Back on March 1st 2006 Philip Rosedale and Cory Ondrejka presented a Google Tech Talk : Glimpse Inside a Metaverse: The Virtual World of Second Life. I’ll embed the video at the end of the post, it’s around an hour long but it gives a fascinating insight into where Second Life was over eight years ago.
An interesting point to note is that the presentation demonstrates Second Life in action but due to a database upgrade, the demonstration of Second Life could not be shown on the main grid. This exemplifies well the improvement in maintenance practices that we see in Second Life today, that sort of downtime generally doesn’t happen these days.
The video demonstrates well why Second Life was considered to have such great potential. Philip talks of the economy, the growth in land mass and how people could earn money and withdraw it via Paypal, which they can still very much do today. There’s no shipping involved in this sort of commerce, there’s no Visa requirements to work in an international market. Things have of course changed recently with identification requirements being more strictly applied, but you still don’t get dinged with shipping fees and you still don’t need a work Visa. However it should also be noted that a question is raised about IRS regulations, so even back in 2006 it seems that these things were on the horizon, people could see it coming.
The video demonstrates some of the creations of Starax, especially his wand which at the time, Cory suggested. cost USD$30.00, which took Philip by surprise although he does say how cool the wand was. He also discusses the success of Anshe Chung. There’s also an interesting point to be noted in terms of demographics. Back then the population was 43% female with an average age of 32 and an international population of 25%. I have no idea what the demographics are today but it would be interesting to see them.
There’s an interesting comparison between the World Of Warcraft model of using shards and Second Life’s one world model. Philip suggests that Second Life at the time was about as big as one World Of Warcraft shard. He also gives a nod to the fact that Eve-Online has a one world design, rather than shards.
A really good point with this video is that is explains a lot about how Second Life works, in pretty easy to understand terms. Cory describes the Second Life client as being “Incredibly dumb“. This isn’t an insult to viewer developers or the excellent strides they have made, it’s simply pointing out that a lot of Second Life’s work takes place server side, that content is streamed rather than stored locally. Now this is back in 2006 when the high speed broadband many of us experience today simply wasn’t available and yet, it worked.
However this was partially because by 2006 the cost of bandwidth had got a lot cheaper. Philip suggests that five years earlier they would probably have been out of business due to the cost of bandwidth.
Continue reading »