Tuesday, September 24, 2013

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SL Not On Steam Due to "Complications", Says Linden Lab

Second Life Steam

When I wrote about Steam OS yesterday, I wondered why Second Life wasn't on Steam, as was announced last year; Linden Lab's Peter Gray told me this:

"Without going into details," he e-mails, "our plans to make Second Life available on Steam hit some complications and so were put on hold. Since acquiring Desura, we now have our own distribution platform, and we recently made Second Life available there (blog post about that here), as well as on Amazon (in the US, UK, and Germany)."

However, that doesn't necessarily mean we'll never see Second Life on other platforms, even with the acquisition of Desura:

"The Desura acquisition doesn't necessarily 'prohibit' us from bringing our offerings to other platforms," adds Gray, "but we do think Desura is the most developer-friendly option."

So there is that. I do think it would be a mistake to give up on Steaming Second Life, especially as it moves into the console space.

 

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Ezra

I doubted long ago Second Life would make it onto Steam. There's no product, paid-for or free on Steam I've ever downloaded that runs as atrocious as Second Life does. We're numb to that, and the good of Second Life outweighs its' performance issues drastically for those of us that have learned to live with them, but Valve routinely boots games off the Steam store for much, much less issues than the ones Second Life has been plagued with since inception.

Obviously we don't know that Second Life was rejected for not meeting quality issues, but that'd be my bet given Valve's history of how carefully they curate their store.

Alberik

I suggested there would be quality control problems when the Steam initiative was first announced. Sl doesn't have a business problem or a marketing problem. It has a product problem and a cost problem. I suspect the opacity and pain-of-use of the Inventory tools is much of what what drives the very low take-up rate.

Eric

I want to play GTA, but it is not available for PC:(

Nexii Malthus

@Ezra really? I found most games are really atrocious compared to SL, there's just no other engine out there capable of handling the same load so well.

It's really tough to handle such an extreme form of user generated content.

I'm surprised that Linden Lab have been as steady in keeping the content creation tools as powerful, any other company would have put limits on texture sizes for example - imagine hitting a texture size limit of 512x512 or 256x256. Or having really funky limits like Spore did with a harsh 'Complexity' score.

Another issue in regards to UGC is user education, something I think LL should focus on, such as streamlining the content creation workflow and being transparent and honest.
E.g. display a filesize statistic on the texture upload and allow the user to use a slider to adjust texture quality -- both of which I once implemented as working features myself, on the texture upload dialog in a custom client back in 2009 - 2010.

If your into gaming anyways, per the steam hardware survey, you'd come equipped with highly capable hardware anyway, which would any iron out most issues. The users that are hardest to deal with tend to have integrated graphics or an awful network connection and are unlikely to be steam users.

Ezra

@Nexii

I wouldn't marvel at Linden Lab's lack of proper resource limitations and our ability to slow one another's FPS to a crawl.

Second Life is impressive in that its still a one-of-a-kind product that blazed its own trail. There was no open source or even pay for software Linden Lab could buy to make the bulk of Second Life possible. So yes, it's very impressive in that regard, but it's sad in a lot of other ways like only recently getting material maps, which many can't experience anyway without incurring further performance costs by enabling ALM.

With tens of thousands of people signing up to Second Life weekly and Second Life having nothing to show for it in terms of concurrency growth, I don't think the viewer is quality enough. That might've been Valve's thinking too. It's been an incredibly bad turnover rate. I applaud Linden Lab for finally pouring a lot into improving performance and usability in Rod's era, but it obviously hasn't been enough.

I dearly hope Linden Lab is working on a successor to Second Life, as it seems the technical debt of being a 10+ year old product is proving too much, and Second Life is only going to get further left behind by further progressions in technology.

Wrath

I was really hopeful SL would be available thru Steam someday. One of the reasons I stop logging into SL was that every time I would go to log in, a new client would be available that I had to install first and I got tired of the wait times. I figured maybe on Steam it might be easier to cope with.

Masami

@Nexii

any other company would have put limits on texture sizes for example - imagine hitting a texture size limit of 512x512 or 256x256.

You think SL's texture size limit of 1024x1024 is giving it an edge?

zzpearlbottom

Lol What one can say of Open sims where there is no limits of any size?
What is a fact is that:
Second Life if worh the graphics needs good hardware, period!
You can login from android, you can even dare to use 8 year old computers or Mac Os (Gosh!!!!) but have a decent (and i mean a 2 year's old desktop well done is more then enough|) and after latest Nvidia drivers, im getting 60 fps medium where i used to have 40, with Alm always enabled and 512!!! draw distance.

Ezra

@zzpearlbottom

If a new user isn't getting decent performance out of the minimum and recommended system requirements Linden Lab publishes, then the viewer is to blame moreso than hardware.

The recommended graphics card for example is still the 6 years old GeForce 9000 series. What's the FPS with those cards and how many graphics options can be turned on? Why would Valve allow Linden Lab to tell Steam users they can run Second Life at those levels?

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