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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

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Pathfinder

Bravo.

Speaking to the Community points....I keep hoping the Big Players in virtual worlds / VR will eventually "get it" and make a focused effort to support the non-technical nuances of community development instead of pushing pixels as The Solution to creating innovative worlds human engagement.

Because it isn't.

What it gets us are shiny pretty vacant lots.


Dartagan Shepherd

Nailed it, on all points.

Levio Serenity

All so true. Honestly Sansar just sounds like a retread of Blue Mars/Cloud Party/etc that all just failed practically yesterday.

Apparently the Oculus Rift is like horse blinders to the reality of virtual realities.

Jupsie

What about High Fidelity?

A.J.

A round of applause for "Meursault".

It's refreshing to hear experience turn into logic and honesty.

A nice change from hearing the voice of marketing.

Rick Taylor

CEO Altberg got hired and received a contract for 3 years. 2014 - 2015 - 2016. Board told him to make them money no matter what. CEO Altberg made Sansar his little project for his term. Like CEO Humble made his games (make that failed games) his project and CEO Kingdon made Viewer 2 his project.

CEO Altberg with his limited knowledge is only making his attempt during his term. When not good he will walk after his term when his contract is up like the guys before him.

I myself do not care about VR headsets, people who wear them look pathetic in my eyes. There are already commercials where the "gamer" sits in his house wearing a VR headset while a burglar steals everything around him and makes fun of the loser with his headset.

Most likely Oculus will have limited success as a niche product. Tech companies want people to wear things these days. Special watches, VR headsets etc... People are slowly getting tired of the tech.

What Linden Lab seems to want is putting everybody in their box on the cheap because they can now. A template world as CEO Altberg names it. Every guy or girl stuffed in their own skybox doing their own thing. That will be fun for a month and after that people will get uber bored with it.

In Second Life people used to get married all the time because they did meet a lot of new people. There used to be massive interaction between residents. With the homestead islands everybody did get a lot more seperated. While this gave less conflict it also made things a lot less interesting. You do not hear much about weddings now, less people log in and people complain about the ghost town. The most active sim virtual Londen only has 65 people max. You used to find many sims with 100 people max capped.

There are major issues and CEO Altberg is not the solution. CEO Altberg is more a problem than a solution.

Cyberserenity

Good points. I have another one. We had some kids over to try out the Oculus Rift and some new software. To my big suprise they did not get sick at all. The just gamed like there was no tomorrow.

The all said i want one of those. It is really hard to know what will happen with new tech and products.

zz bottom

I wonder just how the next recession will make all look useless and expendable. Even Second Life.

Levio Serenity

I totally agree with Rick about how each new CEO can't get their head around what SL is and what it needs to actually retain new users, so they run off and build something else. At least Kingdon tried to improve the SL we had instead of wasted effort on entirely new products. HiFi is already tackling next gen VR, so Sansar seems like a duplicated effort, not to mention OpenSource. So why not wait for them to build it and use that codebase for free? LL claims they already built this once, so they know better than anyone how to do it right next time. But is that really true? Are any of those people who actually built SL still around? Or have they all flown the coop like Rosedale?

Estelle Pienaar

It's good to have critical voices in order to make a reality check but I don't agree.

I won't answer each of the arguments. I prefer to give a different narrative.

Why have big companies not created experiences for Second Life?

1) You can't find it with Google. Everyone who is looking for something uses a search engine as entry portal. You can't find Second Life content on web search engines.

2) Community tools like group chat, group messages, my SL feed etc. are isolated from the web 2.0 social networks - and the other way round.

3) Scale. Only up to 150 avatars can be in a sim at the same time.

4) Branding. A company like BMW isn't interested to be part of an MMO. But if they can use the platform as a content management system with their own branding and entry portal, then it might be a whole different story.

5) The content creator has only limited control of his content. A company wants to decide if one user is allowed to spoil their experience with a crazy furry latext avatar or if he/she has to use one of their prefab avatars; if he/she can use gestures; if he/she can speak in open chat; if he/she can IM another potential customer; etc.

6) The technology is so far behind that a scene with a wow-effect is almost impossible: no animated meshes, no shaders, etc.

7) The user interface, especially the avatar costumization system and camera movement, are way to complicated and an entrance barrier.

We already have some information about the priorities of Linden Lab for the new Project Sansar platform and from the statements available, we can see that the Lab has taken note of all these shortcoming of SL and they want to overcome them (well, I am not so sure about point 1,2 and 7 but I hope so).

This means that the new platform will be innovative in many more ways than just better graphics. It also means that it will not be another Second Life and not a virtual world. It will be a content management system for VR places some of these places will allow you to enter with your personal avatar (and some probably won't). Will that approach be successfull? We don't know. Is this a platform for the typical SL resident ? I don't think so. Can this be an attractive content management system for semiprofessional and professional developers? I think so.

Will VR fly this time? We don't know. The argumet that VR failed in the past is no argument. Apple ignored all the rantings that smartphones would be a failed technology and created the iphone. If they would have listened to the sceptics, we might not have them today. Hard to imagine now, isn't it?

Linden Lab can only have success with their new platform if they are ready from the start. There will only be a very short window of opportunity to become a major platform - if VR googles fly at all.

So Linden Lab does everything right in my eyes. All their decisions make sense. There are good chances that they have made a good investment.

And someone who claims that the Lab is primarily looking at fancy graphics is making an uninformed statement, ex-VR executive or not.

irihapeti

Cyberserenity wrote: "We had some kids over to try out the Oculus Rift and some new software. To my big suprise they did not get sick at all. The just gamed like there was no tomorrow."

yes

who are today's thought leaders? people like Pewdiepie

when Pewdiepie says this is cool then a zillion kids and teens go: Mum Dad I want !!

Shockwave Yareach

What made SL take off was the simple fact that it was a virtual world they created. Make what you want. Do what you want. Look how you want. Sell what you want. Only basic rules in here guys, because nothing can really hurt you in the virtual world.

Then came the California centric rules and standards. Some were fine, like saying only real banks could be virtual banks. Some were stupid, like saying no gambling and no sex in your own home and oh, you don't own that virtual property ( no matter what we said last year or how many receipts you have ). They tried to change the Wild West into Disneyland with the snap of their fingers. And surprise, people started leaving. And to this day people are still leaving.

What LL has to sell is a virtual fantasyland where adults can be or do whatever they want. That's it. SL has potential to be more, but not with incompetent rulers at the helm. Sansar will also fail simply because nobody will leave their thousands of dollars of stuff and their communities to go there - if we could eat such losses, we'd move to inworldz for the lower costs. Which is where lots of people will be when LL moves the barrel of the gun away from its foot and up to its head when they tell everyone to move to Sansar because they are closing Agni.

Thousands and thousands to buy and build our islands, and you think we're just gonna smile and spend all that money again? You sell a fantasyland. But you LIVE in a fantasyland if you think we will lose so much money and just keep doing business with you.

UCMO

"5 - Content creation. It is hysterical that Sansar will require professional modeling tools like Maya to create content."

This is a half truth. LL has said on multiple occasions that Sansar will INITIALLY rely on Maya for content creation, but future releases will include inworld build tools.

Meursault

Thanks Hamlet. Glad my rant has engendred a conversation. It wasn't intended as a point by point critique of everything VR - just a rant about getting our heads out of our glasses.

Also I have heard that Ebbe Altberg is a great CEO to with inspiring leadership and management skills - a welcome change for that company. However doesn't have the VW experience and seems to be surrounded by a team that has not studied the history of VWs or of LL itself. Maybe it's Board turnover too? VR is a very difficult area to learn your way into. Given the relatively short leash of a CEO tenure he will get one shot at glory. It's his job to take the brunt of the decisions LL makes.

What is really surprising is how many current startups are re-inventing failed VW or VR companies with the Rift as the only addition. So the argument about 'not knowing' is really a discussion about 'why now.' Let's pick on someone else - VRChat. When I saw this article I was just in disbelief at the collective amnesia in this hype cycle: http://www.roadtovr.com/vr-chat-helps-deliver-first-virtual-university-lecture/

The Rift acquisition triggered a revival in virtual reality, and by extension SL. We should be thankful for that. But it also has radically skewed the discussion to one about technology, and not application or evolution.

From what I understand, High Fidelity is betting on sensors and headsets to improve the fidelity of body language and facial expressions in VR. Have they proven that improved non-verbal language is something any consumer wants, to the extend they are willing to get into a rig? I guess that's the experiment. They have great advisors.

Instead of wild guesses and repeating history of failure, I think I am follower of Steve Blank's advice to get the hell out of the building and talk to as many people as possible until their eyes light up and they take out their checkbook (or iPay phone) to buy it.

Joey1058

I feel ancient when I say the things I'm about to say: I've been loosely involved in VR since the days of VRML. I found a place called cybertown.com, and fell in love with it. The early graphics were meh, but it was the concept that we could live inside the computer in a world constructed of pixels and vectors. As more of us found it then, the collective became a community. and yes this was back in the days of the first VR bubble.

Times have definitely changed. VRML has taken a back seat to X3D and online gaming. Many immigrated to SL then. and the collective in SL became a community. And now the hype about High Fidelity isn't that the tech they're creating isn't about how they will interconnect laptops, desktops, phones, and tablets as a server network; but how cool they look being able to touch each other using haptic interfaces. So I don't put a lot of stock in HiFi's VR world hype, as much as how the are redefining how VR will interact with places like SL and Sansar and HiFi, and Blue Mars, and IMVU, and, and, and...

One word has threaded directly and indirectly through all the comments. "Community". Every last one of these places is a community of users.Lots have closed up and moved on to other locations. Many of the old Cybertown.com residents have settled in at Facebook, of all places. We are going to hear VR hyped for another few years to come even after all the haptic devices have been publicly released. It's not going to matter who is in charge as CEO of Linden Lab. It's not going to matter if they fixed the realism issues.

I'm in it for the community. And sooner or later Sansar and HiFi and the others will develop their communities, and the hype will settle down. And if SL manages to continue, fantastic. And if not? They will immigrate to Sansar or HiFi or whatever online community that catches their interest. Online life is dynamic. There will always be endless debates about how this tech worked, and why that tech crashed and burned. It's like politics in the default world.

Rei Nori

Good points. I do not disagree with what Meursault is saying. Personally I would frame in different context: Cutting edge immersive content and mass-market appeal are mutually exclusive. One compromises the other, and this includes content creation and VR.

Will I buy a VR headset? Yes probably, but probably not the first generation. Nor will I used it for all my SL/Sansar experience. It seems better suited to short duration high intensity interaction. A good deal of my SL time is much more casual than that.

No, I will not buy Maya... I have figured out enough Blender to make enough stuff to offset the cost of SL and provide a creative outlet. However, I do not kid myself that I am an artist, and that is the highest bar for quality content creation. So no matter what the tools are, most user generated content will be mediocre at best.

IMO LL can try an make a gajillion dollars, or they can create a smaller and more immersive experience. I think that a smaller experience can be profitable, but there will not be millions of people that will take the time to develop the expertise to master a truly immersive virtual world. Truth be told there a not that many people that put effort out to maintain a premium RL account, much less a virtual one.

sirhc deSantis

Good points overall. Caveat CEOs come and go so nowt new there. Personally pretty favourable re the last two.
But, again, I have to ask - whsts this 'community' thats bandied about all the time? As in a singular one? (joey up there put it better).
The strap-on-a-piece-of-kit thing (possibly could state that better) is just marketing fluff, we have seen it before. As to all the 'barriers' to creativity, people have always found ways to explore so far. If LL want to take that away - fine. Its their choice and so is where I spend my time.
If the era of SL like spaces is waning in terms of mass appeal then so be it. If there will be a replacement offering the same outlet then let it compete. The world grinds on and if that means VW-wise we all sit on our own private Simonas as personal spaces we sometimes share - its something I rather like.
Sell me something like that and I may just take the bait. Current offerings have not.

Henri Beauchamp

"Pixel fidelity is not a selling point"

How true !

I personally would find it very unwelcome and right out disturbing to have SL (or any successor) becoming pixel-perfect to the point it could be mistaken for reality.
For me, SL (or any virtual world for that matter) is all about *fantasy*, i.e. worlds not totally unlike, but not either totally like the real world. Having VR reproducing RL would be quite a turn off to me.

I also wholeheartedly agree that the future of "VR", as seen by LL (i.e. with a headset and with contents creation raised to the level of professional tools and designers) is a dead end: do they *really* expect to see people coming to Sansar with these prerequisites ?

It will be without me !

Little Wing

I see they are getting ready to reopen the Old Lost Gardens of Apollo as a museum or something. too bad that community has been lost even once they reopen it as it was the people that made it special.

Separated the link so it would not get flagged

ApolloOLD Region
http: // tinypic.com/r/1691bio/8

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