Qarl: “Goodbye, Second Life”

Qarl Fizz, formerly Qarl Linden, and Karl Stiefvater, former co-host (or at least resident guest) in the Metareality podcasts and also responsible for initially coding the mesh deformer, has announced he has “deleted” his region in Second Life. He explains why in a blog post which appeared on October 16th.

With thanks to Damian Fate by way of Ely Hynes.

25 thoughts on “Qarl: “Goodbye, Second Life”

  1. I am beginning to think that paying for a year in advance was a mistake, looking at what has been happening since midsummer.

    SL can’t collapse that quickly, can it?

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  2. In my tests, the mesh deformer made each of my outfits look like Ralphie from A Christmas Story. I appreciate the intention but this simply did not work.

    Does Qarl Linden’s departure mean a different approach will be used?

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    1. Qarl had actually departed the Lab a long time prior to working on the deformer (which he did as a Second Life resident and a coder).

      As to what will happen with the deformer, whether the current code will be carried forward or perhaps something else be implemented instead – all of that is very much up in the air.

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    2. Well yes if you make your avatar shape short and plump any clothes will look like Ralphie from A Christmas Story. That’s the point of the Qarl’s Mesh Deformer. It changes the clothes to fit your shape. The Mesh Deformer works as it was intended. Since the default avatar is weighted so poorly and has relatively very few vertices the deformation of the mesh by the Mesh Deformer isn’t always as smooth as we would like it. The Mesh Deformer is not to blame it is the avatar mesh itself.

      There is no reason the Mesh Deformer as it is now should not be released and in all viewers. It is not a perfect solution but nothing will ever be. Releasing it now will not complicate, slow down, or stop the development and release of a default Avatar 2.0.

      There is no way LL will ever get rid of the original default avatar. It would simply break too much content and LL would lose too much revenue from loss of sales from that content. Yes LL could replace the default avatar with a new one that had better weighting and more vertices but it would have to use the old UV layout which in itself isn’t very good.

      The smartest thing for LL to do would be to add a second new and improved default avatar and let people chose which one they want to use. In fact it should be two default avatars added. One for female and one for male instead of using the same for both which is what we are using now. By same I mean they used the same basic avatar mesh and simply reshaped it into the female and male default avatars we have so in places like the breast there are too few vertices.

      Qarl’s Mesh Deformer code would easily be adapted to any new default avatar mesh LL can come up with in probably about 10 minutes worth of work. Certainly worst case scenario Qarl could do it in less than a day.

      The only reasons I can come up with for the current state of the Mesh Deform and SL is either:
      1. LL just doesn’t care about SL anymore and are too busy trying to come up with the next Angry Birds mega hit smart phone and tablet app.

      2. Management are idiots.

      3. The employees that were left after all the big layoffs were low pay, short on experience and not up to the task of improving SL.

      Seriously the things OZ and other Lindens who were working on the project asked for were things any first semester Maya class student would be able to do in 30 minutes. Yet they kept asking us the residents for weeks for them.

      You mean there is no one at LL who has a basic understanding and knowledge how to use Maya? If that’s the case there is no way we will ever see an Avatar 2.0.

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  3. That’s sad.
    Well, SL has many limits, but I guess it’s not so easy to retrofit a complex system as SL – conceived in the 90s and developed more than 10 years ago – without hacks to do what SL wasn’t designed for in the beginning. If it was developed now, for example, you wouldn’t need even alpha layers: you would only have to click an outfit to wear it, as in any game or even in Cloudparty… at lest for normal human shapes.

    The avatar is a core part of the the base of SL, so I can understand LL being cautious about it and about breaking the content etc. Anyway I can understand the Qarl’s disappointment and frustration too, in seeing nothing moving after 2 years, especially when elsewhere (i.e. InWorlds) it has been released (and in an enhanced version too), while a company like LL keeps telling: “we don’t have the resources etc”.
    – a game company, in 2 years, can create a new game from scratch
    – LL in 2 years didn’t even begun, as it seems, besides to consider it and some options
    – A small reality, InWordz, has been able to do it quickly
    Well, LL said other things too… and LL embraced materials quickly, but for deeper changes LL seem somewhat trapped in their own creature, rigid and not so malleable, because it is different to mess on a complex system already there (risking to destroy the business) than to design something new, plus there is the QA and so on (here there could be a parallel with Firestorm, that is slow, unlike other TPVs, in introducing new features from the Lab, i.e. no materials in Firestorm yet… after months). But is LL always waiting to do a perfect job? I don’t think so: the mesh system itself as been implemented uncompleted anyway (LL had to wait forever else). The alternatives are: the “Liquid mesh” (an hack that LL don’t want to to be tied by… although it seems they to let you to do what you want, but it is unsupported so you know the risks) and the not implemented in SL Quar’s deformer, which is not a perfect solution, but still better and more user friendly than the current “standard sizing”, that forces the users to adjust their shapes to the outfits (instead of the contrary LOL) and isn’t even followed well always by the outfit makers… Well, some issues in InWorldz with the deformer have been reported already, but I’m not sure that it means it couldn’t be fixed. Besides those, perhaps the best option would be to move on entirely and to introduce a new avatar mesh, still keeping the current avatar mesh as an option for the legacy content. But I read already some concern: it could add complexity and confusion (think about new users, compatible and not compatible clothes, and so on), but that depends in part on how it will be designed too.

    The TOS is another problem… Maybe LL have their own reasons, but there are already people and websites forbidding to upload their content in SL, so it’s pretty obvious that something doesn’t work.

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    1. As I’ve explained on my blog, even under the previous version of SL’s ToS using stuff bought from Renderosity for builds in Second Life and other virtual worlds was a potential violation of its marketplace EULA.

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  4. I am sure Qarl has good reasons for going, but certainly if you look at his attitude towards the lab and SL over the time he was on Metareality it is clear that his dissatisfaction had been growing for quite a long time. Honestly, I am surprised he had not already left. Can you really…delete a sim? I wish I would have known before hand. I would have given him $50 for it.

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  5. Probably Qarl can read much more between the lines of ToS than any of us, because he followed LL’s management culture so close for years. Personally, I’m glad for his decision and hope, there could be more self-reliant people, who would follow his example. Best wishes to Qarl!

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  6. I don’t know the details, but Qarl was paid to write the deformer, and InWorldz paid him to improve the code for them. LL doesn’t appear to have paid him anything. I don’t know what, if anything, they paid for the Materials code, though a lot of the work was done by outsiders.

    Both instances will have internal costs for LL. The idea of Premium Gifts seems dead, and the ToS change does imply that they are not willing to pay outsiders for anything.

    There’s a quote floating around the net, used by Americans, originally by Teresa Nielsen Hayden: “I deeply resent the way this administration makes me feel like a nutbar conspiracy theorist.” I am getting too close to the same feeling about what Linden Labs is doing.

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    1. The deformer was crowdfunded by a bunch of SL users. As a piece of code, the deformer works only on the current default avatar (which is the laughing stock of the entire 3D graphics world and LL are painfully aware of this). Also, it has been hinted at LL User Group meetings that the Lab is looking for ways to improve the avatar first (without breaking content – which would have oh-so-many content creators up in arms), which is precisely what people in Qarl’s deformer JIRA asked for. Problem is, they’re at a loss w.r.t. what they should do.

      Will Qarl’s deformer work with the improved avatar? Your guess is as good as mine. Will it work with the improved avatar after numerous other improvements to the platform are brought about? Again, your guess is as good as mine. Will the deformer play well with future versions of the viewer? No idea. However, I really don’t like Qarl’s attitude towards the company for which he used to work for. He’s got axes to grind and he grinds them in public. All he does is fan flames and agitate a number of people that I can only view as fanboys and fangirls: for them, Qarl is infallible, the personification of all that is Holy, and Linden Lab is evil. With this announcement, I lost whatever shred of respect I still had for him.

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    2. Qarl was never commissioned by the Lab to develop the deformer – so why should they pay him?

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        1. I was going to make that point, but opted for brevity in addressing the point of the Lab paying Qarl.

          There is a long and tortuous history to the deformer which is affected by the February 2012 TPV Policy changes (specifically: the “shared experience”).

          While these changes do not lessen the truth of what you say in terms of the Lab’s obligation, prior to them being introduced, the deformer was (for better or worse) free to be adopted by TPVs regardless as to whether the Lab opted to do the same.

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    3. These days, its so odd in SL / LL land that just saying “I logged in and sat on a poseball” makes one feel like a nutbar conspiracy theorist… O.o

      As to the ToS frustrations… I’ve said elsewhere that I’m not sure there is anything we can do at this point to wake them up…

      I think they are on another one of their ‘lets change the business model’ trips… like back in the M Linden days. Now it is “you are all customers paying to play with our stuff in a giant MMO.”

      – Which means they have no space for any thinking that we own this place, let alone the stuffz in it.

      And at the moment, the Marketplace sales probably lend them a lot of weight to believing they can pull that off…

      Qarl leaving, protest move or personal move, might not be something they notice or care about. Individually, only a very of us matter – and its likely not the few we ourselves think are important.

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  7. Lets be honest, does any, regardless of the reasons, will leave SL due to Qarl’s remarks?
    keep a door open, explore and try other virtual grids, just cause we never know, but leave SL cause of the Tos or Qarl’s?
    Naaa, i dont think so!

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  8. Regardless of Qarl’s history with LL, I completely sympathize with his decision to leave. Any sane creator should feel pressure to do the same when faced with such as the new TOS. I’ll be sorry to see him go as I had enjoyed Metareality and many of his other contributions to SL.

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