A step closer to Direct Delivery?

Direct Delivery (DD), the means by which items purchased via SL Marketplace (and which in theory should make Magic Boxes as used by merchants a thing of the past eventually) took a step closer with the arrival of code on the Le Tigre release channel.

This does not necessarily signify that the new service is about to go live. It may signify that Linden Lab are pushing the code out for the purposes of production-side beta testing or perhaps for compatibility testing. News on the move is rather scarce. Brooke Linden promised to clarify the roll-out on the 4th October (when the code initially reached Le Tigre), but nothing further has been forthcoming from the Commerce Team.

New Delivery System

For those not in the know, Direct Delivery is intended to massively improve the way in which customers receive good purchased through SL Marketplace, and how merchants manage their SL Marketplace inventory locally. The beta for the system was originally announced back in April, although at the time the call was light on specifics.

So, in a very brief summary, for those purchasing items through the Marketplace it broadly means:

  • Recipients will no longer need to accept delivery of an object in order for the item to be successfully delivered in-world. Items will be delivered whether the recipient in in-world or offline, and a notification of arrival sent
  • Rolling restarts will not result in failed deliveries
  • Purchased items should be received in a new system folder, probably to be called “Incoming Items”, with purchases delivered to their own folder (or folder hierarchy) within this system folder
  • Failed deliveries as a result of multiple purchases through the Marketplace should cease.

For Merchants, the new system broadly means:

  • No requirement to use Magic Boxes (although support for Magic Boxes will continue for an unspecified period after DD has rolled-out)
  • No requirement to box items (although boxed items will continue to be supported)
  • Local management of inventory handled through a new system folder, probably to be called “Outgoing Items”. Items placed in this folder will be automatically retrieved and copied to the Merchant’s Marketplace inventory ready for listing (no copy items will be flagged as such and then moved to the SLM inventory once the merchant has OK’d the move)

Other aspects of the new system include:

  • To prevent over-inflation of local inventories as a result of large numbers of items being delivered into folder from the Marketplace, the number of objects a merchant can place in a folder will be limited. If a merchant is selling a large number of items in a single listing, they will be required to box objects within their folder hierarchy
  • The system will allow merchants to indicate to purchasers whether an item will be delivered boxed or unboxed
  • Merchants will no longer need to keep adding one unit to no copy item listings whenever one unit sells
  • Gifting and limited-quantity items will continue to be supported by DD.

There is also an API for the marketplace that is being developed with should also provide merchants with additional capabilities within the Marketplace. As well as Direct Delivery, work is ongoing to improve inventory services in general, including faster and more reliable inventory loading within the Viewer.


Overall, if implemented properly, these changes should benefit everyone.

However, it is fair to say that Linden Lab have not exactly covered themselves in glory when making massive changes to the Marketplace environment, as many of those involved in the switch-over from SL Exchange to SL Marketplace will testify. More recently, the Commerce team caused considerable consternation when making changes to the Marketplace.

Ergo, people are understandably nervous around the implementation of DD as a whole, the benefits it will bring notwithstanding. A number of merchants have already requested (via the Commerce Forum) than any formal roll-out of the new system be delayed until after the New Year, so that merchants face minimal disruption in the run-up to, and through, the busy Christmas period.

Seanchai Library brings War of the Worlds to SL

“We know now that in the early years of the twentieth century this world was being watched closely by intelligences greater than man’s, and yet as mortal as his own. We know now that as human beings busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinized and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinize the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.
“With infinite complacency people went to and fro over the earth about their little affairs, serene in the assurance of their dominion over this small, spinning fragment of solar driftwood which, by chance or design, man has inherited out of the dark mystery of Time and Space.
“Yet across an immense ethereal gulf, minds that are to our minds as ours are to the beasts in the jungle, intellects vast, cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes and slowly and surely drew their plans against us.
“In the thirty-ninth year of the twentieth century came the great disillusionment. It was near the end of October. Business was better. The war scare was over. More men were back at work. Sales were picking up. On this particular evening, October 30th, the Crosley service estimated that thirty-two million people were listening in on radios.”

So opens one of the most famous radio broadcasts of the last century, Orson Welles’ famous interpretation of H.G. Wells’ allegorical classic War of the Worlds.

Welles during his October 30th 1938 broadcast

Set in 1939, but actually broadcast on October 30th 1938, the adaptation was part of Welles’ own weekly (and largely dramatic) Mercury Theatre on Air presentations for CBS Radio.

So real did the show seem, that many who tuned-in after it had commenced broadcasting – so missing the opening announcements – took it for genuine reports of an unimaginable invasion, rather than the usual fictional offering from Welles.

It has been claimed that Welles structured his adaptation specifically so that the first “news broadcast” from Grover’s Mill, New Jersey, would occur some 12 minutes into the broadcast, knowing full well that it was around that time that those listening to NBC Radio’s The Chase and Sandborn Hour would frequently re-tune their radios to listen to The Mercury Theatre on CBS, and this added to the confusion the show created among listeners.

While history suggests that the show may not have caused quite the panic that newspapers at the time suggested (at least during the actual broadcast), that it did have an impact both while on-air and in the days that followed cannot be denied. Certainly, it became something that was – a notable event in history, one that is still known to many the world over even now, some 73 years after the original broadcast.

The New York Times reporting on Welles’ broadcast the following day

And it is this history that is about to come to life in Second Life this month.

To mark Halloween this year, the Seanchai Library will give three performances of War of the Worlds in Second Life. What is more, thanks to the gracious permission of the family of playwright Howard Koch, the performances will be and adaptation of the 1938 screenplay Koch and writing partner Anne Froelich produced for Welles’ broadcast.

The production is being directed by Seanchai’s own Caledonia Skytower, and will feature the voice talents of Shandon Loring, Bear Silvershade and Kayden O’Connell, Crap Mariner, Elder Priestman, BigRed Coyote and Caledonia Skytower herself among the cast.

Commenting on the production, Caledonia said, “I remember hearing the L.A. Theatreworks production of this script in the 1990s and imagining what it must have been like to have been listening that October evening in 1938. Orson Welles and company presented it in keeping with the spirit of the Halloween season.”

“War of the Worlds scared the pants off people back in the ’30s, using the power of voice to persuade folks this was real,” Derry McMahon, Seanchai’s chief librarian, added enthusiastically, “We plan to generate that same feeling with our production.”

This is definitely not something to be missed. War of the Worlds – be it the novel, the radio broadcasts (and its many later adaptations) or Jeff Wayne’s glorious musical version (also recently revived on stage) – is a fabulous tale with an allegorical heart that may still hold as true today as it did in Wells’ own time. The Seanchai production promises to continue the tradition set by its predecessors and, in the process, help to raise money for charity. Given this is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it is fitting that the nominated charity is the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Seanchai Library presents War of the Worlds