Community Gateways in Second Life: Ajuda SL Brasil

Ajuda SL Brasil

As a community gateway, Ajuda SL Brasil (“Help SL Brazil”) has a long history. Original founded in 2009, it celebrated its ninth anniversary in May 2018, and primarily – but not exclusively – serves Portuguese speaking users. Located on a single region, the gateway has been through several different variations over the years, including a major make-over in 2011, and then acceptance into the new Community Gateway Programme beta in 2016, prior to becoming a full member of the Programme following its official relaunch.

“We are entirely self-funded as a non-profit group,” Roth Grut, the gateway’s founder,informed me. “Which, given the value of the real against the dollar, hasn’t been easy” (at the time of writing 1 BRL = 0.268 USD). He continued, “Since joining the new Community Gateway Programme, we’ve had a lot of practical support from Linden Lab in transforming our work into an official gateway programme partner.”

Ajuda SL Brasil

I can personally attest to the warmth of the greeting on arriving at Ajuda SL Brasil, with the team there both friendly and inviting, encouraging me to explore and find out more. They were also quick to guide genuine newbies to the learning centre and to help them refine  / customise their look.

The region itself is informally laid out in a design that works well in encouraging exploration. From the landing point on the south side, it’s a short, clearly marked route to the learning centrally located on the region. This presents a series of familiar self-learn lessons about the viewer and getting around in Second Life and essentials such as inventory use, etc. This area also features an auditorium, providing weekly lessons. In addition, there is an information broad displaying the Caledon Oxbridge two-week class schedule for SL-related lessons and events presented in English. Alongside this is a board offering information on other gateways and resident help groups.

Ajuda SL Brasil

Around the learning centre on the remaining three sides of the region sit, the aforementioned freebie centre, a sandbox where people can learn about building in prims and practice their skills, an events area for music and dancing, changing rooms, table-top games and various interactive elements – such as a “hydro-bike” for pedalling around on the water, a rezzing platform where people can learn to fly a helicopter. There are also some humorous little touches – such as a dollar bill innocently stuck on a manhole cover, inviting people to click on it – the result both demonstrates object / object interactions and how objects can be used to animate avatars.

“There is also a photo studio up in the sky,” Kon Magic, a gateway volunteer told me. Set out like a New York street scene, it offer people the opportunity to experiment with the viewer’s snapshot floater, using the provided poses or their own animations from inventory.

“We get an average of about 500 visitors a day,” Emma Floresby, another volunteer informed me. “Sometimes it might be 350 a day, others about 1,000.” I wondered how many of these were new arrivals as opposed to returning users.  “A lot of people come for the freebie store,” Emma told me candidly. “They account for some of the higher numbers.”

Emma continued, “While we are Brazilian and Portuguese based, we also cater for all languages, and get many non-Portuguese speakers. We try to provide a good place to welcome people and help them at basics, and also provide help and support to established users as well.”

Ajuda SL Brasil

Support is offered in a number of ways – in-world at the region itself (obviously!) and via the in-world group, Amigos Ajudam Group. There’s also the gateway’s supporting website,. This is a rich source of information for incoming new users: hints and tips, information on features and capabilities – such as Bento and mesh bodies / heads -, notes on viewers translations of SL documents such as the SL Terms and Conditions, can all be found, and those interested in joining the team can discover more about being a volunteer.

In particular, the website includes a link to a Portuguese-specific sign-up process, which will deliver incoming new users directly to the Ajuda region. While this is a capability offered to all the of the Community Gateway Programme partners, the language-specific nature of Ajuda SL Brazil’s approach helps maintain a contextual feel for incoming new users, starting in Portuguese and them delivering them (post viewer installation) to a Portuguese-speaking region.

Ajuda SL Brasil – new user sign-up

Now into its tenth year of operation, staffed by  dedicated, enthusiastic team and providing a service not just to one of SL’s larger ESL communities, but SL users in general, Ajuda SL Brasil continues to provide a valuable service to new and established users alike.

Related Links

Are you running a new Community Gateway? Want it featured in this series? Contact me in-world, or use the Contact Me form on this blog and drop me a line.

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Further Dreams in Space in Second Life

Dreams in Space 2

In 2013, Sculptor Barry Richez presented Dreams In Space, an immersive arts / story environment focusing on a group of survivors who escape the poisoning of life on Earth and establish themselves as a small colony in the M51 galaxy.

Now he presents the sequel to that installation, Dreams in Space 2, currently open through until the end of June 2018. It builds on the original, utilising elements from that story – the pyramid on Earth; the (now flourishing) colony at M51. It’s a multi-level setting, commencing on the ground and moving up into the sky. It’s also, to start with, a little bit of a mystery in that visitors must find their way from the landing pint to a hidden teleporter.

Dreams in Space 2

On arrival, visitors are advised to set their time of day to midnight (if their viewer doesn’t accept the local windlight) and enable local sounds and particles. The arrival point is within the pyramid, on three of the internal walls of which scroll texts (in French), one of which focuses on the Buddhist Sutta Nipata and another from Confucius. The exit from the pyramid sits opposite the landing point, with a couple of airlocks and stairs leading to the surface.

Here one passes into the alien environment the Earth has become – a place of night and glowing plants and trees through which a path winds, passing through further airlock type doors. These offer access and egress to / from a biodome – possibly the attempt by the colonists to re-introduce flora and fauna to Earth which, as the story notes from 2013 (provided in the introductory note-card) indicate.

Dreams in Space 2

The path eventually comes to an end – but the journey is just beginning. From the end of the path, follow the red arrow and flashing lines, and with patience visitors will reach a conical structure in which sits the teleporter to the rest of the installation. This offers access to five areas:

  • City Arts – an orbital environment, in which elements of Barry’s art can be found travelling through tunnels and airlocks.
  • Gallery Alphalune Creations – a space station where more 2D and 3D art is on display. Note that to access it, you’ll need to join the local group (follow the instructions from inviter by the station’s entrance, then touch the door keypad, followed by touching the door).
  • Theatre – a retrospective of Barry’s 2015 Othello, the Moor of Venice, also know as Desdemona, Killed By A Pool Cue.
  • Flying Arts – a space offering further destinations via a second teleport, including the opportunity to fly, Inspire Space like. Note this second teleporter will also take visitors back “downstairs” through the different levels.
  • Colony – the human colony in M51, waiting to be explored.
Dreams in Space 2

With around 27 teleport destinations, 2D and 3D art elements and  experiences, Dreams In Space 2 makes for a mixed art / experiential style environment which makes for an interesting and intriguing visit.

SLurl Details

A touch of Scotland in Second Life

MindPillars, a Scottish themed Sim; Inara Pey, May 2018, on FlickrMindPillars, a Scottish themed Sim – click any image for full size

When first encountering its name, MindPillars, a Scottish Themed Sim would appear to give itself away from this title: a region with a Scottish lean in its design. However, this still leaves a number of questions open  – where in Scotland? Highlands? Lowlands? islands? When in Scotland? Modern times? Times past? These, and questions like them, demand people pay the region a visit to find out; and the truth is MindPillars has touch of Brigadoon about it, as well as a twist of Scottish legend and myth.

The landing point, while set, is not enforced. However after Caitlyn and I spent an hour exploring, I do recommend you use it, as per the SLurl above, as it will deliver you to Geata Fhoingail (Fingal’s Gate) towards the western side of the region. An arch cut through living rock, the landing point features a map of the region ( and sharing the same west-east orientation), highlighting the 30 points of interest located across the region. In this, Fingal’s Gate is appropriately named: geata fhoingail might also be translated as “foyer gate”.

MindPillars, a Scottish themed Sim; Inara Pey, May 2018, on FlickrMindPillars, a Scottish themed Sim

It worth noting that the 30 points of interest draw on a broad range of locations from physical world, myth, history and legend – and not all of them are necessarily Scottish in nature. Penn an Wlas, for example, translates as “Land’s End” – a location in England’s Cornwall.  Touching the map will present you with a series of options, including a note card, Storyteller’s HUD,  and a copy of the map of the region. Available in English and German, the HUD will attach to the top left of your screen, where it will initially remain passive.

Where you go from here is up to you – there are trails and paths winding throughout the region – although you might want to keep an eye on your location via the region co-ordinates displayed at the top of the viewer: the region joins “seamlessly” with the outlying surround – complete with paths appearing to wind off into the distance – so you can end up walking into a region boundary if you’re not careful! The effect, however, is to make the region look and feel a lot bigger – as well as give it a feeling of being in the middle of Scotland.

MindPillars, a Scottish themed Sim; Inara Pey, May 2018, on FlickrMindPillars, a Scottish themed Sim

As you explore, you’ll come across signs (and sometimes rocks) highlighting each of the 30 points of interest around the region. If you’re wearing the HUD, proximity to these signs will trigger a text chat invitation to tell you a story about the location. However, with or without the HUD, you can touch them to display a menu offering you the map, the HUD and a note card with the location’s story. Some of the signs also include a lamp labelled Public Transport Available. Touching these will either rez a donkey and cart you can ride in, or offer a choice of routes before rezzing the transport.

Setting out along the paths will reveal the setting is broadly medieval in tone – as seen in the clothing of the “locals”. As well as the village, there are a number of other buildings to explore, such as Gorm Coinneach Maineir to the south-east, or Crow’s Court in the mist, or the ruins of a castle. There are also hidden places to be found – such as in the graveyard – for those willing to follow the suggestion given in About Land to click on things. I’m just not sure that accepting a tankard of whiskey is a good idea; not if you’re planning to keep walking or want to avoid the charge of being drunk in charge of a donkey cart … or flying dragon… 🙂 .

MindPillars, a Scottish themed Sim; Inara Pey, May 2018, on FlickrMindPillars, a Scottish themed Sim

Designed by Gaelle Ravenheart (Gaelle Joubert) and Carsten Ravenheart, MindPillars is ideal for those seeking something a little different by way of region design, and a hat tip to Shakespeare for dropping me a landmark.

SLurl Details

2018 UG updates #22/1: Simulator User Group meeting

A Little Bit of Soul; Inara Pey, May 2018, on FlickrA Little Bit of Soulblog post

Server Deployments

The was no deployment to the Main (SLS) channel on Tuesday, May 29th, 2018.

RC Roll-back and Deployments

On Friday, May 25th, the deployments to the Magnum and BlueSteel RCs channels were rolled back from update #18.05.14.515432, which included server-side support for an upcoming capability to deliver estate information to estate owners and managers, to #18.05.07.515224. the roll-back was due to an unspecified bug.  The updates have remained deployed to the LeTigre RC.

There is due to be a further RC deployment on Wednesday, May 30th, 2018, but at the time of writing, details were still TBA. Commenting on the overall situation at the Simulator User Group on Tuesday, May 28th, 2018, Simon Linden said:

Let’s see … for server news, we had a roll-back last week of the RC channels for a bug. we’re going to have updates out tomorrow that have that fixed … and possibly another release that has a few other items in it. It’s all internal changes, as far as I know.

Upcoming Server-Side Maintenance Periods

The Lab has announced a series of upcoming server-side maintenance periods over the next several days (including the RC deployments these are set for:

  • Wednesday, May 30th, 2018 from 06:00 SLT (and rolls into the RC deployment window).
  • Thursday, May 31st, 2018 from 06:00 SLT.
  • Monday, June 4th, 2018 from 06:00 SLT.
  • Tuesday, June 5th, 2018 from 06:00 SLT (and presumably rolling into any planned Main (SLS) channel deployment planned for week #23).

During these maintenance periods residents may be logged off and will not be able to log in until maintenance is complete. In addition, residents may temporarily be unable to send messages or initiate group chats until the maintenance is complete.

Please refer to the Grid Status Page for more.

SL Viewer

There have been no further updates to the current SL viewers in the pipeline for the start of the week, leaving the list as:

  • Current Release version 5.1.4.515016, dated May 7, promoted May 16 – formerly the Ouzo Release Candidate.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Love Me Render RC viewer, version 5.1.5.515528, dated May 22.
    • Pálinka Maintenance RC viewer, 5.1.5.515527, dated May 21.
  • Project viewers:
  • Linux Spur viewer, version 5.0.9.329906, dated November 17, 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 8, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

Environment Enhancement Project (EEP)

I’m plugging away at the first project viewer for EEP, and as soon as I get a blocker out of the way we’ll be able to get something into people’s hands.

 – Rider Linden, discussing EEP at the Simulator User Group meeting, May 28th

We have a blocking problem on the back-end at the moment … once we’ve gotten that fixed, we’ll deploy the back-ends that it depends on (simulator and inventory at least), and then put out a Project Viewer. y hope/expectation is that the Project stage will go well and we’ll get feedback quickly … Once we’ve responded to that, it’ll advance to RC, and at that point we won’t object to TPVs integrating it … The good news with respect to that is that the closer we get, the higher its priority gets, and the blocker is even higher priority for other reasons, so prospects are good.

– Oz Linden discussing EEP at the Simulator User Group meeting, May 28th

The meeting exhibited some lack of understanding on how EEP will operate. In brief EEP is a set of environmental enhancements, including:

  • The ability to define the environment (sky, sun, moon, clouds, water settings) at the parcel level.
    • Includes  arbitrary paths for both the sun and the moon.
    • Day cycles consist of a series of fixed skies. Each sky has a sun and a moon position.
    • In transitioning from sky to sky the sun or the moon will follow the great circle from one position to the next.
    • Can, howver be overrideen by the viewer (as per current “local” windlight settings.
  • New environment asset types (Sky, Water, Days – the latter comprising multiple Sky and Water) that can be stored in inventory and traded through the Marketplace / exchanged with others.
  • Experience-based environment scripted functions.
  • An extended day cycle (e.g a 24/7 cycle) and extended environmental parameters.

This work involves simulator, as well as viewer changes, and includes some infrastructure updates. The document linked to above (by Rider Linden) provides a summary of the document, and I attempt to offer updates through these Simulator User Group meeting notes and my Content Creation User Group meeting notes, as and when updates from the Lab are made available.

Grid-Wide Experiences

Work on grid-wide experiences is currently at a lower priority that other work currently being carried out (e.g. EEP), and so progress is slower. As with existing experience creation, only Premium members will be able to create grid-wide experiences. However, anyone will be able to accept and participate in them.

On-Line Friends Not Showing as On-Line

The is a recurrent bug that can affect people at different times and on different regions – all friends for the affected person appear as off-line. sometimes it can be rectified by IM’ing someone known to be on-line,forcing the Friends list then re-populates itself correctly. Simon Linden acknowledged the bug with the following comments:

It’s not caps fail – it’s a lost packet. There’s work going on to convert that to a cap so it’s more reliable, I believe. A work around is to tell folks to open up the web site and look at the friends on-line list there – that should be more reliable … The fact that you get an inaccurate list when you log in, and maybe a different one if you log out/in again, is due to packet loss. When you first land at a region, it needs to look up all your friends and status and send (or not) them the “is on-line” message, and also send a list to you. At the same time you’re getting updates for all the world around you, all your off-line IMs, etc. So there’s way too much traffic at once.

– Simon Linden, Simulator User Group meeting, May 28th

There also appears to be a similar issue that can be region-specific (see BUG-7557). This generally requires a region restart to resolve, and the underpinning causes still seems to be unknown.

 

 

A no-nonsense hovercraft in Second Life

The Foilborne MW47L HoneyBadger

Ape Piaggio is a keen builder of assorted vehicles in Second Life – and I admit to being rather partial to several of them (see my pieces on the FoilStream, Little Bee and Orion). Her latest, which she asked me to test prior to its release on May 26th, 2018, combines the fun of several of her earlier designs with the utilitarian nature of a number of others.

The MW47L “HoneyBadger” (named for the ferocious Mellivora capensis, or ratel,  made famous in a 2011 viral YouTube video) is a cargo carrying hovercraft that incorporates Get The Freight Out! capabilities, can carry up to six avatars and – despite its workman-like looks – can offer a lot of fun.

Marketed under Ape’s Foilborne Industries brand, the MW47L is delivered in Ape’s familiar “toy box” approach: a neatly boxed miniature of the vehicle, visible through a clear plastic screen in the box. It also has an unusual approach to unpacking. On rezzing the box, you’ll be greeted with a number of local chat comments, one of which will ask you to wait for the “Ready” notice. When this is displayed in chat, touch the box to display a menu with the options to PLAY or UNPACK. If you’re only interested in getting to the hovercraft, click UNPACK; however, if you want to have a little fun, click PLAY and then try the follow-up menu.

The Foilborne MW47L HoneyBadger

When unpacked, the box delivers the hovercraft itself, an instruction manual, driver’s HUD, a customer paint applier,  and an “extras” box (of which more anon). Note that if you unpack the box by the usual means, you’ll also end up with an animation and three scripts in the hovercraft’s folder. These can all be safely deleted.

On rezzing, the MW47L is quite a sizeable vehicle – not surprising, given it is intended to carry cargo. However, it can be manually resized (with a couple of caveats: the refuelling animation is best disabled after resizing; resetting the scripts will result in the vehicle reverting to its default size) for those who might wish to do so.

The controls are simple enough, with chat commands and a vehicle menu for additional / alternate options. To get started, right-click and sit on the MW47L, this will position you in the driving “seat”. Type “s” or “start” to start the diesel motor (“s” or “stop” will stop the engine). This drives both the big vertical fan that propels the hovercraft and the two horizontal fans that draw air down into the vehicle’s skirt to form the pocket of air on which it rides. As the fans spin-up, the skirt will inflate. You can then use the UP / DOWN keys to advance / retard the throttle and the LEFT / RIGHT keys to operate the two rudders aft of the vertical fan to turn left or right.

The Foilborne MW47L HoneyBadger at rest

Note that once in motion, the MW47L becomes more responsive with speed. As such, it can be a little sluggish in turning at low speeds – but at higher rates of knots, it can be quite entertaining, offering lots of opportunities for turning, slewing, and generally having fun. It’s also compatible with the Foilborne wakeboard Ape also sells and with tube rides, if you fancy having fun towing friends around. Hovertext displayed over the rear fan will keep you appraised of your throttle setting, speed, skirt inflation and remaining fuel.

A point of note here is that the HoneyBadger can be operated with or without the additional HUD or in Mouselook mode. In the latter regard, I’d suggest driving with the HUD first – the switches re not clearly labelled on the dashboard, so using the HUD will help familiarise you with the dashboard buttons (although note the HUD has an additional button for displaying the menu).

The forward ramp can be lowered / raised using the chat command “ramp”  or using the lower / extreme right button on the HUD / dashboard. Note you can pause the ramp at any time by typing “ramp” again or clicking the button. This allows it to be correctly angled when taking freight aboard from a pier or other raised surface, for example.

The Foilborne MW47L HoneyBadger – fully GTFO! compatible

Which brings me to Get The Freight Out! (GTFO) and freight carriage. The HoneyBadger is fully GTFO! compatible, and a menu option will allow you to display a “pre-loaded” cargo crate. You can also carry other GTFO! cargo with the hovercraft as well.  Nor is that all. The “extras” box supplied with the HoneyBadger includes the MW47L HoneyBadger Payload Plugin script and a configuration note card.

The script and the note card can be used with modifiable goods / vehicles you might wish to transport using the hovercraft. Full instructions are provided in the HoneyBadger’s manual, and I strongly advise that you follow the recommendation that when carrying goods in this way, you hold the hovercraft’s speed down. It might also be worth having someone (an Alt account?) sit on the object to further help it maintain its position relative to the hovercraft. Both the script and the note card or transferable, and so can be given to friends for you to transport their goods.

The Foilborne MW47L HoneyBadger – you can carry your own suitably prepared cargo and goods

Handling on land is very similar to on water, although rough terrain can be a little awkward, and getting up some banks from water to land can require additional power (some might equally be too steep / high to climb). Other options include the custom paint capability (PSD, etc., files are available via a download link in the instruction manual), the aforementioned options for towing wakeboarders, etc., and a wide range of additional settings options (including a parkcam for mooring and a race mode).

At L$800 (at the time of writing), With the ability to let others drive it, the MW47L HoneyBadger offers a rich mix of opportunities for vehicle enthusiasts – and this review barely scratches the surface. So, if you are looking for a vehicle this is that little bit different and which has GTFO! capabilities, the MW47L might be just the ticket. Like its namesake, it’s a no-nonsense vehicle, pretty much up for anything.

Now, if I can only get Ape to finish her long-awaited take on the Icon A5 …

Additional Links

Designing Worlds in conversation with Ebbe Altberg – Transcript + Audio

Ebbe Altberg in conversation with Saffia Widdershins

Note: the video of the show is now embedded at the foot of this page.

On Tuesday, May 15th, I was able to sit-down at a closed studio recording session which formed part of Design Worlds’ 10th anniversary. The programme featured special guest, Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg.

Ebbe had accepted an invitation to answer questions to him by Saffia Widdershins, focusing on the upcoming 15th Anniversary celebrations for Second Life and the infographic and roadmap blog post issued by the Lab in  April 2018, although Sansar was also touched upon as well towards the end of the session.

The questions were a mix of those submitted to Designing Worlds ahead of the session, and those formulated by the Designing Worlds team. What follows here is a transcript of Ebbe’s responses to the questions, with a précis of each question and an audio extract from my own recording of the session.

A summary of the topics / comments is provided below, with links to the relevant section of the transcript. Note that the audio here may differ slightly to the audio in the video, as my audio extracts have been cleaned-up a little to remove repetition, pauses and asides, to give a smoother flow of the core comments and thoughts.

The Short(ish) Form

For those who prefer, the following is a bullet-point list of the core questions asked, gathered into the same topic headings as the transcript notes. Links are given to the relevant part of the full transcript for those who would prefer to read / listen to the complete answers / comments.

Note: due to the nature of WordPress internal text anchors and scrolling, you may have to scroll up a little after jumping to a specific topic, in order to see the question.

Opening Comments

  • 15 years a testament to users’ commandment to the platform.
  • Want to make it very clear to the world in general that Second Life is still going and improving.
  • The SL team is very committed to the platform, driving to make it better with new features and improved capabilities.
  • LL more optimistic than previously that they have the opportunity to grow the SL user base.
  • Jump to topic.

On the Infographic

  • While revenues are important, particularly moved by the value Second Life brings to users.
  • Fascinating that in 2017, users redeemed almost US$70 million from the platform, indicating it offers a genuine income opportunity.
  • 5 million items on the Marketplace (although some could perhaps be removed) indicates the breadth of creativity and opportunity for income generation available to users.
  • But the stories of how SL improves people’s lives, the way it can be used to raise money to help others (e.g. US $48,000 via Fantasy Faire in 2018),and the way it can change people’s lives for the better.
  • Jump to topic.

On Re-balancing the SL Economy

  • LL recognises land in Second Life is too expensive, and that they actually generate very little from the platform’s economic activity.
  • Hope is to pivot Lab’s income generation away from land tier and towards more of the economic activities – buying / selling L$, transactional and redemption fees, subscriptions, etc.
  • Through this shift, hope is to reduce the cost of land tier.
  • Witnessing steps already being taken – the private region buy-down programme, the Mainland price reduction, and more is cautiously planned.
  • Jump to topic.

On the Mainland Pricing Restructure and Private Estates

  • Extremely happy with the results.
  • Land team still incredibly busy handling orders.
  • Has also resulted in an increase in Premium subscriptions.
  • Still have to investigate the breakdown of figures: how many orders are from Premium users expending their existing land holdings; how many orders are from Premium users taking up land for the first time; and absolute net new Premium subscribers.
  • How do these changes balance with private estate costs?
    • Still being discussed, with no decisions as yet.
    • Idea is to make changes in steps and understand cause and effect – which is not possible if a lot of changes are introduced at once.
    • Potentially more to come in the future.
    • Jump to topic.

On Linden Homes

  • Not an exercise to convert exiting Linden Homes to mesh; rather the introduction of new homes which will take advantage of mesh, etc.
  • Will likely take advantage of the 1024 sq m land form, in line with the Mainland pricing change.
  • New houses will be showcased later in 2018, but no specific dates on the roll-out.
  • Some homes might make full use of a 1024 sq m footprint, some might be smaller to allow broader choice to users.
  • Jump to topic.

On The New Land Auctions

  • Initially, only Mainland land holders will be able to offer their land for auction, and individuals only, not groups.
  • Money will likely be held in escrow, so those who don’t win will get it back.
  • Lab will take a transaction fee on auctions, again as a part of trying to move revenue generation away from land tier.
  • No dates as to when the new auctions will be introduced, but getting “close”.
  • Jump to topic.

On Themed Learning Islands and Community Gateways

Are you considering community support for the new theme learning islands, and what are the themes likely to be?

  • Primary intention of themed learning islands is to provide more vertically specific user acquisition opportunities.
    • Attempt to make things consistent as possible, from initial contact through to arriving in-world at a location that is in context with the initial interesting in wanting to join SL.
    • Today, the process is generic, with no guarantee a new user will arrive in-world where they might have expected.
  • Currently in early testing, finding out what works / doesn’t work.
  • Hope is to bring-in and retain more productively (from the user’s perspective) and at a lower cost.
  • Have found that having greeters / helpers present at these islands doesn’t actually increase new user engagement. Might be a fault with testing, but might be only some new users appreciate personal help. Possible the Lab will look again at this.
  • Jump to topic.
  • Have some great gateways, but they are not necessarily contributing a lot of new users, but appear to do a great job in supporting existing users.
  • There has been success in the past – a Brazilian gateway supported by a local media company helped grow the SL Brazilian community.
  • Anyone wishing to apply to run a community gateway is free to do so.
  • LL spend a lot of money on user acquisition, but there are many different ways to do it.
  • Needs to be in contextually relevant places on the Internet where relevant audiences might be found.
  • Community gateways could be a unique way to provide user-generated themed user acquisition that the Lab may not have thought of; addressing niche audiences.
  • Jump to topic.

On the Marketplace Updates

  • Thoughts being given to clearing some of the “clutter” – content no longer managed by the creator for various reasons (e.g. no longer active).
  • User interface updates.
  • Specific (and requested) capabilities, such as being able to sell multiple colours for an item through a single listing.
  • Long list of possible improvements, and the aim is to work with the community [e.g. via the Web User Group).
  • Will be a big project, with many changes unlikely to appear until the end of the year; some (such as the clean-up) might become apparent sooner.
  • There is a commitment to make significant improvements to the Marketplace.
  • Already have certain points where revenue is collected (land, transactional fees, L$ fees, redemption fees, Marketplace commissions, etc.). Might be additional products deployed with fees associated with them.
  • Haven’t decided on the best way to engage in the transactional economy or whether Marketplace fees will increase from the current 5%.
  • Most digital economies on the Internet charge around 30% for participation. With Marketplace fees, L$ fees and redemption fees, LL charge around 10%.
  • With trying to lower land costs, the fees through the economy are liable to increase – but no decision on by how much.
  • Jump to topic.
  • Some LL’s focus is to try to find the right economic balance so that running a business in Second Life makes sense, and thus grow the economy.
  • Jump to topic.

On Premium Benefits (sort-of)

  • Mainland pricing has already happened.
  • There’s also Animesh, Bakes on Mesh and the Environment Enhancement Project, all of which will offer now opportunities for creators and shoppers.
  • There’s also work being done with Estate Management tools to make land management easier.
  • Project viewers in general either are available [Animesh, Bakes on Mesh] or will be appearing soon [Land Management, EEP].
  • Jump to topic.

On the Return of Last Names

  • Going a little slower than planned due to other work taking priority.
  • Important for scripter to switch to using agent IDs for identifying avatars, and not to use string names, as these will no longer remain constant.
  • New accounts will continue to have the “Resident” last name.
  • Premium users will – for a fee to be decided – be able to chose a new last name from a list, and use any first name they wish with it.
  • Last name lists will not include any last names previously used.
  • No-one will be able to use a name previously used by anyone else, so a name will always apply to the same user.
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On Transitioning Second Life to the Cloud

  • First step is to make the migration and not have anything break. This must be completed before the Lab can start thinking about options and products.
  • Likely to be well into 2019 if not longer) before the Lab has transitioned from their own co-located infrastructure to a cloud-based infrastructure.
  • Possible benefits from the move might be:
    • Running regions on more high performant hardware, offering users a choice of hardware capabilities, depending on their needs
    • Possibly taking advantage of geographic distribution of regions (e.g. regions heavily used by European users located in Europe).
    • Possibly offering dynamic availability of regions (where appropriate) – spin-up when someone visits, spin-down and store on disk when empty.
  • Constantly have to upgrade hardware, etc., and this involves significant capital expenditure. The cloud allows for these things to be paid for on demand, reducing expenditure / overheads.
  • It’s the right time to make the move, and Ll are now committed to it.
  • Not an investment that would be made if the company didn’t have long-term aspirations for Second Life.
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  • Can do a lot without cloud infrastructure – improving code, making optimisations, etc.
  • Will continue to do this on the software side.
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On Grid-Wide Experiences

  • Essentially making experiences a grid-wide opt-out, rather than a localised opt-in.
  • Land holders will have the ability to determine which (if any) grid-wide experiences run on their land [region or parcel].
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On the Environment Enhancement Project (EEP)

  • Three new object types / inventory assets for water, sky and day settings which can be transferred / traded like other goods.
  • Can be set at region or parcel level, subject to permissions.
  • Close to getting a project viewer available and to start getting feedback for users.
  • Hopefully will make it easier for those without the necessary skills (XML coding) to set custom environments for their land.
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On Animesh and Bakes on Mesh

  • Animesh uses skeletal animations on a mesh object, animating it in the same way as an avatar. Should be more efficient than current mechanisms for animating objects [e.g. no need for intensive alpha flipping].
  • Bakes on Mesh allows system wearable to be applied to mesh bodies and heads. Should reduce the overall complexity of avatar mesh bodies and heads.
  • EEP, Animesh and Bakes on Mesh should provide new opportunities for content creation.
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On Games and Experiences

  • The aims of building games are to: make sure the Lab can make interesting content; showcase what might be done with emerging capabilities and options to creators; and understand what users find particularly engaging, and how the Lab might capitalise on that engagement in terms of tools and other capabilities.
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On Sansar

Progress to Date

  • No – but this is fairly normal when building a complex system.
  • Sansar is essentially building a new games engine from the ground up with all the scripting, physics and rendering capabilities & building two unique interfaces: VR and mouse / keyboard
  • Work will continue in adding more capabilities and in making Sansar more performant, offering beet means for people to connect with content and with one another.
  • At present tests are in progress to improve user on-boarding.
  • Personally very excited about VR and its potential. However, VR does have a way to go before it achieves a large market.
  • Feels creativity in Sansar is starting to take off – creators are already doing things LL never imagined.
  • Now starting to look at getting growth. SL users are welcome to try Sansar. LL very happy if users opt to use both, or decided to stay with one or the other.
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Tie-ins and Opportunities

  • Sansar has significant architectural differences to Second Life.
  • Instancing experiences is one difference, visual fidelity is another. Sansar also has a monetisation model based on economic activity.
  • All these may serve to encourage brands and companies and organisations opt to select Sansar as the platform for publishing their VR experiences.
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The “WordPress Analogy”

  • Broad spectrum of platforms for content creation from Minecraft to Unity and Unreal.
  • Second Life and Sansar sit between the two extremes, with Sansar between SL and something like Unity.
  • Sansar aims to offer freedom to create and publish of 3D environments, coupled with scalability and the ability to target VR hardware, rather than just consume content.
  • Still a learning process – discovering what works and what doesn’t; plans have to be revised as users get involved, company has to be nimble to meet evolving requirements and needs.
  • Content creation falls into different categories. Second Life supports a lot of in-world original content, Sansar utilises a more sophisticated external toolset.
  • Both off huge opportunities not only for the actual creators of content, but for people to obtain content and utilise it to create unique spaces. This is particularly what Sansar is aimed at.
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