Tuesday, October 25, 2011

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Game God Will Wright Joins Linden Lab's Board of Directors!

Will Wright Joins Second Life

Well this is a very interesting turn of events: Will Wright, "game god" creator of the groundbreaking Sims franchise, along with Spore and SimCity, recently joined the Board of Linden Lab, developer of Second Life. His name and stellar biography is now on the company's site.

Will Wright Second Life

This isn't a totally surprising turn of events: Rod Humble, who became Linden's CEO this year, is a longtime veteran of Electronic Arts, home to Wright's first game studio, Maxis, and led development on The Sims 3, the latest addition to a franchise that's sold 140 million copies since launching in 2000.

What's this mean for the future of Second Life? Too soon to tell -- I hope to interview Wright about it soon -- but I suspect this means a continued move to make Second Life more engaging and mass market, like The Sims, while still fostering diverse user-generated content, like The Sims. I spoke with Wright in 2002 about his original vision for The Sims Online, which ultimately wasn't realized in the actual game, but here's what he told me then:

"I think another approach to [MMOs] is that you give the players that canvas," Wright says, "and let the players create the back story and the theme and whatever, and you focus on being innovative through the [game] mechanisms."

Second Life has come closer to that vision, though so far hasn't been able to do so while reaching critical mass. But now Wright himself will have a hand in taking the vision into SL's next generation. Whatever happens, I will say this: Will Wright joining the board of Linden Lab is the most hopeful sign for Second Life's future that I have seen in the last couple years.

Image credit: Wright's new company, Stupid Fun Club.

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Fuzzball Ortega

Hokey Smokes......I'm gonna agree with you on that. Will joining the board is a hopeful sign.

Here's hoping

Renee Marie Jones

I just hope they don't destroy everything for the current residents in the name of "mass market appeal." They pretty much showed that, with the v2/v3 interface changes and with the elimination of last names that they don't care a thing about their current residents, they only care about maximizing new logins.

DMC Jurassic

"I think another approach to [MMOs] is that you give the players that canvas," Wright says, "and let the players create the back story and the theme and whatever, and you focus on being innovative through the [game] mechanisms." - Will Wright

Agree. To add: 1) Provide us the platform tools and features to widen or enhance the 'Virtual Condition' as distinct from say the 'Human Condition' (i.e. what is virtually possible by players, or what can be virtually created by players); also, 2) make it Perform Fast and 3) Make it Concurrency Scalable. Do that Linden Lab and Second Life (R) will grow...


Interesting and positive development ;)


DMC Jurassic
Science Fiction, Sci Fi
regions
Second Life


PS. I'm experiencing and using SL Voice in some online meetings more productively with less audio drop outs these days than using Voice on Windows Live Messenger.

Timo Saarinen

Will Wright is a very interesting new face in LL indeed. Let's hope, he could be the person to bring zoning to mainland finally...

Nexii Malthus

Didn't expect this. And not sure what this might mean.

foneco zuzu

Well, As long as Ea does not take over Sl:)
But I trust that both Rod and Wright, already know by now SL from the inside and their own experiences and figured that even if it has the potential to be mass market, its true glory is the multicultural connection that it gives and in no other place you can have such a realistic and detailed connection with All the World!

Dizzy Banjo

This is pretty cool news. Exciting to have another visionary on the board.

I guess its an opportunity for both SL to consider including more structure in its experience, more like a game, but perhaps more openended.

Also an opportunity for Will Wright to explore much more freeform UGC.

Although I'd expect that his influence would be guiding rather than operational.

Orca Flotta

Another director with a steep price tag and most probably a keen interest to profile himself by some drastic moves and changes but no understanding of the world is exactly what LL and SL need right now. NOT! Yet another theorist with cloudy ideas, another "outside the box" thinker is what we, the paying customers, really urgently need. NOT!

With his paycheck LL could pay some network guys to finally repair the grid and make it less crashy. Sorry to say but what LL really needs right now are some hands-on, inside the box thinkers. Handymen instead of dreamers and visionairies.

What we really need now is for LL to finally fix the grid and lower the tiers, decrease them a lot! We already have enough bells and whistles, we're confused enough as it is. Only a small minority of non-immersive SLers and n00bs like V2, only a small bunch of lazy computer haters and bandwith wasters make use of voice. The last innovation that made some kind of sense was WindLight, and that's a while ago.

Stop the development of new stuff for a while and for once follow sound business practices ... and LL will see their SL product grow.


Yak Wise

Welcome Will,
We're so glad you're here.
You give us hope that our SL may not go down the drain.

Hanno Tietgens | Xon Emoto

Great news from a game-based-work- and immersive learning perspective, too – considering both the social 3D world and the amazing creative tool LL provides with Second Life.

foneco zuzu

I think one of the reasons for the long survival of the Sims franchise was its freedom to change it, via in world, tks to amazing talented modders or by ourselves.
Sl is truly a copy of the Sims but with a Soul behind each avatar!
And the freedom and way to create even easy then on the Sims franchise.
In fact i remember my youth and the time i played with Lego to build on Sl, i can't create new prims, new meshes, i just change prims to my taste creating a unique look, one of the many ways any can show her/his creativity in world.
So we can only welcome The one that lead the way to what Sl is!

Arcadia Codesmith

This is like Jimmy Page dropping by to jam with your garage band (yes, Lindens, I just compared you to a garage band. Don't fret. You're a most excellent garage band).

A friend of mine who follows the industry once said his dream was to kidnap Philip Rosedale, Raph Koster, Sid Meier and Will Wright, and lock them in a room until they designed a virtual world.

I need to drop him a link to this with the caption, "That's two...".

Metacam Oh

Hopefully Will can talk some sense into the rest of these guys. Perhaps forgo on a little profit in the short term to make SL more affordable? Whats a few million between millionaires?

Johnny alt

Wright says, "I think another approach to [MMOs] is that you give the players that canvas,"

Well unfortunately in Secondlife a canvas costs 300USD tier per month

I wonder if The Sims would have sold 140 million copies if it had cost 300USD per month to play

The greatest innovation Linden Lab could do right now is lower tier so people can actually afford to use the product. Now THAT would be glorious !

Johnny alt

oh forgot to say -

Lower tier costs PLUS letting anybody buy a Homestead without owning a full sim is the KEY to mass adoption of Secondlife

People just can not afford the canvas that Will is talking about

Secondlife will remain a niche product until tier is lowered and anybody can buy a Homestead

Metacam Oh

BTW Hamlet, do you know when Wright joined the Lab board? He's been on that list on their website probably over a month now, you think Humble becoming CEO had anything to do with it?

Ignatius Onomatopoeia

Another adult just entered the room. Hurrah, even though it's a tad late for educators in SL.

Secret hope: Wright will enable Sim City 2000's Godzilla to run amok on the tackiest parts of the mainland. We need some urban renewal.

Ezra

Honestly I would've found news of "will Wright has used and liked Second Life" interesting enough. For him to join the board is just insanely awesome.

Of course we don't know what his motivations are yet. For all we know he's entirely there in interest of Linden Lab's new, yet to be revealed product.

Hopefully Hamlet or someone else will be able to get an interview or word from him soon.

Ciaran Laval

He has been listed on the Linden Lab management page since at least the end of August, then was when it was brought to my attention.

Hamlet Au

Yeah Cieran, he's been listed there for awhile. However, companies often add celebrity names to the board who don't have much input. However, a source told me this is not just a vanity role, but that he has influence on development.

Galatea Gynoid

This is awesome news. I've been a fan of Will Wright my whole life. Seriously. I grew up playing in his games, probably sunk more time into them than anything else...

Ciaran Laval

@Hamlet well that's good to hear, that's what I was pondering when I first found out about it, whether he was just a name far away from the product or whether he'd be taking a more active role, it will be interesting to see what transpires.

Adeon Writer

Let me just get this out of the way:

OMG WILL IS GOING TO FORCE US TO EAT FOOD AND SIT ON TIOLETS.

There, now no one else is allowed to make that joke.

This is awesome news, LL has been making lots of new toys for content makers lately, seeing Mr. Wright up there is just icing on the cake.

Jjccc

So what is his job description what will he do. I bet after he has been in the job for a year, it will still be laggy as hell and we will still fall through the floor on sim border crossings, voice will still be annoying as hell because of people that red line.
I see from his cv he is into video dose this mean he will improve the viewer to allow for better machinima, Like making all the buttons on an Xbox 360 controller work, or introducing the kinenectics into SL.
I no there is wind in second life so when will we get dust blowing stuff around like rubbish blow in the wind, or flocks of random birds flying around. while I'm at it I want to see a hole bunch of visual effects that go beyond the wind light settings 3D would be cool to. Because I film in second life and I turn off the UI to film I want a detachable window that can sit on another screen with all my custom favourite menus so I can change settings while filming with out having to stop start every time. Basically I want a completely new viewer that works and wasn't designed by committee of none sl users

Gwyneth Llewelyn

Wow, now that was unexpected and completely missed... why didn't LL put out a press release? This is *major news* — the person who probably most influenced the gaming industry in the past 15 years or so is now a contributing member of LL?

I think this will have very little to do with Second Life but with the new "secret projects" that Rod Humble plans to develop under the Linden Lab brand. Using EA as a distributor and having Will Wright as consultant would make a lot of sense.

Maxwell Biddle

/me stands and looks at around at all the possibilities that was Second Life, bidding them farewell now that it will become, truly, a game as so many outside of it thought it was. Congratulations, Linden Labs, you're that much closer to being able to cash out and go home.

Isadora Fiddlesticks

I worship both Rod Humble and most of all Will Wright...he is a genius!

Somehow I was wishing for this to happen since my first year in SL...at the back of my head I've always said, somehow, someday--Will Wright will pay attention to SL and will be involved someday.

Timogufler.wordpress.com

In an interview in 2009 Will Wright commented on SL content creation and considered it to be on the right track.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13577_3-10210430-36.html

It would be interesting to know about his current thougths...

Kitty Revolver

Holy S****! If there is one person that can really take SL and run with it, it has to be Will Wright. I am a long time sims player so this is a perfect fit for him.

JennyBloop

Wouldn't it be nice if WW joined the board to help LL render their 3D world to be displayed on a 3D monitor? Viewer 3 would become viewer 3D. I can't think of a better use for my 3D HDTV. /me is crossing her fingers for greater immersivity.

Ener Hax

but he is a board member, he won't be dealing with day-to-day stuff. they only meet a few times a year typically and only discuss over arching themes - mainly dealing with budget and profit projections

seems to my suspicious nature to just be Rod tossing some good cash to a buddy. it does make LL look better to inverstors though

Xanna Ziskey

Wow, now that's news. I have more hope for Second Life after reading this than I did five minutes ago. Fingers crossed.

Emoo

Second-Life is in bad need of a make-over from the inside out.

The mechanics, the functions, the over-all experience of new players is critical for any success of a game.

Current SL players have been keeping themselves in a box for far too long. In the process they have made SL into a socialist, undemocratic special "e-club" were only certain avatars/personalities are allowed and sadly the age-range is over 40 years old.

Not only has this made the program highly mundane, but ultimately it chases away new people. Harsh on rules and ban-hammering folks at a drop of the hat is one of the main reasons Second-Life can be discouraging to the new player base. I have seen and heard personally of people who brag about being connected to lindens or using friends/people to get others perma-banned due to their own sense of pride (JLU anyone?).

While this may seem a cute thing to do, ultimately it drives out new-people. New people do not want to be in a program where upon they are immediately judged by that 2+ year old account user or in a place where NOTHING happens surrounded by tons of bogus rules that give no breathing space.

Honestly, I was kicked out of a popular sandbox simply because i owned a paint-brush and USED the paint-brush!

Linden Realms offers some stimulation for the reason, where before newbies were just plopped inside Second-Life at the mercy at the "in-crowd" (People who think themselves as important inside Second-Life).

I am part of the new-generation. And so far, I have been disappointed at the way Linden-Labs and its users have handled Second-Life throughout the years.

Now with Rodvik, hopefully some light, energy, and actual FUN will be seen in SL's future instead of the mundande, money-grabbing routines that haunt the service for so many years.

Some of the old player-base held onto these old,busted-down traditional rules and need to go. It's one of the reason why SL has been so stale for so many years. A fresh, vibrant vibe attracts people rather than an old, farmer's wife way of thinking/activity and it's holding back creativity on those who dare to think different or be lynched!

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