Viewer 2’s Basic Mode gains a new feature today – that of Voice.
While I don’t use Voice myself – I have nothing against it, I just move largely in the world of role -play in SL, and Voice can be illusion-shattering in that regard – I think it’s a pretty good option to have within Second Life, and adding it to the Basic Mode makes sense. To a point.
The problem is, a lot of things are “coming” to the Basic Mode (or have been indicated at coming) – currency, for example. To be fair, I’ve suggested some additions myself, although they appear to be fewer than those LL are contemplating. Which leads to a problem I’ve touched on before.
If LL keep adding to the Basic Mode, how long until it ceases being the “Basic Mode” and becomes “The Viewer”? The function of a Basic Mode, I thought, was to ease new users into the Second Life / Viewer experience. Ergo, it makes sense to keep the Basic Mode relatively simple and clean. While things like Voice are very useful to have, the fact remains that if things keep getting added to the Basic Mode, then it won’t be long before any advantages gained in introducing it are going to be washed away.
In discussing this with Rodvik a while ago, I pointed out the need to provide a better transitional experience between the Basic and Advanced modes of the Viewer. It’s something he apparently generally agreed with, although he also appeared to imply that Basic might be more to do with making Viewer development more iterative, and that at some point in the future, Basic may merge with Advanced – presumably because the code base has been overhauled and made somewhat more modular, making future Viewer maintenance a lot easier. If so, this throws the purpose of the Basic Mode into a whole different category than “simply” being a tool to help new users – and it’s future becomes somewhat more intriguing.
Personally, while I’m all in favour of making the Viewer a lot more modular (something I understand Bagman Linden (Jeff Petersen) is quite keen on) to the point of potentially making elements of the Viewer “optional” / “installable as required” where users are concerned, I still think that the Basic Mode holds a lot of potential where new users are concerned, providing LL address its current shortfalls without overloading it with features and providing they add the means to bridge the gap between it and the Advance Mode smoothly.
It’ll be interesting to see which direction they do opt to take.