Friday, June 24th, 2022 saw the final Meet the Lindens special events take place for the SL19B(irthday) celebrations, featuring Patch Linden and the Moles of the Linden Department of Public Works (LDPW).
Unlike previous articles in this series, this is not a detailed summary of the session, but focuses on information relating to the New User eXperience (NUX) and the upcoming new Starter Avatars, and on plans for Linden Homes for Premium Plus and Premium accounts. Also provided is information on who the Moles are, and how to apply to become one, if you believe your skill sets are suitable.
New User Experience / Starter Avatar Project
- NUX is a multi-phase, multi-faceted project that is fairly constantly in motion.
- Currently, the focus is on the new user starter avatars, given the current avatars are a mix of the original system body and mesh attachments.
- This project is intended to replace all of the starter avatars with fully mesh offerings. These will utilise the Bento skeleton and sliders, support Bakes on Mesh (BoM) and be an all-in-one, head-to-toes avatar, complete with new animation overrides.
- These avatars:
- Will be provided with an “array” of outfits/looks/ethnicities from which new users can choose during the sign-up process, with everything being an unisex as possible, so as to work across the full gender spectrum and the avatars themselves also available through the system Library.
- Won’t necessarily be as robust and extensible as some of the “best-in-class” bodies and heads, but are seen as a means to help those coming into SL get started and ease them into the wider creative ecosphere.
- Will be supported by developer kits so that creators can produce clothing and accessories for them, and again further encourage new users into the broader commercial ecosystem.
- The work is still very much at a pre-release status, with the preview shown at the event not necessarily represent the finished product; there is a lot more to come with the project before it is ready for release.
Linden Homes – Premium Plus and Premium
- At the time of the Moles MTL, 34,845 Premium Linden Homes had been made available and 1,913 regions released, with a further 172 “under construction”.
- Premium Plus Linden Homes:
- Entirely new “ground up” themes with a new approach to implementation.
- The “ranch” theme Patch mentions at his MTL session [video ; blog summary], is one under consideration, although exact style, etc., is still TBA.
- The fact that ideas are still in development is why Premium Plus Linden Homes will not be appearing until the end of 2022 “at the earliest”.
- The increased land offering (2048 sq m) means more opportunities to use different parcel sizes.
- Premium Linden Homes:
- Both the Traditional and Victorian theme will be getting a refresh with “open-plan” variants on their styles.
- Houseboats to get four new floor plans.
- Updates will include a pass to bring the control panels up-to-date with the most recent home releases.
- All of this will be rolled out before the end of 2022.
- New large-scale community centres for Bellisseria are also in the works.
- No plans at this time for a “city style” theme with apartments and the like.
About the Moles
Who or What are the Moles?
- Officially called the Linden Department of Public Works (LDPW), originally formed in 2008, Moles are residents from all over the world hired by Linden Lab as independent contractors to undertake specific tasks.
- Their work was originally focused on the Mainland, adding the infrastructure – road, bridges, etc., and the landscaping, as noted in the official LDPW wiki page, although they actually do a lot more than this.
- 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, the Second Life Birthday, town 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, although some say with their Mole 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.
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.