Philip photo by Olivia Hotshot
I couldn't attend this year's Second Life Community Convention, but fortunately, Shava Suntzu (aka Shava Nerad, CEO of Oddfellow Studios) was there, and filed some great cub reporting for NWN. First up: This Q&A with Linden Lab founder and interim CEO Philip Rosedale, conducted shortly after his SLCC keynote. Read my summary of his talk here, then read Shava's interview with Philip below, expanding on a number of topics, including the closing of the teen grid, allowing 16-17 year olds in Second Life proper, interoperability -- and finally updating his avatar. -- Hamlet Au
Shava Suntzu: How much notice did the affected projects (Global Kids, etc.) have of the termination of the Teen Grid?
Philip Rosedale: We talked ahead of time with as many groups as we could, particularly educators. [See Terence Linden's follow-up below. - ed]
What resources will be made available to them to retain Teen Grid assets?
We'll help people keep things they've built and transfer them to main grid wherever possible.
What crisis control does Linden Lab have in place when the first 16 year old boy posts on Facebook how he (as venue host Gwampa Lomu put it) "got gloriously shagged by this 30-something dame?" Isn't that going to be age play all over again?
We think the controls Second Life [already] has are very good for supporting 16+. If and as needed, we'll add more during the transition.
After the break: Interoperability, SL education, new interfaces, mass adoption of 3D virtual worlds, and much more.
Will the burden of promotion to late teens be on the education community, or will Linden Lab be actively promoting to that demographic?
We don't really promote SL to any specific group. Generally our strategy going forward is to make it easier for incoming users to find the type of content experience they want before starting, and then start them directly at that content. We think this should work for all types of users.
Open source: What do you see the shaping influences on the metaverse growing up around Second Life, and what role does open source play in that?
I think that open source is an important part of developing virtual worlds, because there are many people who stand to benefit from helping a shared platform that provide a lot of value. There are many people using and interested in virtual worlds who are also developers or able to help with development, which suggest that an open approach should be the best one. We're going to increase and improve our open source programs with the hope that we will be able to move faster with more help from the broader development community.
Is Linden Lab making any commitments to help Residents have wrapper licenses (and the asset mechanisms to support that) for grid portability? [I.E. Moving authorized Second Life assets to another world.]
We're not working on intergrid transfer issues right now. We think the direction of enabling content creators to decide when the content they create can move between grids is correct. But we are not working on that right now, because we think we should focus first on the basic system working well.
Where do you see avatar portability moving in the future? Open grid? Wider worlds (MMOs, 3rd party social network integration, identity management)?
I think that people will want and need to take their avatars and identities with them across different systems. There is a lot of investment put into your avatar, it will make the most sense for it to be portable. Right now, though, we think there aren't enough other systems or compatible software models to make it make sense to work on this.
Search is kind of a mess, and not on the roadmap for this year. Are there plans to create more intentional metadata? Real tagging rather than taxonomies?
I don't know. We have a great search team that will talk more about their plans as they figure them out.
Is there a way to decide on search relevance in SL? Is relevance different for the various spheres (commerce, entertainment, etc.)?
Relevance is a big challenge and as important in virtual world search results as it was for the web. If we can do a good job of defining relevance, we suspect it will make SL easier to use and grow the economy. So we will keep working in it.
How will emerging haptic and sensory/feedback technologies like Xbox Kinetic affect SL? What should we be watching in that area in the next year or so?
I don't think changes in interface will affect virtual reality over the next year. Beyond that, I suspect that depth cameras and accelerometers (devices like the Wii) will be a big help to making the interface to immersive 3D simpler.
What's the adaptation curve for pervasive acceptance of virtual world environments?
I don't know, and I suspect no one does. But we're going to do our best as a development team to make virtual worlds easy and commonplace.
Lastly, any special words on the upcoming challenge to make you a new avatar, beyond making you beautiful? [At the end of his SLCC keynote, Philip challenged content creators to update his avatar.]
Avatar identity is a deep and personal thing, which I've experienced in my own reluctance to change my own look. It inspires me to see that depth - another example of how important the whole category is. I have faith that the many great SL designers will give me something in the way of an updated Philip Linden that will capture me!* * *
UPDATE, 2:25pm: Via email Linden Lab community rep Terence Linden followed up on Philip's comments on the closing of the Teen Grid : "[W]e tried to speak with as many organizations as we could prior to the announcement at SLCC, and we are continuing those discussions now as well, both 1:1 and in groups. As we move forward with this process, we will be in close conversation with those impacted. There are a number of great projects and organizations on the Teen Grid, and we are working to understand what would be necessary, especially from a safety and security standpoint, to continue serving as many as we can on the Main Grid in the future. We cannot commit to serving the under 16 market for now, but we will work with educators and others to determine if and how we could allow younger users access in the future."
New World Notes guest reporter Shava Nerad (Shava Suntzu in SL) is the CEO of Oddfellow Studios, which is creating a virtual world platform and entertainment hub for MMO gamers. She regularly co-hosts the psychedelic music show Odd Ball in Second Life [SLurl teleport link]