Linden Lab announces SL Mainland price restructuring

Linden Lab has announced changes to Mainland parcel rates. Image: Italian Village of Ciampi

On Wednesday, March 14th, 2018 Linden Lab announced a restructuring of Mainland tier costs, with allotment of “free” land for Premium members doubled from 512 sq metres to 1024 sq metres.

The announcement was made via a blog post, which reads in full:

We’ve got some exciting news for both aspiring and existing Landowners who think the cost of land is too darn high in Second Life. Effective immediately, we’ve reduced Mainland costs by over 10 percent. 

But, wait…there’s more!

Premium members now also get DOUBLE the Mainland allotment! That’s twice as much space to build, create and design your own home, business or experience in Second Life at no extra charge! Premium subscribers now have 1,024m² included with their membership: you could keep your Linden Home and still have another 512m² left over, or use your entire 1024 allotment towards a parcel on the Mainland.  To learn more about specifics of this change, view our Pricing and Allotment Comparison chart.

We know that costs associated with land ownership can hinder some people from realizing their full creative vision in Second Life or even keep them from participating in Second Life as much as they’d like. In 2015, we decreased land setup fees by up to 40% and restored a 50% discount on set-up fees and ongoing maintenance fees for educators and nonprofits. In 2016, we offered a limited-time “buy-down” opportunity that rolled back maintenance fees on full islands and homesteads.

As Second Life begins to celebrate its fifteenth birthday, we hope that this latest price drop will be welcome news to those who aspire to explore their creativity in 2018 and beyond.

The new Mainland tier rates for Premium members (right), with the new “free” allowance of 1024 sq metres of land, compared to the pre-March 14th tier rates

Of course, when people talk about tier being “too damned high”, they are generally referring to the cost of private regions (particularly Homesteads), so this change in Mainland rates many not be looked upon favourably in some quarters. But the fact remains – as I pointed out in 2013 – lowering private region tier isn’t as easy a proposition for Linden Lab as some tend to think, the (roughly) 23% reduction in tier revenue the Lab has seen since November 2013, notwithstanding.

As such, this should be seen for what it is – an attempt by the Lab to encourage land take-up  – and leave us not forget there have also been calls to re-invigorate Mainland with all of its abandoned land – without unduly exposing their bottom-line. So, if nothing else, it will be interesting to see what this offer does both in terms of Premium subscriptions and in encouraging people to take-up their “free” 1024 square metres of Mainland (or go bigger and use the 1024 “free” + the reduced difference in remaining tier).

A slight spanner in the works here, of course is that obtaining Mainland parcels can be time-consuming, and comes with the initial overhead of the purchase price. Nevertheless, it will also be interesting to see if / how this affects Linden Home ownership. A complaint against the latter is that while they come with a 175 LI allowance and a house which does not count towards that total, the houses themselves are oft viewed as unattractive. So, will these changes encourage some of those with Linden Homes to abandon them in favour of a 1024 sq m parcel (the aforementioned pain in finding and purchasing a suitable parcel notwithstanding) with at least 350 LI and a house of their own choosing, even if it does count against that total?

Time will tell on this.

2018 SL UG updates #11/1: Simulator User Group

Kamigami, Pandora Resort Town; Inara Pey, February 2018, on Flickr Kamigami, Pandora Resort blog post

Server Deployments

As usual, please refer to the server deployment thread for the latest updates.

  • There was no deployment to the Main (SLS) channel on Tuesday, March 13th, leaving it on server version 18#18.02.12.512536. According to the deployment notes, the channel should have been restarted.
  • On Wednesday, March 14th, the main RC channels should be updated as follows:
    • TBC: no deployment to BlueSteel, leaving it on server version 18#18.03.05.513046.
    • LeTigre and Magnum should both receive a new server maintenance package, 18#18.03.12.513258, comprising internal fixes and further simulator logging improvements.

SL Viewer

Updates

  • The Media Update RC viewer updated to version 5.1.3.513038, on Monday, March 12th.
  • A new Maintenance RC viewer was release on Tuesday, March 13th. Version 5.1.3.513234, code-named Ouzo, after the anise-flavoured aperitif. This viewer includes over 50 bug fixes and improvements.

Remaining Pipeline

Besides these two updates the official viewer pipeline remains as follows:

  • Current Release version 5.1.2.512803, dated February 23rd, promoted March 1st – formerly the Nalewka Maintenance RC.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Love Me Render RC viewer, version 5.1.3.513005, dated March 2nd.
  • Project viewers:
  • Linux Spur viewer, version 5.0.9.329906, dated November 17th, 2017 and promoted to release status 29 November – offered pending a Linux version of the Alex Ivy viewer code.
  • Obsolete platform viewer, version 3.7.28.300847, May 8th, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

Other Items

Meeting Reminders

  • There is NO Content Creation User Group meeting this week – the next CCUG meeting will be on Thursday, March 22nd at 13:00 SLT.
  • There is no Web User Group meeting this week – the next WUG meeting will be on  Wednesday, March 28th, at 14:00 SLT.

Sansar Product Meetings #11/1: mid-March release news

Pierre (centre, in sunglasses) and Cara (to his left, with wings) discussing the upcoming mid-March Sansar release on Tuesday, March 13th at Skye Naturae Virtualis

The following notes are taken from the Sansar Product Meeting held on Tuesday, March 13th. These weekly Product Meetings are open to anyone to attend, are a mix of voice (primarily) and text chat. Dates and times are currently floating, so check the Meet-up Announcements and the Sansar Atlas events sections each week. Official notes, when published can be found here.

Originally, the subject for the meeting had been listed as being the Sansar avatar. However, this was updated to a discussion about the upcoming “mid month” Sansar release.

Overview

March 2018 will see a “mid-month” release for Sansar – the exact date is still TBA, and it is being made because  a number of features are available earlier than the Lab had anticipated, and which Linden Lab is keen to get in front of users.

The following is a high-level overview of what to expect. Obviously, I’ll have more information on this when the release is deployed, and the release notes are available.

Performance Improvements

The Lab convened a “strike team” to address a number of performance issues, and the upcoming release should be marked by a umber of performance improvements.

Terrain Editor and Performance

One of the findings from the performance investigations is that the terrain editor used to sculpt height maps from within Sansar, and the terrains edited using it, can have a significant performance impact in both Edit and Run-time modes. There is no quick fix for this at present, as the terrain editor requires a significant amount of work, and the resources aren’t available at the moment. Because of this:

  • The terrain editor will be disabled with the next release.
  • There’s no date as to when a replace terrain editing system will be implemented.
  • Between now and the end of April, creators who have extensively used the terrain editor and height maps to produce terrain in their scenes / experiences, will be asked to remove / delete their existing terrain sculpts with tiles made via alternative means (e.g. custom made externally and uploaded for “as-is” use).

Pierre outlines the terrain editor issue

This means that with the mid-March update:

  • It will no longer be possible to upload new height maps.
  • It will no longer be possible to list new height maps on the Store, either uploaded or those already in inventory.
  • Creators who have placed height maps on the Store will be asked if they could unlist them to prevent people for purchasing them and using them in their scenes.
  • It will no longer be possible to paint, sculpt, reposition, rotate, etc., terrain in  scene.
  • It will no longer be possible to pull terrain sculpts from inventory for use in a scene.
  • Terrain elements will still work as expected in published experiences, but again, they will not be editable within the experience’s scene.

Then, between the mid-March update and the end of April:

  • Creators will be encouraged to remove / delete custom terrain sculpts as noted above, and replace them.
  • Terrain maps not removed by the end of April will be replaced by a place-holder item.
  • To help people get to grips with creating and uploading terrain elements, the Lab will be providing a new Sansar knowledge base article.

Feedback from those at the meeting:

  • A request has been made that the Lab allow higher resolution textures to be used with uploaded terrain tiles, particularly where larger experiences are concerned.
  • Another request was made for the Lab to make at least some of the scene template elements (e.g. the rocks and cliffs) available through the Store so that experience creators would have some “pre-built” terrain elements they could use.

Both ideas are being taken back to the Lab for consideration.

Events Creation

As reported in my week #10 update, with this upcoming release it will be possible for Sansar experience owners to create their own event listings.

  • The option to create an event – a meet-up, game, tour, and so on will only be in the client (it will not be possible to create events from the web).
  • Using the client, it will be possible to set the location, date, time and duration of an event (presumably with some form of description, although this wasn’t specified in the meeting).
  • Once created, all events will be displayed in both the client Atlas events section and on the Sansar Events page.

Scripting Improvements

Script Update Capability

With the upcoming release, scripters will be able to offer updates to their scripts listed on the  Sansar Store. The basic process will be:

  • Update the script and upload it to inventory.
  • In the client, locate the revised script, right-click on it and select the “Replace Item on Store” option.
  • This will take the script creator through a workflow to replace an existing script associated with a Store listing with the updated script.
    • If required, the listing can also be updated to include release notes or details of changes made to the script.
  • Those who then wish to update their versions of the script can then go to the store and download the update (which will be added to their inventory without deleting / replacing the original version) or, if they prefer, just keep using the original.

This functionality has been implemented and is being deployed to help with situations where changes to Sansar’s evolving script APIs can result in scripts being broken following updates. other options for updating goods on the Store will come in the future.

C# File Size Increase

With the upcoming release the file size for C# script files is increased to 1 MB.

LookBook Update

When using the LookBook to view your own  avatar accessories for listing purposes, etc, the green corner button will be replaced by a right-click option, which should also display the item name.

Continue reading “Sansar Product Meetings #11/1: mid-March release news”