Dec 302011
 

This will be a rather long post as it’s a review of the year, this is the fourth in a series of annual posts, the other three look at different years… I think you’ll have worked that out already! This post isn’t made any easier by Linden Lab messing around with their blog, meaning links that were working at the time, no longer working. However that just means I get to read them again and catch up, so there is a plus side to that.

2011 brought us viewer improvements, Mesh, lot of bug fixes by Oz Linden and his team as well as new scripting functions. On the downside, Linden Lab’s use of the blog to inform us of new features and tools was pretty poor to say the least. I’ll miss plenty out in this review, I’ll also include trivial aspects, so let’s get this rolling.

January

Blue Mars reversed several gears and announced it would become an app for the iPhone and iPad, as is the way with these things, links in the linked article no longer work.

The Grid merger between adult and teen grids was in operation, this doesn’t seem to have caused many complications at all, with the exception of over zealous word filters but we’ll come to that later.

FJ Linden blogged about improvements, including talk of a new group chat system, improved region crossings, web based profiles and announced that the group limit was being raised from twenty five slots to forty two.

I moved my blog back here, after three and a bit years of being a guest blogger on Nobody Fugazi’s Your2ndPlace. Nobody Fugazi had generously allowed a few of us, including Marx Dudek, Arthur Fermi, Sarah Nerd, Jezebel Bailey and Konner McDonnell to blog on his site but as he no longer had a Second Life account and he was pondering what to do with the site, I suggested that he should concentrate on his own projects, none of the others threw anything at me over the suggestion!

New CEO and Aston Villa fan Rod Humble blogged about how he had been getting immersed in Second Life, exploring, building and scripting in his first few weeks and wearing a Toga too! I noted how he had a warm welcome, and also suggested Second Life would benefit from a better system for implementing NPC’s.

SL Marketplace changed its ratings system to match the three inworld maturity ratings of General, Moderate and Adult and promptly annoyed merchants because of how over zealous the word filter for automatically changing the maturity rating of a listing was, this one runs and runs.

Inara Pey reported that Esbee Linden was leaving, courtesy of Daniel Voyager reporting it! Daniel changed his blog during the year so old links don’t work.

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Dec 292011
 

MaxTut Wonder has created a rather interesting Jira:

Very slow rezzing for Mesh – highest lod does not rez at all – cause traffic shaping by internet provider

ISP Traffic Shaping can be a pain, I’ve experienced woes before when World of Warcraft traffic wasn’t being identified correctly. My ISP is supposed to give priority to games and live video streaming, but during the WoW woes, WoW traffic wasn’t getting a priority.

However with regards to Second Life, I’ve never noticed anything untoward that would make me think traffic shaping was an issue and as I’m on a better package these days, I wouldn’t expect it to be an issue but MaxTut Wonder is claiming there is an issue for him when it comes to Mesh items rezzing and he’s convinced it’s due to traffic shaping, as he states within the Jira comments.

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Dec 282011
 

I was going to blog about the year of 2011, or maybe search, but instead I’ll go for Mesh, which is in theme as shortly I’ll be logging off to go and watch part 2 of the BBC’s latest television version of Great Expectations, which is what many of us have of Mesh.

However not everyone is embracing Mesh, some even strictly forbid, even the 1920s Berlin Project, whom along with a list of rules, have a no mesh sign:

Mesh not yet allowed in 1920s Berlin

Poor old Mesh. The thing is that there are valid reasons for not wanting Mesh to be on display, but at the same time those valid reasons stifle the adoption of Mesh. Wear and create Mesh and be damned I say. The 1920s Berlin project explain their no Mesh stance in a blog post, which you can read here.

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Dec 272011
 

There seems to be a fair degree of divided opinion over the forthcoming tools for content creators, based largely around Rodvik’s statement on the official blog:

One of the key goals of Linden Realms was to learn more about what tools Residents could use to develop richer experiences in Second Life — and boy, did we learn a lot! In Q1 2012 , we will be releasing new tools used to develop Linden Realms, which will allow Residents to create even richer original experiences in Second Life. To prevent abuse of these tools, we will introduce a “creators” program in which verified members will be given access to these very powerful capabilities.”

There are arguments for and against such a program, there have long been arguments for and against such ideas. I’m currently very firmly on the fence about this as I believe the devil will be in the detail and some of Rodvik’s tweets have suggested it won’t be too painful, first this one:

“@AmaliaIllios Whats the dejavu? Curious I want to avoid anything bad. We are thinking some kind of minimal sign up program….”

Followed by this one:

“@AmaliaIllios ..basically so we can ban greifers who might abuse the tools (needed because they are really powerful). Hope that makes sense.”

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Dec 232011
 

Are you waiting for the family to arrive?

Are you sure you’ve got the room to spare room inside?

Does your granny always yell ya, that the old songs are the best?

Then she’s up and rock ‘n rollin’ with the rest!

Oh wait .. wrong post, that’s for the Karaoke Christmas special. There’s only so much Slade one can take, forty years old next year so I’m sure Noddy Holder and co. will be getting a windfall next year. However after spending half an hour driving around Morrissons car park at 9am this morning looking for a parking space,  I’m not sure how much Christmas spirit I’ve got left, I only wanted to get some beers! The shops are only closed for one fecking day, good grief people what is it with this bunker mentality at Christmas … wait wait wait Ciaran, this has nothing to do with Rodvik, Second Life or Linden Lab! ok agreed, so where was I? Oh yes, Rodvik’s blog post. In my previous blog post I talked about the policy and direction, now I want to talk about NPC’s!

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Dec 232011
 

RodVilla has at long last spoken on the blog, a rare treat these days, a blog post that talks about Second Life and Linden Lab. I could go off on a tangent about how the blog isn’t being used efficiently but for now I’ll just look at the content. I’ll split this into two parts, because I like doing that! First of all we’ll look at tier, Linden Lab branching out and the new creators program.

Tier won’t be going up in 2012, Rodvik tells us, but in reality tier needs to come down, however, as I’ve said before, Linden Lab need to find alternative revenue streams for this to happen, it’s totally unrealistic to expect Linden Lab to drop tier prices before they have other revenue streams in place but these alternative revenue streams are needed for the long term future of Linden Lab. Some may suggest that Linden Lab are addressing this by talking of branching out in completely different areas to Second Life, I’m not convinced about that, Second Life needs to be self sustaining, relying on other products probably won’t fly, but for Linden Lab, branching out makes perfect sense.

The problem Linden Lab have is with turning Linden dollars into US dollars, their previous attempts to incorporate advertising on the website failed in part due to the GlamAdapt advertising program being US dollars only, however it surely wouldn’t be that hard to have a service whereby you had to sell your Linden dollars to pay for advertising in US dollars, that’s how many land owners pay tier, the problem really was a third party being involved. I know some people don’t like advertising but really, it’s not always intrusive and I really think Linden Lab are missing a trick by not having advertising on their website, but this is all old territory for me, I still can’t fathom out why they aren’t trying to get the likes of Adobe to advertise on their websites, maybe they have and Adobe aren’t interested.

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Dec 222011
 

I’ve made a couple of posts now about Star Wars: The Old Republic. I’ve also over the years made posts about World Of Warcraft, Eve-Online and City Of Heroes. The thing is, all of these games should have a Second Life presence, especially now that we have the advent of mesh.

Second Life is perfect for gaming companies to setup a sim or two displaying their wares, they can have video promotions on touch, they can show part of their world on a sim, they can’t do combat of course but with a little bit of careful scripting they could provide some very basic quests, but most 0f all they can show people how their worlds look, they can even sell outfits and own the IP and when it comes to intellectual property infringement, all of these companies have the power to slam a copybotters backside from here to kingdom come.

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Dec 222011
 

Star Wars The Old Republic has experienced a pretty smooth launch, sure there have been issues, the argument about early game access over people who had pre-ordered not getting up to five days access when lots of people didn’t seem to understand what up to meant and lots of other people didn’t seem to understand what five days meant. Seriously, if at any point Bioware knew they couldn’t deliver up to five days early access, they should have stopped advertising it. However as things went the vast majority of those who pre-ordered did get up to five days early access, some got seven, so that worked well.

Then there’s the issue of queues, Bioware seem to like the concept of queues, not only do some have to queue to get logged in, you can also end up in a queue just to access the forums!

Star Wars The Old Republic Waiting Room

However the bigger issue is queues to actually login to play, this is a big issue for some.

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Dec 192011
 

Inworld paid classifieds have generally been pretty straight forward, best price wins. However there’s a frustrating aspect of this, one which was at one time addressed by the paid classifieds bar only showing exact phrase matches. The problem is that if you search for say: Medieval Market, you’ll get the top paid results that use either of those words, rather than the phrase or both words:

Everything Search For Medieval Market

The above search was done searching everything, so groups, places etc. will be in the left hand side, on the right hand side are paid classifieds which automatically sort by price. The results on the left hand side are relevant, the results on the right hand side, they aren’t really relevant.

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Dec 142011
 

Bioware’s Star Wars The Old Republic is all set to launch on December 20th. The hotly anticipated game has been through beta testing and is now in the final stages before unofficial launch. The problem is that people who were tempted to pre-order were told they would get up to five days early access, this has created a bit of a furore, as exemplified on their forums. I should also add here that I’ve long maintained that even when things got heated on the Second Life forums, they were tame compared to other places, and the Star Wars The Old Republic Forums are a ghastly experience of forum interaction that demonstrates that Second Life forums always have been tame in comparison.

The issue is with the use of “up to five days“. Rather bizarrely people have got early access up to seven days in advance, which only seems to have confused matters further. However it’s the “up to” business, which like “From” in marketing terms seems to mislead many customers who omit the meaning of “up to” and “from” when reading marketing literature.

Matters aren’t helped at all by the excerpt on the main webpage:

Fans who have pre-ordered STAR WARS: The Old Republic can now begin playing the game!

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