Tuesday, January 29, 2013

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Linden Lab Launches dio: Web-Based Platform for User-Created Interactive, Multi-Media Experiences Creators May Eventually Monetize with Linden Dollars

dio from Linden Lab is finally available to the public after months of speculation, when it originally seemed to be a text adventure game; but as it turns out, it's more ambitious than that -- watch Linden's intro video, which is clearly intended for a mass market audience:

So dio (small d) is a web-based platform for user-created interactive experiences that may resemble classic text adventures, but can also come with photos, audio, and video. In other words, this is for much more than making adventure games. Forbes has an exclusive look, in which a Linden Lab staffer envisions dio for, say, "a hotel that’s trying to find a new way to advertise and make money can recreate their hotel in dio, and then make a short and easy game that takes a few minutes."

Yes, make money, because that's another hook to this: Creators of dio "rooms" will eventually get a cut of the revenue made from the platform, according to the Forbes article. And not just revenue from advertising, but to judge by dio's Terms of Service, potentially from Linden Dollars, just like Second Life:

The Service may include a component of virtual tokens ("Linden dollars" or "L$"), each of which constitutes a limited license permission to use features of our Service as set forth below... Linden Lab offers a Linden dollar exchange, called the LindeX exchange, for the trading of Linden dollars, which uses the terms "Buy" and "Sell" to indicate the transfer of Linden Dollar Licenses.

That's very exciting, because it suggests Second Life and dio will eventually enjoy some inter-operability, at least through commerce. I can imagine SL content creators building versions of their Second Life experience in dio, and vice versa. (Hello, fashionistas, get on this quick!) Related to this, dio like Second Life acknowledges that users can retain the intellectual property rights to their dio creations, but phrases it in an "you're on your own there, so lawyer up" fashion:

You acknowledge and agree that you are responsible for knowing, protecting, and enforcing any Intellectual Property Rights you hold, and that Linden Lab cannot do so on your behalf.

As for straight-up, old school adventure games; yeah, they got those too. One of the first rooms launching in dio is an official port of Colossal Cave, literally one of the first adventure games ever created, in 1976:

Linden Lab Dio Colossal Cave

Colossal Cave begins at the end of a road, but for Linden Lab, dio could become a new road of user- created content that's on the web, socially connected, connected to a meta-game achievement system (dio has that too) built to find a mass audience. 

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From first impression, my only dislike is the generic Twitter Bootstrap design.

Other than that, I think it's kind of cool. Definitely can be as bland as showing someone pictures of somewhere, but there's also some depth to it once messing around with Custom Objects when making a room.

Some aspiring person might sit down and create an entire visual MUD. Or tie into Second Life with screenshots creating a tour of their sim complete with SLURLs.

Should be interesting to see what people make.


I played Jamey Beanman's Burrito Quest on Dio earlier today. It was pretty cute, and it was a fast and easy one to go through.

I'll be going back to try out the other rooms, and maybe try my hand at doing a simple one too.

Arabella Jones

I think Ezra might have the soundbite description for us net-ancients: it does sound like a visual MUD. And, yes, I have been around long enough that I was using text-based multi-player games. Dio is the server software, and some users will create the setting.

I wonder if it will have a chance of lasting as long as FurryMUCK? I am not so sure of that. The numbers involved are relatively small. It only needs one relatively basic server. And such sites as FurryMuck don't have to bring a return for any venture capitalists.

I find myself thinking of what happened to Geocities. I was sorting my browser bookmarks, and clicked on a couple of fairly technical pieces of history that turned out to have vanished with Geocities.

It's possible to archive websites, not too difficult a process. But what protection will their be for our creations on Dio? Will we be able to back-up the structure surrounding our content? Will it be easy?

Shockwave Yareach

And how is this different from IMVU?

Desmond Shang

You are at a crossroad of two paths in an impenetrable forest. All around you are tall trees and the distant sound of birds.

You see a stick.

You can: N/S/E/W or (B)uy stick for $L 10.

Seymore Steamweaver

Fjord the River!

CronoCloud Creeggan

Shockwave, this is "Inform" for the masses from what I see.


This also incorporates Multimedia and can be more "guided" meaning you won't need to buy a hint-book from Infocom to make certain you don't make the scenario "unwinnable"

Yes, you could do this with HTML/Javascript and hypercard in the past, but this is more advanced...and easier.

Quick, easy interactive experiences.

Ciaran Laval

Well well well, this was the Linden Lab product I probably had the last interest in and it's pretty damn funky, there's potential here alright.

Kim Anubis

There is all kinds of potential in this. Doesn't resonate for me personally the way building models with prims did, but I can see many uses for it. Perhaps someday we will see the ability to use these easy-to-configure interactive features in SL (for those who don't script), or maybe it will be the other way around, and we will be importing 3d models into Dio. Especially with an L$ connection, could be a way to train up folks for the bigger challenge of SL. And I see they finally have some Facebook action, which seemed to be on the LL wish list for a while.

Most hopeful LL/SL news I've read in a while. I couldn't tell WTH they were doing for a while there, but I think I get it now.

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