Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Second Life Hype vs. Anti-Hype

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the in-a-duel-to-the-death dept.

Games 67

The new GigaGamez site, part of the OM network, has a look today at the hype fight over Second Life. It's the new darling of media companies, but is increasingly attracting negative feedback by people who know a thing or two about the industry. James Wagner Au tries to sort out who is saying what, and provide a little context for the discussion. From the article: "Can they really build a fully streamed world comprised of tens of thousands of servers? That's way above my paygrade, but I'll guess that task fits under the rubric of Fricking Hard. Can they fix a profoundly unfriendly user interface and thoroughly disorienting first hour user experience, which are aggressively, almost intentionally unwelcoming to the vast majority of interested users? Both shortcomings are at the heart of Second Life's poor retention rates, but neither have significantly changed in the three years since its commercial release. You have to wonder, whatever their stated intentions, if Linden's tech-centric corporate culture simply puts their improvement at a low priority."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Guess there's no Hype Fight... (2, Funny)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 7 years ago | (#17289146)

Clicking on the Article I get "Sorry, but you are looking for something that isn't here." Guess that means that one of the sides gave up eh?

(Watch, someone will tell me to RTA)

Re:Guess there's no Hype Fight... (1)

TodMinuit (1026042) | more than 7 years ago | (#17289170)

The article is pointing out that there isn't any hype or anti-hype if don't believe in it. Like Santa.

Re:Guess there's no Hype Fight... (1)

silentounce (1004459) | more than 7 years ago | (#17289204)

Maybe all the Second Lifers went out and got a First Life.

It shows now (1)

remmelt (837671) | more than 7 years ago | (#17289240)

But someone forget to press enter once in a while.

is there for a reason, folks!

Re:Guess there's no Hype Fight... (1)

Cali Thalen (627449) | more than 7 years ago | (#17289242)


It seemed to be missing for a bit, but it's there now.

And it's one of the most awfully formatted (or, non-formatted) pages I've seen in a long time...

TFA, just in case the site goes down (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17289378)

*There are no links in TFA, even where the author makes references to outside content*
**Here's the Clay Shirky article being discussed [valleywag.com] **

Second Life: Hype vs. Anti-Hype vs. Anti-Anti-Hype
By Wagner James Au


Clay Shirky is a brilliant analyst of the digital era, and if there's anybody who could implode the media vortex currently surrounding Second Life , it would have to be someone of his caliber. He attempted that last week with "Second Life: A Story Too Good to Check", a Valleywag /Corante post that was subsequently Boing Boinged . As someone who contracted with Linden Lab as their "embedded reporter " for near three years, and still has a substantial interest in the world they created-- consider that both full disclosure, and plug -- I actually found his post something of a relief. Attention around SL has been growing at such a heart-throttling pace (total registered accounts were under 100,000 only a year ago, and just blew past 2 million), you begin to hope for something, /anything/, which will slow growth to a more manageable clip. But is Clay's analysis correct? Yes and no. The very topic came up at a GigaOM staff meeting recently, and when a couple staffers suggested Second Life is over-hyped, I blurted out what is, I think, a far more accurate assessment: "It's too hyped- and it's not hyped enough." After break, some reasons for both designations, as reflected through Shirky's polemic. What Clay Gets Right Where Shirky scores undisputedly is against the breathless media reports that proclaim "two million users in Second Life!" This number repeats the total registered accounts listed somewhat confusingly as "Total Residents" on the SL homepage , which are not truly reflective of users who actually spend time in-world on a regular basis. "Resident" has always been Linden's official name for any person with a valid SL account, but it's easy for the uninitiated to also infer the word's literal meaning, of "living in a place for some length of time." Which two million account holders are, plainly, not. As he notes, that number is not even the nearly 800,000 or so who've "Logged In Last 60 Days" (another SL homepage metric that confounds more than enlightens), since most of that includes those who've tried Second Life within that time--but never returned. He estimates the churn rate of One Try Then Bye Bye at 85%, and by Linden's own measure, that turns out to be, to his enormous credit, pretty much on target. When last month my blog's demographitrix Tateru Nino wrote a story discussing Second Life's churn rate, Linden CEO Philip Rosedale suggested retention was 10%-- a percentage so low, it shocked me. ("[A]bout 10% of newly created residents are still logging into Second Life weekly, 3 months later.") When I checked with Linden Lab last week, Philip and Marketing Director Catherine Smith reported back a slightly higher percentage, this one gauged by returning users from over the last 30 days (but not those who created an account within that period)-- "12-15% and has remained steady over the last year... we know churn will be high, but the difference is a network effect and constantly /changing/ content that people do come back to see. " So this, as it turns out, is where to set the Second Life bar: of the 2,000,000+ registered accounts now, roughly 240,000-300,000 are regular users, residents in both the colloquial and literal sense. Clay is right to call for the media to stop reporting that very top number without caveat. (Then again, the sharper tech reporters, like Dan Terdiman of News.com , already proceed with such caution.) Shirky is further correct to wonder if all the big companies recently promoting their brands in Second Life (NBC ! American Apparel ! Adidas and Toyota! , etc.) counts as news, since it's not clear if this is just a gimmick, or that they're actually getting any measurable return from their promotion dollars. The truth is, no one quite knows if that's the case, and similar to the Web's dot com boom, the metrics for judging a real organization's success in Second Life are still controversial and contentious. While the mainstream media largely hasn't asked this question yet, it's been roiling through the metaverse blogosphere (as here and here from me, and here and here from SL-based marketers and virtual world development studios.) A reckoning is surely due soon (if not overdue already), and good on Shirky to call for it. What Clay Misses But Shirky's wholly valid points go right off the rails, in my view, when he suggests that the hype around Second Life is merely due to the spectacular (but largely spectral) growth of created accounts. Worse still are his speculative explanations (i.e., virtual worlds are easy for reporters to understand, young reporters don't know about LambdaMOO, etc.) for why the press has gone so wacky over SL. As someone who began with feet in both worlds (I first caught a demo of Second Life in 2003 as a freelancer for Salon.com and Wired Magazine), I can offer some perspective. User-Created News Content Even throughout 2004-2005, when the world had less than 100,000 users, media attention for SL was already fairly voracious. I can't speak for Linden Lab's direct PR efforts, but I can name the numerous times when big media outlets e-mailed me on their own, without Linden Lab's prompting at all, not because they were particularly interested in Second Life, but because they kept stumbling across fascinating stories about it on SL-centric blogs, including mine. I'm not vain enough to think they came to me because they liked my writing; these stories were compelling on their own. (Rarely did they even know my own blog was funded by Linden Lab, when they came across it; and often, their interest was in the controversial stories I wrote which didn't depict the world in a utopian light.) Big media reporters read about SL's private detectives, who stung unfaithful virtual lovers , for example, and reported on them ; they read about a formerly homeless musician who made a living singing live in Second Life , and did so too ; Residents banding together to help Katrina's victims , and several stories followed. That pattern continues today, and while it is true Linden Lab's publicists shepherd some media toward some SL stories, at least as much attention emerges from the grassroots of the blogosphere. (And even when the big media turns its spotlight on the world, as Time Magazine just did when they made Second Life part of their "Person of the Year" profile, unfettered hype is not always the result: I doubt Linden planned for Time to complain about how it "takes forever to download... [and] sucks up hours just to design your character", and mostly focus on "Meaningless, multipartnered, degrading sex" and detachable penises .) What's more, we've reached the point where the world's content creators now bypass Linden Lab entirely, to hold their own press conferences. Clay mentions recent news of Anshe Chung , the Second Life avatar putatively worth a million dollars, and he's smart to be skeptical about that figure, as was I . (When asked about it, Philip Rosedale pointed out to me that Anshe's assets are not as "illiquid" as Clay seems to think, since she can put up her virtual land holdings on the auction market immediately. ) In his skepticism, however, Shirky misses an even more crucial point: the press release that the media picked up was put out not by Linden Lab, /but by the avatar herself /, since she now owns a company which employs a staff of skilled 3D developers (not gold farmers) in China, all paid for by her virtual world commerce. This should not be surprising: user-created content inevitably leads to user-generated news. And when there's a monetary reward for creating that content, it's also going to involve user-generated hype. 58 Second Life Residents make over $60,000 yearly from their in-world activity , while nearly 3000 of them earn $50-2000 a month . The world's top content creators, in other words, have even more incentive to promote Second Life than the employees of the actual company which owns it. Why Experience Matters Throughout Shirky's essay, I kept thinking, "This is someone who's never really explored Second Life to any significant extent, if at all," and it wasn't just because of the factual errors which emerge through that gap. As it turns out, Clay Shirky has very limited personal experience with SL. (See his e-mail to me below, and his argument for why that lack shouldn't matter.) The larger problem isn't the errors, however, but an experiential absence that leads him to reason, with a fairly sly leap in logic, from "Second Life is much smaller than usually reported", to, "Therefore, it's not the Net's next big thing." (Or as he charmingly puts it, not the "Immanent Shift in the Way We Live®".) But in between both statements, several stepping stones are missing. First, to the basic factual goofs: "If we think of a user as someone who has returned to a site after trying it once, I doubt that the number of simultaneous Second Life users breaks 10,000 regularly. If we raise the bar to people who come back for a second month, I wonder if the site breaks 10,000 simultaneous return visitors outside highly promoted events." This simply isn't true. This month, as last, in-world concurrency has regularly been 15,000-18,000 during peak hours (barring downtimes, a quick glance at SL's homepage between Noon-8pm will show that), and given the new account creation rate (about 12-14K total throughout the entire 24 hour period), far less than a thousand of them are new users at any given hour, on average. Concurrent users at peak have regularly been exceeding 10,000 since September ; three months later, it's fast approaching 20,000 at prime time. (See the screen capture above, taken at about 2:00pm last Sunday.) What's more, that number has very little to do with "highly promoted events", as Clay suggests, because most events are architecturally limited to 120-140 people maximum. (Anyone who's been to such events will tell you about the monumental lag it takes to reach even that figure.) For another, most SL activity isn't based around one-time events, it's based around communities and established popular sites. That's two instances where Clay's lack of ground level experience with Second Life undermines his analysis. Another comes up with his mention of CopyBot , the Resident-created external program which seemed to enable instant theft of user-created content. Because its existence provoked such FUD among the Second Life community last month, Shirky offers it as evidence that user-created content in SL is a sandcastle easily demolished by the right hack. What he does not mention (likely because his in-world visitations are so brief) is that overall, the CopyBot panic receded almost the moment it began. After a bit of refereeing from Linden Lab , content creators largely shrugged and went back to business, and many of those I interviewed were actually more irked by the protest, than the CopyBot itself. (And longtime Residents know that collective fits of agida are regular, melodramatic- and quickly forgotten.) Inexperience crops up again in Clay's dismissal of 3D interactivity as a powerful medium superior in many instances to a 2D web. He runs with Rosedale's admittedly inapt Amazon-in-Second Life example ("you could walk your avatar up to... browse the shelves, buy books") to declare useful 3D applications as a lost cause /in general/. Once again, were Shirky to explore the world more, he'd regularly come across nascent or prototype experiences which already hint at how 3D interaction could indeed become an invaluable resource to numerous real world fields. He'd see applications in, for example, retail shopping (as here ), online gaming and entertainment (as here and here ), data visualization (as here ), international relations (as here ), non-profit fundraising (as here ), architecture (as here ), scientific simulation (as here ), education (as here and here ), and therapy (as here ); just ten industries worth billions of dollars, which could potentially impact hundreds of millions of Internet users, quickly culled from my bookmark cache- and that's not even mentioning the as-yet-unproven applications which have already gained traction, like in-world celebrity appearances (as here and here ), political activism (as here and here ), and marketing/brand promotion (as here .) All that in mind, it's hard to comprehend Clay's analogy of Second Life to LambdaMOO . I have to ask: in what sense except the ancestral one does a text-only online world have any meaningful relation to an immersive 3D world with an internal building and scripting system, in which users can stream audio and video, import and export data from the Web, retain IP rights over the content they create, and easily exchange the internal currency for real cash in an economy with total transactions already in the several millions per month? *For Four Hype Busters, Four Facts In his essay, Clay Shirky offers four hypotheses for why there's so much attention to Second Life, so let me offer four actual news items, to suggest a counter-narrative: - Pierre Omidyar and Jeff Bezos separately invested in it, while Mitch Kapor was a founding investor. - When he was Microsoft's technology evangelist, Robert Scoble declared "Second Life /is/ an operating system " and that "Microsoft needs to pay deep attention to it ". - IBM is investing $10 million to develop a technology lab within it . (Note that they are not investing that money in Linden Lab the company, but just like Anshe Chung or any other successful Resident, using to buy land virtual land and finance in-world development they plan to do there.) - For the last two years, total user hours and number of land owners, along with economic activity, have been growing at geometric rates . Second Life is not a YouTube-level phenomenon, and I personally suspect it'll be quite awhile before it reaches that stratosphere (say three years), let alone become the Net's next generation (say ten years). From my vantage, however, I'd say Linden Lab's hardest hurdles toward those milestones are not waning hype, as Clay evidently thinks, but the inherent limitations of their own architecture. Can they really build a fully streamed world comprised of tens of thousands of servers? That's way above my paygrade, but I'll guess that challenge fits under the rubric of Fricking Hard. Can they fix a profoundly unfriendly user interface and thoroughly disorienting first hour user experience, which are aggressively, almost intentionally unwelcoming to the vast majority of interested users? Both shortcomings are at the heart of Second Life's poor rentention rates, but neither have significantly changed in the three years since its commercial release. You have to wonder, whatever their stated intentions, if Linden's tech-centric corporate culture simply puts their improvement at a low priority. (I have a dream, and in that dream, Linden Lab developers are locked inside 1100 Sansome /with their own mothers/, and not let out until they've improved the interface sufficiently enough so that their dear moms can easily use it.) Tateru Still, the world keeps growing, and shows no sign of plateau. I mentioned SL demographic expert Tateru Nino , so I should close this out with a graph she crafted for me last night. Tateru's chart is the growth rate of regular users, based on current account growth and 15% retention rates, and it shows how large Second Life will meaningfully be, same time next year: [link to graph showing SL active users exceeding 1 million] Will Clay Shirky count 1,175,000 active Second Life Residents as hype, or something closer to his "Immanent Shift in the Way We Live®"? That will, I suppose, have to wait until next December. Whatever the case, I do hope Clay gets his way, and reporters only cite that figure of active users- and not the seven million accounts it'll take to reach that number. **Clay Shirky's first-hand experience with Second Life (e-mail to the author, re-posted with permission):* I've tried Second Life three times, in different incarnations. I got a pre-launch walkthrough of Second Life from Mitch and Philip several years ago at PC Forum (in 2002, I think) which was more of a conceptual demo than anything. I used the service in 2004 for a bit, to see the state of play in comparison with There Inc.- there were not many users then, but the tech was obviously getting good. Most recently, I logged in once over the summer and once a couple of months ago with a new avatar each time, but after a short orientation period, I realized that /my/ use of SL wasn't actually what I was interested in. In the same way that I am too married and too employed to have much use for Friendster et fils, my own reaction to SL is irrelevant. And this, I think, is the key point of that piece -- I am not criticizing the in-world experience, or wondering why anyone would spend their time in Second Life doing X. I'm too old a Usenet hand for that; after pouring two years of my life down the sink of alt.folklore.urban, I'm not one to pass judgment on the experiences other people find engaging. But the target of the piece isn't the users, it's the press, mainly, and Linden Lab as enablers. Authenticity of individual user experience is beyond external criticism, but social cues about engagement or utility are not. In a network with no gatekeeper, social judgment is our first-order filter, and perversion of that judgment is therefore a serious risk. My question is not "What is exciting the passionate users of Second Life?" or even "Where are those users taking the platform?" Those are both interesting questions, but irrelevant to my current concern. My question is a lot simpler: "How many passionate users are there, both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of the whole?" A related question is "Why is that number so hard to get to, and why is the press (wilfully? cluelessly?) reporting logins as a metric for those users?" -clay

Entrance Restrictions (3, Insightful)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 7 years ago | (#17289244)

Don't we wail about Newbies everywhere else? There could be a side benefit that only certain people "get it" and stay. Anyone who doesn't ... "doesn't deserve to be there".

External world communities are rampant with unspoken restrictions. Some call you a Greenhorn for five years after you move there.

Re:Entrance Restrictions (4, Insightful)

HappySqurriel (1010623) | more than 7 years ago | (#17289562)

Don't we wail about Newbies everywhere else? There could be a side benefit that only certain people "get it" and stay. Anyone who doesn't ... "doesn't deserve to be there".

And the benefit is that you have a Massively Multiplayer Game that lacks the Massively Multiplayer part ...

I could be wrong, but from my understanding Second Life was a game that was largely based around user generated content; the game gets better as you attract more people to develop interesting content within your game. If you actively discourage people from playing a game like this you will probably scare away a lot of people who could bring a lot of value to it; consider that a lot of "artistic" people have a great deal of difficulty just "getting" a user interface that makes sense to technical people.

Re:Entrance Restrictions (2, Interesting)

Lordfly (590616) | more than 7 years ago | (#17289674)

That's the way it should work, yes. But any sort of "professional" or "artistic" content gets pushed aside by the free market. People in SL who are the consumers just want to, generally, get their fetishes on, hire hookers, dance at clubs, and gamble at casinos. That's it.

Art museums, discussions, roleplaying, etc. all still happen, but they are, as a rule, harder to find.

Re:Entrance Restrictions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17290866)

But any sort of "professional" or "artistic" content gets pushed aside by the free market.

Hey, whaddya know, it's just like the first life, except with fewer people whining that they should get foie gras, 6 bedroom mansions and rolls royces for free.

Re:Entrance Restrictions (4, Insightful)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#17290520)

I could be wrong, but from my understanding Second Life was a game that was largely based around user generated content; the game gets better as you attract more people to develop interesting content within your game. If you actively discourage people from playing a game like this you will probably scare away a lot of people who could bring a lot of value to it; consider that a lot of "artistic" people have a great deal of difficulty just "getting" a user interface that makes sense to technical people.


I haven't played SL much. Just a few days as a n00b. But from what I gather, building objects (the confusing part) is a technical AND artistic. Designing objects is one thing, but then you have to script them to make them do interesting things. Scripting is technical. There is really no way to get around that. One might liken it to designing a website with Javascript and server side scripting. Doing it well is not easy. And it isn't for everyone.

-matthew

Re:Entrance Restrictions (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 7 years ago | (#17290118)

Don't we wail about Newbies everywhere else? There could be a side benefit that only certain people "get it" and stay.

A benefit to you, perhaps, but a benefit to Linden Labs, who would like to make some $$$ off these people? A benefit to companies who might want to set up a "virtual presence" in Second Life somewhere? Maybe, but probably not.

Re:Entrance Restrictions (1, Flamebait)

@madeus (24818) | more than 7 years ago | (#17290822)

Don't we wail about Newbies everywhere else? There could be a side benefit that only certain people "get it" and stay. Anyone who doesn't ... "doesn't deserve to be there".

In this case, I think the problem is the interface is terrible and clearly designed by someone who doesn't 'get it' - personally I find it easier to create my own objects in OpenGL in my own code than using their interface to do the same thing, it really is that clunky. Even moving around is painful thanks to floaty controls and because the client side collision detection is terrible. That's some pretty basic stuff to have nailed down, I would be embarrassed to have written this software.

Added to that the 'real time streaming' aspect of it is dire too. Either their peering/transit isn't that great, or, I suspect, their systems often just can't handle the load. The client does nothing to help matters but not caching sufficiently, and being very slow to read from cache when it is. It doesn't handle drawing-in objects in the world well either, no attempt to fill them in nicely (when it could draw a construction banner around them while it loads a building or given area, for example).

Lastly, the rendering performance, features and quality of 3D engine are all poor! Even on an AMD-FX CPU, a couple of gigs of DDR RAM and two 7800 GTX cards in SLI it's still slow as hell (even without it really bothering to do things like collision detection). God knows what it's doing, it performs like a developers 'my first DirectX 3D environment' run on an old Pentium 2 Celeron (really, genuinely).

The whole thing is an over hyped marketing exercise of no technical merit IMO, and it's never going to take off because it's so badly broken (unless it's entirely re-worked, to the extent it's a new product - but I figure that's highly unlikely). Star Wars Galaxy with it's player built cities w/ deforming terrain (but fixed 'craftable' items) was far better executed technically, and even it wasn't all that great in that respect (for example, it too suffered from pop up because they didn't bother to put in client side caching for player placed world objects).

It certainly is an exclusive community - essentially just of people all trying to make money selling goods, mostly to no-one and (believe it or not, it's really true) a large furry community [wikipedia.org] , for some reason I can't fathom. I don't think may people who arn't trying to make money on it are interested in using the software beyond a brief trial for a couple of days.

Personally, if they didn't know how to write their own engine (which they clearly didn't) I think they should have done what both World of Warcraft and Lineage 2 (and 3) have done and just licensed the Unreal engine (or used similar). Then content creators could have created models in a decent external modelling tool, allowing them to add sophisticated animations to them. The collision detection would work, the performance would be great and getting the controls right would have been easy (just a case of 'tweak a the example code from the engine vendor'.

The Metaverse concept of Second Life is still attractive, but the Linden Labs implementation is just stupidly bad. Same problem with Active Worlds and a host of other similar offerings. It's like no one in these company has ever tried an MMOG (or indeed used any interface featuring standard click to move / WASD controls). I can understand a lack of polish, but the consistent inability of these companies to get the fundamentals like movement right is something I find mind boggling.

Re:Entrance Restrictions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17294352)

None of the 3D engines you talk about could handle the job. All of them precompute and cache things to speed up the display. Second Life cannot do that because absolutely everything in the world is dynamic.

Now, perhaps, the engine could do with optimising more... but you cannot compare it with Quake/Unreal etc etc. It does MUCH more work per frame.

Not flamebait (the software is sucky, sorry) (1)

@madeus (24818) | more than 7 years ago | (#17300072)

Note for anyone reading this, my previous post was not 'flamebait', it's true, the software sucks for the reasons I've outlined. I have nothing against Linden Labs or Second Life or any other online 'virtual worlds' vendors and it's fair to point out they almost all suck for largely the same reasons, but suck they do.

None of the 3D engines you talk about could handle the job. All of them precompute and cache things to speed up the display.

Those two things are not mutually exclusive. You can easily have a scripting engine, set item box boundries and define levels of interactivity (and even do animations) all in real time using mostly pre-rendered objects (e.g. in the case of animations even making an 'object', such as a beach buggy, out of say 5 objects tied together (i.e. a chassis object and four wheel objects)).

Second Life cannot do that because absolutely everything in the world is dynamic.

Not so, which you'd realise if you'd put a little thought into it.

Now, perhaps, the engine could do with optimising more... but you cannot compare it with Quake/Unreal etc etc. It does MUCH more work per frame.

There is no perhaps about it, even for what it is doing in real time it should be a lot faster, they have do be doing something deserving of The Daily WTF [thedailywtf.com] for it to be running as badly as it does, truly. The developers of the major physics engines, such as Havoc, have real time demo code that puts the poor performance of SL's engine into prespective (demos which do a lot more with a large number of primitive objects and with really good collition detection on them).

I am quite aware of the (obvious) differences between the SL engine and say the Unreal, Quake or Battlfield series engines (with their pre-rendered worlds and objects). The whole idea behind having pre-built models is that it would solve a lot of the problems that SL developers have not been able to resolve.

None of that precludes it from still from having fully interactable pre-built models that can be downloaded on the fly (in fact, IIRC, the Quake series has had the option for players to have their own models that can be sent out to clients only the fly during a match since Quake 2 / 3, which must be like ~ 8 years ago now - and that was when most players at the time where 56k - a simple example, but proves the point somewhat).

A more relevant example might be Soldner - while it is infamous for a myriad of other reasons (it was abandoned commercially before being finished, has broken netcode and was quite unstable and JoWooD, the production company behind it, are widely disliked) the actual 3D performs well and looks reasonable, has fully deformable terrain that streches for miles, and is highly interactable (with scriptable pre-rendered objects - e.g. buildings with walls that can be demolished by tank shells, destructable doors and windows).

It's not a huge leap to think of how you'd then add the dynamic downloading of pre-built (scripted) objects.

Re:Not flamebait (the software is sucky, sorry) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17301444)

Those two things are not mutually exclusive.

They are when the content is as dynamic as it is in Second Life... as you would realise, had you put a little thought into it. If you actually knew a little bit about 3D engines -- and more to the point, about how Second Life works -- you would know this. You obviously don't... which makes your original post most definitely flamebait. The developers of Havoc would say THE SAME THINGS AS I AM... their demo is not actually dynamic, most of the textures etc are precalculated. It is demonstrating the physics, not showing off the 3d card.

Yet more on SL... (1)

@madeus (24818) | more than 7 years ago | (#17305618)

They are when the content is as dynamic as it is in Second Life... as you would realise, had you put a little thought into it.

Regarding "is as dynamic as it is in Second Life" it is of course worth me pointing out that most objects in SL you'd expect to be dynamic (cars, jet packs, robot suits, etc.) have little or no actual animation going on. If you are lucky you'll get some (annoying) scripted sound and a single short and simple animation (for example, a door might open and close on someone's house).

From an end user perspective functionally it wouldn't make a bit of difference to the level of interactivity of objects were pre-built once the creator was ready to publish them. You could still have doors that open when you click the handle, windows that can be rolled down on a car, wheels that spin, lights that flash or wing mirrors that could be moved. You could still have buildings with revolving doors, escalators and be able to place other objects in them if you wanted.

I don't know why you don't get that. If you still disagree, try giving me an example of an interactive object that you couldn't do with a pre-rendered model (bearing in mind my previous comment about objects being able to be made of objects and support for scripting and dynamic boundary boxes). Two or three would be good, some nice practical examples, a sentence each should be fine unless you'd like to expand on them.

If you actually knew a little bit about 3D engines

I'm a developer for a living, and I've written, for fun, 3D software starting with QuickDraw 3D (going back a decade) and moving to OpenGL. I don't do anything as interesting as games development for a living but I do know quite a bit about existing engines, model design, level design and event scripting in modern 3D software. I'm not about to write an engine any time soon, but I'm comfortable with OpenGL, and discussing features of modern engines (parallax mapping, GLSL, volumetric shadows vs. shadow mapping - and other neat stuff SL's graphics engine doesn't have).

The developers of Havoc would say THE SAME THINGS AS I AM... their demo is not actually dynamic, most of the textures etc are precalculated. It is demonstrating the physics, not showing off the 3d card.

I disagree. I certainly think the Havok developers would make a robust co-hereat argument either way. I tend to think they would disagree with your apparent assertion that writing your own graphics engine (such as it is) rather than just licensing one (like SL licensed their physics engine) would be the best way to go.

Actually, I was thinking of one of the completely straight up texture-less demo's from Havok, as it happens. I did laugh at the line 'textures etc are precalulated' -(e.g. Do you think SL uses procedural textures? What do you actually think 'etc' might include? How would you imagine that line of argument makes SL look better, rather than worse (given the straight up Havok demo's are real physics and animation time too)?

As mentioned, SL uses the Havok engine as does Halo and - most relevant of all here - Half Life 2, it just doesn't preform as well, and that's even though it's level of sophistication when it comes to object interaction is not nearly as impressive as HL2. Not that it needs to, but it could at least try and come close enough to not be the sort of nightmare users have described try to use here. The excesses possible in Garry's mod for HL2 (with scriptable objects, AI, rag dolls and real time physics) are a good example of what SL could be be like, if it was any good.

Now I wouldn't use the HL2 engine because it's not really up to handling very large terrain (unlike the Unreal engine, or the ID's new engine for Quake Wars, or even Soldner's terrain engine - personally that's my favourite part of it, I think it's technically kick ass) but is no reason in the world why you couldn't add dynamically downloaded pre-built scripted objects (take something like the car from HL2) to an engine like Unreal Warfare/3 and have that object have realistic physics and interact realistically with it's surroundings - and of course other objects.

My point is, not only is what I've described possible (in a way that should be obvious to any developer) it would be a better experience because an existing, decent engine would give for a smoother, more polished and much more glitch free experience (rather than the in-house effort which seems to have been done without sufficient expertise, given how long it's been the way it is - they seem to not know how to fix it, or not realise how much or a problem it is).

Tips (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17289262)

My guess is that a fully relational database with foreign key checks would speed things up MIGHTILY, easily scalable to past 30k machines. Don't worry about adding more RAM to the system, a raid 1+0 system should be fine for speed.

Re:Tips (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 7 years ago | (#17290374)

or ms access on vista. i hear it is the bomb.

Oh no! It's hard! I'm scared! (2, Insightful)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#17289284)

Can they really build a fully streamed world comprised of tens of thousands of servers? That's way above my paygrade, but I'll guess that task fits under the rubric of Fricking Hard.

I don't want this to sound like a blanket indictment, because some studios get this right, but a lot of the unreliability, and failure to execute on difficult tasks in the gaming industry is due to the moronic staffing decisions of many game development companies. I haven't played Second Life, so for all I know (and from the sounds of it) maybe they got it right. A fully streamed world comprised of thens of thousands of servers? Sounds like some work, but it sounds completely feasible. When you're only willing to hire people who want to work in games so badly that they're drooling all over themselves at the opportunity and thus are willing to work at well below industry average pay level, what do you think you are going to get?

There are people out there who have built massive clusters and have decades of experience solving these problems... But they usually don't work in games, because they can make five times as much in other industries. When a company comes along and runs a game studio like a real software company, people who are stuck in the more traditional 'you should thank your lucky stars you are working in games' mindset shouldn't be too surprised when that company actually succeeds at problems that were considered too hard in the past.

Re:Oh no! It's hard! I'm scared! (1)

TodMinuit (1026042) | more than 7 years ago | (#17289476)

There's a video [google.com] up on Google Video of the Second Life guys giving a talk about how their system works. Yeah, it is a fully streamed world. They actually stream vertices.

Re:Oh no! It's hard! I'm scared! (1)

AugstWest (79042) | more than 7 years ago | (#17289696)

To me, and possibly to the writers, it isn't "hard" as in "difficult," it's "hard" as in "figuring out how to have fun."

I've made 3 attempts now over the years to get into it, and it just doesn't grab me at all. The UI doesn't lend itself to exploring fun things, it's more like "how the hell do I... Nope, that doesn't work."

The tutorial in Eve Online has been revamped 4 or 5 times now, and it is a great game for tthe new player now, despite the depth the game has. As of a couple of weeks ago, new players staart out at a level that used to take almost a month and a half to attain.

The point is, companies like CCP are spending time and money on improving the new user experience, and Lindtech doesn't seem interested in it, from my perspective. It could increase their user retention and greatly increase their revenue, but it's not a priority, it would seem.

I tried second life (4, Informative)

sam_paris (919837) | more than 7 years ago | (#17289470)

Sorry to any big fans here but my experience sucked. The user interface is incredibly unfriendly and unresponsive, the graphics are appalling, the animation shocking and the sound lamentable.

After playing WoW for a few months and seeing how fluid, beautiful and easy to use a virtual world can be, Second Life was a shocking kick in the nether regions. It reminded me of very early 3D games with no collision detection and collosal clipping issues.

Yes I know it's streamed and if that's the primary cause of it's issues then it shouldn't be.

Additionally, for my first hour I wandered around trying to find something to do but was profoundly ignored by my fellow "2nd lifers", presumably because I looked like a newb.

If the developers could at least sort out the shocking camera and other control issues I may consider retrying it. I spend about 10 minutes of my first hour working out how to unzoom the camera which was permanently stuck 50 yards behind my guy.

Re:I tried second life (2, Insightful)

foolish (46697) | more than 7 years ago | (#17290204)

As someone who has tried three or four times now to "get it" I have to concur with your assessment. Either you have to know and incredibly active social network of people already in, so that you can be guided and have shit explained to you, or you're stuck with the non-intuitive nature of the UI, world and environments.

Not to mention the furries, the sex clubs and the walking dildos. Or the assholes who setup content bombs that pop you.

Second Life is user created, but it has all the unattractive qualities of a fan-fic slush pile and MUSH combined, graphics that are from the mid-90s, and performance of a P90 trying to play DOOM3.

The first thing they really need to nail is the UI for just plain interacting. Then they need to nail the "base" avatar creation. As is, you can spend hours creating your first avatar and it will still look like shit, whereas in most other virtual worlds, you fiddle with a few sliders and have a respectable-looking avatar.

I'd love to find a reason to stay, but Second Life doesn't seem to want to "get it" to the idea of bringing new people in who want a world on par with the other virtual worlds they are already interacting in. If aesthetics/content/performance don't matter, then I could use IM and "myspace" much more effectively in networking than Second life will ever be. If they do matter, then they need base content and performance that is of peer-quality to the current state of the industry.

   

Re:I tried second life (1)

HeavenlyBankAcct (1024233) | more than 7 years ago | (#17293906)

Agreed. Entirely. Linden Labs might be wise to take note that actually creating a quality product still does matter, no matter how much of your content can ultimately be blamed on "well, it's a USER-GENERATED world, so..."

Re:I tried second life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17294148)

I think a lot of the problems that people have with Second Life depend on where they end up when they are "born". Many places in SL are nasty and unpleasant, and respond poorly to newbies. If you are lucky enough, as I was, to wash up at a place that is setup for newbies, like The Shelter... then I'll bet the churn rate is much lower.

You still can't get away from the dickhead griefers and pests... but a properly looked after place full of nice people who welcome newbies does wonders. It worked for me.

Re:I tried second life (1)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 7 years ago | (#17294144)

After playing WoW for a few months and seeing how fluid, beautiful and easy to use a virtual world can be, Second Life was a shocking kick in the nether regions. It reminded me of very early 3D games with no collision detection and collosal clipping issues.
Uh, WoW has "no collision detection and collosal clipping issues" too. What WoW doesn't have is the ability for people to create their own stuff -- in fact, even for a MMORPG it's on rails.

Re:I tried second life (1)

sam_paris (919837) | more than 7 years ago | (#17294190)

What are you talking about? I was saying that second life had clipping and collision detection issues, not that WoW has them.

Re:I tried second life (1)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 7 years ago | (#17294382)

I'm talking about the fact that while I'll readily admit that Second Life looks like a cruise ship threw up on it, WoW does in fact have far worse clipping and collision issues than SL. Ironically, in WoW, a game where one might like to use tactics, players and mobs can pass straight through each other, preventing any sort of defensive line from being created. It's SL, which is basically just one big 3D chat room with a bit of macro stuff, where you can't just pass through other players.

Re:I tried second life (1)

Das Modell (969371) | more than 7 years ago | (#17297914)

Mobs and players passing through each other is intentional. Creating defensive lines just isn't part of the gameplay. I'm assuming that the clipping and and collission issues in SL really are issues, and not intentional design choices.

Re:I tried second life (1)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 7 years ago | (#17298796)

Uh-huh. Look up the video of a female Tauren trying to jump through the window that gives access to Molten Core.

Re:I tried second life (1)

Das Modell (969371) | more than 7 years ago | (#17299462)

I'm not going to magically look up a random video, so you'd better link to it or describe what happens.

Re:I tried second life (1)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 7 years ago | (#17306674)

She don't fit. [zealguild.com]

Re:I tried second life (1)

sam_paris (919837) | more than 7 years ago | (#17300700)

Exactly. WoW is designed so that players and mobs cant pass through each other and it works fine like that. However, with the scenery I have noticed no clipping problems. Considering the huge size of the WoW world and its complexity, there are remarkably few technical issues. However, in SL just walking down the street is difficult, the control is like iceskating whilst having two bricks strapped to your feet and the flying mechanics are terrible too.

Re:I tried second life (1)

alexgieg (948359) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295172)

WoW isn't perfect, but the one thing it has that 2nd Life should copy NOW, is the way you control your character.

No, seriously: walking in 2L is slow. Running is bizarre. WoW's way of handling this is so much better! Left-click: select. Right-click: use/sit/go there. Both-buttons: walk/run (it doesn't matter if you're in 1st or 3rd-person). Space: jump. Scroll button: camera distance (including entering and exiting 1st person mode). Mouse-movement: select direction (up, down, left, right) of movement/camera if a button is pressed.

I've tried 2nd Life for two days. But I just don't feel comfortable moving around. It's cumbersome and frustrating, no matter how much I try to like it.

And in regards to the way the environment is a streaming, why the hell can't LL feed with at least the wire-frame of the outside of buildings in the near area, while caching it for the remaining areas around? I don't mind waiting for actual textures and the like to load, but I surely expect to at least know in advance that something is there to be loaded. And, yes, that includes having a decent pre-rendered map that doesn't take 10 minutes to load. I don't mind if it's updated only once a week: just put it there anyway.

All in all, 2nd Life still seems to be a beta product. It's far, far away from an actual version 1.0. I'll try again in one or two years, but until then, forget it. It's not worth the effort.

Re:I tried second life (1)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295588)

The best way to move around in SL is:
  • When walking/running, use the WASD keys (with chat closed), hold the left mouse button down on your character and steer with the mouse. In this mode, the A and D buttons change from turn to strafe.
  • When flying, it's basically the same as above, except you should zoom all the way into mouse look rather than using the left mouse button.

Re:I tried second life (1)

alexgieg (948359) | more than 7 years ago | (#17298914)

Yep, I know. And it's precisely this way of moving that I find cumbersome and unintuitive. WASD is very imprecise: either too slow or too fast. Having to click on my avatar is something that makes no sense, and thus I always forget to do it.

Alas, this clicking is not only idiotic, but also prone to error. If I don't click in the precise spot of my avatar that 2nd Life understands to mean the avatar as a whole, it'll think I'm clicking some piece of cloth or some appendage, with unpredictable results. I've lost the count of times it ended in my avatar losing its mask, and in me having to open my inventory and search for it to put it back. The inventory itself, by the way, is a complete nightmare to manage, but let's not dwell into that.

It's as if LL forgot such a thing is supposed to have the word "user" before the word "interface". Sure, those who're used to it probably can do well. But that doesn't mean it isn't very badly designed. "Poor" is too light a word to describe 2nd Life's GUI.

Re:I tried second life (1)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 7 years ago | (#17306744)

Left-click, not right-click.

If fine control was necessary in SL, I'd agree with you, but it's just a glorified chat room. As long as you can get close enough to a chair to right-click and select Sit, does it really matter? That said, navigating with WASD and the mouse in the manner I've described is pretty much the same degree of control has you have in, say, World of Warcraft. It may not be up to FPS standards, but for pottering around it's plenty good enough.

Re:I tried second life (1)

vaporland (713337) | more than 7 years ago | (#17296040)

the fun part for me about second life is going where few people are and enjoying the scenery. it is amazing what people come up with - some of it is tacky and some is ugly, but some of it is downright amazing.

i've chatted with a few people, but mostly i wander around and don't make trouble - i find it somewhat hypnotic.

it is worth spending time to figure out . . .

Re:I tried second life (2, Interesting)

kionel (600472) | more than 7 years ago | (#17300482)

I've tried Second Life twice. It was dreadful both times.

1. The User Interface: Yes, it's really as bad as you've heard. Here I am, an ex-IT, lifelong computer-using guy, and I couldn't figure out how to do squat.

Fix it, Linden.

2. The Graphics: The very best that 1999 has to offer.

Of course, this is probably due to number four below.

3. The "Content": User-created content? Intruiging. Pity it turns out to be mostly empty buildings, shops pushing expensive and difficult-to-use items (seriously, even putting on clothes is hard!), and, of course, porn, porn, porn.

4. The Streaming World: Virtual World? Destroy your immersion with real-time streaming content!

Okay, so, streaming makes the front-end client teensy tiny. Thing is, it also means that you always have to wait for the world to actually show up. Even if you do master the poor movement controls, hostile interface, and confusing content management system, you'll still be left waiting for something to actually do.

4. Porn: I'm not a prude. I likes me my porn. But the way it's handled in SecondLife was uniformly tacky. The constant barrage of images, vids, animations (yikes!) made me feel like I'd stumbled into a low-res version of Larry Flynt's brain.

That being said, all that content did make the world slightly more immersive: It made me imagine that the streets of Second Life were sticky.

5. Lack of Users: Except for the newbie entrances and the porn palaces, the world seemed completely empty. Vast shops with no one inside. Replica starships without any visitors. Interactive games waiting for users. It was just sad.

Ironically enough, I do plan a return visit. This time I plan to try out their 3D Modeling and Scripting tools. Maybe I can create an interactive "Maybe You Should Be Playing WoW Instead!" sign...

Not to mention... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17289506)

...all the furries. That's enough to scare anyone off.

As a longtime user... (4, Interesting)

Lordfly (590616) | more than 7 years ago | (#17289532)

...(3.5 years and counting), I've seen it explode from scarcely 50 people online at a time to now more than 20,000.

Since it began it's always had a hard time keeping new users. I think the way it's setup (completely user-created content, so there's less of a "wow" factor to people who just want to consume) means that you either "get it" and stay there, or you don't and leave immediately. The 10% churn rate cited in the article soudns about right; I've introduced something like two dozen people to SL, only one (my gf) stayed on, and that's probably only because I'm such a big fan of it.

SL needs a more compelling new user experience (professionally done content, some sort of direction, quests, whatever) if they want to keep people there for more than five minutes. PRoblem is, no matter how much professional content you throw at the newbie, once the newbie experience is done, you're still thrown in the middle of the content quagmire of SL; cube houses, poorly textured sex clubs, and rigged casinos.

For someone who just wants to experience things, unless you're incredibly social, you won't last in SL. For the creative types there's more of a stick.

Generally speaking, though, if you have to ask "what's the point of this place", you dont' get it. :)

Re:As a longtime user... (2, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 7 years ago | (#17290076)

For someone who just wants to experience things, unless you're incredibly social, you won't last in SL. For the creative types there's more of a stick.
The real question isn't whether or not a Second Life user "gets it", it's a question of whether those who "get it" are numerous and interesting enough for real-world companies to consider a Second Life presence... or for Linden Labs will be able to remain financially solvent. I have more doubts about these issues.

Re:As a longtime user... (1)

Lordfly (590616) | more than 7 years ago | (#17290242)

The real question isn't whether or not a Second Life user "gets it", it's a question of whether those who "get it" are numerous and interesting enough for real-world companies to consider a Second Life presence... or for Linden Labs will be able to remain financially solvent. I have more doubts about these issues.

Yeah... the thing is, further, that the folks who "get it" and make the content tend to not want to be bothered by real corporations coming in -- indeed, they become direct competition.

Linden Lab has been "close to" profitability running on two years now; they remind me of Amazon.com. The interesting thing is that LL doesn't really financially benefit all that much from these huge companies moving in -- rather, these companies are being brought in by other companies, usually run by SL residents. The most LL sees out of this is a few more islands as revenue and the pains of more press releases driving more newbies to their door before they're ready for them.

Re:As a longtime user... (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295380)

...(3.5 years and counting),

After all that time, you still have your eyesight?

I tried it for about an hour and I had a headache... and it nearly made my eyes bleed.

I have never, not since the very early days of 3d games, seen such poor graphics or poor performance.

Or is there some trick to getting decent quality out of it? If so, please tell because I'd gladly give secondlife a secondchance!

I mean, looking at the "screen shots" from secondlife that I see in magazines and on websites I wonder how on earth they got such extremely high quality rendering out of secondlife while on hardware which plays WoW perfectly well, secondlife is like throwback to the '80s.

Or are those "screen shots" pure false advertising?

Re:As a longtime user... (1)

Lordfly (590616) | more than 7 years ago | (#17297172)

You're looking at the general landscape of SL and going "zomg it's not as pretty as WoW."

This is because SL is created by amateur hobbyists, and WoW is produced by a 100+ member team of paid professionals.

It's like comparing the works of Da Vinci to your seven year old's crayon scribblings.

If you go to places where care, thought, and professionalism were done in SL, you can find graphics that can easily rival most MMORPGs on the market. Nakema, Millions of Us Island, Reuters Island, Numbakalla, etc. are all excellent examples of what you can do with the technology there.

Re:As a longtime user... (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 7 years ago | (#17302080)

Ok well you know what?

If its *capable* of decent graphics, why don't they make the start area -- everyones first impression of the game -- a showcase of what its capable of?

Given the poor performance of even that, very simple area, I dread to think what a high-end area would do to the game engine; it has a hard enough time rendering simple textures and simple models.

Re:As a longtime user... (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 7 years ago | (#17297660)

The screenshots are real. A good graphics card and all preferences at maximum, will produce that quality.

The 3D performance of SL is largely due to the fact that it has user created content. This is not so much because users create lousy content, but rather due to the constant streaming you have to do. Second Life can't just cache everything forever. Objects in WoW won't change shape every few seconds, in Second Life they can and they need to be synchronized to all clients, so the servers will have to process and handle the changes.

That's not to say there is no room for improvement. Support for graphics cards is pretty bad and since all shapes are mathematical models, one would expect them to be smoother if your computer can handle it. Partly this probably has to do with the idea that every client should get kind of the same user experience, so you can't aim for high-end, partly it's because they don't seem to handle graphics hardware all that well.

Re:As a longtime user... (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 7 years ago | (#17297916)

Partly this probably has to do with the idea that every client should get kind of the same user experience, so you can't aim for high-end, partly it's because they don't seem to handle graphics hardware all that well.

I guess that consistency really confuses people.

I tried it on a Mac G4 and on a high-end PC and the performance and appearance was *exactly* the same which was a little disconcerting for some reason.

Re:As a longtime user... (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 7 years ago | (#17300354)

The biggest problem I saw was that while the vertexes are streamed from each one of the several thousand "region" servers, the textures are all stuck coming from one severely overloaded texture server. Apparently distributing this load is very technically challenging (although I'm not sure why) so they're stuck with that pile of molten metal that is the texture server.

Re:As a longtime user... (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 7 years ago | (#17310030)

That does sound wierd.

Are you sure they're not load-balancing behind the scenes?

Seems to me it would be trivial to balance based on the GUID of textures. E.g. every odd one from server 1, ever even one on server 2. Or any simplistic balancing method, for that matter.

My experience (1)

bkg_cjb (952573) | more than 7 years ago | (#17289946)

I tried Second Life. I guess I didn't make my character "beautiful" enough, because I got constant "yells" of "How dare you sign on looking like that" etc. Must've been the pot belly. As far as I could tell it was just a bunch of sex rooms with pixelated choppy (but meticulously dressed) characters awkwardly flirting and touching each other. It was rather entertaining when I told my character to "disco dance" over to them naked, and they ran away. The interface is horrible too, as many people have noted. Real Life is much better, to be honest.

Re:My experience (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17291588)

Must've been the pot belly... It was rather entertaining when I told my character to "disco dance" over to them naked, and they ran away... Real Life is much better, to be honest.

Please compile a list of any real life clubs you visit (if any) so that us fellow persons may avoid such eye bleeding activities you partake in.

I guess... (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 7 years ago | (#17298202)

You've not gone in as a furry *!* in most rooms. (Even the default ringtail will get you virtua-laid, and the detail that goes into that.. well, I'll let you discover the surprise for yourself!) *!* I am a furry. Just as an FYI.

Re:My experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17300366)

Yeah, that's about the only thing a good portion of the Second Lifer's do, is try to hook up. If they aren't trying to make money, they are there for poor virtual sex.

There.com (1)

Kirmeo (909604) | more than 7 years ago | (#17290006)

What's the feeling out there about There [there.com] ? I've been in on it since it was in beta in 2003 and I've had a lot of fun with it. Some things work better than others as far as what the designers intended.

Re:There.com (2, Informative)

Lordfly (590616) | more than 7 years ago | (#17290062)

There hasn't updated it's technology significantly since early 2004 (with the exception of MTV's Laguna Beach). They've lost most of their developers since almost going under, and haven't really grown much.

Their main impetus to growth is the insistence of screening all custom content before approving it, and then taking a commission for each sale. It tends to limit growth as most people are interested in sex stuff (look at SL).

Re:There.com (1)

aicrules (819392) | more than 7 years ago | (#17293214)

I think There.com was either a sibling or even a predecessor to Second Life. I tried There.com a long while back and I seem to recall it shifting to Second Life somehow...

Re:There.com (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295634)

I'd been playing VLB for a while and decided to give There a go.

I don't think I'll be going back to There in a hurry;

Performance of There wasn't as good as VLB. VLB has its freezes and lag and repeat animation sequences but in over a month I'd not seen anything as bad as I experienced in There in my first hour. Not even when VLB servers were being rebooted...

There is far more commercialised than VLB; I'd taken the compass and summoning for granted only to find that in There I had to pay for these... you only get to be able to summon people in There once you are premium. And the compass in There is an addon which premium members have to PAY for seperately. In VLB I am using a GPS add-on to the compass originally developed for There and I am using it for FREE.

They get it wrong - as usual (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 7 years ago | (#17290486)

From TFA:

What's more, we've reached the point where the world's content creators now bypass Linden Lab entirely, to hold their own press conferences. Clay mentions recent news of Anshe Chung, the Second Life avatar putatively worth a million dollars, and he's smart to be skeptical about that figure, as was I. (When asked about it, Philip Rosedale pointed out to me that Anshe's assets are not as "illiquid" as Clay seems to think, since she can put up her virtual land holdings on the auction market immediately.)

Being able to put something up an auction does not a liquid asset make. Having a viable market makes an asset liquid.
 
That being said; Anshe controls thousands of sims - and typically only a dozen (non-Anshe) or so sims are up for sale at any given time. Equally typically - it's one of a dozen or so 'mid market' land barons who end up buying the sims at auction. This suggests to me that Anshe indeed isn't liquid, as it's extremely unlikely that she could find full price buyers for more than a minority of her sims.

Re:They get it wrong - as usual (1)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 7 years ago | (#17297232)

I think you miss the point entirely: there is no "market" in Second Life. The TOS states that Linden Labs can terminate your account whenever they please, taking your "assets" with it. So even if the game economy was in such a state where your million dollars of "land" could be moved quickly, you're still screwed. Of course, EULAs are kind of a Wild West area of law (read: unsettled), but the language is pretty clear: if you agree to the contract, they own you.

Of course, such draconian private contracts would flourish in a truly "free" market, but that's another story...

I tried (1)

otacon (445694) | more than 7 years ago | (#17290498)

I tried it, it was boring so I ran around and and bothered people because there was NOTHING to do. I actually made the police blotter on the second life page. THAT was an accomplishment.

I always thought the problem with second life... (3, Informative)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 7 years ago | (#17290552)

was that it is a magnet for every sick and twisted loser the trolls around on the Internet. This article [somethingawful.com] , and the articles it links to, should be enough for anyone to understand exactly what kind of person likes second life.

Re:I always thought the problem with second life.. (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295700)

was that it is a magnet for every sick and twisted loser the trolls around on the Internet. This article, and the articles it links to, should be enough for anyone to understand exactly what kind of person likes second life

Wow, because I thought that the main 'magnet for every sick and twisted loser the trolls around on the Internet' was actually somethingawful.com, the site you link to. Hows that for ironic?

And yet another falls victim to stereotype (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 7 years ago | (#17298184)

Some of us get on SecondLife to learn the technology, and the felxibility it offers us. (Live, on-demand music from a user's webcam and line-input on their soundcard? Live concert, WHAT?!?!? Yes, I've done it.)

Unlimited isn't always a good thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17299194)

I tried Second Life and found it extremely sloppy. The frame rate was horibble, presenting Quake3 quality graphics. Everything seemed to need load time down to simple primitives, and my hard drive sounded like it was cooking popcord. The. Entire. Time. There was just too much being downloaded and it NEVER stopped.

The biggest problem is just that. If they had put file size limits on textures, object count limits, or anything to keep the amount of raw data being needlessly hurled at you to a managable degree, I might have enjoyed it more.

My roomate actually purchased an entire other machine just to play second life. I'm not talking about a doorstop either. Core-Duo, Brand spankin new graphics card, dual 10000 RPM hard drives... (I imagine that this is the kind of person SL appeals to: Bored super-teens with too much computer for their own good.)

It still looks horrible. Huge bitmaps of a rainbow, sent to his machine then shrunk to the size of a postage stamp without any aliasing. Animals with tails like melted ping pong balls. Endless fields of blotchy grass.

My other roomate and I take turns screaming at him when he kills all the bandwidth in the house so he can have a conversation with a talking bird while wearing a spacesuit. Something to the effect of, "Is using your imagination over AIM not cool anymore or something?"
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?