Lab Chat #2: Ebbe Altberg – Additional Questions

Lab Chat #2, January 21st, 2016 - J(r-to-l): Saffia Widdershins, Ebbe Altberg and Jo Yardley

Lab Chat #2, January 21st, 2016 – (r-to-l): Saffia Widdershins, Ebbe Altberg and Jo Yardley

Concerning Sansar Introduction

This page is a part of the transcript of the Lab Chat interview with Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg (in his alter ego of Ebbe Linden) held in-world on Thursday, January 21st, 2016, and provides his answers to the additional questions selected from the Chat forum thread, or asked during the recording of the show.

Note that for this section, the questions and their responses have been gathered by subject matter, where possible, rather than being offered in a chronological order that matches the video recordings of the show. The hope is to offer a better flow of information.

Questions Addressed on this Page

The following questions are addressed on this page, complete with audio extracts. Use your browser’s Back button to return to this list when you have read or listened to any response that is of specific interest to you.

Links to Other Topics

Use the links below to jump directly to any other questions and answers from the session.

Lab Chat #2 Introduction

Concerning Second Life

Concerning Sansar

Closing Comments

Sansar Maps and Web Pages and Second Life SLurls

Surely there will be a map of ‘Sansar Worlds’. Without a world map, there will be no sense of community. How will people find each other and interesting experiences without a map ? – Lilith Heart

So right now, we’re not thinking of it as a single world with a single map, and I don’t think of Second Life as a community; I think of it as a huge collection of communities which don’t necessarily interact with one another, because they don’t speak the same language and they don’t have the same interest. So i think the notion that the map creates a sense of a single community is not really the way I see things.

I want people to be able to create really large experiences. If you want to go create a continent, stitching together lots of regions, really massive, that maybe has its own map maybe some day, for that particular experience, that would be cool. But I don’t think of Sansar as being a single world with a single map.

one can debate whether or not the SL map gives a sense of "community"; one can even argue how frequently some may use the map. However, one thing the map does give is a sense of place in the world

one can debate whether or not the SL map gives a sense of “community”; one can even argue how frequently some may use the map. However, one thing the map does give is a sense of place in the world – will experience creators in Sansar be able to give the same sense, even if the platform itself is effectively hosting multiple “worlds” rather than being a single place? (image courtesy of Austin Tate)

JY: I guess it depends a bit on how people experience whatever it is they’re experiencing; because I’m in Second Life only in 1920s Berlin, but other people really use this map to travel from one spot to another. So it all depends, I guess; so for some it may change a lot.

One thing I’ve said [for] a while now is that one thing we want to do is break down the walls of Second life. Second Life is kind-of like a walled garden, where pretty much all users come in through the front door, pretty much because we find those users in the Internet and send them to the front door and they go through the welcome area, and then it’s kind-of like, “good luck finding something that’s relevant to you, once you’re on the inside”.

So I kind-of think of Sansar turning it inside out, where very experience is an entry point in of itself. So Jo, you with your Berlin, you probably have a better idea of where a relevant audience exists for that experience, out in the world than we do. We certainly don’t have the capacity to try to acquire users who are interested in 1920s Berlin; that’s way too niche for us to try to do that kind of marketing. So you should have the tools to be able to attract your own audience into your experience directly from the outside world.

Sinewave Entertainment already use a dedicated web presence for their various experiences such as wet.fm

Sine Wave Entertainment already use a dedicated web presence for their various experiences such as wet.fm (image: Sine Wave Entertainment)

And we’ve talked about trying to do some of these steps in Second Life as well. We’ve talked about trying to straighten-out these SLurls, so that when you give a SLurl to someone,  you can actually feel a high confidence that they’re actually going to end up at the destination that SLurl’s point to, and not get lost in some registration flow and never get there.

And then something that Second Life is also going to work on, and Sansar’s going to have from Day 1,  is this notion of an associated web page for each experience. So I can give someone a link that comes to this web page that describes this experience, and then I go into that experience – and as part of that process, I may have to register with the platform. But the whole flow is about getting into that experience.

Now, discovering these things opens it up to people discovering it on the Internet, not just discover things once they’re inside this  hermetically sealed thing called Second Life. So that’s how we think differently about Sansar.

And then, once you’re inside that one experience, then obviously you can use search tools and directories to discover other experiences. some of those experiences might be gargantuan, because people get together and create something that might feel like Mainland or something, but it’s completely created by the users.

SW: It’s going to be interesting, because if you’ve got like a website that draws all the experiences together, you could have thousands upon thousands of experiences on that website.

Think of it like “projectsansar/creator-name (maybe)/experience name”. And that’s a web page that, once you create that experience, you can have some control over how you promote that experience and then go out and drive traffic to yourself. So it’s kind-of like [an] out-of-the-box community gateway kind of thing. Every experience has its own gateway into itself.

JY: But of course the website’s not going to be “Project Sansar”, but the official name, which is….?

TBD [which he pronounces jokingly almost as “Tibbeedee”]. It’s still to be decided – it’s not going to be called “T.B.D.”! I’m sure we can think of all kinds of interesting things TBD could stand for, but that’s not it. no. It’s to be decided. Still.

SW: Yes, I was thinking, “Tibbeedee” is the name, and there was a big announcement to come with that!”

No, sorry. No news there.

More on Sansar Web Pages

So we can market via social media to a dedicated website for our simulator, will there be an extra fee for the web page, or will we have to register our own domain? – Melanie Bouvier

I don’t think we’ll charge a fee for this, because it’s in our interest for these web pages to be out there, because that creates SEO and discovery of the platform which in aggregate, help us reduce the marketing spend, or in the cost per acquisition goes down, because you get more organic discovery of experience and content.

Maybe at some point, you can have a super-duper website that costs you extra, but we haven’t talked about that to date. So the intent is that every experience will have by default, an associated web page.

Kitely already offer users an associated web page for their world, which can additional be displayed in the Kitely world directory. LL to offer similar experience web pages to Sansar users (image: kitely.com)

Kitely already offer users an associated web page for their world, which can additional be displayed in the Kitely world directory. LL to offer similar experience web pages to Sansar users (image: kitely.com)

Now, ours might be fairly simplistic; it’s sort-of data-driven; yes, of course you can fill-in the title and the body and pictures, and over time we’ll make it more and more advanced. But maybe you’d prefer to completely roll your own in WordPress and go to town on a website that describes your entire experience, and maybe even have that replace our default web page for that experience,

JY: A web page with lots of options would be really great … so if you had a page on the Second Life website for your experience but also with options to have group chat and share pictures. That could be quite interesting. 

We’ll see how that evolves. I think in the beginning I think it’ll be fairly static; a representation of what the experience is, so that if you click Enter, you have an idea about what the experience is. and then over time, I think we can get more and more sophisticated. But at the same time, we don’t ultimately want to be like all of WordPress, either. so we have to figure out where we draw the line between what we enable versus where it’s better off for some creators to move off onto a more professional web site with the tool set they feel is appropriate for attracting an audience to their experience.

Education and Business in Second Life and Sansar

I know that there was once a big focus on the capabilities of providing rich educational and more interactive business experiences for real-world establishments within the realm of Second Life. Do you feel that this is something that we’ve lost sight of, and/or do you see a potential for growth in these areas as our technological capabilities have very much changed since those earlier days? Also, with the impending launch of Sansar, is that an area that will also be a focus within that platform? – Abrianna Oceanside

Yes. We do definitely talk about both Second Life and Sansar; Sansar possibly more so, because we have the opportunity to shape it more easily than Second Life, to have a really broad ranging types of users.

There will be architects, there will be health professionals, there will be educators, there will be role-players, there will be whatever you want to make. And so there will be, I think, more ability for businesses to create experiences on Sansar with less of the issues they may have had with Second Life in the past.  And part of that is that you can create an experience and actually drive your own audience into your experience, and you can control who can access that experience.

Second Life's educational value has long been recognised - Sansar may capitalise on this

Second Life’s educational value has long been recognised – Sansar may capitalise on this

And you can do all of these things in Second life today, but it’s not obviously, and some things also make it difficult for businesses to take advantage of the platform as they would like. Where that’s to do with control, and a lot of it might have to do with scale; that’s something I’ve spoken about before. In Sansar we want to make it so that you can create an experience that can scale a lot more.

So we definitely do think more broadly like that, and don’t just think of it as a game for some narrow type of categories; we think very broad.  Which is very challenging, because we’re building something for almost anything, and sometimes you have to narrow your focus a little bit, because you can become too spread out to where you almost become not really something for anybody. But we definitely think in very broad terms of what this platform should be able to do.

And we do continue to have a lot of interaction with people who continue to do business; not just selling clothing and land and whatever they do in Second Life, but for business purposes, like education or health and architects, to try to understand what is it that works or does not work for them.

I have frequent meetings with a solution provider who is targeting the educational sector using Second Life, and trying to understand what can we do to make Second Life easier for him to go and sell to businesses. And not just him; I just happen to have him on the top of my mind because he was just here visiting just a couple of weeks ago,

And there are different things that cause issues for businesses. Some of it is that you have to open a lot of ports in your networking, which some companies find they’re not comfortable with from a security perspective. So what can we do about those kinds of things? Then there’s the ability to scale experiences …

There’s a number of things we’re looking at, and we’re also trying to figure out how many of those kinds of businesses could we get on Second Life, and how much of that work should we do to try to cater to that kind of an audience; or should we spend more of our energy trying to solve that problem on Sansar, and let Second Life focus on more where it’s already having even more obvious success than I would say the B-to-B space. but we very definitely want to support a very broad range of users for them platform.

Attracting Businesses into Sansar

I assume LL has considered the inhibiting entry difficulties companies or experience creators will be faced with when joining Sansar. For example they will potentially need to hire C# programmers, Maya and Blender creators, designers and so on, plus time will have to be invested while these experiences are being developed. What if any services will LL be offering potential experience creators to alleviate some of those difficulties. As a potential client or customer for Sansar I am heavily discouraged by the complexities of building an experience. What will LL do to help me get started. – Jessica Lyon

Well, we want to try to make the product as easy to use as possible but without sacrificing a tonne of power. That’s the trick: how do you provide this almost unlimited power for what you can do, and still keep it relatively simple to do. It’s a really tricky balance, but i think we can do better than what we have in Second Life today.

Corporate / professional customers wishing to use Sansar might find assistance through some kind of solution provider programme, as once run with Second Life

Corporate / professional customers wishing to use Sansar might find assistance through some kind of solution provider programme, as once run with Second Life

Obviously, getting a community of scale so that the people with the right skills can be found and that people can help each other, and you can trade skills amongst each other, which happens in Second Life all the time, that people collaborate and  pitch in with their unique skills to make things happen.

Lower the barrier to enter that you have today with the high land cost, is something we want to tackle, so that if you want to build something that’s going to take six months, you’re not US $300 x 6 down the drain before you can even start trying to collect any income from what you’ve created.

Or if your intent is not to make it a super commercial thing, whether it’s for arts or whatever, that it’s more sustainable by lowering the land cost. Which is why we say we want to lower the land cost but them collect more frees from elsewhere throughout the system.

And then also try to create a system that is more scalable and more efficient or less costly for us to operate, ultimate, so that we can pass those saving along. And then I’m sure there will be all kinds of solution providers on top of the platform that can provide all kinds of service.

We’re not really thinking of us getting into the professional services and creating solution. That could be a business we could do ourselves, but I think I’d rather not compete with potential solution providers from the platform, and let them do that. so right now we’re not thinking of getting into that ourselves.

And then a thriving marketplace, where you can find great quality content and solutions and scripts and even entire scenes that can get you up and running quick. If you want to have a meeting room, you should be able to go and buy one or rent one on the marketplace, and boom! There you are, ready to roll. Invite people, and you’re going in, hopefully, hours and not weeks.

So, it’s the sum of a lot of things to try to make it more attractive to more creators. And then also enable the platform to scale much better, so that you can go through instancing and obviously higher concurrency. We talked about regions being much bigger, but then being able to have much higher concurrency on those regions. But then for certain cases, it also makes sense to be able to instance those. I like to be able to talk about the example of the chemistry lab Texas A&M has used to teach chemistry in Second life.

Someone created that on an hourly rate on a request from Texas A&M, Well, someone should be able to create that, and then put that entire chemistry lab on the marketplace and then go and rent a unit of that to every school on the planet; not just to this one customer. So now you create …

All kinds of ways that we’re thinking of how can we make an experience a much more scalable business opportunity. And then you’ll attract more sophisticated creators and developers to come to the platform because they can see they can get massive return on that investment. Whereas in Second Life, you pretty much tap-out at, let’s call it the hobby level. If you want to go beyond the hobby level, then … whether it’s just cost or complexity of having high concurrency, you tap out before you can make it a big enough business. So we want to solve a lot of those problems.

Sansar and Art

What art related tools might there be in the proposed Sansar viewer? Will we have windlights and the ability to create them? What about filters? I have read that Sansar will have the possibilities to sell scenes; will the true be said of artists who would like to sell say 3D scenes, but without using Maya? – John (Johannes1977 Resident)

Is the Lab is planning something like the Linden Endowment for the Arts in Sansar? – Russell Hobbs

Don’t know about windlight, but ultimately we want people to be able to have fun with special effects and atmospherics, and various ways to create a unique range of look and feel. I think for starters, we’re staying in the what you can author; so we’re not really thinking [about] filters or ways to just wholesale change the look and feel of things like that. But, that doesn’t mean we’re not going to go there; it’s too far out. It’s later, so no clear answers on that.

Endowment for arts? If it’s something that’s required for that community to be successful, then we’ll do something like that. Hopefully, the cost of land will be something we can have come down far enough that it becomes less of a critical need. But if there’s a need for us to support the arts, I’m sure we will think of ways, because I think that’s a really critical piece.

And some of those experiences, so clearly why they need support is, they’re difficult to monetize. And it would be sad if you didn’t have that kind of creativity going on, because people couldn’t afford it.

So, first: what can we do to ensure that it’s not too expensive to do that; and then if it’s still an issue, I’m sure we can think of ways to make sure that it gets supported sufficiently.

Aviation, Sailing and Racing in Sansar

Second Life has a very large aviation community but the very small size of sims and resulting issues make flying tough. Will Sansar cater to aviation (and boating, sailing, racing etc.) enthusiasts more? – Marcus Perry

We should be in a better place right off the bat, because we’re going to have a much more robust physics engine and very large regions – multiple kilometres. So instead of 256 metres, think multiple kilometres.

Second Life has a huge number of sailing / boating / flying / racing enthusiasts who have to contend with the rigours of region crossings - Sansar's much larger environments could alleviate the traumas of region crossings

Second Life has a huge number of sailing / boating / flying / racing enthusiasts who have to contend with the rigours of region crossings – Sansar’s much larger environments could help alleviate the traumas of region crossings

So, the need there for bordering crossings – which actually right now we’re not contemplating solving for border crossings like we do in Second Life, so the movement from one region to another will have to be through a portal, which we want to try to be creating in making sure the community can also do creative ways for people to transition from one region to another, so you can ultimately stitch together regions to create massive experiences where you still feel like it’s one cohesive whole, but you won’t just necessarily just fly across from one region to the next, like you often can in Second Life, but not always.

but hopefully, the size of the regions themselves will alleviate the need for that sort of attempt at smooth region crossings. Regions crossings are just a really difficult problem to solve, so we’re going to sort-of stay away from that, at least for the foreseeable future.

JY: When you say multiple kilometres, are we talking one or twenty or ..?

Well, one is not multiple.

JY: That’s true. So we’re talking two square kilometres at least.

Or twice that … Part of it is what’s feasible with the maths for a coordinate system, but that’s sort-of the upper range where things start to get funky to deal with. but yeah, think in those terms.

With an upper size of around 4km on a side, Sansar experiences offer a usable space far in excess of individual SL regions

With an upper size of around 4km on a side (shown n red, overlaid across Blake Sea and the surrounding Mainland areas (left) and private estates (right, top and bottom), Sansar experiences offer a usable space far in excess of individual SL regions

Databases, Permissions and Experience Creation

Experience creation depends upon fostering some combination of tribalism and a sense of progression among its users. This requires good database storage and integration. It also requires a very flexible avatar permission system customizable by each experience. Will these tools be in Sansar? – Tectum Neumann

I think we’ve covered that and the fact we want to have built-in from the beginning for creators to have what we’ve been introducing in Second Life, but maybe shoehorned a little bit, with the Experience Keys. so that yes, a creator can have a database storage system to keep track of their users and the progression of their users in their experience and items associated with those users, etc. So yeah, that should be there as soon as we can, so that creators can have that level of control in creating experiences.

SW: So the database would work in kind-of the way the experience works now?

Well, it sort-of comes down to some sort of key value pair, right, to be able to store that kind of information. [But] how similar it will be to how we did experience keys, I don’t know exactly. But the idea is that this is something we want to have from the beginning built into the system, rather than the way we had to shoehorn experiences in after-the-fact in Second Life.

Sansar, Oculus Rift and VR

What has your reaction been to the cost of Oculus and how do you see this effecting Project Sansar. The device seems aimed at hardcore gamers – would Project Sansar appeal to such a niche group? – Loki Eliot

I’m not too surprised about it; I thought it would be maybe a hundred bucks cheaper. but when you think of the technology that goes in there, it’s incredible. Think about what you have to pay for an iPhone.  If you wanted to buy an iPhone outright, with no plan, it’s like US $700. And there’s a ‘phone inside of that headset, and they have all these other technologies; they’re losing money, I’m sure, on every unit they sell. So they’re subsidising it somehow to get down to $600, even.

So, yeah, you have to pay $1,000 for a PC that has a sufficient graphics card, and then US $600 for this thing. Two years from now, that’ll be US $800 and US $400 – I’m talking random number here. But the price will continue to come down as the industry at large, hardware manufacturers, the component manufacturers, focus on this particular  product line, and as things scale up, costs will come down.

Oculus CR-1 with microphone, Oculus Remote and Xbox wireless controller

Oculus CR-1: US $599 + tax and shipping. Cheaper than an iPhone without a contract maybe, but lacking the value proposition an iPhone represents. VR has a long way to go before it comes close to matching the value proposition of a mobile device or television – but that’s not to say it won’t happen

But I think the more important piece is when will software applications and services get to the point were I think it becomes a must have. Right now, the issue is that there’s not enough content or experiences that make it worthwhile. Meanwhile, while people complain about this prices of being, altogether, about $1600 or something like that, and they go and buy a TV for US $2,000 … That’s because they assume the content they get through that TV is worth that money, but US $1600 dollars for this Oculus thing, that’s not worth it, because they’ve not yet seen what they’re going to get out of it.

Once you realise you can have better meetings, you can play all these games, you can create solutions, you can make money, you can do all kinds of things in this immersive experience. at some point you go, “you know what? That’s worth a lot more than the TV is”, and it starts to look, comparatively speaking, reasonable or cheap.

I think it’ll take years for both the hardware and the software to get to the point where people can assume some value out of it, other than just as a toy, but it will happen. Goldman Sachs just came out with a report where they estimated that VR would be a bigger business than TV in ten years; and TV has had a while to go at it.

So I’m glad that they’re actually focusing on high quality, and I’d rather they came out with something with really high quality that allows people like out selves to create incredible experiences, maybe for a smaller audience to start with,  than having something that’s not really doing it. So I think it’s good that they aimed high.

I mean it’d be nice if it were cheaper, but over time, as the prices come down a bit, and as the whole ecosystem delivers more value, it’ll start to look like a reasonable purchase, or even a must have purchase.

Other VR Integration With Sansar

Are there any plans for integrating Sansar with upcoming VR experience hardware like the Rift and Vive from HTC, using perhaps something like OSVR or other methods for I/O, control and navigation, etc? – Maxwell Graf

Right now, we’re targeting two platforms with Sansar; two that are sort-of side-by-side in our development: PC / Windows and Oculus. so every build of Sansar that we push out, supports those out-of-the-box. Over time, we will support more controllers and other kinds of HMDS, like the Vive from HTC and Valve.

Part of it will be us seeing what hardware will actually have success in the market and have sufficient market share that it makes sense to support it. and part of it will be just to allow easy extensibility to be able to just plug-in different types of hardware.

We’re not leveraging something like OSVR, because that’s sort-of a layer in between that really just, as far as I can tell, it’s a convenient thing to do, if you don’t have the resources, but I think you’re paying a penalty on performance by having that extra layer in between there.  I’m not sure was the requirements are there, because that’s a piece of open-source software, but it might be something we want to look at if we want to support a long-range of niche hardware that there;s hundreds of people using.

OSVR: probably not a focus for the VR thrust of Sansar

OSVR: probably not a focus for the VR thrust of Sansar (image via Razor)

But we want to make sure that we support all the common popular platforms, and the ones you can see having a chance of becoming popular is Oculus, HTC vive, Project Morpheus or PlayStation VR, although that’s more for a gaming-centric audience, and it takes a little bit more effort to port to that platform than supporting other devices on the Windows platform.

At some point we have to solve for Mac, which we’re not tackling today, so that you can consume on a Mac. Now Mac doesn’t have a VR story; none of thee people are building hardware to work with the Mac. So high-end HMDs are exclusively in the windows domain today; but we would at least like to make sure that people can consume it on the desktop Mac at some point; there’s plenty of users there. and then mobile; making sure that we can support iOS and Android at least, so that you can participate in Sansar experiences from mobile devices as well.

Today we have a prototype that we can stream Sansar to an iOS phone, and that’s sort-of working in a prototype stage already. That one though, as you know from work that’s happened in this space before, is that the cloud-based GPUs cost money; so we have to figure out how we would charge for something like that. Bur yup, that’s where we are on platforms.

Sansar on Linux

Linux: market share seen a too small & lacking VR support to be currently under consideration for Sansar

Linux market share seen a too small & lacking VR support to be currently under consideration for Sansar

SW: I’m just going to whisper one word, because it’s been popping up through the audience: Linux.

Not high; it’s such an incredibly small user base, it’s just that there are other platforms – like the fact that we’re not actively solving for the Mac, we’re like we’ll get to it later. Then Linux is even later, if at all, because of the tiny audience you have there. So at this point I can’t promise Linux at all, unless for some reason there’s a huge growth in the user base there.

We do Linux on the servers, so a lot of our code is compatible with it, but it’s not something I can promise we’ll tackle any time soon.

Sansar Accessibility for the Impaired

Is it possible or will it be possible to embed audio navigational elements for those of us with low to no vision, in order that we may be able to navigate a little more freely within SL or other projects? – Blindman75 Resident

So, visually impaired people, what can we do to make it easier for them to use the platform and to navigate. Again, it’s not something I’ve heard us discuss specifically what we can do. so that’s something I’d love to hear: what would be the preferred solutions for those people.

SW: I’m sure we could set-up a meeting with people to discuss that, if you would like to.

Yeah. I think we can find someone on Bjorn’s[1] team who could at least understand what the potential range of requirements would be. When we could get to them, I don’t know. Maybe we could do something to make sure that we don’t make some mistakes along the way to make it difficult to solve for down the road. And some of them might be easy, and some of them might be hard; I don’t know.

Obviously, text-to-speech and speech-to-text capabilities are getting smarter and smarter and smarter. and that’s not something we would build from scratch; you’re starting to have Google and Microsoft and even Amazon, starting to get into this as a service. Even with translation capabilities; in Skype now, you can have two people speak different languages and have translation in between.

So hopefully, down the road, this is something we can find a service like that and plug it in. And there would be kind-of a cost, and how would we make sure that there are enough users who would leverage something like that, that it would be worth doing.

JY: It wouldn’t just help those people who have hearing problems, it would also help those of us who are using the Oculus Rift and don’t want to type, but also want to remain anonymous and not use our own real voice there are many possibilities there.

Yeah, yeah … and I think VR will probably put more pressure on some of these systems, because the keyboard and the mouse become completely useless in a VR context. And then once you put controllers in your hand to interact with the environment, they how would you possibly type anything?

So then people try to put up virtual keyboards, and I can stare at the letter and blink or whatever at the letters to type, and I’m not sure that would be highly used. So then it becomes speech or speech-to-text that become the solutions for people to be able to communicate in various ways.

Yeah, I’m just rooting for Google and Microsoft and these guys to make those services just better and better and better and cheaper and cheaper and cheaper so that when we want to introduce it, it’s not a big deal.

SW: Gentle Heron’s just made the point that paralysed people are using the on-screen keyboards in Second Life already. 

Yeah, for people who, if that’s their only option, it works well. So, virtual keyboard might be an option, text-to-speech / speech-to-text, these are all options. but I don’t think any of this will be in place this year,we’ll have to deal with this further down [the road].

Sansar Scripting API Support

I’m a scripting dumbo. Will Sansar have an open API and support editor extensions like UNITY’s Playmaker, which is a visual scripting tool. That would democratize Sansar development – Lilith Heart.

The first step is to just get C# out there, so that people can script in C#. And then, over time, I think we’ll do more and more integration with external tools. Today you can use professional IDEs, whether it’s Visual Studio or whatever, in sort-of a clever integration so you have like a true coding environment to be working in. And then what kind of flexibility, how can you choose what kind of IDEs you want to work with.

Visual scripting? I mean, that’s a beast in of itself. and I think it’s beyond current thinking .. If you’re using third-party tool that allow for some of that, that might work. but right now, we’re not working on some visual scripting solution. That would be quite a ways down the road.

Sansar and Griefing / Trolling

How do Sansar plan combat griefing and trolling and even cheating in games if LL make in-world games? – Kennylex Luckless

SW: I’m guessing the answer to that is Linden Lab won’t be making the games. Is that right?

We will make some content, just like Patch’s team does in Second Life today. mostly we create those to showcase what is possible; it’s kind-of a combination between QA and showcase. They do a lot of work with experience Keys to make sure that it is working as it should, and it’s also showing examples of what is possible; I call them more like samples.

And there might be some experiences like welcome areas, stuff like that, where we want to actually continue to invest in. But generally, other than for purposes of showcases and testing, we’re not in the business of creating content. That’s all up to you guys to do, and we don’t want to compete with you guys on trying to attract audiences to our experiences versus yours. No, we’re in the platform business, and we’ll only do as much content as we need to sort-of validate and showcase examples, and give people ideas of what is possible.

Griefing in Second Life, in all its forms from the mild to the outright obnoxious, has tended to become a part of the landscape over the years

Griefing in Second Life, in all its forms from the mild to the outright obnoxious, has tended to become a part of the landscape over the years

And what was the other part of that question? Oh, griefing. Yeah, ultimately, we need to give tools to experience creators to easily manage, you know, “be silent, you!”, “disappear, you!”, “go away, you!” And then also more different levels of trust that maybe you could set. Sort-of, “you can only enter my land if you have the following information on file”.

So it’s ultimately about us giving as much control as possible  to experience creators to manage their experiences and communities, and at the same time try to find the right level where we don’t stifle creativity because it becomes too hard to do things.

We have an upcoming summit for Second Life, which we do a couple of times a year where griefing will again be a topic of what can we do to make it even better than it is today in Second Life. But ultimately, it’s about providing the tools and the controls to creators and individuals to just hide, and tune-out and block and all those things. We can’t be the one that’s the single police force here; that just doesn’t scale.

Sansar Alpha / Beta Testing Requests

I am a content creator who makes mesh, scripts, has learned C#, does animations, manipulates sound files, etc. How can I put my name forward to be considered for alpha and beta testing? – Vivienne Daguerre

We don’t yet have an open invitation e-mail or anything. I mean, people ping us all the time, and we’re not yet ready to let a lot more people in. So probably around June, or just in advance of June, we’ll probably allow people to start to apply in some way.

And probably the thing that helps us is that a) this is a person willing to spend a lot of time; b) has the skills to create some interesting content and participate in a bit of a rough road. but I’m not sure exactly what that application process will look like. and again, but June, we’re talking about maybe hundreds of creators. and so the more skilled, and the more devoted to helping us make it great, the more likely you will be let in.

But I don’t think we’ve exactly specified criteria or  number of people or process for applying, if you will. So right now it’s pretty much people we know and trust, and maybe some strategic partners that are trying to do some really interesting things; but again, it’s pretty early still.

So, quite a few more by June, and them more in July and more in August and more in September. We’ll keep increasing and increasing the number of people who can come in. And rather than having lots of people come in for two minutes and go, “no, it’s not for me”, we actually want people who are actually committed and have the time to commit themselves. It’s not just to entertain people’s curiosity, but it’s actually people who can commit to some level of engagement of helping  us make it better.

Closing Comments

Not so much a question but I think I speak for everyone in saying Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to come and talk to us, much love. And also, thank you for keeping Second Life alive through the tough economic times, too – Felis Catnap

I appreciate that, and it’s my pleasure. And we learn, and I learn a lot from these questions, these interactions, as well. so it’s super valuable to us. And we look forward to doing more of these over the year. It might not be me all the time, we might swap some other people in. you’ve probably gotten enough of me by now. We’ll throw in some other players to come in and talk to you guys, whether it’s Danger or Bjorn or Oz or Pete or whoever it might be – Grumpity[2], maybe – we’ll figure it out, to continue the dialogue.

And yes, we’re still very committed to Second Life. You know, Sansar will take a while to accomplish …  A lot of the really cool stuff that’s happening in Second Life will take Sansar quite a while to sort-of be able to  reach that level of sophistication to be possible to do. So for many of you, Second Life will be the choice for quite a while, I think; and for some of you, maybe forever, which is fine.

And I feel really proud of what the team has accomplished over the course of the last year. I mean, it’s a smaller team in place than it’s been in previous years, but I feel the team is actually getting more done. I think under Oz and Danger the team has just accomplished a tonne to make Second life better this last year. The team is super devoted and will continue to crank out improvements this coming year as well. So look forward to more goodness, and I look forward to talking to you all soon again.

Concerning Sansar Introduction

Notes

            1. Bjorn Laurin (Bjorn Linden) – VP of Product, see my short profile write-up.
            2. Grumpity Linden, a senior producer at Linden Lab.