More speculation on LL’s new products

Daily Finance carries an article speculating on the upcoming new products from Linden Lab.During his SLCC presentation, LL CEO Rod Humble pointed to the fact that the company would be releasing new products, and mentioned that tablets and mobile devices were of interest to the company.

While little has been formally said by the Lab itself, the article speculates on one of the potential products, stating:

  • Is being designed as a mobile gaming platform that would allow users to create or generate games on Apple‘s (AAPL) iPad or other iOS devices
  • Will be a browser-based design aimed at allowing users to create text adventure games, a type of genre that incorporates puzzle solving and exploration into a storyline.

Interestingly, the article comments that the green light and that “efforts are underway” to develop the product. Rod Humble’s comments at SLCC tended to suggest things were somewhat more advanced on than this.

The article also raises the speculative prospect of an acquisition, using Mr. Humbles ties with EA games as a reference:

“Given Humble’s gaming experience and close ties to Electronic Arts — where he headed the EA Play label, which included popular PC game The Sims — the 12-year-old privately held Linden Lab could make an interesting addition to the game publisher titan EA. (EA recently announced a large acquisition, PopCap Games, that carried a value of at least $750 million.)

“That said, IDC’s Ward notes that for such an acquisition to possibly work, Linden Lab would need to have a large user base for its gaming platform and demonstrate strong forward momentum.

“Gartner analyst Brian Blau says that it’s unlikely that EA will want to pin its hopes on an unproven gaming platform. However, he notes that if Linden Lab gets into the user-generated games business — turning Second Life players into game makers — it would set the company apart, in that he has never seen that type of offering before.

Read the Daily Finance piece in full.

Help People Island closes today

Help People Island

Today marks the end of an era in resident-to-resident  help in Second Life: Help People Island will be closing its doors today, with a final farewell party at 13:00 SLT.

Help People Island (HPI) was founded six years ago and has provided resident/volunteer help to other residents that includes everything from self-learning through to one-to-one assistance and teacher-lead classes in all major aspects of living in Second Life and working with the tools and technology, including the Viewer. Around 1,000 people visit the island per day seeking help and advice – and also simply to visit and have a little fun during one of the HPI parties. Over the last six years, an estimated 500,000 residents have passed through the island.

One of the self-help areas

HPI has been sponsored by Help People Inc., a private research and development company founded in 1969 to study human behaviour in the service industry with the stated purpose to learn how to increase sales through service. Sadly, the Board of Directors of Help People Inc. have decided it is now time for the company to focus its efforts elsewhere; hence the closure of HPI.

A farewell statement to all those that have been involved in HPI in part read:

“HPI has been a staple within the Second Life Community for 6 years, it’s hard to believe it started out on a small little area that barely got 10 people per day, in comparison to the 1000+ per day that we now have. Over the years, with the help and perseverance of all of you, it exploded into the greatest of ALL Help Group’s in Second Life and we feel what we have all contributed will in fact linger on for year’s to come. In our history within Second Life, we have helped and assisted in excess of 500,000 residents.

“It’s absolutely unbelievable how many people we have all touched, but there is nothing but fact in those number’s. We cannot begin to describe the amount of joy that we have all felt on a daily basis just knowing that ALL of us were and are in fact making a difference. A positive difference. And while this is an extremely sad time, that joy is even larger.”

Classroms and auditorium

Groups related to HPI will also be closing following the party and closure of the sim. It is hoped that a forum for those interested will be established in the next few months at Help People Inc’s website, and the letter sent to group members asks that they keep their eyes on that site for news once the sim and Groups in-world have closed. It is not clear as to whether the HPI blog will close – one hopes it will be left as an archival document.

HPI tourist office: helping people find their way around SL’s sights

The Farewell Party

Billed as HPI’s “Goodbye, Farewell Amen” party, the event will commence at 13:00 SLT, and feature “Five DJ and three hours of music, dance, fun” to take place at the Island’s Sky Garden. The five DJs participating in the event are:

  • The Lord Charles
  • Kahuna Chrome
  • DJ Timmy
  • Kew the Music
  • Keif Denimore

The venus for the party is HPI’s Sky garden – teleport to Help People Island (teleports routed to an arrival point) and look for a teleport totem (right) – one is located on the right side of the arrival area plaza.

Catznip goes mesh

catznip logoThe Catznip Viewer has been extensively updated in a new 2.8 release (2.8.0 (3)). Not only have the RLV capabilities been updated and a host of new features added and others enhanced, Catznip becomes the latest SL Viewer to support mesh object rendering.

Installation and Start-up

Like all Viewer 2.x /3.x Viewers, Catznip installs direct from the box as a standalone Viewer, and offers no changes or surprises along the way.

On start-up, Catzip joins Dolphin 3 in becoming one of the first Viewer 2.x/3.x TPVs to display the new SL log-in screen with the Destination Guide, etc., options. It’s good to see this option gaining wider traction – and it would be a joy to see it in Firestorm. Departing from the official Viewers, but in keeping with Viewer 2.x TPVs, Catznip dispenses with the Basic mode and keeps both feet firmly planted in the Advanced mode.

Once logged it, the UI looks very similar to that of Viewer 2.x/3.x with a modified toolbar.

Catznip toolbar (top) and the current Viewer 3.x toolbar

Interestingly, there in no Speak button by default on the Catznip toolbar – because Voice is off by default. However, the toolbar does include an inventory button which, as with Dolphin 3, opens an inventory window floater independent of the Sidebar (which can also be open at the same time).

Another nice touch with Catznip is that media is turned off by default on logging-in – a wise move given there is, unfortunately, no media filter.

Given its heritage, Catznip also has the RLVa menu displayed in the menu bar by default, although as with most RLV-capable Viewers, RLV  itself – updated to 2.7 – is disabled on such time as it is turned on through Preferences.

A full list of updates is available from the Catznip website (see the note at the end of this piece on Catznip 2.6), but here are the most visible / user-related changes / differences to the official Viewer.


Within Preferences, Catznip has everything common to the official Viewer, plus a few little tidbits and nips and tucks of its own:

  • General Tab: The SHOW MY FAVORITE LANDMARKS AT LOGIN option is moved from the Privacy tab to the General tab, just under the START LOCATION drop-down
  • Privacy tab: adds options to select whether you wish to clear one or more of the following: web cookies, teleport history, Search history and / or Navigation Bar history before you click on CLEAR HISTORY
  • Spell Check: allows you to enable the spell checker (words incorrectly spelt underscored in red, right-click to select options for correction / adding to dictionary). Language can be set to one of four options: British-English; Canadian-English, Australian-English and US-English
  • Skins tab: provides Starlight and Stardust skin options in a choice of colours
  •  Crash reports tab: allows you to select whether or not crash reports should be sent to, and the information the reports should contain
Crash report options
  • Catznip tab:
    • General: allows you to: use legacy multi-attach support (i.e. non-Linden “Emerald” system for multiple attachments); activate RLV support; adjust avatar offset; toggle object inspector on / off; toggle full screen windowed mode on / off
    • Chat: set your chat / IM preferences. An interesting item here is to enable a multi-line chat input option to the Nearby Chat floater
Multi-line chat input option
  • Inventory: allows you to: select the format preference for saving scripts (LSL or Mono); direct inventory you decline directly to trash; set notecard / texture options
  • UI: allows you to: display Group information either in the Sidebar or as a window floater; display an avatar’s Profile as a window floater or their Web profile (an additional nice touch is Web Profiles open on the ABOUT tab, rather than the person’s FEED tab – far more relevant); change the way in which script dialogues are displayed in the bottom tray; alter your My Outfits tab display between “Inventory” and “accordion” displays.

Continue reading “Catznip goes mesh”