SL17B: Meet the Moles of Second Life

via Linden Lab
On Friday, June 26th, 2020 at the SL17B celebrations, the final of five Meet the Lindens sessions was held, this one featuring Patch Linden and the Moles of the Linden Department of Public Works (LDPW).

Unlike previous summaries in this series, this does not provide a breakdown of all topics covered. Instead it is structured follows:

Core information about the LDPW and the Moles is given below – who they are, what they do, how to apply to become a Mole, etc.

  • This information is drawn from both the session previous interview with the Moles and information from the SL wiki.
  • This information is supported by the Links to the Video section of the table of contents, right.
Table of Contents

This is followed by a short summary of the question (and their answers) likely to be of interest to readers. These are supported by the links under General Audience Questions section of the table of contents, right. For all of the questions asked in the session, please refer to the official video, embedded at the end of this article.

The Moles

Who or What are the Moles?

  • Officially called the Linden Department of Public Works (LDPW)
  • They are residents from all over the world hired by Linden Lab as independent contractors to undertake specific tasks.
  • The core element of work they undertake is specifically geared towards enhancing the Mainland, as noted in the official LDPW wiki page, although they actually do a lot more than this.
  • The LDPW initially formed in 2008, and so is now in its twelfth year. They are managed by Derrick Linden, the Product Operations Manager for Second Life, together with a team of Linden Lab staffers including Guy Linden, Madori Linden and Kona Linden.
  • Notable major projects carried out by the Moles include:
    • The infrastructure within Nautilus City.
    • The development of Bay City.
    • The Linden Homes continent of Bellisseria (including all topography, flora, infrastructure and housing).
    • The facilities for events like Shop & Hop, SL16B and SL17B, ton hall events, the turn-key regions available for businesses, starter avatars, etc.
    • The Lab provided games such as Linden Realms, Paleoquest, Horizons and the grid-wide Tyrah and the Curse of the Magical Glytches – all accessible via the Portal Parks.
  • They also provide support / input for / to technical projects (e.g. Project Bento and the avatar skeleton extension), and work with marketing, QA and other LL teams.
  • In keeping with their name, Moles were originally given a mole avatar, complete with hard hat. However, over the years, most have moved to having a more individual and personal look.
  • As well as being paid for the work they do, Moles also receive and allowance from the Lab, which is primarily intended to go towards the cost of uploads (texture, animations, mesh objects, etc)., but which can also be put towards developing their individual looks.
  • [Video: 29:58-33:54] Current project focus comprises:
    • Bellisseria / Linden Homes – including four more Homes themes, and next two of which will be “a bit of a departure” from what has so far been seen.
    • SL17B / LL-led events for 2020.
    • A Halloween refresh.
    • End-of-year events.
    • A number of “big media events”.
  • [Video: 39:49-40:52] Due to the Linden Homes work, the LDPW has expanded from 20 to 30.

How to Become a Mole

  • Positions in the LDPW are open to application by residents who believe they are qualified to work in the team, and the team may also approach specific residents and ask if they would consider joining them.
  • Applications are made by dropping a résumé (note card or email) of qualifications / experience (including links SLurls, Flickr, You Tube, etc.) to Derrick Linden (derrick.linden-at-lindenlab.com) or to Patch Linden (patch.linden-at-lindenlab.com).
  • Applicants have to go through a former interview process.
  • Successful applicants get to pretty much choose their hours of work – providing agreed tasks are completed on time.
  • As they are from around the world, this can allow some projects to move forward on almost a round-the-clock basis.
  • Those who are more fully-rounded in skill sets  – content creation, scripting, etc., – are encouraged to apply, but LL will also take on specialists.
  • Motivated, outgoing, communicative people with a passion for SL and willing to self-teach themselves new skill sets are particularly considered.

Selected Questions and Answers

Please use the links to the video in the table of contents to hear full responses to them.

  • Will the SSPE areas around the Log Homes ever be completed?  – Already working on it.
  • Will water regions connect all the continents? – Not all, but where in makes sense, hopefully.
  • Will the Bellisseria railway extend into the “older” region in the continent? – No. the tracks need to be part of the infrastructure built into region, they are not suited to being retro-fitted.
  • Could the trees in Bellisseria be swapped for trees with lower LI, and the LI given to residents? – No, because a) the content the Moles build is in accordance with best practices for things like LOD, etc., and b) Land Impact really doesn’t work is a way that the question implies.
  • Will there be commercial areas in Bellisseria? – It had been intended too release Victorian Commercial as well as the Victorian themed homes (e.g. Millbank, intended to be an open market space), but this was de-prioritised in favour of more homes.
  • Why not convert abandoned Mainland for use with Linden Homes? – The way the Linden Homes regions are set-up doesn’t easily lend itself to use on the Mainland.
  • What about an underground Bellisseria theme? – has been considered along with other ideas. However, there are technical complexities to this – creating the terrain, dealing with the physics, etc., – which are considered to be currently prohibitive.
  • Will there be Trailers and Campers on 1024 sq m parcels, as once stated? Unlikely. The 512m parcels for Trailers and Campers were selected to give Premium members who had already used some of their free tier on a Mainland parcel the option of also trying a Linden Home. Also, the Campers and Trailers don’t scale well on 1024 sq m.

Catch the rest of the session in the video below.