never seen again.
Like with ever really good computer-game, movie, entertainment, or whatever in life "Fascinating, Complex & Rewarding" is the only way to keep people coming back.
"Fast, Easy & Fun" sounds like a serious threat ...

Trinity Dejavu

A lot of the linden higher ups staked a lot on Viewer 2, and while it has some awesome UI features, it also has a lot more simply retarded ones and its going to take more then mesh, or alpha layers, or multiple clothing and attachments to get me to use Viewer 2.

Add all the shiny you like, if your viewer sucks, I'm not using it.

Pixel Dunst

... or LL should look a bit how Warner Co. did it in SL with the GossipGirl Sim. They hired a team that hosted parties twice a day, that was always there to help and answer questions (and that ejected everyone who didn't speak english), and thereby managed that people stayed (i think the percentage of "GossipGirls" that stayed in SL, most with an alt account, is significantly higher than normal rates of people continuing to log in).
Help Isand is probably the biggest freak show in SL and besides that there is no platform where noobs can meet (without being treated like "noobs") ... so maybe LL should look a bit into the (safe and not frustrating for noobs) "entertainment" in first 6 months and then throw people into the "emptiness" of SL.

Acacia Merlin

I agree with Pixel Dunst . . . Fascinating, Complex and Rewarding ought to be the target goals . . . along with fast, easy and fun . . . because it really is both that will hook and retain users. Eliminating some of the totally unnecessary frustrations experienced by new users (all users, actually), shortening the learning curve and getting rid of the annoyances should make Second Life less something to grumble about as may residents currently do. Philip talked about reducing lag and crashes . . . those would be high on the list of "fast, easy, and fun." But challenge creates flow and there must be something that engages over the long haul . . . building and photography, education, making art, building a business . . . if things become too easy, won't quality suffer?

Also perhaps bringing down tier costs would encourage more creative types to remain and enrich Second Life. The loss of some of our most amazing builds is demoralizing. Perhaps that should be looked at so that a true culture with traditions emerges. Among the frustrations for a newbie is to be given landmarks to the really cool places in Second Life, only to teleport into a void. There is no there there.

CyFishy Traveler

I was under the impression that the reason so many people were flocking to Emerald viewer wasn't about the interface but about the fact that Viewer 2 crashes constantly and Emerald is much more stable.

Stability is not sexy, not glamorous and for the coders I'm pretty sure it isn't fun, but it's what SL needs more than anything.

Zig

"Fascinating, Complex & Rewarding" is the only way to keep people coming back.

Pixel Dunst, i couldn't agree more! I'd have left SL long ago if it wasn't so!

comoro Infinity

From what I see and from what I can tell Mr. Rosedale has as much understanding of SL as had M Linden. The illusion that Philip, the creator, has a clear vision of what SL is and what it is for proves false by his own words. I say it again for Gwyneth, Phil is not Steve Jobs, give up that superstition ... Linden Lab does not have 15 years to stage a comeback and finally succeed with a product that is obsolete today in so many ways. SL is obsolete in price, tiers are absurd, customers can not feed a company's greed like this forever, customers are finally leaving and nothing is replacing them. What we get is slogans, to be forgotten in a week. What we do not get is the obvious. That SL 2.0 should be trashed as 90% of customers demand, that Welcome Areas should be void altogether and replaced with nothing, that advertising should be allowed on Linden Land, that a decent UI be formulated and replace this utter trash, that the Mac version of the client, if Linden still wants to have a client, conform with the OS X Guidelines (the Mac client is one of the very few apps that is not). That Linden should not compete with their customers the way they have in the last 2 years, that SEARCH be restored to something meaningful and usable, as it was before the recent trashing of it. What is tiresome the most is that much of the screw ups was deliberate. What is ironic is that Linden act as the Microsoft of VW without even having the product to exert such authority. No, no one at Linden has the culture to make a profitable and positive turn, I do not believe in them anymore.

Ener Hax

nice objectification of women . . .

John "Pathfinder" Lester

I would have chosen "Fascinating, Focused, Rewarding."

It builds "Flow" (http://bit.ly/9jHqBq) which is the key element of joyful engagement.

Joyful engagement is what will bring in and *keep* folks around.

http://bit.ly/9jHqBq

CronoCloud Creeggan

Viewer 2 is quite stable....on Linux. However it is as buggy as all get out and the UI is simply all wrong for an experienced SL resident. I really do have to use it, can't effectively help newbies as well without it, and it does have those nice new inventory/tattoo improvements.

However I'm of the opinion that the barrier to entry isn't the viewer but the SL economy, and that getting new users integrated into that economy, even through the Lindex should be a high priority.


Nalates Urriah

L. Knoller, good observation. The empirical evidence is existing users are not intimidated by technical complication. They want features and easier ways to do things, e.g., Emerald’s building tools.

However, the high dropout rate of new signups suggests over complication is a problem for the new person. Also, connecting with friends, even if one knows the AV name, is way too difficult. I still have not seen good studies to define whether the complexity of the viewer is the big problem or the conceptual understanding of SL. I tend to think it is the later. So, while a simpler viewer may help reduce dropout rates, I doubt it is the answer. I had hopes the browser-viewer would answer that question.

Adding attachment points is a high demand feature. Look at the JIRA votes. Multi-wearable and MOAP are both high demand features. These are not simple viewer add-ons. These are foundation server changes. I looked at these features in SL2.1 and was thrilled, YAY! But, I’m waiting for those features to show up in the new TPV’s. I very much want them. But, the UI in SL2.1 is just too clumsy for me as someone that is used to the older UI. I discarded the viewer not the features. I think like Trinity Dejavu.

Blue Mars and RealXtend have the Collada style meshes. OpenSim is moving that direction. I still hope to see Collada meshes added to SL this year. Without doing something about meshes and pricing I see SL at a serious competitive disadvantage.

Hamlet Au

Yes, Nalates has it right. I have reported that Emerald use is extremely high... among established, hardcore users, which is a number that's not really growing much if at all. But were you to check for viewer use among the 200-400K who create an SL account every month, there's roughly 0% who use Emerald or another TPV. And trouble is, 95% of them churn out.

Ann Otoole InSL

Hamlet wrote: "And trouble is, 95% of them churn out. "

Because the viewer is harder to use (it is) or they simply find nothing to do (other than be accosted/insulted/griefed in a welcome area or info hub) in the 60 seconds or so LL has to keep their attention? You have to wow them fast or they leave.

Phillip stated pretty clearly LL will enable some sort of system by which new residents can teleport directly to some sort of venue. I am hopeful LL will do this right. This is an area in need of a lot of kicking around and idea incubation btw.

Otenth Paderborn

"Fascinating, Complex, and Rewarding" or "Fascinating, Focused, Rewarding" are *very* fine goals, too. But it seems to me that they are a measure of content, not of UI. Do you want Linden Lab creating content?

"Fun" also depends on content, I'll give you that. But "Fast" and "Easy" are benchmarks for the UI and for the programming beneath it. I see no reason to denigrate them as goals for a software company.

Can anyone point me to a blog post by a content creator with a list of things that makes viewer 1.23 preferable to viewer 2? I keep hearing people toss around the complaint that V2 is inappropriate for content creators, but I've missed any specifics. As far as I can tell, no functionality was removed.

Fogwoman Gray

Just a note on Emerald usage - another reason it is so high is that all those newcomers who are given 2.0 as the default are asking oldbies questions on how to find/do/make things. First response of oldbie who is generally using Emerald..."first you go download the Emerald viewer"...
Help areas are trying to get helpers up to speed on 2.0, but for most of us, the answer to "how do I do X in 2.0?" is "I have no idea, I use Emerald"

Fogwoman Gray

@otenth - I will confess to using the 2.0 viewer less than a week before fleeing back to Emerald. My frustration was not that things have been removed entirely, but that they have been shuffled around into sometimes mind-boggling places. And things that are frequently used went from one click to several clicks through to find.
I fear I cannot remember specifics, as I had to ditch the 2.0 Viewer and go on a long sabbatical from Oxbridge as I had not time to learn enough about it to help anyone else out.

Ciaran Laval

They need to fix search, four friggning months, a third of the bloody year, they should be hanging their heads in shame, fast, easy and F*cked.

L. Knoller

@ Nalates Urriah - "The empirical evidence is existing users are not intimidated by technical complication...However, the high dropout rate of new signups suggests over complication is a problem for the new person."

1) All existing users were new once.

2) The lab wants reduce the attrition rate among new signs ups. (To get more people to the point where they start pouring money into SL)

3) It is a very bad idea to do #2 by upsetting and frustrating existing users. (That are already pouring money into SL)


argo nurmi

I wanted to second what Ann Otoole says in the first paragraph of that post. "...they simply find nothing to do (other than be accosted/insulted/griefed in a welcome area or info hub).." Without worry about viewer preferences there's a deeper problem and its not just confined to those trying out SL for the first time.
Its affecting longer term residents. There leaving too, just not logging in much any more. Their old haunts depopulated of the people they knew. Or TPing into the (metaphorical )void. Maybe the nature of SL is that. A community exists for maybe a year or two then it begins to fade. There's alway a core group that makes these communities attractive and when they leave its bad news. There is this kind of drift across SL these days. There's probably a lot of reasons why its happening. How to reverse it?

Zig

Wearing these outfits aren't easy, and aren't put on quickly. The same thing is true with these custom skins and hair attachments and shoes.

c'mon Hamlet, haven't you ever heard of "Replace Outfit"? one mouse click to do all this, how much simpler can it get?

Little Lost Linden

Maybe what SL needs is a new engine.

Remember when Unreal first came out and how amazing it was walking around in that new world for the very first time?

SL needs something like that, a suped up graphics engine that will make people sit back and awe. They need to recode a new engine that uses the GPU in optimal ways. For me to have an ATI 5850 and get under 20 fps in most places just doesn't seem right. Any other game at the same resolution gices me 100+ fps.

Overhaul the engine and make it a true dream utopia. Oh, and master the dynamic shadows as well. We shouldn't have to go 3rd party for that feature to work properly. It should be 1 click in the graphics preferences.

Mouse

IMHO, the most glaringly obvious problem that LL has is a complete inability to PRIORITIZE. They all need to take a time-out, determine the issues that would have the greatest impact on users and fix them. Instead, we get 'voice morphing.' Any time management guru will tell you - you have to have a clear idea of the forest fire in order to put it out.

Extropia DaSilva

Legos is fast, easy, and fun. But that does not mean anybody can build beautiful artpieces out of little plastic bricks. Some people's abilities with Legos simply transcend my own. I am limited by my abilities more than I am by the tools at hand.

Similarly, unless online worlds can enable me to upgrade to an improved mind (probably not a nearterm feature) I am not going to be a GREAT content creator, no matter how user-friendly the tools are.

Arcadia Codesmith

In any contemporary virtual world/game, the first thing you do is create a character. The character creator may have many thousands of possible combinations, but it's presented in a way that's intuitive and easy to play with. You do this all offline, getting a character look that you're happy with before you show your face to the world.

What you most emphatically don't have to do is drop $20 or more out of the gate to look halfway decent when you arrive. You don't have to understand the intricacies of model texturing. You don't have to worry about attachment points or how to activate a resize script (or, heaven help you, try to resize and correctly fit a hairstyle or pair of shoes without a script).

You don't have to fiddle with arcane environmental settings to see your character in an attractive light. You don't have to purchase an animation override and configure it to overcome the uniquely awkward default postures -- many newer titles even allow you to choose a default "stance" or "mood" from a menu of options and change it at will.

People can and do spend money in microtransactions for additional options, easily viewable from a centralized marketplace, but they're optional. If you purchase one, it's added to the existing menus and wearing it is a one-button click or drag-and-drop operation. The item automatically scales to fit the avatar with no additional scripting required.

And all clothing, animations and accessories added to the game world are vetted through a quality-control system before they're implemented. Compatibility issues are treated as bugs; "caveat emptor" or "deal with it" are not acceptable responses.

SL will stagnate if it becomes nothing more than a walled garden for the elite who can master the interface. What do we lose by making it more accessible? Apart from a few market opportunities for tweaks and kludgy workarounds that should be addressed natively in the interface?

If you make a pool that's all deep end, expect a rash of drownings.

Bob L

Notice how quickly LL was able to improve the sim crossings I suspect the "You know that 30% layoff? Fix it, or we will all lose our jobs" argument has lite some fires under some behinds.

Crap Mariner

I'm going to defer to SecondLie on the slogan.

"Fast Easy Fun" is an anagram of "Unseasy Staff"

-ls/cm

Philip Rosedale

Hamlet - great post. Agree that we need to do lots of hard work that is of a different sort than we have historically done. I think Bob is a great partner to me in meeting that challenge.

Regarding the persistent threads about "Fast, Easy, Fun" being taken as making the experience less deep or meaningful... not at all our direction. I mean that the SL interface should be "Fun" the way the IPhone is "Fun". Second Life as a world of content is incredibly "fascinating, focused, and Rewarding". But the interface and software that gets you (quickly) to that experience should be faster, easier, and more fun. Doing some basic thing like teleporting should feel good, it should encourage "flow" (as others have pointed out), and any steps you have to take independent of in-world content should happen quickly.

Arcadia Codesmith

It's good to see you out and about again, Philip. Too many creators these days isolate themselves from the people who inhabit their worlds. We're all in this thing together.

Sandor Balczo

I would like to offer a different approach to the "fast, easy and fun" and the "fascinating, complex, and rewarding".

When I arrived on the "old" orientation island in SL in 2007, SL was slow, threatening and mind-boggling. But the orientation island taught me the basics very well, leveraging on my patience. So the first word is "patience". I am afraid there are too many people these days who are too interested in looking like movie stars (possibly with a suggestive feel to it, which is understandable but should not be mandatory) in five minutes.

Then I tried to meet with people who knew more than I did and also tried to learn the history of SL. Does anyone know there are historic sims in SL, virtually untouched for years, that are fascinating if you visit them with the right people or search blogs like this? So, the second word is "guidance". Rather than having people harrassing new arrivals at the most popular welcome areas, we should have groups of people who are appointed to be inworld guides. Not mentors, mind you, tourist guides, possibly with specific knowledge of specific regions or estates. Nothing works better than an exploration experience with a literate, passionate resident who knows a sim or estate in and out. I would venture to suggest that even a few Lindens should do that, in person, at least for a time, but only if they did their homework first.

Finally, I tried to find my real vocation in SL. This may be the quickest or the longest part of the experience. That is the "learning" part of the enrichment that SL has been for me in three years. That is when, to use words by the art historian Ruskin, "you cannot read the third book of Human History without reading the two others" (the books are: the book of deeds, the book of laws, the book of arts). I have encompassed emotional and physical experiences in SL that I would have not lived in RL, and not because I am not physically enabled to climb a mountain or make love with six people at one time in RL, but because I have always be fearful of both. That is when your experience of SL may be rewarding or irritating, but never dull.

I will not say that SL does not need technical improvements, but I guess that even with the return of King Philip to the helm, LL has forgotten that it is "our world, our imagination". And patience, guidance and learning are three very human concepts which could make this virtual world a better place if we only remembered these three words every day before logging in.

Sandor :)

Chaz Longstaff

Lemme guess, a guy chose those pictures as representing successful women in SL, LOL.

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