The 15th edition of Lab Gab was live streamed on Friday, February 28th and featured as guests, Patch Linden, Vice President of Product Operations, and representatives of the Linden Department of Public Works (LDPW), aka the Moles – Notta Mole, Alotta Mole, Squeaky Mole and Mischievous Mole. Together they discussed the upcoming SL17B celebrations, the Linden Homes and Bellisseria, the work of the LDPW and more.
A call was put to Second Life users to submit questions that could be asked of the group, and the the following is a summary of the key topics raised and feedback given. Note that items may not all reflect the chronological order in which they were discussed, but have been grouped together where appropriate. Time stamps are provided for those wishing to jump to a specific point in the official video, and the complete video is embedded at the end of this article.
[0:37-3:15] Each of the guests offers a brief introduction to themselves, their time at / with Linden Lab, and some of what they do.
SL17B – The Second Life Birthday Celebration, 2020
- Core dates:
- Soft opening – for members of the free-to-join Second Life Birthday group: Thursday, June 18th, 2020.
- Full opening: Friday, June 19th, 2020 – includes the Music Fest (see SL17B music festival auditions applications are open for more).
- End of celebrations still TBD.
- Theme: Vacations and Road Trips. Further details to come.
- There will be more exhibitor parcels available this year (still the standard 32m on a side.
- Buildings in keeping with the theme are welcome, but exhibitors are not restricted to modelling after it, but are encouraged to show their Second Life activities and what SL means to them, etc., either as individuals or groups.
- Applications will open in approximately 2 week from this date, and it is important for exhibitors to give as much detail as possible in their submission.
- There will be an SL17B shopping event to run in parallel with the festivities, and applications will open Soon™
- There will be more cross-promotion between the SL17B festivities and the shopping event than last year, to encourage people to attend both.
- The plan is to have “at least eight” regions in the shopping event.
- Application for the various aspects of the festivities (Music Fest, exhibitors, shopping event, etc.), will likely open over at two week intervals, starting the with Music Fest application. Notifications of applications opening will be provided via official Second Life blog posts and through the Second Life Birthday group in-world.
- Might the Cake Stage and Stage Left from the community-organised SLB events ever reappear?
- Stage Left is still there, but has been renamed Main Stage.
- The Cake Stage may reappear in the future, depending on how well it sits with a given SLB theme.
- Will there be an Adult section at SL17B, so Adult content creators can participate and enjoy equal visibility? LL have considered this, and it may happen. However, there are logistics to be worked out – e.g. how best to handle different rating of content (Adult and Moderate / General) in close proximity to one another in a public environment). As such, a firm “yes” or “no” is still pending.
Linden Homes and Bellisseria
- The fifth Linden Home theme was revealed / previewed on Friday, February 28th. The new theme – Log Homes (or lodge homes, if you prefer), comprises 4 styles of rural house style set within open landscapes and dirt tracks – see Previewing the Linden Home Log theme in Second Life for more details.
- [21:48-22:48] Modifications to this theme mean that the total number of style that are available in the future may increase to as many as eight, with the mailbox rezzers updated to reflect this. A similar approach may then be taken with the other house themes.
- How are themes chosen? Are there particular motivations, inspirations?
- Patch believes the team responsible for Linden Homes is in tune with, and listiening to users and what user might want.
- The new Log homes is seen as an example of this, being both something the team planned for, and something users requested.
- Currently, the team has a “huge” list of potential themes, with the first eight either released or under construction and 2 more after those decided upon.
- Traditional Homes and Houseboats: Further releases of both being planned.
- Campers and Trailers: it had been indicated that campers and trailer might be made available on 1024 sq m parcels as well as the current 512 sq m. Is this still being planned? Right now, the team hasn’t really found a way in which large 1024 sq m parcels and much smaller campers / trailers fit within the overall Bellisseria model.
- Release schedule: while the schedule officially remains every Monday, Wednesday and Friday (holidays allowing), unofficially the team has started releasing one or more regions a day, depending on what is available.
- Will there be more water regions around Bellisseria for sailing? There should be sufficient room for moderately-size vessels and sail boats to navigate between Joegeot and Sansara by way of Bellisseria. LL do not necessarily want to create large expanses of of water, but if there are issues, things might be revisited.
- Is Bellisseria open for anyone to use, and are all avatar types welcome? Yes, the regions are open to everyone, only the homes require a Premium account. All avatar types are welcome, including child avatars, and subject to the normal community standards / terms of service.
- Are there plans for a children’s playground in Bellisseria? Has not thus far been considered, but an excellent suggestion.
- Will there be street names in Bellisseria? No. While it is a fun exercise to name the regions, all the names have to be checked for suitability, and trying to do the same for every street in Bellisseria would be too time consuming.
- Region names come out of group meetings and idea pitching. Some of this may include names that are personal to the team.
- Is there an opportunity for a city style of theme with apartments and commercial units?
- This is been batted around by the team, but always tends to end up raising issues (how can you stack apartments in a parcel to ensure privacy and without having to constantly monitor LI use? What would the land layout look like with accommodation parcels vs. protected land to ensure the former have adequate LI? How can 1024×1024 parcels be arranged to allow town houses to sit literally side-by-side?
- However, the idea is still being considered, with no promises.
- How will Bellisseria expand given it now links to Sansara and Jeogeot? Options are open, including working with private estates to move with elsewhere within the grid, if this becomes necessary. Where new Linden Homes regions are placed may also related to the idea of linking continents together (see below).
- Will LL provide rolling stock for the railway? Short answer: no, not for the foreseeable future.
- How should Bellisseria covenant violations be dealt with? A) take the good neighbour approach and talk to the violator. B) if that fails, file an AR. It should be noted that if issues are noted directly by Lindens or the Moles, then will attempt to pro-actively resolve matters.
- [39:45-40:50] What is it with the Back to the Future references that keep popping up? In short, a region on the Bellisseria continent is a partially-completed trestle bridge in homage to the bridge seen in the climax of Back to the Future 3. So, rail travellers beware! There is more to come around this and a storyline for it.
- [18:01-18:35] With the Sansara-Bellisseria-Jeogeot link-up, are their plans to link all of the continents together? Maybe. There are more connections coming.
- [21:07-21:45] Will Premium Plus offer larger land parcels than the 1024 sq m available to Premium members? There are plans to present a Linden Homes offering to Premium Plus members. This is not open for detailed discussion as yet.
- [28:50-29:53] What is the 5-year plan for the LDPW? For the next three years: Linden Homes. Alongside of this are projects related to the new user process, Premium benefits, cyclical work such as the SL Birthday, a lot of marketing support work etc.
- [31:27-32:19] When will the Second Life Rail Road (SLRR) get an overhaul? Maintenance of the Mainland SLRR system is constantly in progress. However, any larger-scale project depends on time being available & what is meant by “overhaul” – e.g. going through and updating the entire track layout would be a multi-year project, and so not currently on the cards. There are also some core differences in design with the Bellisseria system (e.g. tightness of the bends) that mean it is not 100% compatible with the SLRR.
- [36:20-37:04] Will the old 512 sq m Linden Homes be refreshed? No. The intent remains that once a critical mass with the new Home take-up has been reached, the old Linden Homes mini-continents will start to be retired and removed.
- [38:00-39:43] A discussion on what each of the moles would build if their had free reign to do so: pooled ideas were:
- An amusement park – Moley World.
- A water world / park.
- [42:53-43:55] Are there plans to update the Mainland in general, e.g. high resolution terrain textures, improved landscaping, etc? Has been talked about; could be something that’s undertaken beyond the 3-year plan for Linden Homes.