Second Life: the future is bright – by Linden Lab

Ever since Sansar was announced in 2014, many have seen it as a sign that it is intended to be a “replacement” for Second Life – or if not, that the Lab is diverting all of its resources into Sansar at SL’s expense.

Neither assessment is accurate – asthe Lab has repeatedly tried to state. In fact, over the last three years, the Lab has continued to invest in Second Life, both in terms of features and improvements and in an overhaul of the Second Life infrastructure: hardware, network and so on.

On Tuesday, August 29th, Ebbe Altberg, CEO at linden Lab and the Second Life team outlined the future for the platform. Hopefully, it will further help further quell the doubts surround the Lab’s intentions for Second Life.

The blog post opens:

It’s been an exciting summer at Linden Lab. Second Life celebrated its 14th anniversary, and shortly thereafter we also opened Sansar’s creator beta to the world. In addition, we are thrilled to announce a set of investments into Second Life and its communities that will include enhancements to our engineering support, customer support, billing systems and upgrades, and customer acquisition outreach. In all, we’ve budgeted many millions (USD, not L$…) in the coming year to make SL even better, and we’ll keep everyone up to date on improvements as they roll out (or sooner).

The post then goes on to bullet-point some to the core aspects of these investments, some of which – such at animated objects / mesh (“Animesh”) and the Environmental Enhancement Project (EEP) to extend SL’s Windlight capabilities, I’ve been covering in the pages of this blog (see my Content Creation User Group meeting notes and my initial write-up on EEP).

The blog post also notes forthcoming new Premium account benefits will be announced soon. Hhowever, the two biggest aspects of the news are infrastructure updates and a new grid-wide Experience.

The infrastructure work has been on-going for some time – most recently the Lab has deployed a new simulator build using a more recent version of Linux, and a further operating system update will also be forthcoming. However, what is interesting about this blog post is that it confirms something first mentioned publicly by Landon Linden at SL14B – the infrastructure updates include moving Second Life to the cloud.

This work will not be short-term, but if successful, the Lab hopes for a number of benefits, including:

  • Making Second Life more performant for Residents across the world from us.
  • Possibly allowing the Lab to introduce new products with more flexible pricing.

The new Experience may not appeal to everyone, but it will see a new capability added to Second Life: grid-way experiences. This will initially be in the form of a new grid-wide game developed by the Lab; whether or not it will – in time – allow interested region / parcel owners participate in grid-wide Experiences of their own making remains to be seen.

However, the continued investment in Second Life infrastructure which perhaps stands as the greatest demonstration of the Lab’s commitment to Second Life, and I hope to be able to follow the work through these pages as the Lab provides updates and news.

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Seven Wonders in Sansar

Sansar: Seven Wonders

I’ve often commented on Sansar’s potential for historical recreation, and there are  number of fledging experiences cultivating this idea: Sansar Studio’s Egyptian Tomb and Ortli Villa, for example or the builds by IDIA Lab’s Mencius Watts. Another example, which approaches things from an  imaginative angle, is Seven Wonders, which I visited just before the Creator Beta was launched.

Designed by Ancient (of SL’s Mole fame), Seven Wonders presents the novel idea of a theme park in which have been gathered together the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. From the spawn point –  a little rocky amphitheatre caught under a bright, sunny sky – a brick paved path points the way through an ivy-lined tunnel. Walking through this brings visitors to a coastal walk raised above  golden sands. A broad wooden pier runs out over the sand – but this is not what catches the eye. Standing off-shore is the gigantic figure of the Colossus of Rhodes.

Sansar: Seven Wonders

As the path reaches the pier, so to does it branch, one arm rising inland, the other forming a gentle incline over a more rocky part of the coast, skirting the unmistakable stepped foot of the Great Pyramid of Giza. At the top of this coastal rise, the path splits again. To one side, the arch of a great bridge spans a small inlet to where the Lighthouse of Alexandria stands on a broad rocky promontory. The bridge itself offers excellent views of the lighthouse, the Colossus and the rising peak of the Great Pyramid.

Beyond the bridge, the path dips through another rocky tunnel before rising and turning inland, passing the lighthouse to lead the way first to the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus then to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, again by way of the Great Pyramid. The latter sits in a desert-like setting, complete with a small Sphinx and a number of obelisks gathered around it, with palm trees offering shade. It is from this sandy setting that paths may also be found to the remaining two Wonders: the Temple of Artemis and the Statue of Zeus at Olympia.

Sansar: Seven Wonders

Set under a bright summer’s sky, Seven Wonders presents each of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World in its own mini-setting.  The walks around and through the park are pleasant and offer a very fair feeling of being in a theme park, with bench seating, balloons, rubbish bins – and even detritus of human passage where the bins have been ignored. However, this is a static experience – at least for those in Desktop mode. This may lead to a temptation to dismiss it as something that could just as easily be built within Second Life (space permitting). It’s also true the structures aren’t all accessible.

Nevertheless, the experience does stand as a demonstration of what might be achieved as Sansar’s capabilities grow and people become more adept at using it and presenting models and information within their scenes and experiences. It’s not that hard to imagine visiting somewhere like this immersively in the future and gaining a virtual tour of each of these ancient monuments, complete with audio tour and visual aids, and the chance to witness what some of them may have looked like from within.

Sansar: Seven Wonders

In the meantime, Seven Wonders offers an interesting diversion and the chance to spend a pleasant time wandering under the virtual Sun.

Experience URL