Last names to return to SL and more – Linden Lab

Courtesy of Linden Lab

Update, March 22nd: At the Content Creation User Group meeting, Oz Linden indicated the return of last names will be somewhat similar to the “old” system – users select a last name from a list. However, people will be able to change their names as often as they like (although a fee will apply). See more in my summary update.

He also indicated that the Lab might take suggestions from users for last names which can be included in the various sets of names offered.

As promised during the VWBPE 2018 conversation with Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg and Brett Atwood (Brett Linden), Senior Manager for Marketing at Linden Lab, the company has provided a blog post presenting something of a “roadmap” for Second Life.

The post, which also serves as something of a launch of Second Life’s 15th anniversary, starts with a recap of the Mainland price restructuring announced on March 14th, 2018, and goes on to provide an interesting list of items – some of which could prove to be highly popular.

Key among these is the promise that – after years of requests – last names will be returning to Second Life.

No time frame is given – beyond later this year. Note that this is not necessarily the return of the “old” system of last names, but appears to be a means for people to more readily change their last name, the blog post stating:

The return of Last Names – You’ve asked for it (a lot!), so we will provide a way to customize your last name in Second Life! More details will be available later this year.

Another item which may well be of interest to existing users is a new attempt by the Lab to raise the level of new user retention within Second Life, with the post noting:

Themed Learning Islands – Getting connected to people who share your interests will be easier than ever with “Themed Learning Islands.” Soon newcomers may start their adventures in one of several themed areas, so their first experience in SL will be among Residents who share similar interests. This new initiative is in addition to our existing Community Gateway program which empowers independent communities to develop their own newcomer-friendly experiences.

Speaking at a recent Third-Party Developer meeting, Grumpity Linden, a Senior Product Manager at Linden Lab provided an overview of what this will entail:

Another intriguing change will see the Mainland Land Auction system overhauled, including integration with Place Pages and the ability for users to auction their own land.

Merchants are liable to be interested in the news that the Marketplace will see improvement, with the blog post noting:

We’ve got a number of improvements to Marketplace in the works, too! We’re integrating many long-requested features that will help to reduce clutter and improve the functionality of listings as the Marketplace gets a facelift later this year.

Among the more general items listed in the blog post – at least for those who follow this blog  – is a summary of some of the new capabilities and updates which are coming to Second Life:

  • Animesh.
  • Bakes on Mesh.
  • Environmental Enhancement Project (EEP).

All three are primarily covered in my Content Creation User Group updates.

It’s also worthwhile that alongside of the EEP work mentioned in the blog post, there is also a project – no time frame available – to improve the Second Life’s atmospheric shaders – which could help update SL’s general appearance and more easily allow atmospheric effects like Godrays.

The work to move Second Life to the cloud gets a mention in the blog post. Credit: Linden Lab / Amazon Web Services Inc.

The work to move Second Life to the cloud also gets a mention – and I’ll have a blog post on this up and available soon, largely as a result of the VWBPE 2018 event mentioned above, and also comments made by Ebbe Altberg and Oz Linden at a recent Third-Party Developer meeting. In the meantime, the blog post notes the work to enhance and improve SL’s performance both on the server-side and in the viewer.

Elsewhere. it is noted that Premium members will see further benefits as the year unfolds:

  • Additional benefits for merchants with Premium membership, which may have come out of / been hinted at during Web User Group meetings.
  • Linden Homes are going to get a (long overdue) revamp.
  • Premium users  will be able to run Experiences that are enabled anywhere on the grid (unless specifically blocked by a landowner). This is again something many Experience creators have requested since the introduction of Experiences.

Finally – and as some have noted with the arrival of new region groups on the grid in recent weeks – a further new Experience-based game is on the way. Expect to see that, according to the official blog post, closer to the actual SL15B celebrations.

All told, the list of 15 expectations is an interesting mix of news, some of which those actively engaged in Second Life will already be aware, as note. Others – again, perhaps notably the upcoming return of last names – could generate excitement among users. I’m personally keen to see the new themed learning islands, and will hopefully have more information on them as the project launches in the new future. I’ll also continue to cover the technical enhancements to the platform through my weekly project updates.

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The Bees and the Bears in Second Life

Cica Ghost: Bees and Bears

Cica Ghost opened her new installation on March 21st, offering visitors the opportunity to spend a little time with the Bees and the Bears. Like 50 Cats (see here for more), it is a whimsical piece, one which might put some visitors in mind of a certain Bear of Very Little Brain and his love of honey – although the furry characters here are far removed from any A.A. Milne.

The humour in the piece is evident from the About Land description, in which Cica poses a question and gives the answer:

Q: What do you call a bears without ears?
A: B’s.

Cica Ghost: Bees and Bears

Sitting under a blue-orange sky is a garden like island, rich in tall daisies (be sure to collect your own daisy from the sign at the landing point). Up on the hills to the north-east sits a little village of  bee hives – the kind you might usually find hanging from the bough of a tree.

But these are not ordinary bee hives: each one is unique – some appear to have been knitted (and resemble boiled egg cosies), other appear to be made of wood, some are woven. All are home to a happy colony of bees – some of whom can be found asleep in their beds, others are setting out for work, little bags for collecting pollen carried in their legs.

Cica Ghost: Bees and Bears

The bears of the title appear to be a father and son. They live in a little cottage across the garden from the bee village, and their relationship with their buzz-ee neighbours looks to be a happy one. Among the daisies, papa bear is hauling a little trailer with a jar of honey in it, a little group of smiling bees watching him. More jars can be found neatly stacked in the cottage, outside of which another happy bee seems to be enjoying a conversation with Junior bear.

As is usual for Cica’s builds. there’s more to be found here: places to sit (mouse-over likely spots … tree stumps, red flowers….), some of which over single, static poses and others have a combination of static and animated poses. There’s also “beemobiles” to be found at various points. These are auto-rezzers; jump into one and it will sit you in version you can drive – just use the arrow / WASD keys when seated. And keep an eye out for giant Cica, as she keeps an eye on all that’s going on.

Cica Ghost: Bees and Bears

Bees and Bears is another delight from Cica. Light-hearted, whimsical and fun to explore. Like 50 Cats before it, it will put a smile on your lips – and perhaps give a little reminder of the important role bees play in our ecosystem.

SLurl Details