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Second Life MMOG Launches

simoniker posted more than 11 years ago | from the already-done-don't-have-first-life-gag dept.

PC Games (Games) 22

Thanks to an anonymous reader for pointing out a article about the official launch of MMO title Second Life, a "rapidly growing and constantly changing 3D online society, shaped entirely by its residents", which has its public unveiling today. We covered this interesting user-shaped virtual world a few weeks back, and it's now open for business, with a free Windows client download and monthly subscription fees. It's also one of the few MMO titles to have a DMCA complaints page for infringing user-created content, where complainants must fill out a form "identify[ing] in detail the location of the copyrighted work that you believe has been infringed upon. For example 'The copyrighted work I am referring to is located on the map area labeled 'Freelon, 104,30,56'.'"

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Like we need more Realities. (2, Funny)

saden1 (581102) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279063)

The real world is a bitch as it is.

I wonder if one these will succeed (4, Interesting)

ScurvySeaDog (255442) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279378)

I kinda hope one of these guys will succeed, but on the other hand, I'd like to see this sort of thing evolve on it's own.

5 years or so I remember there were a ton of these little virtual community type ventures using VRML.. nothing much really happened with them. Lately it seems that they're starting to crop up again., this thing, and there have a been a few others I've heard about.. activeworlds or something.

I don't think the open ended virtual community stuff (as opposed to something with a "purpose" like Everquest) is going to really take off until we can really "jack-in"

The idea has merit, and it WILL succeed one day, but I hope this isn't wholly sponsored by some commercial entity, but ends up being more like a 3d web (like vrml was supposed to do, right?).

Re:I wonder if one these will succeed (3, Funny)

orangesquid (79734) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279547)

As soon as you can have *real* cybersex, these things will skyrocket in popularity.

Re:I wonder if one these will succeed (2, Interesting)

maharito (626909) | more than 11 years ago | (#6280391)

On the contrary, commercial sponsorship could be a good thing regarding this type of venture. Creating and maintaining software that people don't directly interact with is an extraordinarily daunting task and is very costly. For example, incredibly complex software that controls traffic signals for a downtown area may take hundreds of people, and millions of dollars to build, maintain, and operate. A MMORPG where tens of thousands of users are interacting with the environment and other players could take hundreds of times that effort and capital. And where does all the money come from? Well, without sponsorship of some type, it has to come from the players, in the form of purchase prices, monthly fees, and perhaps extra fees for premium game services. The answer to lowering or eliminating these costs could be corporate sponsorship. Of course, it would be ridiculous to have a McDonalds on every screen of the game, but a certain amount of conspicuous yet unobtrusive commercial endorsement could well subsidize the sometimes steep monthly fees associated with MMORPGs.

Re:I wonder if one these will succeed (2, Interesting)

Mac Degger (576336) | more than 11 years ago | (#6281056)

What this kind of thing needs to really kick off is kind of like exactly a next gen 3d, FPS-like frontend to IRC.

It has to be FPS-like to satisfy the market-penetration target; it has to be easy to use. It has to have IRC as a backbone so it's usefull (for chat, file transfers etc). OS so people can tinker with it (but in the same way that linux works, with one or a couple of master architects, so all 'kernels' work).

But to really kick in I imagine something which works with hubs (as in channels on an irc server). Anyone can create a hub, which could accomodate as many users as the hardware allows. These hubs would be seperate worlds (an analogy would be seperate habitat domes on the moon or something) which use 'portals' to connect to other hubs.

But what would make this really work is the ability to import and integrate 3d objects into this world, while the world is running. This would allow you to create a little shack to your own design, add a character or whatever. But you have to be able to add user content.
Of course, that means two things; broadband only and cpu's powerfull enough to do dynamic BSP calculations...but with peer-to-peer and distributed computing, I thinks those kinds of problems can be solved quite nicely.

If only I knew how to program :)

Re:I wonder if one these will succeed (1)

Slurm-V (513189) | more than 11 years ago | (#6289544)

Opencroquet [] as discussed here [] is all this and less - not a FPS, but none the less an interesting alternative to those other run-of-the-mill net-based 3d operating systems.

Re:I wonder if one these will succeed (1)

Orne (144925) | more than 11 years ago | (#6281165)

Right. VRML is a markup language [] , not a pseudonym for MMORPGs... And you're right, they went away -- because in my opinion, the language was a flop.

Like Java, VRML was an idea marketed before its time. When it first appeared, VRML browsers were bulky add-ins for your web browser, slow and prone to errors. The concept is that you define geometry objects in space using a scripting language much like HTML; just download a model and render locally instead of a big bitmap. However, this was software renderering -- they were competing with the first 3d accellerated video cards, and frankly, they lost.

The idea was to create 3d avatars to represent yourself in a chatroom... Interesting ideas, but people were happy with just getting a lo-res icon to represent their personalities (AIM)... and the rest of us never needed anything beyond text to represent our chat.

Re:I wonder if one these will succeed (1)

cmacb (547347) | more than 11 years ago | (#6303631)

Development for 3D-VR are proceeding in a few parallel paths. Unfortunately, to date, watching this happen is about like watching grass grow. VRML while it has many die-hard adherents failed to find the "sweet spot" for development of these types of programs. Renderware, which came closer, has failed to become enough of a standard. So basically, rather than suffer the limitations of these "infrastructure" products, commercial companies are rolling their own interfaces more or less from scratch.

If you look at the hardware requirements for SL you'll notice that you need a good 3D capable video card, and broadband access. This has limited the potential marketplace for these programs in the past, but look at it this way:

(1) Intel and AMD (not to mention PPC Chips) keep rolling out faster and faster processors which are hard to justify for spreadsheet and word processing alone. Even for end-user multimedia work, these systems are becoming overkill. The only thing that keeps all PCs from dropping down to the $200 price point is integrators penchant to bundle more and more peripherals to bring the prices back up closer to $2000.

(2) The Dot-com boom provided tons of bandwidth that are going unused right now. Verizon just dropped the price of DSL to $35, tripled the speed for many users, and extended it to some places that were not even scheduled (I'm using it from a beach location that barely has working phone service, but I have DSL).

(3) Voice and handwriting technology are duds now and for the foreseeable future. To me that leaves 3D-VR as the perfect use for all these over qualified systems we have on our desktops.

The initial commercial successes for this will be (have been) games, but if you buy into the "Snowcrash" version of where this will end up (I do) you know that this stuff has to become more than a game eventually. It becomes an extension to just about everything we do: going to the office, exchanging documents, checking mail. Maybe this is something Microsoft should consider. They really NEED something that goes beyond their current product line. I've also been impressed with where Adobe Atmosphere is heading. Fairly easy content creation, javascript object manipulation. Better than VRML, but I'm not sure it enough.

Basically, the MMORPGs are the testing lab for these underlying technologies, the acceptance of a general purpose non-prefabricated system such as Second Life will be a good sign that the hardware base is out there to support not only game, but business use for these technologies. While there is not an obvious successor to VRML, I know there are several systems being developed, and they use experiences from the MMORPGS as feedback into this process, at least one of them is an Open Source project, which I think is where this stuff ultimately belongs.

Well. (2, Informative)

Visceral Monkey (583103) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279754)

I tried out the beta, and to say it ran like ASS on a good system is a mild understatement. However, lets put even that aside for one moment: The concept sounds great but the execution didn't follow so well. You get bored. Real quick.

Linux Support (2, Funny)

xyu (556711) | more than 11 years ago | (#6279994)

I went over to [] to see if it mentioned anything about linux support and the page goes into a redirection loop. I guess they only viewed their page in IE.

Re:Linux Support (1)

PhrackCreak (136718) | more than 11 years ago | (#6281523)

The site works fine with most browsers. At work I usually browse with mozilla [] , and at home I use Galeon [] - which both work fine. What browser are you using? I know the site does not work with links or lynx, but since the site is in support of a 3d MMOG, the priority for supporting text only browsers is low.

A recent press release [] on the site says
Second Life will initially be available for Windows-based PCs, with Mac and Linux versions following by the end of 2003.

Re:Linux Support (1)

cmacb (547347) | more than 11 years ago | (#6302776)

Linux and OS X support are the things that excite me most about this prog. As a beta tester for about a year I interacted a few times with the staff there and got the definite impression that they are Linux fans (the servers are Linux by the way). The other thing I can report is that they have been very much on schedule with this thing the whole time. I was very skeptical when I heard their target dates for going production, but the system just kept getting more and more feature complete with a new release every few days. If they say it will be ready by end of 2003 I tend to believe them at this point.

The idea of being able to use this program on both Linux and OS X which have never compared well with Windows for Game development I hope will be the start of many similar moves by other game developers (especially if this takes off).

At last the age old chat greeting of "ASL?" can be replaced by "ASLP?" (Age, Sex, Location, Platform).

Re:Linux Support (1)

WoodenBoy (553109) | more than 11 years ago | (#6284026)

...the page goes into a redirection loop. I guess they only viewed their page in IE.
No, it means that you've blocked cookies from their site. Did the same thing to me, but once I allowed their cookie, it loaded just fine.

Re:Linux Support (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 11 years ago | (#6285191)

Still, that's a very bad failure condition, and a bad first impression. Hopefully the MMOG isn't coded by their web developers.

BTW, it is only a redirection loop if you keep Javascript enabled. Turn off Javascript and it stops, then redirects you to a 404'd noflash page [] , which only link takes you back through another Javascripted flash check. Only if you enable Javascript and allow cookies can you get to the real no-Flash pages.

Ack! (1)

steesefactor (563098) | more than 11 years ago | (#6280395)

I tried to sign up for the 5-day free trial, but the program only works for nt, 2000, and xp. As a 98 user, its the first time I've encountered this. Also, all the legal stuff still refers to it as being in beta still.

Any free alternatives? (1) (629916) | more than 11 years ago | (#6280611)

I think it is fun to have a virtual asset and build it the way I like. However I don't think it is worth paying monthly fee. I am already paying monthly fee to host my blog site already. Can someone points me to a free virtual community if there is any available? I don't think it has to be in 3D.

Re:Any free alternatives? (1)

fatboyslack (634391) | more than 11 years ago | (#6281135)

Don't know of any freebies myself, I have little enough time as it is without playing MMOG. However, it is unlikey that you could establish a decent MMOG without monthly/annual/similar fees. The main problem is that Bandwidth and Servers aren't free and that alternative means of paying to run something (advertising, pop-ups etc.) are incredibly unpopular. Even good ol' slashdot has had to resort to some alt-funding from subscriptions.

Re:Any free alternatives? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6286500)

you could try Habbo Hotel. Although the rooms usually deteriorate into trading spam messages.

"Free Trial" requires credit card details (0, Troll)

AndrewHowe (60826) | more than 11 years ago | (#6282462)

I went to sign up for the free trial, but they wanted me to choose a payment schedule and enter my credit card details. Er, no.
Fuck them. Fuck them up their stupid asses.

Maybe i'll have to look into this one... (1)

Mantrid (250133) | more than 11 years ago | (#6283102)

One of the fun things for awhile in Morrowind was making my own models and seeing them in the world (until I could no longer use the expensive software required to do this).

I would love to play an on-line game where I could import my own 3D objects...

Re:Maybe i'll have to look into this one... (1)

cmacb (547347) | more than 11 years ago | (#6303010)

You cannot import models from other programs (at least yet), but one of the unique things about this program is that a modeler is BUILT-IN to the interface. You actually assemble the primitives, add textures, tinker with UV settings right there in-world. As someone who never could decide which I hated more, Truespace or 3DSMAX, I got used to the building interface for this pretty quickly. There are also scripting and physics properties which you can enable on an object by object basis.

One of the "objectives" of the program when thought of as a game is participation in the built-in economy which involves, among other things, creation and trading of 3D objects. I think one of their initial concerns was the ability to upload and download objects from other interfaces would make it too easy to clone other peoples work. Just a hunch.

I've included a link to the sign-up page as my "homepage" link here. If you use it to sign up I'll get in-world credit. I need the money!!!

Copyright & MMOs (0, Offtopic)

prator (71051) | more than 11 years ago | (#6285628)

I know that the SWG dev team has said that one of the reasons they don't allow the Musician profession to create their own music is that people could use copyrighted music.

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